Recent Entries in Misc

  Highest IQ in Waterloo?

Whoa. That's a toughie. What with the High-tech triangle, RIM, those nerds at the University of Waterloo, and the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics (where Stephen Hawking is rumoured to be kept in a sealed jar these days), one would suspect we've got our own little Eureka here, in the heart of Southwestern Ontario. Of course, I'd always seen myself as a bald version of the cunning, but not too bright Sheriff Jack Carter, but that's another story.

So, if I had to guess the highest IQ in Waterloo, I'd conservatively say it was around 175-180, in the highest genius category. Note, we're not talking about average IQ, but highest IQ. I may be wrong, of course; feel free to let me know what your guess would be.

Oh, yeah. The whole reason this came up is because of this stupid "Test Your IQ" ad which foolishly showed up in my browser the other day:


Yup, 115, apparently. It's not that I believed it would actually give me an accurate rating for the highest IQ in Waterloo (but wouldn't that be something you'd like to see?), or that I didn't already know that no matter what city my Internet connection originated, the number would always be 115, in order to entice me into clicking on the link to think that I might (gasp) have a higher IQ than whatever they listed.

No, it's more that they picked 115 to be the highest number for the region.

It was kind of funny when the ads showed off IQs for Paris Hilton or George Bush. At least there was enough reasonable uncertainty that made you confident you could have a higher IQ than George Bush. Or you could be pseudo-outraged that Paris Hilton could possibly have a higher IQ than you. But nothing pulls back the veil of willful disbelief suspension than to say the maximum IQ in Techtown is a modest 115. I mean, really, guys.

I saw this funny banner ad whilst surfing, and I had to upload it. After all, this is who Zuckervati is ... a greasy guy in a smoking jacket and sunglasses who pours champagne for obtuse women.


(Actually, "zuckervati" is German for "sugardaddy". But you knew that already, right?)

What really got me about this image was that it was taking 3 bottles of champagne to bed this strumpet. And I love the tagline: "where beautiful girls and successful men meet". Still, it's kind of tempting to go over there and have a look.

  How to Tie a Tie

Pay attention; this is important. If you can't tie a tie, you suck.

It's a sad fact, but there are grown men who don't know how to tie a necktie. If they have a big interview that afternoon, they'll go shopping for a clip-on. Even if a man does know how to tie a tie, their knowledge is often limited to just one knot. But there are several ways to tie a necktie. Certain knots should be used with certain shirt collars and tie fabric materials to get the best results for your appearance.

How to Tie a Tie | The Art of Manliness

Because, if you have to be a drunk, be a classy drunk.

Intoxicatedly Charming, or a Wasted Bore?

Your mouth is always a pretty good indicator: If someone is kissing it, you're being charming. If someone is ramming their fist into it, well, not so much.

The Gentleman's Guide to Being a Classy Drunk - Asylum | Men's Lifestyle | Humor, weird news, sex tips, fashion, dating, food and gadgets

  Insane Deal on Razors

Insane Deal on Razors - Uploaded by Zuckervati.

With the coupon, I can get 52 razors for a mere $8.49 at Costco. That's like a new razor every week. And I'm the kind of stingy guy who tries to get a month out of each razor.

  Sinister Words

Sinister Words - Uploaded by Zuckervati.

From the back of a mystery novel, of course.

  Your 44th President

Suddenly, everything is peaceful, and the sky is sunny, and the day is warm.

And so it came to pass that on Nov. 4, 2008, shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern time, the American Civil War ended, as a black man â.. Barack Hussein Obama â.. won enough electoral votes to become president of the United States.

And there was dancing in the streets...

And yet, only 64% turned out to vote. And that's some kind of record in the U.S. Sure, it's not nearly as bad as Canada's 59% this past election, though ours was more of a farce: it was the third election in four years, and it ended up forming a third consecutive minority win, which hasn't happened since the sixties.

I guess all the Republicans stayed at home?

  Goodbye Opus

Goodbye Opus. Even though we didn't stay in touch, I'll miss you.

I started reading Bloom County in the '80s, and got into it immediately. Now, just this week, Berke Breathed has ended the life of his famous penguin Opus with the retirement of the Opus comic strip. That's right. Opus is no longer with us.


It wasn't without some warning, as rumours of Opus's retirement came as early as June 2008, when he began to see the "creator" and started doubting the nature of reality. Comic book reality, that is. Definite notification came in August, when the creator notified Opus of the end; of his trip to his "final paradise."

The final panel of the comic strip was a mystery, published this past Sunday on the Humane Society's website. If you're at all a fan of Bloom County and Opus, don't click on the link until you've read the strips leading up to it.

I never really read much of Breathed's work after Outland started being published, but I never thought of a cartoon character's life coming to an end. Breathed stated that he wouldn't draw another picture of Opus after that last panel to preserve the memory (that is, "unless a film ever emerges that [he] will have control over," which is unlikely). So Opus's end is really that. Final.


I felt so sad when I read this. You maybe don't keep up with your old friends ... but when you hear about a friend's death, it really affects you.

So goodbye Opus. Glad you found your happy place at last. Mine would have been with the Tahitian women.

  James Crumley, Dead at 68

This is too bad. I really liked Crumley's work. I was just hoping to hear more from him.

James Crumley, Crime Novelist, Is Dead at 68 - Obituary (Obit) -

James Crumley, a critically acclaimed crime novelist whose drug-infused, alcohol-soaked, profanity-laced, breathtakingly violent books swept the hard-boiled detective from the Raymond Chandler era into an amoral, utterly dissolute, apocalyptic post-Vietnam universe, died on Wednesday in Missoula, Mont. He was 68 and lived in Missoula.

No single cause of death had been identified, his family said. Mr. Crumley had been in declining health with kidney, vascular and other problems in recent years.

You've got to hand it to Canada's military. Not only were they marching in the Gay Pride parade ... they were actively recruiting during the day:

To mark its place in the festivities, the Canadian Forces set up an information booth in an area of the city where thousands of people gathered for the start of the parade.

  Bulgarian Firewalking

This is indeed a very strange co-incidence: I'm currently finishing up The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and I've just gotten to the chapter where a Bulgarian peasant woman celebrates a saint's day (Sveti Petko) by firewalking at her village's local church.

Later today, while going through my National Geographic feed, I come across this photo of a Bulgarian fire-dancing ritual ... something performed on the day of the village's patron saint.


A Nestinari dancer performs barefoot over red-hot embers during an ancient fire-dancing ritual in central Bulgaria.

During the ceremonyâ..often held on the day of the village's patron saintâ..a large fire is lit in the afternoon. After sunset, once the fire dies and the embers are smoldering, dancing begins to the accompaniment of a drum and bagpipe.

Traditionally, Nestinari dancers pray for health, prosperity, and a rich harvest.

OK, so there may be many saints' days in Bulgaria, so presumably the firewalking picture could have been around any day/week/year, but this was very surprising. I just started reading the caption below the image, and it was all so familiar -- still fresh in my head, and described almost exactly the same way in the book.

By the way, The Historian is a great novel. It's essentially a lengthy travel log, told through letters, books, and first-person accounts, on the quest to find the "resting place" of Vlad The Impaler. The historical accounts and cultural/geographical descriptions are surprisingly accurate (for those non-fiction aspects of the book), and the rest makes for a kind of scary, if somewhat plodding, vampire story.

  The Rapture Letter Game

So, the Rapture has come and, for obvious reasons, you're still here. Within about a week, you're flooded with emails and letters from your X-tian friends (or not), and you have to plod through each and every cumbersome 2800 word letter telling you that your friends (if you have any) were taken away by the Rapture, and blah blah blah, something biblical, antichrist. Like you couldn't have figured this out on your own.

Well fear not (at least, not about having to go through the letters), simply read the first and last sentence of each letter to essentially summarize the meandering diatribe of the X-tians who are no longer with us. In most cases, this reduces the body of the message to its bare essentials, and if the writer is/was fairly proficient, you should have a clear understanding as to the intended message. If the writer's not so proficient, it becomes more of a game; the letters become surreal, or humorous, or they could potentially be misinterpreted as another type of letter altogether.

Note: This is a variation of the Andy Rooney Game, and is just as fun to play.

Here are some samples, collected from the Internet, of the Rapture Letter Game:

Written by ?

You are receiving this email because the "Rapture" has taken place and you've been left behind. Amen.

(This is short, concise, and lets you get on with your day. Now, let's go look for stuff.)

Written by Heather
Dear Freind: I'm sure you're terrified and confused by all of the terrible events that have occurred. Your friend in Christ, Heather

(The above letter could point to any natural disaster, or could even reference McCain getting elected President)

Written by Matt
To Those Who Did Not Disappear: Hey. Make a decision today.

(I'll decide what kind of cereal to eat today. Thanks!)

Written by Herbert
Dear Friend, Are you looking for me? Wish, truly, that you were here!!

(Yes, where did you go? Was it Panama? How's the weather? Man, I hear some of the resorts give free cigarettes!)

Written by Jim
Dear friends:
I call you friends, in the same manner as Jesus did with us. With much love In Him - Jim

(Aww, that's so sweet. Jim's pretty awesome. I never get letters like this.)

Written by ?
If tens of millions of people worldwide have recently disappeared, then Read this. God Speed.

(I'll read this as fast as I can, you can be sure of that.)

Form Rapture Letter by
Dear Friend; This message has been sent to you by a friend or a relative who has recently disappeared along with millions and millions of people around the world. God bless you.

(I hope my friend wasn't one of the millions of people kidnapped every day, and forced to join some kind of doomsday cult ... that would be horrible.)

Don't think these letters are useless. They contain valuable information about potentially available material goods and real estate. Remember, it's not just you that's been left behind.

  The big empty read

Just finished reading "The Big Empty" by Norman and John Buffalo Mailer. It's nothing big, just a really lengthy conversation between Norman Mailer and his son on a variety of different topics, such as religion, democracy, patriotism, fascism, boxing, Iraq, women, and the generational gap. JB is something like 60 years younger than his father, so there is quite an age difference. Their opinions differ as well, since they are simultaneously two different people, father and son, and from two very different times.


It's a good read. A fast read, too. It should have been twice as long as it was.

  CARFAC books are here

I ordered a bunch of books from CARFAC the other day, and they came in rather quickly. I'm currently engrossed in Ted Godwin's book, "The Studio Handbook for Working Artists". It's this clever little survival manual which details many things you aren't likely to be taught in any art school. Since I've never been to any fine art school before, this book won't give anything away. It's interesting that he talks about the many different studio spaces you will have over the years, and talks at length about converting a detatched garage into an art studio (just like I'm doing). All the problems and limitations he lists with a garage conversion are the same problems I've encountered. Godwin also uses his own converted garage as a studio.


  Hey Canadians!

Just finished up Coupland's "Hey Nostradamus!". A clever story with an innovative narrative style. However, the initial premise is a little hard to believe, so it took me a while to get into it seriously. Not that a high school massacre couldn't happen in Canada, but it seems to be such a remote tragedy that perhaps Coupland is banking on our growing and collaborative sense of doom -- that comes from watching too many American television news channels. I like to think that I don't subscribe to Michael Moore's idyllic vision of Canada, but let's just say I'm optimistic about the Canadian people -- that we at least try to rise above the horrors we hear about so often from south of the border. We are more skeptical about our society, and how our media portrays it. We seem to know that the American media is as insanely right-wing as our own media is left-wing. We make it a point to pick on Conservatives and Republicans, although we know that our own thoughs and policies can run conservative. We (at times) seem vehemently anti-American, though we basically all stand for the same things -- liberal Canadians identify with at least half of the American population.

I think Coupland's latched on to that -- the sense of a "oneness" of our two countries. We derive most of our modern culture from the same sources, and, aside from some minor, almost imperceptible idiosyncrasies, Americans and Canadians in the same room would be indistinguishable from each other. I think that's why he makes the Canadian character in "Generation X" the crazy, chaotic one -- it's almost the opposite of how most Canadians would have it, if they were writing the story.

Ok ... so, just to help out on the whole Thanksgiving issue, check out this link to a York University paper: "A Canadian Original or a U.S. Copy? Forget the Pilgrims. Canada's Own Thanksgiving Tradition Shaped by Ontario's Protestant Clergy, Refined by Commercial, State Interests".

Gotta hand it to those Protestant clergymen: "They created Canadian Thanksgiving as an exclusively religious event that was white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, pro-British and often anti-American in nationalist intent."

As for the Civic Holiday, CleverMonkey contributed this info:

"'August Civic Holiday' was created/suggested by a judge in Ontario
(Judge Sheard) because he wanted another long weekend near the end of
the season to take off to his cottage.

I swear this is the truth. Met him myself. Dated the sister of his

I'm sure there were other reasons, like this was the only summer month
in Ontario without a long weekend, so it was deemed reasonable to add
another one."

(sigh), I suppose I should also add in the Boxing Day info too, just so we're complete on this....

"Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th. It is a statutory holiday in the federal jurisdiction and in Ontario. If it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the working day immediately preceding or following Boxing Day is considered a legal holiday."

As one person comes in the world, my thoughts turn to one who recently left -- with bullet against his drug-soaked brainpan. Today I bought and watched "Where the Buffalo Roam" in honour of that gonzo journalist, Harris From the Post. "I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone... but they've always worked for me."


Saw "Kinsey" today. Interesting story about the guy who educated the world about sex. Good movie, although this seemed a lot like many other films about a big artist/scientist who struggled through hardships and funding problems to find a way to get his art/research known to the people. À la "Beautiful Mind", but without all the cool insanity stuff, and Ed Harris wasn't in this film. In fact, this seemed like the ideal film for Ed Harris, or perhaps Sam Neill.

Thank Jebus for this man. Sounds like he had the hardest time getting this stuff out to people who really needed it. You know, the "does masturbating give you cancer?" people. While maybe not as important as the discovery of insulin, or caring for members of the Chinese army during WWII, Kinsey's work for the enlightenment of the human animal was nonetheless a big contribution to science and sexual free-thinkers everywhere.

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D H McKee's bookshelf: to-read

Sunset and Sawdust
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The Thicket
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