Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Rafael den Boer: Corrections and Addendums

Boerishbwoy recently published a product review of Rafael den Boer. There have been several developments in the last six months which have forced us to issue the following corrections and addendums:

 • Although the utility of the product still remains in question and while, in fact, the production of soiled diapers and drool has actually increased, it has been observed that the product has made several efforts to “help” with various tasks around the house. On further review, however, the product was merely reaching for the items in his father’s hand (in two particular cases, a duster and a barbecue spatula) in order to stick them into its mouth. For this reason and because the product continues to require constant upgrades, attention, and maintenance costs, the rating of 2/10 remains unchanged.

 • The previous review cited concerns about future balding for this model of den Boer. Because of how vigorously the product rubs its head against its sleeping surface during its frequent periods of dormancy, it has bald spots on the back and the sides of its head. Recent hair growth on its scalp, however, has led to renewed hopes of a full head of hair within the next one to two months. Since the original review, the product has developed a charming crooked smile, brighter eyes, greater size, and a “look.” This “look” is best described as a “side-eye” that communicates a certain skepticism toward the subject of the look. On reviewing the previous score of 10/10 on aesthetics, we realize that the original score did not allow room for improvement. A new rating of 12/10 has been issued because, I mean, look at this guy.

• The product has developed a wide array of new sounds, none of which have been combined into any comprehensible order that could be construed as human language. Occasionally, the product will strike a conversational tone, but very little is communicated beyond a vague sense that the product is content or excited about something. The product has also developed a signature laugh. While the alarm feature has thankfully decreased in frequency, it has greatly increased in volume. In addition to signalling when the product requires nutritional input, has produced by-product, or is sounding for no apparent reason, the product now also signals when the product desires entertainment. Due to the adorableness of its babbling, the audio component has been upgraded to a 7.5 out of 10.

• The product now smiles directly at its parental units and their friends and family rather than just signalling relief at evacuating its bowels. Interaction with the product has improved immensely, but somehow the social component score remains unchanged at 10 out of 10.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Product Review: Rafael den Boer

Utility: 2/10

The product does not appear very useful. After more than a week of ownership, the product has not produced anything beyond soiled diapers and a stream of saliva. Rather than generating income, the product seems to require constant upgrades, attention, and assorted repair and maintenance costs.

Aesthetics: 10/10.

Product has full head of hair, big dark brown eyes, caramel skin, and the hint of a dimple when he smiles. This is quite a bit of improvement over the previous 1982 den Boer model, John edition. The 1952 den Boer model, David edition, the den Boer 1923 model, Jan edition, and the Audet 1943, Jules edition also carried defective hairlines, so the hope is that the hairline is closer to the den Boer 1950 model, Marten edition (although I’m told that the designer only borrows from previous direct iterations).
Although this product has gunk in its eyes from time to time, this is easily rectified with a warm wet cloth. Consensus is that the product is incredibly cute.

Audio Component: 7/10

Although the gurgles, tiny sneezes, and grunting noises are endearing, it appears that the software for vocalizations is incomplete as the product does not use any recognizable vocabulary. Over the past week, multiple attempts to upload English language comprehension into the product were attempted without any result. The alarm feature, which notifies users when the product requires nutritional input or has produced a rather vile by-product, is handy. However, the product does not always sound the alarm when the by-product has been produced and occasionally the alarm sounds for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, the product does not have a snooze function and will continue to sound off throughout the day and the night without regard to the sleep requirements of the user.

Social Component: 10/10

At one point, the user was gazing into the eyes of the product. The user felt that an important moment of reflection and love was occurring as an expression somewhere between happiness and awe appeared in the product’s eyes. However, several second later the product defecated profusely and rather noisily and it became apparent that the product had merely been concentrating on that particular function.

Despite incomplete software issues and the repeated production of defecetary material, interaction with the product has resulted in an unanticipated emotional bond. Whether this bond is reciprocated has not yet been determined but, somehow, that is not important. Description of this bond seems to be beyond the capabilities of language.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Avocado Indulgence, Entitled Techno-brats Living Among Us

How about those Millennials with their techno-screens, basement apartments, and participation medals? Here are ten reasons why Millennials are the worst generation of all the generations that have existed since the dawn of life:

1)  Millennials are the most selfish generation of all time because they take selfies. If you look closely, the word self is right there at the beginning of the word selfie. In fact, if you were especially clever you would realize that all you have to do is take the E off the end of the word selfie add the letters S and H (as in “sh, you entitled millennial, you are not allowed to speak”) and you get the word “selfish.” Coincidence? I think not. If you look up the etymology of the word selfie, you will find that there is not a whole lot of information that you didn’t already know about it beyond the fact that it came into parlance sometime between 2002 to 2005. Why does the word selfie suck so much? Because it is a made-up word and made-up words are bad. Language should be static or at least glacially dynamic so that shit words like selfie do not get adopted. Furthermore, back in the day, if you wanted a picture of yourself you had to spend hours and hours gazing at the mirror and getting the proper proportions while you penciled in the lines. Then you had to mix your pigments just right as you gazed even more deeply into the mirror. Then, of course, you had to paint the whole thing. What do millennials even know about that painstaking process? They just lift up their techno-phones and clickety click them and then post the results on their snapograms.

2)  Millennials are terrible because they received plastic participation medals. A day does not go by without some entitled millennial posting up a picture of themselves brandishing a plastic medal they received for participating in a track and field day back in the nineties. Unfortunately, due to the sugary cereals they consumed as children, millennials cannot differentiate between plastic medals that say “participant” and metal medals that say “1st.” Millennials think they are winners by virtue of the fact that they received cheap medals and ribbons that acknowledged that they were present at an event and took part in it. They are oblivious to the idea that when they raced or competed in sports, there were other millennials who were faster and/or better than them. Basically, participation prizes create individuals who cannot calculate ordinal numbers. Try this sometime: go up to a millennial and ask them what they did first that day. They will squirm and frown and look utterly confused because they have absolutely no conception of what first, second, and third are. Why? Participation prizes.

3)  Millennials have too much self-esteem because their parents and teachers all told them they were special. Coddling children by telling them that they have value and deserve to be treated fairly is the worst thing you can do for them. It does not prepare them for the realities of the workplace, where they find out that they do not deserve to be treated fairly and that they have very little value. Parents and teachers really should have taken a page out of the play-books of your average Dickensian villain by telling the children that they are worthless and that no one will ever love them because they are just dirty gutter urchins. This way, when millennials do arrive in a workplace and are given an actual wage instead of a bowl of gruel, they will have the tears of gratitude in their eyes that being paid an actual wage warrants. In the immortal words of Mr. Bumble from Oliver Twist: “What have paupers to do with soul or spirit either? It’s quite enough that we let ‘em have bodies.”

4)  Millennials are entitled brats. Millennials are constantly whining and moaning about “making fair wages,” “the high cost of living,” “inflated housing markets,” and “being treated decently in the workplace.” You never saw previous generations demonstrating for these sorts of things. If you examine history closely, you will see that corporations and business owners (peace be upon them) have always acted in the best interests of their employees without any other motivation than the sheer goodness of their big capitalist hearts. Where do Millennials get off wanting to have jobs and homes like their parents had? Previous generations were happy just to have LSD trips or start large-scale land wars. Not Millennials. They want all the opportunities and low cost of living that their parents and grandparents had without the requisite privilege. That’s too bad, because the previous generations earned those things by being born into it. It was sort of a birthright they were entitled to. Millennials, on the other hand, have no birthright beyond mockery for being snowflakes.

5)  Millennials are responsible for terrible music. While previous generations are responsible for rock gods such as David Cassidy and Milli Vanilli, Millennials have only ever produced aural dissonance. Where is this generation’s equivalent to disco? When will they produce their Herman’s Hermits or their Baycity Rollers? Half past never, that’s when.

6)  Millennials are horrible people because of technology. With all their bloggerating, snapgramming, instachatting, and faceskypering, Millennials have no idea what it means to talk with another human being using their mouth-gums to reach the other person’s ear-parts while their face-peepers are looking straight at one another. If you do try to speak to a Millennial directly in their face-parts, they will mumble something about personal space and then wander off to make a tweeter post about you. Prior to the invention of the internet, all communication was carried out in a face to face manner with conversational topics only ever ranging from the meaning of life and treasured memories. Prior to the advent of the internet, which only millennials use, telephones, the radio, and television were all seen as benign influencers that would have no ill effects whatsoever.

 7)  Millennials are the worst because they use strange text speak. From LOL (Loser Old Ladies) to LMAO (Let’s Make Adults Obey) to BRB (Be Rebellious Boys) and BTW (Bad Teen Way), Millennials use initialism to try to get their unscrupulous meanings past other generations. Furthermore, the continued degradation of the English language is under assault by the millennial tendency to use shortforms, to make up words, and to not write things in the manner in which an academic essay is written. So, for example, rather than saying “Thou art beautiful, I will tarry here until that glorious day upon which I will see thee again” a Millennial will type “U r a QT. CU l8er.”

8)  Millennials are oversensitive little snowflakes. Boo hoo hoo, something homophobic, sexist, or racist was said. It’s not like homophobia, sexism, or racism are real problems in our world today. No other generation was ever offended by that kind of thing. If they were, they would have started social movements to oppose it. Language has no power. For example, if I am a judge and I call a woman “muffin” or “cupcake” because I believe she is an object, those words have absolutely no power over her unless she gives them power. So when I, as a judge, tell her that she was not actually assaulted or that if she were, it was because her clothes did not utilize enough fabric, she knows that I am doing it as an impartial judge who speaks his mind despite the current climate of political correctness. What is with Millennials and yapping on and on about respecting everyone? Gross.

9)   Millennials like avocado toast, or something. If only young persons would stop buying avocado toast and expensive coffee, they could afford to be millionaires. Learn how to budget, ya goons.

10)  Millennials are young. What really sticks in a lot of people’s collective craws about millennials is just how young they are. Millennials do not have nearly as much experience at life in comparison to the previous generations. They walk around with all their youthful skin and vibrant energy and full heads of hair like they are sooo young with sooo much to look forward to. Well, I have news for you, Millennials, Boomers and Generation X are working hard together to ensure that your future is nothing but one environmental crisis after the other. How about that for excitement?

Friday, May 04, 2018

"You can always tell a government worker by the total vacancy which occupies the space where most other people have faces."

- Ignatius C. Reilly

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Les Miserables: A Review

  What can I write about this book that has not already been written by countless readers before me? What possible insight could I have that some academic has not already built up and then deconstructed (because that's what academics do, ammiright?) in a much finer and more eloquent manner than I could possibly even attempt?

  The rich characters, the vibrant story-telling, the various themes and underlying philosophies - they've all been written up already. Some people like to retell the entire story in their review, but I always end up sounding like a five year old describing his favourite cartoon.

  "And then Jean Valjean, he was a mayor, but before that, like, at the beginning, he was a prisoner - or convict, right? And then Inspector Javert, he's this inspector, okay? And he's after Jean Valjean, but Jean Valjean stole some candlesticks. But the priest, uuhh, oh yeah and Jean Valjean has a daughter, Cosette, but she's not his daughter and she's not in the story yet and then . . ."

  See? That's just not copacetic.

  I could complain about Hugo's overzealous descriptions of every goshdarn piece of architecture that even remotely figures in the story, but I won't. I'm not afraid to admit that I skipped a lot of that. Yeah, whut? I'm pretty much a gangster when I read the classics, skippin' irrelevant words like a badass. What you gonna do about it?

  I briefly considered critiquing the translation, but that would either involve advancing beyond Beginner's French or pretending that I had advanced beyond Beginner's French. Not going to happen. Also, I really don't know which translation I read.

  Then I remembered that one review I had read somewhere focused almost exclusively on the book's bindings. Yes! I can do this. I remember the book I read was a blue hardcover with gold lettering on it. And let me tell you, that binding was 100 per cent awesome. Not only did the pages stay in the book throughout my entire reading experience, but absolutely none of them were ripped, folded or torn in any way.

  Big deal, right? Actually, it is. That book was a library book that had been in circulation since the late seventies - so nearly twenty years of the great unwashed masses pawing at every page of the book. And those pages were still turning like it was the first day that the binding had been cracked. Cracked, not split, you dig? Anyway, you could lay that book flat and turn the pages and they would stay open without you having to rest your fingers on them - that's how good the binding was.

  Okay, I do remember some of the corners of the pages had been bent by some lazy fart who couldn't be bothered to get a bookmark (I mean, seriously, you can make your own bookmark in about two seconds - fifty seconds if you have arthritis or something).

  Of course, it is not the fault of the binding that some lazy bloke (it was probably a man) had folded the corners on certain pages. And, of course, folded pages don't affect the binding at all. All this to say that the binding held up for twenty years quite well. That's a five star binding, baby.

  Five stars!

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Romancing of Gladys McCormick

Week 1

 Eddie Larocque had been going to Burrwood United Church for over thirty-five years, and he had been sitting in the same pew for at least thirty-four of those years. The pew, a gleaming high-backed oak number just like all the others, was in row five on the leftmost side of the sanctuary. He had been going to Burrwood United for more than thirty-five years, but it was not until that Sunday that he had looked over at Gladys McCormick in row three, just behind the Thatcher twins, and had fallen in love.

 She was wearing her grey-white hair in the same tight bun with that old-lady black netting over it as always. Her floral dress was covered in the same colourful sunflowers that were her favourite. Her silver slipper earrings dangled the same way they always had. Not that Eddie had ever noticed her earrings before. In fact, he only had the vaguest sense that she had been sitting two rows in front of him every Sunday since he had begun attending Burrwood back in 1982. Of course, back then her hair had been brownish-red. But even then it had been bound in that tight bun with that old-lady netting enveloping it.

 When Henry Morrison, his quiet pew neighbour for the past ten years, nudged him with the offering plate, it startled him. He had been thinking about how strange it was that Gladys’ long graceful neck had never caught his eye before. Was it the way the red and blue light from the stain-glass window to their left sparkled on the nape of her neck? Surely, like some kind of rare solar event, the light could only reflect off of her neck so perfectly on a Sunday once every ten to twenty years. He must have missed the last radiant neck in 2007 or 1997. Of course, back then, Rodney Vanderveldt had been taking up most of the real estate just in front of him with his wide shoulders and bushy hair. Rodney had left the church in 2008 after his favourite blowhard radio host, Kipp “the Lip” McCewan, had done a week-long series exposing the “soft underbelly of the leftist United Church.” The only soft underbelly in the equation, thought Eddie wryly, was the one hanging over Rodney’s stupid cowboy belt. He occasionally saw Rodney at the grocery store. He had married his dentist and was now attending a Unitarian church down on St. Charles.

What a beautiful neck.

He gripped the offering plate and absent-mindedly stuffed fifty cents of Canadian Tire money and a receipt for thirty dollars-worth of bird feed into an envelope and placed it reverently in the plate.

Week 2

 Eddie wore a yellow tie. He had seen it at Moore’s and had immediately thought of Gladys. He had bought it immediately and worn it expectantly that Sunday, hoping Gladys would notice. Despite walking past her twice during coffee hour, she had not noticed and little Daniel Kim had run into him full tilt and now it had a coffee stain.

Week 3

Eddie had asked his barber to cut his hair to the “specifications on display in the advertisement right there.” He had pointed to a black and white picture of a grey-haired model with smoky eyes and pouty lips whose hair was shaved quite close at the sides and slicked back at the top. After asking if he were certain, Eddie’s barber had shaved the sides of his head and gently and carefully combed the thin white hair on top of his scalp backwards.

Eddie wore a hat to church that Sunday, only taking it off in the Sanctuary. The usually quiet Henry Morrison made a joke about a weedwacker that Eddie didn’t really like.

Week 4

Eddie made conversation with Gladys. During coffee hour, he interrupted Beatrice Podolski and complimented Gladys’ hair. “Nice bun,” he said. She looked confused for a moment and then carefully checked the integrity of the bun before smiling politely. “Well, see you later,” he said as he escaped.

He went straight home and took a nap.

Week 5

Gladys spoke to him that Sunday. “You’re standing on the handle of my purse.”

“Sorry,” he said and lifted his foot. She had set her purse down in order to sign up for the Saturday luncheon.

“Are you signing up?” she asked him with a smile. He nodded dumbly, took a sip of coffee and then shuffled off to talk to Henry Morrison.

Week 6

She spoke to him again, “I didn’t see you at the luncheon, Eddie.”

He nodded gravely, “that is correct.”

“You should have come,” she gave him a smile that made his heart somersault in his chest.

Week 7 Gladys was not at church. Eddie spent most of the service imagining he could jump from rafter to rafter in the high ceilings of the sanctuary. His imagination even took a brief foray into envisaging using his acrobatics to rescue a helpless Gladys, trapped on a rafter because of a horrible dusting accident involving a fallen ladder. His reverie was interrupted by an overly enthusiastic hug from James Bertrand during the congregational greeting.

Week 8 “I noticed that you were not in the rafters last Sunday,” he told Gladys.

“The rafters?” she asked sweetly.

 “I meant church, you weren’t in church and I noticed,” George said dumbly.

 “I went to Hillvale United last week, my niece was singing,” she replied. They talked about singing for about an hour and a half. Beatrice Podolski had to usher them out so she could lock up after coffee hour.

Week 9

 Eddie brought a sunflower pin and pinned it to his lapel. Then, after the service, he asked Gladys if she wanted to go to a choral performance by the Hill Street College Singers that Wednesday night. 

“Yes,” she said, “but only if you wear that pin.”

 He nodded solemnly, hoping to God that he didn’t lose the pin in the duration.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Great Cities of History: A Review of John Julius Norwich's Book

• I was eager to read this book, as I knew for a fact that my hometown of Hamilton "the Hammer" Ontario would be making an appearance.

• I was hoping that I would learn the correct pronunciation of Thebes from this book. I did not. I did, however, learn that persons from Thebes are referred to as Thebans.

• I still do not know how to pronounce Thebans.

• This book has a lot of great pictures. I guess this is a coffee table book. I read it on the bus, which has no coffee tables.

• Contrary to what one might expect, the Memphis in this book is NOT in Tennessee.

• This is an actual transcript from September 2003 between two American army officers:

“Hey Chad, where do you think we should put our helicopter landing pad for this here Iraq invasion?”

“I dunno, bruh, but there is a lot of space on this here ancient Babylonian ruin. Right beside this Ishtar Gate that had existed here undamaged for over two thousand years before the United States of America was even a vague concept.”

“Oh, good call.”

“You know what would truly honor the memory of this road that the feet of Nebuchednezzar, Darius, and Alexander walked on?”

“What’s that, Chad?”

“To drive these freakin’ tanks over top of it!”

“Won’t that wreck the surface of this amazing archaeological relic of civilizations that predate ours by thousands of years?”

“. . . what?”

“I don’t know what I was saying, whoever those guys were, they would be super pumped to know that we’re wrecking this road with our awesome tanks.”

“You said it, bro.”

• One of the limitations of only having two to four pages dedicated to each city is that a city with a long and continuing history like Jerusalem only has parts of its story told until the infamous fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. I was interested in learning more about Jerusalem’s later history, but that would have been a very difficult task in a book that is laid out this way.

• The mixture of Roman, Iberian, and Spanish architecture in Cordoba and the mixture of Greek, Italian, Arab and Norman architecture in Palermo are breathtaking. I want to visit these two cities.

• I am feeling good about Hamilton’s incoming entry. Rome has had two entries so far, one for ancient Rome and the other for renaissance Rome. Constantinople snuck in twice under both Constantinople and Istanbul. And Mexico City appears under its former name of Tenochlitan. They are running out of places!

• London and Paris also appear twice by my count.

• Defenestration. Apparently that’s the preferred method of execution in Prague. The more you know.

• Defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window.

• Simon Schama wrote the section on Amsterdam. Simon Schama’s section on Amsterdam is the most well-written, the most concise, and the most beautiful entry so far.

• One of my fellow commuters has asked me about the book, asking if I am learning about civilizations. I gave him a withering glare and then clarified that I am merely researching the great city of Hamilton, pointing out the title of this book “great cities of history.”

• Actually, I mumbled some things about this being a coffee table book but that, yes, I was learning about civilizations and that it was a book about great cities of history. He seems nice.

• Copenhagen – apparently there’s a song that contains the old cliché about Copenhagen being a nice place? I was unaware of such a song and in my cursory research was only able to find a country song about a chewing tobacco named Copenhagen.

• The entry on Los Angeles spent most of the time talking about movies. No real mention of the (lack of ) urban planning or the sprawl.

• Art Deco is important, of course.

• Guess what? Hamilton, Ontario does NOT appear in this book. What? Dundurn Castle not good enough for you? It’s a flippin’ castle! I don’t see Uruk rocking a castle. So what if Uruk is four thousand something years older than Hamilton. Hamilton still has its castle and Uruk is just a mound of rocks. Yeah, yeah, Gilgamesh is kind of impressive, but Hamilton is where Martin Short hails from. Martin Short, he’s waaay funnier than Gilgamesh.

• Clearly there is a volume two coming out: Even Greater Cities of History.

7.5 Aldermen out of 10

Who deh?