Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

29 June 2005

Finally--Equality


Gay and lesbian couples can now marry in Canada. In response, the state--sorry, the province of Alberta is considering doing away with its Marriage Act, which is the legal instrument by which the provincial (very provincial) government recognizes such unions.

Who knew? After all that railing by various groups about the threat to marriage posed by the recognition of same-sex couples, the worst threat to marriage, in Alberta anyway, is a Conservative MP!

Gotta go--I need to lay in a stock of towels and toaster ovens for this summer.







27 June 2005

Same Day, Only Later


New ruling from the US Supreme Court states that firms may be held liable for the criminal actions of their customers.

Of course, when it was the hugely powerful gun lobby in the dock, their opinion appears to have been somewhat different. . .

Clearly, the primarily Republican-appointed judges know which $ide their bread'$ buttered on.

According to the logic then, I could walk into the offices of the RIAA and start shooting, and no-one could blame the gun manufacturer. But if I bludgeoned to death a gun company exec with a disc sent to me by a software firm the software company could be liable?

Gimme a ₤µ€λin' break!

I've said it before: This isn't about artists being deprived of their earnings--it's about a loss of power and face on the part of the music companies. If it were only about the money, the hefty chunk of money we pay when we buy blank media (including flash drives and digital recorders) would have far and away covered the losses by now.

To the RIAA & cousins: Would you go talk to Mr. Harper? He needs cheering up, and you may be the only entity in Canada less popular than he is.







Pot Calls Kettle Black!


Portrait of a really stupid argument.

Mr. Harper--can I call you Stevie? I feel I know you so well. You can't run about recruiting help from the Bloc Quebecois in defeating the budget and then claim that gay marriage is "tainted" because it's "supported by seperatists".

Paul Martin, May 12 '05:
"If the government loses the vote next Thursday, I will seek the dissolution of this Parliament and Canadians will know that Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe have worked together to force an election less than one year after the last election."


Stevie Harper, June 27 '05:
"The truth is most federalist MPs oppose this. It's only a deal with the Bloc that's allowing it to pass."


More interestingly, one Conservative MP contrasted gay marriage with the 1960's civil rights campaign for blacks:
"Blacks in the United States," said [Ken] Epp, "never asked to be called white. They just wanted the same rights."

Epp then went on to say that women in Canada sought equal rights without demanding to be called men.

"And so I ask the question in this struggle for so-called equality for same-sex couple, why do they want to use the word that describes heterosexual marriage and has for millennia?"


True--but both blacks and women wanted the right to "vote", not the right to "exercise the right to do something almost just like voting". Gays want--to quote someone who recently shot his mouth off "the same rights" as heteros.

These are the enlightened souls who want to lead Canada in the 2010's?

Once again O Avid Fan, I tell you that the good name of the Conservative Party of Canada has been besmirched in these latter decades by the low calibre and intellect of the putzes who've hijacked it.

Harper's shot his bolt. Unless the Liberals really screw up in the next year or so, he'd be best off folding his tent and stealing away quietly so as not to further encumber his party.

Good ridd--I mean, so long Stevie.







25 June 2005

Where Nicole Kidman Seems to Have Gone to Die


Apparently Bewitched is a complete turkey, even though Nora Ephron had the writing job.

What is it with Hollywood? Are they really all out of stories? I mean, it had to happen some day but, like oil, I kind of supposed it might be around at least for my lifetime.

Yet it seems that all they do is trot out distorted, warmed-over TV programs. Which wouldn't be so bad if they could do a reasonable job:

The Fugitive
Solid 1960's TV with a simple premise: a man wrongly convicted of his wife's murder tries to clear his name by finding the guy who really did it.
Real life inspiration: Sam Shepard
Later gave rise to: This.
And unfortunately this.

The problem isn't the actors--T.L. Jones suits his role well, and Harrison Ford is just a consistently good actor (What Lies Beneath is a statistical blip). But the story goes out of its way to be complicated; all of a sudden it's not enough that Dr. Kimball's wife gets killed in a botched robbery or other crime. No--now it's all about massive drug company conspiracies and cover-ups. Why needlessly complicate a good story?

Sgt. Bilko
Real Life Inspiration: The real-life boys who fought the Big Deuce.
Later Gave Rise To: The best damn war film in western history.

Phil Silvers'hammy comedy was perfectly tuned to the post-WWII generation. He was a smarmy, scheming, beguiling small-time crook with a heart of gold. He had energy and style, and could make you love him while he stole the change out of your pocket.

And now? Look, I love Steve Martin. But he played Bilko as a lazy, totally incompetent playboy and the humour was muted (not to say stifled).

I was going to mention Mr. Ed's inspiration of every damn talking horse movie running. Likewise the fact that the other thing Hollywood most likes to do these days is redo it's own films--sort of like the World Snake only regurgitating itself. Rumours of a remake of "I Dream of Genie" abound.

Hell, my favourite series is a remake, and always has been, if you think about it. But that's different--it's Welsh.

Tonight I watched the kids' Disney film Escape to Witch Mountain and I thought it held up pretty well. I'd hate to see it dressed for a remake.

But all this ruminating about predigested movies has got me thinking: This series gave birth to not one, but two cartoons. With a "reality"-TV version of Gilligan's Island apparently enjoying some popularity among viewers (or at least not being turned off after they fall asleep)--can the (latest) movie be far behind?

So my question to you, O Avid Fan, is: Who would you cast and why? Myself, I see Bruce Willis as the Skipper
Samuel L. Jackson as the Professor
Lucy Liu as Ginger
Gillian Anderson as Mary-Anne
And we simply must have Jennifer Saunders (look here, too) in for Mrs. Howell.

And for the title role? Well you want someone respected, serious, a little goofy. We'd save money if he could do his own stunts. Hey! How about him!

Aw, who's gonna violate the spirit of the original to make a hokey movie of it anyway?

Aaagh! Too late.







19 June 2005

Wait! (To quote Jim Morrison) There's Been a Slaughter Here!


I'm blogging from abroad tonight. The friend whose home we're at is holding forth on her opinion that one of society's problems is that food is "just too darn easy".

The food which she (call her Kara) has been preparing with such effort is formerly live Atlantic lobster. Not precisely a pitting of the cunning huntress against some formidable foe. As she herself admits: "Lobsters are basically spiders".

These particular spiders have, thanks to the miracle of modern jet fuel, been plucked dewy-fresh from their watery homes, transported hypothermic and stunned across the country, and after an agonizing wait, plunged into boiling water.

I was more or less on board until they (the SO, the SO's Mum [hereinafter referred to as SOM] and Kara) named them (Blanche, Fred, and Gabby). I'm not a seafood fan, so am contenting myself with a steak, which I have named Lulubelle, in honour of its former owner, who died peacefully in her sleep and donated her body to gastrophysics.

As I write this, the three formerly living creatures have been reduced to forlorn bits of carapace and a fishy smell, along with the odd glob of melted butter. Kara is wearing a certain amount of arthropod (following her demonstration of the Acadian Blowjob), and slivers of lobster meat adorn the carpet, furniture, and walls.

One truly has to respect the struggle betwixt predator and prey which has taken place. I imagine the scene:

A dense and savage urban jungle. Focus in on a small but dangerous looking fishmonger's{what--they don't have fishmongers anymore? Okay--a small but dangerous boutique food shop(pe).}Enter Kara the Huntress.

Kara: Hi Andre. I've got three guests coming for dinner--do you have any lobster?

Andre: Behold. o mighty Huntress--the Lobsters of Death!

Kara: (Peering into tank) Oooh! They're so cute! I'll have that one, that one, and that one over there.

Andre: As always, they are no match for your animal instincts. I shall deliver them to you. $26.99 please.

After this gargantuan struggle, the Huntress retires to her 11th-floor lair to gloat over the kill and a martini. Guests arrive, bearing pot (no, no, the other sort) and the unfortunate creatures are boiled alive, disembowelled and devoured.

In comparison, my steak is nearly humane!

But seriously folks--I wanted to apologise. Much as I intensely dislike the man who currently warms the chair in the Oval Office, I have been less than civil in matters which should be discussed in a civilised debate, regardless of the manners or morals of one's opponents.

An apology then, to those of you who cannot share my eminently rational and reasonable views. Truly, I intend to persuade you of my correctness rather than yell at you as have the run-of-the-mill commentators.

Of Bikes and Biking
I just acquired another motorcycle. Indeference to my advanced years and theoretical maturity it's only a 70 cc. That is, slightly larger than GWB's . . . hang on--not congenial of me, sorry.

But it's a truly oddball bike. And in fact those were the approximate words used by one of the three or four experts I've spoken to so far: "Oooh--that's a rare bird!"

Translation: Anything you want for this machine, including light bulbs, is going to have to be imported from Japan, or possibly custom-made. We are talking DOLLAR$$$$$$.

But I think it'll run, once I clean out the tank and carbs, and find a battery for it, after I figure out what voltage the electrical system is . . .

Gotta go. Beer beckons. More beer, in fact, beckons.







18 June 2005

From Machiavelli



"A NEW prince will never disarm his subjects, but will rather arm them, at least in part. For thus they become his partisans, whereas without them he must depend on mercenaries.

But a prince who adds a new state to his old possessions should disarm its inhabitants, relying on the soldiers of his own ancient dominions. Some have fostered feuds among their new subjects in order to keep them weak, but such a policy rarely proves useful in the end. The prince who acquires a new state will gain more strength by winning over and trusting those who were at first opposed to him than by relying on those who were at first his friends."


Um. Sound like anyone we know?

I know I'm kind of harsh on the White House Occupant, but just look at the man!

In related news, Bill Frist turns out to be as ethical a doctor as Tom DeLay is a statesman. Frist, if you recall, diagnosed Terri Shiavo as having a chance of recovery, based on her alleged recognition of her parents, as helpfully shown in video tapes provided by said parents.

Terri Schiavo's autopsy has shown this week that she had been completely blind for approximately fifteen years--since the day of her injury. Her brain had shrunk from the normal size (in humans--politicians may be exempt) to approximately 480 cubic centimetres. Hold your hands out, cupped and side-by-side as though someone was going to pour sand into them. Now try to cup them to the sides of your head. That's how little she had to go on.

Will the revelation that Terri Schiavo never had a chance prompt some sort of apology from the opportunistic monkeys who clambered onto the bandwagon once they heard the whirr of TV cameras?

Don't hold your breath. You could enter a persistent vegetative state and have Bill Frist diagnose you by videotape.







16 June 2005

Interestingly Dirty Pool


The SO sent me an e-mail which encourages supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage to participate in a meaningless online referendum. From the looks of things, one might forgive supporters for feeling a bit outnumbered.

But wait a minute--what's that at the bottom of the page? In the faintest possible script, in a position where it's so unobtrusive as to be furtive?

"This site maintained by the Defend Marriage Project of United Families Canada"?

What on Earth can this mean? That this whole exercise in e-mocracy is a fake, a fraud, a sham?

Surely not. Would a reputable organisation of Pleistocene Primordial "Conservatives" try to conceal its fingerprints on a "referendum" as a means of influencing the debate?

Why! The very idea!

It's disgusting to think that most of these people object to gay marriage because they think God would have disapproved. Uh, guys? I think somewhere it also says that he doesn't go a bundle on lying . . . Or on bearing false witness?

How about suckering honest people? Is that an approved action if your cause is just?

Fortunately, o thou Picanthropi, it's not up to you. Histories written fifty years from now will talk of the inevitable social changes taking place even as you barricaded yourselves more firmly into your caves.

Stoke your fires well.







13 June 2005

Welcome to Your Week


Mike got off. The usual questions dangle and twist in the air. I'll leave that to bloggers who are more up on the whole celebrity-justice scene. However, let me comment that I'm beginning to think that it's nearly impossible to convict a celebrity, given Mike, Robert Blake, and O.J. as precedents.

The SO and I went off to see Revenge of the Sith. Uh, okay. Don't get me wrong, we were glad to see the conclusion of all that's gone before, but Mr. Lucas? Mr. Lucas? A couple of hints:

First: When you create three movies where a powerful story is helped along with the bare minimum of necessary special effects, don't expect the audience that loved that story to like the next three if they contain a mediocre tale overwhelmed by effects.

During the first ten minutes of Ep. III, I found myself totally unable to follow what was going on in any kind of detail. The space battle was stunning--literally, and I liked it. But on the individual level I felt left behind.

And: Unecessary cameos are a dead giveaway that your story isn't holding up. The appearance of Chewbacca in the final film was an unecessary . . . well you get the idea.

I could say more, but what's the point. This film just gives me the feeling that Lucas was running around tying up loose ends any old how. As the SO puts it:

There's music that's bigger than the sum of instruments and voices. Star Wars was like that for film. Somehow the product was bigger than a bunch of actors, a good story, and an emerging special-effects company. Darth Vader was a classic baddie without apology or excuse, and the second set of films just doesn't believably fill those big black boots.

This week I saw a woman running down the street in broad daylight, crying, cell phone pasted to her ear. You can't help but wonder what the story is there.

The American Administration, under the something-or-othership of Dubya, continues to betray its moral authority by sanctioning torture as long as it's used by nations the US isn't interested in slapping down for human rights reasons, and on people the Bush League isn't interested in claiming are persecuted. Like Canadians.

I don't get it. Doesn't he get it? Torture is wrong, like flying-planes-into-buildings wrong. Moreover, it's surprisingly un-useful.

It depresses me to see the symbol of light and the second bastion of democracy in the world turning into the Empire. The Sith. Etc. But take heart; he's a kidney-stone of a president and will, in the fulness of time, pass.

Is anyone reading this? Why don't I just insert absolutely anything?

While we're riffing on the US, look at this. Who is so concerned with public policy? Is it a stretch to imagine it's a kindly group of doctors?

You can tell by the prominent insertion of the words "grass-roots". Whenever this set of words turns up, it means either "rabid christian rightists" "concerned professionals" or "organized anarchists". "Our healthcare is under attack!" So what about the 20% of Americans without health insurance? Is their healthcare under attack?

I agree with the basic idea--America isn't known as the land of the lawsuit for nothing. Recent tobacco lawsuits, for example, seem silly to me. If you've started smoking since 1971, you knew what you were facing. Sigh--now if only I were better at paying attention to my own advice. I've picked the habit up again. It's a bit of a pattern: For a while, I coast along without smoking. Then for three to six weeks it's one-to-two per day. Following that I get up to my old habit--anywhere from seven to ten per day. Then I go on the patch.

You've caught me at the "patch" stage.

I apologise for the partisan and divisive nature of this posting, particularly the bits about America. It's just that like many Canadians, I find the metamorphosis the United States has undergone a bit frightening. The "good ol' U-S-of-A" of my childhood has gone. It was never really there, but it tried to be, as a whole--even when selling arms to its own enemies. And at least with Reagan one could see he really felt good about the place.

Bush feels good only when he's . . .

Am I too tired and out-of-sorts to be posting right now? Yeah. But it was kind of fun to rap with you at 4 AM.

Peace.







04 June 2005

Wow.


I just seem to be posting farther and farther apart, don't I.

What-all's happened since I last wrote you?

First, we had an election in my home province. The same old bastards got in (the ones who insisted that $1.8 billion in cuts to schools, hospitals and social programs was utterly necessary and are this year parcelling out[PDF file] a $2 bn dollar surplus), but they no longer have the 77-seat (out of 79) majority they did last time around.

I was hoping for a minority government and the election of a Green Party member or two. But our current voting system lends itself to strategic voting, and no-one wanted the clowns to own the Legislature as previously. So many potential Green voters chose the safer option of pooling their votes with New Democratic Party voters in order to put up a united block.

However, 58% of the voters (2% shy of the required majority) also voted for the single transferrable vote system. Which proves people can occasionally be smart in large numbers, though perhaps that's an exclusively Canadian phenomenon? Basically, STV ridings elect multiple members, rather than the one-riding-one-seat system currently in place. People choose a number of candidates from their riding, and rate 'em in order of preference.

Elsewhere, Karla Homolka is being released after serving twelve years. Clearly not enough, in light of what she did, but that's the deal that was made, back when they didn't have her former husband on video. Nonetheless, a campaign to have her freedom restricted upon release has apparently succeeded. The scary part is that by the conditions all regular parolees face on release, Homolka will have to end a multi-year relationship with a totally different murderer[Sorry--it's the T.O. Sun].

Maher Arar's inquiry grinds slowly towards what will never quite be justice. Justice, I think, might require that the people who (a) handed him over to the US and (b) allowed the US to ship him to Syria for outsourced torture be handed over to Syria and allowed to experience Canadian-American Justice for themselves.

Sorry--that comment wasn't very fair or balanced. Neither apparently is NPR. The Bush League has decided that they won't stop until all news coverage is as Fair as Fox, Balanced as Limbaugh, and as critical of the Administration as Crazy Annie.

[Note, though that Coulter was, for once, actually in posession of a partially-true nugget. The Royal Canadian Engineers sent a very few "advisers" to Viet Nam. I've met a couple. But Canada did not commit troops for combat. And Coulter's still irrelevant.]

In my own life: I've been learning to fence, courtesy of my sister who bought us both lessons as part of my birthday present. This is sibling rivalry at a new level. In a recent match between us, she kicked my butt 5-1. It was noted by other participants that our bout was much more ferocious than the others between classmates.

Otherwise, I've been working fifty-hour weeks at my regular job; Along with posting to my commercial blog, fencing lessons, and trying to reassemble my Nash before the end of July . . . I'm busy!

Tomorrow, I'm going to a motorcycle show 'n shine with Thirty-Something. I confess a degree of surprise that it's 30's scene. Hoping to get a few pix on the SO's new digital camera.



Here's one of the recent pix from said camera.






Anonymous Dude in Black and White Posted by Hello