The biggest winner at the Oscars last night? Look no further than host Billy Crystal.
I have spent the last several weeks researching driving and looking up obscure rules. I pass these rules on to you, free of charge.
RULE #1: IF YOU CAN FIT YOUR CAR IN, YOU CAN PARK THERE
A lot of people don’t understand quite exactly how parking works, and it’s basically like this: if your car can fit in the spot, you can park there. Fuck, it doesn’t even have to be a spot. It can be adjacent to one, you can be cutting through lines, whatever. If your car can fit in there, do it up.
RULE #2: IF THERE’S NO FIRE, THERE’S NO FIRE LANE
Fire lanes are awesome because they allow fire departments quick access to hydrants and such and allow them to put out fires in large buildings quickly. But did you know that if there is no fire, legally you’re permitted to park in a fire lane? Hand-to-God, it’s true. So the next time you can’t find a parking spot at Walmart, just pull up to the fire lane.
There’s an additional myth that you can only park here 1) if you leave the engine running and 2) someone remains in the vehicle. Both of these things are falsehoods. Just park and go. If you hear a fire alarm, you have about four minutes to get to your car before a fire truck shows up. So take your time!
RULE #3: HANDICAP PARKING SPOTS: FAIR GAME.
Handicap parking stalls are, believe it or not, unconstitutional. All men are created equal, which means that we all get the same access to parking stalls. Fact: rolling is easier than walking. Why should I have to walk across a parking lot when it is easier for someone in a chair to wheel across the lot? I shouldn’t.
RULE #4: STOP? STOP WHAT?
Stop signs are awesome because you can recognize them just about anywhere you go: they’re reddish and stuff. What’s key to remember though is that they’re entirely optional. As cyclist Randi Gurholt-Seary argued in Vancouver last year, traffic rules are for sissies. Stop signs only apply to people who want to stop, so don’t bother. Especially if no one else is in the intersection. But if you do decide to stop…
RULE #4A: STOP SIGN PROCEDURE
If you’re a dumb enough clown to stop at a stop sign, you’ve entered stop sign procedure hell. Everyone else has to stop because of you, so here’s what you do: if you’re the first one there, go on through. If you’re the only one going straight, just drive through. If the other guy looks slow, go on through. And if you’re confused, just wave the other guys through until the place is clear, then go on through. Really easy, guys.
RULE #5: HALF-MAN, HALF-CAR: CYCLING RULES (GET IT?)
Bicycles are awesome because no rules of traffic apply to them? Why? Because they’re also pedestrians. So when you need to take the road, take the road. If you need to bypass traffic or a stop sign or a light or whatever, just hop up on the sidewalk. Make sure you have one of those bells so that if some dumb walker gets in your way you can beep at them. You’re a car, too, so don’t take shit from anyone. And if some cop decides to give you a ticket for rolling through a stop sign, quickly contact anyone who cares and fight it in the court of public opinion first. Why should bicycles get tickets when cyclists are singlehandedly saving the world from global warming? They shouldn’t.
RULE #6: TURN SIGNALS ARE POINTLESS.
There, I said it. By law, you don’t need to activate your turn signal ever. In fact, it marginally drains your car’s battery and is therefore bad for the environment. Why would you need to use a turn signal anyway? People can see where you’re going when you move there, so it shouldn’t be necessary to indicate you’re going to do so as well. That’d be like saying to people around you what you’re going to do before you do it. That’s stupid.
There you have it, folks. Seven rules that may one day save your life driving. Commit these to memory and make sure to print out a copy for your glovebox.
There’s something you
need to already know. You are the single most important person on the planet. Check this out:
Tell me what you see in that image up there. Almost everybody, it’s some lame quadrangle filled in with grey or some stupid colour. For you, it’s, well, a mirror. And who is in the reflection? You.
I know, I know, you’re smarter, more important, more unique, and probably more attractive than everyone else out there, so this is kind of a waste of time. I’m some halfwit, some rube not worth your time. But please, bear with me. I present to you, oh great one, a list of ways to let everyone in the world know how important you are.
Cut ahead in line:
This, for you, is a no-brainer. Ok, so picture this. You’re waiting in a line, maybe in your car, maybe on foot, whatever. And there’s another line beside the line you want to be in. But that line goes somewhere else. Maybe it’s an actual line for some shitty thing you don’t want (because you’re so smart) or a left turn lane that goes down an alley. Who cares. What matters is this: get in that fucking line, go right to the front, then sneak back into the original line. Everyone would do it if they were as clever as you!
Take up two (or more) seats wherever you are:
Fact: Sitting is great. Other fact: You’re you. Whether you’re waiting at the bank, hospital, or sitting on a bus, make sure to take up more than one seat. Legs tired? Put ’em up (even if your feet are dirty, fuck it). Don’t want to put your bag on the ground (because, fact, floors are dirty)? Put it right beside you. You’re so important that anything you own, by proxy, is only slightly less important than you, making your backpack, purse, iPhone, or shopping bag about ten times more important than the next Steve Jobs were he to be the son of Barack Obama and Pope Benedict. That’s super important.
Don’t smile, say hello to, or even look at strangers:
Fact: you’re awesome. Other fact: that other person isn’t. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or whatever, anyone who so much as makes eye contact with you is probably a pervert. Don’t say hi or extend any other courtesy. If they’re behind you and you’re going through a door, don’t hold it for them, either. That’ll just encourage them.
You’re always right:
You know that expression, “the customer is always right?” Guess who the customer is. That’s right, you. It doesn’t matter where you are (courthouse, shopping mall, public street), you’re in charge. If some cash register monkey refuses to take your return, tell him to go fuck himself and throw a fit. If you accidentally scratch your phone or whatever days, weeks, shit even months after buying it, call the person you bought it from and tell them it came like that. They’re morons anyway, they’ll probably believe you. If you forget to pay your phone bill or just want a lower rate, call up your provider and tell them what idiots they are. They’re obligated to cut you a deal. You’re you, after all.
CRANK UP THE TUNES:
There are a few things you already know that I should repeat just because it is so very important: wherever you are, make sure you’re there with your music. You have an iPhone for a reason, so make sure you’re pumping the latest Lady Gaga or Katy Perry as loud as you fucking can. If you can override the volume limiter, do it. If you don’t have headphones, don’t be a bitch: just play it through your loudspeaker. Anyone who doesn’t like your music is a clown, and they don’t matter, anyway. Library, bus, public park: the world is your concert hall.
Use language barriers to your advantage:
Pretend you don’t speak the language in your area (bonus points if you don’t actually speak it, and extra bonus points if you have intentionally not bothered to learn the lingua franca because you don’t respect the individuals residing in the place that you are currently in enough to try). Speak slowly, repeat yourself over and over, and be sure to blame any perceived defects in your character on your rich cultural values.
Don’t be a doormat:
There are two kinds of people in this world: doormats and you. A doormat is something you wipe your feet on. Make sure to treat everyone you meet like a doormat. They’re not you, after all.
Cut people off when you’re driving:
This is like the first point, except a little different. You know how when you’re driving and the lane beside you turns into a merge lane? Well fuck that asshole trying to get ahead of you. Cut him off, even if he’s been waiting for awhile. Only morons merge. Conversely, take full advantage of the merge lane. Drive up that fucking thing as far as you can and swerve right into traffic.
Don’t use your turn signal:
What are you, french? Don’t waste your time with that bullshit. Send Miranda that text about how Seamus was being a total dick last night instead.
I know, I know, there are loads of other things I neglected to mention. But as long as you follow this skeleton list of things to do, you should be fine. Because always, always remember:
You’re smarter, more important, and more unique than everyone else — so act like it!
I originally submitted this to The Peak and it was published in the September 19th edition. It was edited into a transcript, which I didn’t entirely like. Here’s the original for your perusal.
Obama Tough on Budget
In a speech delivered at the White House yesterday, President Barack Obama outlined a strategy to tackle the rising US National Debt.
“It’s not going to be easy – doing the right thing rarely is. We – myself and Vice President Joe Biden – looked down every avenue, trying to minimize the damage. It’s a fact that our national debt is rising; we’re spending more money than we’re making, and that is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Beginning today, things are going to change”, the President said at the Obama family’s Sunday dinner.
“We’re starting right at the basics: toilet paper. Value brand only, from now on. Same goes for soap and shampoo,” he added curtly. “I’ll try to cut out trips to the salon, which means you have to too, Michelle,” he said with a wink. “Kids, less eating out. Michelle, more bagged lunches for the kids. I’m going to cut out Starbucks trips and instead bring coffee from home. That means a short-term capital investment in a Thermos, but it will pay dividends in the end. Shorter showers to cut down the heating and water bills. We’re shutting down the A/C for the rest of the summer, such as it is, and come winter we won’t be turning on the heat. If you’re cold, put on a jacket or an extra sweater.”
“There are some corners we couldn’t cut, of course. Netflix, for example. It only costs a few bucks a month I figure, so that won’t make a huge debt, and really we’re saving money by using it. Along with that means fewer trips to the movies. I’m cancelling the home phone, since we don’t use it anyway, and adjusted our family plan. It means fewer minutes and texts, but I set up Unlimited Incoming calls. If you need to talk to someone, call them, ask them to call you back, and hang up,” Obama said.
“It’s not going to be easy – the road ahead is tough, but I believe, God willing, the American spirit of ingenuity and hard work will pay off. Thank you, and God bless America”, the President concluded, returning to his meatloaf.
Critics were quick to point out Barack Obama was drinking Buckler Beer at dinner – a low-alcohol variant of Heineken, an import , but the President defended the decision, saying that “Joe [Biden] brought it over” and that he still preferred Bud Light.
This was originally published in The Peak, in the fall of 2011 (I think — might have been summer). I cannot find a link to it in the archives and cannot remember when it was published. It was edited by Humour Editor Colin Sharp but this is the original version, which wasn’t edited by him. So there ya go.
The Arts Proven to be Better than the Sciences
In a new study published just this week in the Journal of Science, scientists at SFU have conclusively concluded that the Faculty of Arts is in fact, better than the Faculty of Science.
“Well, we crunched all the numbers and, yeah, it kind of surprised us, but that’s science for you. Proof,” said Jon Freeman, chief researcher of the group, who slightly stunned the academic world earlier this year with his paper that proved Communications is not a real major. “It’s shocking, yeah, but… well, fuck, there ya go.”
Some were obviously pretty happy with the results.
“Well, it’s good to know,” commented Michelle Bachmann, a lecturer in the department of Political Science. “We always knew, I think, deep down, but, well, I saw all the science the scientists did and this proves, beyond a doubt that the Arts are in fact better.”
Others weren’t quite as thrilled.
“It’s garbage,” Brian Smith, professor of Mathematics remarked. “Their science? Yeah, totally off. I bet you if we had proper scientists doing science here, we’d get different results. I think their numbers were off.”
Freeman remained optimistic, however. “Well, I still think there’s hope, you know, for folks in the sciences. We may not be better, but, well, we have science, so isn’t that all that matters?” remarked Freeman. “And well, you never know with these things. We used to think the sun revolved around the earth, and then we used science, and bam, here we are, orbiting the sun.”
It seems that all too often, value is placed on science instead of the arts. Arts majors, I find, are just as guilty of this pedantry as are science majors. Science majors argue you can’t get a job with a science degree, arts majors argue you can’t critically think or even read without an arts degree, etcetera. While I’m a bit of a snob/purist/nerd in that I believe learning for the sake of learning is more important than anything and that if you’re going to school “to get a job” you may be missing the point of education (obviously the argument is more nuanced than that but whatever), I think both sides of the fence are really missing the point. The ideal point, I think, would be a merging of the two fields in some ways. I think the difference between an “arts scientist” and a “science scientist” is best seen in the geniuses Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Albert Einstein once allegedly said “put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” In a short anecdote, Einstein is able to explain, essentially, his magnum opus. Hawking, as smart as he is, is nowhere as good with words. I find that, as much as I disagree with his politics and even though I understand very little about the current trends in the field of linguistics, Noam Chomsky has the same way with words as Einstein (though nowhere as brilliant).
So the point of the article is several-fold: one, with any scientific revolution, the world of science gets turned on its dome, so scientists should remember that while what they say is a “fact” today, tomorrow it might not be. Second: science isn’t law, period. Third, science can never prove which is better, so it’s a moot point. Only the arts could, and were it to, it would be missing the point of itself. And there’s some other brilliance in there I’m sure.
Also: I unintentionally wrote the political science professor as being named “Michelle Bachmann”. Must have been subliminal or something.
Local group complains parade is “not for them”
All is well. It’s a cool, crisp, early-December morning. The streets are crowded. Every other passerby greets me, waving or extending their hands for a handshake or high-five or fist-pound. “Merry Christmas!”, “Happy Holidays!”. I can’t go ten feet without someone wishing me the best this time of year. It’s the annual Santa Claus parade: hundreds of thousands of people are out in full force, each excited to see the Big Guy. So you’d think.
My attention turns to Sean Berkowitz (not his real name, he confides). He’s a young guy, in his mid-twenties. He’s wearing a suit jacket, a wrinkled pink dress shirt, jeans, and one of those fashionable fedoras. He’s one of the few people I see without a smile on his face, and he’s the guy I’ve come out to meet.
“That time of year again,” he says with a sigh. For most, Christmas is a great time of year. For others, it’s just a reminder of the fact that you don’t fit in.
“I hate it… I hate this,” he gestures towards the big man himself — Santa Claus — waving to the crowds from atop a float going down the street. “My taxpayer dollars go towards this.” Sean’s beating around the bush so I prod him.
“I just — I don’t believe in Santa Claus. Once a year I’m reminded that, unlike everyone else, I’m not a believer. I don’t fit in. Every year my coworkers say after the holidays, ‘oh, did Santa get you something nice?’ and what do I say? I have to smile and nod so I don’t seem like a freak. Just the other day my youngest started telling me how excited he was, how he wanted to go to the mall and meet Santa Claus. Believe me, we go to church every week and I never would have thought my son would become… you know, one of them. I tried to raise my kids right and well, they believe in jolly ol’ St. Nick.”
“I respect people who believe in him, don’t get me wrong. I mean, both of my sons believe in him, my wife, well, she’s kind of agnostic to the whole thing. All these people here believe in him and me? I’m ostracized; I’m the outcast.”
Berkowitz isn’t alone, of course. There’s a group of them and they make an appearance every year. “Christmastians”, they call themselves. Believers fittingly call them “Grinches”. While Berkowtiz remains in the closet about his views for fear of reprisal, the Grinches don’t care.
“It’s a lie these people are living,” Amanda Clark says, gesticulating wildly and almost spilling her Starbucks Caramel Candy Cane Latte. “It’s sickening, you know, seeing these… these sheeple, walking around, waving at that fraud. You know that there are no birth records for ‘Santa Claus’? No baptismal certificate, no governmental records, no newspaper birth announcements, nothing. Yet here these people are, believing a lie. I go to church once a week like most people. I’m a good person. But this? It’s absurdity.”
Clark’s standing with a group of about twenty others, all waving various signs. ‘Keep Claus out of Christmas’, says one. ‘Elf Labour is Slave Labour!’, says another. “COAL is NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT and BAD FOR SELF ESTEEM” espouses another, the letters getting smaller and smaller.
“Did you know that Christmastians have received more systematic prejudice than just about any other group in the last fifty years alone? Home Alone, The Santa Clause, Christmas with the Kranks, Home Alone 2, Jingle All The Way, Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, starring the legendary Martin Short as Jack Frost, Elf, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi… the list goes on. Every single Christmas movie does one of two things: they either argue that we are wrong and that despite evidence to the contrary, some fat guy in a suit flies around the world in a single night (she scoffs at this point), or that it doesn’t matter if he exists, all that matters is we spend time with those we love.
“Have you ever seen ‘The Truth About Santa’? No, probably not. It was scheduled for a wide release last year, but at the last minute it was canned and went straight to DVD. And why? Because Santa is the biggest commercial draw in the world. They’re trying to make us into little obedient playthings and Santa is the linchpin to the whole effort.”
When I propose the theory to passerby and local man-about-town Glen Allen, he laughs.
“Every year they try and, ya know, that group’s just been getting smaller. Of course Santa is real. [Clark] wants to know how he flies around the world in a single night? It’s magic. And I saw ‘The Truth About Santa’ and, let me tell you, there are dozens of debunk videos out there that take that ‘movie’ to task. Listen, let me tell you how it is. He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, and he’s going to find out who’s naughty and who’s nice. I mean, these guys, out there shouting and crying and pouting? They better not, and I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town. And let me tell you, these grinches? They’re getting on the naughty list. And that’s fine with me. The message of Kris Kringle is out there for anyone who wants it. I’m not going to force my beliefs down anyone’s throat and if you don’t want presents on Christmas, hey, that’s your own business. They can do what they want, I can do what I want, doesn’t that make sense to you?”