Have a Great Civic Holiday, Everybody!

Canadian flag with sunburst effect

It’s a holiday Monday for many of us of Canada — Civic Holiday! I have no idea why it hasn’t been adopted nationwide; who wouldn’t want a long weekend at the start of August?

No matter how you’re spending today, whether it’s going out for a drive…

High dynamic range point-of-view shot of a motorbike ride down a busy highway

…or catching a movie (that’s on my agenda for later tonight)…

Young girl wearing mirrored sunglasses showing a reflection of Chuck Norris

…or going to a museum or art gallery…

Two young women at The Louvre reenacting the Gabrielle d'Estrées et une de ses soeurs painting (the one where one nude woman pinches the nipple of the nude woman beside her), which is behind them

In case you’re wondering, the painting’s name is Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses soeurs (Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of here sisters) and it’s in the Louvre.

…or just hangin’ out…

Photo of children on school trip, with sloth hanging in foreground

…or working…

Asian man in Chinese farmer's hat, yellow crop-top T-shirt that says "Mustard", too-short yellow shorts and yellow socks, posing in the kitchen with a bottle of mustard, all in a very disturbing fashion.

…have a great day today!


Duke’s Cycle’s “Ride for Rob”

Bumper sticker: "Duke's Cycle presents: RIDE FOR ROB. All will be revealed on August 7th."

Click the image above to see it at full size.

Duke’s Cycle, where I used to get my bike serviced when I lived in their neck of the woods, just posted the image above on their Facebook page. Since I’m a regular city cyclist who usually shuttles between home in High Park and downtown on my trusty deVinci, one of those no-good pro-bicycle people and a poker-of-fun at His Worship, the Mayor of Toronto when called for, I’m intrigued. I guess we’ll find out on August 7th.


2001: A Summer Blockbuster

Here’s a trailer for the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, done 2012-style:

For reference, here’s the original teaser trailer for the film:

…and here’s the original full-length trailer:


(Really) Lazy Saturday Cartoons

It’s the laziest of Saturdays — the Saturday of the August long weekend here in most of Canada — so here are the laziest of the old Saturday morning cartoons.

First, here’s an episode of the 1960’s Spider-Man cartoon in which he ends up having to save an alien civilization’s complete library of knowledge and escape a place called “Dementia Five”. It’s probably the trippiest episode of the series, full of psychedelic artwork (and probably quite weird for that era, at least on broadcast television).

Spider-Man in Dementia Five, Part One

Spider-Man in Dementia Five, Part Two

Here’s the title sequence for a lesser-known cartoon series from around the same time, Rocket Robin Hood. It’s the other North American animated series set in the year 3000 (and it predates Futurama by about 30 years), featuring the space-travelling descendants of the Merry Men.

Rocket Robin Hood Title Sequence

Rocket Robin Hood was produced by the same animation house that did Spider-Man, and in what was most likely a cost-savings move, there’s an episode where Robin and Little John have to save an alien civilization’s complete library of knowledge and escape a place called “Dementia Five”. Same trippy art, same story.

Rocket Robin Hood in Dementia Five


It’s a Small War After All (Or: A Marine Sergeant’s Proposed Siege Tactics to Take the Disneyland Castle)

The Cinderella Castle at Disney theme parks

On the questions-and-answers site Quora, someone posed this amusing question: What are the optimal siege tactics for taking Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle?

A frightened Mickey Mouse, as seen through a gunsight

By far the best answer has to be the one by Jon Davis, USMC (that’s U.S. Marine Corps — he participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and honourably discharged in 2008). His answer is meticulous yet hilarious and presumably do-able Operation It’s a Small War After All.

Map of Disneyland showing troop movements

This is Phase 4 of Jon Davis’ battle plan.

First, Sergeant Davis starts with a fair assumption:

I chose to ignore the stipulation of a pre-gunpowder based strategy because the fortifications defending the Magic Kingdom and housing its troops was built with modern technology and therefore should be also considered a target for modern warfare.

Fine by me — this isn’t Game of Thrones and Disneyland isn’t King’s Landing.

Operation It’s a Small War After All has five phases, which I’ve summarized below:

  1. Secure a foothold in the Magic Kingdom. Davis proposes an area outside the tracks between Main Street USA and Tomorrowland, which gives the troops cover but deprives the Disney forces of the same.
  2. Bring in the first two infantry companies via the foothold area. One company makes its way to Main Street USA, the other to Tomorrowland. Take the buildings in Tomorrowland and search them for advanced weapons tech from tomorrow.
  3. Secure the assets in Main Street USA (now called “Mike Station”) and Tomorrowland (now “Tango Base”). Set up snipers and machine guns along the building and alleyways in these operations centers, covering key positions and places likely to be attacked by Disney forces.
  4. Make the primary assault on Cinderella’s stronghold! Going right down Main Street USA is what the enemy expects; it’s also suicide. It’s too open, plus the castle has a moat and a bridge that they can blow up to cut off access. Instead, Tango company will go through Fantasyland and attack the castle from the rear. Going through Fantasyland gives the opportunity for a secondary objective: blow up the “It’s a Small World” ride, thus silencing that infernal, repetitive stick-in-your-head song once and for all.
  5. The coup de grace: With the castle defences focused on the rear, the infantry staged at Mike station goes straight down Main Street USA, with the main thrust securing the castle and smaller breakaway groups securing other areas of the Magic Kingdom.

Still from Disney cartoon: Mickey weeping over an apparently dead Pluto's body.

Because Davis is an officer and a gentleman (and a very funny guy), he concludes his plan with the picture above and a reminder: “And as always men, honor the fallen.”

Be sure to read his answer in Quora — it’s high-larious.

Special thanks to Liz Lawley for pointing me to this!


Thoughts on Chick-Fil-A, Part 1

Big line outside a Chick-Fil-A: "You never see that many Christians lined up to help at a food bank or homeless shelter / And that's something Jesus actually said to do"


Today Only: “Lying” Ebook Available for Free

Cover of Sam Harris' book, "Lying"

The ebook edition of Lying [1.1MB PDF] is free-as-in-pay-no-money-for-it for the rest of today, and that’s no lie! Here’s the publisher’s description:

As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals, financial fraud, government corruption—even murder and genocide—generally require an additional moral defect: a willingness to lie.

In Lying, bestselling author and neuroscientist Sam Harris argues that we can radically simplify our lives and improve society by merely telling the truth in situations where others often lie. He focuses on “white” lies—those lies we tell for the purpose of sparing people discomfort—for these are the lies that most often tempt us. And they tend to be the only lies that good people tell while imagining that they are being good in the process.

You’ve got until the end of the day, but don’t put it off — get it now!