Posts tagged “news

The Secret Lives of Cats – Criminal Minds


Been watching a lot of Criminal Minds as of late. I know. Huge shock there. Ian watching a show about serial killers is SO out of the ordinary. AJ Cook is hot. I don’t even like blondes that much but man I’d eat my own arm for a chance to sniff her belly button. She can get it, keep it and do whatever she wants with it. Ok… TMI. My apologies. Anyway for those who have never seen the show it’s about a FBI task force named the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit). Their job is to capture serial killers, serial rapists, pedophiles, mass murderers, arsonists, etc in an attempt to profile their behavior for use against other sickos. It’s nowhere near as hokey as the CSI family of cop dramas though. It often tells tales of some pretty grizzly acts of human depravity not much different than what you find in the news any given day.

How does this tie into our cats?

Last week I had a case that needed solving. I had come in from running some errands to find multiple crime scenes. There was a poop in the bedroom, a pee in the bathroom and a gross heinous explosive puke in the bedroom closet. Immediately I cordoned off the areas to prevent the crime scene from being contaminated. I’ve logged plenty of years as a CD (Cat Detective) so I knew my keen detection skills would be needed on this one. An initial survey of the scene provided immediate results. I ascertained that it was not a tandem act but in fact a single criminal I was hunting. The two Cats of Interest have long and extensive criminal histories dating back to their earlier childhood. The fact that they’re brother and sister lead many to believe that they orchestrate crimes together but in fact they are competitive. Very rarely do they ever work together yet they both admire one another’s work. To my shock and dismay I ended up seeing an episode of Criminal Minds that called “The Last Word” where two serial killers were essentially competing against one another. This led me to believe I was dealing with a creature far more complex than I anticipated.

The Diva

Both siblings withstood grueling minutes of interrogation without cracking. I didn’t have enough evidence to pin it on either one specifically and feared I would not be able to solve the case before Suzanne’s return from Ottawa. After the clean up crews came in and cleaned up all the evidence I sat in my office trying to figure out who did it. Precious hours were ticking away. Everyone knows a case becomes incredibly harder to solve after the first 48 hours so I was hard pressed to find something to pin on one of them.

24 hours gave way to 48. Suzanne had returned home and I still couldn’t figure which one of the culprits committed the triple caticide. The last thing I needed was a serial shitter with a puking fetish in the office. Desperate, I tried to free my thoughts up by watching Criminal Minds yet again. I can’t recall the specific episode but as I sat there with the crime scene photos scattered across my desk, sipping my coffee, Agent Hotchner outlined a profile to the group of detectives and beat cops he was addressing. He said the perpetrator was narcissistic, had medium to low level education and obsessed with the act he had committed. The thing that stood out the most is when he said that the killer wants control over the situation and will often insert himself into the investigation. He’ll be at the crime scene, posing as a bystander, observing what the cops are doing. Sometimes he may even call in crimestopper tips to the cops leading them to the crime scene.

It was at that moment it all came back to me. I recalled when I first happened upon the first crime scene in the bedroom. As I surveyed the carnage I remember looking back towards the doorway. There he stood. Partially obscured by the doorframe but staring at me with his piercing orange eyes. My coffee slipped from my hands and shattered on the ground like US Customs Agent Dave Kujan’s did as I realized who had done it.

I raced into the bedroom once again and opened the door to the closet. There he stood; going over the crime scene I had cleaned up only a couple days earlier. He looked up at me with those cold orange eyes and smiled.

The Blob

If you have been never read The Oatmeal’s “How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You”  you’ll get a kick out of it. It gives some amazing and amusing insight into the mindset of cats. Cat owners deal with a variety of quirks with regards to their furry little companions. It’s never a dull day.


The Secret Lives of Cats – Northern Revelations


A cool breeze slips in through the partially opened balcony door. The sun is on the rise casting a baby blue blanket over the slushy capital city. Ravens the size of small cattle dance throughout the sky bellowing mating calls while the ever-present hum of airplane engines echo in the distance. It is 2am in the land of the Midnight Sun and all are asleep.

Everyone except the Dynamic Duo

“Hellooooooooooooooo?”

“Helloooo?”

“Owwww…”

“Why do you do that?” Brit asks Jemaine as she lounges lazily high atop the cat tower.

“I’m looking for her.” he replies trying to blog on the computer that is off.

“Sophie?” frustration creeps into her voice, “How many time do we have to go over this? She’s not here! She hasn’t been here for like months!”

He saunters his way over to the couch, “I know and I’m quite certain she was taken by The Bear. I’m still holding out hope for her. That’s why I call out in the middle of the night. Just in case she’s there. That and… I’m also hungry.”

“Oh my GOD! You’re still going on about the Bear?? It’s a coat for fuck’s sake! A coat! Anyone in their right mind can see it’s a coat!” she scoffs as she sits upright now and glares down at him

” No. No. It’s not. I’m certain it’s a bear. Do you hear the rustling sound it makes when it comes out? I have it on good authority that bears rustle just like that.”

“You’re an idiot. Bears don’t rustle. How do you even come up with this stuff??”

He charges up to the 2nd rung of the cat tower and starts tearing away furiously at the scratching post beneath her, “No you are the one who sucks, Brit! I’m right about many things. I was right about the vet wasn’t I?”

“What the hell are you talking about? You were caught off guard even more than I was!” she lashes at him before punching him on the top of his head.

“No no. Not that time. They fooled us that time. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice then…uh.. well it just isn’t good. I’m talking about the second time they took us.” swiping back at her but missing badly.

She sits patiently and watches as he punches blindly at her, “Are you daft? We’ve never been back there.”

“Yes we have. Don’t you remember when they took us to that one place where we waited for a couple of hours. Then we got in our apartments and took that really long drive. Then it was white and cold outside but then they brought us to that waiting room for a like a week or two. Remember how I said that it we just kept shitting they would know we were okay and they wouldn’t take us to the doctor – and they didn’t!” he boasts confidentially as he sits back and looks up at her.

“You are truly short bus aren’t you? That wasn’t a car ride you doof! We were in something far more terrifying than a car. I dunno what it was but it sure as hell wasn’t an automobile.”

She pauses for a moment then stares at him with wide unsuspecting eyes, “Oh my God. You think we’re still waiting to go to see the vet don’t you? You think we’re going back to the place with the stairs at some point? Dude… we moved. Don’t you realize that? I don’t know where we are but this really bright, white and cold place is home now. “

“You lie! I have been saving us all this time by crapping 20 times a day! That keeps the Bear away and the Bear can’t take us away like it did Sophie! I’m positive it is working for the vet!”

“You’re mad!”

“I am not! I will eat you now, Brit! Prepare to be eaten and then shat out for the greater good!

He launches himself up at her. Unfortunately his rather bulbous gut prevents him from scaling his way to the top-tier. Seizing the opportunity she leaps from her perch and onto the couch. Realizing he’s been outmaneuvered by his smaller and nimbler sister he regroups and springs towards her. His moves are slow and predictable. She dashes off the cushion and around the other couch before he even lands. Enraged he launches himself in her general direction. The laws of physics grab hold of him as his weight times the speed he’s moving send him crashing into the empty food bowls. The commotion startles Ian and Suzanne out of an already shaky night’s sleep. Before either of their visions can focus, Brit vanishes under the bed like a ninja into the darkness leaving Jemaine behind as he charges his way into the bedroom.

He now realizes he’s awakened father and mother and pauses. He wants to run under the bed but that’s not a good idea right now. Brit snickers at him from the shadows as Ian rises from the bed in a fit of rage. Panic-stricken he bolts from the doorway and back into the living room with father in hot pursuit. He tries to lose him in the maze of chair legs beneath the kitchen table. Unfortunately for him Ian has armed himself with the water bottle and he has now boxed himself in. Water pellets riddle his body as he cowers in fear.

The assault subsides and the father retreats back into the bedroom leaving a Jemaine wet and shamed…

“I will get my revenge, Britanny. Oh yes… I will get my revenge…”


Breaking News -“The Bear” No Longer a Threat To Domestic Wildlife


A Secret Lives of Cats Exclusive
Monday March 22, 2011 3:28 a.m. EST


By: The Frosty Bear

(DTN) – It was reported to DTN today that the infamous Resolute parka known as “The Bear” ceased to terrify long-time winter jacket-hater Jemaine Etheridge. Jemaine, a one and a half year old orange and white short-haired cat originally from Niagara Falls,  has been in staunch opposition against what he billed as being  “noisy and intimidating” outerwear since around October of 2010. The reasons behind his discord have never been fully disclosed but that hasn’t halted his protests over the past few months. He has staged under the bed one-cat rallies and anti-hunger strikes over the past half a year in an effort to make sure the world knew his displeasure with the disputed coats.

We spoke with Ian Etheridge, his step father, who explained to us the events that unfolded, “I had just come in from the post office with several packages in hand. Jemaine has never liked my coat so when I came in I wasn’t expecting him to be there. I figured he was off demonstrating somewhere but then I caught sight of him by the couch. He walked up cautiously, long necking the entire time but came right up to me and let me pet him with my parka on. He was of course still a little skittish but he didn’t bugger off under the bed in protest.”

This landmark breakthrough marks the end of a stalemate between Jemaine and the executives over at Canada Goose.

We caught up with Jemaine yesterday to ask for his insights into his amazing change of heart.

DTN: So Jemaine, what brought about this change in you?

Jemaine: I dunno really. I had just laid down in the living room after trying to eat my sister. My blood was pumping a bit but that was when father came in. He called to me and I swore he said he something to eat so I went over to him to see if he had something to eat but he didn’t have anything to eat. He only wanted to pet my head and not give me something to eat but by that time I didn’t realize how close I was to it.

DTN: Were you scared when you noticed you were near  “The Bear”?

Jemaine: Well more leery than anything. Like I’m quite certain it ate Sophie at some point. I haven’t seen her since it came into our house. I try calling out to her every morning at 6am but I think it digested her. That won’t stop me from trying to contact her though. I just fear for father’s sake. I’m not ascared of it. Really.

DTN: How do you explain the accusations about cowering in fear under the bed?

Jemaine: Mmmmm. Bed.

Unfortunately Jemaine was unable to finish the interview. We attempted to contact Brit for a statement on the matter but she declined with no comment.

We at Dystopian Times North can only hope that Jemaine follows through with his treatment and doesn’t slip back into bad habits.


The Secret Lives of Cats – Part 2


The majority of the day has been spent in feline bliss. The brightness of the day time hours forced the children into hibernation. As the sun slowly makes it way past the horizon they arise briefly to eat dinner but quickly retreat into the shadows underneath the bed after they are done. It’s a long night ahead and this is early morning for the Dynamic Duo…

7:01pm –  The rustling of keys at the door startles the children and they quickly enter the living room to see who is entering the apartment. Still weary from a long day’s sleep and a full belly, Brit turns to Jemaine “She must be home. Quick Jemaine. Pretend like we’ve been awake the whole time. We don’t want her to think we’ve been sleeping all day.”

Jemaine lets out a large yawn as Suzanne walks through the door. He can’t seem to focus on anything because he’s so groggy so he just sits in the doorway between the living room and kitchen, gathering his senses. Suzanne greets him with a loving pat on the head. He quickly gets up and heads towards his empty food bowl.

“Mother. I am so desperately hungry. Father didn’t feed us all day and now I am famished.” he whines to her.

Without hesitation, Brit sits by his side and reinforces his point. “Yes mother. Father is cruel and doesn’t feed us when we want. Will you not help us?” she pleads with large watery eyes.

Suzanne looks towards Ian who is working at the computer and asks if he fed them already. He acknowledges that he did at six, a mere hour ago. Displeased with their attempted ruse, she walks into the bedroom and ignores their pleas of desperation.

“But mother! I am so hungry. Pay no attention to the fact that I weigh nearly as much as a doberman. I’m big boned. I need to eat immediately or else I will die!” Jemaine snaps at her as she leaves.

Brit hops up to a kitchen chair and lays down. “Give it up, bro. They’re not going for it. We’ll have to try something else.”

He approaches the chair and sits next to it. “What do you propose, Brit?” he asks with puzzlement.

“I’m not sure just yet but I’ll think of something.”

7:25pm – Ian and Suzanne have headed out to the store leaving the terrorists by themselves.  Sophie rests comfortably in her bed in the bedroom while Jemaine is stationed next to the couch, spying around the corner at his sister who is looking right back at him from the doorway. They say nothing to one another but stare intensely for long agonizing minutes. Finally the Mexican standoff is broken by a butt wiggle and a pounce by Jemaine. He darts across the room with surprising speed. Brit leaps in the air moments before they collide and lands on top of him. The two tumble into the kitchen in a drunken bar brawl fight that lasts only a couple of seconds. Unimpressed with the way events are playing out, Brit cuts the wrestling match short by hopping up onto the kitchen chair once again.

“You’re playing too rough again, Jemaine” she scoffs at him.

“I know. I’m hungry. I was trying to eat you once again. What are you doing to your fur lately. It tastes awesome. What is it? Pantene?” licking his paw and rubbing his head with it.

She lays out flat on the chair, “Nah. Litter probably. My pantaloons are so long right now that I pretty much pick up anything and everything around this house. You’re probably eating at variety of things when you take clips of my fur out”.

“I’m still hungry though. Why won’t they feed me when I want to?” he whines as he lays out sexily across the floor.

Brit peeks over the edge of the chair, “I got an idea. How about you look in the garbage pale over there? There’s bound to be something to eat in there. If I’m not mistaken I think I saw him put some balled up tape in there earlier”.

Excited with the prospect of a delicacy being available Jemaine quickly springs to hes feet. “For real? I’ll go check.”

He saunters his way over the garbage can and props himself up on his hind legs like a meerkat. Carefully he dips his head into the garbage and fishes around. After a couple of moments he slowly pulls out a used sheet from the lint roller. “Aw man! This is awesome! I didn’t know he put these in here. I love licking these. Lint and sticky stuff is like the best combination EVER!”

Jemaine toils around with the lint roller sheet for a couple of minutes before inevitably getting bored. Having found such a treasure, he makes his way back to the garbage for a second dip while Brit watches from above. This time around however, greed mixed with clumsiness causes him to knock the whole can over when he puts his front paws on the rim spilling the contents all over the floor. Jemaine considers this a brilliant move. This makes sifting through the garbage so much easier. He spends the next 10 minutes or so carefully separating the various pieces of trash. Plastic wrappers, tape and anything sticky are hot commodities in Jemaine world so he’s very meticulous in making sure he lays everything out properly across the kitchen.

“You know you’re gonna get into shit for that, right?” Brit cautions.

Unphased by her warning he continues to sort, “Why? I know mother and father have told me to not go into the trash can about a dozen times already but I know better than them, Brit. I’m a year old now and I know there are good things in the trash that they’re holding out on me.”

Slyly Brit hops down off the chair and begins to help with some of the sorting. “You know if you really wanted a treat – I mean a real treat – you know like the kind they give us when we’re good… I know where we can get them”.

He stops what he’s doing and looks at her with wide eyes. “For seriously? Where?”

She looks up to the kitchen table. “I can’t confirm this positively, but I’m sure I saw father put the container of treats up there. Jump up there and see.”

“Father and mother have forbade us from going up there, Brit. Remember the last time when I was on the microwave cart trying to get at the food they tried to stash away from us? Father chased me around the house for several minutes and yelled a lot at me. I’ll get in trouble” he says hesitantly.

“Yeah but that was the microwave cart. They told us to not go on the counters and the cart. They never said anything about the kitchen table so you won’t get into trouble” she reassures him as she cleans his forehead.

“That’s so true. You’re so smart, Brit. I’m on it.”

He scouts the area out looking for the best possible route up. He locks his eyes one of the kitchen chairs for a couple of seconds before launching himself. In one bounce he’s on the chair and in the second he crashes into the shopping flyers that he didn’t see in the middle of the table. Startled by the unsure footing he panics and makes an unscheduled leap off the end of the table sending papers all over the place. With a resounding thud he lands back on the floor next to Brit.

“I didn’t see anything up there, Brit. I believe you deceived me.” staring angrily at her.

“How could you see anything when you jumped right off there in a second? You suck!” she lashes back at him.

“No you are the one who sucks Brit! Prepare to die!”

Without hesitation they spring into action once again. First they race downstairs into the basement. Brit quickly loses Jemaine amongst the obstacle course of boxes Ian and Suzanne have out for packing. She sits high atop a precarious mountain of items Ian is looking to sell and looks down at Jemaine mocking his inability to navigate through the smaller crevices. When he finally has had enough of her taunts the plunges into a pile of boxes and rampages towards her. His awkward and predictable approach gives Brit plenty of time and a clean avenue to escape past him and back up the stairs. Angered by her evasiveness, he takes off after her in hot pursuit.

They clash once again in the middle of the living room. They wrestle on the ground, each trying to gain the upper hand. Brit fires a few punches at Jemaine’s head but they don’t deter his relentless assault. He puts her in a headlock and gnaws on her neck. Feeling out of position and vulnerable, she realizes this is a predicament she doesn’t like – being on the losing end – and calls a stop to the bout with a serious hiss. Jemaine backs off for a moment. They stare at one another once again for long pregnant minutes trying to catch their breath.

“I beat you Brit.” he proclaims.

“Okay okay. You won that one. How about we go sleep next to one another on the couch. All this activity has made me sleepy once again” she suggests, still huffing and puffing.

“That sounds like a great idea. I’m sorry I tried to eat you again Brit. I can’t help it sometimes. I’m so hungry”.

“I know, Jemaine. It’s okay. Mother and father will feed us when they get in. You sorted the garbage and cleared the table for them. I’m sure we’ll get treats for this”.

“I believe this will make them happy?” he boasts inquisitively as they lay next to one another.

“Yes it will, Jemaine. How can they possibly get mad?”

They drift off to sleep resting comfortably next to one another…


The Secret Lives of Cats – Part 1


I know. Many of you have grown accustomed to be oddly named movie quote post titles. I will continue to do so when I feel the need to overly complicate my already complicated blog entries. However this time I’m breaking from the norm because I bring to you an exclusive story from the Catction News Room. As part of my ongoing investigation into the the strange behavioral patterns of felines, I present to you part one of The Secret Lives of Cats.

5:00am – Brit and Jemaine watch each other from across the room. Poised confidentially high atop her cat perch Brit looks down at Jemaine. He is stares intently back at her with his paws tucked underneath his massive body.

“You know what Jemaine? I’m bored. I’ve been awake for like an hour now and staring at you just isn’t cutting it” Brit huffs.

“Me too. Plus I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten in like what… 5hrs? I know I weigh damn near 20 lbs but I’m so desperately hungry that I feel compelled to do bad things in order to get Ian and Suzanne’s attention.” Jemaine scoffs as he rolls over on his side sexily.

Brit hops down a level and peers over the edge.

“So what are you going to do?”

“I dunno. I’m pretty close to the garbage can. I suppose I can just pull random pieces of trash out. That usually makes a good amount of noise.”

Excited with the prospect of being bad, Brit bounces down to the floor and sits next next to him. “You know I could probably bite at the cardboard box flaps of one of the dozens of open boxes around here. Cardboard tastes awesome and it’s so good for you.”

“I know, right?” Jemaine confirms enthusiastically “But tape is better. It’s so shiny and smells like it should be eaten. I tell you Brit, if I find some I’m SO eating it. Gawd I’m hungry. That’s it. I’m gonna do it. Watch out garbage! Here I come!”

Jemaine snakes his way over to the garbage pale and carefully but deliberately begins to pull pieces of trash out. The constant sound of rustling stirs Suzanne from an already tenuous night of sleep. She charges after Jemaine with water bottle in hand and fire a few shots. Like an overweight ninja he darts down the stairs and vanishes into the darkness of the basement. Suzanne returns to bed angry and unsettled.

5:14am – Under the cover of darkness Brit carefully makes her way over to one of the open boxes. The intoxicating aroma of corrugated cardboard prompts her to start nibbling at the corners. The sound isn’t deafening. It’s faint. Almost as if someone was rubbing a fine grade sand paper in your ear. Feeling guilty about letting Suzanne handle Jemaine earlier Ian springs in action. He figures the art of “shock and awe” will scare whoever it is away from the boxes and instill enough fear to prevent them from doing it again. He tries to wipe the crustiness from his eyes but by the time he’s done all he can see is a raccoon-like tail scurrying under the bed. There’s no way to tell which of the several boxes laying around is the one she was messing with so he reluctantly returns to bed hoping that the noise will cease.

6:01am – Feeling that enough time has passed since his last attempt at pulling some trash out of the bin, Jemaine makes his way back up the stairs. The hunger pains are tremendous now. It’s been a whole 6hrs and counting since the last meal. Silently they convene in the living room under the coffee table.

“You know what Brit? I’m still so very hungry. Would it be okay if I ate you?” Jemaine pleads to her.

“Uh no way man. That’s just not cool” she cautions as she slowly backs up.

“But c’mon Brit. I’m hungry. I won’t eat all of you. Just a little bit to tide me over till they feed me.”

“Dude. Seriously. No way. Besides you couldn’t catch me on your best day.” she jabs back at him.

Intrigued with the challenge Jemaine crouches low and begins to wiggle his bum. ” I can totally get you Brit. I’m bigger which means I’m faster.”

“Ha! You’re fat and I’m fast. Screw you I’m outta here.” she exclaims as she darts off into the bedroom.

Without hesitation Jemaine springs into action and is in hot pursuit. The sound of two mini horses galloping around and running into anything and everything in their way wakens both Ian and Suzanne. Incensed with their behavior, Ian grabs the water bottle and races after the two. The chase goes through the bedroom, living room and kitchen finally ending in the basement. With nowhere to go the dynamic duo receive a couple shots of water and a stern talking to. Although their breakfast isn’t until 8am, Suzanne reluctantly feeds them.

In the distance they hear the familiar “nyak nyak” call of the leader of the Cat Gang as she rises from her bed.  Although she bears no relation to either of the upstarts she is universally recognized as the boss in these parts. All the commotion has caused Sophie to be awakened far ahead of her schedule and now she’s confused and angry. If you were 80 something years old you would be too. She doesn’t care so much for the fate of her cohorts. In fact she wouldn’t object to them being tossed out on the street over such behavior but right now her primary concern is finding her food and water. Despite the bowls being in the same place they’ve been for the past 3+ years she can’t help but to make a b-line for them shouting and complaining all the way.

The feline terrorists savor their victory and devour a good portion of their food before hunkering down for the day. The sun will be making its first appearance soon and that means bedtime in their world. As suddenly as it all began all is somewhat quiet again… for the moment.

To Be Continued….


Yeah, they’re dead. They’re all messed up.


Happy Post Halloween Everyone!

The wife and I had a great Halloween / Anniversary yesterday. Having dressed up for our reception last year it kinda sets the bar high for repeat performances each year. Suzanne understandably didn’t get dressed up but far be it for me to let some cold weather, stress from packing and no costume idea deter me from throwing something together. For a couple of years now I’ve contemplated tossing on my #7 jersey and walk around with a bloodied stuffed dog on a leash and be Michael Vick but I ultimately decided that wouldn’t be in good taste so I fell back on an old reliable favorite…

I had a ball concocting a thick gooey blood recipe. In the end some petroleum jelly, red food coloring, corn syrup (to loosen it up a bit) and cocoa powder (to darken it) did the trick. The torn apart skin came courtesy of this really gross putty-like Halloween makeup we got in a dollar store a couple years ago. You can mold it and blend it in to your skin so it did the trick in a pinch.

I’m sure the dear Mrs. Etheridge to fill everyone in on what happened throughout the day. Geez. It still doesn’t sound right saying that. Mrs. Etheridge has always been reserved for referring to my mother so it just feels weird calling Suzanne that. Anyway my night was capped off perfectly with, of course, some zombie action. No I’m not talking about creepy tantric freaky deaky sexual acts with the Mrs. I’m referring to watching the highly anticipated The Walking Dead premiere on AMC.

I should be flogged for not having collected the comic series. A guy who boasts about loving the genre so much should  however, the comic world and I had a very turbulent divorce many years ago so there is a reason behind the madness. Perhaps one day I’ll reveal the details but not today. Today we’re talking zombies.  For those of you who live under a rock (or just don’t follow the zombie horror genre) The Walking Dead is a black and white comic series first published in 2003 by Image comics and tells the story of a band of survivors trying to find safe haven amidst a zombie apocalypse. At 78 current issues the series won the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series at the San Diego Comic Convention.

The AMC adaptation debuted last night and I must say I was rather impressed with it. I’ve been waiting for a good zombie tale for years now. After having to brave through bombs like Zombie Wars and Survival of the Dead my faith in the genre was hanging by a thin thread. I was so desperate for some legitimate zombie work that I even started writing a zombie blog tale months ago just to provide my fix. Thank goodness for Frank Darabont. He’s directed such hits as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and most recently The Mist and has single-handedly brought my faith back into the modern zombie. While a ton of credit must be paid to the comic creators Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore it takes a good writer and director to translate that to the small (or big) screen. Darabont doesn’t just give you a more developed view of zombies to revel over but allows you to see and feel the psychological effects of a cataclysmic event such as a zombie apocalypse.

The cast is an interesting one. Playing the lead character Rick Grimes is British actor Andrew Lincoln. I’m not too familiar with his work but you can rarely go wrong with a Brit in the lead. I’ve always appreciated how dedicated the English are to the craft with many of them being classically trained theater performers. The pilot episode focuses primarily on the main character so having someone compelling and convincing enough to hold the audience’s attention is a must and they found that with Mr. Lincoln. Fellow Brit Lennie James also joins Lincoln in the premiere playing a distraught father named Morgan Jones. Mr. James is no stranger to the post apocalyptic world having played Special Agent Robert Hawkins in the prematurely canceled  series Jericho. Those of you unfamilair with him can get a pretty good understanding of how fantastic he is just by watching the premiere. He’s an incredibly intense actor with a wide range. Let’s just say he has that uncanny abilty to convey emotion like few can. I’m not a fan of giving spoiler riddled reviews of shows so you’ll just have to watch the series to understand.

All in all I am totally enthusiastic about this series. I had a glimmer of doubt that it might be the nail in the coffin for my love of all things zombie but in fact it opened up the lid and let them out. I hope that they’re able to continue impressing me with the upcoming 5 episodes. My heart is heavy though. The last time I got so buzzed about a television series they canceled it after two seasons despite it having a huge following. It just goes to show you that if it ain’t CSI Montana or Law and Order: Kindergarten Patrol then it won’t last on network TV. Thank goodness this is being branded as an original series by AMC. Their two other original powerhouses Mad Men and Rubicon seem to be doing well so hopefully The Walking Dead will walk tall along side them.


The power of the force has stopped you, you hosers.


It’s funny hearing about all the myths and misinterpretations regarding Canadians. Being a former New Yorker I too am guilty of either cracking jokes or being misinformed about at least a couple of them. I have the unique perspective of having lived on both sides of the fence of ignorance and I feel compelled to clear up the fog of confusion regarding the World’s Most Friendly Country:

  • It’s always cold in Canada and everyone lives in igloos – The latter is more playful ribbing than anything but one of the most popular misconceptions is that it’s always cold in Canada. The majority of the country is  along the same latitude as the United Kingdom yet you never hear any cold jokes about the Brits. Some of the northern regions are of course in the Arctic circle and tend to have rather frigid conditions but for the most part Canadians experience the same weather one would receive in any northern state in the US. In fact I can recall quite a few days just this past summer where highs Toronto beat out those in New York and Boston. Winters may last a little longer but the temperatures are pretty consistent. Here’s the averages in January from various locales across Canada:
    (Source: The Weather Network)  

    • Vancouver, BC: 32 / 43°Fahrenheit (0 / 6°Celsius)
    • Edmonton, AB: -2 / 18°F, (-19 / -8°C)
    • Yellowknife, NWT: -24 / -9°F, (-31 / -23°C)
    • Inukjuak, NU: -17 / -4°F, (-27 / -20°C)
    • Winnipeg, MB: -9 / 10°F, (-23 / -12°C)
    • Ottawa, ON: 5 / 23°F, (-15 / -5°C)
    • Toronto, ON: 14 / 28°F, (-10 / -2°C)
    • Montréal, QC: 7 / 23°F, (-14 / -5°C)
    • Halifax, NS: 16 / 30°F, (-9 / -1°C)
    • St. John’s, NF: 19 / 32°F, (-7 / 0°C)
  • Canada has better beer than the States – I’m not going to touch this one for fear of being hung from the gallows by overly-patriotic Americans. Everyone is proud of their nation’s beer. Germany is probably the world’s undisputed King of the Brew but as far as who follows after is dependent on each individual’s personal taste. I for one am not a huge beer drinker (heresy I know) so it doesn’t really matter to me. All I do know is that two of the American big guns, Budweiser and Coors, taste like someone spilled their crappy beer in some club soda. Labatte Blue (known locally as just a Blue) and Molson Canadian are far stronger beers and are way easier to down – that’s just a personal opinion though. While Canada may or may not rank in the top 5 worldwide I seriously doubt they fall below the US in that category. I invite anyone from abroad to come sample the ale before making rash judgments. You’d be quite surprised with the results.
  • Canada only has poutine and maple syrup as their only contributions to fine cuisine – Canada has a very diverse range of dishes that spans from coast to coast. Canada, like most large nations, is a melting pot of cultures so you can see a lot of Eastern European, South American, African and Asian influences in the cooking. Some examples of regional foods are:
    • From the East Coast – Irish Stew, Fish Chowders, Bangbellies (a pork/rice bun), Toutons (Pork Bread), and Duffs (like a dumpling), Molasses Tarts and Partridge Berry Coffee Cake, chocolate bread pudding, oat bread, Cape Breton scones, Creamed Potato Balls, Baked Stuffed Lobster
    • Native – Posole Stew (uses hominy), corn casserole, Frypan Fork Bread, Cornmeal pudding, Maple Fudge, Wojape (a berry pudding)
    • Quebec – Crème Caramel, French Onion Soup, Split Yellow Pea Soup, Garlic Pork Pot Roast, Cipate (Chicken, meat and vegetable casserole with biscuit topping), 3 crust blueberry pie, poutine
    • Ontario – Pine Nut Stuffed Quail, pickled yellow beans, apple butter, headcheese, smoked ham, creamed potatoes, vanilla pie, ice wine, BBQ’s, hot sauces, doughnuts, perogies
    • Prairies (I’m not too familiar with foods from this region of Canada) – Crusted Pork Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Barley Ragout & Summer Vegetables, Grilled Asparagus, Saskatoon Pie
    • B.C. – Goats Cheese Terrine, Raisin scones with clotted cream, sablefish, Nanaimo Bars, Poached Salmon, Maple Glazed Chicken Breasts, Oysters, Flatbreads, Vegan cuisine and anything disgustingly healthy (i.e. tofu, miso soup, etc.)
  • Canadians always say “eh” and “aboot” – I can honestly say that I have never heard a Canadian utter the words “aboot” in the 10+ years I’ve been here. Course I’ve only been in the Ontario region for the most part so who knows what goes on in the rest of the country. I don’t know where it came from originally but I found it funny as hell when South Park would make fun of it (even if it was confounded). “Eh” on the other hand is something you hear quite frequently though. I’ve even mastered the dialect well enough to use it like a true Canadian as well. Oddly enough it’s not used any more frequently than New Yorkers use “yo” or “aye”. Basically all I had to do to fit in was replace my yo’s with eh’s and say cah-fee instead of cawfee when referring to coffee and all is well.
  • Canada has no military – I’ve always made fun of the Canadian Armed Forces having to fight with sporks but the Canadian military is no joke indeed. This one institution consists of three main branches: Maritime Command (MARCOM), Land Force Command (LFC), and Air Command (AIRCOM), which are together overseen by the Armed Forces Council, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Their annual funding comes to approximately $21.8 billion (ranked 13th), and are presently ranked 74th in size compared to the world’s other armed forces by number of total personnel, and 58th in terms of active personnel, standing at a strength of roughly 67,000, plus 26,000 reservists, 33 warships spread out amongst 2 fleets, 391 aircraft (which is the third largest in the Americas) and over 3600 currently deployed in the Middle East. The statistics are truly humbling and I tip my hat to all those men and women across the world who are serving for their respective countries. It’s a thankless task but your efforts are truly appreciated by many.
  • Canadians are always nice – True to an extent. Every country has their fare share of assholes, douches and idiots. You tend to find them once you’ve lived there for a while. Canada just does a good job of not letting them be the face of the country.
  • Canada has no contributions to science – Blasphemy. In fact Canada has burned a trail in many fields and is a world leader in regards to contributions to scientific advancement. From Canola Oil to the Blackberry Canada has had it’s hands in the development of many of the technologies and medical breakthroughs we take for granted. I could probably ramble on for days about all of the innovations but if you’re really interested have a peek here and see for yourself.
  • Canada has no film industry – It’s hard to find a movie or TV show that isn’t shot in Vancouver or Toronto nowadays. Chances are if it’s shot in Canada, it has some Canadian actors in it as well. They’ve assimilated into Hollywood so well that many of you don’t even realize some of the best stars are in fact Canadian. From Playboy’s Pam Anderson to Star Trek’s William Shatner Canadians have infiltrated all facets of media. Okay so Keanu isn’t the greatest star ever, but you all ate the Matrix up with a fork and spoon so he did his job.The actual Canadian film industry is a budding one. It makes me laugh whenever I hear Canadians say “Yup, that’s definitely a Canadian film” having only seen a few minutes of whatever is on. It’s not from lack of effort. Despite many film and television projects being funded by the government, it nowhere near the same league as Hollywood in regards to financial backing. The Toronto International Film Festival, founded in 1976, l is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world now. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that “the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” If you think Canadians haven’t got their fingers on the pulse of the movie industry, you’re sorely mistaken.
  • Everyone speaks French in Canada – While that may be true to a degree in Quebec, the majority of the country does in fact speak English – well. In fact most Canadians are bi-lingual.
  • Canada’s national sport is hockey – True. In 1994, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-212 that officially made hockey Canada’s National Winter sport and Lacrosse Canada’s National Summer sport. Canadians are definitely passionate about their hockey but don’t believe for an instant that is the only sport accepted up here. Baseball, Football (American and Soccer), Golf, Curling, Boxing and MMA as well as pretty much any winter sport you can imagine from skiing to snowboarding.
  • Canadians have no guns or crime – Oh there’s crime here, believe me. And guns. Domestic violence and Robbery/burglary crimes seem to be the most prevalent. There are probably more guns in Canada than in the States based on the fact that this is a hunting nation with the vast majority of the country being wilderness. The big difference is that Canadians aren’t shooting one another. Their preferred methods tend to be fists and knives. It still strikes me as odd to read about small businesses being robbed at knife-point. You don’t hear about that much in New York.
  • All Canadian cops are mounties – That’s probably as ignorant as it gets. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. The RCMP provides federal policing service to all of Canada and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (the RCMP does not serve as provincial or municipal police in Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports. They’re like the Feds in the States. Every province has their own police service such as the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) which are the equivalent of state government agencies such as the NYPD or LAPD. The RCMP have jurisdiction over them all. Cool, eh?
  • Toronto is the nation’s capitol – With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. I think the popular misconception is that Toronto is in fact the capitol of Ontario. Ottawa, the second largest city in Ontario, is the nation’s capitol.

My name is Ian and I am proud to call myself an AmeriCan. 😀


Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is irrefutable evidence that the defendant is, in fact, lying.


I bring to you today a classic in the annals of poor scamming.

So I wake up this morning and start sifting through my email and I come across a very important letter . Apparently Orville Rosario of the US Government felt it was imperative to write me and inform me that online tax ID had failed and I needed to contact them as soon as possible. Because I’m apparently supposed to be easily spooked and panicky because it’s HTML formatted I’m expected to click the link in the email. So I decided to be a sport about it and publicly humiliate the letter before I send it off to the FBI’s phishing department.

Let’s play find the typos!

and here’s your answer key.

Enjoy!


I grew up with that book, I know its power…


Oh what a sad day it is.

According to the powers that be (meaning Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press), the latest edition of the iconic Oxford English Dictionary will be completely digital and that there’s a very strong possibility it will not go to print.

Am I actually hearing this correctly??

Apparently I am. Numerous news sources (such as Yahoo news) have already brought the disturbing prospect to light in recent days which in turn has compelled me to toss my two cents worth into the fray. This traces all the way back to a previous blog entry of mine regarding the here-and-now attitude of the human race.

I can see why the Generation Net would appreciate such a prospect. According to  Oxford Press University (longtime publisher of the tome) the online version  gets 2 million hits a month from subscribers, who pay $295 a year for the service in the U.S. In contrast, the current printed edition — a 20-volume, 750-pound ($1,165 ) set published in 1989 — has sold about 30,000 sets in total. Of course there are free online dictionary sites out there like dictionary.com that offer the same level of availability, reference several reputable sources (such as Oxford and Reuters) and is completely free (for now). Why anyone would pay for dictionary service when there are readily available free sources is beyond me but that’s a discussion for another day.

Once again I’ve underestimated the power of idiocy in places of power. I know, one would think I would have learned my lesson by now but so much for having faith in people doing the right thing. My gripe isn’t  with the dictionary being made exclusively available online but more rather the fact that they’re actually serious about not putting it into print.  It’s understandable that lack of sales would be a major deterrent towards mass production of volumes but to consider not printing any at all is both foolhardy and detrimental towards our culture in general.

Written English, in its earliest forms, has been around since 3500 B.C. originating in Eastern Central Europe with ancient writings in a long-dead language called Indo-Hittite. That’s around 5,500 years of history we’re looking at there. How did it survive and grow? Certainly not by means of the Internet. The printed word is an essential and vital facet of our civilization’s growth and development. To hear people talk so flippantly about wanting to phase out the printed word just depresses the hell out me.

I’m not an avid book reader. I’ll admit that. I do like to read though. Really read. Actual book-in-hand reading where you turn actual pages. I’ve tried to do the online book thing but something feels too artificial about it. Even Kindles and such don’t offer that same comforting feeling of propping a book in your palm and wedging your thumb in the spine. Digital books have their place but don’t forsake the medium that made any and all of this possible. It should be an honor to be able to produce printed work and be a proponent towards ensuring the longevity of our society. Unfortunately it appears to be more of a burden than a privilege to do that anymore as we see more and more electronic books and less paperbacks. It would make far more sense to just cut back production as opposed to canceling it completely. Rarity equals value. Limited editions or collectors items would be more than welcome as opposed to nothing at all.

I’m sure there will be at least a handful of prints of the latest edition even if they claim there won’t be. When the lights go out I guess we’ll just have to go looking for them (and others)….

Disclaimer: As always if you are the rightful owner of any image used in this post and want it removed just contact me and it’ll be resolved asap. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the free publicity.