Friday, May 29, 2009

Casual Friday


It was a strange and maddening scene today at a non-descript government office building in downtown Toronto. The 7th floor erupted in an intense brand of contained chaos rarely seen outside prison riots and cock fights.

It started early this morning with a vicious rumour and spiraled into a full-blown conspiracy theory that had a few dozen civil servants whipped into a violent frenzy by lunch time.

Apparently someone whispered that the government was considering doing away with casual Fridays.

The first to react was Janine. Always touted as the office's most eccentric (ie office talk for "crazy lady"), when she heard she might not be able to wear her open-toed sandals and baggy sweatshirt to the office once a week anymore, she snapped. There was little delay between hearing the news and her reaction. Synapses fired and she acted on pure rage and instinct and simply ran full bore through the wall of her cubicle.

After a moment of stunned silence, as coworkers wiped the cardboardy drywall dust that Janine had stirred up from their eyes, she blasted through another wall, then another, then another. By the time she had made it halfway to other side of the floor, the fever had spread.

Debbie, the office manager, reached across the half wall that surrounded her desk and grabbed the plant on Debra's desk that had always hung just a little over onto her neighbour's area. She pulled the plant from its pot with one violent jerk and swung hard and fast. Before Debra knew what had hit her, her nose was broken as a heavy clump of roots plowed into her face, sending a spray of blood, broken glasses and topsoil across the office.

Kenny, the marketing intern, who had been on his phone when Janine thundered through his cubicle, suddenly ripped the entire phone from the wall, screaming.

It was as if Janine had tipped some finely balanced scale in Kenny's young mind and she'd finally pushed him over the brink into sheer madness. He rolled his chair to the desk next to him, ripping out that phone too, bringing with it a satisfying chunk of drywall. He then proceeded to roll down the hall of cubicles, ripping each phone out of the wall in turn, collecting a little pile of plastic office phones on his lap and screaming the entire time.

Cathy, the vice-president of communications, returned from Tim Hortons and was nearly hit in the face with a keyboard that was being used by Kathy from HR to viciously bludgeon a fax machine. For a second the action stopped; as if somehow the crowd expected this newly arrived senior staffer to grab the reigns and quell the intense storm that was brewing. But far from it - the sight of hard-breathing action and the smell of smoke from destroyed office appliances in the air triggered some sort of savage instinct long dormant in the young VP's psyche. She poured her lidless, scalding-hot peppermint tea on the exposed cleavage of the wily Human Resourses manager and the two crashed through the glass door to the office in a twisted, primal clash of hair, nails and guttural screeching.

The entire floor was chaos. Acrid black smoke began billowing up from various work stations around the office where once mild mannered public servants had taken the opportunity to exact swift and fatal revenge on whatever technological device had given them the most offence over the years. Oft frozen computers, jammed printers, flickering overheard lamps, spotty fax machines -all were loudly, horribly - and in some instances sexually - assaulted.

There was no time for questions and no time to think about what was happening - only time to react and grab hold of something nearby - and to destroy it. No time to ask where, for example, did Chris get a shotgun? And why was he using it to blast dinner-plate sized holes in the communal fridge? No time to wonder how Sanjib and the rest of the IT guys managed to secure the dozen or so heavy lengths of chain they were now using to wage an all out offensive on the server room. No time to ask where all the German shepherds came from. Only time to get to higher ground to avoid the loud and angry snapping of their foaming mouths.

Every time it felt as though the action was dying down, there would be some new offense to avenge, some piece of equipment found among the rubble that demanded immediate destruction.

But by 2pm, it seemed as if everyone had settled into tribes that were guarding loosely defined territories. Some tribes were defined by interoffice status - the Quality Assurance people naturally stayed together, lingering apprehensively around what remained of a water cooler.

And some tribes were a collection of those with similar interests - the office fat guys had naturally migrated to the snack machines and now fended off any and all intruders with powerful, chocolate stained, arching haymakers.

But then a low guttural rumbling from the staircase signaled that the uneasy truce was about to end. Helen, a lumbering behemoth of a woman and a 25 year veteran of the branch, had long ago disappeared. Some thought that she might be lost, dead somewhere amongst the rubble; others assumed she had slunk off to hide until the action was over - she had a pension to think about after all.

But now she returned, shattering the door to the lobby stairs in an explosion of noise and wood splinters. The 62 year old Records Management Clerk burst in astride a low-slung, vintage Harley 74. It was fully chopped and nothing remained but the bare essentials and that angry, chortling 74-cubic-inch engine. The deafening noise of the engine and the sight of its rider, straddling that throaty iron beast wearing nothing but a Nazi style crash helmet and swinging an antique mace, were enough to set the riot off again.

Blood thirsty battle ensued. Economic Policy Analysts were bashing in the skulls of Database Administrators with three hole punches. Accounting Clerks gouged out the eyes of Development Officers. Budget Directors smashed out the teeth of Health and Safety Officers.

And then somewhere, amidst the carnage, the call went out, “The managers!”

The single thought took hold and the group chanted it like a mantra.

“The managers.”

They became a ravenous but deadly-focused mob scouring the wreckage for a manager, any manager, hungry to focus their rage at a suitable target.

“I’ve got one!” came the call from the copy room. A burly female Information Officer had cornered Melvin, Public Relations Manager, who was cowering in the dusty rafters over a bank of unused photocopiers.

The blood thirsty mob assembled, Helen’s Harley pushing her to forefront, burning people’s calves with her tailpipes, muscling her way forward until she sat nearly directly underneath Melvin.

There was only the growl of the engine, the whistling of the 62-year-old’s mace as she swung it above her head and the terror in the PR Manager’s eyes.

Then Melvin’s cheap Casio digital issued two quick, low beeps in succession. The mob froze.

“It’s five o’clock” he muttered.

And because they were government employees, they all went home.





Have a good weekend, fuckers.




Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Blame Juno

I'm confused about the cover of the most recent issue of People magazine. Obviously I find it confusing that any one would put a Palin on the cover of anything other than a Guns and Ammo and I find it confusing that people actually buy People magazine.

But I'm also confused about the message this cover sends. If you can't read the text (this is the only image I could find) it says:

Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter talks about her life with baby Tripp. 'If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex,' says Bristol. 'Trust me. Nobody'

Wait a minute. Aren't the consequences of having sex for Bristol...baby Tripp? Isn't this cover essentially saying, "If I knew I'd be stuck with this little shit, I'd never have put out the puss so early. Never."

What the hell is Tripp going to think when he sees this cover when he grows up? "So my teenage mom hated me. Well, I guess that explains why she named me Tripp."

(Seriously, why not name the kid Oops?)

Or maybe what Bristol (what demented baby name book do the Palins own, by the way?) was trying to say was that teenage girls need to be better informed about sexuality and contraception. I guess Bristol was saying is that it's time for better and more thorough sexual education in America's schools...Wonder what mom's party would have to say about that.







(Disclaimer: I didn't read the actual article, this post is based entirely on the cover. If you did, please let me know if the phrase "baby daddy" is used in it at all. And then go kill yourself for buying a people magazine with Sarah Palin's offspring on the cover.)



Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Real Johnson Caption Contest

For your contesting pleasure.

Once again, I feel like something awful has happened/is about to happen in this picture and I need your help defining it. So many questions...why no sheets, for example?
The wittiest comment/caption this time around will win an evening out on the town with long time Real Johnson associate, Josh Reynolds.
(this photo courtesy of Last Night's Party)


Also, congratulations to the last contest's winner, Herb. Herb, you're entitled to one damp undersized Toronto Blue Jays t-shirt, provided that water-boarding enthusiast Travis is willing to part with it.

(And no, this time around the winner's participation in stupid/dangerous stuff that was posted to YouTube has no baring on my decision, it's merely a coincidence).

The Super-Douche: Gino vs. Hipster

[Please note: I use the word "Gino" freely in this post. It isn't intended to mean people of Italian heritage but rather, I'm using it as a general term for a certain type of douche-bag. They are known as other names too: Guidos, Meatheads, Frat Boys, Jakes etc. Likewise, I speak about that special kind of douche known as the "Hipster." I use the term as a catchall for all manner of Rocker, Scenester, Scenekid, etc.]

The douche bag is evolving.

There was a time when the lines were easy to draw in the degrees of douchery. As a general rule, douche-bags were either the now coked-out, former frat boys who call each other "guy" and "bro," or they were the kids that used to get beat up by these clowns in high school that have now formed their own scene, these days replete with nut-hugger jeans, plastic glasses, and music that is way too cool to be "mainstream."

As my friend Josh Reynolds recently put it, the majority of douche bags fit easily into two categories, either "American Eagle" or "American Apparel."

(the picture on the right is from The Style Shark, on the left, a google image search I can't remember)

And really, historically, there have always been these Gino douche-bags and Hipster douche-bags (think 50s Jock vs. Greaser; 80s Yuppie vs. Whatver-the-Fuck-Molly-Ringwold was; etc).

And one never would have co-existed with the other. In fact, there was often a very palpable tension between the two groups of equally douche-y subsets (think "rumbles" and "Steff's-displeasure-at-Blane's-romance-with-Andie"). But these days, I'm having a hard time drawing the distinction between two groups that, philosphically, should be so universally opposed.

Perhaps it's my neighbourhood. I live in little Italy and there seems to be an uneasy alliance - particularly evident on the weekends when 905ers drunkenly fill the bars - between the Ginos and Hipsters. The Ginos are here likely because their friends and families are here (i.e. they've always lived here), thus we have fantastic Italian restaurants, gelato, and the odd extremely douche-y bar (including one - I'm not kidding - called Touché). And the Hipsters are here because we've also got cool bars, indie book/video/record stores and, of course, our very own American Apparel.

But because virtually ever Torontonian is united in our love for Summertime drinking in cool neighbourhoods, we all sort of comingle when patio season rolls around. It what's great about Toronto, but it's causing the line between the city's two douchiest subsets to blur.

At first I thought it was just a Gino ploy to "fuck hipster chicks." Basically, I see the traditional Gino as not much more than a cocaine/ecstasy fueled penis ("Guy, I want to get fucked up and slay some pussy!" - "Yes bro!"). So it really only seemed natural that the Gino would realize that he could tap into a whole new market of vagina by donning a hoodie once in a while and feigning an interest in "indie things" ("Bro, Radiohead is sick"). I mean let's face it, as goofy as the Hipster aesthetic is for dudes (mustaches, neon), there is something kind of hot about a Hipster-chick (Especially if she's on a bike - don't know what it is about Hipster chicks on bikes, but it's hot). So you can't really blame the Ginos.

(this picture is from Last Night's Party)

Likewise, it's only natural for a Hipster to occasionally end up in a "club" instead of a "bar." Hipsters are dudes, too after all, and sometimes they probably just want to "nail a bar slut" (aka a Gina). Plus, in a room full of Ginos, there's always bound to be one or two Ginas drawn to the weird outsider ("You don't have Pabst Blue Ribbon? What the FUCK?") - call it the Dylan McKay factor.



(this picture is from Hottest Girls of Nightclubs - hello new most popular link on this blog)


So sure, Hipsters and Ginos bumming smokes off each other and admiring the same asses walking by as they drink at Café Diplomatico is bound to happen. But now I feel like this co-mingling has reached dangerous levels. Now we've got Hipsters at the gym and Ginos buying vintage. A denali rolls by College Street Bar and Grizzly Bear is blasting out the windows.

It's a whole new kind of douche-bag. They've evolved and morphed into one sort of super-douche. It's like the swine-flu of douche-baggery and it's happening all around us.

It used to be that when I went to a show, I knew I'd be among a bunch of greasy dudes in plaid rocking out. I could mentally prepare for that kind of scene-kid, angsty, Hipster elitism. Or if I was forced to go to some stupid club with a cover charge because it was someone's birthday and they "wanted to dance," I knew I'd be getting shouldered all night, would probably be in/witness/cause a fight and that I'd line up for the bathroom because bros were doing rails in the can.

But now it just seems like the super-douche is everywhere. Hipsters are buying $11 Heinekens and grinding up on big fake breasts in the clubs, Ginos are at Supermarket. I'm just as angry about their existence, but now I'm confused about why it is that I hate these new super-douchebags. I don't even know what to call them. Hipstos? Ginsters?


(this picture is also from Last Night's Party)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Forget It


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Language Laws

I feel like there should be laws against speaking like an idiot.

We hand out fines for other offensive acts: disturbing the peace, littering, public urination. Why not charge people for when they foul up the earth with the ridiculous shit that comes out of their mouths?

We could call it language pollution.

And, because it would probably be expensive and difficult for police to enforce language pollution laws, I will volunteer to be the first to enforce these new laws.

I also wouldn't want to waste paper by having to write out actual tickets, nor do I have the authority to enforce payment of any tickets, so instead, I propose enforcing language pollution laws with swift and brutal acts of violence.

For example, if I were to hear someone start a sentence with the words "I mean," I might deliver a quick jab to that person's throat.

Or say I walked by someone who said, "I could care less." I could, for example, swiftly stomp out that person's knee cap, thus hobbling them for life and ensuring they'll always remember that it's "couldn't" care less.

These are just examples. Nothing is set in stone yet.

Now, obviously there would need to be some ground rules. For obvious reasons, people who have learned English as a second language would need to be exempt. If not, I'd essentially be tasked with beating up half of Toronto every day and people would just think I was a racist or something. No, unless you've lived here for 5 years, you are exempt. After 5 years, I'll assume you've learned grammar basics and now you're just being an asshole like every other asshole that uses the word "irregardless."

Also, while I don't personally have any issue with the idea of assaulting the elderly, some may find it a bit inappropriate. For this reason, I propose that we also exempt the elderly.

It's very likely that people actually spoke differently when these seniors learned to speak, so, while some of the shit old people say seems ridiculous (i.e. calling pants "slacks," saying that these slacks look "sharp,") we need to let them off the hook. And frankly, once you get to a certain age, you should really be allowed to do whatever you want. At least I'm really hoping people offer me that leeway when I'm old because I plan on being the dirtiest old man of all time.
But I'm going to need your help. I can't possibly be everywhere at once, so you're going to have to be my eyes, ears, and fists out there.

Do you have a boss that constantly uses the word "ostensibly" when you know he doesn't actually know what it means? Why not pour a scalding hot coffee on his lap tomorrow? If he gets angry, simply inform him that you are legally allowed to do so, and point him to this website.

If you're on the streetcar or the bus, and you overhear a girl on her cell phone use the word "totes" instead of taking the time to add two more syllables in order to say "totally" properly, why not quickly smash her face on the metal pole she might be holding? You can simply shrug and say, "Sorry, language laws."

The guy who calls you "bra" at work? Why not hit his teeth with your stapler?

The lady you overhear at the restaurant saying it's "ironic" to see her friend because she was just thinking about her? There's probably a fork nearby, why not jam into her thigh?

Why not start tomorrow? Let's get the ball rolling.














Got an offense you want to report? A frequent offender you want to out? Do it here. We'll send some guys out.

Nice Move


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Soda Pop and Balls


I don't think anyone calls it "Soda Pop" but that's what it is, right?

So in Canada, we call it "Pop," which is obviously way better than what Americans say; "Soda;" not only because "soda" sounds stupid, but also, isn't "soda" in the phrase "soda pop" an adjective?

Isn't that kind of like referring to "hairy balls" as "hairy?"

Americans are so stupid.



This picture isn't really related, but it's awesome. It's left over from a never-written post on the financial crisis. It does show that Americans say "soda" though, and that they're dumb. And that they drink 2 litre pops like we drink cans.
If you're American and reading this, I'm sorry. But also: You've ruined the whole world.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Should We Know Everything About Everyone?


Don't you hate that girl who updates her facebook profile every few hours and always tends to “over-share” ?

We all have at least one on there. She just gives a little bit too much information [Worked an eight hour shift, quick meal, then take the dogs for a run, then try to sleep before Joey Joe Joe's hockey game]. It's like, who gives a shit? We don't need an actual complete status update. You're not crafting an alibi here.

Or how about the girl who is intentionally vague and suggestive in some attempt to be emo/sexy?
That's just not fooling any one. No matter how you cut it, you're sitting at a computer trying to be sexy with 100 guys you went to high school with. And most have them have already put their penises inside of you. So just stop.

But, as much as we mock these over indulgent facebook whores [I'm using whores in the crave-attention sense, not in the pay-me-for-vagina sense], are we really that much better?

I mean think about it.

Posting pictures of virtually every event of your life has become the norm. It’s expected. You had your bachelorette party? Where are the pictures of you drinking from a cup shaped like a dick? I need to see them!!

“OMG I can’t believe you posted this!”

Really? You can’t believe it? Because ten people probably said, “I can’t wait to see this on facebook” the second the goddamned picture was taken.

Do you even remember what we did with pictures before facebook? Didn't our parents put them in some kind of…book? It all seems so old fashioned.

Probably the last ten weddings I heard about were from facebook photo albums.

If you think about it, Generation Y has essentially become the least private generation ever. Virtually everything we do is recorded some how. And far from being concerned about it, it has instead turned us into a generation that’s sort of obsessed with the pseudo-celebrity status that social media gives us.

We want people to know shit about us. We need to add friends on facebook. We want more followers on Twitter. We want people to comment on our Flickr uploads. We [I] check our [my] blog visits on an almost daily basis. We waterboard each other just to put a video of it on YouTube.

There was a time when personal privacy and its relationship to technology was a major issue. So much so, that a lot of thought-provoking art was produced on the subject. There’s the obvious stuff like 1984, but there’s also Willoughby Sharp, who in 1974 enclosed himself in a box for 300 hours and videotaped the whole thing in order to make people think about surveillance. Or Sophie Calle who, in the 80s called and interviewed all the people listed in an address book she found on the street and then published the interviews in a newspaper in order to comment on personal privacy.

But now, it hardly even seems relevant to try to engage people to think about personal privacy and technology. I mean, look at the shit we willingly put out there these days. For fuck sake, I had a brainstorm about privacy issues today and it prompted me to write about it on my blog that literally tens of people read.

You’re probably taking a break from uploading pictures of your themed weekend party right now just to read this post, right?

It’s completely desensitized us to what should and shouldn’t be public info. Look at your facebook right now. You can find pictures of people smoking pot, flashing their boobs, puking, molesting, smashing windows, eating human flesh, going to church – OK, maybe I’ve got some weird people on my facebook - but really, does any one give a shit? Does this faze you at all anymore?

I feel like crazy, caught-on-facebook indiscretions will be to our future politicians what coke was to politicians in the 80s. Sure, we’ll pretend to shame them, but given that we all will have the same dumb shit in our past readily available to anyone online, we won’t even be able to really judge them.

It’ll be like, “Big fucking deal. So she peed her pants while riding a flaming shopping cart down a mountain with bottle rockets in her ass. I think we’ve all been there. She’s only human.”

It's just a matter of adapting to technology. Society, for better or for worse, is going to have to learn to live with the fact that we can see pictures of 90% of the people we know drinking anytime we want. We're going to have to adjust to working for a guy that has an incredibly open and emotional blog about his cats. We're going to have to have mayors that spend all fucking day on twitter.

(Sadly, this one is real.)

In 10 years there is a going to be a generation that doesn’t even remember life before Twitter (“Wait dad, so you didn’t know what all your friends/favourite celebs were doing on a minute to minute basis? How did you live like that?”).

Think about our generation and cell phones. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a cell phone? And if you do, don’t you secretly want to kill that guy for some reason? Like he’s some kind of cave person? It’s like, get with it man. I can’t even call you at any second I want to.

What’s your fucking problem?

But then think, there was a time not too long ago when you actually had to be in your house for people to call you. It’s insane how quickly technological advances become the norm.

And even if you think you're being careful online, people know what you're up to. It's insanely simple to track who you talked to, where you shopped, what you masturbated to, your favourite recipes.

For example, using only the little stat counter I have installed at the bottom of this blog, I know that the last person to visit this blog was from New York, it was his or her first visit, and their internet service provider was Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre.

I can tell you how long this person spent on my site, what browser and operating system they were using and even their IP address.

I can tell you what link they clicked to get here and where they went when they left.

These are handy stats for someone who has their own blog. It lets me know, for example, that about 80% of the people who come here do so from clicking a link I’ve posted to my facebook profile (sadly). And also that (weirdly) the most downloaded thing from this site is Kurt Cobain’s suicide note from the post where I exposed Courtney Hole as his murderer.

But here’s the thing: I don’t know shit about this kind of thing. I’m still learning what to do with and how to interpret these stats. The fact that I know this is actually just a testament to how thorough the stat counter I happened to install is and how easy it is to track this sort of thing.

But think about it: if this little, simple device can tell me this much, imagine how much someone who knows what they’re doing can learn about your internet activities?

Well, according to this article and others about similar studies, they can learn a whole lot.

It’s probably not news that social networking sites actually sell demographic information to advertisers – Shocker! (if it is news to you, you should probably try reading some of those terms before you click “OK”) But what shocked me is how easy it is to cross reference stats from multiple social networking sites and find out really personal information.

The study I mentioned above notes how easy it is to get personal information simply by cross-referencing information from users’ Twitter accounts with their Flickr accounts.

For example, I just used the method the article mentions and I was able to discover some things about you. Namely that you are not only self-conscious about the way your tits look when you run, but also that you once scratched your bum and then smelled your hand.

Pretty personal, eh?

So I guess the question is, with everything we do being recorded online for eternity, what are the implications for people of our generation who want to run for public office/have kids/not have every one in the world know they were a whore? Are we only going to elect people without these indiscretions in their past (aka boring losers), or are we going to learn be OK with mayors and parliamentarians who we’ve seen throwing up the shocker while aggressively tonguing a fat girl in the club?

Are we going to let our kids see Mommy hugging a toilet with old kraft dinner in her hair/Daddy with a dick and the word “homo” drawn on his face because he’s passed out, or are we going to ban our kids from ever using the internet?

Are we going to erase all those videos of tweens/college girls shaking their possibly illegal asses in their underwear on YouTube just so they can “get on with their lives”?

If that’s the price we have to pay for privacy, then I say no thank you sir.




MADD About These Ads

Check out these brilliant adds from a MADD campaign. They're eye catching, smart, and strategically designed to be placed where their intended audience will be - namely the toilets of bars.

Also, they'd give me something to look at while I fight the urge to "compare" with the gentleman next to me. "Hey, nice watch!"



Monday, May 11, 2009

Tamil Protesters in Toronto

This photo taken from Pancha ( which also has an article about a March 2009 protest in Toronto)

I don't pretend to be particularly well informed about the current conflict in Sri Lanka.

I do know that the Tamil Tigers, aka the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), are fighting for a separate homeland in Sri Lanka for the country's minority Tamils, and I know that the fighting has been brutal and is the culmination of a 26 year conflict.

I also know (or have heard - can't say I know a
nything for sure given my distrust of media - I haven't been there to see it myself, so I don't actually "know") that the Tamil Tigers are using their own civilians as a "buffer" to discourage the Sri Lankan government from attacking.
And the news also reports that Sri Lanka has not been discouraged and, instead, has continued bombing attacks, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Tamil civilians.
This much is pretty clear. I'm sure the numbers will vary depending on your news source, but most parties, from Al Jazeera to Fox News, agree that Tamil civilians are being held captive by LTTE and that Sri Lankan forces have shown disregard, and even indifference, for their safety resulting in many deaths.

There isn't really a good side here.

Both parties are showing a blatant disregard for human life. Both the Tamils holding their own people captive and the Sri Lankan government that is continuing their attacks are acting like cowards and clearly neither side could ever be justified in killing civilians. I don't know that there is a clear cut right or wrong side here and frankly, I'd have a hard time trying to listen to either side defend it's case when hundreds of kids are getting murdered.

The one thing I do know is that, regardless of their beliefs, the thousands of people from Toronto's Tamil community that have been protesting for the past month to try to get the Canadian government involved, are constitutionally entitled to do so.

In case you haven't seen a newspaper in quite some time: Toronto's Tamil community has been staging protests across the city and recently held up a major part of University Avenue for an entire week. The protests have been heavily policed, but without major incident.

Until yesterday.

At around 6:30pm yesterday, thousands of Tamils moved their protest up the ramp at Spadina Avenue and directly across all lanes of the Gardiner expressway, tying up traffic for hours.
Font sizeThis photo was taken from The Toronto Star

It created a traffic nightmare for thousands of commuters that were stuck on the expressway while police remained diligent, but essentially helpless to do anything.
After a promise from Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to bring the matter up in the House of Commons, the Tamil protesters left the Gardiner and took up their cause on the Lawn of Queen's Park.

The protesters were exercising their rights to peaceful
protest to make a point about what they believe in. Taking to the Gardiner was perhaps excessive, but after a month of protest and no result, I can only imagine their frustration. And let's face it, it worked.

Toronto's police have been pretty much amazing throughout this entire month. They have maintained the peace without engaging, provoking, or interfering with the protesters. Last night's incident on the Gardiner could easily have gotten violent, but the cops did exactly what they are paid to do.

I witnessed mounted and foot patrol police on University first hand during that protest and they kept the situation orderly for an entire week.

I don't pick sides when it comes to this conflict and I have no issue with any party involved in the protest that's been happening in the streets of Toronto.

What I do take major issue with, are the ignorant and uniformed Torontonians that were interviewed on various Toronto news stations this morning in response to last night's extended traffic stoppage.

To:

  • the older woman who worried about her tax dollars "paying for all those police;"
  • the construction crew complaining about the lost ability to "zip around the city;"
  • and, most of all, the slightly inconvenienced douche-bag, morning-commuter wearing a polo with a Tim Horton's in his hand who, when asked "Is this the right way to make a point?" shouted out the window of his SUV, "Absolutely not!"
I would like to say, "Go fuck yourself."

Yes. On behalf of protester Arthty Ragupathy (noted in the Star today) aged 15, who joined the protest after hearing overnight of her grandmother's death in the midst of Sri Lanka's war zone, and on behalf of all the other protestors attempting to affect some kind of change to stop their families from being slaughtered, I'd like to extend this guy a massive, "Go fuck yourself."

Also, sorry if you were a couple minutes late getting to your job selling laptops. That must have been upsetting.This photo taken from NowPublic

Arachnophilia

This picture is actually part of a badass AIDS awareness campaign from the French organiztion AIDeS

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Canadians Show Europe Their Balls

Canadians have humongous balls.

As I'm sure you've all heard, the European Union recently placed a ban on all seal products in an attempt to force Canada to end its annual seal hunt.

Fair play, really. The seal hunt is pretty barbaric.

And seals are cute. It's not like they're cows or anything.

But really, kudos to the EU for taking a stand against something they don't believe is right.

Well guess what EU? Canadian Parliament had a big "fuck you" in response today.

In the House of Commons today, Canadian Lawmakers passed a unanimous decision to have our Olympic athletes wear sealskin uniforms.

No, you read that correctly.

The European Union decided unanimously to ban sealskin products because the method of harvesting them is barbaric. And in response, we Canadians - those supposedly timid, polite, peace-loving people - voted unanimously to flaunt those products publicly on the biggest possible world stage.

Sealskin uniforms at the Olympics!

Sadly, or thankfully, the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee immediately shot the idea down as ridiculous (which of course it is, for so many reasons). But I think maybe we should all toast Canada today for our ability to work together and cross party lines just to shout, "Fuck you, Europe."

Earth Day Chicken Fiasco

During Earth Day, Popeye's Chicken in the US ran a promotion wherein you could get an 8 piece bucket of Chicken for $4.99.

You know, Earth day: Devour an animal at discount prices.

Given the economy [and America's propensity for fried chicken], this was evidently a massively popular promotion. So much so that when the only Popeye's franchise in Minneapolis chose not to participate in the promotion, there was a fucking uproar. Check out this video:


A similar situation happened when a Rocester New York Popeye's Chicken ran out of chicken during the same promotion. Check it out:



This is just madness. My favourite part is that it's Popeye's fault that these people won't be able to feed their children. Because, as we all know, there are two options when it comes to feeding one's family: Popeye's Chicken and Total Starvation. I guess all the grocery stores in Minneapolis and New York were closed too?

Lastly, enjoy this video created as a response.

(Note to white people: Don't worry, the following video was created by black people, it's OK to laugh. Just don't laugh too hard).


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Perfect Attendance

As I noted previously, I've been working on some arts and culture related content for submission to BlogTO in an attempt to start blogging for them officially. As of this post, things are looking good (they seem to like my most recent submission, but suggested some changes, which I made and resubmitted - we'll see) but this, my first actual attempt at a submission for them, was rejected. Namely because I wrote about a show that had already closed. Evidently not exactly the kind of thing they're looking for. They'd rather inform readers about something they can still check out as opposed to somthing they missed. Makes sense.

But basically, this was my first researched attempt at writing some "arts related" content.

Anyway, the artist, Emily Gove, does have another show coming up and I liked her work, so rather than have this post never be read by anyone, I thought I'd post it here.

If you like her work, too, details about her upcoming show in Mississauga are available at the bottom of this post, or you can check out her website at http://www.emilygove.com.

[My friend Traven took these picture by the way]





Two days ago, two “hipster girls” wandered into a gallery on Queen West. They looked briefly at the big colour prints on the walls depicting a girl crying playing the piano, defeated in a ballet leotard, and posing awkwardly with her prom date, and they remarked definitively, “This is just depressing.” They quickly left.
The show was Perfect Attendance, the result of a thesis for an MFA at York, and the gallery was Board of Directors at 1086 Queen West. The girl staffing the exhibition, whom the hipsters had failed to notice just 5 feet away, was Emily Gove, the artist – and the subject in all the pieces in the gallery.
These pieces - which, among other items, include photography, a video installation, and an array of “participant” trophies – are meant to highlight Gove’s painful moments growing up. As she says, the work evokes a sense of “nostalgia and awkwardness.”

Evidently the irony of calling the work depressing mere feet from the artist was lost on the hipster girls. The photos and pieces, which are much more amusingly-tongue-in-cheek than they are flat out depressing, feature the now 26 year old Gove re-enacting these painful moments. Her experience being forced by her parents to play soccer, for example, is represented by a picture of Gove in uniform, lying face down in a soccer field. A memorable party she threw is likewise recreated in an image of Emily sitting on a couch in her decorated house, eating candy alone in a Halloween costume. For those whose awkward pre-teen and high school memories are still a bit sore, Gove’s work will hit home. But it’s also a sort of monument to all those “Aw, come on man,” moments in life. For example another item in her exhibition: a framed copy of e-mail correspondence wherein she almost won nine seasons of ER DVDs.


“Yeah, some people don’t get it,” she says of the hipsters. “Another guy came in recently, looked at the pictures and said, “She’s going to be single forever.”” Emily, who was again there staffing the gallery, said, “You know, I’m right here.” He said, “I know.”
Judging by the pieces in Perfect Attendance though, one imagines these further awkward moments will just serve as more fodder for Emily Gove’s off-beat and visually interesting art.

Emily’s show Perfect Attendance ran at Board of Directors at 1086 Queen West from April 15th to April 26th. Next up Emily’s work will be part of Ever Green in Mississauga at the Living Arts Centre Gallery from June 27-August 16, 2009, along with artists Melissa General and Jennie Suddick. Opening reception July 1, 2-4 pm.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This Picture Raises So Many Questions

Not the least of which is: Why is this guy wearing this?

But also:
  • When did Adidas start making leopard-skin warm up suits?
  • Where do you buy these?
  • Do they come in my size?
  • Why is this guy at the Star Trek premier?
If you met this dapper young man, what would you ask him?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's So Cold in The D

People tend to come together when times are tough.

We need outlets for the anxiety we feel during times of economic uncertainty, and, as is often the case when people are down, we turn to music as a release. Sometimes, for that reason, times of financial downturn are actually a period of high artistic output. Times of depression have been known to create some of the best, most popular, and most universally accessible music.

It's no surprise then that, during this current economic meltdown, which seems to have hit the manufacturing and automotive industries the hardest, the people of Detroit, known for working class music since the days of Motown, would produce some of the finest and most poignant music since Berry Gordy founded Motown Records back in 1959.

In that vein, I present to you, T-Baby.

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