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Red Couch Report

Family Guy death sparks confusion and fan outcry

Charles Macurdy
Nov 27th, 2013

The following contains spoilers, if you have not seen the episode of Family Guy aired November 24, or if you have been under a rock since then, with your phone turned off and your eyes shut.

The latest episode of Family Guy featured the death of Brian Griffin, the family dog. He was arguably the third-most important character on the show, after Peter and Stewie, which made the episode that much more shocking to fans. It also makes the whole gambit that much more confusing.

The show’s producers warned fans that they would kill off a Griffin this year. Of course, everybody assumed it would be Meg and went on with their lives.

That it was Brian raises a whole host of questions. We know Brian is dead, but is he dead-dead? Why kill off such an important character? Are they serious about this new dog?

Meet Vinny, the Griffins’ new Hackneyed Terrier

Apocalypse dinners begin with most neglected foods

Charles Macurdy
Nov 22nd, 2013

When the world inevitably ends and society crumbles, you are going to need a plan. For example, look at Black Friday shopping. Those people are buying Christmas presents and they still manage to trample one another to death. Imagine how they would behave if, instead of a Big Hugs Elmo, they were after the last can of soup in the store. Definitely going to need a plan.

The first part of any escape plan is to loot yourself some food. To be clear, I do not advocate looting in any circumstances short of the total and permanent collapse of society. But as any thoughtful apocalist knows, the end of the world is no time to pay for things.

Now, unless you are part of the first wave, chances are that the shelves will be picked fairly clean. So here is my first piece of advice:

Satire: CNN’s JFK coverage provides a lesson for the CBC

Charles Macurdy
Nov 12th, 2013

Late last week, a ridiculous bombshell dropped in the news. John Kerry announced that he has “doubts” that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Finally, an American who is willing to stand up and declare “I'm not sure.”  Cue the panel discussion, only interrupted long enough for the words “Breaking News” to flash red across the screen. Right.

At the same time as CNN was airing its coverage of Kerry’s revelation about an event fifty years ago, our own CBC was airing a piece about the Secretary of State’s involvement in nuclear talks with Iran. In typical CBC fashion, it was all “proliferation this” and “World War that,” with not one single mention of Kennedy’s assassination. 

Meanwhile, today, ever vigilant to remain at the bleeding edge of current events, CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewed Sarah Palin about Christianity. Because, if there is one person who remains at the front of everyone’s thoughts five years ago, it’s Sarah Palin. Yes, you got me right, five years ago.

Jaguars are the zombie’s natural predator

Charles Macurdy
Oct 31st, 2013

Boasting the most powerful mammalian bite on the continent, this stealthy beast is a natural zombie-killer.

According to naturalist David Mizejewski, the zombie invasion is doomed to fail. In this sense, Mizejewski is an apocalypse denier. A radical voice for sure, but at least it is a voice informed by science.

Zombies vs. Nature

Nature, says Mizejewski, would not allow zombies to last one week without picking them clean, presumably leaving a few confused skeletons rattling around like some discarded Halloween display.

Says Mizejewski:

“Zombies are essentially walking carrion, and Mother Nature doesn't let anything go to waste. Carrion is on the menu for a vast number of species, from tiny micro-organisms to the largest carnivores.”

Proof that zombies can smell

Charles Macurdy
Oct 20th, 2013

In a zombie apocalypse, it is only natural to think of guns, swords, or pointed sticks as your most powerful weapons against the shambling hordes of walking dead. But there is one weapon of equal, if not greater power, often overlooked in standard survival preparations: philosophy.

Yes, weapons are good to have, but you do better to arm yourself with a bit of basic logic if you want to navigate the post-human afterworld.

Below, you will find a logical proof, presented informally, that zombies hunt by smell. As it happens, this is also proof that philosophy might just save your life.

Part 1: Facts about zombies

Asteroid apocalypse tomato soup

Charles Macurdy
Oct 12th, 2013

This soup does not use measurements. The apocalypse, as noted in my seminal piece on preparing for a "nation-buster" of an asteroid strike,  is no place for measuring. It’s a place for eyeball estimating and using up whatever food is on hand before it spoils. Food is precious in the post-civilization badlands. Might as well make soup.

So this recipe is a bare bones type of thing. This is the minimum you need to make it. Got celery? Add a stalk. Got red peppers, fresh tomato, parsley? All good additions. Potatoes, not so much. Use your judgment about what would go well in this recipe. Perhaps even some bare bones. There ought to be plenty lying around.

Asteroid apocalypse presents unique culinary challenges

Charles Macurdy
Oct 12th, 2013

Remain calm, but according to this graphic, the asteroids have us completely surrounded.

Recent apocalyptic buzz has moved from zombies to the slightly more realistic threat of asteroids. And for good reason. At the end of September, Russian scientists reported a 15-meter-long meteor that whizzed by a mere 11,300 kilometers away from the planet’s surface.

Also this year, we all saw the footage from the dashboard cameras of freaked out Russians that showed an object exploding in the Siberian sky with the force of 20 Hiroshima-sized bombs. Scientists call this a “city-buster.”

Senators continue Canadian push for stupidity award

Charles Macurdy
May 16th, 2013

This photo is a projection of the new seat distribution in the Senate after a complete audit of existing housing expenses.

Earlier this year, I suggested that we need a World Cup of Stupidity. Shortly thereafter, the new twenty-dollar bills came out and Canada was off to an early lead. Since then, the race has tightened. Republicans and other NRA cronies have mounted a push from the South. The Iranian president said he wanted to be launched into space. Gangnam Style happened.

Friends, the stupidity race is on.

2013 year of the aliens

Charles Macurdy
May 10th, 2013

I’d say it’s about time we found some real extra-terrestrials.

And it’s not just me.

 According to, there are 885 discovered extrasolar planets as of May 10th of this year.

Seems like only be a matter of time until aliens turn up. It's like searching for  keys lost in a couch only your keys are the extra-terrestrials and your couch is the entire universe.

You call that a fly-by?

And just as those keys were inevitably in your pocket the whole time, seems like the aliens are already here.

Don't complain about your perfect life

Charles Macurdy
Apr 17th, 2013

Recently, a woman wrote to Salon for advice under the pseudonym Mom of Three. Her children are healthy, her marriage is happy, and she has a good job. So what’s her problem? I’ll let her tell you:

I love my family dearly, and my children bring me great joy. So what’s the problem then? I worry that I’ve brought them into a world whose future holds overpopulation (for which I myself feel a bit responsible) and global warming. My children have such bright futures ahead, which may be completely devastated by these global crises.

I feel guilt at having brought them into the world, and yet I can’t imagine not having them in my world. I feel so hopeless that I am unable to make the world a better place for them. My happiness in the present is marred by my heartache thinking of their future.

How do I cope with these feelings?

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