Valentine's day card: "Try not to think about the fact that Newt Gingrich is having more sex than you this Valentine's Day."

AIEEEE! Mental image winning! Mental image winning!


Toronto’s Got an Ultimate Tazer Ball Team!

Every year, we get closer to having a TV show like The Running Man. The latest sign in this progression is Ultimate Tazer Ball, which looks like a sport that the guys behind Jackass would’ve dreamed up: rugby (itself supposedly a game born in a moment of frustration) with a medicine ball…and tasers! Add uniforms with electroluminescent wire – to remind you that there’s actual electricity in this game – and you’ve got something that I might just have to see live…at least once.

As you might expect, UTB’s real draw is the addition of tasers. In a moment of Buddha-like insight, player Jason Bornstein says in the promo video (see above), “It hurts, man. It doesn’t feel good. It’s why the cops use ‘em.”

toronto terror

Best of all, Accordion City has a team! It’s the Toronto Terror, and the logo is cleverly to designed to remind you of the fact that this team plays with live current. The other teams in the league are the San Diego Spartans, the L.A. Nightlight and, in what must be an homage to the Springfield Isotopes, the Philly Killawatts, all of whom use some kind of jagged lines in their logos to say “Electricity! Dude! TASERS!”

Monster trucks and mixed martial arts no longer bring me the inner peace and joy they once did; perhaps Ultimate Tazer Ball will. When they schedule the first match in Toronto, I’m definitely going! Who’s with me?


“I’m Rob Fucking Ford!” (or: The Mayor, the Ambush and the 911 Call)

The official Rob Ford graphic: Peter Griffin in a suit, with the caption "I'm the mayor / Deal with it"Mayor Griffin”

Those of you not familiar with Accordion City’s politics may not have heard our mayor, Rob Ford, who’s best summed up as a voting experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong. Riding in on a Tea Party-esque campaign based on the single issue of cutting costs and voted in mostly by the suburbs as a right-of-centre reaction to the previous left-of-centre mayor David Miller, he’s been taking a richly-deserved beating in the opinion polls for his toxic combination of a pig-headed inability to compromise, willful ignorance of reality and a lack of tact second only to the cartoon character Peter Griffin. It is this last quality (along with the characteristics of his mayoral rivals) that led me to compare the players in Toronto’s last mayoral election to the characters in Family Guy.

The Toronto alt-weekly paper formerly known as Eye Weekly (they’re now The Grid) did a pretty good job of summarizing what the city would be like under “Mayor Griffin”, and one year later, it seems mostly spot-on:

Wait, you say the mayoral frontrunner is an uncouth, simple-minded loudmouth with a notoriously bad temper and a penchant for saying absolutely the wrong thing? And he wants to rip up streetcar tracks, slash city spending and dismantle service infrastructure? And to top it all off, he has a demonstrated inability to get anyone on council to work with him? Where do we sign up? Seriously, though: the best-case scenario with Ford is that he can’t accomplish anything. Worst-case, he ruins the city entirely.

The only thing that this article missed is that Ford would be pure comedy gold.

Peter Griffin Meets Marg: Princess Warrior

"This Hour Has 22 Minutes" cast and logo

This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a Canadian television “fake news” show in the spirit of SNL’s Weekend Update, the BBC’s Not the Nine O’ Clock News, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. One of their long-running segments is Marg: Princess Warrior, which features castmember Mary Walsh’s east-coast housewife character Marg Delahunty dressing up in a Xena: Warrior Princess-like outfit and surprise-interviewing Canadian politicians.

Mary Walsh dressed in her "Marg Princess Warrior" costume

The Marg: Princess Warrior interviews are the stuff of legend in Canadian political circles, and even the most humour-impaired of politicians have angled to get ambushed by her simply because she’s good publicity – at least with that part of the Canadian public that likes the CBC. The CBC is unpopular with Canadian conservatives for the same reason that PBS and NPR are unpopular with their American counterparts: publicly funded, not pandering to the lowest common denominator, (mostly) smart and trying to pass on some smarts to the audience. With the notable exception of Hockey Night in Canada, Rob isn’t likely to watch the CBC and isn’t likely to have seen This Hour Has 22 Minutes nor the Marg: Princess Warrior segments. So he can be excused for being a bit concerned when he got a surprise interview from them earlier this week.

On Monday morning, a This Hour Has 22 Minutes crew, along with Mary Walsh in her full Marg: Princess Warrior outfit showed up at the end of Rob Ford’s driveway to do the interview. Ford is reported to have gone along with it at the beginning, but either sensing that he might become the object of ridicule or getting confused because things were happening more quickly than he could process, got huffy, ran inside his house and called 911, which is what we’ve all been taught to do in the case of a life-threatening emergency. And what’s more life-threatening to a socio-politico-fiscal conservative than the CBC?

Your Worship (yes, that’s how formally address the mayor in Toronto, even if he’s Rob Ford), if the sight of a middle-aged woman in costume sends you running for the cops, you’re really not going to like this little celebration that’s happening this weekend called Hallowe’en:

Editorial cartoon featuring Rob Ford being visited by trick-or-treaters, yelling "Call 911!"

It Gets Better (or: The 911 Call of the Year)

Photo of Rob Ford: "I'm Rick Ford, bitch!"

The only thing of greater comedic value than the fact that Rob Ford placed a 911 call in response to a camera crew and a woman dressed up like Xena is what he’s alleged to have done during said call. When he didn’t get the kind of response he was hoping for – Two police cruisers arriving within seconds? An entire anti-CBC SWAT team? The Christian Bale version of Batman? – he is said to have cussed out the dispatcher:

“You bitches! Don’t you fucking know? I’m Rob fucking Ford, the mayor of this city!”

This isn’t the first outburst of this type to emanate from His Worship. A few years back, Ford got into an altercation with fellow fans at a Leafs/Sens game after they asked him to dial down his obnoxiousness. He responded with “Who the fuck do you think you are? Are some kind of right wing Commie bastard [sic]? Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?

The news reports say recordings of this call have “spread like wildfire through the police service”. If real, this recording may become as legendary as this complaint call to the Quebec-based cable-and-internet provider Videotron [576KB MP3, swearing in French], which is the perfect tutorial for swearing in Quebecois French.

This story’s been getting a lot of play in the local media. Even the right-leaning National Post have been wavering in their “ideology first, things like actions, character and ideas can wait” support for Ford as of late, and even more so in light of this latest gaffe. (They still scold the CBC in the article, because hey, they’re the CBC. Scolding them is what the Post does.)

What now remains to be seen is how Team Ford handles the situation. In the meantime, it looks as though Team Photoshop is going to have a field day:

Photoshopped campaign sign on a lawn: "Re-elect Rob Fucking Ford for mayor of this city, you bitches"


SkyMall’s Air Travel Pillows

Cover of SkyMall magazine, featuring a machine for making soft drinks at home

I’ve cut my carry-on travel bulk by switching from “dead-tree” books to electronic books on my iPad, but you can’t use electronics during takeoff and landing. Luckily, I was flying on “Continited”, the merged airline made up of Continental (“Cheap like Northwest, but our pilots are sober!”) and United (home of “Economy Minus” class), who provide a copy of SkyMall in every seat pocket.

SkyMall is always fascinating reading. It’s the finest catalog of things best described by Japanese terms: gomi, which means “junk” and chindogu, a neologism used to describe “unuseless” items: seemingly clever yet impractical solutions to First World Problems. If you’ve always wanted Draco Malfoy’s snake-headed cane, a kind of device that lets you make your own soft drinks at home or a fancy laser helmet that supposedly reverses male-pattern baldness, SkyMall can satisfy your needs.

Since the February, I’ve been averaging a flight every two and a half weeks, so I thought I’d check out the section for frequent travellers. These two items, both air travel pillows, caught my eye.

SkyMall ad for the EZ Sleep travel pillow, featuring a woman leaning against an inflatable wall mountedon the armrest of her airline seat

If you’re the kind of person who likes something to lean on while sleeping and extremely well-defined boundaries, the EZ Sleep travel pillow was made for you. If you’re by the windows, this pillow turns your seat into a little fort, and if you’re closer to the aisle, you can play “border guard” to the passengers in your row now trapped behind your inflatable Berlin Wall. The EZ Sleep pillow’s design also ends resolves the battle between you and the poor schlub beside you over the armrest by forcing a stalemate: it’s not-win-not-win!

SkyMall as for the SkyRest travel pillow, featuring man leaning forward on a large blue pillow mounted on the seatback tray table

While the ad for the EZ Sleep pillow amused me, the ad for the SkyRest pillow cracked me up. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach and you place a much higher value on 40 winks than on dignity, you’ll love this pillow. It seems designed specifically to make you look as if you’ve drunk too much and passed out right at the bar. Pair this with a dark suit and you’ll look like you had a successful three-martini business lunch with Warren Buffett; wear an aloha shirt like the guy in the ad above and people will think that you had a rip-roaring’ time with Jimmy Buffett.


Scarred for Life

scarred for life

Titled as found – and it’s the perfect title too.

Life The Current Situation

Glenn Beck, Voice of Reason

Memo to John McCain: When Glenn freakin’ Beck sounds more reasonable than you, something is seriously wrong.

In case you needed a reminder of Glenn Beck’s usual level of reasonableness, here’s a collection of his greatest hits:


Why You Shouldn’t be Celebrating “Confederate History Month”

virginia confederate history month

Because the Confederates were committing treason in defense of slavery.

Be sure to read the article Lest We Forget Why They Fought, an excerpt of which appears below:

So if you are from the South, you have no need to apologize for the Confederacy. Even if your ancestors include men who fought and died for the Confederacy, this is not a matter which ought to cause anyone today to evaluate you as any different than anyone else. You are not your ancestors. You have to make your own choices, and one of those choices includes deciding whether or not to be proud of a Confederate ancestry. If I had Confederate soldiers among my ancestors (I don’t think I do, but you never know) I’d say I respected their bravery, and that I understood why they might have thought they were fighting for their country. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.

But at the end of the day, they were fighting for a morally indefensible cause and while I might prefer to remain silent about that, if forced I would have to admit that yes, I thought they were on the wrong side of the war. Treason in defense of slavery is not a subject matter appropriate for any freedom loving people to celebrate. The Civil War had good guys and it had bad guys. The good guys were the ones who won.