Thursday, June 30, 2005

Boycott this Blog

Finally the Southern Baptists ended their boycott of those jesus-less heathens at Disney. I wonder if Disney even realized their was a boycott going on. Rumour is that the Baptists just couldn't resist the temptation of The Incredibles. I hear you asking "oh great Y., is there another useless boycott that I can throw my support behind?". Fear not, almost on cue:
The War of the Worlds Boycott

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tom Cruise

I couldn't help reading this piece entitled I can't Believe I am Defending Tom Cruise. Cruise appeared on the today show with Matt Lauer.
Lauer: If she said that this particular thing helped [Brooke Shields] feel better, whether it was the antidepressants or going to a counselor or psychiatrist, isn't that enough?

Cruise: Matt, you have to understand this. Here we are today, where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electric shocking people, okay, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Aderol is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?
Many students try to get diagnosed with ADD to use Ritilin as a study aide. If you can't get it prescribed, there is always a friend who has too much. Lauer's careless attitude that if it works it's ok is completely irresponsible. When steroids first hit the market, athletes had a very similar attitude towrds drug abuse. Only after time did the health problems become more clear. How many people today are unwittingly comprimising their future mental health?
Lauer: Aren't there examples ... of someone who benefited from one of those drugs?

Cruise: All it does is mask the problem, Matt. And if you understand the history of it, it masks the problem... There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance...I'm not saying that [depression] isn't real. That's not what I'm saying... I'm saying that drugs aren't the answer, these drugs are very dangerous. They're mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs. And there are ways of doing it without that so that we don't end up in a brave new world.
And the bottom line:
Cruise: And to talk about it in a way of saying, "Well, isn't it okay," and being reasonable about it ... I think that you should be a little bit more responsible in knowing what it is.

Lauer: But —

Cruise: Because you communicate to people.


Cruise: Matt, but here's the point. What is the ideal scene for life? The ideal scene is someone not having to take antipsychotic drugs.

Lauer: I would agree.

Cruise: Okay. So, now you look at a departure from that ideal scene, is someone taking drugs, okay. And then you go, okay. What is the theory and the science that justifies that???

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


John Kerry knows what to do in Iraq
Iraq, of course, badly needs a unified national army, but until it has one - something that our generals now say could take two more years - it should make use of its tribal, religious and ethnic militias like the Kurdish pesh merga and the Shiite Badr Brigade to provide protection and help with reconstruction. Instead of single-mindedly focusing on training a national army, the administration should prod the Iraqi government to fill the current security gap by integrating these militias into a National Guard-type force that can provide security in their own areas.

Monday, June 27, 2005


This summer I am trying to learn Japanese by osmosis. If you are interested in how I plan to accomplish this check out J-Wave Radio. I am enlisting the help of an online English-Japanese dictionary, and found this delightful entry:
Sugoi: terrible, dreadful, terrific, amazing, great

Friday, June 24, 2005

Apu & Me

So after watching the Sox destroy the Cubs, I decided to check out The Taste of Chicago, because Lauryn Hill was supposed to perform. She's awesome. Lo and behold, she didn't play, and instead LL Cool J played. Although he pandered to the mostly female audience (there were a few guys singing along too), he was high-energy. However, he represents everything I hate about pop music. The best line was him saying: "I love my community...I love my community". Which I reckon he meant, the african-american community...but this is no longer his community. He reps the multi-million dollar community now. I'll stop.

Anyways, the point of this story, is that as I was leaving, just minding my own business, some random guy starts walking beside me and says "what is it today? A food parade?" and I was this guy trying to be funny: it's Taste of Chicago (a sort of food parade). Then i realized he wasn't laughing. It hit me, what he REALLY said was "what is it today? An Indian Parade?" I looked around and I didn't see any Indian people around. Then it hit me, he was TALKING ABOUT ME! What bothers me is that, I'm not Indian, but to the common person I definitely look it. So at this point I was LIVID. I pretty much run up to him and I'm like "What did you just say?" and he doesn't say anything and keeps on walking quickly...picking up speed....but I follow..."Yo, what did you just tell me?" This time he's pretty much running. Although, I didn't plan on fighting the guy, I definitely wanted to have some choice words with the loser. So he's running, I'm following and I'm getting in his face, but dude is being smart, and not looking at my face. If you've ever been to Taste of Chicago, you know it's a complete zoo/madhouse, so he weaves in and out, and within like 6 seconds I completely lose the guy in the crowd.

Despite ruining a pretty good day, there are a few things that bother me about this: 1) Why would you just go up to some random guy and start being a bigot? 2) what is the point? 3)What motivates you...what do you hope to happen?

This was perhaps the first 'racial experience' (for lack of a better term) I've had in Chicago, and the first in quite a number of years (I was once called a nigger in some hick town...which was retarded). I'm not about to call Chicago a racist city, because I know that's not the case...there will always be ignorant people everywhere.

I guess sometimes I really forget about the colour of my skin, and it takes an experience like this to remind me.

Closed Captioning FAQ

I was watching The Simpsons two days ago. Someone was trying to kill Homer, and the enlisted Sideshow Bob (b/c he is smart) to try and find out who the killer is.
Sideshow Bob: Can you think of anyone who would want you dead?

Homer: Well lets see...there's Mr. Burns, the Emperor of Japan, and President Bush.
Nothing remarkable yet, but I noticed in the closed captioning
Homer: Well lets see...there's Mr. Burns, the Emperor of Japan, and the poison blowfish.
Relax, I'm not going to feign outrage, but I remembered that American Idol had a CC snafu and I started wondering who does this stuff and I found the Closed Captioning FAQ. Evidently taped shows are captioned by the producers and they have this sort of freedom to change things ever so slightly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Informal Poll

The Chicago Tribune is doing an informal on-line poll. Question: Should Dick Durbin have apologized? Results as of 6/22 10:55

297 Yes

588 No

Monday, June 20, 2005

Title IX and Class Warfare

I have taken some flak in my personal life over my opposition to Title IX so I have decided to run some posts which examine the issues a little more seriously than I have done in the past. In this post I will examine a parallel between the Title IX supporters and class warfare. Very often taxes on the "rich" are sold to the public as not really taxes at all because you wont pay them and the "rich" can "afford" it. Similarly, the National Women's Law Center suggests that the way to be Title IX compliant is through modest cuts in football's "bloated" budget. In a press release (pdf) the NWLC says
The male athletes whose sports have been cut should turn their attention to the athletic directors who subsidize bloated football and men’s basketball budgets, and stop blaming female athletes, who account for a little more than one third of total athletic operating budgets. If men’s sports are being cut, it is because ... athletic dollars continues to be spent on ... football and men’s basketball and are not being spent to add new teams for women or to support existing men’s “minor” sport teams.
This argument is dishonest because it only considers athletic budgets. If a school is found in violation of Title IX, then fedral education dollars are withheld from the school, making this an issue not just about athletic budgets. In the same press release
Second, ... cost-cutting can be accomplished without hurting the competitiveness or revenue production of these programs.
• Universities could stop funding hotel rooms for football players on nights before home games, order new uniforms less frequently, reduce the distance traveled for non-conference competition by selecting opponents closer to home, among other possibilities too numerous to list.
• Athletic conferences also could ... limit travel squad size, and add sports for the underrepresented gender at the same time to ensure geographic proximity of opponents.
• The NCAA could .. impose across-the-board cost reductions, such as capping the ridiculously high dollars spent to recruit new athletes or reducing the 85 football scholarships to a more reasonable number.
None of these measures would hurt the competitiveness of these programs or restrict their ability to generate revenue.(my emphasis)
Everyone has a different opinion about how much the government should meddle in people's lives, but legislating how often football teams get new uniforms is IMO too much. Notice the debate is framed around getting something for nothing. The cuts in football aren't really cuts because they can "afford" it.

I don't want to make this post too long so I will save more arguments for the future, but one final point specifically about football. There is no female counterpart and this is really comparing apples to oranges. College football is an American cultural phenomena that draws more attendence than all professional women's sports in the enitre world put together. The budget discrepancy is the natural consequence. Furthermore, if college football has any relationship to the systematic discrimination against females, then the relationship is oblique at best. I don't want to sound like I'm just complaining, so here is one of my proposed changes to Title IX: exempt football.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Let's Not Get Too Worked Up About This

Did you hear what (my) Sen. Dick Durbin said the other day? Of course you did. Read more from Durbin here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Worst Song in the World

William HungDid you hear that they are blasting music at Gitmo to get information from suspected terrorists?John Kass quips that the reason alleged terrorists at Gitmo aren't speaking is the music is just too good. He offers as the worst song ever: "Dance, ballerina, dance." He obviously didn't do his research because the definitive list is at VH1.

btw, is William Hung booked next weekend?

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune has a readers forum where the nominate worst songs ever here

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sox Player: 'Implode Wrigley'

In a preview of Carl Everett's upcoming interview in Maxim, the Chicago Tribune put forward this tantalizing headline Sox player: 'Implode Wrigley'. So far so good. I admit, I was hooked. Read the whole thing (all 150 words of it). Whether you think it spirals down to nonsense or spirals up to heaven is a personal decision we all have to make.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Greatest Plaque Ever!

Take that war memorials!
Just to be clear, I think that this is a great idea.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Give us your tired, sick, sword & chainsaw wielding maniacs

I don't mean to turn my posts into Canada vs. USA rants. This will be my last one of this ilk. I promise.

Canada has long been seen, in the mainstream American media, as a safe-haven for terrorists. The problem is that somehow they get into these United States. How? Well through a lax border crossing. Perhaps it was easy to get into Canada. Apparently, if they are gaining entry into the US, then US Customs is at fault, no? The media ignores this point. For example:

This dude:

hitchhiked to a New Brunswick-Maine border crossing with "a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained by what appeared to be blood". Bring him on in, he looks like good people!

To make matters even worse, he was skipping out on sentencing for assaulting his neighbour. Right before his jaunt into Freedom, he allegedly killed said neighbor and his common-law wife.

Eddie Young, some old-hippie, waiting in line beside the crazy guy described the scene:

"I watched the Customs guys fling the swords around in the back room," Young
said. "I mean, wouldn't the evidence be ruined with their fingerprints?"

Grissom & the Gang would be pissed. (btw, Mr Young was denied entry for smoking some pot some 20 years ago)

It all worked out in the end, as crazy dude was found walking along a highway in MA wearing a brown and red stained sweatsuit. He's now awaiting extradition back to Canada.

What US Customs has claimed is that they really had no reason to hold this guy back. From their perspective, he had committed no crime, which is true. After all, America never detains people that haven't commited a crime? Oh wait, Guantanamo Bay. If you ask me, this dude's skin is a bit too pasty to end up there though.

Feedback on the Stuff that Really Matters

Category: education. I just finished a column over at the Daily Pennsylvanian about how ineffecient TAs are.
Instead of seeing your paper littered with insignificant comments about the word "therefore" or the pronoun "it," you get feedback on stuff that actually matters. A professor may analyze the overall vigor of your argument, along with any major omissions that you might have made, or give suggestions on how to improve a specific argument. The difference is clear; the paper is not drowned in venom, only the just right amount of venom is used.
I've always felt these students must be the children of divorced parents, the way they go back and forth b/t the prof and the TA trying to "earn" a point.
For example, last semester, when writing a paper on Kant, I went to my professor's office hours to discuss my ideas for critiquing Kant's arguments. I got some constructive feedback, which I incorporated into my paper. But my TA disagreed with the entire critique, so even though the professor thought I had a point, it didn't matter. Clearly, then, for grading purposes, it matters just as much who you give your paper to as it does how well you write the paper.
Mostly profs are too busy to correct your high school mistakes. And who is this (evidently not an "A") student telling profs and TAs what is the right amount of venom? (my personal opinion is grade inflation, but that is a different post)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Advanced Quantum Mechanics...Brought to You by Geico Insurance?

In perhaps one of the most IDIOTIC things I've ever heard, McGraw Hill Ryerson Ltd (yes, the same people that make many textbooks used at universities) have been planning to introduce advertizing into textbooks. This might be a "Canadian only" thing (which makes it even more crazy), as a quick Google search came up with nothing. Here's the story from the Toronto Star (I think you may have to subscribe, in that case, trust me on it).

For the past several months, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., one of the country's
largest publishers of university textbooks, has been quietly trying to coax
companies into buying advertising space in their texts.

"Reach a hard to get target group where they spend all their parents' money,"
says a McGraw-Hill brochure touting its planned ads. "Do you really think 18-24
year olds see those on-campus magazine ads? Do you really think they could miss
an ad that is placed in a very well-respected textbook?"

The Whitby-based publisher, which has made presentations about its
prospective textbook ads to more than a dozen advertising agencies, says in its
brochure that ads can be purchased nationally or regionally, and "can be so
targeted, you can even buy a specific major.

We all know that the textbook industry is perhaps one of greatest scams of all time. By dishing out new editions every couple of years (rendering old editions useless, at least from the buy-back point of view) and having the full support of faculty/schools, how much more money does this company need?

I can almost start to understand this if they were going to cut the cost of books, but no:

MacDonald (ed. Some suit with the publisher) said marketing wouldn't affect the
price of the textbooks and that "all of the funds we receive from the direct
to student marketing program will be directed to support the (Institute for
the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education) and conferences that are
organized" by the publisher.

Lemme guess...This "Institute" and "conferences" won't just be another platform in which to push more books on us now would it?

Although I don't consider myself a left-wing nut (umm...ok maybe I do), but this whole idea is half-assed. I'd also be very surprised if this thing actually goes through. I can't even imagine the backlash. Schools need to stop selling these books at their bookstores, and prof's need to stop assigning them.

After dropping about a bill on a book, do I really need to be subjected to ads? This is part of the reason why I try not to support the huge movie chains with their faux-artistic cologne/perfume ads.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Title Nein!

A lawsuit brought by wrestlers against Title Ix was rejected. However, there has been considerable progress made in weakening the quota requirement. Schools are now allowed to surveys to establish atheletic interest. This at least semi-quantifies one of the three prongs that schools can meet to be compliant. This sums it up
While Title IX requires gender equity in all parts of education and related activity, only in sports has its application caused widespread controversy. To comply, the federal government has ruled that schools must offer athletics opportunities, scholarship money, and other resources based on the proportion of men and women enrolled. If they don’t, the schools will lose millions of dollars in federal aid. So, over the last 15 to 20 years, colleges have added women’s sports and coaches, added and improved facilities, and increased budgets and scholarships.

But at the same time, in a backward approach to creating equity, some schools have dropped men’s sports—usually nonrevenue programs like wrestling, tennis, gymnastics, and even baseball.

Monday, June 06, 2005

In the Year 2000...

This post is making its way around the www. In the future, everyone will be Hitler for 15 minutes.

Now That's Heart

The Chicago Rush failed in their bid to make the Arena Bowl, but it wasn't without some intense drama. With two seconds on the clock and down by 3, the rush decided to go for the win from the 2-yard line instead of kicking the safe field goal. After blatantly holding the receiver, a Denver defender intercepted the pass and it was over. Down came the confetti and better luck next problem though. The penalty was called.

I watched a rat pack of journalists, janitors, and coaches stuffing confetti into their hats and pants in a deserate attempt to clear the field, and I couldn't stop laughing. The Rush cleared out a little circle and did kick the field goal - sending the game to overtime. The overtime, perhaps due to the colorful playing field, was just a little sloppy and the rush end up losing 49-43.Confetti
Oh, and since this is the internet and we can, here is a picture of the lady responsible. Unfortunately she's too charming to hate.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Be honest, am I smug?

Canada's newly minted ambassador to the United States, Frank McKenna, had some tough talk about the recent (I'd argue long standing) self-righteous Canadian attitude towards Americans:

"Where Americans take offence is when Canadians attack them gratuitously,
carry large chips on their shoulder, endlessly moralize about what America
should be doing," McKenna told the annual Canadian Press dinner last night.
"In short, a self-righteousness that isn't very flattering."

I'm not advocating that protests end, and I'm not saying that I agree with American policy, but there definitely is no need for the 'Dumb American' stereotype that gets played up so often in Canadian media. It's just plain tired. Check out Rick Mercer's Talking to Americans for a great look at one of the most wildly watched shows in Canadian TV history. I think the joke is on Rick Mercer here, because if some camera toting smartass from Trinidad came to Toronto and started asking questions about Trinidadian politics to a bunch of well meaning Canadian politicians, well it wouldn't be too funny would it? Why? Because, by and large no one cares about Trinidadian politics. Just like Americans really don't care (or need to care) about Canadian politics. Canadians just need to accept that, and get over it.

McKenna then goes on to say that one way to help Canada's profile in the mind of Americans is for the expatriates (myself included) to take the lead. Which I think is a good start. Apparently, there are about 3 million ex-patriots living amongst us.

He also hopes to enlist future stars of American politics now:

"Hopefully, personal relationships, supplemented with invitations to Canada, and
growing linkages with Canadian political and other leaders, will ensure that
American `leaders of tomorrow' will be sensitive to Canadian issues," he said.

Does anyone know if Barack Obama is busy on July 1st?

Friday, June 03, 2005


You'd think that the one thing they could get right is the distance. However, Lake Shore Marathoners were forced to go the extra mile.
"It's hard for me to fathom how someone can get the most basic element of a race wrong," said Mainard(a participant).
I ran the 2003 marathon and can atest that the extra mile is no joke! The strange thing is that the last minute changes to the course were in response to saftey concerns. Huh?
Paramedic Hector Contreras ... said he was so unnerved by the death of a 28-year-old runner in the Soldier Field 10 Mile race the day before that he reassessed the medical situation. He ordered more defibrillators, more water stations and more medical tents. "We started adding things and got all screwed up," Contreras said.

Adding to the chaos was the half-marathon, which also turned out to be too long and poorly marked. Some participants were so befuddled, they were running in circles.

Bridget Sullivan was the lead woman for the first part of the half-marathon when she was directed off the course ... to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Out Of Time

Time Magazine's film critics recently came up with a list of the All Time 100 Movies ever made. I give them props for not numbering them but listing them alphabetically. As expected, such an undertaking will have a bunch of movie snobs aghast at oversights. Myself included. There's the usual suspects (no, not the movie) of Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Raging Bull and Lawrence of Arabia. Some surprise choices: Chungking Express (Wong Kar-Wai's visual masterpiece), City of God and The Fly. Also, there were some downright bizarre choices: Finding Nemo. Come on, Toy Story was far more revolutionary. Woody Allen gets the nod for The Purple Rose of Cairo (and not Annie Hall) which was a real stinker. The list gets even more questionable with Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon whilst 2001:A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange not even mentioned. Don't even get me started on the blatant omission of Terrence Malick....


This site is billed as The Number One Christian Porn Site

Spinning Rims

There has been a new anonamous addition to the blog world. Welcome Y. the III! However, sadly, we are losing Y. the II for the summer. Farewell, my dear.

Also, you may have noticed that the blog roll has been updated with more friends and such. Check out littleboxes - it might creep you out how they refer to themselves in the third person much like famed super-villian Venom, but a good blog. Also, some friends blogs have been moved to "special topics" just because they are so damned focused. Also check out "Bear Country". My good friend Ginny is hiking the Appalacian trail southbound this summer and utilizing friends and internet to keep the world posted.