Thursday, August 7, 2008

Audio of the Subway 911 call. Well...calls. Three of them. With mugshot goodness!

The man who called 911 - three times - because his sandwich at Subway wasn't to his liking has had his tape posted on the internet. On the smoking gun website, in fact. Also pictured is the man himself. Hilarious! (For the audio, click at the very top beside the word UPDATE)

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0805081subway1.html

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Old man yells at cloud...and offers his wife up as a prostitute...inadvertently of course.

Every time I see John McCain on TV now, he comes across more and more as a dithering, confused old man. Much like George Bush comes across as a dithering, confused middle-aged man. But as Rachel Maddow pointed out on Olberman last night, what makes this clip really hilarious is that McCain is reading from prepared notes. This isn't the innocent and ultimately foolish rambling of an old guy, this has been written and prepared for him:

http://wonkette.com/401694/video-of-john-image-selling-his-wife-to-biker-gangbangers

Just for a sense of perspective, I wanted to include a video of the actual Miss Buffalo Chip competition from years past, but I can't find it on youtube. Or anywhere else on the net that doesn't require a credit card and a $24.99/month subscription fee. Here is another video that features the less-racy portion of the contest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4RTlfRYLxA

The rest, I will have to leave up to your imagination. But keep in mind that this is a hardcore biker rally, and as a contestant, Cindy McCain would have to do something...extreme...to be crowned the champion. Also keep in mind, this is a presidential election that is being covered. And the two biggest election-related stories today are a slutty wet-T-shirt contest and Paris Hilton.

Wait...does Paris Hilton...get it?

I promised a long time ago that I would not mention Paris Hilton and her ilk on my blog any more. Because simply mentioning those bozos in some bizarre way increases their celebrity. But this is worth it. It isn't enough to actually change my mind...I think.

Have you seen this ad? The one where John McCain has clearly lost all other avenues of campaigning, and has resorted to the tack of "look at Obama - people love him! He can't be president if he's loved by people!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo8KJNdCxWI

So McCain compares Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. (An even bigger irony here is that Paris Hilton's parents contributed the maximum amount allowed under American law to McCain's campaign.)

And Paris Hilton - comes out with an ad of her own? A SMART one? That's actually funny? No, no, no. Nothing about this ads (get it?) up at all! This makes NO SENSE. Unless she is actually...smarter than she seems? And she plays the drunken slutty moron on purpose? Or, perhaps, this was just written by the people at funnyordie.com, and they are actually smart and funny. Anyway, here's her reply to the McCain ad:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/64ad536a6d

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm still not sure how I feel about this.

The guys who were digging my buddy's ditch with on Sunday are all military. And, as conversations tend to do when they are held over a pit full of gross sweaty men doing manual labour, ours turned into a bit of a debate. The be-it-resolved statement was about the military (them) and the media (me). Now, I'm obviously not some embedded reporter working with the troops in Afghanistan. Nor am I a reporter that would gain something from interviewing soldiers about their mission. But the guys were telling me that basically, the army controls who talks to the press and what they say. There are certain soldiers who are allowed to speak to reporters, and they get the army talking points before doing so. And this really bothered me. It didn't seem to bother them - as far as they were concerned, this was the way things ought to be. After all, you don't want some racist jerk talking to the press, and making "towel-head" remarks that would be damaging to the military effort. And yes, if that racist guy were the one talking to reporters, the public perception could easily become a belief that all soldiers were like that individual. So I get it to a degree.


But therein lies the contentious issue. The idea that each individual soldier is just that, an individual. And as such his views do not necessarily reflect those of the army itself. Which, as far as the army guys are concerned, is the reason they should make sure the right guys are saying the right things. And as far as I'm concerned, this is the reason all soldiers should be allowed to speak to the press freely. Because they are individuals. And it would then become the responsibility of the media to report on their comments fairly - making it clear that these individuals were speaking for themselves and not for the army as a whole. And it would then become the responsibility of the public to make that distinction on their own. Because otherwise, there is really no point in talking to actual soldiers. And when you see an interview with a fighting Canadian in Afghanistan, you're not really seeing an interview with an individual, you're seeing an interview with the army's PR people. So why not just go to the PR people for quotes? Why bother with soldiers at all?


The way these guys see it, they're like contract employees. If you're a construction worker building a high rise, you don't tell reporters you think that high rise is going to be useless, and a stupid idea. It's none of your business. You're hired to build it, your actual opinion on it is irrelevant. You're doing a job. Well, again I disagree. And the Afghanistan mission is considerably more important than building, say, a portrait gallery. The way I see it, the only people who really know what's going on in Afghanistan are the soldiers. Does anyone doubt that in Iraq, the soldiers know more about the war than does George Bush?

And we have the same issue here in Canada. Who really knows more about the war - Stephen Harper or a grunt on the ground? I want to know what's happening over there. But I want to know what's really happening. The Conservatives are doing the same thing. They are not allowed to speak unless they spew Harper Talking Points. So when it comes to the war, I have no idea what's really going on. I desperately want to know, but there are few ways to find out for real and filter the real from the sensational. I get Conservative Talking Points in one article, and Army Talking Points in another article, and they're basically the same. What's the truth? Is either the truth? Or even a distorted version? I want to have access to all the information, and filter it for myself. And that means real opinions from real soldiers, commanders, generals and the Afghani people.

But, like I said, I'm not sure how I feel about this. Perhaps they're right. Perhaps public opinion is too easily swayed by the perception of the views of one guy. After all, it was (as they rightly point out) public pressure that resulted in the disbanding of the Airborne unit when it was the actions of only three a**holes that gave the unit it's horrible reputation. And in the end, the fault behind that incident could be traced all the way back to the top - training this team of crazy, gung-ho monster soldiers and then sending them to the middle of nowhere and asking them to babysit. And of course everyone agrees that the torture and murder of a kid in Somalia had to be reported. But what's the right answer here? Is the fear of the capricious nature of public opinion so strong that we feel the public can't be trusted to understand the truth?

But then, as my mother used to say, "if you can't say anything sanctioned by Stephen Harper, don't say anything at all".

The Ottawa Mutual Back-Scratching Association

I have stumbled across something amazing. I have very often been asked by a friend to help them move. And I have always been happy to comply, if I'm able. But I received a rather unusual request from my buddy Danny over the weekend. He was hoping I could show up and help him dig a ditch around his house. He is becoming increasingly paranoid, you see, and wants a moat to keep the sellers of Girl Guide Cookies at bay. Well, he said it was for foundation repair, but I know the truth. So I did. I showed up, with my own shovel, expecting to find Danny and one of his friends slowly hacking away at the foundation of his house. But there were eight guys working on this project. The ditch could handle only three at a time, because there was a lot of pickaxe swinging. I used to do a certain amount of foundation repair for money, and I have never dug out a tougher ditch.

All of this meant that there was a solid, steady rotation of three people in, three people out, and the work progressed quickly. Those of us who were lazier (I'm referring to myself, mostly) were able to take many breaks for water and just sitting down. Those of us who were more highly motivated (like Steve, who started at 9 a.m. and barely got out of the hole until 4:30) could work all they wanted. And through the back-breaking labour, and the sparks that flew into my mouth when I accidentally pickaxed a rock one-third the size of Gibraltar, we got most of it done. By 4:30, everyone was done. Finished. Absolutely exhausted. Except for Steve, who may well be on some kind of anabolic performance-enhancer. And we got free barbecue and beer, and Danny saved $1,000 on his foundation repair. (The beer, I must say, was the cheapest at the beer store. And although I initially made fun of Danny for providing such cheap beer for so much labour, it turns out to be just fine. When you're moving, the work is much less intense and you can taste the beer. With work this tough, you don't care at all what beer you're drinking when it's all over. Any beer tastes fantastic.)

This was an amazing event though. The idea that you can bring together seven of your friends to help you do something so taxing is incredible. I dug out my entire backyard this spring, and I would never have dreamed of asking a bunch of friends to come help me with what proved to be a few ten-hour days of hard labour. Not only would I have assumed that they would laugh at me, I also figured it would put them in an awkward position of coming up with some kind of excuse to skip the hard labour. I...am attending...the Chamber Festival. All over Ottawa, dozens of my friends would have been experiencing culture just to avoid backbreaking work. But this, it turns out, may not be the case. Perhaps they would have jumped at the chance to join with a bunch of friends in a sort of chain-gang camaraderie! And that's really what you get in this situation. It's like being with a bunch of prisoners on the chain gang from Cool Hand Luke. There is a lot of dirty talk, a lot of swearing, contentious debate over major issues, and good-natured insults flying all around. This was actually - dare I say it - fun.

This is something we should all start doing. We should all pitch in to save our buddies money when it comes to things getting done around the house. It's actually a fantastic way to hang out with friends, feel some kind of sense of accomplishment, and get outside to do something physical and satisfying. The guys all said, after it was done, that if any of us had anything that needed doing around our houses, give them all a call and they'd come right over. So now I'm searching for some kind of major project I want done around my house for free. So far I have found nothing. But that time will come! I'm looking very, very hard. But here's the key - whatever project I decide to do, it must involve back-breaking labour. Inviting a bunch of friends over to help paint a room in your house is not the same. That's the kind of thing you could easily do all on your own, and I think it might be met with a more tepid reaction. But ditch digging, or porch-building, or something to that effect? These are projects that are meant for eight sweaty gross men trading insults, swearing at each other, and then drinking beer and eating barbecue.

Blushing Brides in Perth.

Saturday night, I was out in Perth for a Blushing Brides show to raise money for Olympic athletes. Olympic athletes who are already in Beijing. So, I suppose they are actually raising money to clean out their lungs when they return. Or as just-in-case cash to get them bailed out of prison if they happen to slip while they're there and say the word "Tibet". Kat, the organizer of the event, told me that the athletes were showing up in Beijing early because they had to get acclimated to the smog. I figured they would want to show up seconds before their events, to make sure that their lungs at least started pink. But apparently not. They need to train in the smoggy air to get used to it. Which seems to me like that Tour De France training idea from the 1920s, when they thought that cigarettes helped bike riders breathe better for those mountain stages. Rather than going to Beijing early, they could have just had the Canadian athletes smoke three packs a day for the past year...

Anyway, there was a sparse turnout, at least for the first set. Hopefully more people filled the venue as the night went on - I had to take off early because I had a sick girlfriend and a kid at home, but the show started great. According to the poster, the Brides are the "world's most dangerous Rolling Stones tribute band". I don't know what that means, but they are of course awfully good. Mike, my playing partner from the Doc and Woody golf tournament, showed up with two of the coolest kids in the world, and thanks to some clever finagling we managed to get the kids in to see at least a bit of the show. If they were there in an official capacity, they could be allowed in - so they became, for about an hour, anyway, my interns. Their duties included wearing CHEZ hats and standing by the sound booth. And they got to see the Brides, which was cool.