Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Gotta Feeling

via videosift.com

Students at Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) shot this amazing video of the Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling" in one take. It comprised over 100 students and the lip-syncing is spot on perfect. Instant Internet phenomenon? You betcha!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Killer Rabbits Win

My pub trivia team, the Killer Rabbits, played their last game and kicked ass doing it! We beat teams comprised of more people, teams that constantly won. Yeah, we won on trivia night before, but this session was special. It was the last time we gathered as a full team. One of the members is moving away and won't be able to attend. She was one of the first players, a regular who attended most every trivia night since 2007, a dear friend who'll we'll all miss.
That night, our team was on fire, getting out an early lead on the general knowledge round, nearly acing the picture round before we hit the wall on our sports round. To be fair, our sports expert couldn't make it that night, but we soldiered on through the music, entertainment and history/geography round. We fell behind, then rallied and caught up. Trivia is exciting if you give it a chance. We came out on top, baby! Champions with a kick ass gift certificate as a prize. Woooo!!! Fuckin' A!
We commemorated the last night with a special photo, which I post here. A special thanks to Amy for commemorating the event with this photo. I'd also like to thank everyone who participated with the Killer Rabbits on Thursday nights. Together, we took a lame Monty Python reference and turned it into a trivia powerhouse. I thank you for your goofy, useless knowledge: Pam, Ben, Daniel, Amy, Michelle, Robin and anyone else who came out for a night of trivia fun.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Russian Chick Totally Wants Me

While checking my e-mail today, I received the following message from a woman who identified herself as "maria":

Hello, I have visited a site: quechup_com. And saw yours profile, I has decided to write to you.
My name is Maria. I the lonely woman. To me 34 years. My growth 178. My weight of 70 kg. I never was married.
I live in Russia. And I have not found the love in Russia. And I have decided to try to find the love through the Internet.
I quiet counterbalanced, optimistical, with good sense of humor, Sincere, frank, fair, true, very romantic, passionate, loyal,
here this all high qualities, at me all depends on mood and the mood most of all depends on weather, I do not smoke i do not drink
I do not accept narcotic tablets, but I can sometimes be very quick-tempered this one my bad quality, I think that any more I have no bad qualities.
My clothing style - modern or casual. I think it while will suffice. Details at correspondence. If you are interested by me then please write on my e-mail.
I shall necessarily answer you. I send you my photos. I shall hope that you write to me and also will send me your photo.
Tell me about itself. Yours faithfully Maria.

"Maria" attached the following photo to her e-mail:

Okay, first of all, like many people I was duped into signing up for Quechup, the networking site that's really a phishing scheme/spam/Trojan virus in disguise. I don't really know what Quechup is, only that I've heard people say that it wasn't genuine, so I avoided it like the plague. This was the first time anyone had contacted me, and I'm pretty gobsmacked. I mean, its not every day that a lovely Russian woman contacts me. Most women run away vomiting when they see my photo, and running while puking is a very difficult maneuver to pull off, so I give them credit for that. I'm pretty suspicious at the authenticity of Maria's e-mail and her query to want to get to know me.
So I've prepared a response of my own to Maria, just to let her know where I stand with anonymous contacts:

Privet! That means hello in Russian, but I'm assuming you already know that. Thank you for finding me on this massive electronic labyrinth called the Internet. I'm glad you found my meager profile on Quechup and not the photos from 1993 of me pledging my fraternity. That would have been embarrassing and I've hired a lawyer to purge those pictures from the Net.
So you want to get to know me? Dangerous move on your behalf, because I'm such a rebel. I don't play by the rules. I'm into things that are illegal in most states and countries. I'm banned from Senegal, Kuwait and eight other countries. Don't ask, it's a long story that involves caning, Dutch schoolgirls and a drunken goat.
Maria, what can I begin to tell you about me? To be fair, let me say that I enjoyed your e-mail. It's clear that English is your third or fourth language, but you write better than most Americans. Writing in minute fragments conveys information in easily-digestible blocks instead of long-winded sentences, great for sufferers of ADD or people from Alabama. So what if you write like Borat speaks? I'm sure I can teach you many things, like basic sentence structure.
Good news, Maria! I, too, am counterbalanced and highly optimistical! What a coincidence, Maria, because my mood also depends upon the weather! When it's sunny and bright, I am sweeter than sugar pie, but when it's overcast or when there's precipitation of any kind, I fly into a wild frenzy and punch infants and kittens.
I also have a zero tolerance for narcotic tablets, preferring to shoot up with needles or ingest liquids. How many good times have I forgotten because of the absinthe and heroin!
While your clothing style is modern or casual, I prefer women who wear medieval peasant's garb, Victorian corsets or lingerie from the 1920s.
I understand that you could be bad-tempered, being Russian and all. I grew up during the Cold War and you Soviets really were pricks. Sorry, but if we're going to embark on this adventure called love, I should at least be honest with you. I mean, what's the deal with all of those gulags and interment camps? Did you really think that by resisting capitalism, your country could thrive? Now that Russia is run by organized criminals, just like in America, I guess there has been some social and economic progress there since 1991.
I must admit that I'm flabbergasted you want to have a relationship with me. I know about the only thing I can offer you besides hot American love is probably a green card, so you can haul your family's asses stateside and begin gorging yourselves on nachos, iPods and designer jeans.
From your photo, I can tell you're beautiful, sexy and probably a nude model. I've seen enough Russian girl websites to know that stripping down and posing is a good way of earning a few rubles. If we start dating, you're going to have to put your nude modeling career aside, as I do not want other men to be spanking the monkey to my woman.
I'm a considerate yet jealous lover.
Tempting your offer may be, I'd have to respectfully decline. It's not you, Maria. It's me. See, I can't stand Internet dating. I have problems with receiving unsolicited e-mails from strange Russian women who send me photos and fill my fool head with notions of rubbing uglies for Mother Russia. To be honest, I think you are nothing but a scam, too good to be true and full of bullshit. You're like the Nigerian Lottery or Spanish Lottery or South African Royal Consulate for Lotteries. You're infecting the Internet, a disease multiplying and dividing, spreading like a pandemic and infecting the inboxes of every red-blooded American male with a Russian girl fixation. I know this might sound harsh, but fuck it - I'm honest here. I don't dwell in the realm of deception and trickery, viewing others as rubes who'll fall for my Ponzi scheme or mail-order bride factory.
You know what I find distasteful, Maria?
It's the lying that hurts. If you are truly a Russian serf dreaming of a strong, American boyfriend, why didn't you contact me through Facebook or Craigslist? Because you used Quechup, I could see right through your scheme, a house of cards meant to lure me into donating money or precious bodily fluids to you for whatever nefarious plot you're brewing in that evil Russian brain of yours.
Did Putin put you up to this? Are you really interested in me, or are you deliberately jerking me around? Sorry, comrade, but this Yankee is tired of your minx-like sex games. You can take your 34-year-old, lithe, 70 kg body back to Siberia.
I'm not interested in a relationship built upon bullshit.
Dasvidania, Maria.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Were You When Everything Changed?

On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four airplanes and destroyed our innocence and security. Now, eight years later, people reflect back not only to the horrible events of that day, but to where they were when they heard the news of the attack. For those removed geographically from New York City or Washington, D.C., the attacks still provoked anger, sadness and a torrent of emotions: helplessness, bitterness, wrath.
On Facebook people shared their personal recollections to where they were when they first learned terrorists steered commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
For me, 9/11 didn't begin with watching plumes of smoke over Manhattan or watching airplanes veer off course to their intended targets.
It began with cleaning the garage.
That morning, after a fight with my wife (now ex-wife) I decided to burn energy by tack;ling the messy garage. She'd gone to work early and since I worked the night shift at a daily newspaper, I had the whole day to kill. It was a beautiful, warm early September day, the kind of clear, blue sky days reserved for the end of summer. I moved boxes in the cluttered garage, chucked things I no longer needed and swept the floor which was littered with dead leaves and dried bug corpses.
It's gross, but just how clean is your garage?
After an hour, the place looked orderly and neat, with all of the tools organized and the garden implements tucked safely away on their shelves.
I went to the kitchen to fetch some water when the phone rang. It was my then-spouse telling me that "something big happened."
Not knowing what it was, I remarked, "Was the president assassinated or something?"
She sounded serious and told me to "turn on the TV. Something happened in New York."
I switched on CNN and saw the skyline of New York City and the World Trade Center. A large hole ripped in the side of the steel and glass skyscraper showed like an ugly blemish with black smoke pouring out. I learned then that an airplane had struck the building.
Probably just a drunk pilot, I thought. I turned on other stations and the coverage played on every single station, even Animal Planet. When they interrupt a show about Galapagos tortoises mating to cover a news story, you know it's serious.
Just then, as I tried to make sense of what was happening, another airplane hit the remaining tower, creating a fiery explosion.
Re-watching the video of the second airplane strike, it seems surreal that such devastation was meted upon us, and hearing the screams of those on the tape I could imagine the utter horror and fear they experienced watching the aircraft slam into the World Trade Center.
Yet words cannot convey the awful sensation of helplessness and rising anger after witnessing that event, whether in Manhattan or on television, yet the news coverage that day tried to make sense of it all. As information came forward, we learned of the strike on the Pentagon and the crashed plane in a field near Shanksville, Pa. We learned of Osama bin Laden and his shadowy Al-Qaeda organization, of young men who were living among us wielding boxcutters to hijack the planes and steer them to their fiery destinations. More importantly, we learned of civilians who fought back against the hijackers and who many claim brought Flight 93 down before it could strike the U.S. Capitol Building.
I seethed with rage when I learned of Al-Qaeda. My father called and I ranted how we should nuke the Middle East and lob a thermonuclear missile right on Mecca during Ramadan. I wanted the Middle East to burn in a hellfire holocaust for what they did to my country.
That day conjures up so many things: the chaos of people running through the streets, the skyscrapers falling and plumes of smoke and ash, of airplanes screaming overhead, of the bravery of firemen, rescue workers and police officers. Though we lost something precious through a sacrifice by fire, we emerged from September 11 a more patriotic and unified nation, where ordinary people stood in line to donate blood, where volunteering and consoling those in pain came naturally. More than that, we became a nation hell-bent on revenge, summoned to a higher purpose by a tragic destiny.
So each year we gather to remember the fury of that day, and through our recollections and grieving, we understand that we are a country that cannot be killed while we slumber. We did not surrender to foreign fanatics who use violence to intimidate and make us afraid. In between all of the patriotic symbols of the World Trade Center, the yellow ribbons, the flags and "Let's Roll!" slogans, there's something deeper from that day. We changed as a nation and the world became a little more dangerous with madmen lurking in darkened places plotting against us.
Now it's a time not for patriotic hyperbole, but for solemn remembrance.
It is a time of reflection, of recalling not just those who had died but how mighty a nation we are for refusing to submit to terror.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

President Obama's Glorious Address to the Nation's Students and Citizens of Tomorrow


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello students of the People’s Republic of the United States of America. I am your President. I wish to thank the principals, teachers and educators around the country for tuning into my address. For those who opted out of playing this address for the students, the Secret Police know who you are and will be visiting you strongly. (laughs) Okay, I was kidding. But we have the wiretaps in place. (laughs) Okay, enough levity.

As you children know, I wanted to assign you homework today. I was going to ask all of you to put down your iPods, Playstations and AK-47s and write yourselves a letter with suggestions for helping me run the country. Unfortunately the Republicans and my nutjob trailer park-dwelling troglodyte critics think that I will indoctrinate you into some sort of quasi-socialism using cleverly-worded propaganda designed to appeal to fragile young minds. What further from the truth. I mean, how can I brainwash America’s youth when you’re already brainwashed? I mean, you’re all a bunch of Twittering, Britney Spears-listening, button-pushing automatons as it is, free from rational thought or deductive reasoning. How can I, the leader of the Free World and President of the planet’s only remaining superpower persuade a generation enslaved by popular culture as you brats? Your generation had everything handed to you and yet you’re still miserable. I mean, you’re really a whiny bunch of Googling, texting, jabbering nincompoops, aren’t you? If you’re not imitating your friends, you feel like Eskimoes banished on ice floes, alone in the wilderness. If you’re not posting pictures of yourselves on Facebook, you cease to exist, is that it? And the Republicans think I’m going to indoctrinate you? I haven’t seen such vacant stares since Village of the Damned.

Anyway, I’d like to talk about my opponents for a second and why I had to scrap my homework assignment for you. See, I’m a Democrat. They are Republicans. The job of Democrats is to tinker with and experiment on society. It’s like the cosmetic companies do to rabbits, by squirting chemicals in their eyes. Yeah, it’s barbaric, and the rabbits are usually put down before they can scratch their tiny eyes out, but it’s all worth the end result of getting the right shade of eyeshadow. Just like what the Democrats do with society by tweaking, prodding and generally disturbing the social order. Now the Republicans’ job is to stop our meddling. See, they don’t want a new shade of eyeshadow. They just want the rabbit to stay in its cage, overeating and pooping on itself and not serve any real purpose. Republicans stop progress dead. They hate anything to do with improving society and want things the way they are. Inertia trumps progress in the red states, I guess.

So when I released my Glorious Healthcare Plan for the People, they call it socialism. They call me Hitler. They show me profound disrespect. One minister from Arizona wished I would die and leave my wife a widow and my children orphans. Nice to see someone really has got this whole Christianity thing nailed down. Looks like when I build the relocation camps, they’ll be in Arizona.

Kids, why can’t your parents understand that I’m not some wolf in sheep’s clothing? I don’t want socialism for any nefarious or diabolical means. I want socialism because in some cases, it works. Yeah, I know we’re a capitalist country and the free market rules. But didn’t the free market and those greedy vultures from Wall Street, along with a lack of governmental regulations and oversight and flawed lending practices supported by Clinton and Bush help screw up our economy? If a corporation fails, why do its CEOs get rewarded millions of dollars? Sounds kinda unfair to me.

Look, kids…mind if I smoke?

(pulls out pack of menthols and smacks it in the palm of his hand, flips box open, removes cigarette and places it in mouth)

I’m trying to quit, really.

(lights cigarette with Zippo lighter with a German Iron Cross on it and inhales deeply before puffing out a billowing cloud of smoke)

Damn, that’s good….By the way, don’t smoke, kids. Cigarettes are bad for you. Just say no.

Okay, where was I? Oh, right. My critics. See, these people who don’t want me speaking to you are really out of their minds. They’re crazy. You know that kid you see at lunch with the retainer and the Barney lunchbox who sits buy himself and can’t open a pudding cup? These people are worse than that kid. People like Glenn Beck, who, incidentally, is a certified loon. Glenn Beck goes on television and rants and raves about how the socialists are taking over America. He even analyzed the art of Diego Rivera, a communist whose mural graces Rockefeller Center, a bastion of capitalism. Never mind that Rockefeller commissioned Rivera’s work in the 1930s, or that Rockefeller despised communism like a majority of Americans. In Glenn Beck’s paranoid mind, it’s all part of a subversive movement to sneak communist symbols into America and slowly indoctrinate the gullible masses. Glenn Beck has gone so far over the edge with his insane rants that he sounds like the conspiracy theorist in the tinfoil hat that hangs out by the subway and is convinced space aliens are poisoning the water supply. The dude is totally sick.

My critics also silenced Anthony Van Jones, my Special Advisor for Green Jobs over some comments he made about 9/11 and the Republican Party. Granted, his comments about 9/11 seemed as fringe as Glenn Beck waxing eloquent over my connections to Marxism or my indoctrination tactics on our Nation’s Glorious Youth, but he was pretty straightforward and honest. I mean, he called Republicans assholes. Now that comment was taken out of context and made some people upset. To his credit, Van Jones said the reasons Democrats are unable to move anything through Congress compared to Republicans is that Republicans are assholes. In other words, Republicans don’t back down. Republicans aren’t concerned with detrimental effects of their decisions. They just plough through everything like a linebacker hopped up on cocaine, not stopping for anything. Democrats lack initiative because they’re not assholes like the Republicans. And being an asshole is a good thing in politics. That Van Jones was a Marxist cannot be overlooked. Sure he claimed to be a Marxist, but I thought he meant the screwball comedies of the Marx Brothers. The guy looks like a black, bald Groucho. How was I to know that he meant Karl Marx? Do any of you hyperactive, ADD techno-spazzes know who Karl Marx is? Google it sometime. Really interesting stuff.

This address was supposed to be about studying hard, eating right and participating in your community. I was supposed to look like I’m engaged with American youth, that by imparting to you the values of work and community service, you’d do right by your country and make this a better place for everyone.

But something funny happened to me on the way to school. My opponents psyched me out. They called out the Cult of Obama and slapped me down. They turned me into some kind of twisted demagogue, some megalomaniacal despot that will seduce you kids on Big Government and socialism, communist, fascism or whatever crazy bullshit they’re accusing me of peddling. Like I'm cheering for this country to transform into some Bolshevik utopia complete with gulags, re-education camps and party loyalty songs. Did I once talk about proletariats' struggles against the oppressive bourgois? If I did, I don't remember.

Sure, I believe government is the answer to everything. I’m a Democrat. Over 50 percent of voters elected a Democrat president. If your parents didn’t know what the Democrats stand for, then the next election they should stay home, drink beer and watch stockcar racing in their undershirts like they’ve always done. Democrats want the government to control every facet of their lives. We want you to not only like Big Brother, but to spoon lovingly with him at night. The Republicans want to make you afraid and paranoid of the government.

I don’t have all the answers. Hell, most of the time I’m cleaning up the mess left by incompetent staffers and ambitious lackeys who put me on a pedestal and think I’m some kind of mulatto JFK.

Truth is, I’m tired. I’m tired of constantly having to reach out to the other side while members of my own party are also shafting me. Just because my poll numbers are going south, now nobody likes me. Back in January I was the rock star. Now I’m just a washed-up has-been looking for a comeback tour.

Will we pass healthcare reform? Probably not. How about end the war in Afghanistan? Not in our lifetime. Turning the economy around? That’s seems likely, but we’re still spending money to stimulate the sluggish economy. All I can do in the middle of calamity is continue to smile and remain unflinching and dedicated in the face of rabid, fanatical criticism. If I were such a socialist or fascist, I’d have clamped down on all dissent, right? Yet Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are free to sling mud at me.

The lesson here is to rise above it, Glorious Youth of Tomorrow. Do your best in school and life. Help your families. Eat your vegetables. Exercise. When you’re 18, vote. And if you ever go into politics, it doesn’t hurt to be an asshole. I hear that helps if you want to accomplish anything.