Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Keep the NHL beautiful

There’s a good reason to support a new ban on head shots in professional hockey and it goes above and beyond all of the moralizing and the scientific evidence behind the incurred damages that occurs to the brain and to the body. There’s been a lot of talk lately about how head shots are damaging the game and its reputation and how it’s also ending the careers of players, some who would’ve had the potential to have a brilliant and long NHL career. There’s also been talk about the gruesome nature of the after-effects of these hits on individuals, with the general recognition that it not only ends careers, it can end lives as well, affecting both the duration and quality of the life of the person affected. Not to mention the potential devastating effects of such a hit on the people closest to them, such as loved ones and friends.

While this is all good stuff, there’s something else that people don’t talk about and that’s equally important: the overall attractiveness of the NHL. NHL players, particularly those in the Eastern Conference, tend to be very athletic, young and generally good-looking men. Lots of chiselled faces, hard jaw lines, piercing eyes and of course, fantastic bodies. Do they (the NHL lawmakers) not realize the possible detrimental effects of head shots on these gorgeous, gorgeous heads? Let’s put aside the fact that they can scramble brains like eggs in an omelette. Let’s think about this on a purely aesthetic level. Think about it. Think about the harmful effects of seeing those perfect heads smushed up like grapes or bent up like turnips. Who wants to want such an unattractive squad?

The NHL, like most sports leagues, is always trying to increase its fan base, and one of those demographics tend to be the often-forgotten women. As such, there are more and more pink versions of NHL jerseys in every store and more efforts have been made to make sensitive ads that may appeal to women fans. But aren’t we forgetting a very important reason why women tune in to games? Not just the thrill of the sport or the finesse of the game, but let’s face it: good-looking men. Do they really think that we women are going to want to watch such aggressive moves? It’s not UFC, after all. And do they really think that we want men with brain damage and no teeth? That’s not exactly our idea of dreamboats.

So I think that we need to push the NHL to make strict rules banning head shots once and for all in the interest of keeping the NHL beautiful. We should rally around this idea and rally around this slogan. We like our men athletic and we like them in one piece.

I hope that this happens. I hope that legions of fans, men and women alike and even the gay men who watch the game hoping to sneak a peak of their favourite beefcakes, campaign Gary Bettman and the rest of the crew with this one idea: Keep the NHL Beautiful.

Oh, and keep the players safe too.

Ads that Amuse, Abuse and Confuse

Every year, I feel the need, given the large investment of my time used in watching TV, to provide an annual critique of the various ads that I’ve seen. I’ve broken them down in three major categories so that this analysis can be complete. Let’s start with the bad and work our way down to the good.

Ads that Abuse

Axe- These guys are repeat offenders and they make my list every year. That’s one thing that I can say for them, is that they definitely have consistency. They are consistently, insistently, bad. Their ads mostly revolve around this idea that if men use their products, they will all of a sudden be surrounded by gorgeous women and that their clothes will magically pop off and all of them will start sending them porn star eyes or fondling them passionately. In this case, I won’t single out any particular ad; the entire campaign over the years is deeply flawed in its perception of women, its inability to be funny or clever and the general undesirable image associated with their so-called product.

BioBest Yogourt- The one ad in particular that I’m thinking about is the one with all of the office workers who work in a glass tower and whistle on their way in to work every day. No matter how magical or healthy your yogourt is, there is no way that any office workforce looks that happy going to work! I don’t know if this is the day that everyone’s bonuses slipped under the door or if they put Bailey’s in the yogourt or both, but there is no reasonable explanation for that much yogourt-inspired joy unless there’s something that the dairy farmers of Canada are not telling us.

Home Hardware- I actually don’t have problems with the ads per se, and I totally support the fact that they support special athletes and promote future hockey stars, but maybe it’s just my TV set which is dysfunctional, because these ads are LOUD. I don’t mind being told about great home products, but I always get the feeling that they’re yelling at me and I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve that kind of treatment from a local store. I also find this particularly bewildering on days when I’m watching hockey games, which is when these ads regularly roll around. The volume will be strategically set high so that I can hear the play by play, which sounds sometimes like whispers, and then all of a sudden, the commercial break will come on and Home Hardware will come blaring out at me and scare the living daylights out of me. And home products really shouldn’t be scary like that.

Tim Horton’s- As much as I support the Timbits and various charity campaigns put on through Tim Horton’s and the fact that it’s a Canadian institution which promotes a lot of our core values such as hockey, coffee and instant prize contests, I have to say that these ads both abuse and confuse. What I object to the most is the way that it represents Canadians as a bunch of harmless, goofy idiots. Maybe the use of the term idiots is a strong word, and nice-minded polite compatriots will surely object to this, but I get the distinct feeling that this goes above and beyond polite fun-poking at ourselves. What worries me is that this might be the way that people actually think we are: soft, easy-going, dopey, backwoods people who don’t know that putting hot chocolate and coffee together makes a mocha and who freak out when we find out that English muffins have made an appearance on the breakfast sandwich roster. The ads also make us look neurotic, lecturing people about the proper way to dip donuts and getting flustered about it. It also makes us look like bad comedians, doing our finest impressions of English people while talking about French onion soup, and I’m not sure how pretending to be English makes you appreciate French soup.

The second biggest offender has got to be their latest Roll up the Rim to Win ads with all the Canadian stereotypes being played out by two guys on their way to Tim’s who only get excited when one of them says eh, which is easily the least offensive Canadian stereotype shown in that ad. That confuses me completely. Does it mean that saying eh is the lamest stereotype? How can it be more lame than thinking that we all live in a cabin in the woods and toboggan to Tim’s? Maybe this joke is too sophisticated for me, eh?

The biggest offender of these various stupid ads has got to be one that they had over the Christmas period where an absent-minded worker brings his colleagues two distinct presents in the same bags and gets them confused, giving coffee to the crazy cat lady in the office and a pink cat t-shirt to the normal guy who is probably his actual friend. This ad annoyed me so much that it made me want to ban Secret Santa office parties altogether; thankfully for those who like Secret Santa, I don’t have that kind of authority.

Ads that Confuse

Dove for Men- This is the long ad that a lot of people saw over Superbowl weekend which basically fast tracks its way through a montage of an entire man’s life right up until he’s comfortable with himself, which is probably around 35-40 from the look of it. He does all the things in life that he’s supposed to do, goes to school, meets the girl, gets married, has kids and then feels good about himself. While it’s slightly offensive that this generally socially accepted pattern of life is celebrated in this fashion, it’s also really confusing. First of all, why target this particular demographic of men? My knowledge of men in this age group is that they’re generally those kinds of hard working men who don’t think much about their appearance anymore because they’re too busy chasing after children and opening pickle jars to stop and look in the mirror and think to themselves “geeze, I need to do something about my skin.”

I’m sorry, but if Dove wanted to target the right group of men, they should have gone for the 18-35 category of men who (a) care a great deal about how they look because they’re still single and want to attract a woman and (b) have more time to think about themselves and their personal hygiene because they are single and have no children to look after and (c) have more disposable income to spend on personal care products because, again, they have no children to take care of. I guess Dove thought that they should target a new niche market of men because it’s generally assumed that the image-conscious group of single good looking men are already being targeted by Axe, Gillette, Garnier and Nivea. Best of luck to them if that’s the case. I’m sure that their great marketing plans will come to fruition as their target demographic walks down the aisle at the grocery store with their 3 year old hanging off their back, a grocery list the length of their arm written by their wives in one hand, and their older child tossing chocolates into the grocery cart while they’re not looking and that this man will see the product sitting on the shelf and think “oh yeah. That’s the thing for me.” Good luck.

Dove for Women- These ads are not as bad as the ones for Men, and they’re pretty typical ads. Lots of women talk about how great the product makes them feel and how much they love it and can’t live without it. The reason why Dove makes the list twice is because of how over the top ridiculous their ads are. I’ve never seen women sing about body wash. And I can’t say that I like it.

Sentimental ads for the Stanley Cup Finals put on by the NHL- I don’t understand how a sport which is known for being aggressive and gritty is constantly represented in these sentimental ads for the Stanley Cup Finals as being some sort of poetic experience. Last year’s Is this the year? campaign featured photos of players, popping out of them to express themselves in a quiet, eloquent manner that would never make the SportsCentre reel. This year’s History Will be Made campaign is equally smarmy, with old footage of classic hockey moments being shown and rewound and asking such deep questions like what if?

Come on, people. Keep the spirit of the NHL the way that it should be kept: aggressive, tough, macho. There are some things in life that you don’t like macho and some things in life that you don’t like poetic. Beer and sports are macho. Opera and fashion are poetic. Keep them distinct and separate. Yes, hockey has its moments of euphoria, poetry, beauty, sorrow. But the spirit of the Stanley Cup is one of intense competition, pride, team spirit, identity, perseverance and fight. Keep the ads that way too.

Ads that Amuse

Keystone Light- This is completely immature, but this ad is just laugh-out loud funny. I love the fact that the old man in the walker calls his grandson Nancy and goads him along when asking for a beer from the cooler. And I love that it conks him right dead centre in the head and he screams. It kind of looks like some awful thing that you would see in America’s Funniest Home Videos, you know, like man getting hit in groin by football, but this makes me laugh every time that I see it. And we can all use a good laugh here and there.

Roger’s Hi-Def- I love the fact that the man in this commercial is not the woman’s husband, that he’s just a couch surfer who hangs out in his friend’s basement watching their TV. It kind of shows how powerful our TV addiction can be and how great it can be at the same time. It’s not the most clever ad I’ve seen, but it’s one of the better ones that Roger’s has put on.

Molson Canadian- What Tim Horton’s can’t do, this company gets right. Their beer is actually pretty poor in taste, but their ads are spot on. The long version of their Big Backyard ad is very well done because it manages to instil a fierce sense of pride that doesn’t come at the expense of some other nation. It’s also great because it’s about us and not what people seem to think of us. Sure, not all of us live somewhere we can play pond hockey or wander the mountains or jump off docks into lakes. But it embodies some of the best things about Canada and a lot of it has to do with nature, both the nature that surrounds us, and the nature within us that makes us happy to be a part of it. As Canadians, we’re not all outdoor types, but the outdoors has a big impact on our day-to-day lives and can’t be ignored as a part of what shapes us.

Purina Cat Chow- The Get More Cat Love ads make me laugh because a lot of pet owners really do love their pets that much. And that cat is just gorgeous. I’m not a fan of cats myself, but that is one gorgeous feline in those ads and who can resist that deep purring and those tender nose kisses? It’s easy to sucker people into ads with adorable animals, but this one is funny because it’s so over the top and the looks on the faces of the worried friends is equally amusing.

MasterCard Pay Pass- I have to say that the MasterCard people have some great advertisers because their initial “Some things in life are free, for everything else, there’s MasterCard” campaign was just brilliant. Their latest Pay Pass ads emphasize that notion with the fact that it’s a serious time-saver to use the Pay Pass. Who doesn’t want time on their side? And who doesn’t want to buy things faster? And who doesn’t want to buy more things in general? Maybe it feeds into our super fast-paced lifestyle and our growing dependence on credit, but it just looks so damn convenient. And how happy does that guy going on the home date look? Picking up the toothbrush, the dinner, the wine…by the end of the commercial, you want to BE that guy because he looks so damn happy. I just wonder why he put his laundry on the kitchen table and then straight into the dishwasher? Oh well. He’s smart enough to use PayPass, that’s all that matters, eh?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Greatest Hits

I was standing in line today at Starbucks, waiting for a latte, looking over their various pretty and eco-friendly products, blissfully unaware of the soft background music, until a thought struck me: this soft, baby music that I was listening to was, in fact, a version of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for by U2. Played on the xylophone. The xylophone. Barely a musical instrument. The instrument that we all use in a bid not to lose the alphabet game on any given subject because almost nothing else, which isn't a chemical, starts with the letter x. I was so appalled while listening, wondering if there was some way to make sense of it all, suffering through this painfully soft rendition of what is an honest to God good old-fashioned rock song by Ireland's greatest export since the potato and Guiness beer.

There is an explanation, as it turns out. Starbucks and its other partner companies also produces music to varying degrees, and one of their ingenious ideas was to put together a baby rock CD, compiling some of the greatest rock songs into 'ding ding' songs that you can use while firing up the mobile on top of a crib. The hipster parents of a new generation that likes to 'friend' their children has now sunk to a new low: integrating rock and roll into the lives of their too cool tots, the ones who wear designer clothing when they're out on a walk with mommy, dressed up in her Lululemon yoga gear with her soy latte in hand.

Does anyone remember a time when rock and roll was banned and most parents forbade it because they thought that it incited the devil? Does anyone ever think back to how crazy it was that Elvis once caused such a stir with his suggestive hip dancing that he was filmed only from the waist up while doing an appearance on the Sullivan show? No, nobody remembers that. That was back when records still churned out rock and roll and when the TV was a big appliance that sat in the middle of the family room and got only got one channel that you had to switch with a big dial button. It's funny to think that in the period of roughly 50 years since the onset of popular American rock and roll, it went from being forbidden and feared by parents, to embraced by hipster parents and corporations alike.

Beyond the irony of the situation, though, I have to object to the fact that listening to U2's greatest hits as played on the xylophone is not just silly, it's bad. It's plain old bad. It takes all the fire, grit and well, rock and roll out of the song. It waters it down until it becomes like modified orange drink that you used to get at McDonald's. You know that drink, right? It's so water and orange that it actually can't be called juice because it's just orangy. Well, this watered down song was so stripped of everything that makes it rock that it wasn't rock anymore.

What if we did the opposite? What if we took the greatest baby hits of all time and remixed them so that they were done by, let's say, the Clash? What if we made Rock a Bye Baby into London Calling? Come on, you're thinking about it right now...

"ROCK- a bye- Baby- on the TREE TOP- when the wind blows, the cradle WILL ROCK..."

Or other such classics, like Ring Around the Rosey:

"RING!- around- the ROSEY- pocket full of POSEY- HUSHA- HUSHA- WE ALL FALL DOWN! That's right you bunch of wankers, FALL DOWN!"

It's silly and irreverent. Just as silly and irreverent as the idea of dumbing down rock songs to make the babies sleep at night.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

So cute, it's almost cruel

Today I went to a skating show put on by a local community skating group. I went because my niece, who's 4 years old, was one of the featured skaters. It was a 2 hour show with a mix of little tots, some junior skaters and a few people who will no doubt go pro one of these days and are definitely showing some promise. Most of the people in the audience were friends and family members and you could tell that quite a few of them were proud parents with camcorders, waiting to see their little tots glide, trip and collide in brightly coloured costumes, no doubt sewn painfully together by themselves.

It was a fun show to watch, with all the little ones paraded around the ice dressed up as gnomes, trolls and lobsters and other various creatures of different degrees of adorableness. All of the same things occur in these events as in pageants, plays, talent shows and little league sports. Lots of parents eagerly watching and cheering their kids, looking for them, pointing them out to other parents or whoever is unlucky enough to be sitting next to them, looking proud and happy. It's the same stuff that parents lord over our heads for eternity as children, and equally, as awkward teens and adults, trucking out the photos or the embarrassing, bad quality, low definition videos.

And when this occurs, you desperately hope as the parent that your child is not the one who takes the fit, crosses their arms, stomps their feet and leaves in the middle of the show. And as the child, you desperately hope that you're not the one who falls flat on their face or that you're the one weird child who's out of sync or finishes all of your spins facing the wrong direction. And as the audience, you just watch and laugh and think about how funny life can be and all the silly moments of our childhood that can make up the greatest memories for parents and kids alike. As well as the worst.

Apart from all the little foibles, one of the highlights of the show was the paging of the parents by the announcer. You have to wonder if there's some sort of equipment error or if one of the kids is crying in the background, but either way, for the parent, it must be somewhat embarrassing. They must wonder if the whole crowd thinks they're a negligent monster parent of some kind or if they've raised monster children who don't play well with others, which would make them negligent by proxy. That would just be another mark of the incredible scrutiny parents must face on a daily basis and you have to feel for them in some ways. Raising children is difficult as it is, expensive, messy, undignified, unruly...the last thing you want is the judgment of others.

But I guess part of what makes parenting worthwhile are the little moments had at pageants and shows, where the kids are so cute that it borders on cruel. Granted, it can't be easy to skate while wearing a little cone hat to show that you're a gnome or little bat wings on your arms. Sometimes you wonder if this cuteness is a form of parent revenge on their children, just like the incriminating photos of kids wearing antler hats and those pajamas with the feet. It's so cute, it's almost cruel.

Special note to my niece who was a bat: you have a great career ahead in theater one day. Nobody skates and shakes a tambourine like you do. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Head Shots and Health Care

Apparently, people in the U.S. are very upset about the passing of the health care bill which would provide a wider range of coverage and protection to many American citizens who are currently not covered under health insurance plans, as well as extending the benefits of those who have it. While this upset doesn’t come as a major surprise to anyone, particularly since this debate has been ranging for hundreds of years now, what is truly surprising is the fact that a modern, democratic and generally educated society should be so opposed to the idea of making health care more accessible to its people. What came down to be signed was a watered down version of a bill which had originally looked a lot closer to Universal health care, such as the one provided in Canada or in Great Britain, and had gone through a long process of reconciliation where many compromises were made. As such, the socialized medicine model which had long been denounced and feared by some, even in the post-Soviet era, is not finally making its way to America, but in its place, a health care bill which is ‘made in America’ and has been through a long, extensive, consultative process with concessions on every side.

Among the things that the bill has proposed are modifications to what is generally referred to as ‘family planning’ and contraception which does not exclude the option of abortion. There is a vehement and violent opposition to this and many other aspects of the bill, but some of the anti-abortion activists have taken to threats and violence against people in Congress. While some have protested the violent, profane and grotesque nature of these threats, others have underlined the fact that threats against those in power is essentially not in the best interest of democracy and not how a democratic society should work. Governments and officials should be held accountable for their decisions, particularly when the population doesn’t agree with those decisions, but it is not permissible to threaten violence against them for the decisions that they finally make. At least, that’s not the way that I understand democracy to be.

On this same day in the news, the NHLPA has agreed in principle to work on a modified head shot rule which would empower the league disciplinarian to hand out supplementary discipline for head hits.

The strange link between these two stories?

It’s strange to think that a dignified debate on access to health care has degenerated into a thug mentality among those who consider themselves to be enlightened members of society who are actively engaged in intelligent political debate for views and values that they hold dear and that these same people are currently threatening to (expletive) knock the (expletive) heads off the stupid (expletives). It’s equally strange to think that vicious and calculated moves of aggression are under consideration of being banned in a sport that is known for its rough and violent nature and that this in turn has turned into a dignified debate by enlightened and intelligent people.

It’s a strange reversal when politically-minded people turn into thugs who threaten people’s lives and thugs turn into compassionate-minded people with respect for rules in the interest of saving lives.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rave on the Simpsons

The Simpsons celebrated their 20th anniversary over the weekend and like many people, I just can’t imagine a world without the Simpsons. It’s one of those iconic shows that marks an entire generation and spans the entire globe, and how many people can say that about anything? No, it’s not like McDonald’s, a big corporate franchise that uglifies the world. The Simpsons is an institution and it’s almost universally known and loved.

For some, it’s a piece of comic satire that shows America as it really is, laid out in all its silliness, from the mundane to the downright tragic nature of a culture obsessed with happiness and with themselves. For others, it’s a cherished sub-universe that reflects the world that we know and that we live in, the people that we meet and the perceptions that we sometimes hold. But whether it’s a truly personal or philosophical love that people have for the show, it’s real love which people tend to feel for it and that’s a very special thing.

I think the most enduring legacy of the Simpsons will be the fact that it fearlessly criticizes American society without denigrating it. All of the basic values of American society, such as family and religion are preserved, even as they’re joked about. It also manages to do this without a sense of moral superiority or glorification. It’s not trying to sell the American life to anyone else or feed them the American dream. It provides scathing social criticism on important issues while making us giggle at immature and ridiculous stories. It gave America a sense of humour and a sense of reflection.

While people are used to seeing traditional depictions of the ‘good’ all-American family where everyone gets along, or super Christian after school specials that showcase the consequences of immoral behaviour and attitudes, or listening to the Conservative pundits discuss the ungodly nature of a decadent society, the Simpsons gave America the gift of self-deprecation. The gift of being able to laugh at themselves and not take themselves so seriously, but not being taken for buffoons either. That’s a fine balance to achieve and yet, this show seems to do it at almost every level almost all of the time. It is a classic, a world treasure and there will never again be anything else like the Simpsons. At least in my humble opinion.

Rant/ Rave about the Olympics

I know it seems weird to see the two things together, but I’m of two minds on this subject.

First, the rave:

The Olympics is one of those events that’s supposed to bring the world together to compete against each other in one of the most noble capacities, comparing athletic power and skills. The athletes embody excellent qualities such as hard work, dedication, talent and strength. They represent some of the values that we all strive for, often looking perfect and God-like as they move, race, bend, jump, run, and twirl. And in a world where people move more and more and are less rooted to their communities, it’s good to see them cheer and have pride in the things that their nation can do and what it represents. And whose heart doesn’t soar when they see the slow raising of their flag and listen to beautiful symphony rendition of their national anthem and the tears of their gold medal winner?

Then, the rant:

Although the principles of the Olympics are alive and well for most people on an individual level, on a more global level, the Olympics are a corporate machine. They make money for countless people on the International Olympic Committee, but also, they demolish the infrastructure and the capacity of most cities around the world who host the games, leaving behind creaking arenas and debts. Not only that, the stars of the show are underfunded athletes who compete for free in the hopes that a medal will bring them some form of corporate sponsorship that usually comes in the form of smiling pictures on cereal boxes.

Once used as a mechanism to bring attention to some of the world’s unknown hidden gems like Albertville and Nagano, it’s now being used as tourist brochure for some of the world’s most well-known destinations who do not need more tourists, but who have more money to campaign for the Games. London, Paris and Athens hardly need more attention or more press or more people, but they will get all of the above when they host.

It’s impossible to turn the clock back on the games and it’s probably not worthwhile to annul an institution that still makes people proud and happy. The Games have become a commercial juggernaut that has huge endorsements, advertisements, and sells lots of gear that we don’t really need. I’m just as proud as anyone else when our athletes win, but I think we all need to keep the Games in perspective and campaign for it to return to its more modest and noble roots. Because bringing people together is about a lot more than advertising and paraphernalia and broadcasting rights.

Rant on Airport Security

It's gone completely whacko (like Jacko)! The Canadian government's putting in body scanners that basically take nude photos of passengers, including children, which some human rights advocates group say basically amount of child porn. And if it's child porn for them, well, it must be just regular porn porn for adults.

The agencies are defending themselves by saying that only random people will be selected for these things. Great, that means a random sampling of non white suspicious looking people or those with names like Abdu. In addition to this, they're also saying that this isn't a violation of people's privacy because the pictures taken will be viewed by some random guard in another room who can't see faces of passengers. Who needs to see your face when they've already seen your...well... you know.

And how many of us find that to be acceptable behaviour? Most of us adults, if we're showing our goods to another adult, the least we want to do is actually see their face, meet with them, maybe even have a couple of dinners somewhere, a martini at least...but now some random nobody in a locked guard room's going to get a free show because some guy failed to detonate some chemicals he stacked as extra junk in his trunk on a flight to Detroit.

But it's all for our own good. Of course it is. We're going to be safer! We're all going to feel safer! And then the pundits will tell us that we have nothing to fear but fear itself and that if we were really all a bunch of innocent, normal, sane people travelling for business, pleasure or other, then we have no reason to mind the extra security, right?

Wrong! I remember the post-Sept. 11th period when you could still travel with carry on luggage and bottles of water. You could bring nail clippers and give yourself a personal manicure on your flight if that's what you really wanted! And the most unpleasant part about heading to the airport, in the past, was not the gruelling security, but the long hours of waiting for your plane to arrive while sitting on a plastic chair.

But now, the measures taken by security are not only long, tedious, unnecessary and utterly humiliating at times, it hasn't made anyone safer. Attacks are still going to happen and people are still going to think of inventive new ways to carry them out. Do the governments really feel safer now that they've taken away our nail clippers, hand cream and bottled water? What else do they want to take from us so that we can continue to fly places and feel safe?

Here’s an idea. If the governments are really serious about sucking the fun out of travel one security measure at a time, why don’t they just go all out now and get it over with? Why don’t they just go all of the way or just go home? I’m throwing down the gauntlet now to the governments, airlines and airports of the world! Here’s what should be done from now on:

Once passengers arrive at the airport and have finished checking in with their respective surly airline staff, they will then proceed to security. Once they arrive, all of their personal goods will be taken and vacuum sealed in a Ziploc Lock It bag and tagged with the name of the passenger who will be assigned a random code of numbers to identify them properly. Once these items are secure, they will then be checked by tiny robots who will load them onto the plane. If an item moves or makes any suspicious ticking type sounds, the robots will be commanded to shoot to kill.

The passengers will then proceed to the decontamination bay, where they will be stripped of all their clothing by robots similar to the ones who currently operate drive through car washes. A heavily induced antibacterial spray which has been infused by the H1N1 vaccine will then be administered to the passenger. Once the spray is complete and it has been determined that the passenger shows no signs of the sniffles, they will then be dressed in a government issued orange jumpsuit with their random number code on it.

At this point, it will be safe for the passengers to board. Once on board the plane, the cabin crew will direct you to your designated seat where a handy hand belt will be buckled on for added security. This handy hand belt will also be connected to a handy foot belt that will discourage passengers from disturbing each other or making a scene.

Then everyone can relax, wait for takeoff, where they will be issued a $4 box of juice and watch only patriotic pro-Western family films like Rambo.

See? Not that different from flying today.

I hate blogs- so I started one


Let me start this blog off by stating the fact that I hate blogs. I hate most social networking sites, most of the internet tools that tech wizards use to confuse us and sell us things and the internet in general. No, that does not mean that I'm some cantankerous, forest-dwelling, grassroots philosopher who's afraid of technology and walks around with a giant cane and a backpack. As a matter of fact, I'm actually just cantankerous.

It's mostly because I believe the blog world is full of narcissists who instead of using the internet as a platform for creative expression or political opinion have decided to use blogs in order to inform the world that they've eaten toast this morning. It reminds me of the way people used to act when they found out they could take limitless pictures by using a digital camera. Instead of taking better pictures or trying to use technology to perfect their art, they started going to house parties and taking random pictures of cheesies and people's shoes.

I want to use my blog as a forum for creative expression and as an outlet for creative expression that I don't otherwise have in my life. And I've also decided to stop bothering friends and family alone with my rants and raves, but decided to share them with the world so that it can bother them as well.

I've decided to structure my blog as a series of rants and raves. There will always be one topic, but sometimes there are both opinions expressed about the exact same thing. That's not because I'm bipolar, it's because I'm a Libra and I tend to see both sides of every argument and can't make up my own mind. Yes, I am that annoying person you see in the grocery store, furrowed brow, trying desperately to make sense of the different varieties of canned soup. And I never understood their crazy sodium content.

Nevertheless, I digress. And I do that often. If you enjoy that kind of thing, I hope that you enjoy my blog.

So in that narcissistic vein, I did have toast this morning.