The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Monday, June 30, 2008

Res Ipsa Loquitur, the cute version

Sunday, June 29, 2008

And This Year's Greatest Douchebag Award Goes To...

This guy. - Watch more free videos

I do, however, admire his directness and chutzpah. I too have absolutely no patience for games.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Euro Quickie

I'm off to watch the last semi-final (sniff) between Russia and Spain in a couple of hours. This is the first time Russia has made it this far since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Spain also hasn't made it this far in 24 years. Should be a good one.

I refused to predict this one as it will be perhaps the most unpredictable game of the tournament. I'm thinking Spain will narrowly win, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if Russia wins 1-0. Let's go with the latter and see what happens.

Monday, June 23, 2008


The Italy Spain game yesterday wasn't the greatest of the tournament, but not the worst either. Congrats to Spain for not choking for once. Russia vs. Spain promises to be a feast of attacking football/soccer. I must admit that this tournament has been very unpredictable and full of drama. Without a doubt this is the best Euro tournament I've seen since I started watching it in '96 (My God, has it been that long?)


McDonald's Diet?

This man lost weight by eating only McDonald's for 6 months. Sound bizarre? Yes it does, but when you see what he actually consumed, it's just another case of Captain Obvious striking again.


Just found out George Carlin, the legendary comedian, died yesterday. He was not my favourite comic, and some of his acts sound more like sermons than stand-up comedy. However, one cannot deny his massive influence, not to mention remarkably long and successful career. I just saw his latest act ("It's Bullshit, and it's bad for ya") only four months ago, in which he was, at the age of 70, still as energetic and irate as ever.

Carlin will be missed. RIP.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Euro / Firefox at last

I had a feeling Russia might pull off the upset yesterday, but I had no idea it would be such a convincing victory. I kinda like Holland, and didn't want to see either team lose, but such is the nature of the beast.

As my friend so astutely said, "The loud crack at 5 pm yesterday was the sound of people jumping off the Holland bandwagon." Well said.

Not only has Spain made the same mistakes as Holland, Portugal and Croatia (i.e., they flew past the round robin, were never tested, and rested their players), they are perhaps the worst chokers in the sport when games actually mean something. The teams that win are always the ones who start slowly, and Italy are notoriously slow starters. Today's result? 1-0 or 2-1 Italy.


Firefox 3 was finally released a few days ago (I'm writing this post with it, in fact). Not sure if it's substantially better, but it's free and still beats the pants off Internet Explorer.
No, I do not work for Firefox: it's just a better browser, plain and simple.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

(Scale) Breaking News

This just in: Of all countries, Australia has officially overtaken the U.S. as the world's fattest nation (per capita, of course). I really didn't see that coming.

Now back to the Euro.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Euro/Too Hard to Spell?

Sorry, both of you, for the lack of posts: since I returned from Scarberia I've been busy catching up on the Euro tournament.

At this point, I'm not going to make any further predictions: it's just too damn unpredictable, which is partly what makes it interesting. I will only modify my earlier predictions thus:

Germany will make it to the quarterfinals because they're group is incredibly weak. However, if they face a decent team, like Portugal, they will get smashed.

Spain is looking on form, but they are notoriously fast starters who never finish (ignore the innuendo of that sentence).

At this point, I'm tempted to say Holland or Portugal will take the whole thing, but who knows?

This video is a classic case of res ipsa loquitur. Key quote: "Do they even make hardcore dictionaries anymore?"

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Euro

I'm in Scarberia this week visiting family. It's a little boring, but my 19 month old nephew keeps us busy.

I'm looking forward to the kickoff for Euro 2008 tomorrow. The tournament is not as attractive or global as the World Cup, but given the international dearth of soccer, especially in this part of the world, I'll take it.

Not many soccer fans I know are particularly excited about this event, probably because no teams look particularly impressive. I've already chatted with a couple of friends, and we have made some predictions.

My friend, J.C., argued that Portugal and Germany will both do well, and Spain may finally do something. I'm inclined to agree with this assessment: I think Portugal is by far the best team this year; Germany is decent, but not championship calibre. Spain has the best team they've had in years, and they finally have a good striker in Torres. I doubt they will win, but they may get far this year.

My friend Jamie suggested that Russia will be the dark horse of the tournament. No one has payed attention to them: they've been quietly preparing with Guus Hiddink, one of the most successful coaches in soccer history. They may very well surprise by getting far, something they have not done in ages.

In addition, I have a feeling that one of the hosts, Austria or Switzerland, will surprise us. Granted, neither team has a particularly illustrious record, but host countries typically get farther than expected. Austria lacks experience at the international stage, so my bet is on Switzerland to make it to the semis.

Neither Italy nor France will do much this time around, and I think the Czechs will be disappointing.

But who knows?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sex and the City, and I'm not talking about the show

That's right: I'm referring to the movie.

This may come as a surprise to those who know me personally, but, for reasons I can't comprehend, I watched the newly released Sex and the City film today (there's no way I would pay to see it, of course).

Instead of boring you with a pedestrian review, I'll direct you to Anthony Lane's (thanks to Dr. J for the link). Lane is always witty and insightful, though I can't say I understand or agree with him all the time.

[Spoiler Alert, but the movie is fairly predictable, so no need to worry]

Despite this, I find that Lane nearly always has one sentence in his review that has me laughing out loud and agreeing at the same time; it is an accurate, witty, pithy, humorous, and economical assessment. This talent of Lane's is shared by very few writers past or present (George Orwell comes to mind). I still vividly remember what he said about Star Wars III when it came out in 2005: "The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith” seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."

Lane's best writing in his review of Sex and the City consists of the following three sentences:

"It’s true that Samantha finally disposes of one paramour, but only with a view to landing another, and her parting shot is a beauty: “I love you, but I love me more.” I have a terrible feeling that “Sex and the City” expects us not to disapprove of that line, or even to laugh at it, but to exclaim in unison, “You go, girl.” I walked into the theatre hoping for a nice evening and came out as a hard-line Marxist, my head a whirl of closets, delusions, and blunt-clawed cattiness."

I concur completely (especially the Marxist bit), and I don't think it could be said any better.

This brings up the problematic topic of irony in the movie/show, something that may or may not be deliberate, and is probably lost on most of the target audience, but that is a post for another day.