Tuesday, November 30, 2010

really? we're worried about our apples turning BROWN?

for real. i thought that this whole craze about making food look eerily perfect all of the time was over? i thought GMO foods were kind of...creepy to the public?

who would think, then, that a company would spend money and technology trying to find a way to ensure that your stupid apple doesn't turn brown once you cut it.

why? well because apples are popular, people like to eat apples and add them to things like salads. apparently these people give a shit that their apples turn brown a little bit once the flesh is hit with oxygen, even though the apple is still perfectly fine to eat.

the weirdos who invented this thing "said the technology would lower the cost of producing fresh slices, which have become a popular addition to children’s lunch boxes, and make apples more popular in salads and other quick meals."

i'm sorry, the "cost of producing fresh slices"? like you slice them at a factory and then send them to the store? of course they're going to turn brown!

i'm a big, big, big hate of pre-cut fruit and vegetables at the grocery store. i believe that the only "technology" that should be involved with sliced apples is a knife in your own kitchen. unless you're buying some kind of concoction that's been diced up at the store, i think that packaging fruit is weird. buy it, wash it, slice it yourself.

it just seems like a stupid thing to waste money and science on when some people in the world don't even have apples, or food, or clean water. get over yourself, north america. haiti is experiencing a cholera epidemic and we're worried about our apple slices turning an unsightly shade of non-white.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"if you rob people of their identity, if you rob them of their democracy, then all they are left with is nationalism and violence"

a video of nigel farage giving it to the EU, pretty amazing.

"what they are being told as their government is collapsing is that it would be inappropriate for them to have a general election. In fact commissioner Rehn here said they had to agree to a budget first before they are allowed to have a general election. Just who the hell do you think you people are. You are very, very dangerous people indeed: your obsession with creating this European state means that you are happy to destroy democracy, you appear to be happy with millions and millions of people to be unemployed and to be poor. Untold millions will suffer so that your euro dream can continue. Well it won't work"

well... i guess everyone owes this guy a post-mortem apology...

this is so sad. remember when the TTC was hiking fares to $3.00 and everyone was upset because the price of the TTC was already too high?

well, emotions were running high and (as usual) people made the mistake of targetting an individual instead of the system.

remember napping TTC worker?

i wrote about it here "the trick to avoiding the 3$ ttc fare? go to this guy's booth."

"we've all fallen asleep at work. the difference is that this guy works for the most hated public service in ontario, one that bleeds money and provides shitty service for an exorbitant and outlandish price to its users.

so i guess we could look at it as being a waste of money, or we could look at it as the ttc employee's resistance to the fare increases--letting a few customers go by with an extra three dollars in their pockets.

he's probably not even sleeping, just slyly looking out from under his eyelashes chuckling at his little thursday night insubordination. "

that man, George Robitaille, would eventually disclose that he had health problems that had caused him to fall asleep. he eventually went on medical leave and was very "disheartened" by the napping incident.

Robitaille worked for the TTC for 29 years, had a spotless record, and saved a man's life in 1995.

Robitaille died on Saturday, reportedly of a stroke, and hopefully he didn't die because toronto broke his heart.

TTc spokesman Brad Ross has said that despite the napping incident, Robitaille shouldn't be remembered for such a small mistake, and that "the best way to remember him is "the caring, compassionate and well humoured man" that his colleagues remember him as."

my brain automatically knows canadian facts because i was born here.

there's a newly designed test for people who would like to become citizens of canada. apparently officials decided the old test was "too easy" so they made it "more hard."

then they also decided that a 60% pass wasn't good enough, a canadian citizen should at least get a 75% on the exam.

so people started failing the test more, which creates more of a backlog for the system, which forces officials to change the rules/the tests/the procedures/ etc over and over again.

you can read all about it here in the toronto star but what i really love about the situation is the emphasis on cheating.

spokeswoman karen shadd told the star that the test questions were being shuffled more often to end what they "believe" to be "rampant cheating under the old system."

she goes on:

“In the past, with the old test, some people would buy the answers from unofficial sources...After paying for the answers, they would memorize them in order to pass the test. This accounted, in part, for a much higher pass rate.”

in other words the "wannabe citizens" found out the facts that they needed to know to be canadian, then they learned those facts, then they had the answers for the test.

i remember doing something similar, but i guess when you're "born" a canadian citizen you get to call that "learning" and not "cheating.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

hello, saturday

you know how it goes, you watch one youtube video for a german children's toy and it leads you into a world of other videos.

and then...

Friday, November 26, 2010

no, ann coulter isn't a homophobe at all...

i have to admit, i've never read fox nation and i don't a lot of attention to fox news. but now that i've seen it once i'll probably be addicted to it.

fox nation published an ann coulter opinion piece today about the TSA regulations in which she suggests that members of congress also go through the intrusive airport searches before entering congressional office buildings.

she gets in a little jab and congressman barney frank: "We've patted you down twice, Congressman Frank. Why don't you just go to your office now?"

why is that? because barney frank is gay he probably would like being patted down by strangers? classy, coulter, as usual.

it's kind of like when she got applauded for calling john edwards a "faggot" in this video

or the time she made the joke about two things gay men CAN'T do: get married and throw a baseball without looking like a girl.

because when you're a lady with long blonde hair and skinny, skeletor arms it's FUNNY to be hateful.

FoxNews cites a source more reliable than itself: The Onion

the fox nation website published a story in its "culture section" that they got from the Onion. The Onion!

the headline reads: "The Onion: Frustrated Obama sends nation rambling 75'000 word email"

the "story" reads as follows:

"Having admittedly "reached the end of [his] rope," President Barack Obama sent a rambling 75,000-word e-mail to the entire nation Wednesday, revealing deep frustrations with America's political culture, his presidency, U.S. citizens, and himself.

The e-mail, which was titled "A couple things," addressed countless topics in a dense, stream-of-consciousness rant that often went on for hundreds of words without any punctuation or paragraph breaks. Throughout, the president expressed his aggravation on subjects as disparate as the war in Afghanistan, the sluggish economic recovery, his live-in mother-in-law, China's undervalued currency, Boston's Logan Airport, and tort reform."

maybe it's time to get a new website intern, foxnation...

"i'm sorry for perving on your thanksgiving preparations"

so it's american thanksgiving (american thanksgiving is waaay too close to christmas), and so the internet is exploding with pictures of turkeys and dogs staring at turkeys.

so i was getting a little sick of seeing all of the different ways you can stuff ten different animals into a turkey when i came across this thanksgiving story:

"tracking down the trans"

james west, an australian journalist/author/producer, has been accidentally included in an email conversation about thanksgiving for the past three years. the emails were from a family somewhere in the united states whose last name is "tran." he ignored the emails for awhile but then started reading them(weird--which he admits) and became completely intrigued by the tran family and their thanksgiving.

this year, he decided to make a video to a) apologize for reading their emails and becoming so anonymously involved in their lives and b) to track them down and get them to actually invite him to thanksgiving.

the episodes are all on the website but i'll spoil it--the trans DO invite him for thanksgiving! they even pick him up at the airport! it's a pretty great story and also an interesting way of fighting the kind of "the internet is disconnecting us from one another" rhetoric that we all get so wrapped up in.

it's also just a really good and bizarre story, watch it!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

you're going to TWIST breasts? do you also twist balls?!

this whole TSA security thing is really interesting for a lot of reasons.

i just read this story about a radio host who opted out of the body scanner and then wanted to ask some questions about the full body pat down ( here) and was cuffed/had her ticket ripped up/and escorted out of the airport by a dozen cops.

there's a lot of speculation about whether or not it's been exaggerated but i don't think that's really that important-- i think the situation raises a lot of questions, valid questions, about the new procedures.

mainly, are the new procedures really that effective and if they aren't(which many people argue), then what is the point of forcing people to either be naked on a screen or have their boobs and balls twisted.

jeff goldberg, a journalist, has been very outspoken about the ineffectiveness of the new TSA regulations and especially of the body scanners. instead of actually being a barrier to people bringing restricted items on board, goldberg argues that the regulations basically just make it look like they're doing something. a gross abuse all for nothing.

he's not just writing about it, golberg has tested security at airports over the years

he writes of TSA regulations in 2008:

"I have for some time now been testing, in modest ways, their effectiveness. Because the TSA’s security regimen seems to be mainly thing-based...I focused my efforts on bringing bad things through security in many different airports, primarily my home airport, Washington’s Reagan National, the one situated approximately 17 feet from the Pentagon, but also in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago, and at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport."

in one instance at chicago o'hare international airport, he managed to get through security wearing a "beerbelly": "a neoprene sling that holds a polyurethane bladder and drinking tube. "

the beerbelly can hold up to 80 oz of fluid and is worn under clothes--so you can sneak booze into football games or whatever. goldberg poured two cans of bud light into his beer belly before he went through security and it went undetected even in secondary screening. he was, however, relieved of his eight oz bottle of water.

goldberg has gone through security wearing or carrying blatantly pro-osama bin laden t shirts and "knick knacks" without even raising an eyebrow.

the best part of what goldber has done though, and what raises the biggest question about actual airport security, is that he has managed to get through all of these security checkpoints with FAKE BOARDING PASSES.

security expert bruce schneier created (and uses) the fake boarding passes for the express purpose of proving that the TSA regulations are a waste of tax dollars and do nothing to increase airport security.

schneier himself is on the famed No-Fly list but he makes himself fake boarding passes in his own name because the list is checked only at the point of purchase, not at security.

not only were they waved through security but schneier was carrying a 120z bottle labelled "saline solution." anyone who was on a flight in 2008 or since then probably thinks that getting liquids on a flight is impossible--i've had a clear bottle with literally less than an inch of shampoo in it thrown out because it wasn't in a container that would ONLY hold 100ml. bottles of water, breast milk, contact solution, lotion, all of these things usually get tossed in the trash.

but if you had the bottle labelled "saline solution", then you would have been fine in the states because medical supplies don't come in the prescribed "under 3 oz" size. the security didn't even check schneier's bottle.

getting through security with all of their items intact, without getting arrested, and with fake boarding passes proved the uselessness of "the ID triangle."

the ID triangle is a process meant to establish three times that you are who you say you are. you buy your ticket, you pass through airport security, and you board your flight. at all of these contact points you are identified and have to prove your identity.

sure, you're not going to get on an actual flight with a fake boarding pass, but schneier and goldberg prove that getting through security was pretty easy.

they also point out that the most dangerous place to be (and the most vulnerable spot in the entire airport) is the long, often snaking pre-security line. somebody detonating a bomb in this pre-security area on a very busy day could cause major damage and kill countless people.

but that wasn't happening every day, despite the lack of real security at airports and how does nudity and invasive pat downs resolve issues like the fake boarding pass issue or the fact that once someone intent on doing damage arrives at the airport its basically too late?

is it to reinforce the idea in americans brains that they are not safe and so should accept any and all security "precautions"? that they should trust the state blindly to protect them, despite evidence that they are no safer? while airport patrons are being groped and x-rayed, airport employees aren't. while women and men are having their junk be exposed to a maybe pervert who will perhaps masturbate to the image in the bathroom on his lunch break, security is doing nothing to prevent restricted items and people from getting on flights. it just doesn't make sense.

in his most recent article about airport security he has a discussion while going through screening with a TSA agent. goldberg refuses the nudity scanner and the TSA agent laughs at him, telling him that he won't like the pat down. the TSA agent also said noone would opt out of the nudity scanner once they'd been through the humiliating pat down. the TSA agent called over to a colleague "tell him what you call the back-scatter [nudity scanner], and the colleague responds "the dick measuring device."

so the cost of security that isn't real security is having people mock your naked body or prod your privates? and how likely is it that you'll be selected "randomly" for screening if you're a hot girl and the agents are dirty perv men? how often are dudes high fiving each other after patting down or scanning a particularly hot lady?

maybe nudity scanners and body pat downs will find items like "underwear bombs", but they don't address issues of identity and they don't increase security.

goldberg pulls off the most telling and shocking of his experiments in st. paul minneapolis-- getting through security without ID.

he writes:

"I decided to make myself as nervous as possible. I would try to pass through security with no ID, a fake boarding pass, and an Osama bin Laden T-shirt under my coat. I splashed water on my face to mimic sweat, put on a coat (it was a summer day), hid my driver’s license, and approached security with a bogus boarding pass"

i read this and thought that there was no way he was getting through without proper I.D.

he continues:

"I told the document checker at security that I had lost my identification but was hoping I would still be able to make my flight. He said I’d have to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor arrived; he looked smart, unfortunately. I was starting to get genuinely nervous, which I hoped would generate incriminating micro-expressions. “I can’t find my driver’s license,” I said. I showed him my fake boarding pass. “I need to get to Washington quickly,” I added. He asked me if I had any other identification. I showed him a credit card with my name on it, a library card, and a health-insurance card."

goldberg got through security with a credit card, a library card, a health insurance card, and a FAKE boarding pass.

and how does a TSA agent measuring your dick or looking at your naked boobs detect a fake boarding pass or an identity theft. how does it protect people in lineups like these, that are completely unprotected??

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

for all of our friends in north korea

most of us know that yesterday north korea killed four people(including two civilians) on a south korean island. this is horrifying for many different reasons--one being that tensions between the (communist) north korea and (not communist) south korea are always running high and people sometimes forget that.

it's important for politicians to react swiftly to news of north korea's attack on south korea, because they don't want people to start freaking out about north korea's nuclear capabilities etc.

so thank the lord baby jesus that 2010 presidential candidate sarah palin was on the glenn beck radio show to soothe the public and prove just how great she would be as president of the united states.

when asked by beck how she herself would have dealt with the attacks, ms. palin responded:

"This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy but obviously we've gotta stand with our North Korean allies."

yeah.... north korea is not one of america's allies.. in fact, north korea is one of the original members of the axis of evil. that's the opposite of an ally. but i mean, it's the radio and sometimes ladies can't remember facts off the top of their heads without having them written on their hands. she's a beauty queen not a nobel prize winner: pat the pretty bitch on the head, give her a cookie, and send her on to the next radio show content in knowing that she tried her "darn" hardest!

and why should she have to remember the difference between north and south? communist and not communist? ally or axis member? because she' wants to be the president? well.. that's just a double standard!! probably people are being so hard on her because she's a WOMAN!

or maybe just because she's stupid and always on the radio and tv and god only knows why people listen to her at all.

she was corrected by beck and continued the interview. glenn beck for president?

well this makes me insanely angry.

sometimes i wonder why the police even go through the motions. why BOTHER knocking on doors? why BOTHER patrolling? if you aren't going to follow through with a suspicion, why even bother pretending to do your job.

today in the toronto star they ran a story about an OPP officer who noticed a vehicle not belonging to jessica lloyd park in front of her house--the officer knocked on the door and when noone answered, she left the premises.

well, russel williams owned that car. he watched the police officer leave. then he broke into the home and tortured jessica lloyd before taking her to his own cottage where he would eventually murder her.

apparently the police officer is "taking it very badly and is very hard on herself" and regrets not doing anything.

well yeah, you get paid to "do something." why not run the license plate? or take note of it? that way when jessica lloyd was reported missing maybe you'd have a lead and she wouldn't have been murdered.

people make mistakes, police make mistakes-- but this is a big fucking mistake. this is a woman who lives alone and the police officer feels strongly enough about the situation to go knock on her door but then just leaves? so why bother knocking on the door at all? was there so much going on in belleville that night that you didn't have time to radio in the license plate?

vancouver police letting women go missing under their noses for years and years without doing anything, cops at the G20 threatening to rape female reporters, cops in ottawa arresting a woman without cause and strip searching her illegally, and now this. why are police too busy being lazy or abusing their power to do the job they get paid to do? how much more will it take for us to realize that there is something very wrong the institution of policing?

so as much as the toronto star article makes us want to feel bad for this cop, that she's "beating herself up over it", i think it's more important for this to serve as a lesson-- when we place our "safety" in the hands of the police and they fuck up and don't do their jobs, when bad things like this happen they should feel bad. they should feel horrible.

when i make a mistake at my serving job, there was hell to pay. and that was FOOD. when cops make mistakes like this, it needs to be a bigger deal.

Monday, November 22, 2010

why would anyone flag this?

this is the greatest craigslist ad i have seen in a really long time. i have a feeling that you might not think it's as funny unless you've had an epic gaming session so intense that the only thing you can do while playing is go get a coffee crisp bars from the freezer, stuff it in your mouth, and toss the empty wrapper onto the pile with the others.

"we will probably have a great time." yeah, you probably would actually. it's like how my sister has a great time while my brother and i play games and we force her to sit on the couch and watch us. sometimes she'll fall asleep or try to "leave" and she gets a gentle reminder that she is having FUN. game time is family time, when we're questing we need positive reinforcement from her. she gets that.

this guy is just trying to fill the gap that having no siblings has left in his life!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"The Tyranny of Soy in Paraguay"

a great piece from the real news network and produced by jesse freeston about the soy business in paraguay.

"As it stands, more than 25 percent of Paraguay's arable land is taken up by genetically modified soy farms. Peasant farmers, or campesinos, have organized to oppose this lucrative industry."

"And this industry is rapidly expanding. It's largely powered by Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Monsanto, and various Brazilian companies. Small farming communities, small farmers are having to migrate to the cities in a massive exodus from the countryside. They're doing this because of the repression they face from thugs hired by the soy owners, the terrible pesticides that are used in soy production that poison water sources, that kill livestock, that kill anything else but soy, and that create cancer, blindness, birth deformities among campesino farmers that are living side by side next to these seas of soy."

More at The Real News

because we all need more receptacles for fruit and plants.

i saw these on design milk today:

they're called cocoon and they were designed by a swedish student,Måns Salomonsen, at university stenebyskolan.

the top of the cocoon holds plants and herbs and the underneath holds vegetables or whatever else.

Måns describes his the entire process of creating these two pieces on the website.

in his description he includes his first sketches of what he wanted to create, which are just as great as the actual pieces themselves.

the sketches look like the greatest dr Seuss town of all time:

another great thing on design milk today --air plant tiles! air plants are pretty and unique, but they don't root in soil--instead they grow on other plants, buildings, etc. this design by pigeon toe ceramics solves the problem of air plants. i don't really know how well this would do inside a home--on a wall-- but it would be pretty neat in gardens or outdoor spaces.

also, it's getting cold and winter is much more imminent and one of the best parts about winter is spending ten million hours on the internet looking up things for summer.

Iran to join European Missile Defence Shield

Iran to join European Missile Defence Shield

by Hans Rollmann
Associated Pamphleteers (AP)

Negotiations with Iran over its participation in the European Missile Defence Shield have concludedsuccessfully, NATO’s chief announced Saturday at the alliance’s summit in Lisbon.

“Iran has committed to joining the missile defence shield and protecting Europe and itself from potentialmilitary and terrorist threats from abroad,” Anders Foggy Rasmussen announced at a press conference.

Iran’s surprise announcement comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Russia
would also be joining in on the missile defence shield. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11803931 signed a written commitment indicating that NATO andRussia no longer considered each other a threat, and that both would work together to expand the military alliance and better equip it to counter whatever remaining countries it could plausibly label as threats. Analysts suggested Iran’s partnership would be based on the same type of agreement. Some insider sources suggested the EU and US would retain rights to spar with Iran over its development of nuclear reactors, while cooperating on matters of joint defense.

Rasmussen brushed off suggestions that with Iran’s joining the missile defence shield, the system would no longer be necessary.

“There’ll always be a need for a missile defence shield,” he explained. “We shouldn’t get wrapped
up in thinking about who might attack. What we need to focus on is who we’re defending. And with the number of countries that are part of our defensive shield growing, it’s only logical that we should increase the military capability of that shield.” Mr. Rasmussen noted, for instance, that both Mongolia and Madagascar still remained outside of the missile defence system, and therefore could pose potential threats to the European mainland in the future.

Defence industry contractors were also pleased. They noted that while the military and strategic value of the missile defence shield was dubious, its role in expanding arms production and other defence- related industries would provide an invaluable contribution to the global economy.

“We should think of the missile defence shield not so much as a strategic military asset, but rather as a financial stimulus plan,” said an industry spokesperson. “It demonstrates the continuing importance of NATO in today’s world, not so much as a military alliance perhaps but more as a sort of Scotiabank for the defence industry.”

Even British Prime Minister David Cameron, originally an outspoken opponent of both NATO and Iran, gave his grudging approval.

“NATO’s sort of like that old employee who’s been around longer than anyone can remember, but you just can’t quite convince to retire,” he said. “He can’t really do any of the tasks he’s assigned, and when he tries he often just bungles them and makes things worse, but if you tried to get rid of him you’d have the union all over you. I think building up missiles all around the world to protect the world from the rest of the world is a fairly harmless thing for him to be doing.”

Rasmussen, meanwhile, noted that negotiations with China over the possibility that it might join the missile defence shield were continuing on a positive footing. He emphasized however that even if China joined the European Missile Defence Shield, the need to continue expanding the system would be greater than ever.

“What critics don’t understand is that the missile defence system – no matter how large and all- encompassing it is – will never be foolproof,” he emphasized. “One weak spot we’ve already identified is the risk of a missile attack on Europe from the moon. If the Taliban, or Somali pirates, were able to get a foothold on the moon, or even worse Mars, we’d be in a very difficult strategic position. The ongoing expansion of NATO and the missile defence system play a vital role in countering that clear and present danger.”

Friday, November 19, 2010

"guys aren't supposed to be short, that's funny!"

these videos from second city? hilarious.

hello christmas gift...

you know what is sometimes the worst? computer accessories. cables, cords, shiny blacks and greys. these things are ugly, normally look innocuous, and basically make you want to smash your computer and become a hermit.

once in awhile, though, you see a product that makes you change your mind about smashing this shit up.

meet the wooden external hardrive.

created by BPCustomWoodworks in seattle( and available through Etsy) , the hard drives are made from %100 reclaimed or discarded wood -- the item in this picture is made from "a hunk of left over American Walnut from a much larger furniture project."

the drives come complete with a 2.5" 500GB SATA device with a USB 2.0 interface and the entire unit is powered with the provided usb cable. not to mention this would look really great on a desk. i want one.

right now they have 16 different hard drives to choose from and also other things like pet feeders, mailboxes, wine racks, and cutting boards.

also, buying from etsy is nice because there is no middle man--you buy directly from the person who (handcrafted) the thing you want!

a brief warning though: keep your credit card hidden when browsing on etsy...

it's true, towels can be filthy!!

this is the best commercial for a product i have ever seen.

the product is called the "true clean towel" and it's basically just a towel that warns you not to rub your face with the ball side of the towel.

actually, this is kind of ingenious. sure, it's also a hilarious joke but we've all seen our share of nasty towels and it certainly would be prudent not to dry your face with something that has touched man-butt. buy your true clean towel here!

keep your towels clean.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

maybe YorkU should also sue the excalibur

for those of you who don't know, george galloway spoke at york university yesterday.

considering that he was banned from entering canada last year it's quite an accomplishment for york to secure such a big name speaker.

not everyone sees it that way though.

according to the always fair and balanced excalibur:

"Lots of legitimate points of debate need to be brought up surrounding George Galloway’s visit to York’s campus. The opinions he has voiced on the Israel-Palestine conflict have rightfully divided many York students into harshly opposed camps. Meanwhile, the YFS’s involvement in the event brings up tough questions about how far the union’s elected leaders should be allowed to pursue their own political agenda over the concerns common to all students."

well, the event WAS sold out... so it's kind of a supply and demand thing.. but i guess that's behind the point.

according to the author of this piece, it's not fair for the YFS to provide speakers that only represent one side of a debate:

"it’s hard to imagine what insight those who support Galloway got out of the speech. While Galloway is a big name, calling him an expert on the Middle East and Asia is a contentious claim, especially considering how little interest he has in alternative views of the issues there.

Ultimately, those students who agree with Galloway’s general position got to listen to an extreme voice affirm views they already held, unchecked by any moderator or opposing stance to provide new information or a different perspective. Those who don’t agree with Galloway got nothing."

well, excalibur writer, i would say the exact thing about rag you have the nerve to call a newspaper. the excalibur consistently towes the administrative line and only represents a specific chunk of the student population at york university. it features shoddy journalism at best and has often taken an explicitly anti-student stance(do i need to recall your vari hall debacle, where you lied about carrying out polls with hundreds of students?)

but, it has every right to exists and produce garbage that idiot student journalists can put on their C.VS when they get out of business school and cash in their membership to various zionist organizations for a six figure job.

i digress. so normally what the administration says at york, excalibur parrots back. in this case, however, yorku and president shoukri himself are standing up for the galloway talk.

in a surprising twist of events, president shoukri is threatening to sue a rabbi who had the gall to call him an anti-semite(the story in the national post, here)

rabbi aaron hoch is being told to stand the fuck down by yorku's legal representative (harriet lewis, who has impeccable morals), to stop spreading "defamatory remarks about the...president and stop encouraging non-students to protest the george galloway speech on campus."

apparently rabbi hoch wrote in an email that president shoukri "has again showed his amazing tolerance for anti-semitism and lack of vigilance regarding the feeling of safety for jewish students on campus."

i think that shoukri and the administration should take the excalibur to task as well since the "newspaper" is obviously supporting the idea that shoukri and the university are backing up the YFS conspiracy to end free speech on campus.

obviously, according to this story, the university doesn't take being called an anti-semite lightly anymore--unless your name is dr. david noble.

oh look, a new look!

a lot has changed sinced the inception of this blog so it made sense to change the way it looked as well.

better or worse?

aw... sad stephen hawking

illegal foods, neat.

is this true?! because i totally bought a mangosteen last year...

Forbidden Fruit.

Infographic by Culinary Schools.org

sarah palin made a funny!

in an interview with barbara walters, sarah palin was asked if she thought she could beat barack obama.

palin responded that she "believes so."

she also said:

"I'm looking at the lay of the land now, and ... trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it's a good thing."

yeah, if it's a good thing for the discourse. the discourse! jesus christ sarah palin is fucking stupid. who even let's her say things like this on television? doesn't she have handlers who say "oh mrs. palin, that's not the correct term. let's reshoot."

and also, "the lay of the land"? what is she doing, coming up with a hunting strategy?

it's just embarassing that this person could even be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. if i was barbara walters i'd have a giggle fit and have to ask her to leave my set.

and i have to say, her being considered a pretty woman is totally the reason she's still around because we all know what happens to ladies who are stupid AND ugly.

national defriend day came and went?

national defriend day was yesterday. created by jimmy kimmel, the day was "an opportunity for Facebook "junkies" to comb through their list of so-called "friends" and weed out the ones that really aren't "true" friends (i.e. acquaintances you hardly know and old classmates you really don't give a crap about.)"

it's funny because, sure, we all have people on facebook that we're not really "friends" with--but we also all define friendship differently. some people LIKE have people on facebook that they don't really know or have a close relationship with. some people use facebook for work and so they don't really use it as a friendship conduit.

here's the thing--you know who your "real friends" are. we all do. but is there really something wrong with being updated about people's lives? what's really that bad about knowing what your grade five best friend is doing now? yeah, you might not want to visit them on christmas day or go to their birthday but knowing something about another human is never a bad thing.

of course facebook is annoying, but i actually like finding people i didn't stay in touch with. i like finding out that they have kids now, that they got their dream job, that they like to go to starbucks and post that as their update. because hey, starbucks makes them so happy they want to share that shit with the world and i'm alright with that.

is it supposed to be cool or better to be disdainful of connecting with people? like "ugh, i'm so sick of reading so and so's status updates about eating dinner or shopping!" well, if you really don't like it then you should delete them--or delete yourself from facebook. also, there are these things called "functions" on facebook, so you can HIDE people who have annoying updates a million times a day.

i've hidden probably ten different people on facebook. this means that i can look them up or communicate with them, but their BILLION status updates don't take over my news feed. and these aren't "non friends", i've hidden people that i've known forever, that i consider to be very close friends.

the point is that we control facebook, not the other way around. some people may have trouble deleting or disengaging with people on facebook who they don't like, don't want around, or have trouble with but that's not just a facebook problem. these people can't say no to anyone and they have people in their real lives that they have the exact same problems with.

if you don't give a shit about people, then don't have them on your facebook, but i don't really love this push to delete everyone who aren't best friends with because it's just silly. time, distance, and being lazy can get in the way of keeping in touch with people and sometimes it's nice to know what those people are up to and that even though you didn't stay "best friends"(whatever the hell that means) that they've thought about you over the years and they'd like to share a bit of their life with you. they just got a new puppy to go with their brand new baby? well that's nice. they're making pornography now? well, that's just great! they joined a cult? how interesting.

we don't discourage people from going to high school/postsecondary reunions because they didn't remain close with everyone else attending, so what's the big deal with having facebook friends you haven't seen in ten years?

i get that there are a lot of problems with facebook and, believe me, i have definitely deleted my share of people. national defriend day is funny in a way, and it's a great bit of media for jimmy kimmel, who could probably stop making his show tomorrow and noone would give a shit, but i think they could have been a bit more creative than just saying "defriend people who aren't your real friends."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"the success of sarah palin and women like her is good for all women, except for those women who end up paying for their own rape kit"

tina fey was award the mark twain award for american humour and this video of her full acceptance speech is hilarious.

mainly the part at the end when she talks about sarah palin. but, it's worth watching the whole 15 minutes!

Watch the full episode. See more Mark Twain Prize.

Monday, November 15, 2010

what's the canadian equivalent? buy a truck get a free beaver tail?

a car dealership in florida is engaging in basically the smartest and most awesome advertising ploy of all time.

buy a truck, get a free AK-47!!!

nick ginetta, the owner of the dealership, said he came up with the idea in honour of veterans day.

he says he's giving away the assault rifle “to honour all the sacrifices that the veterans gave to this country, which give us the right to own weapons in this country.”

yes, because i'm sure 9/10 veterans would agree that the right to own weapons was exactly what they fought for.

actually, the right to bear arms in the united states was the second amendment to the united states constitution and bill of rights, it was adopted in 1791. i'm not sure i could name a war that was fought for the right to bear arms after 1791 but i'm no history scholar.

because it's not enough just to have the right to bear arms, you have to exercise your right and get as many guns as possible of varying types. use it or lose it!

rock climbing is hard!

i don't have cable and i only very recently discovered that i get cbc on my television but good god did i wish that i had cable this week.

why? well because this sunday was the premiere of a new reality television show.

sarah palin's alaska.

i LOVE sarah palin. i think that she is the most entertaining politician ever and each time she opens her mouth a comic gem falls out.

that's why i'm sad that i missed the premiere. luckily for me gawker has featured the "five most ridiculous moments" from the premiere!

my favorite video is the clip where she talks about her husband building a fourteen foot fence around her lakefront property so that her author neighbor can't watch her, she goes on to say that the fence they've built is a good example of what should be done to protect the "nation's" border. this is smart of her, because we all know that mexicans MAY be able to run but they can't climb fences.

also at one point she gets angry at her daughter for going upstairs with a boy. i think that's just smart of sarah palin, haven't her daughters already had a million babies while they were underage? at least sarah palin knows they weren't conceived in her daughters own beds.

i hope this show has ten seasons.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

it's like bringing sexy back, but with the devil.

so roman catholic priests in the states attended a conference this weekend all about the joys of exorcism-- a practise that some in the church are pushing to have a comeback, kind of like fanny packs.

you can read the post about that here. "this is why religion is fucked"

for years, countless damaging stories have flown around about sexual abuse in the church so it's no surprise that these priests are trying to bring exorcism back.

like this story today from the toronto star about the huge problem of not only abuse in the church, but the powerful of the church covering the abuse up.

see, if the church can bring exorcism back they won't have to deal with children and adults who say they were /are being abused by their trusted priests. the church will no longer have to deal with the courageous individuals who dare to come forward, defying their faith and often their community, because they can just exorcise those little devils right OUT of them!!

i mean consider this: if 40 years ago your kid was acting insane because they were being abused by your priest but you didn't know why they were acting insane. if exorcism had been more popular and "acceptable", your priest could have just insisted that your child was possessed by the DEVIL. that would take care of that tricky, sexually abused child always causing trouble!

if powerful figures in the church were willing to cover up abuse they knew about, there would have been no problem approving exorcisms to help cover them up.

but, we all know the church is slow moving so it makes sense that they're only now jumping on the exorcism bandwagon.

maybe now they'll finally get around to exorcising all of the witches that wriggled out of their grasp during the great burnings!!

too little, too late weirdos.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

THIS is why religion is fucked.

don't worry everyone, all of the problems in the world are on their way to being solved thanks to... american bishops!!

friday and saturday, bishops in america will meet at a conference designed to prepare" more priests and bishops to respond to the demand" for... for what? for better pastoral guidance in a changed world? to be more accepting of all kinds of people? to discuss changing their stance on birth control or homosexuality?

oh bitch please, no!

they're meeting to prepare more priests and bishops to respond to the demand for EXORCISMS.

the conference is meant to help catholic clergy members distinguish between people who need psychiatric care and those who actually need an exorcism.

that's right, because the catholic church believes that people can actually be possessed.

bishop thomas j paprocki drops this truth bomb on us: "not everyone thinks they need an exorcism actually needs one."

oh, really? because i thought that people who felt that a demon or devil was physically manifesting itself in their body and minds just needed a cross and some holy water thrown on them.

paprocki goes on to say that exorcism "is only used in those cases where the devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person."

so if the devil is involved in a less than extraordinary way you're shit out of luck, because then you're just crazy.

sure, it's trashy... but why are we really freaking out about Lake Shore?

everyone is having a goddamned fit about this new "show" Lake Shore.

i've seen the trailer and it's certainly something that i wouldn't like to watch, so i won't watch it. but what about this program is causing such public outrage and furied tweeting/facebooking about how horrifying it is?

there are petitions to stop it from airing, people declaring it's the end of the world, that it signifies some kind of shift, and basically all around pointing to it as something meaningful and new.

but how new is it really? how extra-offensive is it compared to programming that's been airing for years?

my favorite thing right now is seeing my friends who were obsessed with shows like "a shot at love with tila tequila", who watch the "jersey shore", or who consume any number of offensive and trashy reality tv posting articles and videos about Lake Shore like it's different from everything else they've been watching obsessively.

it's not different from those shows. there is ALWAYS race baiting in reality tv, it's one of the factors that keep people going back--to see what outrageous racist, sexist, homophobic thing these idiots will say next. is there really a huge difference between what was on that trailer for Lake Shore and watching the "america's next top model" contestants talk about how they're the best model and most worthy of winning because they're white?????

this article in the toronto star called "pushed into race-bashing" describes how lake shore contestants were pigeonholed into different races and asked to play them up. uh, yeah, duh. the kind of outrageous shit that they do on this show and EVERY reality tv show pushes ratings, are you telling me that on jersey shore they weren't asked to play up their "guido-ness"?? because they most certainly were, because that's how they sell their product.

in shows like "a shot at love with tila tequila" we watched people get wasted out of their minds, fight with one another (verbally and physically), and line up to make out with one person. do we really think that these people weren't asked to be extra dramatic and skeezy for the cameras??
we've been watching the worst of people magnified on television for as long as reality tv has existed.

do people really think that the people on Lake Shore are somehow being taken advantage of? there is a certain kind of person who wants to be on reality tv, for a myriad of reasons, but can we stop pretending that reality tv and documentary are the same thing here, because they really aren't. reality tv shows are about the spectacle, about being the MOST offensive, the MOST disgusting, the MOST caricature, and the people who get on these shows are into that--and they're allowed to be.

so why are we freaking out about Lake Shore? because it's based in toronto? because it's canadian?

remember the reality series "the lofters"? that was based in toronto and it was pretty trashy. that was in the era of hidden camera reality tv, which was always totally creepy but promised to catch people at their worst (or at their most naked).

sure, it's pretty nasty that Lake Shore labels people by their "race"-- the turk, the jew, etc.. but jersey shore already does that and pretty much every reality tv show has people playing into stereotypes about race and race relations.

i think people are going nuts for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that this show is being produced in toronto and features canadians. long gone are the days where we can feel good about all of the trashiest shows being produced in america and consumed by americans because now we are just as bad (and if you listen to some media outlets, we're WORSE).

this show didn't come out of nowhere, toronto, and pretending that it exists in a vacuum doesn't really do anything except give the show tonnes of media exposure.

if you don't like reality tv, don't watch the show but let's not pretend that we haven't been participating in this exact system happily all of this time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

cindy mccain kicks john mccain in the butt.


this is another celebrity "don't bully" video, but this one has a verrryy surprising twist:

oh yeah, that's cindy mccain. that's cindy mccain, the wife of john mccain. john mccain who is a staunch supporter of "don't ask, don't tell."

i think cindy mccain is crazy, but i really like this video just because she's in it saying what she's saying. any one of those celebrities could have made the jab about lgbt people not being able to serve their country, but she does it. it's such a public slap in the face to her weird husband who continues to block the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" for god knows what reason.

i kind of hate celebrity videos, but i love juicy political gossip.

donate to the real news network!

i went to a great event last night at beit zatoun-- a fundraiser/talk by lia tarachansky, the middle east correspondent for the real news network.

the real news network is currently fundraising to send lia back to the middle east as well as raise enough funds to hire a palestinian journalist.

lia showed a few videos and discussed her position as a correspondent reporting on the israeli/palestine conflict as an israeli. lia's reports were amazing and she's a great speaker--the audience was really engaged and there was some really thoughtful discussion.

the report that i found most interesting was a report on the gaza flotilla attacks--lia was in israel when the attacks took place and she said that she didn't know why everyone was so surprised because the israeli media had been reporting about how the attacks would go down weeks before they took place.

that report is here:

More at The Real News

so the whole point of her talk was to show how necessary actual news reporting is and to get donations, so go here and donate--you can specifiy which sector you want your donation to support-- if they raise enough money they can send lia back to do more reporting AND add another reporter to the mix!


also, if you haven't been to beit zatoun yet, you should go--it's great.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

please sir, can i have one more solid gold pencil?

i was walking down bloor street yesterday and i saw this billboard at shaw. it's for the globe and mail and it says "money can buy anything. until you find that lump in your breast."

i've seen a few other billboards like it for the globe and mail, and it's part of a specific campaign to promote a series of health care articles in the globe and mail that discuss private and public health care in canada.

i found this one to be incredibly irksome. to publicize the debate "is profit the medicine for ailing public health care?" the example is breast cancer? because once you get breast cancer the amount of money you have doesn't matter?

the globe and mail billboard certainly provokes debate with this statement because that just isn't the case. how much money you have obviously doesn't determine what kind of cancer you get, but it certainly does contribute to living longer and healthier before, during, and after treatment.

getting cancer doesn't mean you automatically get a free ride from the health care system, everything isn't paid for and it can be extremely expensive in this country to get sick. first of all if you get cancer, hopefully you have a job that gives you time off for being sick or-even better-sick pay. if you don't, like many of us, have this luxury then you can look forward to losing your job or going on leave without pay.

for real, when i had bronchitis my job stopped accepting me calling in sick. i was a SERVER. bronchitis is often contagious!

every canadian might have a semblence of health care coverage, but basic health care coverage doesn't cover everything.

take cervical cancer, for instance. once a year, OHIP pays for me to have a pap test and physical. if i had a physical in january 2010 i have to wait until january 2011 to book my next physical. but what if i've been exposed to hpv at one point or another and i need to have an extra pap? or if anything else happens in between that necessitates an extra physical? well, i have to pay for that.

it's easy to say, well of course you'll pay for it if you need it but that's not true. there have definitely been times in my life where i didn't get things that i needed because they were just too expensive at the time. even something as small as a $50 doctor's fee can be too much when you're low on cash.

so, then if you don't want to pay for it, you won't get your extra pap(or whatever test it is). this gives your cervical cancer an extra twelve months to develop.

a commenter on the article "nobody should profit from health care? get real!"(written by karen selick) asks:

"How do we get the benefits of privatization while maintaining the comfort of knowing low income Canadians will not receive "hamburger health care"."

we don't. we don't get the benefits of privatization for some while maintaining quality health care for all because that's not how it works. we either decide that public and accessible health care is a right that canadians stand behind or we move to a different system.

people who have more money ALREADY have better health care provided to them--they can afford to flee the country and get whatever procedure they need, they can afford to buy medication they need that isn't covered, they can cut lines by going to private providers. they can afford gym memberships, healthy eating, and time to relax.

in fewer words, health isn't just not being sick and some people can certainly afford more general wellbeing than others.

in the article, karen selick compares health care to any other commodity:

"Office supply stores sell wooden pencils for as little as eight cents each. Swanky gift shops also sell pencils: gold-filled and priced as high as $1,400."

she continues, writing that nobody accuses "supermarkets of being evil for profiting from people’s hunger, or shoe stores for profiting from people’s barefootednesssuper ...yet, Canadians have become so accustomed to thinking that health care must be provided by government that moral panic ensues the moment anyone suggests it could be provided by private, profit-making enterprises. “Nobody should profit on the backs of the sick,” opponents cry."

this is true, people don't often call supermarkets evil because they sell something that people need or shoe stores for selling shoes for people's feet. BUT people very often call supermarkets evil for procuring food in evil ways, for supporting mass production farm factory systems that are bad for animals and people and produce vegetables that are making us sick.

people need shoes, but that doesn't stop people from demanding that the shoes they purchase not be sewn by children in another country. it doesn't stop people who want shoes from deciding that they don't want to purchase leather shoes or shoes that have unethically produced leather in them.

she writes that "those who really want to help the poor and sick should be clamouring for the private sector to be allowed to do the job" because historically private sector technologies and advances available only to the wealthiest EVENTUALLY become available to the "poor."

just because products are available doesn't mean that suddenly there are no ethics involved,and a long history exists of people/consumers demanding more ethical commodities.

or maybe the ultra wealthy could stop cutting in line and stop propping up the pharmaceutical companies for their own benefit.

take this story: a low cost, easily accessible and safe diabetes drug may have an off label use as a cancer fighting drug. metaformin has been shown in studies to slow the progression of lung and breast cancers.

well shit, that's great news!!

unfortunately, because the study is based on a generic drug that doesn't offer huge returns to any pharmaceutical company, there is "no financial incentive for drug companies to fund" this research.

dr pamela goodwin, an oncologist studying metaformin in three different studies in toronto, says

"We first proposed this five years ago...It took us five years of multiple presentations and requests for funding to cobble together funding."

COBBLE together fucking CANCER RESEARCH funding. because noone wants to fund it because it isn't going to make them any money!

this is the kind of mind set that selick's article defends. like, actually if you want to help the poor and sick maybe you should fight to have these kinds of studies funded despite the fact that they won't make money off of sick and cancer ridden people. this seems like a better idea to me than feeling magnanimous for purchasing a $1400 pencil so that "someday" the poor can have one too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

censor that! censor it immediately!

people are going absolutely nuts over amazon.com's decision to continue the sale of this book: "The Pedophile's guide to Love and Pleasure."

there's even a dedicated twitter hashtag devoted to amazon right now: #amazonfail

people who are angry are angry because they think amazon.com because "selling certain books is just wrong."

on sale since october 28th(but just for the kindle e-reader), the product description of the book by phillip r greaves states:

"This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught. "(all of these spelling errors are in the product description... makes me think it's not a very well written book...)

amazon isn't backing down on this one and has released a statement that refusing to sell certain book is censorship, and i tend to agree with amazon on this one. amazon has written:

"Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

you can get anything on amazon and that's one of the best things about it. if you don't like it, don't buy it. if you're offended by the title, boycott that specific book.

this isn't the only questionable title on amazon, by any means.

i don't remember people freaking out like this when amazon started selling O.J Simpson's book "if I DID IT."

or what about the hundreds of true crime novels that explicitly detail sexual crimes against children? if you type in "true crime" right now into the amazon search engine, the first book that comes up is one that describes the abduction, rape, and torture of two sisters(and i'm sure it's very graphically detailed).

also, i can buy all kinds of homophobic books on amazon like "gays and guns: the case against homosexuals in the military" by john eidsmore or "the transexual empire" by janice raymond.

the novel lolita describes, in depth, the desires of a pedophile and how he acts them out. i'm sure if amazon were around when lolita was first published, angry readers would call for it to be banned but we now consider lolita to be great Literature.

i'm not saying this guide will eventually be considered great Literature, because it's available on the kindle for like 4$ and is probably complete garbage, i'm just saying we can't be so eager to look to censorship as the answer to all of society's problems.

the angered are calling for a boycott of amazon unless they take the book down, but we all know that won't work. noone is really going to boycott amazon, because christmas is coming and there are too many small towns without book stores in north america for that.

maybe instead of just calling for a boycott and censorship, someone could try to engage the author in a discussion about why he wrote the book and what he hopes to accomplish? maybe they could even ascertain if likes to abuse children and then put him in jail.

the kindle and e-readers in general have opened up the publishing world in a way, making it extremely easy to write something crazy and have it sold on amazon or online immediately. the knee jerk reaction to this kind of shift might be to just stamp "censored" on everything we disagree with, but i think it's wiser to go in the opposite direction and become more thoughtful in the face of this kind of technology.

"they think we murder piglets"

i read the best story in the toronto star today. there's this website called "The Cheeky" and they make cheeky items.

they make things like big stickers to put on your suitcase so that it looks like you're carrying around a dead body, towels with stick figure genitals on them, and teabagging tea bags.

a little while ago they posted a new item -- a real piggy bank. the bank is made from what was once a live piglet that died of natural causes, was taxidermied, and made into a piggy bank.

well after seeing this new item, the winnipeg humane society got all up in arms about it. aileen white of the humane society went so far as to call it "callous and insensitive," a "trivialization of what was once a living being."

i guess some people didn't get the "cheeky" memo.

the creator of the piglet bank, colin hart, has been receiving hate emails(because we all know the best way to express your opinion about something is to threaten and demean someon via electronic mail) about the piglet bank and can't really understand why because the item was meant to be a joke: the website has it listed as costing $4000.00, taking 12 months to ship, and the photo of the piglet bank is a photoshopped image of a live piglet. they haven't made a single piggy bank and they don't intend to.

the winnipeg humane society's website has a call for action posted for this piggy bank, stating that "while animals are routinely killed for their meat and hides, this is a particularly callous and demeaning exploitation of a baby animal's dead body." so it's okay to kill and eat ADULT animals but it's not okay to taxidermy the corpse of a piglet that died naturally? that makes no sense to me. animals that are in the meat/hide system live horrible lives and die horrible and inhumane deaths, if the humane society is really concerned about "demeaning" animals are they all vegetarians? do they have a call of action on their website to stop the "callous" and insensitive factory farming system?

does the winnipeg humane society have a blanket anti-taxidermy policy? because people kill then pay to have animals stuffed every day.

anyways, this whole commotion made me think of a great christmas gift, the rob ford bank:

the perfect gift for anyone who needs somewhere to stow their spare gravy train change.

obviously due to the nature of the bank this is a one of a kind item and will be verrrryyyy expensive. and the person who purchases this item will have to wait for rob ford to die of natural causes before his body can be turned into a change bank. also, rob ford would have to consent(in writing) to the procedure before he died. but it's a real thing! we're selling it! act now while supplies last!

Friday, November 5, 2010

missing: one backpack

some dude stole this kid's backpack from the car!!

he doesn't know why someone would do that, it must be really frustrating.

it had super heroes on it and his halloween candy inside of it, and his psp.

he really wants it back, could you tell some people? tell them to look for it?

if this is torture, sign me up for another one.

in the news today george bush admits to directly authorizing the use of waterboarding in interrogations. he also said he'd "do it again" because it saves/saved lives.

torture doesn't work. it's never worked. even napoleon knew it didn't work and he was CRAZY.
as he wrote in a letter to louis alexandre berthier in 1798:

"the barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. it has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. the poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."

but i guess george bush doesn't consider waterboarding to be torture and he refuses to call it that. the real truth of the matter might be that he thinks waterboarding is some kind of fun extreme sport, meant to be a treat for prisoners or detainees who give up special secrets.
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