October 4th, 2010

#2331: How dare you make us look bad in an election year?

Congress is going to make McDonald's toe the line.

ObamaCare is going to make health care affordable for everyone, and the laws of economics be damned.

...expect a Big Mac to cost $18 in a few years. (In 2010 dollars.)

* * *

They've found another way to take your money. No, this won't have any effect whatsoever on banks; why do you ask? Making people pay 1% of every transaction to the government won't tend to push people away from using banks--not at all!

So now it's not enough just to tax us every time we earn or spend money; now they're going to tax us every time we move money?

* * *

Vox Day says we're in for a bad autumn. Banks overreport their assets and the stock market is overvalued.


What's a man to do?

* * *

Looks like the new pavement for Exchange street is going to be asphalt all the way down.

They've lain about an eighth of a mile of coarse asphalt from Main Street eastward, about eighteen inches thick or so, leaving only about three inches for the surface coat of (probably) medium or fine-grain asphalt.

...that doesn't make sense to me. Asphalt is squishy; it doesn't really harden like concrete does. The gravel is held together with tar (and other binders) and compacted to a stone-like consistency, but it's an aggregate and it can still flow under pressure.

Before our driveway was resurfaced, there were indentations in it where the cars got parked. Over the years, the continuous force of the vehicles pressing on it made the asphalt flow. And that was just from a typical family car; I had an opportunity to see a similar driveway which had been the habitual parking place for a semi tractor. It was cratered rather than dimpled.

So I don't know how twenty-odd inches of asphalt will hold up, long term. But I'm not a civil engineer, either.

* * *

Degrassi High was a sequel series to Degrassi Junior High. Being the kind of person I am, I watched both series, because they were f-ing hilarious.

The first time I watched an episode of DJH, it was something like the second or third episode of the series. The whole series was meant to be--at least in part--cautionary tales for middle schoolers wrapped in a politically-correct wrapper; as an adult I could always see the trainwreck coming, and enjoyed it because of the PC element. This particular episode dwelled on the fiend intemperance.

This girl Stephanie was always changing clothes and applying makeup at school (to look more slutty than her mother would allow) and it was having a positive effect on her social life. So there was this dance, and there was this guy she really liked, and she planned to attend dance and attempt to snag him. But first, she and her friends had a pre-party at Token Black Girl's house.

TBG was a latchkey kid, so there was no parental supervision, and of course all these 13-year-olds got into the liquor cabinet.

Key scene: Stephanie chugging about 10 ounces of Irish Cream.

Token Black Girl: Um...Stephanie, that's kind of a lot!
Stephanie: No problem! It's just like a milkshake!


So the girls then go to school dance, laughing drunkenly; and just as Stephanie is getting to dance with the guy she likes, suddenly she stops moving, holds a hand to her mouth, and then sprints for the bathroom, leaving the guy looking confused and alone. (More on that in a moment.)

Cut to bathroom, interior; she clatters into the room, scrambles for a stall; then we--outside the stall--hear her get very violently ill.

Me: (waving hands in air) Yaay!!

O Gawd did I laugh. And that set the tone for the whole series for me; it was awesomely funny. To this day I don't honestly know if they were trying to make it this way, or what, nor do I care, because it was damn funny and I enjoyed every episode.

Anyway...then the series ended, to my disappointment; but then I learned that there'd be a new series set in high school, and I was glad.

DH got some new characters; and one of the new charactes was Claude (pronounced "Cload"). And Cload was a hyper-liberal-activisty type, like Caitlyn, who was Joey Jeremiah's on-again-off-again girlfriend throughout the entire freaking Degrassi ouerve (including Next Generation). Cload and Caitlyn end up being boyfriend-girlfriend for a while, but he's such a moron she dumps him: they go to vandalize a factory which is supposedly making parts for atomic bombs, and when security shows up and her douchebag hipster clothing gets hung up on barbed wire, he runs away, abandoning her to the police instead of staying to help her get loose (and end up getting arrested, too).

Anyway, Cload was a total frickin' douchebag pussy of a guy, and I hated that character with a passion even before that nonsense.

So of course, after a season or so of this series, someone realized that one theme they had not touched on in their exploration of teen issues was teen suicide. And so the multi-episode essay on it begins with rehearsals for a talent night, and Cload gets up to rehearse a reading of a poem he wrote.

Presented as acted:
Autumn leaves...dying leaves.
Season of DEATH!
...and I LOL.

Cload goes on to shoot himself dead in the bathroom at school. There is a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Now: I mentioned Joey Jeremiah; he was one of the "main characters", one of the kids who we know the most about. Joey is friends with Archibald "Snake" Simpson and Derek "Wheels" Wheeler, and they formed a band ("Zit Remedy") which has one song. And it happens to be Snake who discovers the now ex-Cload in the bathroom.

(Wheels is the king of irresponsibility after his parents die in an auto accident. He also turns out, much later, to be gay. He's the guy Stephanie abandoned on the dance floor 'way back when; clearly this has warped him for life. Nice going, Steph.)

I realize that the suicide of Cload was supposed to be tragic and terrible, and it was supposed to make me feel bad; but unfortunately he was such a fuckin' retard I thought he was doing the rest of humanity a favor by shooting himself before he'd had a chance to breed. Darwin Award for Cload!


Other kids that screw up their lives:

Shane: takes LSD and falls off a bridge
Christine "Spike" Nelson: gets pregnant (at age 13, via Shane) and keeps the baby, Emma

Spike and Snake end up marrying, in the follow-on series Degrassi: The Next Generation where Emma is the new hyper-lefty-activist type.

Difference: in D:NG, the kids have sex a lot, usually without getting STDs or pregnant.

(Unlike the prior series, where any time anyone under the age of 18 had sex, there were dire consequences. Even in the "final movie" that took place after Joey et al graduated, Joey had sex with a girl one year his junior. Joey was fine, but the girl got pregnant. Yeah.)

Still, Emma got gonorrhea (of the throat) which was pretty much the only negative consequence any of them suffered from having casual sex. How sad is that? Even the gay kids in that series never had to worry about STDs, but poor Emma gives a guy a Lewinsky one time and gets the clap?

I don't know--D:NG suffered from not having a set time slot, so I could never tell when it was actually going to be on. Every time I thought they'd set a time for it, I'd switch on the TV to find that something else was running. I would have watched it a lot more closely had I been able to.

The other problem with the series--other than the fact that Emma was a total bitch, I mean--was that it lacked the element of fun the prior series had had. It was just a soap opera.

Still, it's set entirely in Canada, so things slip past. They never call attention to them, but the careful observer will notice things.

Example: When Spike and Snake are married, they end up having a baby. They choose to deliver the baby at home rather than the hospital. Why do you suppose that is? Does Canada's socialized medical system have anything to do with that decision?

Also, in the prior series, Token Crippled Girl (who has spina bifida) has an appointment with a specialist. Caitlyn needs someone to go with her to court (for moral support) and this girl gives up on her appointment to go with. It is explained that this is a huge sacrifice in the name of friendship, because it takes months to get in to see a specialist.

Every once in a while you see an example of how much everything costs there--high prices due to the taxes needed to support socialism.

After a while, D:NG focused too much on the gay kid and the trials and tribulations of being a gay kid, but his problems were seen through the politically correct TV-land lens so it wasn't an actual examination of what it's like to be a gay teenager; oh no. It was an examination of what liberals imagine it's like to be a gay teenager.

The kid was flaming gay, too, which didn't help matters one whit--all he needed to meet the stereotype was more purple and a lisp. I don't doubt there are gay people out there like that; I have never met one like that myself.

I mean, the kid's big problem was that his parents didn't know he was gay, and everyone was trying to keep his father from finding out about it. His biggest outrage was that he wasn't allowed to donate blood. His biggest heartbreak was finding out that his boyfriend cheated on him. (Gee, a promiscuous homosexual--who saw that coming? Promiscuous sex is like the #1 bullet point in the gay lifestyle. A good-looking star hockey player in college--isn't that like the poster child for monogamy?)

(Even if he were straight his promiscuity wouldn't be surprising, under those circumstances.)

Meanwhile, the girl who turned lesbian got about 1/6th the screen time and angst of the gay kid.

Oh! I forgot the best part of the gay kid's problems: his former best friend turned Christian. And of course the best friend couldn't handle him being gay. After he found out he was gay it took him a while to decide it was all right that he was gay, but when he turned Christian, he became too intolerant of gayness to be friends with him! Oh, the horror!


On the plus side, D:NG got past the "token XX YY character" nonsense of the prior series. Pity it failed on other levels.

* * *

Man, that was too many words on that. It should've been its own post. Well, too late now!