Arthur: the Maritime Edition

that's all CGI

that’s all CGI

You know what the cushiest job in the world is? The cushiest job in the world is the Vancouver television weather presenter. You put on a Gore-tex jacket, stand in front of a green screen and intone, “Partly overcast, with chance of precipitation.” One take and you’re done. The wizards in IT swap in a different background every day, but until it actually snows, and you have to do another take wearing polar fleece, you’re done for the year.

By way of contrast, you know who’s the hardest-working personality in the weather video world?

FRANKIEEEE MACDONALD from SYDNEY NOVA SCOTIA!!!

Here he is in July 3rd video predicting today’s shitstorm in New Brunswick. You can’t say that man doesn’t put his heart into it and cover all the bases. Repeatedly. With Chinese Food and Coke. And Chinese Food and Coke. And Pepsi.

And for bonus points, check out how swiftly the commenters see off the haters. Truly, if YouTube comments having you doubting for the future of the human race, read some of the comments on Frankie’s vids to have your faith restored.

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Ride for Dad: but give Dan the donation money!

Dan Sparling Ride for Dad

Dan Sparling Ride for Dad

This is my almost-brother-in-law, Dan Sparling, boyfriend to The Sister for lo, these 23 years, and many thanks are due him for taking her off our hands. He’s spending his weekend doing the Ride for Dad through scenic southern Ontario, raising funds to fight prostate cancer.

We raise funds through large scale one-day motorcycle, snowmobile, watercraft and ATV ride events and through ongoing public fundraising throughout the year. TELUS Ride For Dad events take place in multiple cities across Canada, representing every Canadian province. To learn more about a ride in your city, please click here

Since 2000, the TELUS Ride For Dad has donated more than 13 million dollars to the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation, charitable number 85133 3179 RR0001, to support prostate cancer research and awareness in the communities where the funds were raised – we give where we ride! 

Dan’s already met his goal of $500, but if you’re feeling generous and like possibly saving the lives of any of the prostate-having men you know and are fond of, click through and kick him a few bucks. God knows, it’s hard work touring the scenic countryside on a motorcycle on a beautiful spring day. Eh?

So it sprinkled! They earned their money! NOW GIVE THEM SOME!

So it sprinkled! They earned their money! NOW GIVE THEM SOME!

 

Your Moment of Existential Horror

Skeleton Mirror is emo, reflects  only darkness

Skeleton Mirror is emo, reflects only darkness

I have no idea why we’re on this big Video Kick lately, particularly as we’re working on a computer that refuses to update Flash to something dating to this century, but we are. One is using the Royal We, of course. One wouldn’t mind using the Royal Wee on Prince Hot Ginge, whose birthday it is, should one ever get a chance with that nasty ginger, but it appears unlikely, as he does not travel in our elevated social circles. But I digress.

One digresses.

Here is one video that will simply creep you right the fuck out. It’s 1962 footage of the late Kenneth Stevens, Clarence J. LeBel Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, saying words. Saying words while being X-rayed. I’m not sure what possible super-powers one might receive from a session like this; perhaps alliteration? the ability to extemporize in rhyming couplets (rap)? But certainly the ability to live on as a creepy YouTube video. His official obit from MIT is interesting.

Stevens is best known for his “quantal theory of speech,” which explored why — despite the apparent diversity of sounds across different languages — human speech actually exploits only a small fraction of the sounds that the vocal tract can produce.

In 1952, while Stevens was completing his doctorate, the MIT linguist Morris Halle, together with colleagues Gunnar Fant and Roman Jakobson, proposed that all human speech sounds could be described as combinations of 20-odd “distinctive features,” such as the placement of the tip of the tongue, the shape of the tongue, whether the glottis (voice box) was opened or closed, the shape of the lips, and so on.

Stevens, who collaborated closely with all three men, observed that these distinctive features seemed to describe configurations of the vocal tract’s “articulators” — such as the tongue, glottis and lips — in which small deviations had little effect on the sounds produced. This is by no means true of all configurations: In most cases, small deviations would actually yield large sonic differences. But, Stevens argued, language users would naturally converge on the more stable configurations, which would lead to greater consistency in sound production.

Quantal theory was not, however, just a theory of speech production; it was also a theory of speech recognition. If humans had a limited repertory of sounds that they could produce reliably, then the auditory system may very well have evolved to key in on them. Stevens spent much of his career indefatigably investigating the implications of quantal theory, both experimentally and through mathematical modeling, frequently in collaboration with Halle and, later, with Samuel Jay Keyser, another MIT linguist.

In the pursuit of knowledge in this rarefied field, he produced and starred in the following creepy-ass video, asking that musical question, “Why did Ken set the soggy net on top of his deck?”

Transcript, courtesy of YouTube robots, who are comically inaccurate:

0:03 the fifth

0:05 protect

0:06 repair

0:08 rip-off

0:09 the top

0:10 ka

0:11the death

0:13 going there

0:14 beset

0:15 is there

0:17 asar [that can't be right!]

0:25 hock

0:26 that t

0:28 tier

0:29 attack

0:30 that uh…

0:31 the two

0:33 protector

0:34 the talks

0:36 tech

0:37 repair

0:39 hindi

0:40 he interrupts

0:41 the

0:42 he are

0:44 the are

0:47 why didn’t care will set the starting next week on top of his deck

0:52 i have put blood on her to clean your shoes

You WHAT???

Why it’s called “Meatspace”

Oh, Elsie is in for a rude shock

Oh, Elsie is in for a rude shock

Have you noticed that we have no difficulty believing we are spiritual beings, but we simply cannot wrap our heads around the actually demonstrable fact that we are, in fact, made of meat? Why, even on this very blog, we’ve had suggested wine pairings for cannibals, whom we have also covered. Repeatedly, in fact. We’ve even covered fake me-meat, as well as munch-by-munch reports of ursine-sapien dining and a scientific investigation into just how Modest a Proposal Jonathan Swift‘s little suggestion really was.

Well, it’s time for a refresher. We are nothing but wetware in meatspace, and even the aliens abducting and probing us, anal fissures first, find it distasteful. Observe:

Close observers will observe the observer observing them observing us; he is the Venusian Martian from the original 1961 Twilight Zone episode, Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up;

I for one am relieved he got away. And more relieved not to have the gory details.

Happy Birthday, Paul Rudd!

Paul Rudd covers up his Rudds

Paul Rudd covers up his Rudds

Give the man what he asks for: a cure for cancer!

“I know it’s the thought that counts, but…the money counts too!”

Normally, as you know, I am so NOT all about the self-conscious hipsters (apologies: I repeat myself) particularly those of ironic eyewear, but in this case I must give it up to Mister Paul Rudd, who suggests that on your birthday, you ask your friends to donate your age in dollars to the Cancer Society. Now, this may well bankrupt my friends, but you, according to Quantcast, are younger, and you should be doing this. I mean, if they spend that money on PBR you’re just gonna have a beer belly and a hangover to show for it the next day, right? Whereas fighting cancer provides a glow which makes one irresistable to the opposite sex (as several cancer fakers of my acquaintance know and have taken advantage of, and don’t worry, I’ve taken care of them in ways they don’t even know yet).

Am I ranting? Oh, let me rant. I beat cancer: I’m entitled to rant a bit. If you’re feeling ranty right along with me, here are some infuriating, medically-themed gossip links for you to read and ensure that your blood pressure remains elevated. If you get angry enough, it even counts as aerobic!

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