Student pranks considered 'un-Christian' but fun


The character quoted at the beginning, Guy Complainy, is a play on Sesame Street's news reporter Guy Smiley. Terry loves Sesame Street.


The student Jedidiah Vanier was a reference to the U of W's Vanier Hall, which housed the university's main cafeteria.


The bit about the other questionable student social activities employs a rare reverse use of something Terry and I came to call "the drop line". With the drop line, you spool out a list of generally innocuous items, building up their expectations for the next item in the list, and then you terminate it with something utterly unexpected, putting their conceptual expectations into free fall. Terry made an excellent use of the drop on our radio show during one of our fake news bits. I think the bit went something like the Reagan administration was trying to clean up pornography in media, ranging from getting Playboy off the shelves of 7-11 and ending funding for Robert Maplethorpe exhibitions. Terry's news bit said that PBS was being forced to clean up its act as well. Future broadcasts of This Old House could no longer use such terms as "screw", "drip edge", "nail", "tongue and groove flooring", and "doggy style counter top". The drop line is, of course, the made up term "doggy style counter top". The listener expects the next item to be a prosaic hardware term that has a dirty connotation but then they're hit with a rather funny, unexpected term. Anyway, in this reverse drop-line instance, I like how Terry populates the list with rather crazy activities and then terminates it with "Protestantism".



Letter to the Editor


Canadians spell differently from Americans. They, more or less, hold to the British spellings. It's frequently less. They add U to color ("colour") and reverse the ER in center ("centre"). However, they would never think to trade Zs for Ss in words like "recognize" or "organize". You might even see a Canadian writing a sentence like "I screamed at him to spell it 'colour'. After all, Canada's honor was at stake." (At the risk of walking you to it, "honour" is the proper British-derived spelling.) Ultimately, Canadians, when they're not thinking too hard, spell like Americans with the exception of a few patriotic spellings.


Canadian newspapers, for a long time, recognized that most copy was off the wire, filed by American correspondents. Before the computerization of the industry, it was time consuming to re-write American wire copy with the Canadian/British spellings. Canadian Press style, therefore, called for the use of American spellings. The Windsor Star frequently ran letters to the editor from people demanding their paper employ the patriotic spellings.


Aside from crazy Canadian spellings, Canadians in a patriotic mood tend to rally around the strength of Canadian beer in relation to American national brands like Bud or Miller.



Basketball invented by someone who's not really an American


The only international sport invented in the USA was actually invented by a Canadian. Canadians are fond of pointing this out. James Naismith, basketball's inventor, was Canadian. Some Canadians, however, like to claim basketball is a Canadian game That's problematic. While Naismith was a Canadian citizen he invented it specifically for American inner city kids he was teaching at the YMCA. It's akin to noting that James Cameron is Canadian and then calling Titanic a Canadian movie.


The line about tossing a ring around a ball being popular with carnies and river front developers was a poke at Windsor's International Freedom Festival. As noted in "Company to develop useless parkland, bring prosperity to city's downtown", Windsor prided itself on a waterfront free of unsightly sights. This all went into the toilet at the beginning of the summer when Windsor allowed the traveling Conklin Carnival to set up rides of questionable safety and midway games of questionable odds on prime downtown waterfront land. The carnival came in time with the International Freedom Festival, a two week festival thrown jointly with Detroit. The festival celebrated the happy coincidence that Canada and the USA celebrated independence within days of each other and the fact North Americans could, pre-9/11, point to their shared border as being the world's longest undefended border. Surely this is something worthy of an annual two week celebration. It is questionable whether it's worthy of the oily, muddy stain the carnival left each year when it pulled up stakes on waterfront turf.


The apex of the festival was fireworks night. Three river barges loaded with fireworks put on an hour-long pyrotechnic display for those along the waterfront. It was an impressive sight and close to a million people a year lined the Detroit and Canadian sides of the river to take it all in. Most of Detroit's waterfront had long ago fallen victim to development that Windsor had steadfastly avoided. Hence prime viewing spots on the Detroit side were minimal. Windsor, however, was wide open. Hundreds of thousands of Detroiters would come across the border and set up camp in Windsor's waterfront parks. Detroiters had learned the only way to get a good spot was come over to the Windsor side no later than noon. No one wanted to be trapped in non-moving traffic, in a minivan full of kids, in the Windsor-Detroit tunnel, only to emerge an hour later to find out the fireworks were over.


Canadians without the advanced planning skills of their Detroit brethren were always pissed they could not stumble downtown fifteen minutes before the show began and find themselves front-row center spots. Every year Canadians grumbled that it was OUR side, OUR parks paid for by OUR taxes, and if there was going to be any fireworks to celebrate the trust and cooperation between two great nations, Windsor should bloody well shut down the border and keep those filthy Americans out. The irony of suddenly defending a border to celebrate its lack of defense was lost on these people.


The bit about the lads at the YMCA procuring axe handles was some vivid and reoccurring imagery Terry and I liked to use in our radio show. We did a skit once about a heavy metal band called Leather Probe. The band was nearly sued out of existence after hundreds of fans beat each other to death during its poorly conceived "Bludgeon Fest" tour. The posters advertising the show featured fans waving about axe handles. The band, however, did not foresee their fans might actually bring axe handles to the concerts and then employ them.


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