Let's steal christmas back from the Christians

What does christmas have to do with Christ, anyway?

Some Christian marketing guy in the fourth century C.E. came up with the idea of piggy backing a new Christian holiday on top of a bunch of pagan holidays, kind of like how Subway opens a location right next to every existing Mr. Sub.

I am sure there is a marketing term for this strategy. The point is, even back then the Christians had it all figured out.

Consulting Wikipedia, the most trustworthy information source IN THE UNIVERSE, we see that christmas was actually orignally a bunch of pagan celebrations from many cultures, all centred around the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

Take yuletide, for example. The Christians didn't have any winter celebrations til their big one at Easter (at least it used to be the big one), so they stole it.

Yuletide sounds like a good idea to me, and the twelve wild days of yuletide are not ripping off Adam Sandler, he is ripping off the pagans with his "12 crazy days" or whatever the blazes that movie was called.


Good times, good times

When I arrived home from work today, I took the time to make sure that I hadn't received any new phone messages. I usually don't bother because I rarely receive them, and when I do they are from a) friendly neighborhood realtors; b) my landlord; or c) Jack Layton (in the last federal election, Jack left me an upbeat message a couple of times, even though I don't live in his riding. I suspect he wanted a piece of this weblog's 'juice', since it is regularly read by literally dozens of people).

Anyhoo, my dearth of messages reminded me of 1995, when I moved to Toronto straight from 6 months of hell in Lake Louise Alberta. I didn't know a single person in Toronto, having accepted a job as a cook at Bar Italia after a phone interview. So I had never met my new boss or the owner, let alone laying eyes on the restaurant where I would be working.

Needless to say, I was a bit lonely until I had been here for a few weeks and had made some friends. The strongest memory I have from that period, new in a big city, was getting home and seeing the blinking of my answering machine's 'message' light for my new Toronto number.

It turns out my new number was really the old number of a defunct crisis hotline (probably cancelled by the Harris Conservatives).

Every night, I would get home, and listen to my messages. From day 1, they were desperate pleas for help from lost people. There didn't seem to be any kidders or pranksters. It was just really depressed people leaving a synopsis of their heartaches for someone, anyone, to listen to.

I altered my answering machine message to state "Hi, this is Pete. This telephone number is no longer a Crisis Hot Line".

But it didn't matter. People kept on leaving heartbreaking tales of personal loss and sorrow.

I must admit I fast-forwarded through a lot of the longer messages, but what can you do. It's not my job!

Welcome to the big T.O., bro!


Well, I got what I wished for...

And now Stéphane Dion is the leader of the Liberal Party. I should be happy, and I was very, very happy when I heard the 3rd round results. Why, then, do I now have this feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach?

I'll tell you. By Sunday, columnists in the Toronto Star (?!?), let alone the other papers, were commenting on how pathetic the Liberal Party will be with Dion leading it. A response to my previous posting seems to sum it up: Dion as the Liberal leader is handing Québec to the separatists.

Despite how often I hear this, I still do not understand the logic. What does it matter if Québec sovereigntists will stay away from the Liberals under Dion? Wouldn't they vote BQ anyway?

Would it be better that sovereigntists pretend to support the Liberals under, say, Iggy, then betray them later, Like Bouchard & co. did to the Mulroney Conservatives?

When Dion and Kennedy made a deal to move their support to the stronger of the two on the second ballot, the idea was that Kennedy and Dion were both strong in their home provinces, and almost non-existent in their ally's home ground. So this implies to me that Dion does have strength in Quebec. (Or, that Kennedy isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Zing!)

Be a little more optimistic, all you Liberal power-hungry sluts. For once, you have chosen (distractedly, it seems) someone who isn't part of the red-tie/expense-account-padding establishment.

The next general election could be framed, for example, as a clear choice between a 'Nice Guy' and an 'Asshole' (as my dad would say). What more can you ask for?

Maybe you won't be seen as such opportunistic whores this time! Cheerfully abandon that perogative to the Conservatives would be my advice.


The Liberals' Big Day fast approaches!

Who will emerge as the next leader?

The Lurch-like Michael Ignatieff? The elfin Bob Rae? Perhaps even the semi-literate Gerard Kennedy? Or maybe one of the other guys?

Who can say? A Liberal convention is even harder to call than normal elections since more things go on 'behind the scenes'. As far as anyone can tell Ignatieff has the first ballot support of about 30% of the delegates. It could be higher, no one is sure. But this is sure: If Ignatieff doesn't hit well over 30% of votes on the first ballot, he is doomed.

Why is this? Because all the other candidates hate his guts, including his supposed good buddy Bob Rae. So if the first vote doesn't show definite movement towards Ignatieff, he will receive insignificant increases in support in subsequent balloting.

Assuming that Iggy gets little more than 30% on the first ballot, what will happen? It will be a competition amongst the other candidates to become the 'anyone-but-Ignatieff' candidate who will, I believe, end up winning.

In my heart, I hope it is Dion, but judging from what I have read over the last few weeks my head tells me it will be Rae.

Either Dion or Rae (or even Kennedy!) would be infinitely better than Ignatieff, but recent polls appear to indicate that Rae has the best chance of any of the candidates to help the Liberals deny the Conservatives a majority in the next federal election.

It saddens me, because I would like to see the NDP gain a greater voice in the Commons and Rae (or to a lesser extent Dion) would grab votes from border-line NDP supporters like myself.

On the other hand, if Harper's Conservatives form a majority government, it would be a catastrophe. And according to the aforementioned polls, Bob Rae is the best person to prevent that.

Still, I hope for the miraculous victory of Stéphane Dion. Mostly because I really like Frenchies!

: I should mention that it seems to me that although Martha Hall Findley was the most personable, well-spoken, and non-'full of shit' of all the candidates, she was never given serious attention. Luckily, she is young, so I hope that we will see more of her in Liberal leadership campaigns to come.


Good golly! I was wrong, gracious me

It appears that I will have to rethink alot of my previous prejudices. We aren't witnessing Berlin '33 all over again. The Republicans are not the budding fascists I thought they were.

They are the incompetent, ersatz grand-nephews of fascists that actually knew how fix an election. Why would the Republicans suddenly be competent in this case (I hindsightedly ask myself), when they are so uniformly incompetent in every other way?

This is my mea culpa.


Who are they trying to kid?

Well, it is now noon on mid-term election day in the Great Satan, and I have grown a bit tired of all these projections that the Democrats (the other 'Business' party) will take control of the House and/or the Senate.

Where have these people been? Living in some fairytale where the electoral process hasn't been perverted to the point that the Democrats will never, ever win again?

The Democrats have about as much chance of gaining seats as the Communists did in the Reichstag in 1933.

The citizens of the Great Satan have baked their bread, now they can eat it.


American Tourister

Can you think of a worse name for a company that produces luggage? 'American' is bad enough, 'Tourister' is just an irritating made-up word that caps it off. Why not write "KILL ME" on some masking tape and stick it on your forehead? At least you would be viewed with curiosity and/or fear, rather than distaste, contempt, and/or hatred.

Why do I own American Tourister luggage in the first place? Five or so years ago, I bought American Tourister luggage at a discount warehouse because it was really, really, cheap. So, apparently, did everyone else. My luggage looks exactly the same as 50% of the other bags dropping from the hopper.

My personal identifiers are green ribbons tied to the handles with "One Ireland" printed on them in white.

Before my next trip, I plan on putting masking tape over the pseudo-metal permanent logos on the luggage (an example of which is highlighted in the screengrab serving as a banner at the top of this posting) in an effort to avoid future bavardage.


An appeal from the heart

I have searched high and low on the internet, but I cannot find that photo from last summer of Jack Layton and Olivia Chow in a canoe, paddling through a Canadian Shield-type landscape.

The reason I am obsessed with that shot is that, at the time, I ignored it as another meaningless photo opportunity. Then, later, I read a column (I forget where) in which the writer stated that Jack Layton was the only person he had ever seen that could look indignant while paddling a canoe.

This got a big laugh from me because, in my mind's eye, Jack did look angry about something, like maybe someone off-camera had loudly farted.

Maybe it is the moustache? It looks bristly and, well, indignant. As supporting evidence of my theory, I cite 'Gorgeous' George Galloway. He has a closer cropped, toothbrush-style moustache, but he also looks indignant, almost by default.

Truth be told, I would grow a moustache if I could, be damned the grey hairs!

Anyhoo, does anyone out there have a graphic of that shot that they can send me?


Is Michael Ignatieff 'triangulating'?

The concept of 'triangulation' was first popularised in the '90s by the administration of puffy sleaze-bag Bill Clinton. In practice, this meant that he would alter his ideas on legislation depending on how the political wind was blowing. Triangulation is defined, kindly, in Wikipedia as:

The act of a candidate presenting his or her ideology as being "above" and "between" the left and right sides of the political spectrum.

Now Iggy seems to be following a similar path to power. A couple of months ago, he mentioned in a press interview that he wasn't losing sleep about Israeli actions in Lebanon. The result: lots of criticism from the Quebec and Youth wings of the Liberal party.

Suddenly, this week, in a french-language interview, Iggy is singing a different tune: he described certain Israeli actions in Lebanon as "war crimes", which pissed off the 'Israel right or wrong' wing of the Liberal party to the extent that his campaign manager resigned.

Beyond the pathetic squabbling of the Liberals, this latest statement implies, to me, that he wouldn't lose any sleep as Prime Minister when informed about any future war crimes.

This sort of whatever! attitude may be ok for you and me, since we as everyday Canadians (ie. not Jewish, Muslim, Lebanese, Israeli, or evangelical Christian) probably didn't lose much sleep over it either.

But then you or I have no driving need to lead this country.

Perhaps, due to his total lack of experience in government, Iggy can be excused for his apparent ability to piss off everyone concerned regarding an important international issue. But who can excuse his staff? By all accounts, he has the majority of the Liberal 'brain-trust' behind him whole-heartedly.

Good luck at the convention, Iggy, you deep-thinker you.


Heck of a job, Brownie!

The sooner toffee-nosed war criminal Tony Blair ignominiously abandons his office and steps into the pages of history, the sooner I can redirect my spite to where it belongs: Canadian politics.

To that end, I encourage all the theists out there to drop to their knees, wince sharply, then set about pleading with their deity or deities to put Tony Blair out of his misery: I don't care if the event is his resignation, his passing away from natural causes, or a tomahawk to the skull. Just make it happen.

Brownie might not be much, but at least he isn't Tony 'Toadie' Blair.

If you have the strength to witness something fairly gruesome, choose to experience this 2005 ad starring Tony and Gordon (I wonder if Canadian political ads seem as cheesy to foreigners as this seems to me):


Russell Brand: wanker?

I was recently perusing the football section of of the Guardian Online when I came upon a fairly amusing opinion column by a fellow named Russell Brand. A quote:

At half-time I made the mistake of using the lavatory in the Dr Martens stand unaccompanied. Further autographs and photographs ensued. This caught the attention of a group of what I can only describe as lads. Or possibly yobs. As they queued to buy drinks, I became the focus of their good-natured chants beginning with: "Who the fucking hell are you?" Moving on to: "Brandy is a wanker." Followed by a burst of: "Sex case, sex case, 'ang 'im, 'ang 'im, 'ang 'im." Borrowed from the film McVicar. High jinks, yes, but unnerving none the less. And then: "Where were you when we were shit?"

Well frankly, I internally remarked, "we were shit in the first half, I was in my seat watching us being shit." But of course they meant where were you in previous, less successful seasons. To which I would like to rather belatedly respond. I was here but you didn't recognise me because I didn't have a famous hair-do. Obviously I didn't have the confidence to articulate that at the time because I was too busy maintaining control of both my frontal and rear sphincters. The tone of these taunts was essentially garrulous, ribald tormenting as opposed to an aggressive onslaught. Blessedly I was given a chance to redeem myself.


Many ran to congratulate and hug me. I was accepted. One, to show his acceptance (I don't know what manner of ritual this is), tipped some beer on my head. I've never felt more loved. Then, before I reached the lavatory, Zamora equalised, chaos erupted and I was swept off my feet. Embraced. More beer sloshed about on to my, retrospectively, ill-advised footwear - the flip-flop...

I have always been interested in the phenomenon of people that are celebrities in Britain, but not North America, so I did a search for Russell Brand on google.co.uk (I had no choice in this, because recently, at some step in a google free-app 'wizard', I indicated I preferred UK spelling rather than US spelling, which means I now bounce to google.co.uk, rather than google.ca regardless of my IP address) and it turns out Russell Brand is quite a celebrity as a comedian in the UK.

Being an enterprising sort (at least when it comes to searches, as opposed to actually doing anything physical) I found that Russell is the MC of Big Brother's Big Mouth, something that runs daily with Big Brother UK. I searched for "Big Brother's Big Mouth" on youtube.com and got more than I had expected: Russell Brand isn't the intellectual comic I had expected to see. He is a lisping, flaming, unfunny cunt, as Bob Geldof would say.

I must presume that he hides the sly humour exposed in his column because the lads prefer his pensées celebrating his 'ball bags'.

Sad. But I still love his way with words: "To which I would like to rather belatedly respond...".

That, my friends, is what is known as 'well-spoken'.


My Canada doesn't include Alberta

Well, it was a long time coming, but finally King Ralph has abdicated his throne. Come to think of it, wasn't "King Ralph" a feature film, with John Goodman in the leading role?

In celebration of Ralph's many years of stout service to the good citizens of Alberta, please entertain this proposal: that Alberta separate from Canada.

Regard this proposal objectively: isn't the rest of Canada only holding Alberta back?

Think about it from the Albertan perspective: no more GST, equilisation payments, or the need to co-label everything in french. Plus, without the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they can make damn sure no Sikh will try wearing his turban in a Legion Hall again.

At the same time, think of the benefits to the rest of us: no more having to endure lectures on fiscal propriety from a province awash in oil revenue; a drastically lowered Canadian dollar that would stop the loss of manufacturing jobs in Ontario and Quebec; not having to hear GOD repeatedly mentioned by the Prime Minister in his speeches.

Albertans like to talk big, "We gonna separate if we can't decide fer everyone what's right 'n' wrong, y'all", but I don't think they have the huevos for it. I wish they did!


Is it just me, or is the Globe & Mail trying a little too hard to push pro-occupation propaganda?

Articles from today's print edition include:

"The Afghan mission is not a failure" by boring, boring windbag Lewis MacKenzie

"The Afghan mission is not a failure" by only slightly less boring windbag Afghan ambassador Omar Samad

Nota Bene: The Toronto Star has a similar setup of pro/con columns in their editorial section, just like the G&M's. The difference with this G&M innovation is that it is a pro/pro discussion. Everyone wins! The G&M op-ed page debate: "Lewis, the Canadians are doing hard work." "Omar, I know it. Let freedom ring!"

"Love the soldiers? Love the soldiering" by cop-meat, hockeyplayer-meat, now soldier-meat lover Christine 'dry doe' Blatchford

"Canada's valuable role in Afghanistan's fight" by a nameless editorial writer, presumably whoring White House stooge Marcus Gee

And these 4 articles were all on the same 2 page spread!

When the G&M amasses this level of mental firepower on one subject in one edition, you know something big is going on. The only power player missing was Margaret Wente! (Maybe she was too busy pulling yet another hapless citizen out of a ditch with her SUV. Zing!)

To quote Diane from Cheers: "Methinks thou doth protest too much".

Well, "methinks they doth protest too much". They know the Canadian public is increasing turning against our involvement in the occupation of Afganistan, so the shadowy forces that inexplicably favour foreign interventions are growing increasingly desperate.

We can expect more displays of this sort.


Kerala sticks it to the man,  part deux

Those CPI(M) swine in the Kerala state government are once again bolstering their Nazi bona fides, this time by pulling a "krystal nacht"-type manoeuver on Microsoft, that defender of the downtrodden.

From the New York Times (registration required):

In a new attack on multinational corporations, the Communist government in India’s southern state of Kerala is campaigning to eliminate Microsoft from use in public institutions, just weeks after it imposed a ban on Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Microsoft was not being banned, he said, but the government was actively encouraging Kerala’s 12,500 schools to switch to the Linux operating system, available around the world free of charge.

P.S. Want to see another sexy photo of Bill Gates? I know I sure do, and I've got what you need! From an artistic perspective, please note that in this shot the sexy binder and foreground monitor props have been replaced by a fanned pile of 1.44 floppies, allowing Bill more space to splay himself comfortably across his desk.


Anyone but Michael Ignatieff

I can't believe this guy is the presumptive front-runner in the Liberal leadership race. But then again, Liberals are such a bunch of power-hungry sluts that they would elect Ben Mulroney as leader if they thought it would get them a majority.

Ignatieff's political views on important international issues of the day closely resemble those of the Great Satan's present administration: pro-Iraq invasion, pro-Afghanistan occupation, and a believer in the moral rightness of torture, at least as long as the torturers are in the employ (officially or otherwise) of the Great Satan.

Worse still
, not only is he a war crime enabler, he is dreadfully boring, at least while speaking publically. I saw him on "Question Period" last spring and he was horrible.

To call his performance 'wooden' would be unfair to wood because at least wood has a bit of 'give'. If you can imagine a shorter, swarthier Lurch from the Munsters giving a speech, but with less emotion and his torso tilted to leeward at about 15 degrees, then you can imagine what Ignatieff was like.

But enough! The anti-Michael Ignatieff movement continues to build in preparation for this fall's Liberal Leadership convention. Lots of ammo for rewarding water-cooler chit-chat can be found at StopIggy.com.

An amuse-gueule from StopIggy:

Iggy spends a lot of time in ‘The Lesser Evil” describing how various forms of torture are not really torture at all, including, “forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress.” This is all an unpleasant but necessary part of “the war on terror” for Iggy, and he goes on at great length about concepts such as “torture warrants” that would allow U.S. agents to legally torture suspected terrorists. In another article, “Evil Under Interrogation: Is Torture Ever Permissible?” Iggy expands his list of permissible torture to include “permanent light or permanent darkness, disorienting noise and isolation.” For Iggy, what international law calls “torture” becomes “permissible forms of duress”.


Kerala sticks it to the man

The government of the Indian state of Kerala has taken a historic step in the globalisation battle (ie. the rights of local communites versus the rapacious money-lust of international corporations).

Not only have they banned Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi Co. from operating bottling plants in Kerala, they have taken it one step further and banned even the SALE of Coke and Pepsi products in their state.

From Counterpunch:

The Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada has remained shut down since March 2004 because of community opposition. Government and independent studies have confirmed the presence of toxic waste around Coca-Cola's bottling plants across India. "We will take steps to close down the Pepsi factory in Puddussery village in Palakkad district of Kerala," the chief minister added.

Last week, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a leading public interest research and advocacy group in India, released a study that found a "cocktail of between three to five different pesticides in all samples" of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products they tested in India. On an average, the CSE study said, the pesticide residues were 24 times higher than European Union (EU) standards and those proposed by the Bureau of India Standards (BIS), the government body responsible for standardization and quality control.


Efforts are underway in India to develop regulations that will govern safety standards for soft drinks to ensure consumer safety. The Centre for Science and Environment has accused the Coca-Cola company and Pepsico, as well as "powerful interests in the government", of blocking the adoption of the standards.

"The government of India must also ensure that there are laws that protect our groundwater, and that regulations are in place to put an end to the kinds of rampant pollution that we have seen with the Coca-Cola company," said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigning organization.

The Supreme Court of India has also ordered Coca-Cola and Pepsico to reveal the ingredients in their products in six weeks, or face a potential national ban.

On a side note, one interesting statistic I read (that I have no immediate link for) is that it takes 4 litres of good, potable water to produce 1 litre of Coca-Cola.


Hot Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

This weekend, while reading Rum: the Epic Story of the Drink that Conquered the World, I came across a very interesting
sounding recipe for Hot Buttered Rum:

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
.5 cup sifted fruit sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
boiling water

In a small mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, spices. Beat in ice cream. Put in container, seal, and freeze.

To serve, spoon about .33 of a cup into a mug, add a jigger of rum, and .5 cup of boiling water.

Why present this recipe to the public? Because I care.


Stephen Harper isn't so smart, after all.

All he had to do was show up at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, shake a few hands, voice a few platitudes, then sit back and enjoy his improved polls in urban ridings. But no, his angle seems to be a Bushesque "I stand by my principles" 'thing'. And since his 'thing' doesn't seem to include reaching out to the gay or ethnic communites, he isn't going.

I was terrified that he would, in a last minute publicity stunt similar to his Cyprus airlift photo op. But he couldn't make himself do it, even though his presence would reassure nervous Ontario and Québec voters that he is not the mouth-breathing, bible-thumping neanderthal that many continue to suspect he is.

From the Globe and Mail:

Forty million people worldwide are living with HIV-AIDS. The disease is crippling sub-Saharan Africa, and concern is emerging about epidemics in Russia, India and China. In Canada, one-third of all new HIV infections occur in aboriginal populations. Thousands of conference delegates are discussing profound issues of access to treatment. They rightly expected Mr. Harper, as political leader of the host country -- one of tremendous wealth and prestige -- to likewise participate or, at the very least, to welcome and wish them well.

Canadians are engaged in all the struggles of the world around them, not just the military ones. By playing against type, Mr. Harper could have lit up the room. Instead, he is being roundly roasted. "I think part of the problem is that he's ignorant about the issue," said Laurie Edmiston of the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. "Mr. Harper, you have made a mistake that puts you on the wrong side of history," said Mark Wainberg, conference co-chair and director of the McGill University AIDS Centre. "It's a lost opportunity to tell the world how Canada feels about this pandemic," said Stephen Lewis, United Nations special envoy for HIV-AIDS in Africa.

Where has Ian McShane been all my life?

He is 65 years old and yet I had never heard of him before Deadwood! Impossible, says I to myself, since I am well nigh omniscient when it comes to the particulars of popular culture.

He is the standout star of Deadwood, my new favourite TV series (thanks to the twin miracles of high speed internet and peer-to-peer file sharing), and apparently he has had a long and successful career in tv and motion pictures.

Consulting the NY Times entertainment database reveals these credits, and incredibly enough I have hardly seen any of them. Of the ones I have, I was too young to notice and he probably had only a couple of lines:

2006 Scoop Actor: Joe Strombel
2004 Nine Lives Actor: Larry
2003 Agent Cody Banks Actor: Brinkman
2003 Terror in Moscow Actor: Narrator
2002 Bollywood Queen Actor: Frank
2001 D.R.E.A.M. Team Actor
2000 Sexy Beast Actor: Teddy Bass
1995 Soul Survivors Actor
1992 Con Man Actor
1990 Columbo: Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo Actor
1990 Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception Actor: Andre Marchand
1990 Turgenev's Month in the Country Actor
1989 Blood Sport Actor
1989 In the Frame Actor
1989 War & Remembrance: The Final Chapter Actor
1989 Twice Shy Actor
1988 War & Remembrance Actor
1988 The Great Escape II: The Untold Story Actor
1987 High Tide Actor
1987 Grand Larceny Actor: Flanagan
1986 Rocket to the Moon Actor: Willy Wax
1986 The Murders in the Rue Morgue Actor
1985 Braker Actor: Alan Roswell
1985 Evergreen Actor: Paul Lerner
1985 Too Scared to Scream Actor: Hardwick
1984 Torchlight Actor: Sidney
1984 Ordeal by Innocence Actor: Philip Durrant
1983 Bare Essence: The Final Chapter Actor
1983 Grace Kelly Actor: Prince Rainier of Monaco
1983 Exposed Actor: Greg Miller
1982 The Letter Actor
1982 Marco Polo Actor: Ali Ben Yussouf
1980 Cheaper to Keep Her Actor: Dr. Alfred Sunshine
1979 The Great Riviera Bank Robbery Actor: The Brain
1979 Yesterday's Hero Actor: Rod Turner
1978 Harold Robbins' The Pirate Actor: Rashid
1977 Code Name: Diamond Head Actor
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Actor: Judas
1977 The 5th Musketeer Actor: Fourquet
1975 Freelance Actor
1974 Journey into Fear Actor: Banat
1974 Ransom Actor: Petrie
1973 The Last of Sheila Actor: Anthony
1972 Sitting Target Actor: Birdy Williams
1972 The Left Hand of Gemini Actor
1971 Villain Actor: Wolfe Lissner
1971 The Devil's Widow Actor: Tom Lynn
1970 Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You Actor: Fred
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Actor: Charlie
1969 Battle of Britain Actor: Sgt. Pilot Andy
1966 The Pleasure Girls Actor: Keith Dexter
1966 Gypsy Girl Actor: Relbin
1964 The Young and the Willing Actor
1962 Young and Willing Actor: Harry Brown

I recognise some titles, "Agent Cody Banks", "Sexy Beast", "Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You", "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium", "Battle of Britain", but it is the only last 3 mentioned that I have actually seen. And I don't remember him.

One of my colleagues said that he was "Lovejoy" in a British TV series, so the list above might well be incomplete.

I will look into it.


Are Canadian troops using depleted uranium munitions?

Because, if so, that would suck. I have a hard time understanding the benefits of using ammunition that not only pollutes the environment for, what, a half life of 5000 years or something, as well as poisoning the soldiers firing it, not to mention the surrounding populations that will suffer the resultant genetic defects (essentially) forever?

What is the benefit of DU munitions? Longer range? Greater penetration? Even if true, why would they use it? A fleeing teenager in his or her pajamas will be killed or maimed just as soundly by a good, old-fashioned chunk of lead.

This flippant use of environmentally hazardous materials reminds me all too much of the Great Satan's military/industrial decision to spray DDT (Agent Orange) over huge swathes of Vietnam, as well as bordering countries, in the whimsical expectation that denuding Vietnam's forests of their leaves would allow the Great Satan's aircraft the visibility necessary to ensure that the dominoes will stop falling.

Anyhoo, there is no point in "jumping the gun", so to speak, until I find out whether Canada is using them or not (I doubt it would be proudly broadcasted, if true). If there is no easily available answer on line, maybe I can lobby one of the local NDPers to ask about this during question period in the next parliamentary session.

I'm looking into it.


Interested in knowing what is going  on in Lebanon?

Really going on, militarily at least, minus all the political spin and associated bullshit? I recommend the War Nerd's most recent column- A Hezbollah Upon All of Thee!

The War Nerd is a very opinionated and annoying asshole. Luckily for us, he also has an interesting take on global conflicts, as well as a sense of humour (sort of).

From the article linked to above:

Hezbollah has great soldiers. That's one reason I can't help liking them. They're some of the most underrated soldiers on earth facing what I consider the most overrated military force on earth, the IDF. The Israelis have been coasting on their reputation for a long time, but way back in Gulf War I it was clear they made their record like a Don King fighter, padding their Win column against a bunch of bums. When I saw those pitiful Arab "soldiers" crawling toward US camera crews on their hands and knees to surrender, the first thing that went through my head was, "Whoa, so that's the kind of opponent the Israelis have been showboating against? Well Hell, my high school marching band could've beaten those Arab chickenshits!"

I'm not alone in that conclusion either. One of the top US commanders in GW I called the IDF "a bunch of arrogant pricks who wouldn't last ten minutes on a European battlefield." Well, that bit about a "European battlefield" is another sad case of our NATO obsession, but the point is, the IDF doesn't deserve its rep. It did once, back in 1948 and during Suez, when it was manned by double-tough survivors of the European Jews who were determined to show up the book-nerd stereotype by kicking ass from Haifa to Damascus. Those dudes were truly tough.

But we're talking demographics again, dude. Passage of time, plus difference in birthrate, means that by now the IDF has a thin, real thin, crust of Ashkenazi brains'n'brawn on top and a bunch of flabby mama's boys under them. See, those whitleather-tough survivors wasted their genes on the whole socialist kibbutz commune experiment, had a kid or two, or none. Their kids are old now. Meanwhile, Israel admitted every loser from Russia or Ukraine or Yemen who could claim a grandpa who liked carp or a grandma who carried the overprotective gene or whatever, anything that could make them look Jewish. Half of them were just lying to get out of their native Hellholes, and none of them were willing to die for Israel the way that kick-ass first generation was.


Yo blair!

"Yo, Blair!"

I'm loving this stuff! I wouldn't have been surprised if Bush had "jokingly" ordered Blair to get down on his knees and suck Bush's dick! Or "seriously" ordered Blair to bring him a Diet Coke!

The best part of the Open Mic Incident at the recent G8 summit has to be the total humilation of toffee-nosed war criminal Tony Blair. (And no, in case you were wondering, the photo above was not photoshopped. Although it looks kind of fake, Bush apparently makes those sorts of facial expressions in real time.)

From the Observer:

There's no question which exchange is most enjoyable for those with contempt for the Prime Minister. It is the moment that makes Mr Blair look like the poodle of popular caricature. Worse, he comes over as a poodle who can't even beg his master to toss him a dog biscuit. It is the same bit of the encounter that has caused the most wincing among the Prime Minister's friends.

When Tony Blair offers himself as a Middle East peace envoy, he is casually rebuffed by the American President between bites on a bread roll. Told by Bush that 'Condi is going', the normally fluent Blair is reduced to inarticulate jabbering. 'Well, it's only if, I mean, you know, if she's got a... or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out, she's got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.' Yeah, just talk.

The transcript of the entire recorded conversation, courtesy of the TIMESONLINE:

Bush Yo, Blair. How are you doin’?

Blair I’m just . . .

Bush You’re leaving?

Blair No, no, no, not yet. On this trade thingy . . .(inaudible)

Bush Yeah, I told that to the man. Thanks for (inaudible) it’s awfully thoughtful of you.

Blair It’s a pleasure.

Bush I know you picked it out yourself.

Blair Absolutely (inaudible).

Bush What about Kofi? (inaudible) His attitude to ceasefire and everything else . . . happens.

Blair Yeah, no I think the (inaudible) is really difficult. We can’t stop this unless you get this international business agreed.

Bush Yeah.

Blair I don’t know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.

Bush I think Condi is going to go pretty soon.

Blair But that’s, that’s, that’s all that matters. But if you . . . you see it will take some time to get that together.

Bush Yeah, yeah.

Blair But at least it gives people . . .

Bush It’s a process, I agree. I told her your offer to . . .

Blair Well, it’s only if, I mean, you know. If she’s got a, or if she needs the ground prepared, as it were. Because obviously if she goes out, she’s got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.

Bush You see, the thing is, what they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over. (inaudible)

Blair Syria.

Bush Why?

Blair Because I think this is all part of the same thing.

Bush Yeah.

Blair What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way . . .

Bush Yeah, yeah, he is sweet.

Blair He is honey. And that’s what the whole thing is about. It’s the same with Iraq.
Bush I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.

Blair Yeah.

Bush We are not blaming the Lebanese Government.

Blair Is this . . .? (he taps the microphone in front of him and the sound is cut.)


An idea for a Shootout replacement

Sudden death overtime, 1 new substitute in each period for 2 20-minute periods. After 2 periods, 2 players are allowed to be substituted in each period, including redcarded and previously replaced players, and the periods should continue INDEFINITELY.

Let's stop the madness! Perhaps this would avoid the spectacle of Portugal, one man up, playing defensively in extra time in hopes of a shootout.


Let the moronic horn-honking begin!

Well, it's the apex of the four-year World Cup cycle again, which brings the local yokels out in force to either a) drive around a couple of city blocks, honking their horns, screaming "WHOO! WHOO!" out of their windows, and doing their bit to ensure that everyone in Toronto has a better chance of developing lung cancer, or b) (if no vehicle is available) stand on the side of the road on either Dundas or College Street, scream "WHOO! WHOO!", wave flags and blow whistles at passing motorists.

For hours. And hours. There doesn't seem to be any boozing in the street (lots of police are around to actively prevent this) nor is there any indication of pot smoking (although police generally seem to tolerate this). So how are these people able to maintain this level of apparent euphoria for hours on end? They can't ALL be on mushrooms/extasy/whatever. It is a total mystery to me. The only thing I can think of is that they are, in fact, morons.

I shudder to think about what being a tourist at a real World Cup tournament is like, if this is any indication. However, at least those people are drunk. Which makes it a little more acceptable, especially since they aren't driving.

Sometimes people from other parts of town drive down to blow their own horns, wave their own flags (Korean, Croatian, English, Ecuadoran, Angolan, even Greek, perhaps in memory of their Euro 2004 victory), and generally contribute to the pollution.

The ironic thing, as usual with the World Cup, is that Holland were way better, and deserved the victory. If that ref wasn't in the pay of Portugal's sneaky José Manuel Durão Barroso, I'll eat my hat.

While Portugese seem like interesting enough people (and I originally moved to Toronto because I figured that if I am forced to live in anglophone Canada, at least it should be a place with lots of immigrants), I ultimately find this sort of celebrating a bit of a drain.

Especially since, once Portugal are eliminated, the Brazilian flag will join that of Portugal and the Açores on the roof of everyones' vehicles. That way, any Brazilian success is an excuse for more driving, and more WHOO WHOOing.

That is why I fervently hope for Brazil and Italy to lose. Their presence in World Cup competitions tends to be longer than that of Portugal.

Also, they are notorious 'floppers'.


David Beckham: Useless Tit

Luckily for David Beckham, we haven't been treated to the spectacle of him poncing around in a sarong for a while. Because, as far as I can tell, the guy is a waste of space on the pitch.

Joe Cole, another midfielder: now there's a guy that's "on the ball" (as my dad would say). He is like the English version of Branko Segota, a powerhouse of energy and aggression. Even freak o' nature Peter Crouch (I intend a separate posting on the subject of Crouchinho) is at least making some sort of effort.

This is the first World Cup where, thanks to the twin miracles of highspeed internet connections and person-to-person filesharing, I have been able to actually watch all the games I want. Which in turn means I can watch the England games over and over, if I want, when I want. And I do!

Perhaps the source of Beckham's failure lies in the fact that he is the squad's captain, and is over-sensitive to the pressure of being the focus of English hopes. Or maybe, like Michael Owen, he is an over-rated putz that should be dropped sooner, rather than later, despite how many endorsement contracts he has listed on his c.v.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that David Beckham is a useless tit in all fields of human endeavour. To quote an English guy I met while vacationing in Thailand a few years ago (shoutout to Ben!):

Besides David Beckham the Sportsman, there is David Beckham the Cultural Icon, David Beckham the Politician, and especially David Beckham the Thinker.

So David has got that going for him, which is nice.

Addendum: Go Ghana!


The Great Satan

I was recently reminded by someone, in meat time, that I habitually refer to the US as "the Great Satan" when I am speaking. For example, "I was last in the Great Satan for Teamsite training, spring 2005 I think".

I acknowledge the hypocrisy of using "the US" in this continuing journal, and will henceforth refer to "the US" as "the Great Satan".

Gosh, when you type it out, 'Satan' is a weird looking word.


I fail to understand how anyone can take these clowns seriously

From this morning's Guardian:

The deputy secretary-general of the United Nations was last night accused of making "a very, very grave mistake" after calling the Bush administration hypocrites who were feeding a right-wing anti-UN frenzy in middle America.

Washington's ambassador to the UN responded with undisguised fury to a speech by Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy secretary-general, in which he accused Washington of using the international body "almost by stealth as a diplomatic tool" while failing to defend it at home.

What I find really funny is wondering just what "Washington's ambassador to the UN" (John Bolton, pictured above) plans to do, bleed on him or something?


Is Marcus Gee a paid White House Stooge?

Remember when the U.S. administration announced a little less than a year ago (right around when Marcus became the Globe and Mail editorial writer) that they were going to start planting pro-USA articles in foreign media?

I didn't pay attention (therefore I have no immediate link for this). Why should I care overmuch if the US is attempting to upgrade their image in Cairo, or Jakarta, or wherever, through the sneaky payoff of foreign opinion makers?

I guess that acknowledging, and modifying (sp?), the injustice at the heart of US foreign policy would be too much. Instead, they are still beating the dead horse about how the US is a "light unto the world". (Maybe a "gaslight unto the world", considering how much gas issues through their collective blowholes.)

Anyhoo, a posting at What's Left got me thinking. In part:

According to the July 31st issue of Marcus's own newspaper,

"The office, which has been operating unofficially for months, will work with foreign journalists and broadcasters to create positive images of the US that do not appear to be propaganda." The office, the newspaper goes on to explain, reports directly to the White House.

Propaganda that does not appear to be propaganda, prepared by foreign journalists working with a US agency reporting directly to the President? Hmmm.

This is only a sidebar to the main thrust of the article, which is certainly worth a read.

Previously I have complained about Marcus Gee. This conspiracy theory confirms what I have always felt: Marcus Gee is the journalistic equivalent of Tom Jacobek.

And now that I think about it, I would be interested to know how well Tom and Marcus got along...

[Every day, I try to praise Wotan for the internet]
A cry from the heart!

Can someone supply me with the shot of Paul Martin (ex-Head Custodian of Canada) that was printed sometime, approx. 2 years ago on the front page of the Globe and Mail in regards to an international conference (maybe the OAS?) that showed him (apparently) giggling with glee, arms raised akimbo, as the bushman leans over and condescends to address him.

I know that shot is still out there, and I want it!


Gorgeous George is at it again!

My old buddy is at it again: Respect MP George Galloway, the UK's leading rabble-rouser (but in a good way), continues his public campaign of harassing toffee-nosed war criminal Tony Blair. From wikipedia:

In May 2006 there was controversy about remarks he made in an interview conducted by Piers Morgan that was published in the May 2006 UK edition of GQ magazine. When asked "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?" He is reported to have replied "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

Galloway's prepared response?

“...What I did make abundantly clear to Piers Morgan in the GQ interview is that I would like to see Tony Blair in front of a war crimes tribunal for sending this country to war illegally and for the appalling human consequences which resulted. That’s what I will continue to press for...”

I am just glad someone in the public eye finally said it. And no surprise it was George!


Assholes of the world, unite!

A turbulent week in Canadian politics was capped off by a speech to parliament by noted racist Australian PM John Howard.

The other highlights?

-A chick got killed while preforming her duty as an FOO (forward observation officer). This is an extremely dangerous job so why the breast beating? Should local insurgents have given her some slack or whatever because she is female?

-Harper demanded a snap vote on extending Canada's involvement in keeping Afghanistan safe for US oil interests, and barely won, 149-145.

-Harper's choice for the new Public Appointments Commission chariman was voted down by the Government Operations Committee. Apparently not understanding that this sort of thing will happen when one is running a minority government, Harper in a fit of pique has decided to disband the Public Appointments Commission. It seems I was wrong. Even if you are a minority government, you can still fuck up Canada plenty!

BTW, let us all pray to Allah, or what ever figurative deity(s) you pretend to worship, that Christine Blatchford catches a stray one in Afghanistan. Also, inshallah, maybe Leah McLaren and Margret Wente might decide to sample the Afghani lifestyle for a week or two.


"Ball cupping"- socially acceptable term?

I first heard it used by Rob Cordry on the "Daily Show" about a month ago, in the context of "If you question the illegal wire-tapping, you are CUPPING OSAMA'S BALLS!"

Since then, on several occasions, I have tried to use it in a corporate context as a substitute for "brown-nosing", an expression which I feel is no longer politically correct, especially considering how many of my colleagues have origins in the Indian subcontinent. An example of the new zeitgeist:
"Wow, Nejindra, you sure were cupping Peter's balls in that meeting this morning!"

Every time I try it out, however, I receive looks of consternation and/or disapproval. For this expression to be used on the "Daily Show", it would have had to be cleared by Comedy Central's legal department. Does ball-cupping really seem like such a bad thing? Such a crime against humanity?

No, I say.


Ba-ZING!! Bush gets publicly bitch-slapped!

Face to face. I found it a little embarassing to watch, actually, but that is probably because I am a Canadian and we are generally uncomfortable with face to face confrontations.

Stephen Colbert headlined the Annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. In the course of doing so, he got to zing Bush to his face-- it is something to see!

Broken into 3 parts, links originally courtesy of A-lo:
--1-- --2-- --3--


I worry for iPods, and the iPeople that inhabit them.

It isn't like this is a big innovation, or anything. MP3 players have been around for a long time. When I ask iPeople about what is it that makes the iPod so special, the only thing they can ultimately come up with is the distinctive white ear-nubbins.

These 'ear-nubbins' (my own word, I am disinclined to expend the energy and time necessary to search the weeb for what they are officially called) are the kind of personal sound system that inserts directly in the ear. The result? Total blacking out of any real world aural awareness!

In the heavy traffic of downtown Toronto (well, heavy for Canada, anyway), I have seen people wearing ear-nubbins walking, on bikes, or worst of all, driving cars. (That way, they can't hear my screams!).

People that wear ear-nubbins in public in a large city, unless they are in a park or something, deserve mention in the Darwin Awards when they are inevitably killed in some senseless accident that could have been avoided if they were a little more defensively minded.


There. I have said it.


What is it with Australians?

Is it just me, or are they way, WAY too happy? I was working as a breakfast cook at a hotel in Lake Louise, AB in the mid-90s, where a significant proportion of the staff were Australian. While the Canadians on the morning shift (6h00-14h30) were uniformly glum (and rightly so), the Australians were so uniformly cheery that I often had to control the urge to break a chair over their collective heads.

When they gathered as a group for social events, they reminded me of nothing so much as a pack of happy, hooting, rambunctious monkeys.

True, there was that one Australian dude a dozen or so years ago that went psycho and gunned down a bunch of his countrymen, but I consider him the exception that proves the rule.

They still seem like a group of happy monkeys.

Monkeys, I say!


Thanks to A-lo from Mäko Media for the new, somewhat macabre header image. As much as I like it, I am still finding it disturbing to confront first thing in the morning, when I am still "oot a' the pipes".

General Smedley Butler.
One of the Good Ones.

"WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives."

-Maj.-Gen. Smedley Butler, War is a Racket

That Smedley Butler actually ever even existed gives me some hope -- maybe all the militarists aren't assholes, after all.

Butler was "the most decorated Marine in U.S. history", yet he wrote War Is A Racket, amongst other things.

A choice quote, written in an article for Common Sense magazine:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested."


Hey! Get your tongue out of there, fatso!

Will the humiliations never cease? First Canada sends our own troops as sepoys to Afganistan to help pacify the locals in advance of a new oil pipeline, then Stephen Harper starts quoting Bush and mentions Allah in his throne speech. (Whoops! Typo: it wasn't Allah, it was Jesus, or something).

Check out Canadian Ally, owned and operated by the government of Canada.

Apparently, "Canadian Ally" was put together as a reminder to our southern neighbors that we Canadians are their biggest ball-cuppers. So, at least until the new passport law comes into effect, we are desperately encouraging "Americans" to come up to Canada: debase our frenchie women at strip joints, drive poorly, and feel free to over-fish/hunt our natural resources. (How I feel? don't let the door hit your bums on the way out!)

Money talks, Liberal or Conservative. It is the stronger than normal obsequiousness that I find most disturbing.

This Afganistan thing, championed by the continued slavering, blathering bullshit of Marcus Gee on the editorial page of the Globe and Mail , along with "embedded" journalists like Christie Blatchford, seems like obvious propaganda. The majority of Canadians think we shouldn't be in Afganistan, but according to the Globe and Mail editorial page, this is because the Canadian public hasn't been "educated" on the topic enough. (BTW, I wonder which poor enlisted fucker has to "take a hit for the team" to keep 'Blatch' in line?).

We all know it is bullshit, except for iron-Maggie Wente. Her 'latte-land friends' are "in like with Stephen Harper", as opposed to "in love", you see.

Has the Globe been infiltrated from outer space??!? Seriously...


Another view of the LOST Hatch-map

(DON'T click on the image! I am still figuring out how to work with the blogger.com CSS, and all it does now is reproduce itself in a new window.)

This one has an overlay of the scrawled comments on the door, including a handy latin translation key.

If I had the time (ie. I was unemployed, or "at leisure", as they say) I would take the time to compare this overlay with the other versions of the map out there, just to make sure I wasn't helping to distribute disinformation.

For, now, however, I will have to accept this map as it is presented.


All of a sudden, I am interested in U.S. immigration policy!

I have been reading (during working hours, of course) a bunch of articles about the *huge* rally in Los Angeles last weekend. This one "Immigration, African Americans, and Race Discourse" was especially interesting, in that it treats immigration questions from a perspective than I had previously never considered.

A quote from the link posted above:

The proof that European immigration was devastating to blacks is that as soon as immigration was cut off by the First World War, it triggered a massive migration of blacks to cities in the North and West, resulting in the most significant economic advance since the abolition of slavery. The relationship between immigration and race caught the attention of the New Republic, which in 1916 printed an editorial under the caption: "The Superfluous Negro." The editorial began as follows: "The average Pole or Italian arriving at Ellis Island does not realize that he is the deadly foe of the native Negro . . . It is a silent conflict on a gigantic scale.


Joke from SpongeBob SquarePants' standup routine

"What do you call a vampire whose car has broken down 3 miles from a blood bank?"

"A cab."

Right now, I can't decide whether this is really, really funny, or very, very lame... This is a show that seems to appeal to sentients aged 1.5 (human years-- my nephew) to 5.5 (dog years-- me).

It has a different vibe than "the Simpsons" (which incidentally I used to love in, oh say, 1992, 10 YEARS AGO), with less talking and more physical gags. The hilarious shoutouts to alert, reality-based adults are almost continual.

Why adults are amused by SpongeBob is no mystery to me. The thing I ponder is what would a toddler find entertaining about SpongeBob?

It is entirely possible that the things I find annoying (for example, the sudden enlarging of the eyes for the sickening 40s disney-style cutesy-poo effect) are the exact things this child likes about SpongeBob. So I guess I shouldn't complain...

6 Months in...

And this #*$& replacement hip is still giving me a fair amount of pain. I certainly don't feel like I have a "new lease on life", which is the typical sort of reaction I hear from people that have had hip replacements.

Also, if you look closely at the x-ray, it appears the plastic "cup" that is the receiving end of my hip replacement is attached to my pelvic bone with a 2 " wood screw.

PS. Where are my genetilia!?! They should at least have some sort of shadowy form, shouldn't they? The fat in my inner thighs seem to come through ok, so WTF?



They still hire lighthouse keepers!

As you can see here, there is still at least eighteen positions available for this great job, even today, in this time of relentless, relentless automation. Addendum: I must admit that I hadn't read the job posting all the way to the end, and the requirement "Must be prepared to travel by helicopter and/or boat" gives me pause. That doesn't sound like a *real* lighthouse-keeping job. Helicopters, fer Wotan's sake?

In my early teens I thought this would be a great job (and my family mercilessly mocked me about this) because:
a) you get paid to live in a remote location next to a large body of water, probably some place picturesque, with an evocative name like "Cape Farewell", "Thunder Bay", or "Desolation Island".
b) The background soundtrack to your life would include sounds like foghorns, seagulls, distant ships' bells and crashing surf, rather than internal combustion engines, car horns, streetcar metal and people bellowing swear-words in Portugese.
c) you only have to deal with other humans once in a while, rather than ALL DAY LONG. That way, encounters with other humans are things to be cherished, rather than avoided.

I will modify this posting as thoughts slowly percolate into my conscious mind...


capitalism abolished
Capitalism abolished!

Today I took part in yet another "peace march" in downtown Toronto. While I believe that these sorts of things are a waste of time, especially when the main point of reference is the Iraqi occupation (which Canada is not, thus far, involved in), I still went because it was a sunny, relatively warm day and I find that involving myself in these events relieves, to a certain extent, that feeling of bitterness and cynicism that sometimes comes upon me.

As I had predicted would happen, a couple of times during the march I got "misty", as the Fonz would say.

Anyhoo, good exercise, more than enough vitamin D absorbed via sunlight, a warm feeling that perhaps humans in general aren't scum.

Maybe there is some value to these events after all!

Looking south along University Avenue towards the U.S. Consulate. (Addendum: photo credit Marta, again.)

Counter-demonstrators. A couple of dudes standing around, one waving a U.S. flag, the other wearing a U.S. flag as a cape.

Marta fighting the power.

One of Marta's artistic shots.

Marching along Yonge Street.

Marching along Yonge Street.

Who knew the Pakistani flag was so attractive? I sure didn't.


Serbian Takeout

A Bosnian colleague of mine ordered in Serbian takeout for a meeting that was held during lunch today. If I was a little more "on the ball", as my dad used to say, I would have had my digicam with me and could have taken some snaps.

As it is, all I can say is that the Ćevapi (minced meat rolls- apparently a speciality of Sarajevo) was very tasty. (I had hoped that others would agree to exchange different small portions of the various menu items present, so that I could have a taste of everything, but I was very much disappointed.)

Some colleagues even had the gall to complain that they received smaller portions than others (figure it out, niggah! Barbequed shrimp is going to be smaller in quantity compared to "minced meat" when both entrees are the same price!), but luckily the consensus amongst the team was that this was a great break from the dreary routine of pizza.


The Globe and Mail sucks, ok?

It was the paper I read growing up. I always despised the Toronto Star for its wishy-washy human interest stories and its weekend-edition 4 inch thick load of advertising bullshit.

This weekend, however, I came full circle. I wish I lived in Quebec because at least the Montreal Gazette would be available. Now, I will be forced to relax with the Star on weekends.

Why? It is the straws that broke the camel's back.

First, starting six months ago or so, the editorials start getting really annoying. Not in a "they don't agree with what I believe" sense of annoying, I am used to that. They have gotten annoying in that the narrative 'tone' of the editorials has adopted some sort of weird, reproving, "only a schoolchild couldn't understand" condescending vibe. I am not sure which wanker is responsible, but I suspect Marcus Gee.

Second, they fired Heather Mallick.

Third, as a buttress for the inane meanderings of narcissistic Leah McLaren, it appears that they have hired REBECCA ECKLER for a weekly column. Holy shit! These two whinging self-involved cows on the same page! It is like cold fusion all over again.

At least they aren't totally similar-- while Rebecca studiously records her post-partum angst from calgary, Leah can share with us her childless angst from toronto, or, occasionally, her "farm". (She is apparently a farmer, too, didn't you know?)


Rule Britannia

Here is a video of a bunch of british squaddies assaulting some captured iraqi children.


Best of Indie Toronto

Go here and vote for the best of Indie Toronto. Voting open til Feb. 28, so be sure to go there and vote for Oyster Boy and Golden Turtle!


Vincent Gallo merchandise!

For all those fans of Buffalo 66. I haven't seen Brown Bunny, but I bet it is really good.

If you scroll down the page you will see that you can buy Vincent Gallo’s sperm for $1 million!

“Price includes all costs related to one attempt at an in-vitro fertilization.”

And I quote further:

“If the purchaser of the sperm chooses the option of natural insemination, there is an additional charge of $500,000. However, if after being presented detailed photographs of the purchaser, Mr. Gallo may be willing to waive the natural insemination fee and charge only for the sperm itself.”

Even more!

“Mr. Gallo is 5'11" and has blue eyes. There are no known genetic deformities in his ancestry (no cripples) and no history of congenital diseases. If you have seen The Brown Bunny, you know the potential size of the genitals if it's a boy. (8 inches if he's like his father.) I don't know exactly how a well hung father can enhance the physical makeup of a female baby, but it can't hurt... Mr. Gallo maintains the right to refuse sale of his sperm to those of extremely dark complexions. Though a fan of Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz and Lena Horne, Mr. Gallo does not want to be part of that type of integration.”

This site is a treasure trove of all things Gallo. I don't know enough about Vincent Gallo to know whether this is a huge piss-take or not.


Photo album: road rage in kensington market.


The Results from the 2006 general election, a screenshot of the flash application hosted by the Toronto Star.


Tonight is the big night!

And if the predictions on this site are right, then things are going to turn out exactly the way I was hoping: a Conservative minority government with the NDP holding the balance of power!

This will prevent the Conservatives from doing any real damage to the country and force the Liberals to dump that sycophantic piece of shit Paul Martin in favour of someone with a pulse.

As an added bonus, the Canadian public will be exposed to the edifying spectacle of the various newly elected Conservatives emerging from under their rocks into the full light of public exposure. Rick Mercer speculates about a possible Conservative cabinet.

Fun times ahead!