RIP Chris Benoit



I was shocked to hear of the death of pro wrestler Chris Benoit. I've long been a fan of his work. I met him when he was WWE World Champion -- I think it was in early 2004 -- at the 680News studios. He seemed like a quiet, tired, reluctant star. It's horrible to hear the details coming out about the death of him, his wife, and their child. And, from what I hear, the details are about to get even stranger.

Alli: the diet pill that makes you fart oil

Ruth points me to a funny article over at the Angry Aussie blog which outlines some of the disgusting but true side effects -- sorry, "treatment effects" -- of the newly FDA-approved, over-the counter, fat-blocking diet pill called Alli. It compares the Web-Site BS to a No-BS translation:

WSBS: The excess fat that passes out of your body is not harmful. In fact, you may recognize it as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza.
No BS: Oh dear god. Pizza is one of my favourite foods and these evil fucks have done their best to turn me off it for life. It will be very hard to look at a pizza again without wondering if someone on this drug has taken a shit on it.
WSBS: Eating a low-fat diet lowers the chance of these bowel changes. (my emphasis)
No BS: Even if you do cut back on fat, you're still going to shit oil.
WSBS: ...pick a day to begin taking alli, such as a weekend day so you can stay close to home if you experience a treatment effect.
No BS: Do not go out in public after taking this drug. You are going to shit yourself. Stay close to a toilet.
WSBS: If you're getting ready to travel or attend a social event, hold off on starting with alli until the event is over.
No BS: Don't say you weren't warned. You are seriously going to shit yourself.

Angry Aussie rightly points out that the drug-maker says pill-takers should be eating properly and exercising to get the best effect from the medicine. However, people who are exercising and eating properly are perhaps not likely to need to take a pill that makes them into a walking WD-40 can.

I also recommend reading the comments on the blog post. Interesting stuff:
The warnings fail to do justice to the cacophonic anointing your world will undergo if you use this digestive Trojan horse. If you are brave enough to venture into public, understand that even if you consume nothing but water and parched fiber, your bowels will deliver something completely indescribable without so much as a hint that you no longer have even a shred of control of your digestive output aperture. No pucker is strong enough to withstand the unatural forces that will exit your body against even heroic efforts to the contrary.

Stand left, stand right


The Toronto Transit Commission has removed the "Walk Left, Stand Right" signs from its escalators. Apparently, walking on escalators is a no-no, even when they're stopped.

The Globe and Mail reports:
Dexter Collins, the TTC's acting superintendent of elevating devices, said the decals were originally installed years ago at the busiest subway stations, Yonge-Bloor and St. George, where herds of rush-hour passengers change trains, taking escalators from platform to platform. Over the decades, the stickers
migrated to all escalators across the system.
Then some employees of the provincial Technical Standards & Safety Authority, the agency that regulates and inspects escalators, noticed the decals at Islington Station -- near the TSSA's headquarters -- and brought them up in one of their regular meetings with the transit agency.
The TSSA, Mr. Collins said, recommended the signs' removal because they appeared to condone people walking on the escalators.

So, one less thing for people like me to fuss about on the TTC. I guess "Please move to the back / Use rear doors to exit" will be the new pet peeve.

Excellent blog on Halifax graffiti

Regular readers, and those who know me, know of my ongoing frustration with the plague of graffiti tags around Halifax. I've written at least one ranting article about it, and I have a collection of photos of ugly graffiti tags from parts of the city.

Another blogger has gone a few steps further with a blog dedicated to the issue. He's apparently a parent who appreciates some of the artier graffiti murals, but is not pleased with the more blatant vandalism of some of the taggers. On other points, it's harder to gauge his opinion.

He's done a fantastic job of decoding some of the tags, figuring out which taggers are associated with others, and documenting some of the more prolific criminals working the city streets.

His blog is neither an apologetic's manifesto from the inside, nor a derisive condemnation of paint-weilding miscreants. It reads as a rather balanced, curious look at the graffiti situation in HRM, and seems to attract both the pro- and anti-graffiti readers.

You can check out the Tagged and Bagged blog at http://taggedbagged.blogspot.com/, and his matching Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/47272382@N00/.

Sorry, bud, wrong Scott Simpson.


I got an email at work today from a car dealership.

Ray Catena Lexus in Larchmont, New York wrote to welcome me to the eVIP program for service on my Lexus Rx350.
They even had the VIN# for my Lexus.
Problem is ... I don't have a Lexus.
So, I called Doug in the service department to let him know. Nice guy. He was puzzled.
I gave him the last few numbers of the VIN. He looked it up in the customer files, and found that the purchaser's name is indeed Scott Simpson. But that Scott Simpson's email address was somethingorother at aol.com. It wasn't anything close to my email address.
I'm baffled. I don't know how this could happen.
And, come to think of it, I've been getting other New York-related email for months. I somehow got on a mailing list for New York Magazine. I don't think I ever signed up for that, either.
Anyway, to the New York Scott Simpson with the fancy Lexus -- good luck on your service. Congratulations on your achievement. Lemme know if you figure out why I now have your VIN.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...