Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ego Tripping: Part Two

Fireworks in New York City
At long last, after four hundred and fifty-one lazy, redundant, self-congratulatory, bizarre, and occasionally interesting posts, The Intrepid has finally made it to the big time. Now, if you search "the intrepid" in Google, this site appears on the first page of results. Hot damn! Of course, if I had just picked a name that was, you know, not used by a travel company, an aircraft carrier, a car, a spy, and about a bajillion charities and foundations, this site probably would have appeared higher in the Google rankings sooner.

Photo by Mr Magoo ICU.

> Continue Reading: Ego Tripping: Part Two

Titanic II

About fucking time!

The trailer above is from Asylum Production's mockbuster "Titanic II." The tagline: "100 years later, lightning strikes twice." Brilliant.

> Continue Reading: Titanic II

Friday, July 30, 2010

Steve Pakin Talks with Mike Harris

Mike Harris TVO
All this week, TVO's The Agenda with Steve Pakin has featured interviews with former Ontario Premier Mike Harris. Harris doesn't reveal anything stunning, but the interviews are still worth listening to (don't bother with the video versions).

Screenshot from The Agenda with Steve Pakin.

> Continue Reading: Steve Pakin Talks with Mike Harris

A Clear Message for Democrats for the 2010 Midterms

Democrats Signing Health Care
This week, on the Slate Political Gabfest, John Dickerson, American political correspondent extraordinaire, argued that the Democrat's best strategy for the fall is to send the message that they want to provide unemployment benefits and let the tax breaks that rich derive from the Bush tax cuts expire.

The cleanest, clearest political winner would be if Democrats could say 'look, Republicans want to keep taxes low on the rich—families that make over $250,000—but they won't vote to extend unemployment benefits.' So, that makes them looks mean. People want unemployment benefits to be extended, and also it revs up the Democratic base. And we've said this a million times before, but it's important to repeat, this election is not about the entire country, it's not even about all voters, it's about voters in the bases of these two parties. A clean argument that says 'these Republicans want to feed the wealthy and the fat cats at the detriment of the people who are looking and looking for jobs and just can't find one—the hard working middle class Americans'—is a nice tidy argument.
This is a strong message that as Dickerson argues, is clear, concise, and supported by lots of evidence. But only if Democrats have the backbone to raise wealthy American's taxes (those making more than $250,000 a year). If they don't, then the whole argument becomes muddled. By letting the tax breaks that the rich enjoy expire, Democrats can argue that they're at least somewhat serious about deficit reduction, as the plan would bring in more than $800 billion over the next ten years, and would offset the cost of extended unemployment benefits. The problem is that the party's divided, as many of the Democrats up for re-election this fall come from America's wealthiest districts.

Photo from Nancy Pelosi's Flickr stream.

> Continue Reading: A Clear Message for Democrats for the 2010 Midterms

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sending the Bacon Back

Carousel bakery peameal bacon
Last week, I threw my health to the wind and went to St. Lawrence Market to try Carousel Bakery's world famous peameal bacon sandwich. Frankly, I was kind of disappointed. For those who who haven't seen it before, this heart attack in a bun is pretty much just a stack of unsmoked back bacon rolled in cornmeal on, well...a bun. The bacon was tender and the bun was soft, as you'd expect, but overall the sandwich was bland, as peameal bacon doesn't have much of taste to it (or at least I don't think it does).

Well, that's one de facto Canadian dish down. Next up: beaver tails.

Photo by .michael.newman.

> Continue Reading: Sending the Bacon Back

TTC Gum Redux

Keep the TTC Gum Free
The TTC has started switching some of its "Keep the TTC gum-free" post-it note PSAs with these fairly standard posters. I guess replacing all those missing pads of paper was proving too difficult.

Note: the wad of gum in the poster has one hell of a big shadow.

Photo by Stephen M.

> Continue Reading: TTC Gum Redux

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Swiss Chalet Standoff

Swiss Chalet Standoff Terrance McBurnie
Yesterday, I happened to rollerblading near The Queensway and Kipling Avenue when I heard about the hostage situation at the intersection's Swiss Chalet. So, in my capacity as a pseudo-journalist for Torontoist, I decided to check out what was going on, and I happened to snag this photo (see above) of gunman Terrance McBurnie's arrest.

More photos after the break.

Swiss Chalet Standoff Queensway and KiplingThe Queensway and Kipling Avenue after police erected a barrier to block traffic.

Swiss Chalet Standoff CBCThe CBC getting ready to cover the action.

Swiss Chalet Standoff MediaCitytv and Newstalk 1010 interviewing a bystander.

Swiss Chalet Standoff Toronto Star PhotographerThe Toronto Star's photographers position themselves. I highly recommend checking out their excellent photo essay.

Swiss Chalet Standoff SniperA police sniper running to take position.

Swiss Chalet Standoff National PostThe National Post's reporter decides to take a nap.

Swiss Chalet Standoff gawkersThe gawkers and journalists behind the police line at The Queensway and Stock Avenue.

Swiss Chalet Standoff PoliceA policeman talking to reporters after McBurnie was taken into custody.

Photos by Stephen M.

> Continue Reading: Swiss Chalet Standoff

NMA News: Is Palin Gunning for 2012?!

The Taiwanese based NMA News gives its take on the bear shooting, beauty pageant winning, cleavage sporting, and word inventing phenomenon that is Sarah Palin. The same agency was also responsible for this amazing video piece on the iPhone and Antennagate.

Video by NMA News.

> Continue Reading: NMA News: Is Palin Gunning for 2012?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Worst. Trend Piece. Ever.

No, sadly, this is not an Onion parody piece. Over the last week, news organizations around the interwebs have been reporting on the dangers of i-dosing, the new and terrifying way kids are using MP3s to get high.

The video above comes from Oklahoma News 9, the brilliant on-the-ground news organization that broke the story. What's absolutely amazing is that News 9 is able to conclude that digital drugs are widespread, a threat, and possibly a gateway to nastier stuff, and all by just talking to a few random students and educators at one school, and by searching YouTube.

Seriously, wow. That's some pretty impressive journalism. Most organizations would have look at reports or do some kind research before making claims like this. Not Oklahoma News 9 though, they're that good.

The news sites that were hoping to spin a few more scare pieces out of this "trend" are no doubt disappointed by NPR's new interview with Helane Wahbeh, an assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University who's done studies on so-called digital drugs. According to Wahbeh, there's not enough evidence to show that sound can alter states the way chemical drugs do.

Via Wired and Time Magazine.

> Continue Reading: Worst. Trend Piece. Ever.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Poster Asks Passengers to Keep the TTC Gum-Free

Keep the TTC Gum Free
Most people who chew gum on the TTC are considerate enough to wait until they get off to spit their gum out into the garbage, or they put it in a wrapper so they can throw it out later. The gum we regularly see stuck to seats, walls, and doors isn't from them, it's from a small contingent of assholes. These are the people who would continue to stick their gum to the seats even if there was a trash can right in front of them. Why? Because they're assholes and they don't give a fuck.

If this is too ranty for your tastes, then check out the article I wrote for Torontoist on the same subject. It contains some of that crazy research stuff.

Photo by L. Richarz.

> Continue Reading: New Poster Asks Passengers to Keep the TTC Gum-Free

Say Goodbye to Kool-Aid Points

No More Kool-Aid Points
As of September 1, 2010, Canadians will no longer be able to exchange their Kool-Aid points for craptacular prizes. Officially, Kraft, which owns Kool-Aid, discontinued the long running promotion in 2008 when it removed clippable points from all of its Kool-Aid products. Since then, Kraft has still offered prizes, but only while supplies last (and it looks like they're about to run out).

The Kool-Aid site currently lists ten available prizes, but as I recently discovered, seven are out of stock, leaving only the Kool-Aid water bottle (100 points), the Crayola markers pack (300 points), and the underwater camera (2,000 points). These prizes are not only lame, but they cost way too much.

When points were still around, a single packet of Kool-Aid—worth one-point—cost approximately thirty cents, which means that you had to buy thirty dollars worth of Kool-Aid to get enough points for the water bottle, ninety for the markers pack, and six hundred for the underwater camera. Kind of steep, don't you think?

Then there's the exorbitant shipping and handling fees. The water bottle, which looks like it could have been plucked from a dollar store bargain bin, costs $3.50 to ship; the Crayola markers pack, which retails for four dollars, costs five to ship; and the hideous looking underwater camera, which retails for sixteen, costs eight to ship.

The points-to-prizes ratio wasn't always this bad. In the early 90s, I got a Sonic the Hedgehog video game for one hundred points. It wasn't a great video game, but it was certainly better than a water bottle, and shipping was free.

Photo by Stephen M.

> Continue Reading: Say Goodbye to Kool-Aid Points

Friday, July 09, 2010

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time to See the Right Explosion

Toronto Transformer Explosion Kipling
This past Monday, as I was walking home along Islington Avenue, I heard a large bang, and as I turned towards the noise, I saw a massive fireball shoot up into the air from the Hydro transformer station at Kipling Avenue and Norseman Street. As a part-time pseudo-journalist, my first instinct was to throw my backpack to the ground, pull out my camera, and take a photo of the resulting mushroom cloud (which you can see above). My second instinct was to text Torontoist's editor-in-chief, David Topping, with information about the fire and the resulting blackout, which ended up covering a fair part of the city. (You can read Torontoist's full coverage here.)

This was one of those chance opportunities that reporters dream about: being in the right place at the right time to get the scoop on a major event.

From now on I'm bringing my camera with me every time I go out.

Photo by Stephen M.

> Continue Reading: Being in the Right Place at the Right Time to See the Right Explosion