Weekly Reckoning: Togarishi Edition

weekly-reckoningHave you ever tried shichimi togarishi? It’s a seven-spice blend of Japanese pepper, nori, black sesame seeds and whatever else. I sprinkled a bit on some corn-on-the-cob today, and I have to say, I’ve had worse things in my life. Why don’t you sit down for a while and think about all the things you haven’t tried and may never get around to trying before your heart reaches its allotted number of beats? It can be comforting. If you’re a crazy person.

1. EUROPE YOU SO CRAZY The Communist Party is polling well in Portugal and may end up forming the next government if trends hold. It would be weird to see the European Union’s southern limbs drop off, but there you go.

2. ALL THE ARBITRARY BUT FASCINATING REASONS YOU CAN’T WEAR WHITE AFTER LABOUR DAY But the real reason is that God will come to your house and lick everything in the fridge. Anyway, enjoy!

3. GO HOME SCIENCE YOU’RE DRUNK Some super-dumb scientists produced a cockamamie study that says my cats don’t love me. Well I’ve got enough love for all of us, science.

4. HEY EVERYONE, I JUST DISCOVERED SOME TRUE SUFFERING HERE Never mind refugees, here’s the harrowing tale of a guy who lined up outside a Toys “R” Us for Star Wars toys and came away empty-handed. Well, almost empty-handed – he got some toys, but not the toys he wanted. Not the cool ones. Also, a bunch of kids didn’t get Star Wars toys because grown men lined up outside toy stores to relive their childhoods. Also, refugees.

5. THE EGG COUNCIL CONSPIRACY IS REAL! The American Egg Board launched a campaign to crush food bloggers, a celebrity chef and a Silicon Valley egg-replacement startup. Every part of the last sentence is more ridiculous than every other part.


Weekly Reckoning: Spectacular Fleeting Things Edition

weekly-reckoningEverybody! I was on my way home from Saskatoon this afternoon and I saw – I swear to God – a small bird landing on a hawk in flight, riding the hawk like a living conveyor belt for 15 or 20 feet, then flying off again. Why did it do that? The convenience of it all? The thrill? Was the sparrow or similar small bird feeling a little tired and looking for an extremely brief rest? Maybe the hawk had a stray seed or bug on its back? Or was it a Nietzschean demonstration of bird world power relations? Who cares? The clearest manifestation of Grace has been vouchsafed to me by chance, and it’s telling me that the lord of the cosmos is probably a bird of some sort. Probably a secretary bird or a piping plover or something.


2. OBAMA’S RESERVES OF GIVE-A-SHIT HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED During a speech at the University of Nairobi, Obama made a birther joke. I’m enjoying Obama’s take on lame duck presidency.

3. A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR THE SPIELBERG FANS Behold the ultimate commentary for Raiders of the Lost Ark, chock-a-block with insight and trivia. Remember when you were 30 years younger and sitting in the theatre, wondering about production design decisions? Give yourself an extra kaddam and listen in. Then take back one kaddam for the Bird God.

4. CARS ARE COMPUTERS WITH WHEELS Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall for 1.4 million cars after a security vulnerability was discovered.

5. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF AND THE BIRD GOD TO READ THIS PIECE ON TA-NEHISI COATES It’s a long read and it’s a few weeks old already, which is five years in Internet terms. But are you doing anything with your life right now that would be as meaningful as the act of reading a piece on Coates, who is doing better and deeper thinking than any of us on issues of race and structural privilege? No, unless you’re fighting a fire in an orphanage right now, in which case the Bird God grants you license to get in there and save those kids.


Weekly Reckoning: Genuinely Extant Edition

Welcome to the first Weekly Reckoning with a 100% Ontological Guarantee. No matter what else may happen, this blog post exists. I think. Therefore it is.weekly-reckoning

1. LET US COMPARE ATROCITIES What happens when adult women bring allegations of sexual assault against a famous CBC radio personality? We know how that goes. How about when 45 Aboriginal youth come forth with stories of sexual abuse at the hands of a prominent Canadian sports figure? That seems to be going differently (hint: no one cares).

2. HEEEERE’S HILARY! Hilary Rodham Clinton for President, y’all! If she ends up running against Jeb Bush, it’ll be like a funhouse nightmare version of the early ’90s, except with resource scarcity and the sobering memory of 9/11 and all that.

3. CHECK YOUR STREET OXY, FOLKS Regina police are warning the public that the baggie of OxyContin pills you bought from some rando in the park may be counterfeit. They are described as having the number “80” stamped on one side and “CDN” on the obverse. Will these fake Oxys give you the amazing high that the real thing provides? Or will you die like a side character from The Wire? Only one way to find out! Which I do not recommend.

4. THE DIFFERENCE It can seem to men that the increased imagery of well-turned male bodies in the media is an indicator that men are becoming the victims of sexual objectification in the same way that women historically have been. Barbara Ellen explains persuasively why this isn’t so.

5. A GAME OF THRONES MOMENT Game of Thrones returns tonight for another lurid, bloody season of trashy entertainment masquerading as televisual art. Here’s a video recap of the most horrible, grotesque deaths from the past four seasons. It’s a sword choppingly, crossbow shootingly, head squishingly good time.

Weekly Reckoning: Viral Edition

weekly-reckoningViral! Virality! Viralness…ness. It’s all the rage these days, because when you catch that viral fever, it’s a fever of rage! Rage, rage against the bloggers who abuse their doulas or whatever. Let’s look at some stories.

1. DO NOT LEAVE GROWNUPS ALONE WITH CHILDREN. CLEARLY ADULT ARE DEMENTED Well, at least the demented ones are. Here’s a horrific tale of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris, who adopted children and kept them under surveillance because they were “possessed by demons and could communicate telepathically.” Imagine being a grown-up human being who believes that kind of nonsense and, more crucially, acts on it. Reader, are you such a person? Then you are crazy. End of story. Have this sandwich because it’s made of lithium.

2. HEY, SPEAKING OF CRAZY Benjamin Netanyahu, our friend in the Levant, has taken to describing his political opponents as part of a leftist conspiracy. Okay, he’s not crazy; he’s just facing a multitude of problems coupled with a divided right-wing, and he’s amping up the rhetoric to pull in some eyeballs and earholes and unite his base.

3. JOBS R STILL US Employment in this province isn’t what it used to be, but we’ve still got the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Pretty good for a place that was once an inland sea full of giant crocodiles.

4. LIFE IMITATES ART WHICH IS LIFE Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO true-crime documentary series The Jinx, has been arrested in connection with the 2000 murder of Susan Berman. The conclusion to the series airs tonight, which is timing you can’t buy.

5. ONE LESS TOTO BASSIST TO HANG OUT AND BE COOL WITH Like it or not, everyone you know and love is going to die, including you. That’s the topper to your endless and aimless days: one day you’re standing in line at the Milky Way or driving down to Phoenix for some reason, the next you’re in a box and blissfully unaware of all the people staring down at you. Probably for the best. Famous people die too, which seems strange, but every obituary brings us into brief contact with the truth of our lives, which is that it ends. Anyway, Mike Porcaro, bass player for Toto, died at 59 of ALS.


Weekly Reckoning: Blonde Revision Edition

weekly-reckoningApparently Elvis had blond hair. Please retrofit your memories accordingly.

1. JUPITER’S GREAT RED SPOT IS SHRINKING  One of the most amazing space facts of my childhood involved the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. I read all about it: a permanent storm, an angry red pustule on the skin of the largest planet, a reminder of unimaginable cosmic fury. Apparently it’s not as permanent as I was led to believe, because it’s been shrinking noticeably and changing shape over the last few decades. Who fed me the lie of the eternal storm of Jupiter? Was it Carl Sagan? Probably Carl Sagan.

2. DON’T MILLENNIALS UNDERSTAND RACISM?  Hah hah, millennials are dumb. Dumb like gravy. And racist! They’re racist because they think that thinking and talking about racism is racist, and that empty platitudes about equality constitute a serious statement about the world. Those millennials should all just go back where they came from, which I suppose is the luminous void of eternity. No, I kid. Millennials are needed to replenish our dwindling supply of cranky old racists.

3. GODZILLA 4EVER  After a ridiculously huge opening weekend, a Godzilla sequel is already in the works. Not bad for Gareth Edwards, who had all of one low budget feature to his name before this monster of a monster movie. You can read Jorge’s review of the film right here on the Dog Blog.

4. THESE PEOPLE AGAIN  The Royal Family just can’t get enough of Canada. And we can’t get enough of those long-faced castle dwellers who incarnate the foundations of our law and government.

5. NORTH KOREAN EXECUTION ONLY TEMPORARY  Remember the story about the former girlfriend of Kim Jong Un getting executed by firing squad? Apparently they’re really cutting corners on death sentences these days, because she just appeared on television. Granted, it’s possible to record someone as an electrical signal on magnetic tape and reproduce that signal at a later date, thereby granting the recordee a form of crippled immortality, but that appears not to be the case here. The lesson here is that North Korea is weird and that we can’t believe any news that comes out that vortex of totalitarian unreality.

Weekly Reckoning: The Inaugurationing

Weekly ReckoningWelcome to the first ever Weekly Reckoning, prairie dog’s attempt to grapple with discarded butt-ends of the week! Let’s reap a few things.

1. AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE A POPE FRANCIS PARTY BECAUSE POPE FRANCIS JUST DON’T STOP (SAYING AWESOME STUFF). Say what you will about the latest head of the Catholic Church – he seems determined to run headlong at issues of social justice. At a meeting with unemployed people in Cagliari, Sardinia, the pope put aside his prepared notes and delivered a heartfelt message about the evils of a globalized economic system that swallows people and burps up their bones. Not that he used those words exactly: “The world has become an idolator of this god called money,” is what he actually said at mass later that day.

2. TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE THINGS GOING ON IN NAIROBI. The attack by the militant group al Shabaab that claimed 59 lives – including that of two Canadians  – has devolved into a siege with hostages. Al Shabaab opposes the presence of Kenyan peacekeeping forces in Somalia, so the best way to fix that is to fire into crowds of shoppers in a downtown mall. “10 hours have passed and the Mujahideen are still strong inside #Westgate Mall and still holding their ground. All praise is due to Allah!” the group said on Twitter, because of course they’d have a Twitter account (since suspended).

3. DAMN, NOVA SCOTIA. A survey on marijuana use in Canada has come out, and it turns out that British Columbia is not the pottiest province around. That honour goes to Nova Scotia, where 14.8% of respondents to the Stats Canada survey affirmed that they had smoked the international healing herb within the last 12 months. Having grown up in Nova Scotia, this makes sense. BC came in second at 14.2%. Dead last? Good old productive Saskatchewan at 10.1%, where we just drink to forget.

4. TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE THINGS GOING ON IN PESHAWAR. Remember just a few seconds ago when you were reading about the attack in Nairobi? Let’s add another 60 to the number of dead that can be attributed to religious extremism and political tactics of mass violence. A bomb going off in a Peshawar church killed an unbelievable amount of people as they left the building. According to reports, they were about to get a free meal being offered on the front lawn when two suicide bombers in the crowd detonated their devices.

5. LOUIS C.K. ENDORSES SADNESS, FROWNS ON SMARTPHONES. “You just feel kind of satisfied with your products. And then you die.” Louis C.K. takes a minute to explain everything that’s wrong with our technologically advanced and absurdly privileged Western world. And since I’m incapable of unlocking the magic combination of keystrokes needed to embed a YouTube video into this blog post, I urge you to click on the link below. Will you get a free kitten for clicking? There’s only one way to find out.

Louis C.K. on Conan O’Brien