After making it through the Federal Election Campaign—78 days that felt more like nine months, which is about the time it takes to grow a baby—I think we can all use a Unicorn Chaser. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Unicorn Chaser is a term coined when, after scanning social media and news headlines filled with violence, injustice, and gore, one needs to scrub their mind with pleasurable images. Often, but not always, it involves baby animals. It’s kind of like taking a shot of whiskey followed by a swig of beer (in this analogy, the unicorn is the beer). It’s like a palate cleanser.
Here’s where things get complicated: As this paper hits the stands, it’s all over. Dear Reader, you’ve had a couple of days to sit with the outcome of the election while I, intrepid writer, am still waiting for my polling station to open.
Let’s do “The Time Warp.” It’s a fact in print journalism that sometimes you go to the presses before things of import happen. We lock the paper on Sunday, and the election is Monday/ was Monday (the line between the past and the present is really thin here). The Navigator comes out on Wednesday. This paper is/was on the printing press at the exact moment the fate of our fine nation was/is still being decided. See what I mean? “It’s all,” as the Doctor would say, “this big ball of wibbily wobbly timey wimey… stuff.”
Back to that whole Unicorn Chaser thing. The election has been harsh. It has brought all sorts of resentment to the surface, spawned attack ads, separated friends, and the Left is no longer simply the Left. I mean, it’s still the Left, but with the whole Orange vs. Green thing, well, there’s a lot of healing to do, especially right here on campus. But during the time we’ve been busy fighting about, and for, election issues, there have been some pretty great moments in popular culture. So I invoke the Unicorn Chaser; let’s stop and take a minute to enjoy what may have passed us by during all the #Elxn42 ballyhoo. Great candid moments of babies, baby animals, good Samaritans, and actual unicorns have been captured on film and shared via social media. Let’s take a closer look.
Much has been made of bodily elimination lately. It seems like we—the Western World— have been doing it wrong. Conventional toilet seats are hell on the colon (who knew). Those open pit toilets in China (the horror) got it right, though, by promoting a squat that makes the whole process run more…smoothly. We’re happy to appropriate the squat from China (and elsewhere), but we are not prepared to dig up our crawlspaces for elimination pits. Surely there must be a way to adapt our convenient, sanitary toilets for better elimination. How, you say? Why, using the Squatty Potty ™! Hilarious taglines include “The Stool for Better Stools,” and “healthy colon : happy life.” And the best part is the video, This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop, featuring a magical unicorn that squats and poops immaculate rainbow-coloured soft serve icecream cones. It’s closing in on three million views now. You’ll find the full scoop at squattypotty.com.
Raccoon thinks it’s a dog
A mother in the Bahamas found an injured baby raccoon in the yard; she (the raccoon) was apparently abandoned after falling out of a tree. The family nursed her back to health, named her “Pumpkin,” and found that she comfortably
settled into the household. Pumpkin even bonded with the family’s two dogs, trailing behind them everywhere and playing just like a dog would.
Barbaric cultural practices
I know this was an election issue, but the introduction of this tip line provided some of the best satire of the whole campaign. A scan through the hashtag #BarbaricCulturalPractices on Twitter yields some beauties around the wearing of socks and sandals, eating egg salad sandwiches in public, eating chicken with the hands, and smoking marijuana without sharing. Make no mistake, there are very serious consequences to the announcement of this tip line—you’ll find a more cogent discussion of the issue on page nine— but brainstorming ways to deluge the tip line to force its shutdown, well, that’s just good fun.
The iPhone 6 plus plus plus arrives (now with bonus slicer/dicer and yogurt skwersher!), and no one seems to take much notice. That’s all.
It seems that, with all the election talk, we don’t have much left in the tank to really get our Halloween on in its finest form, as it deserves. Maybe things will kick into gear this week and we’ll get a 12-day orgy of ‘weening. Let’s see what happens.
Pumpkin spice push back, part deux
Yes, it’s true. Oreo Pumpkin Spice flavored cookies will be available in stores starting 9/24 pic.twitter.com/O18Ob3L5ZK
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) September 9, 2014
Anyone questioning my position on The Great Pumpkin Spicening is welcome to check out The Navigator’s Halloween 2014 issue. Let’s just agree that the pumpkin spice flavour experience belongs to pie and leave it at that. Seems like there’s momentum growing behind the movement to abolish atrocities like Pumpkin Spice Oreos and Pringle’s Chips. (Editor’s note: while the Pumpkin Spice Oreos aren’t available in Canada, the Pumpkin Spice Timbits unfortunately are). Maybe next year…
Water on Mars
How cool is it that they’ve found evidence of water on today’s Mars? It has renewed the conversation about putting human life on Mars, which is lovely and all, as long as they don’t mind not coming back. Ever. And there are volunteers. Seriously. The colonization of Mars may be on the horizon for humanity, but it won’t happen in our lifetimes, so we’ll have to settle for blockbuster movies starring chisel-chinned A-list actors.
Wildlife in private backyard swimming pools
As the dog days of summer wound into fall, wildlife (urban-adjacent wildlife) found themselves in need of refreshing recreation. And they found it in private backyard swimming pools. North Vancouver, West Vancouver, New Jersey, Florida, and right here in Nanaimo, bears weren’t just in it for a quick dip—there was splashy, frolicking play. Headline writers across the country had a field day. As did YouTube—much of the fun was captured by smartphones and uploaded for our collective enjoyment.
The satirical publication continues its streak of brilliance in the face of horrific real-world violence and plain idiocy. A finger on the pulse of American news and politics is helpful, but not necessary, for full enjoyment. Some of our favourite headlines included: “Popular new exercise app just tells users they ran file miles a day no matter what” “New study reveals most children unrepentant sociopaths” “Visit home referred to as vacation by parents” “Report: 15 thousand people vanish from ‘Fall Fest’ hayride wagons each year” “Child’s loose grasp on balloon only thing between peace and anarchy at restaurant”
Canada’s own Onion. Here, our favourite headlines included: “Saskatoon honours Joni Mitchell with new parking lot” “Jason Kenney spontaneously combusts after court permits niqab for citizenship ceremony” “Panicked husband realizes turkey pan has been soaking since last Thanksgiving” “Canada looks forward to finding out how it was screwed by the TPP” “Tory travel ban successfully forces extremist to book connecting flight out of Frankfurt”
Debate, shmebate; we all need some oldfashioned escapism. These are my personal favourites, and it turns out there’s a theme here. (No spoilers.) Fear the Walking Dead: When The Zombie Apocalypse began, people were even more stupid and put themselves in harm’s way with every other step. Naturally, they refused to wake up to the fact that the fracking time to get out of Dodge was yesterday. We actually found ourselves cheering for the demise of certain characters— too stupid to live. Scream Queens: From the fine folks that brought you American Horror Story and Glee, we watch mean girls and boys meet gruesome ends while looking gorgeous and exchanging witty banter. Supernatural: The Winchesters are back, and this time there’s a baby. American Horror Story: Hotel: The latest installment hit the ground running. It’s new (old) cast of creepy characters are back doing despicable things to one another, with the help of impeccably executed Production Design (the sets and costuming are, as ever, fabulous). The Walking Dead: Also hit the ground running with the series’ largest zombie horde to date. Thousands of them. I mean, that really was a lot of zombies. Holy Mary, mother of all that’s holy, zombies for miles! Haven: Something like a cross-pollination of Supernatural and Fringe, Haven follows the lives of a small town plagued by extrasensory “troubles.” Therein lies the problem. We play a simple drinking game: when a character says “trouble/s/ed,” take a swig of beer. The script for the second half of season five’s premier went over the top. 20 minutes in, we were sloshed. Haven— approach with care.
Truth is stranger than fiction, and, often, far more hilarious. There are people who get their kicks listening to police scanners, and when gems cross the airwaves, they’re kind enough to share them via social media. Reading these recent examples, you may find yourself asking, “Is this real life?” Yes, my friends, this is, in fact, real life. “Are people really that dumb?” Yes, they are; that’s what the Darwin Awards are for. “#Burnaby crews are responding to a house on 2nd St. after male injured his hand throwing a glass of water.” “#Victoria Police are responding to the Burger King on Douglas St. for reports of a male removing bricks from the building with a hammer.” “#Burnaby crews are on scene outside the Tim Hortons on Kingsway with a guy that walked into a sign and got knocked out.” “#CentralSaanich crews are responding to the pub at the Quality Inn on Mt. Newton Cross Rd. after someone was electrocuted by a toaster.” “#Surrey #RCMP are responding to 96 and Scott after reports of two males robbed the Shell gas station but then their car broke down.”
No matter how bad things get, there’s always time to find a baby goat in a onesie, online, practicing parkour. We deal with a lot of harshness in this world, political and otherwise, so it’s essential to step back sometimes and remember not to take it all too seriously. What’s life without well-executed gore buried in sarcasm and Moments of Squee?
Share your favourite pop culture moments with us on Facebook at and Twitter @theNav_VIU. We’ll build a library of thoughtfully curated Unicorn Chasers for future emergency use (finals will be here before you know it).