A synopsis of Thor

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Last night, I saw Thor. Here is a synopsis of the movie: God sends his son to earth, who dies and is resurrected, saves mankind and ascends to the right hand of the father, where he reigns on high until he will return again. (In the Avengers.)

Wait. I think I read that before somewhere.

Thor wasn’t life-changing, and it was somewhat formulaic, but it was passable. There were no obvious plot holes, and there was lots of punching and smashing and attractive-looking humans. (If you’re into that sort of thing.) I recall thinking at one point that the music was partly plagiarised. Some of the things that were supposed to be funny weren’t. Oh well. I did like Loki. I found that by the end I was rooting for him, and hoping that he would turn out to be the hero in the end, through his trickiness.

A funny thing happened to me at the theatre. For those of you who haven’t seen me recently, I’ve recently buzzed my hair to a length of approximately 3mm. I blame my current hairstyle for what happened at the theatre.

A guy came in wearing a red bandana on his head. He sat down as close to me as he could (my big black leather jacket was occupying the intervening seat—thank goodness) and he asked if I was “Justin Timberlake.” (Justin Timberlake is an American musician who has his hair buzzed short in some of the photographs that I found on Google.)

I told him that I’m not. He stayed right next to me the whole time, and after the film, he tried to make awkward conversation with me a number of times. I think he seriously believed that I was this famous person. He followed me around a little but I lost him by the time I got to the métro station.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1758,
    title = {A synopsis of Thor},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-05-12,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/12/a-synopsis-of-thor/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "A synopsis of Thor" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 12 May 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/12/a-synopsis-of-thor/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, May 12). A synopsis of Thor [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/12/a-synopsis-of-thor/

Rookie NDP MP Brosseau

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Brosseau is getting a lot of attention, and her face is on news media everywhere. I think I’ve read more about her than about any other MP. Period.

Here’s a controversial statement that’s worth thinking about: Is Brosseau the most influential person in Canadian politics right now?

I mean, all of her actions recently (and many things she has never done, like visiting her riding) have been the subject of intense media scrutiny. If she said something—anything—she would have an instant audience for it, for good or for ill.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1756,
    title = {Rookie NDP MP Brosseau},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-05-10,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/10/rookie-ndp-mp-brosseau/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Rookie NDP MP Brosseau" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 10 May 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/10/rookie-ndp-mp-brosseau/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, May 10). Rookie NDP MP Brosseau [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/10/rookie-ndp-mp-brosseau/

Student drawings in Contemporary Moral Issues

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Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

This last TA-ship was pretty rough, compared to the others. It was a first-year course, for starters. Not only that, but this course isn’t a part of the core philosophy curriculum—rather, it’s the kind of course that education students and science students take because they need a credit from the humanities, and they figure that Contemporary Moral Issues will be an easy one.

They should have figured out toward the beginning of the class that it wasn’t going to be easy: It said on the syllabus itself that for every conference missed, there was a 10% deduction from the student’s final grade. Attendance was mandatory, and so was handing in a completed set of three questions each week on the week’s readings.

I'm a moral agent

I'm a moral agent

Not only that, but philosophy is a fairly low-grading faculty, at least at McGill. We do our part to fight grade inflation. The average for pretty much any course in philosophy generally tends to be B-.

This comes as a shock to most students.

I think what shocked me was the number of people I caught lying or cheating in some way in the course. (You can make your favourite joke about the irony of lying/cheating in an ethics course now.)

The attached drawings are ones that I found on my students’ mandatory weekly reading questions throughout the semester.

The first drawing was done on a particularly nice Friday—the first really good weather we had this spring. I think the second was done on the week that we covered moral agency and patiency. That, I suppose, is what the student took to be what a moral agent looks like. How would you capture moral agency in a drawing?

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1727,
    title = {Student drawings in Contemporary Moral Issues},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-05-5,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/05/student-drawings-in-contemporary-moral-issues/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Student drawings in Contemporary Moral Issues" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 05 May 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/05/student-drawings-in-contemporary-moral-issues/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, May 05). Student drawings in Contemporary Moral Issues [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/05/student-drawings-in-contemporary-moral-issues/

It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend

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While I was in Ontario, I thought I might drop by my parents’ for lunch. I remember saying on the way to Stratford that it was in a part of Ontario known as the “snow belt.” Boy was I right.

It snowed. In April.

Not just a little bit either. There were big fluffy white flakes. I have video evidence.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1659,
    title = {It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-04-20,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/20/it-snowed-in-stratford-ontario-this-weekend/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 20 Apr 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/20/it-snowed-in-stratford-ontario-this-weekend/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Apr 20). It snowed in Stratford Ontario this weekend [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/20/it-snowed-in-stratford-ontario-this-weekend/

Traffic problems at Queen-Mary and Circle

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I took this video a while ago, but I still think it’s interesting. The traffic lights were all frozen on red, but probably not for even sixty seconds before drivers got antsy and tried to drive through it.

Think about it: It was less than sixty seconds and people couldn’t even wait that long before they start breaking traffic laws.

How long would you wait?

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1652,
    title = {Traffic problems at Queen-Mary and Circle},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-04-19,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/19/traffic-problems-at-queen-mary-and-circle/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Traffic problems at Queen-Mary and Circle" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 19 Apr 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/19/traffic-problems-at-queen-mary-and-circle/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Apr 19). Traffic problems at Queen-Mary and Circle [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/19/traffic-problems-at-queen-mary-and-circle/

GC [sic] Habs Go

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GC Habs Go

GC Habs Go

I understand the desire to include the logo of one’s sports team of choice in the place of letters that are part of an encouragement to that team.

This only works, however, if the logo is not in fact a different letter of the alphabet than the letter it replaces.

For example, if a team’s logo was, say a stylised hockey puck, that could be used to replace the “O” in “Go [Team Name] Go!”

There’s just something unsettling about seeing the letter “O” replaced by a logo that is essentially a stylised letter “C” with a letter “H” inside it.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1635,
    title = {GC [sic] Habs Go},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-04-15,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/15/gc-sic-habs-go/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "GC [sic] Habs Go" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 15 Apr 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/15/gc-sic-habs-go/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Apr 15). GC [sic] Habs Go [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/15/gc-sic-habs-go/

SPR Coffee—experience mocha

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SPR front cover

SPR front cover

Here’s something else I found in the pages of an old book. It’s a brochure for SPR Coffee, a coffee shop that appears to be headquartered in Qingdao, China. I think I got it from the Shijiazhuang franchise.

I have scanned the front cover, back cover and the inside two pages.

SPR inside

SPR inside

I recommend that you actually read the text of the inside of the brochure in its entirety. It is worth the time.

This is a wonderful example of Engrish. There was a t-shirt that I would periodically see while I lived in China, that was covered in nonsensical decorative English. All I can remember about it now is that ended with “… like little child’s kitten.”

I would have bought one of those if I ever saw it for sale. I probably still would.

SPR back cover

SPR back cover

My favourite part of the SPR brochure is either the “drifting cloud” part or the “mocha … mocha … mocha … mocha” part at the end. I haven’t decided.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1627,
    title = {SPR Coffee—experience mocha},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-04-14,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/14/spr-coffee-experience-mocha/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "SPR Coffee—experience mocha" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 14 Apr 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/14/spr-coffee-experience-mocha/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Apr 14). SPR Coffee—experience mocha [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/04/14/spr-coffee-experience-mocha/

Bowling and the fur trade

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It turns out that the fur trade is still alive and well here in some parts of rural Québec.

I went bowling last night in Granby at Royaume des Quilles and while bowling, a man would, from time to time, call out a number corresponding to the tickets that had been given out for a draw for door prizes. (Regrettably, he did not use “trois-trente” in place of “quatre-vingt-dix,” as I have previously written that I think would be a pretty good idea.)

By some luck, my number was called, and I was handed an envelope, inside of which was a piece of paper that says, “Bon d’une valeur de $100.00 (Cent dollars),” which means “good for $100” at Denis Hivon Fourrures. I’m going to assume that “fourrures” means “fur-trader” in French. Or, something close enough.

Pickles says that I should get a “pimp coat.” I want to go and see if there’s anything with an animal’s face or head on it. I’ve looked at their site, and there are some really disturbing things, and some things that I just couldn’t imagine myself wearing. That said, I haven’t been this excited since I discovered this in the U-Haul store.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1324,
    title = {Bowling and the fur trade},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-20,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/20/bowling-and-the-fur-trade/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Bowling and the fur trade" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 20 Feb 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/20/bowling-and-the-fur-trade/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 20). Bowling and the fur trade [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/20/bowling-and-the-fur-trade/

Why can’t one eat an egg with 油条?

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When I lived in China, I would sometimes have a 油条 (yóu tiáo) along with my bag of hot soy milk for breakfast. A 油条 is a long, oily fried bread that you eat with your hands. It’s really good.

Whenever I would buy it, the vendor would always tell me that I shouldn’t eat it with an egg, and then she would laugh. I thought this was some sort of joke, but I never actually did eat an egg together with the 油条. Then, I went to a completely different vendor on the other side of town, and I was told the exact same thing—don’t eat your 油条 with an egg.

I was tempted, but never actually did try combining the two forbidden breakfast foods. I have a couple questions for my Chinese readers, or for aficionados of Chinese culture:

  1. Have any of you had an egg with 油条? What happened?
  2. Do you know why it is that I’m not supposed to eat them together?
  3. Is it out of some legitimate concern for one’s health?
  4. Is it a cultural superstition or a convention of some kind?
  5. Is this not even a thing? I mean, I might have misunderstood, or it might have been a huge coincidence.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1254,
    title = {Why can’t one eat an egg with 油条?},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-16,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/16/why-cant-one-eat-an-egg-with-you-tiao/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Why can’t one eat an egg with 油条?" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 16 Feb 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/16/why-cant-one-eat-an-egg-with-you-tiao/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 16). Why can’t one eat an egg with 油条? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/16/why-cant-one-eat-an-egg-with-you-tiao/

How to “castle” in chess

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Red pieces on a chess board

Red pieces on a chess board

Unlike the en passant capture, this is a move in chess that I’ve known since I was a child. However, like the en passant capture, it has also caused me grief while playing against my iPod. I will explain why this move can be frustrating below in the “pro-tip.”

This is how to castle in chess: It is a move for your king and your rook at the same time, and it is a great way to develop your rook conservatively. This is a move that should be done early in the game.

It can only be done if neither the king nor the rook have been moved yet in the game. There can be no pieces on the board on the files between the king and the rook, and you cannot castle out of check. If you are doing a kingside castle, your king moves two files toward the rook, and the rook jumps over to the space just on the opposite side of where the king has moved to. A queenside castle is done exactly the same way (king moves two files toward the rook, rook jumps over king to the file immediately past him), but in the queenside case, the rook moves further.

Thanks again to Wikipedia, the abbreviations for queenside and kingside castling are O-O-O and O-O, respectively.

Pro-tip: If you are trying to castle while playing against a video game, computer or iPod, do not move your rook first and then try to move your king. The iPod will think that you are moving your rook in the normal sort of way that rooks move, and it will not think that you are trying to castle. What you need to do is move your king first, and then the computer will automatically realise that because a king can’t normally move two files, you are attempting to castle, and then it will automatically move your rook for you. Just trust me on this one.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1229,
    title = {How to “castle” in chess},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-13,
    url = {https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/13/how-to-castle-in-chess/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "How to “castle” in chess" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 13 Feb 2011. Web. 19 Jan 2019. <https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/13/how-to-castle-in-chess/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 13). How to “castle” in chess [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/13/how-to-castle-in-chess/

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