Archive for July, 2012
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
I understand there are bigger news stories out there. After all, Bev Oda expensed an air purifier – to taxpayers! It’s no 18-dollar orange juice, or $1,000 car ride of course. But it’s big news because it means she’s taking this Roy Orbison impersonator thing to a sad and dangerous new level, determined to chain-smoke herself into an early grave like her hero.
So that’s a pretty big deal…as is the Tom Cruise – Katie Holmes divorce, which allows us all to speculate wildly about Scientology, jackboots, and just how crazy Tom Cruise actually is. The most important thing to come out of that situation, so far, is that Katie Holmes might finally sign on for the Dawson’s Creek reunion something-or-other. How splendid!
And then there’s the Capital Hoedown, another enormous story where today we learn that everything we already learned about this has been confirmed. The Hoedown is, indeed, canceled. This is a great news story, because now we can decide, as the organizer has, where exactly to place the blame. Was it the city shutting down the venue? The high prices? The lack of ticket sales? The media scrutiny? The chupacabra? And we also get to muse about the acts that are (still) not coming! Oh, Taylor Swift, we will miss you!
Then there’s the Kardashian baby with the stupid name, the home run derby complete with the bizarre hatred of Chris Berman, and the breakup of music superstars Chumbawumba, who after 30 years together as a band have now been knocked down, never again to get up.
So it’s understandable that something as insignificant as the continued destruction of our oceans has gone largely unnoticed. After all, most stories about the environment and how bad it really is get relegated to the back pages of newspapers and websites, if they get reported at all. It’s not that these stories aren’t important, it’s that they’re not important to people.
Remember 2006? And 2007? The time of Al Gore and Global Warming and David Suzuki and An Inconvenient Truth? When the world sat up and took notice and started to do stuff about environmental issues? It seemed like that documentary and the environmental groundswell that sprang up as a result were the beginning of an era where global warming and climate change problems and solutions would be the foremost issues of the next decade. But of course, this didn’t happen. And 2007 was not the beginning of all this, but rather the peak.
So now – for those of you who didn’t get this news today – the oceans are screwed. In fact, they have osteoporosis. See, we’ve been putting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And that carbon dioxide gets absorbed by the oceans. And that turns into acid. And that acid kills coral reefs. Coral reefs, you might remember from that time you briefly cared in 2007, are those things in the oceans that are necessary for most of the life in the ocean to survive.
Now, because of a lot of nutjobs, this will likely be debated, as has every major discovery that indicated that yes, people are responsible for screwing up the environment. This is why, when the findings were announced, a “consensus statement” was signed by 2,600 scientists. Because they have to prove that they all agree that we’re pooched.
Then again, it’s not just the oceans. Ottawa is in the hottest, dryest stretch in history. Just a coincidence and the natural rhythms of the Earth, I know. We’re messing up in other ways too. Yesterday, we were talking about the pacu, or “ball cutter fish”, which is no longer confined to Papua New Guinea, but has now been discovered in a lake in Illinois. Yes, lakes in Illinois are now so tropical that they can support the same kind of water creatures as Papua New Guinea.
The “ball-cutter” fish is so nicknamed because on at least two separate, documented occasions, it has bitten off and eaten men’s balls. And those men have died. The sad thing is, it didn’t have to be this way. The poor pacu fish was once a peaceable vegetarian before it developed a taste for testes. But with deforestation and the disappearance of its plant food, it became carnivorous and started going after low-hanging scrotums. Let this be a lesson, people. Mess with the environment and this fish will eat your balls.
Friday, July 6th, 2012
For years, I have resisted getting a cell phone of any kind. Actually, maybe the word ‘resisted’ isn’t the right word, as I was never even a little bit tempted to get one. I just ignored the idea of having one altogether. People would complain at me. I would be at a live event 15 minutes early, when they expected me 30 minutes early, and some sales person would get all worked up – ‘how do I even get in touch with you?’
I would say – you don’t get in touch with me. Just trust that I’ll show up. Seems easy to me. Doc has an iPhone, and he seems to use it mostly to get a cat to repeat what he says in a funny voice. Woody has a blackberry, and he seems to use it only to send rambling, stream-of-consciousness emails on a variety of subjects when he hears a piece of news late in the afternoon. My wife has a blackberry that she uses to text her son when he’s in the basement.
So what, exactly, are these things good for? Nothing, it seems to me. My wife has been bugging me to get one so she can call me on the golf course and know when I’m coming home. I have never bothered explaining that the two things are mutually exclusive and the whole thing is therefore a non-issue.
Then I got this Rogers gift card. I couldn’t use it to pay my bills. There are no more video stores. Which meant that I had no choice, really. There are now three things I can buy with this thing. A tablet, a phone, or about 50 cases for my wife’s phone. Which would take care of Christmas for the next 50 years…
So I bought an iPhone. Then tried to figure out what to do with it. I can go on Facebook, but I don’t really use my Facebook ever anyway. I can go on Twitter, but for what? Oh yeah, I realized – this phone is also a camera! So I took a picture and tweeted it. Which was really easy. The picture was of the cilantro plant hanging in my backyard. My tweet said “cilantro”.
Now what? My wife started playing with the phone, I went to bed. When I woke up, it had a bunch of games on it. Angry Birds! Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that. I played it for 90 seconds. Then I was bored. There was also an Army of Darkness game – she put it on cause I love that movie. I couldn’t figure out how to play it. There was also a talking bear named Ted, from that movie. He sucked and I deleted him.
I did find one app I liked. It’s a meal-planning app where you type in an ingredient or scan a barcode, and it gives you a bunch of recipes. Which is great at the grocery store if I want to use peach jam and bacon in the slow cooker. I typed in ‘cilantro’. Then I made a salsa with cilantro and raspberries from the garden. Which is neat (for me – probably not of interest to anyone else), but is that really all I’m going to do with this phone?
The most amusing thing for me though, is seeing people’s reactions to me finally getting a phone. I get a lot of ‘welcome to 2012′, and people treating me as though I have finally become a real, fully-realized, human being. Most of them have sent me these sentiments via text-message. I have now received 41 text messages. And sent four.
My favourite was Sam from sales. I sent out my new phone number to the select few people I thought might, from time to time, need it for some reason. As soon as she got it, she started sending me text messages about Bluesfest, instead of the emails she normally sends. I kept responding on my email, which I have in front of me at work. And she kept responding via text.
I think I have already reached the limit of what I will do with my phone. I will take pictures and tweet them. Maybe of more cilantro. I will look up recipes. Cilantro recipes. My phone will be my cilantro resource and nothing more. Oh, one more thing I will do. I need to wait until my sister is over at my house next, and then I will spend her entire visit screwing around with my phone. I’ll read news and browse apps and maybe even send a text or two, and I will respond to her conversation in a disinterested way without really paying attention or looking up from my device. I can’t wait for that!
Obviously, I still haven’t figured everything out.