Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dumb Invention

A New Link

Picked up this link from an AP story about a rope-less jump rope, as seen below:

Patently Silly has now received the Czobit Seal of Approval, along with And Then Again, Once More.


NHL Playoffs

Eastern Conference Final

To Game 7 we go.


Monday, May 29, 2006

The Bandwagoners

Bleeding Blue and Bronze

I'm offended. That shouldn't come as any great surprise to regular readers of this weblog. I guess that a statistical analysis of my posts here would reveal that the majority of them are on something that offends me. The latest thing that does just that are the scores of Edmonton Oiler "fans" who are pulling for the team to win its sixth Stanley Cup.

When I write "fans," I'm writing about the people who before these playoffs cared little about the Edmonton Oilers. Now the team is a winner, and now the team has many more fans. It's disgusting.

The idea that people should cheer for the Oilers because they're the remaining club based in Canada is ridiculous: I should quit being loyal to the team I regularly cheer for because a team I would regularly jeer has a chance to win a championship?

Is loyalty just a word that has no meaning or value?

The playoffs guarantee two things: one, a champion will be crowned; two, people will jump on that champion's bandwagon. The bandwagoners can cheer all they want for the Edmonton Oilers, but they should remember that if the Oilers win the Cup, the win is meaningless to them beyond one night of empty celebration. Victory's greatest meaning only comes with a long-term investment.


NHL Playoffs

Eastern Conference Final

Cam Ward goes back in net for Carolina and makes the necessary saves. Buffalo is almost finished.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Western Conference Final

Edmonton's win starts the next round of bandwagon jumping. Pathetic most definitely.


Summer Blockbusters

The Twelve Dollar Question

We're in the summer blockbuster season. In the last month, Hollywood studios have released Mission Impossible III and The Da Vinci Code. This week X-Men 3: The Last Stand was released, and it was the first summer blockbuster I've seen this year. I enjoyed the first two X-Men films, but the third is disappointing.

Brett Ratner replaced director Bryan Singer, who left to make Superman Returns (another of this year's summer blockbusters). And that's probably when the movie swerved into the lane for films headed straight to hell. X-Men 3 is the kind of movie that when its DVD is released, it will be sold in your local dairy section. In a word: awful. In another: shit.

But I wonder whether my disappointment is any surprise. I have a hard time enjoying entertainment drowned in clichés, insincerity and stupidity, which are three things summer blockbusters drown in.

Maybe I'm a film snob. I ask too much from movies; I ask to be treated as if I have a brain. Maybe next time, I should ask for my money back.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Western Conference Final

Anaheim wins. Giguerre returns. Roloson awful. Edmonton: pray.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Book Post

Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala

In Uzodinma Iweala's first novel, Beasts of No Nation, Iweala strips away all unnecessary words to leave a small, powerful story about a boy, Agu, and the war he battles in Africa. The country the story is set isn't named, but that doesn't matter: the story is a universal tale about what war can do to a child.

The most we often hear about war-torn African nations are the body counts. Few personal stories are shared to a wide audience, and when they are, it's easy to flip the page.

But Iweala's novel doesn't allow the reader to dismiss it quickly. Iweala captures the voice of a boy, who starts as an observer of a war but becomes a participant--a beast, he calls himself.

The sad truth of the novel is it's probably the tale of thousands of African boys caught in wars unseen and ignored in the West.


NHL Playoffs

Western Conference Final

Good night, Anaheim.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lost Toys

The Tie-Ins Continue

The tie-in book isn't enough. The tie-in reality game isn't enough. Now, and I think it was only a matter of time, comes Lost toys:

It’s another jewel in the McFarlane Toys crown – today, Variety reported that the toy company has landed the license to produce action figures based on the hit ABC drama, Lost.

The toys will be released this fall, according to the trade, with the first selection of six figures to include: Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Locke (Terry O'Quinn), Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) and Shannon (Maggie Grace). Along with the individual figures (which will ship with a scaled prop), McFarlane will also produce boxed sets including the figure with dioramas of locations seen throughout the series. According to the trade, future lines will include Sawyer and Mr. Eko.

McFarlane and company rerpotedly went to the filing location in Hawaii earlier this season to do full body scans of the cast members for the figures.

The toys will be made by the same company who made Don Cherry and the Yellow Submarine toys. Todd McFarlane is also part owner of the Oilers.

I'm not sure if toys are a good sign for the show.


Monday, May 22, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Eastern Conference Final

Tied at one. Wide-open, wonderful hockey. Give me Game Three.


Book Post

Angels & Demons, Dan Brown


Angels & Demons
is awful.

That's about as succinct as I can write it. On every page with every plot twist, Dan Brown takes the clichéd, expected way out. Nothing in his novel surprises, because it's all been done before.

The plot--create something so evil it unites all people--has been written better in other books. The first 400 pages drag because of Brown's grammatically incorrect prose (since when should you use a verb as a noun?). The last 170 show Brown's ability to write a thriller full of cheesy plot twists (that are more ridiculous in succession) and failed research (since when could a person win a Pulitzer for camera work?).

Each character is two-dimensional. Robert Langdon plays a Harvard professor in the U.S. and an action hero in Italy. At no point, does Brown give a reason to care about Langdon. Brown tries with a hokey survival story from Langdon's past, but Brown fails.

The female lead, Vittoria Vetra, is particularly horrible and typical. Brown describes Vetra as being "tall with chestnut skin and long black hair... Her face was unmistakably Italian--not overly beautiful, but possessing full, early features that even at twenty yards seemed to exude a raw sensuality." Of course, that's not really much of a description, so Brown adds, "her clothes clang, accentuating her slender torso and small breasts" (I added the emphasis because that's the detail that allowed me to finally picture Vetra; it's a crucial detail).

Brown writes about miracles in Angels & Demons. But the only miracle I can think of after reading this book is the miracle of Brown still having a book deal after this trash was published.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Western Conference Final

My prediction isn't looking too likely right now. Edmonton has played better than I thought they would. The Oilers continue to block shots and Dwayne Roloson continues to over achieve. This series might be finished faster than I thought.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Eastern Conference Final

Game one of the Buffalo-Carolina series was exactly what people expected except without many goals. It looks as if Buffalo has proved they'll be the dominant team in this series.


The Future

Post #86

If you count from the beginning, this is post #86 of The Michael Czobit Blog (thanks for reading, by the way). How far that's from the end, I'm not sure, because I can't predict the future. And yet, I'm sometimes expected to predict the future.

I was asked today if I wanted a full-time job at Canadian Press after I graduate next year. The question stumped me, because I never really thought in terms of definite plans about my future after graduation. I'm not a long-term-goal-oriented person. I never set a goal to get my part-time job at Canadian Press; the job sort of just happened. Before that, I worked at Coles--another place I never thought I'd work at. Sure, I handed in a resumé, but I didn't think beyond that.

I can think of only one long-term goal I have ever set and that was to get into Ryerson's journalism program. I worked on getting there, but didn't think about anything I would do once I did get there. I didn't think I'd write for any of the school papers, meet the people I met, or interview any of the people I interviewed. It all sort of just happens. No grand scheme, no masterplan.

So what I want in 12 months and where I'll be? I'm not sure of either. I'm not worried, though; you know what the say about the best laid plans.


NHL Playoffs

Western Conference Final

Edmonton wins Game One. Don't get your hopes up. There's more left in this series.


Friday, May 19, 2006

The Peeves


I could have called this post "Pet Peeves," but that would have been inaccurate. First, I don't frequently make these complaints, and second, the expression "pet peeve" is just stupid. I don't care for it. Let's call that my first peeve.

Too Sticky Apple Stickers

The last two apples I've had have had stickers that were far too sticky. I've removed the sticker, which left a sticky, gluey residue. I wouldn't be annoyed so much if it hadn't taken intense scrubbing to remove the residue. At lunch, I spent about two minutes scratching and rubbing the glue off. Before that, I used a knife to remove the offending apple skin.

I understand the reason behind the apple stickers (I worked four horrible years in a produce department), but I see no need for the extra glue, which if eaten, probably isn't the healthiest, least-toxic thing to do.

"That's Hilarious."

I hate this phrase it often follows a story that is the opposite of hilarious, which is unhilarious. At work, I overheard one co-worker tell another co-worker a horrible, convoluted story. The storyteller had no comedic ability. After the storyteller finished, the listener says, "That's hilarious." So hilarious, the listener never laughed.

And Speaking About Laughter...

I cannot stand an annoying laugh. You know the kind that has you reaching for Gravol® and a bucket, because you know that even if you take the Gravol® you're still going to vomit. The laugh is that offending. I can't stand that kind of laugh. Nope. Just can't. Reader's Digest says that laughter is the best medicine, but that's not true when you come across a Gravol® Laugh.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Conference Finals Predictions

Ouch. I went 1-3 in my last round of predictions, which drops my record to an embarrassing 4-8. Despite that, here are my second-to-last round predictions.

Western Conference

(6) Anaheim vs. (8) Edmonton

I've gone against Edmonton twice now, and twice they've moved on to the next round. They've played well enough that some people have suggested that the 2005-2006 Oilers are not different than the 2003-2004 Calgary Flames--two Cinderella teams. I've never been much for fairy tales, and I still don't believe in the Oilers.

After 27 tries, Dwayne Roloson got his first career playoff shutout in last night's win over San Jose. The goalie Roloson is matched up against, Ilja Bryzgalov, has three career playoff shutouts in eight games. Bryzgalov is younger and better than Roloson.

Anaheim wasn't supposed to compete with Calgary. They did. Anaheim wasn't supposed to have such an easy time against Colorado. They did. This round, it'll be Anaheim in six.

Eastern Conference

(2) Carolina vs. (4) Buffalo

New Jersey and Ottawa never knew what hit them in the last round. Carolina kept on rolling with Cam Ward in net. And Buffalo did what most teams have in them to do and that is beat the Ottawa Senators in the playoffs.

These are two fast, hard-working teams with goaltenders that are playing well. It'll be close, but Buffalo will take the series in seven.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Yes, Recently


I'm still working on Brown's Angels & Demons. It's coming along, but I'm not sure whether I'll have it read along with The Da Vinci Code by Friday. My middle-of-the-week weekend starts tomorrow, so I hope to find the time.


I've never been a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. I've enjoyed some of their songs, which have mostly been their most-recent singles. I thought though with the positive reviews and hype surrounding their new double-album "Stadium Arcadium," I'd give the band a full-on try. And the Peppers' new album passes the quality test. Of the 28 tracks between the two discs, there isn't a bad song to be heard.


Monday night I saw a preview screening of the new computer animated film, Over the Hedge. I'm definitely not within the age demographic the filmmakers want to hit, but I'll say the film was funny, and a good summer film--you know the kind that involves little thought and a lot of suspension of disbelief. IMDB has the film listed at 96 minutes, but I'd take 10 off that. It'll be interesting to see if the kids win out this weekend and Over the Hedge beats The Da Vinci Code at the box office.


Beyond Boredom

When the Clock Stops Ticking


That’s the label pasted on the monitor I’m using. I’m working. Or at least I’m being paid to work. But there is quite literally nothing to do. My job doesn’t involve writing or reporting the news, and so, when there is no news to move online, I sit and read labels. Over and over again.

Wait, here’s a story. Have to put it up.

Sorry for leaving you like that. Whoa, this is turning into about as boring a post as my shift has been today. It’s unfortunate that a lack of deaths and disasters is the cause of my bored state. Actually, I've gone beyond boredom into a new, horrible state. I’ve checked my emails approximately eight times today. I read the New York Times and the National Post. The National Post! For god’s sake. God with a small ‘g.’

Something happen. Now. Please. I’m begging.

This is pathetic.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Update

The Sens


Oh, yes!

It was such a great feeling to not only see the Ottawa Senators season end on a short-handed overtime goal (everyone in this biased newsroom cheered), but to also send the story that legions of Sens fans will read. That's if there are any Sens fans left, because this is a team more disappointing than the Maple Leafs. Nobody expects the Leafs to do anything but lose; the Sens, however, are expected to win, and win big. Instead, on Saturday night, they lost, and lost big.

I particularly liked Bob Cole's unpoetic and ridiculous statement at the end of the Senator's overtime loss: "Sudden death: whoever came up with that term did a heck of a job." Yeah,'re right.

And then on The Score (channel 53 in most neighbourhoods), Ottawa's biased reporter, Patricia Boles, said the series was, and I must quote here, "Close." Close? Close?!? Sure, all five games in the series were decided by a single goal, but the difference between the winners and losers in this series were like miles, miles between cliffs. There never was a bridge to cross the gap.

Now I can be somewhat satisfied with whatever the end result will be for the NHL playoffs. I have one rule when it comes to the Stanley Cup: if the Leafs are out of it (and when aren't they), then it's Anybody But Ottawa.

This season, that'll be the case again.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday Update

Brown, the Sens, SNL, the Leafs

I'm in the middle of Dan Brown's Angels & Demons. I plan to have that read along with The Da Vinci Code before the movie is released next Friday. After I've read both, I'll share my thoughts on the two here.

At work tonight, I hope to send a story I've been waiting for during these NHL playoffs, and that is the one about the Ottawa Senators' season being kaput. I can feel it; it's happening tonight.

Also tonight, Saturday Night Live might actually be passable, because Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the host. Paul Simon is singing.

And a couple of things about the Toronto Maple Leafs. First, hiring Paul Maurice as head coach was probably the smartest choice John Ferguson, Jr. could have made. Some people are suggesting that the Leafs won't make the playoffs next year. They'll make them, and they'll get to at least the second round.

Second, just because Mats Sundin puts his Forest Hill mansion up for sale doesn't mean he's leaving the Leafs. The dumbest rumour was that the sale of Sundin's house was a signal that he wasn't leaving just the Leafs, but the NHL--that Sundin, who was one of the most dominate players in the second-half of the season, was set to retire. Leafs fans just have too much radio air time to kill.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dr. Phil

He Can't Be Serious

I've never watched an episode of Dr. Phil. I've seen parts of it; I've seen his books in stores. So, I know what he's about and I don't care for it.

Today, I had the unfortunate experience of being within earshot of Dr. Phil. He talked his usual smack: telling people how to live their lives; living in his self-righteous existence.

But what got me was the subject of his episode today: Buddinskies. Yes, Dr. Phil was telling nosy people off for their habit of budding into other people's lives. The irony of this entire episode was obviously lost on Dr. Phil, who must believe so whole-heartedly in his own bullshit, that he can't even see that his whole life is based on being a Buddinsky.

Sure, the argument will go that these morons who line up to be guests on his show are asking for Dr. Phil to offer his expertise in expressing common sense, but that doesn't change that Dr. Phil is an arrogant jackass.

Here's some unwanted (it's only fitting) advice for Dr. Phil: once, just once, watch an episode of your show so you'll realize how hatable you are.


Monday, May 08, 2006

And Then

The Gum Talk

Now that I'm no longer employed, I have the time to think about the important things in life like chewing gum.

I'm a big gum chewer (not sure if 'chewer' is a word; I'll spell check but I refuse to change it if it isn't), and I was excited when I read this article in yesterday's New York Times:

Executives at Cadbury Adams are hoping that no one will make such complaints about Stride, a new sugar-free gum the company spent three years developing. Marketed with a trademarked slogan, "The Ridiculously Long Lasting Gum," Stride has been engineered to remain pleasantly soft and sweet for many, many minutes, regardless of how aggressively it is chewed.

Inredible news for gum aficionados such as myself. The article goes on to talk about the engineering behind this wonder gum, but I won't reproduce that here. Eventually, they say the gum would remain flavourful for about eight minutes, which is quite long.

But, is that enough?

Consider that there are 1440 minutes in day; 10,080 in a week; 525,600 in a year. For me to have a pleasant gum flavour for entire day it would take 180 sticks; for a week, 1260; for a year, 65,700. Then consider there are 14 sticks to a pack: that means I would need more than 12 packs a day; 90 packs a week; more than 4,692 packs a year. Then consider that a pack of gum bought on its own (and not in family four-pack) can cost upwards to $1.50 (taxes included); a premium gum, such as this good-for-eight-minute gum, would definitely straddle the upward part of the scale. Considering all of that, my premium gum habit would cost me thousands of dollars each year. Of course, I have to adjust these numbers because its unlikely I would remain awake for an entire day, week, year. Consider.

So, with all this time, I'm going to go back to the drawing board (actually, I don't have one...I used to have an Etch A Sketch...that was's an online one...where is this going?), and crunch some more numbers, and figure out all of this, and sit here, and wait, and write a bit more about this, because THIS MATTERS.

Yeah, it's easy to sit here and do this.

And what was I talking about? Yes, gum. That's it. Something.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Stephen Colbert

Another Link

FYI, if you haven't seen this (it's been on the 'Net for a week) and have 20 minutes to spare, enjoy Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' dinner.



Steve Nash Does It Again

I cringed as I watched Kobe Bryant score a last second basket for the Lakers in game four of L.A.'s series with the Phoenix Suns. I cringed because Bryant, a selfish egomaniac, had given his team a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with the Suns.

After he scored, Bryant pumped his fist in the air--making sure to look like the cocky jackass most think he already is--and the L.A. crowd rejoiced. It was an L.A. overtime, come-from-behind victory and Steve Nash and his Suns now had the hard job of winning three in a row to stay alive in the playoffs.

The story for me wasn't Bryant's last second heroics; when you have an eight-figure salary you should make those game-winning shots. The story for me was the missed call near the end of the game that took away the ball from Nash and essentially gave it to Bryant along with the chance to win the game.

After the game, Nash could have criticized the refereeing. He could have cried and complained like most star athletes who have a call go against them. Instead, Nash said basketball is a fast game that requires quick decisions, and it was him and his team that were the cause of the loss; not the refs. Nash's reaction told me that his team deserved to win the series. Saturday night they did just did; won their third in a row and game seven.

Today, Nash received his second NBA MVP award. I'm sure Canadians are just as proud of Nash this year as they were last year when he won the award. Not just because Nash is a fantastic athlete, and the proof is in his statistics and his team's record, but because Nash is a great sportsman, a great teammate, and the epitome of a great Canadian.


Concert Post

The Strokes

Through the smoke and lights, the Strokes played their brand of depressive dance rock at the Ricoh Coliseum last night.

The band's 90-minute set, which included a four-song encore, touched upon all three of their albums, a b-side or two, and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Needless to say (the cue that something will be said), the audience was into it. The Strokes's music, while often straying to the darker, less happier side of life, does make people dance. And some who did dance seemed to suffer from some tic only curable through prescribed drugs or through the magic of a neurosurgeon's hands.

Despite that, and despite the cigarette and pot, the Stroke's glum hum sound is enough to raise spirits. And I know, that doesn't make much sense. Julian Casablancas sang out at the end of the show, "Take or leave it." Yeah, I'll take it.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Round Two Predictions

After my atrocious round one predictions, one might suggest that I get into a new line of work, but ill-advised persistence is what I specialize in, and so, here's my look at round two.

Eastern Conference

(1) Ottawa vs. (4) Buffalo
It's Ottawa's metrosexual Ray Emery against Buffalo's grungy Ryan Miller. Both are rookies in the playoffs and both played well in the first round. And so, goaltending in this series should be about even. Therefore, it comes down to the firepower each team has. After Alfredson, Havlat, Spezza, and Heatley, there's not much there for Ottawa. Of course, those four can easily win a series. Chiefly for Buffalo is Drury, Briere and Connolly (there are some others, but I won't bother with them). I give the goals edge to Ottawa and they win the series in six.

(2) Carolina vs. (3) New Jersey
While I like Carolina's Cam Ward, I don't think he'll out play Brodeur. If Elias stays on fire, then it's New Jersey in six.

Western Conference

(5) San Jose vs. (8) Edmonton
This and the Ottawa-Buffalo series should be the best two series in the second round. Edmonton wore down an old Detroit team and got timely saves and timely goals. But San Jose isn't old, and can match the tenacity of the Oilers. I'm assuming Thornton will start to play like Thornton, and San Jose will win in seven.

(6) Anaheim vs. (7) Colorado

I gave no chance to either of these teams to come out of the first round, but here they are in round two. The teams are close to being evenly matched, but Theodore will falter in this series. Anaheim in six.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

NHL Playoffs

Round One Post-Mortem

Okay, I was wrong most of the time: 3 for 8.

Eastern Conference

(1) Ottawa vs. (8) Tampa Bay
Clearly, I allowed my personal hate for the Senators get in the way of this pick. Ray Emery came to play, and Martin Havlat also showed up. Tampa as a team was woeful, and their goaltending (with the exception of Sean Burke's Game 5 start) was worse.

(2) Carolina vs. (7) Montreal
Right on this one. I will say that Montreal didn't lose because of Cristobal Huet, but because their forwards were no where to be found in the final four games of the series.

(3) New Jersey vs. (6) NY Rangers
Right, again. Rangers were horrible, plain and simple.

(4) Buffalo vs. (5) Philadelphia
Again, my personal hate for Buffalo got in the way. Ryan Miller was excellent, Robert Esche was Robert Esche, which is to say, not a number one goaltender.

Western Conference

(1) Detroit vs. (8) Edmonton
So very wrong. Detroit was old, Edmonton was hungry. Dwayne Roloson proved himself to me in this series, and so did the rest of the Oilers.

(2) Dallas vs. (7) Colorado
Their seventh-place finish was deceiving--Colorado is a better team than the regular season record indicates. Jose Theodore was only really tested in Game 5, and he got the job done.

(3) Calgary vs. (6) Anaheim
I wanted Calgary to win, and I'm quite shocked that they didn't. This one stings my pool picks.

(4) Nashville vs. (5) San Jose
Right, one last time. San Jose just needs Thornton to start scoring.

Tomorrow: round two picks.


Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

The GO...

On the GO Train this morning and it’s about eight minutes from Union Station. The train, miraculously, was on time. The ride, although taken standing, is smooth and without incident. Then the GO-busters start checking fare.

Normally I brush off this routine as a small nuisance because I buy a monthly pass. But as soon as I reach for my wallet, I realize that April is in the books, and its May 1. So, my April 2006 Student Monthly Pass is past its expiry.

When I'm asked to show my fare, I don't pull any cheap tricks, like a quick flash of a Pass with the hope of fooling the GO Guard. No, I respect her enough to know she wouldn't be fooled.

"Sorry, I completely forgot. It's expired." I show her my April Student Monthly Pass along with my also expired Student Identification Card. "They're both expired, actually," I add. Rememeber: honesty doesn't count in these situations.

"Why did you forget?" she asks like I'm her son, and I've disappointed her so.

"Just totally slipped my mind. I'm sorry."

"You know you have a have 10 days to buy a new pass. They allow you 10 days to buy a new pass. Why did you forget?"

"I forgot. I'm going to buy a new monthly pass. A regular one. My student discount is up."

She looks at my Student Identification Card. "You know this is expired?"

"Yes, I know."

"You know both of these are expired?"


"Both of these have to be valid otherwise you could be fined. You know that?"


"Did you know that you could be fined $110?"

"Yes, I know."

"When do you plan to buy a new pass?"

"As soon as I get to Union."

"Why did you forget to buy a new pass?"

"I don't know. This never happens. I'm sorry."

"Look, you bought this one after you got on the train last month...Wait, sorry. You bought it before."


"I want to meet you in front of Customer Service at Union. Bring your new pass."

Get to Union. Stand in line. Buy May 2006 Adult Monthly Pass. Pay $121 for inadequate monthly service. Show new Pass. Get pass to go. Fuck you, GO.

The Great Canadian News

I'm on my way back to Union seven hours after being treated like the great con artist I actually am and I step into The Great Canadian News at BCE Place. I think that's its name; I really don't care if it isn't. This particular Great Canadian News is a place I've spent a considerable amount of money in the past three years. I've bought many magazines and newspapers. Remember: having a history of spending money in a store doesn't mean you're not about to steal.

I walk in wearing my signature black clothing. I'm Bad News, see. I take a look at a couple of magazines; I don't flip through them, but I do consider whether to buy them today or later this week. I move around the store, not touching any of the magazines, just looking at their covers. I look at the cover of the new Maclean's, and over my iPod I hear: "Excuse me sir, do you need any help?"

Hmm, do I need any help? Let's think here: I'm looking at magazines; I'm wearing black; I'm not 30 or higher, therefore, I probably don't actually read; the employee asks as if he's speaking to someone who fits the profile of a thief. And the fact that this store employee (I presume he's the manager) has asked me this question about six or seven times in the last three months is not lost on me.

I turn to him, "No. I'm fine." I shake my head in (actual) disgust (hey, I've spent money when he's been on duty, which is unlike 90 per cent of the people who filter their way through the store and never buy a thing), and leave.

At this point, it might be smart to put down in this blog that I will never spend another cent in that store. That the pattern of undeserved harassment I experience at this store is reason enough not to even walk through the store's doors anymore. But, no. If I stop walking through that store, then this employee’s blood pressure won't rise as much throughout his shift because a potential thief doesn't frequent his store anymore. He lives a little longer because of this. He wins. But, if my presence is enough to worry him--enough for him to have to keep an eye on me to make sure I don't steal something with a $4.95 cover price, then it's worth it for me to continue to go to the store, to browse, to walk around, to piss him off. And next time he asks his familiar question, I won't just say I'm fine, I'll ask him something to: "Hey, do you think I'm going to steal something?" And I hope that question will raise his blood pressure some more.

Links: Stephen Colbert

60 Minutes
covered Colbert this week. Here's a link.