Tag: Yahoo!

Day 999: Buh-Bye, So Long and Hallelujah

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It’s a completely valid question.

For the past 50 or so days I have been fielding one question more often than most: what am I going to do for Day 1000? Will the final kilograph reflect upon the 999 that came before, like some extended clip show of my greatest guffaws and most aww-rending moments? Will I spend my final entry in closing-credits mode, thanking those who have made this all possible and put up with my considerable dearth of free time over the last 2 years and almost 9 months?

In short… no. While my original intent was to meander down that self-serving footpath for my final article, I decided that I would only do so if I could cite the Wikipedia page that had been created about me – as it turns out, that doesn’t exist yet.

In order to figure out my final missive, I felt I should turn to the moulder of my wisdom, the sage oracle who has helped to shape my morality, my perception, and even my understanding of the world: television. I have experienced the highs and lows of series finales – certainly at least one of them could illuminate the road to a poignant, entertaining, and (most of all) worthy coda to this monstrous undertaking.

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My first option is the beloved trope of bringing back a classic character for the finale. In my case I could introduce a surprise cameo by Yoko Ono, Craig David, Mary Nissenson, or if I really want to stretch to my roots, Phineas Gage. I could style the entire piece in a blend of haiku, musical theatre and secret code (did anyone ever figure that one out?). It sounds trite and cliché, but that’s always a place to start, isn’t it? Read more…

Day 863: The Online Chinese Limbo

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You may not have noticed, but while the Chinese economy is poised to plant its conquering flag upon the global marketplace, the country’s government is astoundingly fucked up. Fucked up and frightened, gauging by the unfathomable swath of censorship that it clings to. What other explanation can there be for the most populated nation on the planet blocking out such a hearty heap of online material?

I suppose when you’ve got a population of over 1.35 billion you probably want to do what you can to keep them from getting any fishy ideas that might propel them into revolt. I don’t care how disciplined your army might be, a billion pissed-off citizens is going to be tough to quiet down. We saw that twenty-five years ago when students rolled the dice and staged a massive public protest for democracy in Tiananmen Square. The government shut them down and since then it has spent a quarter-century trying to convince its citizens that the whole thing never happened.

This is the golden age of knowledge, when a strategic click of a mouse can teach us anything, from alternative political structures to who played the night-watchman on that season 4 episode of Simon & Simon (it was Bucklind Beery – there, I saved you the trouble). But knowledge is power, and clearly the Chinese government doesn’t want its citizenry getting all power-happy.

Let’s have a look at what won’t squeak through the Chinese knowledge-net.

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My site, for starters. I’ve been told the blockade on WordPress has been lifted somewhat over the last year or so, but blogs contain ideas, and ideas are even more dangerous than facts because ideas can procreate. They can seduce one another and spurt out little notion-babies. Evidently the current regime isn’t wanting that to happen. You’ll also find Blogspot, FC2 (a Japanese blog site) and wretch.cc, which is based out of Taiwan, on the blocked list. Read more…

Day 613: The Bullocky Stench Of The Temporal Jet-Set

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Here’s a thought. If Marty McFly had set the time circuits on the DeLorean to show up fifteen minutes early instead of ten when he returned to 1985, he might have thwarted the Libyan terrorists before they’d shot Doc Brown, leaving two Martys in the parking lot and an irreconcilable paradox fluttering around the space-time continuum like a wayward grocery receipt in a wind gust.

Such is the fickle nature of time travel, which is why every movie that touches on the subject winds up raising heaps of skeptical finger-pointing at its plot holes. And for this reason, the majority of reasonable people tend to doubt that time travel – apart from that tediously slow, gradual one-way type we’re all experiencing right now – can exist.

But every so often, common sense will retreat to its cabin for a weekend and we’ll all get swept away in some tale so heinously unlikely, the slack-jawed sense of wonder we experience could only wind up thwacking us with an agonizing hangover of reason and logic the next morning.

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We all know if anyone is going to play around with time travel then cover it up, it’ll probably be the US government. The most ridiculous rumor along this tangent has to be the Philadelphia Experiment. According to the story – which had been passed on to a respected astronomer by a guy who was later revealed to be an ‘imaginative loner’ – the USS Eldridge underwent an experiment during World War II in which it was ‘cloaked’, and rendered invisible. When it reappeared, some crew members had gone insane, while others had materialized with body parts fused to the hull. Read more…

Day 118: 7 Words Coined In The 00’s (that don’t end in ‘izzle’)

There’s something about a new word. A word is special when it’s fresh, new, and somersaulting off the lips of people with the fever of new-found meaning. Years ago I coined the contraction “besn’t”, as a shorter form of telling my kids they’d best not do something (“You besn’t light the dog on fire – our insurance doesn’t cover that.”). While that word hasn’t yet taken off among the teeming masses, the previous decade has seen a few that did.

Like Manhattanhenge. Pictured above, this is a biannual phenomenon that quite literally casts an interesting light on the island of Manhattan. As you may have guessed, the name is derived from a similar phenomenon that occurs at Stonehenge in England.

Not this one.

On the summer solstice, the sun shines through a number of the monuments at Stonehenge, which creates a dazzling effect, and – I don’t know – summons dragons or something. I’m going light on research today.

Manhattan was designed in a grid system, with the streets running about 29 degrees off the cardinal directions. Around three weeks before and after the summer solstice, the sunset lines up snugly between the massive buildings, casting its quirky dusk all over the city. Up around midtown, this is a pretty phenomenal thing. It’s hard enough spotting the sun at its height during the day, so catching a glimpse of it dangling like a thought bubble over the horizon of New Jersey is pretty awesome.

The best pictures of this event are taken near the eastern edge of the island, in order to capture the tunnel effect of the skyscrapers. Bonus points to the shots taken on 34th Street (beside the Empire State Building) or 42nd (with the Chrysler Building). A similar effect occurs in most any city on a grid system – you can find a ton of images of Chicagohenge and Torontohenge as well.

Edmonton has no henge because we don't have enough tall buildings, and it snows here in late April, and fuck this place.

Lactivism is another great new word, used to describe the most outspoken supporters of public breast-feeding. Often lactivists will engage in a protest called a ‘nurse-in’, which is kind of like a sit-in, except with boobs. Read more…