The Only Holiday Fireplace You Will Ever Need: Regina’s Own Sh*t Fireplace

In this increasingly virtual age, where families can be avoided by means of Skype and drones will deliver vitamins and/or rain copper-jacketed death upon you from the sky, we seem to have forgotten that the technology has already peaked with the virtual Yuletime fireplace. Who could have thought that one day we’d be able to summon up flames on a screen? If we had to show one thing to cavepeople that they’d genuinely lose their animal skins over, I’d choose the virtual fireplace every time. Let’s face it, the only thing better than fire is the image of fire, a spectacle held in abeyance, an all-consuming force imprisoned within pixels – you know, something that looks cool but won’t burn you. Take that, logs and paper and kindling, you think as family members slowly slip off to sleep on the couch or finally, having exhausted all safe topics of conversation, start expounding on their frankly racist theories of how society should work.

The problem is that we’re jaded. Virtual fire has become background entertainment, the thing you switch to when the sports and the Jimmy Stewart have run out. How do you freshen things up?

I give you: Shit Fireplace, the only holiday fire you need.

Shit Fireplace’s mission appears to the burning of shit: not literal shit, but the junky old crap that piles up around you and makes you wonder why humanity is permitted to manufacture anything at all. Chip bags, bed posts, old vinyl, decorative knick-knacks: if it’s sitting in a box in your grandparents’ garage, Shit Fireplace will burn it. Visit their YouTube page for a full list of incinerated items. Also of note: Shit Fireplace is the brainchild of Eric Hill and Jeff Meldrum, local Regina residents and owners of great hair. If you see them on the street, tell them how much Shit Fireplace has added to your life. Or leave an encouraging comment on YouTube.

The ultimate question is, can Shit Fireplace withstand the unleashed power of all the shitty items it consumes? Can it stand in the fire and never get burned? The answer may surprise you! Or it may not.

You’ve still got a few days of festive Yule-ish celebration before the new year ticks over and 2017 sputters to life like your dad’s stupid old lawnmower, so spend time with Shit Fireplace. I promise you, things start getting real around 2:41 and they don’t let up until the fire is done. Oh, and stick around for the 21:35 mark for an Inception-level moment that will blow your tiny mind.

Weekly Reckoning

weekly-reckoning1 TAKE THAT, FUTURE ROBOT OVERLORDS Google’s AlphaGo is a frighteningly good (and sometimes creative) program that has been beating humans in games of Go. Finally, a human has triumphed. Go champion Lee Sedol managed to force the machine to resign from a game after five hours.

2 OUTREACH After 9/11, Zarqa Narwaz knew she had to do something to fight against Islamophobia. So she started with visits to her daughter’s class and a bag of Kinder eggs.

3 WHEN NOT TO CONGRATULATE EACH OTHER Sheriff’s deputies from Coweta County, GA, handcuffed Chase Alan Sherman and tasered him until he died. Then they high-fived each other.

The county coroner has ruled the death to be a homicide.

4 MOVIE NOT SO WHITE 2015’s critical and box-office blip Exposed, a gritty NYC drug crime thriller starring Keanu Reeves, was originally called Daughter of God, a psychologically complex movie about a Latina woman in NYC starring Cuban actress Ana de Armas. The director took his name off the film in disgust after heavy studio editing effectively turned it into a standard thriller. But what was the original film like?

5 COULD THERE BE A SURER SIGN OF GLOBAL WARMING? The Milky Way opened early this year.

 

Weekly Reckoning: Things That Happened Edition

weekly-reckoningEvery week things happen: things: events and people colliding off each other into ever-more complex concatenations of what ends up being just more things happening. And every week, we sit quietly in a corner and wonder whether the ever-expanding cloud of happenstance points to some design, or whether, once again, it’s nothing but a random whirlwind of flux and death and sadness with the occasional ice cream cone thrown in to keep us around for another week. Then we take a nap.

1 IT’S A MAN’S MAN’S MAN’S WORLD (BY DESIGN) In news that shouldn’t surprise anyone, everything from seatbelts to medicine is designed by men – to the detriment of women. If ever there were an argument for more women in STEM fields, here it is.

2 MILLENNIALS AREN’T RUINING HOTELS Hotels are ruining hotels.

3 GOODBYE TO MISS DAVIS Nancy Reagan died at 94, reminding us that the Reagan presidency actually happened. But what did she do before she and Ronald entered a life of politics? She was a Hollywood actress from 1948 to 1962. Yes, I’m sure you knew this already.

4 “THEY PREFER NAMES LIKE RUTH, PETE, BOBBY, CHARLOTTE AND PEARL” Two professors of language and literature ran computational tests to determine the differences between contemporary novels by authors with an MFA and those without. The results were… well, let’s just say that you can take your tuition money and spend it on a writing studio somewhere.

5 SOMEONE TELL THE SASK PARTY THAT CHILDRENS’ FACES ARE FULL OF OIL Do you like language schools in Saskatchewan? Well, sucks to be you then.

Weekly Reckoning: Letterboxed Edition

weekly-reckoningPeople ask me if “recondite” is defined as “a reckoning so explosive that it’s like dynamite.” Which is a weird question! The answer, obviously, is no.

1 HAN SHOOTS FIRST, AGAIN For years, it’s been impossible to see the first Star Wars movie (you know, Episode IV: A New Hope) without George Lucas’ CGI tinkering and digital upgrading. Somehow, a group of diehard Star Wars fans calling themselves Team Negative 1 found a print of the original film, and now you can watch a restored version of the film! If you’re willing to go poking around on torrent sites, that is.

2 OKAY, BUT RIGHT AFTER THIS WE DESTROY THEM ALL Welcome to the “mosquito factory,” a lab where scientists perform research on mosquitoes to discover cures for Zika and so on. Apparently those terrible proboscis-bearing hemophages are useful. At least for now.

3 SWINGLINE SWEET CHARIOT Here is an article about one of the coolest objects of all time: the stapler.

4 IRAQ IS DOING JUST GREAT Corruption and falling oil prices are wreaking havoc on Iraq.

5 WHAT IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WITHOUT A BUSH? Jeb Bush has quit the nomination race, which is as good an indicator as any that the traditional Republican party of conservative American aristocrats in a complete shambles. It’s too bad, because he was probably the closest thing they had to a real candidate.

Weekly Reckoning: Nobody Knows Anything Edition

weekly-reckoningAaaaaaaaand reckon!

1 R-RATED SUPERHERO FILM DOES MASSIVE BOX OFFICE, SURPRISING THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW ABOUT THESE THINGS Deadpool, the film about the eponymous hero with the body of Ryan Reynolds and the soul and vocabulary of a 14 year old boy, is destroying box office records with an opening of over $150 million, or about three times the studio forecasts.

2 WE SHOULD ALL BE SO LUCKY Most of the world was uncomfortably cheered by the death of Antonin Scalia, the ultraconservative Supreme Court justice who basically embodied the zombified ideals of the religious right. Here’s a thoughtful roundup of thoughtful pieces on the man’s life and legacy and so on. But if you read only one of these pieces, make it the one about his judicial opinions, because damn, he could be one witty dinosaur.

3 HOW TO GET AHEAD IN CODING (FOR LADIES) A study of code repositories discovered that women are often considered to be better coders – but ya know, only if they hid the fact that they were women.

4 HOW TO GET BY IN THE SPANISH CIVIL SERVICE A waste water treatment plant employee in Spain did not show up for work for at least six years. Nobody figured it out until he was due to receive an award for longstanding service. I guess the takeaway here is that waste water treatment plants are so great that they don’t even need monitoring.

5 THE DIVORCE IS LITERALLY GOING TO BE MURDER A Saskatoon man donated his kidney to his fiancée.

Weekly Reckoning: Soup Erbo Wl Edition

weekly-reckoningLet’s play Reckonopoly! It’s like regular Monopoly, except you reckon with things. And there are no tokens, or cards, or money, or a board. It isn’t like Monopoly at all!

WHERE’D ALL THE ZIKA COME FROM? A New York Times (google them! They’re a newspaper) article goes into detail on the emergence and discovery of the Zika virus. It reads like a medical mystery thriller, but with hydrocephaly.

THE COYOTES OF NORTH BAY ARE GETTING HIGH Whaaaaat? Traffic-disrupting coyotes near San Francisco are probably getting schwacked on local wild mushrooms. The article is at pains to point out that the mushrooms in question aren’t psylocibin-containing “magic mushrooms” but muscimol-containing fly agaric mushrooms. I’m not sure why reporters are so keen on parsing the source of a coyote’s high, but whatever.

AD BOWL, A BIG BOWL OF ADS Sure, men with helmets and shoulder pads squared off against each other today in a choreographed ritual of symbolic violence, but the real show lies in the ridiculous and entertaining ads that companies pay outlandish sums of money to spread in front of your eyesball eyeballs. But where can you find all those ads now? Here. Spoiler: they’re pretty stupid.

SASKATCHEWAN MAY STILL BE A VAPING PARADISE, BUT FOR HOW LONG? Cigarette smoking looks cool. It has always looked cool. Vaping, on the other hand, makes you look an overheated engine with a sleeve tat. I don’t care how many flavours you can vape in: you’re still vaping. Here’s a story relevant to vapers’ interests though.

WHATEVER HAPPENS/ HAS HAPPENED WITH TODAY’S SUPERBOWL, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE BEYONCÉ I imagine a team is winning, or has won? I’m not a sports journalist. Anyway, Beyoncé’s “Formation” is great. End of story. But since this is the Internet, there’s always supplemenary material (that is to say, a complete guide to the video below).

Weekly Reckoning: Checkon Yourself Before You Reckon Yourself Edition

weekly-reckoningIt’s a reckon every second around here.

WENCHES WELCOME HERE Local vanity project owner Jason Hall is in hot water this week after an ad for event staff at Kitschbomb Stonehall Castle asked for applicants’ measurements. Hall seems to be under the impression that his reputation as a landlord is making him a target for ire, rather than the fact that he asked for women’s exact measurements.

FINALLY, SOMEONE WITH THE RIGHT IDEA Slate’s Daniel Engber takes a look at the state of the world and decides that the best solution is to eradicate all of the mosquitoes. What a great idea! Even if they’re not showing up to the party with Zika and malaria and chikungunya and that old dengue fever, they’re still making off with our blood and leaving nothing but itchy bumps behind. Let’s whip these welters.

I’M STARTING TO THINK THAT FLINT IS JUST DYSTOPIA’S TEST LAB You think that lead content in Flint’s water is a disgrace? It’s so much worse than that.

Y IN THE SKY January 28 marked the 30th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle explosion. Jason Kottke has a round-up of stories on the disaster.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: CETAPHILE? I’m aware of how tortured and ridiculous that pun is, but these are ridiculous, torturous times. Especially when you discover that Justin Trudeau wants to ratify the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA.

Weekly Reckoning

weekly-reckoningWho wants to reckon?

HOW THE BIRDS FLY I watched this animated map of bird migration patterns for an embarrassingly long time. Check out the bird that only goes as far south as Cape Breton. What’s that bird thinking? But then, I suppose that if you’re spending your summers at Ellesmere Island, a rocky outcrop at the end of the Maritimes seems like a good deal.

NOW WITH 3 PER CENT MORE WAGYU If you’re thinking of sampling the menu at Toronto’s uber-fancy Azure Restaurant & Bar, you might as well trawl the aisles of your local Safeway. Organic? Not really. Homemade? Nope. Wagyu steak? Not at all.

MAWR SEKRIT BOWIE Even from the grave, David Bowie isn’t done with us. It turns out that the prolific artist had decades of unreleased material, some of which we may get to hear in 2017. Yay! Also, they’re rebooting Labyrinth! Non-yay.

GETTING DOWN WITH THE REPTILE AGENDA Is your spirit dead? If not, take a look at this dating site for Lizard People. This honestly feels like something from the weird old days of the Internet, when bored people had time to code strange sites (instead of going to California and forming a startup).

FILES ARE GETTING X-EY After many, many years, the show that dominated the ’90s is back for a six-episode miniseries. The first episode is apparently not the best? But who cares, it’s X-Files.

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.

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Weekly Reckoning: It’s Built On Bluff It’s Built On Trust Edition

weekly-reckoningThe Internet runs on faith. Millions of pages sent from servers to computers every day, each full of clickable links that may or may not be what they promise to be. With every click you run the risk of seeing GIFs of wagging genitals or, even worse, Rick Astley. Lucky for you, Prairie Dog holds to higher standards. Here are some links that – I guarantee – will consist of precisely what I promise.

1. HERE IS A LINK TO PHOTOGRAPHS OF HEAVY METAL FANS IN MID-HEADBANG Although to me they look like they’re sneezing, mostly. Who can say what’s going on in these photos? We think they’re headbanging because we’re told so, but maybe they’re being exposed to pollen. While being punched in the stomach. Whatever, they’re fun photographs.

2. HERE IS A LINK TO AN ILLUSTRATED EXPLANATION OF GENRES OF MUSIC (via @cenobyte). The additional comments detract from the illustrations, but this is my favourite bit of Internet today. I always suspected that folk music songs contained an appreciable proportion of man bun.

3. HERE IS A LINK ABOUT A WOMAN WHOSE AIRBNB ACCOUNT WAS TERMINATED THAT WILL REMIND YOU WHAT THE SHARING ECONOMY REALLY IS Hint: it’s not a decentralized and empowering networked approach to generating revenue. It’s a mysterious world where your livelihood can be taken away at whim and you will be left adrift in misery and confusion because – surprise! – the individual has no power. See also: Uber.

4. HERE IS A LINK TO A VIDEO OF A GRIZZLY BEAR ROLLING DOWN A HILL The rolling starts at about 20 seconds in. So much delighted laughter and shutter clicking as the bear rolls down and down and down towards the onlookers. Not shown: the screaming, the blood, the unanswered cries to a distant god. Take a look!

5. HERE IS A LINK THAT MAKES ME NERVOUS for all kinds of reasons, including our economic future in a resource economy and the state of our climate in a fossil-fuel hungry world, but mostly because I don’t trust any news about engergy prices and global oil reserves. Mind you, I assume that most of the news we see is a smokescreen to keep us from panicking and eating each other in an apocalyptic frenzy, so make of this what you will.

*Prairie Dog Magazine, prairiedogmag.com and all associated corporate and individual entities can not be held responsible for link rot, advertising content on other sites or Rick Astley.

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.

1. HEY, WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE GAME WHILE I WAS WATCHING A BIRD RIDE ANOTHER BIRD IN MID-AIR? Oh you have got to be kidding me.

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: Let’s Do This Edition

weekly-reckoningAlright! Who’s with me on this reckoning thing? I’m feeling good today and I don’t care who knows it! Because it’s not important information! Keep reading!

WELL THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG Darian Durant ruptured his left Achilles tendon in yesterday’s 30-26 loss against the Winnipeg Boobobbers. Aaaand he’s done for the season, which must be a disappointment for fans, except for that one weird friend of yours who’ll say something like “Now this gives the Riders a chance to discover their strengths” as he gnaws off his own foot in despair.

IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT South Carolina is poised to discuss the removal of the Confederate flag from its legislative grounds, but it wasn’t happening fast enough to suit activist and all-around badass Bree Newsom, who climbed the pole and took it down herself. For a brief moment, Newsom herself became a human flag as she reached the top of the pole and removed the Stars and Bars from its traditional position. Did she contemplate the oddity of that unwitting transformation? This is probably beside the point.

THEY ALSO FOUND AN ISIS OUTPOST LURKING IN A BOOK OF EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY JUST WAITING TO STRIKE CNN recently ran a hot story about an ISIS flag being flown at a London pride parade. It turned out to be pictures of dildos and assorted sex toys.

EAST GERMAN COMMUNIST DOLLHOUSES! East! German! Communist! Dollhouses!

SOMETHING HANDY THIS WAY COMES Ray Bradbury’s demolished house has been converted into 451 sets of bookends and sold to help support the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University.

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: I Rode In A Tesla S Today Edition

weekly-reckoningIt’s true! I got to ride in a Tesla S today, courtesy of electric vehicle service company Sun Country Highway. The legroom was plentiful, the seats were comfy, and that thing goes from 0 to 100 km/h in about four seconds. It’s eerie to feel a sudden force pushing you back in your seat without an engine roar to comfort you.

1. TONIGHT IS OSCAR NIGHT NIGHT! The Academy Awards, that bastion of conservative, sort of racist assholes, are happening! Our resident film critic Jorge Ignacio Castillo has already given his predictions and I’m sure that there’ll be some live Oscar blogging on this site as well.

2. FOLLOW THE DENIAL MONEY TO CLIMATE LIES Bad news for the last few climate change deniers out there: leading climate change denier Wei-Hock Soon is a liar who has been less than forthcoming about the source of his funding (it’s energy companies).

3. WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE? BOSTON IS FULL OF SNOW In fact, there’s so much snow that a bicyclist built an awesome tunnel through a snow bank.

4. I’M ALMOST LOOKING FORWARD TO MY FIFTIES With less than a decade to go before I hit the mid-century mark, I sometimes mull over that moment when I step unequivocally into middle age. But British television personality Mariella Frostrup has some thoughts on the changing societal roles of the 50+ set that kind of cheered me up.

5. OUR DYSPEPTIC SUN IS HERE TO GIVE YOU PERSPECTIVE Sure, plenty of things are happening here on Earth, but take a look at these solar flares! Just one burp from the sun dwarfs any of our tiny, insignificant little movements on this forgotten mossy rock spinning through the vast cold dead machine of the Universe. Happy February!

Weekly Reckoning: Love Approaches Edition

weekly-reckoningWelcome, people in love or about to fall in love, people combing their hair in anticipation of love, people zipping up their love preparation jumpsuits, even people drawing up a cost-benefit love analysis, whatever. We’re a week out from Valentine’s Day and love is rumbling towards you over the horizon, its engines belching, its terrible treads grinding the earth beneath, and so on. Here are some timely love links to get you “in the mood” (a mood for donning jumpsuits, that is! Ha ha, just kidding, not really please put on your jumpsuit now and shut the blast doors, love is coming and it’s armed to the teeth).

1. THE ONLY COSMOPOLITAN ARTICLE YOU WILL EVER NEED Krista McHarden and her boyfriend set themselves a task that I can’t imagine trying without either the blessings of youth or some serious pharmaceuticals: try all of the sex from 50 Shades of Grey in one weekend. Read on and discover that the wild sex of 50 Shades is… sort of vanilla.

2. MODERN LOVE The weirdest detail from this article about a woman falling in love over Instagram is a cameo appearance from Bill Cosby. Roland Barthes would approve of the reality-enhancing effect of this detail.

3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ A recent study from Match.com discovered an intriguing correlation: people who used more emojis in text messages had more sex. Unfortunately, this does not mean that throwing an emoji into a text message will get you sex on your next date. Unless you’re texting an emoji fetishist?

4. QUEER TIMES AT THE STRIP CLUB M.J. Corey, a self-described “lesbian idiot,” decided to celebrate her 25th birthday at a strip club and wrote a tongue-in-cheek email to her invitees about general strip club decorum (I think “bring lots of small bills” about covers it). Then Jezebel got hold of the email and mocked her fairly mercilessly. So let’s read Corey’s side of the story.

5. BUT THE SEXTING IS JUST INSUFFERABLE Yes, there’s a term for the sexual attractiveness of smarts and the people who go ga-ga for grey matter. Behold the sapiosexual.

 

 

Weekly Reckoning: Sex Bacon™ Tonic Edition

weekly-reckoningThat’s right: sex bacon. Or should I say, Prairie Dog’s Patented Sex Bacon™ Tonic! Stop not taking Sex Bacon immediately! Guaranteed to increase your SBBL count and put a strut in your step when you swig a swag of Sex Bacon™! Ingredients: ethyl alchohol, sugar, bacon, natural things like twigs and maybe a clove or two of garlic? Hey, that sounds good. Maybe this is more of a lifestyle spray than a medicinal tonic? You know, we’re still in the blue-sky phase of the product launch.

1. TOLLER CRANSTON, THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME, IS GONE Toller Cranston, the greatest skater with the coolest name who ever lived, is not living. Cranston died at age 65 in his Mexico home of an apparent heart attack. There’s no word on whether he was was wearing one of his uber-cool turtleneck sweaters or maybe writing me a letter saying, “Yes Aidan, I really am the coolest Canadian who ever popped up on your TV screen on Saturday nights to make all of the other skaters look like amateurs. I only won the bronze at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics because my athleticism and talent and spangly suit and floppy hair terrified the judges. Keep following your dreams, Toller.”

2. TATIANA MASLANEY MASLANY, WHO IS ALMOST AS COOL AS TOLLER CRANSTON, MAY BE IN STAR WARS Regina’s Tatiana Maslaney Maslany is up for a role in the upcoming 2016 Star Wars film from director Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla). Also in contention are Rooney Mara (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Kate Mara (House of Cards) and Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) but they won’t get it because they’re up against the cybernetic acting machine from the future we have designated as Tatiana Maslaney Maslany.

3. IT’S GETTING HARDER AND HARDER TO FIND BAD FAST FOOD The New Yorker has a fine and thoughtful piece called “The Shake Shack Economy” on the challenge that fast-casual” restaurants like Shake Shack, Chipotle and Panera Bread pose to the traditional junk food slingers of post-war ‘Murica. Traces of this trend in Regina can be found in the $15 poutines of Fatburger or the ongoing bend towards comfort food in high-end restaurants. But don’t worry, there are lots of totally awful fast food experiences available in Saskatchewan.

4. VROOOOOM VROOOOOOM SHUFFLE REPEAT What do you think of the sweet roar of the engine in your new F-150? It’s probably an .mp3 file.

5. OH SKY MALL, WE BID YOU AND YOUR MOUNTAIN OF OVERPRICED JUNK GOODBYE After 25 years of doing a rip-roaring trade in Bigfoot garden gnomes and electronic litter boxes, Sky Mall has filed for bankruptcy. Slate.com has an explainer piece on Sky Mall’s business model and why it failed, but if you can’t figure out how a company whose brand was founded on selling stuff that nobody could possibly want ran out of money, then I doubt any link can help you (actually, Sky Mall’s chief revenue source wasn’t their catalogue – see the article for details). The website is still up and taking orders, but who knows how long that will last? Better move quick if you want your Night Glow Toilet Seat.

UPDATE: Maslaney Maslany.

 

Weekly Reckoning: Inexplicable Edition

weekly-reckoningGreetings. The year 2015 has begun. So far it’s been exactly like 2014, but possibly slightly worse. But a few bits of news have stood out. Here are some things made me smile, frown, cry-laugh, cry-eat and sleep-write.

1. GRATEFUL PALESTINIANS MAKE HIGH-VELOCITY DIY OMELETTE FOR JOHN BAIRD Dozens of Palestinians welcomed John Baird to Ramallah by serving him the world’s fastest, least prepared egg dish, pelting his convoy with eggs and shoes as he drove to a meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki. “We know you’re very busy, so please accept these ingredients for our traditional shoe-egg fritatta!” they shouted as he passed by. Later, Baird napped on a towering midden of children’s skulls.

2. TWITTER NOW FEATURES A ‘CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE’ ADVENTURE Try it out, Twitter people (“tweople”): go to @wnd_go and begin your adventure. It’s relatively short because nearly every pathway in the branching maze of choices leads to horrific death, which is pretty much how i remember those books. Ah, sweet childhood.

3. ONCE MORE, YOU CAN DIAL A SONG ’90s Indie music group They Might Be Giants have resurrected Dial-a-Song, their goofy and charming service that lets you listen to a new song every week over the phone. Remember phones? Give it a try. (844) 387-6962.

4. ALL QUIET ON THE WEEDY FRONT Marijuana legalization is turning a year old this month, and so far all seems well. The dire consequences (rampant pot use, accident fatalities, ‘Reefer Fever’) predicted by legalization opponents have largely failed to materialize. I’d be more worried about the retail supply chain for junk food than anything else.

5. WHY DID THIS HAPPEN? Why did someone (filmmaker Isaac Royffe) make a supercut of Angela Lansbury epiphanies from Murder She Wrote? Why is it an entire hour long? Why did I watch so much of it? Am I going to finish it, and if so, why? What terrible power does Angela Lansbury hold over us? Why is it fascinating to watch hundreds of versions of Lansbury making that ‘a-ha’ face? Why are you watching it right now? If not, why not? Please answer each one of these questions using a standard No. 2 HB pencil and submit to prairie dog magazine. Please print legibly in complete sentences.

Belle And Sebastian, “Nobody’s Empire”

Did you wake up and discover it was Wednesday again? Did you think “Ah hell it’s Wednesday again” again? Do you call it ‘Humpday’ for some reason, possibly because even the sight of the dog humping the chair leg counts as entertainment on this flooded inlet of a weekday? Okay then, here’s a tune to help you through. The song starts off twee and minor key and manages to build to a grand horn-soaked climax without ever seeming like it got out of bed. But Stuart Murdoch still manages to let those curly little lines and rhymes fall from his mouth and it leaves you strangely hopeful. Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance comes out on January 20.

Weekly Reckoning: Yearly Reckoning Edition

weekly-reckoningWhat up, people of Internet? It’s 5:30 a.m. (as of this writing), my insomnia’s doing great and I’m feeling just a little punchy. I think it’s all the fatigue toxins goosing my synapses. So let’s proceed right into my Yearly Reckoning, in which I dump out some random opinions on your unsuspecting boots. In current news, another Malaysian plane has gone missing: AirAsia QZ8501 has vanished in heavy weather between Singapore and Indonesia with 192 passengers on board. Cue the satellite hunters and conspiracy mongers.

1. HEY, ARE YOU GUYS JUST GOING AROUND SHOOTING UNARMED BLACK PEOPLE? This appears to be the question that America finally asked its police forces in 2014, after decades of this sort of thing happening. From Michael Brown to Eric Garner and beyond, it seems that the American public is unwilling to accept the status quo in which young, unarmed black men can be shot on the street and left in the sun like modern versions of lynching victims. Meanwhile, the NYPD might want to think about what it stands to lose by pulling stunts like turning its collective back on Mayor de Blasio.

2. HEY, WHO’S KILLING INDIGENOUS WOMEN? This appears to be a question that the Harper government is still unwilling to answer, because as far as our Skinwalker-in-Chief is concerned, indigenous Canadians aren’t real people and may be dismissed if he shakes his head hard enough. Of course, he’s terrified of shaking his head lest his human face come flying off in public.

3. ACTUALLY IT’S ABOUT ETHICS IN GAMING JOURNALISM By far the most pathetic and embarrassing story of the year: Gamergate, a crusade of misogynistic basement dwellers dedicated to ensuring that women don’t make games and that games aren’t made with women in mind, because nothing’s more unethical than diversity or inclusion or catering to the actual gaming market.

4. POPE FRANCIS, YOU SO COOL Pope Francis continues to make good on his image as a reformer with a wingdangdoo of an address to the Holy See. In a blistering speech, he laid out the ailments plaguing the Catholic Church hierarchy, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s.” He also singles out “working too hard” as a problem, which, good thinking. Francis also promised to bring financial reform to the Vatican, which will probably win him few friends among the Church bureaucracy.

5. BEST THINGS OF 2014

BEST TV OF 2014 Yes, yes, give me your True Detectives, your Hannibals and your Fargos – all of which were excellent, excellent television. But I’m going to propose a few alternates: the hilarious squalor of Broad City, a dirty weed-fogged riff on Girls; Rick and Morty, a deranged stack of inventive madness from Community creator Dan Harmon; and The Affair, which started off as a minutely observed character drama about infidelity and devolved into a fantastically trashy soap opera in only ten episodes. Oh, and from The CW, there’s The Flash, which is the most fun you can have watching a man run fast in red tights, and The 100, which began life as Post-Apocalyptic Hot Teen Soap Opera and is now a frantically paced game of escalating stakes between ridiculously good-looking people on a devastated future Earth. What’s not to like?

BEST MOVIES OF 2014 So many excellent films this year. Under The Skin. The Lego Movie. Boyhood (probably). The BabadookSnowpiercer, except for the overlong ending. Guardians of the Galaxy. Two Days One Night. And more. Definitely not The Equalizer, unless “Denzel Washington killing randos with home & garden supplies” is the new criterion for great cinema.

DUMBEST MOVIES OF 2014 THAT PEOPLE THINK ARE GOOD BUT THEY’RE NOT Freaking Gone Girl. It’s ridiculous. Okay? And with apologies to Jorge, Interstellar is a movie about a guy who sails beyond the stars to spy on his teenage daughter. It’s creepy. People eat corn, they cry in space and it’s creepy.

BEST SPORTS OF 2014 Over Christmas I watched a lot of football at the in-laws. Then I went to my parents’ and watched an imperial ton of soccer. That was my sports for the whole year, and it was fantastic. I can’t wait for Xmas 2015.

BEST MUSICS OF 2014 Lots of people have opinions, but mine is the one that counts here. LP1 from FKA Twigs, whom I can only describe as an erotic trip-hop anxiety performance artist, is the best thing to hit my ears this year. D’Angelo’s Black Messiah is indisputably great, but you can’t shake my heart. Don’t go shaking it. To give you a sense of what to expect, as Greg Beatty might say, here’s the single “Two Weeks.” Lyrics are a trifle NSFW, but phrases like “higher than a motherfucker” never sounded so sweet and lyrical.