Fidel Castro Is Not Dead

So I'm over at my friends' house sitting on a patio drinking scotch and puffing a cigar and suddenly my buddy (code name: "Flipper") mentions Fidel Castro died today, and I'm like, "WHAAAAT???"

Ten seconds later I'm on his computer, searching the Guardian's Web site--then the New York Times, then the Globe and Mail for verification.

And you know what? Fidel Castro is not dead.

The person who's dead is Juan Almeida Bosque, a Cuban revolutionary and beloved national figure. You can read the story here in the Globe and Mail.

But it would've been a hell of a strange turn if I'd learned of Castro's death with a Cuban cigar dangling from my mouth. I probably smoke a Cuban cigar once every 18 months. Incidentally, Flipper was ironically given this cigar from a very generous (and profoundly misguided) staunch Stephen Harper supporter. I rather doubt Stephen Harper is much of a Fidel Castro supporter. So yeah, weird chain of events.

In other news I just found out now:

1.) Larry Gelbart, creater of TV's M*A*S*H, died today (Globe And Mail). I owe a lot of my politics to that show. Thank you, Larry. God bless* and rest in piece.

2.) They're lynching gays in Iraq (Guardian). I. Despise. Religious. Bigots.

3.) Scotch and cigars seem to be doing wonders for my cold. I'm sure sleeping half the day away also helped.

*I mean this in the atheist way of course.

Cell Phones + Cars = Death!!

From the "Like I Need Another Reason to Hide Away from Civilization" file...

I spent some of today catching up on some of my favourite podcasts and last week, the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe reported on a Stanford University study which found that not only are people incapable of multitasking, people who think they're good at multitasking and try to do it often are particularly bad at it. (More details at the Neurologica Blog.)

It seemed an interesting coincidence that this information was coming out now considering the provincial government is considering a ban on cellphone use by drivers.

Now, apparently science has known for a long time that a person can only have one thing going on in their brain at one time -- you can switch between things pretty quick, but as long as you're doing thing one (like, say, talking on a cellphone) you're not paying any attention to thing two (like, say, driving a car) -- no matter how evolved you think your brain is.

In other words, according to science, our brains are wired such that we can't multitask. It's not that some people are born with the multitasking gene while others are not so blessed. And it's not a skill you can develop with practice. We can't do two things at the same time. End of story. And, the irony unearthed by the Stanford study is that if you think you can multitask then you're someone who's particularly inept at switching between trains of thought.

So, all the people you know who say, "Oh, I can drive and talk on a cellphone at the same time," or "I'm really good at texting and driving," or "Don't worry about it, I've done this plenty," those are the people you've really got to watch out for because they're the ones who're going to get someone killed.

Forum Cancelled

Received a follow-up e-mail today from Jim Elliott , chair of the Al Ritchie Community Association, announcing that the all-candidates forum that had been planned for Sept. 15 had been cancelled because of a commitment Dwain Lingenfelter ended up having in Saskatoon. Rescheduling the forum proved impossible, so voters will go to the polls in Regina Douglas Park on Sept. 21 without having had the opportunity to hear the candidates square off in a debate.

Saturday Morning Cartoon 2

A bonus cartoon, posted for obvious (COUGH) reasons.:

This was found by Googling "cartoon" + "flu". Given the doctor Suess-ish cover on the new issue, and the fact that I'M SICK!, seemed like something that needed to be posted. The short is the work of a guy named Andreas Peterson and it won a YouTube. You can see more of his work here.

By the way, thanks to Paul for guarding Dog Blog's honour with the emergency SMC post. Emergency Thundarr is the best kind of Thundarr.

Rider Rumbling

Following last Sunday's 29-14 defeat at the hands of the Riders Bomber QB Michael Bishop, he of the improbably squeaky voice, promised to bring a big can of Whup Ass to tomorrow's rematch in Winnipeg (TSN 2 p.m.). If the Bombers do defeat the Riders, it probably won't be on the strength of Bishop's arm. Sure, he threw for over 300 yards in the Labour Day Classic, but he also tossed three interceptions. That's a pattern all too famliar to Rider fans who watched Bishop alternately shine and stink at the helm of the team last year. After rushing for over 300 yards against B.C. the game previous, the Bombers only managed 37 yards against the Riders' tenacious D. If the Riders stuff the running game again, and the offence under Darian Durant manages to move the ball consistently and avoid turnovers like they did last week, any ass that gets whupped won't be dressed in green (and white).

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Frankly, a little cosmic destruction doesn't sound like such a bad idea today. With that in mind, here's Thundarr the Barbarian!

This show had everything. It was like something ripped out of a Robert E Howard story. Barbarians, super science, post-apocalyptic wastelands, swords, sorcery, Ookla the Mok, and production design by the likes of Alex Toth and Jack Kirby. It was like they phoned me up and asked me what I wanted to see on Saturday mornings.