April 2009

Truth And Consequences

Never seen the film. Heard of it, never seen it. Only now just found out that it’s actually a town in New Mexico as I was trying to figure out how that particular phrase found it’s way into my head. Evidently it’s famous for it’s hot springs and spas.

It was originally named “Hot Springs” in fact.

But then in 1950 after a visit from a famous radio personality they named it after his show, which was obviously titled “Truth or Consequences”.

So I somehow changed the “or” to an “and” in my head. Which is ok I think, because it not only adds a layer of depth but I also suspect that it means I stand a much smaller chance of having middle aged retirees who are looking for a nice place to spend the winter ending up in my little corner of the web after some well intentioned googling.

Because let’s be honest here, there are some opinions and ideas that get expressed here that some of the more sensitive members of the planetary population might find a tad controversial.

Anyways, you have to love little moments like that, when you go out looking for a simple explanation and then you get on a pleasant detour that leads you to learn a little more about the world around you.

Which led me on a little research expedition and it turns out there are some strange names for places out there.

And in a whole five minutes I found...

Dildo in Newfoundland
Bacon Cove, also in Newfoundland
Blubber Bay in BC
Bastard in Ontario

Internationally...
Shite Creek in Idaho
Suck River, Ireland
Idiot Creek, Oregon

All of these set the bar a little low I would think. I can’t help but wonder what the tourism is like in these places.

Mind you I bet Climax in Saskatchewan does ok. Or perhaps not. It is still Saskatchewan.

Body Doubles

Ever wonder about body doubles?

I do.

You know the ones I’m talking about. Those brave souls that stand in for world leaders and such, placing their life and limb in harms way, sometimes undergoing plastic surgery to better resemble those whose lives they protect. You never hear much about them (the secrecy being an important part of their effectiveness) but world leaders from Harry Truman to Boris Yeltsin have made use of these gifted and courageous individuals.

In fact, they even have a special name.

“Political Decoys”.

Castro used them.

Which gets me to wondering, what happens to a double when the leader they duplicate either dies or retires?

I mean, if they die publicly, or they are a popular figure, I can see how it wouldn’t really cause all that many complications, but the reality is that most people who use body doubles us them because someone wants them dead.

Lets take Castro for example.

He had several body doubles, and he certainly has a few enemies.

Well he’s almost completely out of the public eye these days, so it’s likely he doesn’t use body doubles any more. What happened to the Castro duplicates? Can they walk the streets of Havana without people either trying to come up and shake their hands, or some dissident trying to stick a knife in him? I mean I suppose they could just shave their beards, but nonetheless, there are always going to be risks.

Better example might be Boris Yeltsin. He allegedly used doubles. What did his doubles do after they could no longer duplicate a man who drank and smoked his way to a heart attack. Did they have to duplicate that too? Were they simply executed (it is still Russia y’all). Were the shipped to work camps? Do they do Yeltsin impersonations at parties for the Russian elite?

So where does a body double go once the thing that all of your skills are present for no longer needs you for whatever reason? Circus worker (Get your picture taken with Castro!)? Novelty housecleaning (for only 100 rubles, Boris Yeltsin will come to your house to clean you toilet comrade!)?

You see what I’m talking about.

I mean do these guys even have a union? They should form one for their own sake. Increase their leverage. I mean, Castros retired, but you know Barak has at least three, and now that Russia is all somewhat capitalist these days, it shouldn’t present them too much of a challenge.

Turns out, there’s actually an answer for that.

Two of Stalins double have allegedly written books about the experiences and now live secluded lifestyles.

Which is probably the smart way to do it. Seclusion and royalties baby.

They should have annual conventions though and charge admission.

I would pay money for that.

Guilty Pleasures

I have a guilty pleasure.

I enjoy watching the freak show elements of humanity. I imagine it’s a little like bird watching where all of the birds are bizarre in some way.

You know what I mean:

People of indeterminate gender at gas stations.

Every once in a while I find myself waiting in line inside a gas station and you can’t tell whether or not the person in front of me is of male or female gender. You know how that works, you’re casually looking around and all of a sudden your eyes come across something that just doesn’t fully compute.

Sometimes it’s a bizarre news story headline, sometimes it’s a spectacularly lame advertising campaign, and sometimes it’s a person that just doesn’t easily fit into a visible gender.

Which is, lets be honest, somewhat intriguing.

I’m not big on image, and I’m certainly one of the last people on the planet to pass judgment on someone’s orientation, but when I encounter someone like that, it’s kinda like a puzzle. Like an encyclopedia brown story, where you know if you just reason your way through things you should be able to arrive at the correct answer. Keep your thinking cap on, don’t get emotionally invested and you’ll be fine.

And usually that’s the way it works. Find the Adams apple, look for the stubble, all will be clear.

But there are those rare occasions where no matter what you do, no matter how much experience and logic you apply, you will come up completely answerless.

Androgyny at it’s most refined is almost completely impossible to settle.

It’s like flipping a coin to end an argument and instead of it landing heads or tails, it lands perfectly on its side.

And of course, you can’t ask.

So you end up with a lingering lack of closure, even as you pay for your gas and pepperoni/cheese sticks, and it sort of stays with you for a while.

And for some reason, nine times out of ten, these great mysteries of gender are wearing jean jackets. I have no idea why, but I’m sure it has a deeper meaning.

I’ll report back just as soon as I learn anything more on that.

And to the gentleman/woman who bought a package of Halls and $35.00 of regular gasoline last Tuesday, well done my friend, well done.

The Shit List

(another pseudo monthly segment I will in all likelihood forget about after a few installments).

5. – Rogers “Friends” - Seriously. It’s old. It’s like friends with no funny at all. You are so clearly ripping of a concept that isn’t even on the air anymore is just cheap. And they’re annoying. I just want them to go away.

Won’t someone please just make them go away?

4. – Miley Cyrus – She’s gonna take down Radiohead. Uh-huh. We all know as soon as she’s 18 what’s gonna happen, and I for one can’t wait to watch the karmic wheel roll right over her. This kid has more merchandising than all of professional sports put together, and beyond the unrealistic expectations she creates (anyone can be me!) she and Disney just fleece the kids that she cares about so much that they sell everything they can to them until the kids and parents pockets have both been cleaned. As if Billy Ray didn’t have enough reason to swallow the business end of a shotgun (following up achey breaky with Doc? C’mon.) now he’s a key player in the dumbing down of an almost infinite number of “tweens”.

Pull the trigger Billy. Just pull the trigger.

3. – Jonas Brothers – See above. Also there are three of them. Which makes it three times worse. With Miley Cyrus I call them the four horsmen. They bring Mediocity, Cultural Recession, Early Development of Childhood Greed, and the promise of a painful reunion tour in about twenty years once they’ve all bounced back from what the great beast of teenage stardom has waiting for them. We need to get them and Miley in a helicopter right up around Albert Juhls farm and everything will be fine, just fine.

2 – The mothers of any children who gets put into a “beauty contest” before say, the age of 14. 14 might seem high so I might be willing to flex down to 12-13, but 4? Anyone who puts a child who hasn’t sufficiently developed the power of speech to protest their situation in an industry designed to exploit and let’s be honest here, sexualize toddlers should be forced to spend a night walking up and down the closest hooker stroll in the same design of clothing they force their kids to wear. It might help them understand a little better what they’re doing to their kids and setting them up for.

1 – Anyone who won’t hear an argument that may prove them wrong. And then internalize it and analyze it before they either keep their old opinion, or revise it. Either way, actually stopping and thinking about things can often lead to a more enlightened and aware human being. Seriously, when you stand in the way evolution, you will inevitably and eventually lose, and you slow down the process for the rest of us. If the only argument you have is “that’s just what I think” when hit with a barrage of facts you should probably do us all a favour and see if you can get a job at the soylent green factory.

You know where to find me

Nate@natepike.com