The Luck of the Irish

Pull up a stool!

So, the other night I was, as I am not infrequently, at the bar of the Irish Heather, spending, as I do not infrequently, too damn much money for somebody who blogs for a living, and I met, as I not infrequently do, an Irishman.

I mean, where else would you? Right? Amiright?

And his Zimbabwean sidekick, Julius I’m Not Kidding You although he may have been telling a stretcher Caesar. Julius Caesar.

I never did catch the Irishman’s name, either because it was so exotic or because I have a cold and my ears were stuffed up with Strongbow I mean earwax now where was I?

Right. At the bar of the Irish Heather, talking about luck with a lanky, nameless Irishman and a black guy from Zimbabwe called Julius Caesar. They’d just gotten back from the Yukon, where they were checking out the dogsled race and NO I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP the one that goes all the way to Alaska, and thereupon I told them my story about the American Minutemen guarding the border and the time one of them shot himself in the foot and Canada refused to let him in, as he did not have proper identification documents and they must have laughed and laughed at Canadian Border Guard Union Headquarters over that one, oh yes.

And then the Irishman told me the secret of winning bar bets, which he then proceeded to prove by winning two toonies from me. But he bought me a Strongbow, so I figure I came out four bucks ahead when you figure tax into it which in Canada you always do, on general principles and yes, even in bar bets.

And this is the secret:

Get the other person to make a bet, and bet against him.

You’re welcome.

camel cheese

Camel CheeseCamel cheese is both food and a meme, concept and reality, challenge and reward.

Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese.

Camel cheese is rumoured to be nonallergenic, and the production of camel cheese forms a surprisingly high-profile part of the GDP of Mauritania, thanks to the intervention of the former Essex Girl Nancy Jones and her 153Club.

Nancy Abeiderrahmane, born Nancy Jones of Essex, won the 1993 Rolex Award (£20,000) for her project to produce and export the cheese from her dairy in Nouakchott, Mauritania. However this is no ordinary dairy, since it specialises in pasteurising camel’s milk supplied by semi-nomadic herders.

I’m wondering how she gets the herders to stand still while they’re being milked. Surely there’s a YouTube vid?

At least we can rest easy knowing that the UN is on the case, enabling camel cheese making around the globe through their handy leaflet on the topic. Surely given the population of surplus camels and the inherent entrepreneurialism of its people, it cannot be long before Australia overtakes early leader Mauritania in the Camel Cheese Making Stakes. Truly, camel cheese production is a breakthrough that could not have happened in the dark ages of the Mid-Twentieth Century.

“Making cheese from the milk of a cow or a goat or even a yak is easy,” says Jean-Claude Lambert, an FAO dairy specialist. “Everything is known in terms of technology.” But camel milk was a different story because traditional rennet does not coagulate it. “Six years ago no one believed camel milk could be made into cheese,” says Mr Lambert.

In an attempt to solve the coagulation problems presented by the particular characteristics of camel milk, FAO commissioned Professor J.P. Ramet of the French Ecole nationale supérieure d’agronomie et des industries alimentaires to study how it could be done. After research and experimentation in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, he found a way to curdle the milk by adding calcium phosphate and vegetable rennet.

Thus, camel cheese is the only variety of actual cheese (as opposed to vegan cheese, about which we will not speak) which is not made from the components of dead animals.

All of which is fascinating, but is not the reason I am making this blog post. After all, I do not, in fact, give a rat’s ass about camel cheese, as it is not actually available in Vancouver’s Chinatown and Vancouver’s Ethiopiatown is as yet too small to sustain a camel cheese shop.

I am, in fact and in actuality, making this blog post because Boris Mann (honestly, how many Borises do I know? You can’t swing a cat in here without hitting a Boris of one variety or the other) who is well aware of my beaver shots fame, dared me to hit the front page of Google with a blog post on Camel Cheese.

Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese. Camel cheese, camel cheese, camel cheese.

I said I’d make the #1 hit within 48 hours, which could have been the third beer talking, or maybe it was the Fruity Sailor; yes, let us blame it not on the wholesome Raven Cream Ale, but rather on the mysterious blend of chemicals which is the Alibi Room‘s Fruity Sailor. No matter what bad thing happens, if you blame it on the fruity sailor you encountered at ten o’clock on a full moon night on the Downtown Eastside, people are likely to believe you.

You can Google it.

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The suicide note of Jill Rockcastle

Greta Garbo as Anna Karenina

If I were a novelist (and currently I am not, I am an unfinished-manuscriptist) I would be incredibly proud of creating this document. Unfortunately for Jill Rockcastle and the man she killed, it is not fiction.

Jill and Bill, her husband, were highly respected in their community, and even loved. Acquaintances and neighbors described them as “the nicest people, fun to be around, always up,” which is why the death of Bill and Jill‘s subsequent 10-page confession and suicide came as such a shock.

But not, I think, nearly as much of a shock as the contents of the note.

Bill GustafikApparently, Jill and her husband had been systematically embezzling and ripping off the very people who loved them so dearly. Consumed by cocaine, criminality, and an unquenchable gambling addiction, tied to grandiose and relentless ambitions and an absolute lack of talent, they were headed for a massive fall.

Jill, shaking off the emotional paralysis that had held her for years, finally took action and, in doing so, turned this tawdry tale into epic tragedy.

This is my final statement done to help all the people affected by my actions, Bill‘s actions, the actions and the results of whatever does happen to them in our aftermath. I’m writing this so that each person that receives it will identify with the time period in which your experience occurred with him and I and can have some of the why, how, why me, how could they, what happened etc. answered. I am not trying in anyway to justify a single thing in here. I am not looking to clear my name or actions. I have already done the most final things possible to stop us from hurting anyone else.

“When Bill and I met, we discovered that we both had the ability to get pretty much anything we wanted out of people. I did what I did out of my need to survive. Bill did what he did out of the need to conquer. To be superior to the people around him. To look like the most successful person in the room. He lived his life feeding his narcissism.

“He did all kinds of performance and look enhancing drugs. He was very physically aware and fit. He felt superior in his profession as a Chiropractor. He was earning a large amount of money but I was constantly listening to conversations on the phone about lies and schemes against people and agencies to maximize what he was paid.

“I was working in the mortgage business and as anyone knows that has owned a home and gone through the finance process, it usually involves being bullshitted all the way to signing documents that never exactly match what you thought you were getting. Both of us lied, manipulated, cheated, conned and hustled people to make the most money for us

[to the ex-wife] —Joanne
“This letter is to help you and xxxxx. I want you to know that the way you felt about Bill and why he was so horrible to you was not for any other reason than Bill preferred fighting with you over just being happy with xxxxx. I don’t know why but I do know that his hatred for you must have been more than that. What you thought and portrayed to the world about him governed every move he made. He wanted everyone to view him as the best Dad I think because he didn’t even know how to be one. He loved xxxxx inside but did not for whatever reason, know how to take care of her emotionally. He did not have a caring nurturing bone in his body. He felt love but didn’t feel the need nor have the ability to be weak in it. He felt he always had to be “Top Gamer.”

Two years ago, he did plan to have you and your Mom killed. He paid a guy to do it while we had xxxxx in Las Vegas for our Christmas time. It was the scariest few days…

Possible Exculpatory Evident. In addition to what may be revealed during the post, there is a yellow box in Bill‘s office, setting under the day bed, which should contain cocaine residue. Also in the office, setting on the day bed, is a box and flex file containing the various evaluation materials. This includes a 4-5″ green folder containing the vicious and threatening emails between Bill, Joann and others. The divorce papers are located in a black file cabinet to the right of Bill‘s desk.

I know that everything I have disclosed here does not excuse this. It does not explain it and it does not help me in anyway. I am not sending this for that purpose. I fully intend at this time to end this entire tragic string of events by ending my life as well. I know my children will have to learn to accept that but no one else should accept me being allowed to live whether it be in jail for the rest of my life or anywhere or how. I had to stop us. Everyone that was part of this I hope you recover. I hope you can take your disgust and anger with us and put it on us. Find console in the fact we are gone and cannot hurt you anymore.

If for some reason I fail in this, at least this will guarantee my conviction and I will have to pay everyday for my disgusting life.

Not that it could mean anything but I am truly sorry. To the people who loved me, I apologize for this shame. I hope you can walk away physically and emotionally from us. I hope you can forgive only enough to insure your own future happiness.

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size matters: real estate and roi

McMansionAccording to this veddy interesting article in Slate, the size of a CEO’s house may bear an inverse relationship to the performance of the company’s stock on his watch. If this proves to be true over the entire CEO sector, you can expect hysterical investors to drive Zillow to the top of the web, and Architectural Digest to become a hollow shell of its former self.

And George W. Bush to propose real estate offsets, wherein CEOs in monster McMansions get tax breaks for paying destitute Third Worlders to live eighteen to a room.

In a working paper titled “Where are the Shareholders’ Mansions?David Yermack of New York University and Crocker Liu of Arizona State wonder whether there is a relationship between CEO home-buying behavior and stock performance. (The title is a riff on the classic 1940 investment book Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?.) In doing so, the two academics are invading one of the last preserves of executive privacy, and we should all be very grateful! …

Yermack and Liu insist there’s a solid academic reason to look through the keyholes. They want to figure out if a mansion purchase signals commitment or cashing out. A CEO who buys a 12,000-square-foot mansion could be showing his intent to stay for the long haul and to bust his butt so that he’ll have the cash to pay off the huge mortgage. In which case, you’d expect stocks of the companies where the CEO just bought an obscenely large house to thrive. Buy!

Or the purchase of an absurdly large house could signal entrenchment: The CEO is too comfortable with his position and his personal finances. He has made so much money that he can’t really be bothered with running the company. And the willingness to spend gazillions on a house—not to mention the furnishings, artwork, and baubles to fill it—betokens a general inattentiveness to costs. In which case, you’d expect stocks of the companies where the CEO just bought an obscenely large house to fare poorly. Sell!

Especially if, like me, you know that those CEOs often bought those houses with company-financed and company-guaranteed loans that are contractually obligated to be company-forgiven when the CEO leaves said company for whatever reason including stunning incompetence, mendacity, or criminality.

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switched on Jesus!

Switched on JesusSuffer the little children to keep away from this creepy, Pedophiterian light switch plate from Jesus of the Week.

Jesus looks entirely too happy to see them. What do you think he’s saying to them, anyway? I bet it’s in a husky whisper, too.

Do you think it’s          nope, can’t do it. Strange: all I wanted to do was mildly twist a handful of the words from the Last Supper, but something in me won’t let me do it.

Maybe the Cartesian bet-hedger? My father always said he didn’t believe in God but that he, Dad, was agnostic, not athiest, and when you’d ask him why the apparent contradition, he’d happily tell you there was no point pissing off God and he, Dad, didn’t have any proof that He, God, didn’t exist, so why take the chance?

Quite sensible really, and I wonder how that’s been working out for him the past couple of years. Probably not that well: something tells me God likes those who bet to win.

Speaking of which, what are the odds they found the body of Jesus? And what I really wanna know is, have they found any suspects? I never trusted that Loki, myself.

And now, a few words from King Missile, the Los Angeles-based performance art phenomenon, on how cool Jesus was. How cool was Jesus?

Jesus Was Way Cool

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Lyrics over the jump Continue reading