“Spring Cleaning” post #5: Fireworks and sensitive body parts

spring cleaningHere’s another post for my Spring Cleaning series, the set of articles that I’m taking out of my Drafts folder, finishing, and posting at long last. In case you missed the earlier ones, here they are:

never ends well

How bored do you have to be to decide to combine fireworks and sensitive body parts? These guys thought it might be amusing to insert a firework into one of their derrieres and light it:

These bright lads give new meaning to the term “crotch rocket”:

The granddaddy of all these, although not the first, is the funniest, and dates back to 2007. I’ve seen it dozens of times, and I have never failed to laugh:

Believe it or not, this video convinced me to leave a cushy job that year and seek my fortune elsewhere. I wrote about it in an article titled Assrockets and Opportunities, which I hope you’ll find both amusing and enlightening.


“Spring Cleaning” post #4: Get on your bicycle!

spring cleaningAnd now, another post in the Spring Cleaning series, in which I take a lot of blog posts that have been sitting as drafts for far too long, finish them, and finally put them online! Here are links to the Spring Cleaning articles I’ve posted so far:


If you’re into cycling, this one’s for you.

I find that in the morning, before I go to work and use these machines…


My home office setup in Tampa. Click the photo to see it at full size.

…that it’s worth my while to use this machine:


My home gym setup in Tampa. Click the photo to see it at full size.

Although I’ve been travelling to Tampa on a regular basis for the past two years, I’ve been living here full-time for a mere six weeks. That means that I am, for all intents and purposes, new in town and still figuring my way around. I’ve found that the best way to get to know the area around me, enjoy the weather and get in some exercise at the same time is to hop on a bicycle and ride. It’s the most energy-efficient form of human-powered locomotion, it lets me cover more distance than mere walking but still gives me the up-close look at my surroundings that I can’t get in the car, and it has brain benefits, as the links below will show:

Here’s a video of a patient with Parkinson’s disease who experiences “freezing gait” when walking. However, put him on a bike, and it’s like magic:

It’s been noted in the video that the guy isn’t wearing a helmet. That’s because the video was shot in the Netherlands, where helmets aren’t mandated by law, nor customary. It’s also worth noting that you’re 30 times more likely to get hurt on your bike in the US than you are in the Netherlands. The differences between cycling in the Netherlands and even more bike-friendly American cities like and Chicago and Davis, California are quite notable, as this Dutch observer points out:

At TEDxCopenhagen, Mikael Colville-Andersen says that urban cycling is part of the good life, and helmets are not part of biking:

Why is biking so popular in the Netherlands? This BBC article takes a closer look.

A number of American cities are looking to the Dutch model for improving cycling within cities. To see what we can learn, take a look at From the Netherlands to America. Yes, the US is not the Netherlands, but there are still a number of good ideas to borrow from them, and it doesn’t have to be Rob Ford’s so-called “war on the car” (and really, when’s the last time he told the truth about anything?):

One point made in the video above is that bicycling also boosts economies. This is counter to what a lot of small retailers say: they tend to overestimate the need for parking, and that bicycle lanes will hurt their business. This study says that that ain’t so.


“Spring Cleaning” post #3: Weber Cooks, the saddest cooking show

the saddest cooking show

spring cleaningLet’s continue with Spring Cleaning, a series of posts that have been sitting for far too long in my Drafts folder, and which I’m now unleashing upon an unsuspecting world.

Last fall, I stumbled into what must be the saddest cooking show ever: Weber Cooks, a show that ran on the student-run TV station in Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Hosted by a slightly unkempt Steven Reed, it’s intended for college students with small budgets, a microwave oven, and little or no cooking experience. Reed’s delivery has many similarities to the so-awkward-you’ll-squirm comedy styles of Tim and Eric and Zach Galifianakis, but with one very crucial difference: his is unintentional.

In this episode, Reed gives the benighted masses the Secret of Spaghetti:

If spaghetti isn’t your cup of carbs, he’ll also show you how to make Rice-a-Roni, complete with his trademark heavy breathing:

You want more cheap carbs? Steven is happy to deliver with this recipe for creamed corn and potatoes:

If that isn’t sad enough for you, here’s the creamed corn and potatoes recipe, backed with Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1:

Having company over to watch the big game or a movie and need carbs? How about Steven’s chili cheese nachos?

If you ever screw up an attempt to cook a dish, or feel bad about your lack of cooking skills, point your browser at these videos and take comfort in the fact that no matter how bad a cook you are, there’s someone out there who’s far, far worse.


Happy Easter!

boris vallejo cruciflex

In honour of this holiday, I present to you fantasy artists Boris Vallejo’s depiction of a risen (and ripped) Christ, a painting I like to refer to as “The Cruciflex”. It’ll make you want to go to church and the gym.


Air Canada didn’t know how to treat Itzhak Perlman; do they know how to treat your gate-checked baggage? (Hint: No.)

air canada baggage drop

It hasn’t been even a month since Air Canada had to apologize to world-famous (and disabled) violinist Itzhak Perlman for callously stranding him somewhere between his arrival gate and Customs with his violin, crutches, and luggage; it would appear that they treat their non-human cargo with equal disdain. A passenger on an Air Canada flight recently shot some video of their baggage handlers taking gate-checked luggage dropping the bags from the top of the jetway instead of walking them down to ground level:

They’ve been making apologies ever since. Here’s what’s on their Facebook page right now:

In light of a recent video posted to YouTube, we would like to apologize for the totally unacceptable mishandling of our passengers’ baggage captured on video. We are in the process of identifying the employees involved whose employment will be terminated pending the outcome of our investigation. Their actions clearly contravened our standard baggage handling procedures which require gate-checked bags to be hand carried to the ramp.

We take matters involving the protection of our customers’ personal possessions very seriously. The actions of these individuals are not representative of the vast majority of our employees who work hard every day to take care of our customers.

This is the sort of thing that fuels the joke slogan going around Canadian air traveller circles: “Air Canada: We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”

And that’s why I alway carry on my accordion, and raise hell whenever someone tries to make me gate-check it. I’ve got a couple of damaged squeezeboxes that say they’re not safe to check.


“Spring Cleaning” post #2: Which beer is most likely to land you in the emergency room?

cheap drunk bad choices

spring cleaningHere’s another story that I’ve been meaning to point to: Budweiser is most popular beer among injured ER patients, pilot study says. Public health experts estimate that about one-third of all injury-related ER visits involved alcohol consumption, but researchers at John Hopkins wanted to know more — namely, what were they drinking? It turns out that most beer-caused ER visits involve the sort that’s cheap and imbibed primarily for the buzz rather than taste.


“Spring Cleaning” post #1: Burgers. Burgers everywhere.

spring cleaningI keep a backlog of things that I plan to blog about eventually, and it’s been getting massive. With the spring-like weather that I hear has been making the rounds in my old stomping grounds of Toronto, and the sort of weather that they call “spring” here in Tampa (it feels more like early summer), I figure it’s a good time to subject that backlog file to some spring cleaning. Over the next couple of days, you’ll see all sorts of posts here marked with a “Spring Cleaning” logo


If you like hamburgers and little diversions that help you Zen out, you may find that Guthrie Lonergan’s strange little web page, Burgers, is exactly what you’re looking for. Just move the cursor over the burgers floating on your screen and enjoy the beefy goodness.