The Only Chance You’ll Ever Have to Own a Pet Dinosaur

On the night of June 26, the Vancouver Craigslist was chockfull of posts that amounted to standard fare for the classifieds site: stained furniture, apartment listings and spambots telling you how you could use your freshly-enlarged penis in a “casual encounter” with them (after you got done at your lucrative, work-at-home job, of course).

"I think you should go for it. You were just telling me you're a sucker for FEMALETRAITS2."

 Amongst all these posts, one did very little to set itself apart. The post’s title (“Unconventional Offer For Adventerous Homeowner”) didn’t do justice to the perfect blend of awesome and batshit that was contained within. I’ve included the ad below. Take a minute to read it. I’ll wait.



Drink it in, folks. That is an offer to have your very own pet dinosaur for a year in exchange for a house in Vancouver. Sadly, it was not posted by an actual dinosaur.

Their technological skillset stops abruptly at "door-opening"


No, the ad was posted by Justin and Rheanna, two young Vancouver-ites who realized that they’d need an outlandish scheme to ever own a home in their beloved city. As of 2010, Vancouver is the second-most costly city in Canada and it is in the top 70 most expensive cities worldwide. The couple figured that a dinosaur would be a perfect trade as it is “the one thing money can’t buy.”

Unfortunately, the couple has recieved no serious replies to thier offer.

“We’ve gotten some hate mail from a few people who
apparently have no sense of humor, and as everyone assumes the post was
made by a male, we’ve gotten a lot of really interested females,” the couple said via e-mail. 

“I’m not sure what it says about our culture that everyone would assume that an
individual offering to be someone’s pet dino is male or why it seems to be
an aphrodisiac to quite a few females.”

They went on to say that the offer still stands and that “it would be a blast” to serve as someone’s pet dinoasaur.

To recap for those of you with short attention spans and spare homes in Vancouver give someone this…



and they’ll dress like this….


And act like this…


That is all.

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Pitchfork is so disconnected from black folks that it forgets what R&B is

Look at this face.

James Blake is NOT dubstep

...this offensively British face

You’d probably be surprised to hear that this rosy-cheeked young man is making a name for himself producing, performing and releasing soulful slow jams.
Although he’s certainly not the first scrawny Brit to surprise people with his atypical voice and choice of genre ( I had an ex who fell in love with then subsequently disowned Jamiroquai after finding out that lead singer Jay Kay was white. When I asked her why she simply said, “He tricked me.”) , he is certainly the freshest.
Buzzblogs and indie tastemakers  everywhere have gone gaga over this young Londoner and his love music.
But something is amiss.
The writers, editors and assorted members of the hype machine in general absolutely REFUSE to admit that James Blake makes R&B. They have settled instead on the currently trendy label of ‘Dubstep’ or more precisely ‘post-Dubstep’ (adding “post-” to anything instantly makes it cooler. True story.)
For those of you unfamiliar with Dubstep, it sounds a little something like a sexy, malfunctioning baritone U.F.O. set over the laziest trip-hop drum beat you’ve ever heard.
Examples are great, aren’t they?
This, on the other hand, is a James Blake song.
“But,” you, the imagined reader response, ask yourself, “where are the ‘Whooom Whoom’ wobbly noises?”
I’m afraid there are none, fictitious reader. You see, young James is a pioneer of “post-Dubstep.” That means he took the ‘ tribal aliens having sex’ vibe of the first video and stripped it of its signature bass wobble  leaving us with this, a half-step drum beat frequently used in…R&B and Soul music.
Here’s a half-step drum beat in action for all you non-believers.
That is Ray J (of sex tape fame) and what he is doing would never be classified as anything remotely resembling any form of electronic music. So why are all these critics so averse to labeling James Blake the soul singer that he truly is?
Are the denizens of Pitchfork‘s heads so far up the indie universes’ lily-white ass that they can’t see what’s clearly laid out in front of them? Are they worried that reviewing an R&B album is the first step on a road that ends with them podcasting live from a Tony! Toni! Tone! reunion concert?
Were the writers at Clash afraid that if they released word of another tortured UK crooner so soon on the heels of Adele’s surprise success, then her sudden fame (and quite possibly Adele herself) might swallow the poor Mr. Blake whole?
Or maybe all of these writers just came to an agreement in some sort of Hipster League Satellite HQ over a case of Pabst. They would all refer to Jimmy Blake as a practitioner of Dubstep in order to increase site traffic (Dubstep, although relatively popular in the UK, has just begun a stateside surge in popularity).
I’m not trying to say, via all this nonsense and bitching, that I don’t want artists to experiment within their respective genres. By all means, I would love to hear a genuine mix of Soul-like vocals with Dubstep beats. But let’s not cheapen the genuine arrival of Blue-Eyed Dub (totally calling “dibs” on that phrase) by wishing for it so hard for it that we force it into being when it doesn’t  exist.
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Flagler College plans new communications building

                An ancient building is scheduled to be demolished in downtown St. Augustine. But, don’t expect the characteristic fuss and protest that come with demolition in a historic city when this old edifice goes bye-bye.

                The Flagler College Communication building on Cordova Street has been the key source of complaints from communication students and faculty alike for many years now. Termite infestations, lack of proper equipment, lack of space and outdated computers are just a few of the complaints often given by everyone involved in the communication program. Flagler College President William Abare says that all of that griping will soon be a thing of the past.

                “Enrollment in Flagler’s communication program has continued to grow and the facilities for our staff and students needed to be improved,” said Abare.

                When Dr. Tracy Halcomb first heard about the plans for a new building, she wasn’t quick to be hopeful.

                “There will be a new classroom building built. And [communications] will have some space allotted for it but that is the best we can hope for at this time,” said Halcomb. “Maybe we’ll get half a building?”

                Halcomb can have faith, though. The proposed plans call for not one but three new communications buildings to be built over the next two to three years.

                The plans call for communication faculty to be moved to 66 Cuna Street (a building across the street from the current communication building that Flagler College purchased in December 2010) at the start of construction. Then, a new building will be built in the parking lot east of the current communications building.


The old communications building and the temporary offices at 66 Cuna St. in a staredown


 Once that first building is up, crews will demolish the old building before constructing the last two buildings to complete the communications complex.

                The plans for the communication building still have a long road ahead of them before construction can begin, however.

                “We will invite five to seven contractors to bid on the project after the plans are approved by the Planning and Zoning Board, the City Commission and the Historic Architecural Review Board,” said Abare.

                Abare expects the project to cost the school between $5 and $5.5 million.

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Associated Press announces style changes

Want to send an e-mail from your smart phone?

Well, you can’t. At least not if the Associated Press has their way.

The editors of the Associated Press Stylebook (a.k.a. the codifiers of all things journalistic, alpha and omega, king of kings, lord of lords)  announced at the national conference of the American Copy Editors Society that they would be making some quote-unquote big changes to their holy style book. Some of the changes that took place at 3 A.M. EDT on March 19 are:

  • e-mail is now “email” (words such as e-commerce and e-reader maintain the hyphen)
  • Calcutta is now “Kolkata”
  • smart phone and cell phone are “smartphone” and “cellphone”

Looks like these wordinistas have a thing for merging words (Last year, they smashed website into one word). If my predictions are correct by 2030, the AP will have us all speaking in some sort of  post-post-modern, Twitter-optimized Aztec language.

It has begun


Also, I can’t confirm this. But I hear these guys run a rather decent wire service when they aren’t busy dicking about with the King’s English. Anybody know if this is true?

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Local Servicemember says he is ‘ready for repeal’ of DADT

The United States Army is set to repeal its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring homosexuals from openly serving sometime this year and the sensitivity training will soon begin.

On the battlefield.

Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, the nation’s top-ranked enlisted soldier, told the press in a teleconference that the Army will “take our directions from the Department of Defense, from the secretary of defense, the chairman, as well as the chiefs-of-staff.”

“We’re going to begin executing this training [in Afghanistan] on the battlefield,” said Hill.

A bill to repeal the Clinton-era Defense directive passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on December 18, 2010. It was signed into law by President Obama three days later.

Private 1st Class Josh Hufford of St. Augustine says he’ll have zero problems when it comes to serving alongside openly gay soldiers.

“Anyone who is willing to serve, to go over there with me and watch my back, is ok by me. Regardless of thier sexual orientation,” said Hufford.

The repeal isn’t set to take place until it is approved by President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as not harmful to the operations of the military, followed by a 60-day waiting period.

But Hufford says the sooner the law gets passed, the better.

“I feel it will relieve a lot of tension in my mostly-female unit,” says Hufford, who is stationed at Scofield Army base in Honolulu. “Many of the women I work with are closeted homosexuals who are forced to keep quiet to keep thier jobs. I feel it would make everyone’s life easier if they could be open.”

As for the fear that repeal opposition often cites, that allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces will lead to sexual assault and harrassment from a new angle, Hufford claims that’s ridiculous.

“The code of conduct applies to everyone, male or female, gay or straight,” said Hufford. “Any misconduct will lead to immediate discipline and probably being discharged.”

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Not so “happy” with thier meal

There’s a video playing. Five serious types in black outfits and balaclavas stand in front of a yellow curtain, with a revolutionary’s black and yellow flag hanging in the background. Thier hooded hostage kneels in the foreground. The group’s de facto leader reads a list of questions for the camera ending by saying that if his questions aren’t answered by the specified date and time, thier captive will be beheaded. Throughout it all the hostage doesn’t squirm. He doesn’t plead. He appears unfeeling, rigid, maybe even calm. And rightfully so.

Beneath that hood is the smiling face of Ronald McDonald.

The Al-Qaeda style video is a stunt put on by an activist group calling themselves the Food Liberation Army. The Finnish group kidnapped the Ronald McDonald statue from a Helsinki McDonald’s on Jan 31 in broad daylight. The activists pulled it off by pretending to be maintenance men and placing a docket on the front counter.

“I had that happen to me once when I was working up in Philly,” said St. Augustine McDonald’s General Manager Shawn Harris. “The neighborhood kids would hold these scavenger hunts and if you could steal our waving Ronald statue you automatically won.”

The FLA had something a little more serious than a scavenger hunt on thier minds. They staged the video as a call for McDonald’s to be more transparent about what goes into thier food, as well as several of thier business practices.

“We wanted to make our statement in a funny way that imitates something dramatic,” said FLA spokesperson Jani Leinonen.

Shawn Harris likened the video to Alyssa Milano’s tweeted rant against McDonald’s oatmeal earlier in the year.

“I think it’s funny,” said Harris. ” But honestly, they are too serious. It’s just McDonald’s.”

Corporate McDonald’s didn’t find the video very funny. They released a statement saying the video was ‘in poor taste’ and ‘not an appropriate approach to meaningful dialogue.’

This wasn’t the answer the FLA was looking for. On Feb 11 they staged a beheading of a mock-Ronald statue in a Helsinki art gallery. The real Ronald had been recovered by police earlier in the week. Jani Leinonen was at the event unmasked, having already been detained and questioned by police.

“Most of us are in position’s that do not allow us to speak openly about the issues to which we are drawing attention,” he said. “Artists have no strings attached to customers or target groups. That’s why our spokesperson is an artist.”

Leinonen went on to say that he now hopes to talk with Mcdonald’s in a way that isn’t so theatrical.

“Perhaps now we can ask the questions of McDonald’s representatives in a talk show or other less dramatic venue.”

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Why Waka?

I should know better. There’s no doubt about that. As a self-respecting and (at least part-way) college-educated consumer, I should know better. But I can’t stop myself. Hidden deep down in the catacombs of my taste, past several 8-bit alligators and snakes that aren’t to scale (I prefer to visualize the internal workings of my mind as a game of Pitfall), lies the truth. Against all logic, I am madly in love with the music of Waka Flocka Flame.

...and his luxurious hair

Before I get into why I shouldn’t like Mr. Flame’s music, I’d like to give you a little background on myself. I am an absolute music hound. I’m constantly digging for newer, fresher and above all better music. I know song lyrics like fat, middle-aged men know baseball statistics. I’m the friend that my friends go to when they want to hear something new. “Oh, if you like ‘band a’ you’ll love ‘this band.'” That is me. I liked to think I had an ear for good music, until Waka Flocka Flame’s boisterous and borderline mentally-disabled raps came to blow that notion all to hell.

So what exactly is wrong with Waka Flocka’s music? In short, everything. While he’s signed to Warner Bros and has full recording studios at his disposal, his songs still sound like they were recorded on a USB mic in a bathroom. He swears over-emphatically, like a grade-schooler who just learned the words from the older kids at the bus stop. (see O Let’s Do It’s repetition of “What the FUCK you want?”)

You ain't know? Real muthaFUCKas like Waka ride on top of the FUCKin' bus.

On top of that, Waka abandons the general definitions of rap. Punchlines? Never. Wordplay? Non-existent. Metaphors? An emphatic NO. (In fact the intro to his song Blunt Music is a repetition of the lines “I don’t need no metaphors/ This is real music”)

I don't need no self-restraint, this is real graphic design

“Okay,” you say, “so he’s not a GOOD rapper. But he’s still following the basic structure of rap: rhyming lines with an equal number of syllables.”

Not so fast, reader. Flame only rhymes when it suits him. More often than not he rhymes the same word over and over (ex. from No Hands: I’m a bad mothafucka/ Go n’ ask these muthafuckas/ a young handsome muthafucka) or creates words to force a rhyme (ex. from O Let’s Do It: Locked my CEO up/ now it’s back to coca/ nigga talkin’ shit, bruh?/ Hang ’em by a rope-a).

And fat chance getting Flame to stick to a syllable count. Waka frequently squeezes extra syllables into lines and, in the case of his single O Let’s Do It , actually adds a fifth line to the end of his AAAA structure that tramples over the first line of the chorus (“Home of the Braves shawty shoot ’em with a K”). While the first line of the chorus is just “YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHH”, it’s still painfully obvious to anyone who is paying attention.

Above all, Waka’s raps are just dumb. Plain and simple, these are horribly stupid lyrics. I think the best example of this comes from O Let’s Do It: “One shot/ man down/ his brain go KA-POW!/ OW!/ Dat shit hurt/ so don’t fuck around.” Enough said.

But that still doesn’t get to why I like it. I like Waka Flocka Flame’s music because it is so dumb that my brain shuts down in self-defense. It gives me a chance to do something I rarely get to do as a college student: stop thinking. I honestly believe that listening to Flame’s mind-numbing music is akin to meditation. It slows my brainwaves down in the same fashion as driving down a familiar stretch of highway. His music puts my brain into a theta state (4 to 7 cycles per second, same state as daydreaming or meditation) as opposed to a beta state (13-30 cycles per second, an active brain). Oftentimes, I don’t even remember listening to his music after it ends.

My Zen

As someone who has too much on his plate (and is a wee bit too cynical) to ever meditate, Flame’s music (with its brash and fearless stupidity) offers me a break from everything. That, above all, is the reason I keep it tucked away on the shameful side of my playlists.

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Trading a “rap sheet” for rap music

Jordan Haywood wants to be remembered for more than the gun he brought to school.

The 26-year-old Jacksonville native made headlines in 1998 for bringing his .380 automatic pistol to Kirby-Smith Middle School in Northeast Jacksonville. Haywood says he brought the gun to settle a dispute with a student who had bullied him throughout the year.

“I don’t know what I would have done had I got to him,” said Haywood, “but I’m damn sure glad they caught me.”

Haywood served seven years for his offense and now says he’s ready to turn his life around. And he plans to do that by trading his rap sheet for rap music.

“Music has always been a huge part of my life,” said Haywood. “Even if my sentence set me back from music it was always there.”

Over the past year, Haywood has been producing synthesizer-heavy club rap and passing out free demo CD’s to any one who will listen.

“He really surprised me,” said McDonald’s co-worker Pamela Lawson. “I have trouble thinking that anyone who works here could have any real talents.”

Haywood works full-time on the night shift at a St. Augustine McDonald’s. Most nights Haywood will work until one a.m. and then record  one to two songs before going to bed at five a.m.

“Honestly,” said long-time girlfriend Tony Santos. “He drives me nuts with that noise. Playing away ’til all hours of the night. But I understand.”

Haywood understands that he has a long road ahead of him if he wants to make it in the music business. But he remains optimistic.

“I just  gotta keep my head up,” Haywood said. “Cuz ain’t anybody else gonna hold it up for me.”

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