Most Beautiful

Unmentionable magazines are fond of generating publicity by having a list of the most beautiful or sexiest people in the world. It drives magazine sales, produces a lot of link love and just plain old publicity for the publication. Indeed, I’m surprised all magazines don’t try to break into the party. Why, I just entitled this post “most beautiful”, shouldn’t advertisers be beating down my door to be associated with this post?

I would just like to point out one thing. These carefully collected and hotly contested lists have one very simple trait. They consist almost exclusively of film or television actors. Let’s examine that for a moment.

Let’s say you achieve the dream of being in a relationship with one of these actors or actresses. And they are good at their craft. If they cheat, they will likely be able to effectively lie their way out of it. Some of these actors even have trophies saying they can lie their way through most situations.

Film actors go off to shoot in exotic locales all over the world. Now I’m not certain that gives them motivation to cheat, but it certainly provides opportunity.

Alright,alright, the dream of being in a relationship with an actor that can easily cheat isn’t so good, but why not assume they’re going to cheat and just beat them at it?

Then, when the day comes when they try to trip you up – they can. They’ll say, “Well I appreciate how you tried to pull the wool over my eyes and realized that nothing less than method acting would do. Your excuse was that you were taking auctioneering classes MWF and you were just taking them every Monday. At first I thought you were a bit slow but you were really cheating Wednesday and Friday. Nothing less than some commitment to the lie would have helped. Kudos. But I’m cutting you out of my life forever.”

An actor may be incredibly attractive. But my conscience can only recommend them for one night stands.

So when checking out those magazine covers with all those sexy actors or actresses, remember the magazine isn’t so hot, those people are only for flings. So step away from those magazines. I said step away. Okay, okay. I bought one earlier because I knew I was going to do this rant and wanted one final reminder of the most beautiful.

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The Kitchen, the Loo, and the Bridge

It has come to my attention that the three cities in Waterloo Region (in Ontario, Canada) all can have derived architectural nicknames.

Kitchen can stand for Kitchener. Indeed that city uses the slogan “Keep Kitchener clean as a Kitchen”. Loo can stand for Waterloo, meaning a toilet in the English of certain parts. Waterloo is actually shy about promoting this tie, not unlike the shyness of many in regards to toilet conversation. Bridge could stand for Cambridge, an architectural improvement on the “ford” city names like Brantford and Stratford. Yes my biases are showing, I really prefer a bridge to fording a river.

Kitchener only got its name when it was decided during World War I that total war against Germany should involve changing the name of a city called Berlin to something more palatable to the British Empire. Thus the year 1917 I see as the age when Kitchener (or the Kitchen) came to be on the inside.

It took longer for the Loo to arrive on the inside. Indeed in the 19th century the vast majority of loos existed on the outside. Indeed these constructs were called outhouses, thus trumpeting the fact they were on the outside. After enduring much, sometime in the 20th century, the Loo started cosying up to Kitchener and eventually got in the inside by calling itself Kitchener’s twin city. With Kitchener’s approval, the Loo became part of the inside.

Doesn’t the Bridge (or Cambridge) just scream being on the outside? Indeed Light Rail Transit (something between a bus and a subway) is coming to the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo in only a couple years from now. The region can only afford this in the well built up areas of the Kitchen and the Loo. Years after that completion, the region will expand Light Rail Transit to the Bridge.

Cambridge politicians opposed the LRT for Kitchener and Waterloo. Why should they have to pay for something that doesn’t benefit themselves (although initially they get bus rapid transit)? And mostly it feels like the Bridge is on the outside and might never be on the inside.

Houses are much more common for people to build than bridges. And the vast majority of houses have a sunken basement. What makes a house the most habitable is that we don’t stop there, we add at least another level. This other level bridges the basement. What I am trying to say is that sure some bridges are outside, but by far the most common type of bridge is in almost every home.

I have no doubt that the Kitchen and the Loo are going to bring the Bridge clearly inside. Sure it might take more years but Cambridge is going to get the LRT, too. How do I know? Well decades ago all Canadian cities were clamouring for the plant Toyota planned to bring to Canada. Instead of offering competing bids, both Kitchener and Waterloo backed the bid by Cambridge. The Cambridge Toyota plant employs thousands to this very day.

Maybe the Bridge was on the inside all along. Well at least since 1973 when it was formed from towns and one small city. I think all three cities are now on the inside track in Waterloo Region.

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Franking

First of all, who was the nasty person that dragged poor Frank’s name through the dirt, forever associating his name with the act of Canadian politicians sending mail to constituents at no cost through Canada Post?

I do take exception to that “no cost” label. A crown corporation that has to keep making cutbacks and jacking up rates, could indeed use actual paying customers. This article says that a politician gets 4 free acts of franking and pays a nominal fee for any extras. I believe that fee is nominal indeed, because my Member of Parliament sent me no less than 17 pieces of what can only be described as propaganda, in one year.

I said last year that I was going to keep track of how many pieces of mail I get from my Member of Parliament, Harold Albrecht. Long time readers will know that I have been annoyed with this policy of franking for years. They say that with franking the public is allowed to write back to their MP for the same free cost, but in reality if we made an ongoing campaign of it as our MPs do, the policy would stop almost immediately.

17 pieces of mostly crap arrived this year, that touted a government “Action Plan” that does nothing more than any government would do. Most of this propaganda contained a “Be heard” icon with a question and three arrows, one of which pointed to “The Conservatives” and none of which pointed to the other three parties listed. This is an obvious act of propaganda since my MP is Conservative.

17 acts of junk mail were performed against me by my own Canadian government.

I had the idea that I would figure out how many households in my community would receive this mail and figure out how much Harold Albrecht was costing me per year above and beyond his usual expenses and salary.

A Conservative/Liberal committee found that a third party, the NDP, were guilty of abusing their franking privilege by sending party propaganda (I don’t understand the difference between this and the 17 pieces of propaganda I received from the Conservatives). They are trying to make the NDP pay for their indiscretion at the rate of 1 charge of 1st class mail per item sent out. The first class charge is about 97 cents so this should make my calculations easier because I don’t have to consult with Canada Post.

There are about 100 000 people in a Canadian riding. There are actually many more in Harold Albrecht’s Kitchener-Conestoga because this is a very fast growing area. But I will use the 100 000 people estimate. The number of people per household is a difficult number to obtain quickly on the internet (shame, shame Statistics Canada and the government of Canada), but Burlington ( a nearby Ontario city) had 2.6 people per household in 2006 and a 2003 American census puts the average per household at 2.57 people. So I will use the 2.6 figure.

One hundred thousand people divided by 2.6, times 97 cents,and times 17 gives us a figure of $643 230.77

Let’s be frank. Each Conservative MP is likely costing us over $600 000 a year in franking alone. There are 162 Conservative ridings in Canada. Franking is likely costing us 97 million dollars per year for the propaganda of one political party. This just totally dwarves the 1.17 million dollars the NDP is being accused of for improperly franking. If the Conservatives and NDP are using franking for propaganda can the Liberals be far behind? Only $22 million is being given to Canada post for all this franking.

Canada Post has cried out that they are hurting by raising rates and discontinuing delivery to urban addresses that don’t have community mailboxes. What is the real cost of franking? The information speaks for itself. Down with franking.

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Homeopathy and the High Price of Chemicals

Homeopathy is the discipline (hah!) that states that a properly diluted chemical can still have an effect on your immune system. The dilutions are so extreme, that there is either a vanishingly small amount of the original, active ingredient or maybe none at all in the final dose. Proponents of homeopathy pounce on this point as a positive, saying that is why homeopathy is so safe.

Dilutions can be done with water or another liquid solvent. For nonsoluable solids, the alleged active ingredient can be ground down and then mixed with, say, powdered sugar. The solvent or powder is at least 90% of the combo with the other 10% or so being the active ingredient, of which 10% is taken and added to a new 90% solvent or powder. This is repeated a few more times till that active ingredient is almost nonexistent in the final product.

But wait a minute. Since this effect is so successful for a human’s immune system (say the proponents), I guarantee if this is true it must also be successful in other areas of study. Nature rarely wastes a good idea in only one sphere. Nature tends to use good tricks again and again.

We all know that chemicals can get expensive. If a solvent or powder can retain memory of a chemical for the immune system, I say we begin to see if this is true for more systems. Maybe it is true in inorganic systems. If so we might be witness to huge shifts in manufacturing.

If you could do the first couple of dilutions of an expensive chemical, since we only need 10% of the first dilution, we could either use that other 90% for more homeopathy or rescue 90% of the active and presumably expensive chemical. Thus, you could have most of your chemical and use it, too.

Manufacturing might be problematic at first. How could you make solids out of a solution or powder? Well you could add a fixative to the powder or maybe freeze the solution. But a fixative adds impurities and freezing needs a cooling system. Well that cooling system could all be made up of frozen homeopathic solutions. And we needn’t have an infinite regress as that first cooling system could make itself cool enough to be frozen where needed.

With the high price of chemicals, homeopathy would vastly lower the price of manufacturing as water is plentiful and even the distilled kind is relatively cheap. Powder could be similarly made out of inexpensive things. Things would be so cheap we could bring Chinese manufacturing to its knees. All around the world, prices would go down.

So next time you hear the word homeopathy, don’t say “Bah, humbug!” like me, instead say, “That’s the future of manufacturing!”

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Is There an End to Humour?

I come to you this week without humour. Oh I thought of a couple jokes. But they’re one liners that I can’t figure out how to pad into a post.

I sometimes wonder if all the jokes possible will ever be told. When I pressure myself to come up with a funny post I can almost feel the finiteness of humour. That week I feel all the jokes have almost been written.

Usually a couple or a few weeks later I’m three post ideas ahead and throw my head backwards and laugh. “Of course jokes aren’t finite,” I think. “I might be able to figure out jokes to the day I die.” Even with extended life as some science fiction holds out to be true.

This all reminds me of my science days at university. A female from my Earth and Atmospheric Science class found out I was a physics major. She asked a question that caught me off guard. “Don’t you think that physics is done?”

Done. As in complete. I hadn’t thought of that possibility before so I didn’t comment. But I’ve thought of the question since. Of course physics isn’t done. There are still some problems and details that physics just can’t model yet. And of course there is dark matter and dark energy.

My interest in science fiction has gotten me to expand upon this question. Grand Unified Theories or GUTs try to tie as much together as possible. But unifying things can only happen so many times before you have a Theory of Everything (TOE). ( Why should physics concepts come back to the human body like these acronyms do?)

Because these acronyms exist, it should be obvious that a large part of the physics thought complex believes there will one day be an end to physics.

I’ve played with this and thought about a possible way of portraying a finite science. Perhaps 1500 AD to 2500AD are the golden years of physics where there are still new things to work on. My prediction would be that at about 2500 that Theory of Everything might be made known.

But in some way I doubt 2500 would be the endpoint of all human science. We’d probably still be working at the details till 3000. We’d have to get the Theory of Everything to extend to chemistry then biology and maybe even to the softer psychology and other domains. And having a theory doesn’t mean you necessarily have made all that’s possible with that theory. Engineering and tech could last with newer ideas till 3000 AD, too. So the golden age for humans might be from 2000 AD to 3000 AD where we have a decent life and still have the thrill of discovery.

I think the case of finite humour might depend on finite science. If there is an end to science then there might very well be an end to humour. Perhaps humour needs more and more new concepts for us to find different humour.

Since our 3000 AD bodies might very well be built to last forever, perhaps we might terminate our existence at some point. When we reach the end of humour and we know all the possible jokes, that might be a good place to stop.

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Vertical Stripes

Sports fans sometimes are bewildered by things in other parts of the public sphere. Where they can go on and on about the whys and wherefores of each subtle movement in the game of their choice, they are at a loss to explain even commonplace actions in other areas.

I say let’s help them out in the sphere of law. To make things ever so much easier for them, we should dress our judges in vertical stripes. And instead of a gavel they can have a whistle. This will make things so much more explicable to the sports fan.

Then we can easily explain away the trials of one of their stars, O. J. Simpson. The leniency of the first trial was countered by the harshness of the second trial. We can say it in one simple sentence and all the sports fans will get it. The harshness of the second judgement was to play even up in the game.

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Horizontal Stripes

Jails started the erasure of the stereotypical image of doing time. They no longer clothe criminals in horizontal black and white striped garb, complete with a number. For some reason they chose a new image. That new image was of the criminal doing time in a one coloured jump suit.

Wherefore art thou now, Hamburgler? If you put on a jump suit, perhaps people might mistake you for a baby in a onesie.

The erosion of this image continued in the last few years. Fashion has not only dared to bring back black and white stripes, it has dared to bring them back in both slimming vertical stripes as well as the formerly prison defining horizontal stripes.

And to make matters worse, these people with the fashionable horizontal stripes are just as law abiding as you or I. There is no known link between this new fashion and crime.

How are cartoonists the world over going to illustrate the act of being in jail by a single defining image? Perhaps they could sell it by showing someone literally behind bars. But this limits the image so much.

More importantly, how is multi millionaire furniture salesman and former Toronto mayor, Mel Lastman going to sell his Bad Boy brand? How will people tell in an instant the character is a bad boy if not for the horizontal stripes? There is of course the possibility that everyone knows Lastman was a Toronto mayor and that might be enough to let everyone know he is a bad boy.

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Alligator Tamer

We’ve all heard of the daring lion tamer. Often this act will see the tamer controlling these large animals with a whip. I don’t recommend you doing this at home. But the grand finale of some lion tamer acts will see the tamer sticking his head in the lion’s mouth. This shows the tamer’s total control of the lion. Even in this weak position, the tamer still controls the lion well enough that the creature does not make a meal of him.

But we’ve all seen this act and might now want an exciting variant. The show I’m thinking of starting is the alligator tamer spectacle. Sticking your head in a lion’s mouth is for wimps.

Why alligators? Well quite frankly those creatures have been measured to have the strongest bite of any creature on earth. An alligator should quite easily be able to crack the skull open of any human stupid enough to put their head in its mouth.

I have a plan. You see, alligators are cold blooded. For them this means that they lie dormant for the winter months. And thus is born my plan.

I will work my magic in a glass enclosed space. I will cool this environment to winter temperatures. I will test it a number of times with a skull protector that can handle the pressures of an alligator’s full bite. I will experiment with the temperature and putting my protected head in, until I find the sweet spot where I can put my head in the alligator’s mouth without it chomping down.

With the known sweet spot I will take my show on the road, to any circus willing to pay my exorbitant fees. I will become a star. Maybe I’ll sell videos of my deed.

To me the phrase “cold blooded” will be a selling feature. Unlike when it is used to describe a guiltless killer. I will feed my cold blooded alligator well in the summer months. It will grow if only to make my prowess at the shows even more impressive.

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Cats Are Conservatives and Other Inescapable Truths

I can feel it. Some of the readers of this piece are set to argue that their beloved cat can’t be a conservative because their owner is not and even doesn’t socialize with any conservatives. But let’s review the facts.

Bring a box of stuff into your home that is shared with a cat. Just set the box down as soon as you enter your abode. So your cat can’t see it. But within seconds your cat will have heard, smelled, or tasted the new stuff in the air. In a moment your cat is there, examining the new things.

You might say this proves nothing, just that cats are curious. Curiosity killed the cat after all. Well cats may well be curious but I don’t think that’s in play here. Your cat will sniff and then mark the box. The marking is done by the cat scraping its cheek along an edge of the box. That cheek has scent glands.

Now move that box to another room or 10 feet from where you originally set it. Again, in only moments the cat will have spied the new position and sniffed and marked the box again. It already knows what the box is so it’s not curiosity. Cats don’t handle change well.

You may have noticed this before. Like when you moved and your cat barely came out in the first day after the move.

Conservatives don’t handle change well either. That is very close to the actual definition of conservative. Don’t believe me? Talk to a conservative about human rights. They will likely tell you they are definitely on the right side of history for this one and believe in equal rights for all ethnicities. But fifty years ago the conservative view was much different. Glacially the shift came, is still happening.

The modern conservative will also tell you that gay marriage is very controversial, pitting moral religion against those with questionable lifestyles. The conservative view doesn’t acknowledge that human rights still aren’t perfect even in the alleged free world. I expect fifty years from now conservatives will have moved a step again toward more liberal views.

The way cats don’t handle change well just shows them to be the conservatives they are.

Almost everything involving common pets gets put on a cat/dog spectrum. I am hardly going to change this. So I will tell you that dogs are nothing more than liberals and socialists. You might not like this position either. I will just say that dogs, just like liberals and socialists, try to do what’s best for the pack.

I am now going to take the Canadian political spectrum to define liberals as being different from socialists. On the entrenched spectrum of politics, conservatives are on the right, liberals are in the middle and socialists are on the left.

What I take this to mean is that liberals are after what is good for the pack as long as it doesn’t put the liberal out too much. And socialists believe so much in the good of the pack that they will support even things that hurt themselves as long as it is for the common good.

Now that we know cats are conservative and dogs are more socialist, let’s laugh at a couple people that seem ignorant of this model.

Don Cherry is that famous hockey commentator that is so conservative that he still bashes eastern European hockey players. For many years he was a famous dog owner. Does he realize that his loveable pooch spends its spare time being a socialist? That pooch is probably plotting Cherry’s downfall and the rise of the eastern European players. For the good of all hockey.

For the laughable non conservative that owns a cat, we don’t have to go any further than me. Oh I used to try to be non partisan and for some time I tried being a political cartoonist. But my long history of paying attention to politics led me to see that the majority governments of Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative) and Stephen Harper (Conservative) allowed these conservatives to engage in more scandals per unit time than any centre or leftist government has done in Canada.

So I am either centrist or leftist and I own a very conservative cat. She is so conservative she wears exclusively black. She loves nothing better than to follow her routines. But I am still her master and thus in charge. Changing her litter regularly is clearly good for all. So despite the conservative cat, I keep my socialist leaning spirit intact. Maybe I’m not so laughable after all. That is, despite having to clean up a conservative’s litter.

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A Plague of Trilliums

I was in shock earlier this week when I noticed all the trilliums in this bush. A bus I take goes by this bush and I honestly had never seen so many trilliums. In all directions the trilliums went for the full quarter mile wide length and breadth. The shot I include is more typical than atypical. Sure I wanted a lot of trilliums in the shot to make my point. The biggest difference I noted in the different directions was that the trilliums were on average pointed toward a certain direction. So I took this shot from that direction so more trilliums were facing the camera.

trillium2

Oh, I had seen trilliums many times before when I was growing up. At least three times in my childhood I was walking with a group through the woods and the group would spot a lone trillium or a couple of the plants. I was told at all these encounters that trilliums were the provincial flower of my province, Ontario. As a result it was against the law to pick the flower.

I am only able to interpolate from that trillium scarce childhood to the present day plague of trilliums. Apparently trilliums are a plant where if you pick the flower, the whole plant dies. So maybe there is some truth to the no picking trilliums rule. Indeed, this link gives the rules for picking trilliums.

The way I see it, Ontarians believed the story that picking any trillium is illegal. So instead we picked Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Queen Ann’s Lace, and whatever interesting forest plants we could find. But fearing the law, we all left the trillium alone.

Finally, we now get to see what we created. Because of selective picking, we now have a plague of trilliums. If this over abundance persists every year, I suggest we let the no picking trilliums law be taken off our books. Besides, we might be able to honour this provincial flower indoors and not just on nice days out in the woods.

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