Metroblog

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

31 July 2006

So Much For Giving 'Em a Break

I decided to stop posting on the Israeli war on Lebanon. I figured if I could be quiet for a day or two maybe they'd get their collective heads out of their collective asses and get it right.

So this morning I read about a two-day "cease-fire" unilaterally declared by Israel. Less than two minutes later my hopes were dashed as the headlines popped up to announce the resumption of the slaughter after less than twelve hours.

I guess for these IDF guys a day without civillian deaths is like a day without sunshine?

I've seen a lot of comments, and a bit on e-mail too, declaring that "this is war--civillians are going to get caught in the crossfire" or that "Hizbullah is hiding among the civillians"--with the inherent suggestion that smarter civvies would run away to safety elsewhere. Unfortunately the in-depth analysis is proving that in fact it's not crossifre: the Israeli Defence Force is in fact targeting civillians (via Ahmad, thanks).

There is no safety. Hizbullah remains, despite the out-right murder of over six hundred people. I wonder how the IDF pilots responsible for the bloodshed are feeling?

In a while I'll tell you where I was this weekend. But at the moment I have to write my Prime Minister (he's the smarmy-looking git made of plastic, wood, and wax whose picture disgraces the upper right [far, far right] of the page) to ask if he still considers the Israeli murders "measured and appropriate".







28 July 2006

Can I Get a Norwegian?

I love the Neocounter (below, right). It tells me where people are coming from to have a look at Metroblog. Unfortunately it's had an unavoidable side effect.

Mme Metro is also a fan, although she's had a few issues with it. And we find ourselves having conversations like this:

"Ooh! Ooh! I got one from [for example] China!"
"Wow--oh, hey. I got someone from Australia here!"

Which is very cool. But now ambition rears its ugly head. I want to collect a continent. Ideally I'd like to have one visitor from each nation in Africa.

But we have to do these things in steps and stages. So I'd like to start by collecting a region, in this case, Scandinavia. I've already got Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, so I need one Icelander and a Norwegian to complete the set.

It's sort of blog-risk, no?

Speaking of conflicts

... I know I wasn't going to blog on Israel and Lebanon for a bit. And I'm going to keep that promise.

But I thought I'd let the news do the talking.

Harper wants answers as to why the UN workers were put in harm's way by the UN.
He said he wants to find out why the UN post was attacked, but also why "it remained manned during what is now, more or less, a war."
Uh--Steve? Can I call you Steve? That's their £µ©λing JOB!

"More or less a war"?--What--this "measured and proportionate response" is a war? Glad to see you've been paying attention for the past two weeks, Steve.

Cynthia Hess-von Kruedener also wants answers, but to a slightly different question: why the £µ©λ did the Israelis shell the $#!7 out of what they knew to be a UN post, despite repeated desperate phone calls asking them not to?

Mrs. Hess-von-Kruedener believes her husband is still alive. I suspect that if he is he'd be better off turning for help to someone on the Lebanese side of the border. After all, they have nothing to hide ...

and after two weeks of Israeli bombing, nowhere to hide it.







27 July 2006

Peepshow

Calm down, calm down. Do I have to say it again? There are no nude pix of Paris Hilton here--I've never visited the Hilton in Paris. There are also no nude pictures of MILFs here (Men In Lifted Flats), nor teens spreading peanut butter on toast. Neve Campbell nude? Won't find it here. Okay?

25peeps.com is a web place where you post your photo on the page, and people choose it based purely on whether they find it interesting. Once they click on it, they are directed to your site. Or in my case, this blog.

Go on and try it (assuming the pic is up--it's not at the moment). Try to figure out which pic is me. Hint: I'm not one of the ones with cleavage.







Portrait of a Missed Synergy

I have promised not to blog about Israel and Lebanon. How about Israel and Al-Qaeda?

AQ (sorta like GQ but with no pretty women) says they will fight until "our religion prevails everywhere". And to this end they oppose the current Israeli attacks.

I have to ask why. Aren't Al-Qaeda missing a wonderful opportunity to get onside with Israel here? Al-Qaeda's religion isn't Islam--it's violence. They don't worship any particular god--just killing. They kill civillians for political purposes, Israel does the same.

It's a shame to see two groups with so much in common scrapping, really.







Glad I Don't Have to Face Him in the Mirror

Steve Harper claims he doesn't believe that the UN post struck by Israeli fire was targeted deliberately.

{Well it's obvious, isn't it? The IDF being such $#!7ty shots and all. If they'd actually been aiming at them it's likely that the now-dead peacekeepers (who were occupying a position similar to smoke detectors in hell at the time) would have been perfectly safe!}

And one can see how the Israelis made the mistake, right? Even after the observers phoned and asked ten times for them to stop shooting at the baby blue helmets.

Harper also said he hopes Santa Claus will bring him lots of presents, as he's been an especially good boy this year. And reiterated his lack of any call for a ceasefire.

But I said I wasn't going to blog on the Lebanon-Israeli-war-crime thing. And I'm going to keep that promise.

Oh hey--I put in the Neocounter from Neoworx yesterday. It tells me I have had over 30 visitors from 15 different countries since yesterday. Those countries include Argentina, Spain, and Ghana to name just three.

I'm amazed. I've always figured that this blog was read by two Avid Fans and that that was it. It's a little scary to think that by accident or design thirty people found their way here.

So, welcome all. And thanks. Perhaps a little of my blogging philosophy is in order:

We are all small. Insignificant. My opinions are no more important than anyone else's (Although they're clearly more insightful and better-reasoned).

If you've enjoyed this blog, you might enjoy one of the other blogs listed to the right of the page. I update at least once a day, usually, so there's always something new and interesting (to me) here.

Working on a post on how to be a consumate consumer for this afternoon. See you here, I hope.







26 July 2006

I Promised

I won't blog on Israel and Lebanon and I intend to keep that promise.

Even though it's so damn tempting to point out that it's kinda suspicious when a UN observation post was hit 29 times "accidentally" by an army that can't seem to spot legitimate targets with any reliability. I refer you to previous posts here and also here.

Instead today I shall consider spam--not the friendly tinned meat, rather the sort you delete with an irritated internal sigh from your inbox.

Today, I have a question: has ANYONE, ANYWHERE ever actually sold a box of p3nis XtenSion p!lls, Vjiaggraa, or a stock offering through bombarding the inboxes of the world with this $#!7 ?

I bet it's just one really, really under-endowed elderly millionaire who's encouraging them.

Here's how to stop spam for good--every time we waste two seconds deleting a spam message, the appropriate sender's server should be billed for that time at minimum wage rates, say 6$ Canadian per hour or about 0.16¢ per second. It's not much.

But that's the power of the internet. With 2 billion users at one message per day that's $6,400,000. Over a million servers that's $6.40 each per day. Also not much.

But: I get better than forty messages per day at different accounts. How about you?

If we assume an average of five messages per person per day at two seconds per deletion, each server is paying $32 a day to send out spam for various "businesses". How long do you think it'll take a telecoms business to pass that cost on to the customer?

So all these spam senders would suddenly have to bear the cost of the estimated 20 billion seconds wasted daily by having to delete and block various spam messages. How long before they all went belly-up? Hell, most of these operations are total ripoffs and aren't actually selling anything anyway.


Although if you got the one with the subject line "M3tr0's sex s3cret--she'll l0ve u long-tyme!!!", you should really buy in.

It's only $19.95!!!







25 July 2006

Shrill

It's not a tone I like to hear in my own voice. And this blog, I suppose is my voice. And right now it's a little shrill. *Sigh*

Usually I hope to persuade people by keeping the discussion--because it is a discussion, O Avid Fan, my ideas and yours--calm and rational, at least on some level. But today is a good time for a reality check.

Yes, I'm angry about this war, which grinds on despite the wishes of the wider world. And as an ex-soldier, the deliberate targeting of civillians offends me somewhere deep down inside.

But some of the anger, today at any rate, is just due to circumstances beyond Israel's, or Lebanon's control. Nothing major. Just the usual everyday sand in the shoe of life, really. You know the saying--"It's always one thing or another".

It's just that groups of three or four things have taken to coming at me as a group.

Anyway. I'm going to try to post about something other than the current conflict tomorrow. Dunno what yet.

Y'all come back now, y'hear?







Sorry!

Once again the IDF makes a note to revamp its eyesight testing.

In addition to donkeys, children, and old ladies, they can now chalk up victory over a UN observation post, and over the rescue team that came to dig the observers out. They'd hunkered down after being shelled 14 times.

Scorecard: Up to 100 terrorists killed. Civillian casualties roughly 300.

For a little perspective on how out of line this is, how indiscriminate and murderous, consider this: In World War II military casualties were roughly 25 million. Civillian casualties roughly 30 million.

If the Axis powers and the allies had proved as uncaring in their choice of targets as the Israeli Defence Force, it would have cost 45 million additional lives.

Hizbullah has apparently fired over a thousand rockets into Israel, murdering innocent victims too. But Israeli deaths in combat are twice the number of civillians. Considering that Hizbullah prefers to target civillians, how come the Israelis are so much better at hitting them?

This war was wrong from the get-go, and it doesn't get any righter as time goes by. And the silence from the Prime Minister continues.

And yeah, I know I'm hammering this topic into the ground. Sorry if my anger at this senseless waste of Israeli, Palestinian, and Lebanese lives bores you.







Bush Triumphs in the Middle East (Finally)

[Condoleeza] Rice called for a "new Middle East" before meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem.

"It is time for a new Middle East," she said. "It is time to say to those that don't want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not."
In the abscence of your support for a ceasefire, Ma'am, it seems you want the new Middle East to be much like the same old one. Or maybe not:

"We want to end the violence so that innocent people can return to a free life." said Rice.
Um--Condi? Wouldn't a ceasefire have done that rather well?

[Ehud] Olmert said Israel would continue to fight Hezbollah to prevent rocket attacks against Israeli citizens.
"We are using a basic elementary right of self-defence against terrorist organizations," said Olmert.
Lebanese killed so far over 375. Over two-thirds civillians, around seventy soldiers.
Terrorist organizations incapacitated or shut down: 0
Terrorist organizations scooping up recruits: ?

And twelve hundred rockets in two weeks. Clearly, targeting civvies is working terrifically well.

By the way: here's Condi's blueprint for that new Middle East she speaks of--and for the world.







24 July 2006

From My Comment Section

Anonymous said...
There are always two (sometimes three or four) sides to every story...NOW BACK TO YOUR regualry scheduled Canadian liberal way of thinking.

LARNACA, Cyprus — The U.N. humanitarian chief accused Hezbollah on Monday of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel.

4:12 PM


Well Anonymous--you don't mind if I call you Anonymous, do you (since you haven't chosen to give me a clue as to your identity, for some reason)? I have only one issue with anything you've said:

Exactly how does that justify the deliberate targeting of civillians? How is that okay? It wasn't okay when the Twin Towers went down, it wasn't okay when the London and Madrid and Mumbai bombings took place, so how is it so now?

Yeah, Hizbullah is cowardly. I'm sure strafing old ladies and children from a lend-lease F-18 must make the IDF pilots feel like real heroes.

By the way--you say I have a "Canadian" and "liberal" way of thinking. The two aren't the same and I suggest you remember that.

I champion fiscal responsibility, a strong foreign policy, and a limited role and powers for government in private life. Those, amigo, are usually touted as conservative values. Except by the current chief executive--who is the most interfering, spendthrift incompetent ever to disgrace the oval office. Clinton's stains went out with his blotter. The stains of ***'s presidency (or Cheney's, whichever) will take decades to wash away.

The fact that I also support gay marriage, decriminalized marijuana, socialized medicine and negotiation over pointless warfare stems from those "conservative" values.

I am a person of nuance and of grace notes, too complex to label with "liberal" or "conservative". And unlike *** I'm not dumb enough to believe that my beliefs are always 100% right.

But in this Israel vs. Lebanon thing, I can tell quite easily what's right. 375 dead, the vast majority civillians?

That ain't right.







K.M. commented below that the dog involved seemed to have attacked the bear only in response to the bear becoming aggressive, and that the dog may have been under control (though not, I assume, leashed) until that happened. Possibly true, but what was the cause of that aggression? I still don't believe dogs belong in bear country.

I read the link K.M. sent me, and have culled the following quotes:

"Most dogs fight as a last resort, when staring and growling fail. A pit bull is willing to fight with little or no provocation. "

"[...] pit bulls try to inflict the maximum amount of damage on an opponent. They bite, hold, shake, and tear. They don't growl or assume an aggressive facial expression as warning. They just attack."

"In epidemiological studies of dog bites, the pit bull is overrepresented among dogs known to have seriously injured or killed human beings"
So can we agree that this is a dangerous dog? Not everyone thinks so:

"The way a lot of these laws are written, pit bulls are whatever they say they are," Lora Brashears, a kennel manager in Pennsylvania, says. "And for most people it just means big, nasty, scary dog that bites."

"A mean pit bull is a dog that has been turned mean, by selective breeding, by being cross-bred with a bigger, human-aggressive breed like German shepherds or Rottweilers, or by being conditioned in such a way that it begins to express hostility to human beings."
I agree about 50%. Humans do have a part in the development and management of their pets. But the trainer has to have something to work with.

"Ah" you may say "but we agree that it's the owner, not the dog, who's the problem?"

Not quite. Since there is unfortunately no responsibility check, no criminal record check, no licensing procedure to verify who the irresponsible idiots are, then I think that as with guns so with Pit Bulls (or any dangerous pet).

"If we ban people from owning dangerous things, why do we allow them cars?" you ask. Simple: there's a licensing process in place. People who drive cars have been trained, for the most part, to a minimum standard of responsibility. Besides, dogs are a luxury for almost every owner save the blind and a few shepherds. Cars are all too often a necessity.

But further, traffic violations are watched for by the police. The city of Vancouver doesn't have half the number of animal control officers required to keep up with all the yuppies who think a German shepherd looks nice with a VW Jetta and a 750-square foot apartment.

But I'm willing to offer a solution that will make me entirely confident in all pet owners:

1) All dog owners must take a responsibility course. Topics covered would include keeping one's animal leashed in public spaces, proper care and feeding of dogs, and how to clean up after your pet has just shat in the neighbour's yard or the playground (a course in deperate need of implimentation).

2) All dogs must be licensed, said license to cost some appropriate fraction of your property taxes, vehicle insurance, or provincial income tax. Monies collected would go toward hiring more dogcatchers, spaying and neutering programs, and creation of pet-friendly areas.

3) Unlicensed animals will be immediately confiscated, likewise unspayed and unneutered ones.

4) All pets must be spayed or neutered unless the owner is in posession of a dealer's license and has had his or her mandatory six-monthly inspection by the SPCA.

I have yet to hear of any dog (or cat, or goldfish) owner agitating for a responsibility syatem, they all just seem to want fewer rules (except those trying to add a rule to force all apartments to rent to pet owners).

Under the current system I'm supposed to trust the owner as to the safety of his or her animal--even when the animal is clearly hostile or dangerous.

Just as I have to take the word of a man who took an aggressive dog into bear country that a black bear--not known for its level of aggression, attacked first.

And yes, I'd be perfectly happy applying my rules to cats, guinea pigs, rats ... politicians--now that's an idea!







Another Triumph Over Terrorism

In Gaza, Israeli shells took out a strategic donkey cart, a 60-year-old woman, and a 12-year-old boy.

Israeli spokesmen would doubtless describe this as a victory for peace, democracy and justice.

This conflict has been overshadowed by the newer atrocities in Lebanon, but in a month-long war against the militant arm of Hamas 120 Palestinians have been killed.

As in Lebanon, the idea was, supposedly, to free a kidnapped soldier and stop rocket attacks.

Guess how well it's working?







23 July 2006

Today, Day 12

Israel is having another go at Lebanon.
  • Israeli dead since the start of this un-war: 36
  • Lebanese dead: 375+
    the vast majority civillians

  • Today I went shopping for a shoe rack. $25 at Zellers.

    And although the Beirut bombings violate international law, not to mention human conscience, Stephen Harper's silence remains deafening.







    Via Nag On The Lake

    This front page from the Independant. I've meant to post this for a few days.



    It gives me a tiny flicker of hope to know that Canada voted in favour of an immediate ceasefire--no matter what Steve Harper says.

    Print this off and carry it around with you. So when someone says "Israel has the world's permission to do this", you can whip it out and show it to them.

    Israel has god's permission to do this. Just as *** has god's permission to invade Iraq, and Hizbullah has god's blessing to rocket Israeli towns.

    One of the best things about being atheist is that you have better things to do on Sundays, like blog. Or go check out how Cold Desert's making out in Beirut.

    The disadvantage is that if you kill someone, you really have no-one to blame it on.

    Hey--does that last link mean that those doing things under orders from *** are guilty of war crimes under Texas law? After all, he is "without moral authority".







    Just a Couple of Questions, Sir

  • Isn't an "American Staffordshire" the same thing as a "Pit Bull"?
  • Was the dog on a leash?

  • I'm sure it was. All Pit Bull owners are the responsible type, as they keep saying (Pit Bulls don't kill people etc.) and would never allow a dog off-leash in bear country, right?







    21 July 2006

    Coda to the Previous Post

    This analysis, from the Christian Science Monitor.
    "Can Israel considerably reduce the threat posed by Hizbullah as a paramilitary group? That it can probably do," says Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert at the Rand Corp. in Arlington, Va. "But will Israel be able to destroy Hizbullah in terms of its identity, the determination of its leadership, the devotion of its followers, and their dedication to continuing the struggle? No, that's not realistic."

    The US has some experience with that reality in its pursuit of Al Qaeda, [...] the US has been less successful at reducing the appeal of Al Qaeda's message, which "continues to radicalize and deepen the zeal of large numbers of young Islamic men."

    [...]

    [In] Iraq, Jenkins sees a trajectory that mirrors Israel's. "There is no military challenge in Iraq that can defeat us," he says. "But has our presence reduced a radicalization of parts of the population or pacified the country? No it hasn't."


    And some more opinion here.

    Oh--and a thought: Why should Bush, Cheney et al give a rat's ass what happens in the Middle East, so long as their backers are profiteering--I mean profiting--by it?

    By the way--do my posts seem bitter lately? It probably has to do with my government's betrayal of the idea that life, generally, is sacred. But my bitterness isn't what they have to worry about.







    How Do You Spell "Success"?

    Israel says it wants to end the dominance of Hizbullah in Lebanon. So far what they've done is the exact opposite. Only Hizbullah remains. Beirut has been largely abandoned by its civillian population.

    Lessons Learned by Israel in Lebanon:

    1) When you take the lives and homes away from the ordinary citizens, only the terrorists have lives and homes.

    2) Which means you can kill or displace them all without having to make such pesky distinctions.

    3) You can bomb national capitals to rubble and STILL have the US support you.
    "Nobody has been more active than we have," said White House press secretary Tony Snow, defending administration policy amid continuing U.S. opposition to a quick cease-fire without built-in steps for longer-term stability in both Israel and Lebanon.

    Making the rounds of the morning network news shows a day after Rice went to the U.N., Snow said most of the peacemaking efforts have been behind the scenes.
    --Yahoo! News

    Well they'd have had to be, wouldn't they?

    Meantime, Israel has called up its reserves and is apparently warning Lebanese (those it hasn't already displaced) to run away.

    This is preparation for a full-scale invasion. That is, a hostile crossing of national borders by another nation. I'm pretty sure that's wrong.

    Keep safe, Ahmad.

    In other news, Condi Rice is apparently preparing to schlep a "peace plan" (and I think schlep is a most appropriate word) around next week. By then there just may still be a Lebanese government to sign it.







    20 July 2006

    And He Still Went Nowhere Near Lebanon

    From this article at Yahoo! News:
    "The Airbus the prime minister uses for international travel was stripped down and news media accompanying Harper were not allowed aboard the flight to Larnaca to make room for as many refugees as possible. But room was made for the prime minister's official photographer and three of his media aides. [...] Harper shrugged off suggestions his last-minute stop in Cyprus was a mere photo opportunity."
    Italics mine.

    Fine Steve. So what did it in fact mean, in view of your position that the murder of civillians is a just and measured response to terrorism?

    I think it projects the message: "If Canada's citizens can get clear of the slaughter, I'll personally whisk them away in my jet. If they aren't too smelly. Or bleeding--it wrecks the leather upholstery. And as long as they don't touch the mini-bar."

    It would be cheaper, Mr. Harper, to actually apply pressure to Israel. Then you wouldn't have to divert ships and aircraft at taxpayer expense to evacuate some (a whole 261 so far) of the 50,000-plus Candians in Lebanon.

    Of course your master in Washington might not like that.

    You claim to be a Catholic, Mr. Harper. What are you praying for these days?

    I never thought I would ever align myself with the paranoid, anti-semitic, authoritarian Vladimir Putin. But only Russia has had the balls to say the things my Prime Minister should be getting on his hind legs and saying:
    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Israel's actions have gone "far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation," and repeated calls for an immediate ceasefire.
    For gods' sakes Mr. Harper--give me a moral alternative!







    19 July 2006

    If Things Get More Irony 'Round Here

    I won't be able to walk past a magnet store without stopping.

    His Royal Incredulity, Bush the Lesser, has just cast his first veto. On a bill that would have opened up stem cell research in the US.

    This he did because he considers life sacred.

    Not Lebanese life, you understand. Nor the lives of death-row inmates. But the life of what is essentially frozen, non-viable fertility clinic waste.

    In Lebanon, Israel continues to show how it respects the sanctity of life by determining that it's far too precious for their neghbours to keep. The White House offers no comment.







    Yes, Virginia, Targeting Civilians Is a War Crime

    At least, according to the UN's human rights watchdog.

    And yeah, to answer the whining sound from the White House and 24 Sussex, no-one's trying to apply that rule to the terrorist organisations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

    Because they're terrorists.

    They didn't sign any papers saying they would respect human rights, as Israel did. In fact it would be totally antethical to their stated undemocratic purpose of forcing the world to do the "right thing" by their lights by means of violence, threats, and the murder of innocents.

    But it seems Israel is eager to join them.







    Via Darren Barefoot

    Since I can't walk into the Knesset and personally inquire what the £µ©λ they think they're doing to Lebanon and why they think it's useful, helpful, or remotely civilized behaviour, I have today indulged my passion for the occasional interpersonal smackdown.

    Kevin Smith, AKA Silent Bob (but never "K/S"), delivers a stroke of the ol' Amish taser to Good Morning America's Joel Siegel for loudly announcing his departure from a screening of "Clerks II", read it here.

    Better yet, catch the Smith/Siegel slap fight sound bite from the Opie and Anthony radio show. Normally I hate morning DJ shows and wish them nothing but a swift and painless traffic accident before they reach the studio, but this is good. Listen carefully--some bits will floor you.

    Fave quote from KS: "I can't tell you how to be a man, Joel."







    18 July 2006

    Internalising the Conflict

    Tonight I am battling ants for control of my vestibule. I spray them with vinegar and watch them twist and die. I crush them beneath my thumb with a satisfying crunch. I lay poison for them to take home to kill their brethren. When I finish, the ground is littered with tiny corpses.

    And I cannot help myself from thinking:

    Is this how an Israeli pilot feels?







    Exceeding My Reccomended Daily Allowance of Irony

    "I think we have to hold ultimately responsible for the violence people who advocate it as a solution and act upon those desires," Harper said Tuesday in Paris.


    I couldn't agree more.







    Oh--Almost Forgot

    Today is Hunter Thompson's birthday. He will spend it dead. Only a little different from the way in which he most assuredly spent other birthdays.

    This is his 68th birthday. He will remain 67.

    And also, from The Writer's Almanac:
    Today is believed to be the anniversary of the fire that burned Rome in 64 A.D., while the emperor Nero supposedly played his fiddle. In fact, Nero wasn't even in Rome when the fire broke out. He was thirty-five miles away at his holiday villa on the coast, and his own palace was one of the buildings that burned.

    Nero apparently decided that the fire needed to be blamed on someone else. And so he chose a tiny new religious group called the Christians. He had Christians crucified in the streets and burned at the stake. The religion of Christianity was only a few decades old when Nero chose to single it out. The historian Tacitus later argued that Nero's persecution of the Christians went too far, and that it had the unintended effect of making people sympathize with the Christians. It's possible that Nero's decision to blame Christians for the fire gave them the publicity they needed to help spread their ideas.

    A little more than two hundred years after Nero picked the Christians as his scapegoat, the emperor of the Roman Empire himself converted to Christianity, and it became the dominant religion of Europe for more than 1,500 years.


    Perhaps Israel would care to pay attention?







    Harrass an Official Today!

    Online petitions are not useful. Since only actual signatures can be counted for use in legislation, they have the effect of making people feel like they've actually done something, while they're in fact wasting their efforts.

    So if you signed the petition below, take two minutes and write to the appropriate authority, be it the White House (via Dick "Go £µ©λ yourself" Cheney, the Office of the Prime Minister, or whoever. These people can in fact change things.

    Maybe then they can persuade Israel to "stop this shit", to quote a certain authority.

    Better yet, e-mail Ehud Olmert himself right here!

    I just did.








    Save the Lebanese Civilians Petition

    To The Concerned Citizen of The World:

    "Killing innocent civilians is NOT an act of self-defense. Destroying a sovereign nation is NOT a measured response."

    Lebanese civilians have been under the constant attack of the state of Israel for several days. The State of Israel, in disregard to international law and the Geneva Convention, is launching a maritime and air siege targeting the entire population of the country. Innocent civilians are being collectively punished in Lebanon by the state of Israel in deliberate acts of terrorism as described in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.

    The Lebanese people feel left out by the world that is turning a blind eye on the savagery of the Israeli state. Israel does not seem to be capable of approaching any problem outside the realm of the military power bestowed on it by the government of the United States of America and other western governments.

    We are writing you this letter in the hope that this massacre is immediately stopped. It is the universal duty of each individual to defend the innocents and expose the truth. The numerous civilian victims of the Israeli operations are increasing by the hour. The viciousness of the attacks has attained terrifying levels where a child has been cut in three while another was half burned.

    The Israeli war machine, in its blind savagery, is destroying not only our lives but the foundations that could help the civilians survive beyond their massacre. The Israeli Defense Forces are destroying in few hours what Lebanon has spent years and billions of dollars to rebuild.

    Up until now more than 100 Lebanese civilians have been killed, hundreds wounded, bridges and infrastructure destroyed, refugees are leaving Beirut in droves and worst of all the enforced siege might lead to a human catastrophe in the next 48 hours. There must be an end to this cycle of violence and continuous violation of international laws and basic ethical behavior.

    Between the blindness of the international community and the deafness of the Arab one, the besieged Lebanese population has no way out.

    Peace begins with justice


    SIGN THE PETITION
    Total Signatures since July 15, 2006 = 32599







    17 July 2006

    Appropriate Poetry

    From The Writer's Almanac today.

    Poem: "Newsphoto: Basra, Collateral Damage" By Steve Kowit. Published in The Sun literary journal.

    Newsphoto: Basra,
    Collateral Damage

    Our armies do not come into your cities and lands
    as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.

    —General F.S. Maude, commander of the British
    colonial forces in Iraq, 1914

    Apparently the little girl is dead.
    In Basra, bombed to rubble by the Yanks,
    her stricken father cradles her small head.

    Her right foot dangles, ghastly, by a thread.
    Cluster bombs & F-16s & tanks.
    That is to say the little girl is dead

    whose fingers curl (small hand brushed with blood)
    as if to clutch his larger hand. He drinks
    her—sobbing—in, & cradles her small head,

    & rocks her in his arms, the final bed
    but one in which she'll lie. The father clings,
    as if his broken daughter were not dead,

    her face, as if in sleep, becalmed, but red,
    bloodied, bruised. At bottom left, the ranks
    of those still dying die beneath her head.

    Legions of the Lords of Plunder: the dread
    angel of empire offers you thanks!
    Look, if you dare! See? The child is dead.
    Her stricken father cradles her small head.


    I am myself using this without the author's permission. But perhaps Steve Kowit will forgive me.







    16 July 2006

    It Had To Happen

    Seven Canadians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes against civillian "targets" in Lebanon. Four of them were children. Presumably not militants then, eh?

    In keeping with your earlier remarks about "measured and justified" response, Mr. Harper, I demand that we immediately mobilise and begin shelling the living shit out of Israel's roads, bridges and, oh I don't know--how are they off for nursery schools? Fair is fair.

    Mr. Harper?

    Mr. Harper?







    By Request



    Metro's gotta learn to stop requesting stuff from me. All he ever gets is abuse, Ann Coulter screeds, and ridiculous videos. But he did ask for this one.







    "Measured"

    So let's get this straight: a couple of weeks ago a corporal in the Israeli army was kidnapped on the Gaza border. In response, Israel re-occupied the Gaza strip and detained 60 members of the elected government.

    Then eight soldiers were killed and two kidnapped across the frontier with Lebanon. In response, Israel sent its army into another country to destroy roads, bridges, and power stations, in the process killing over a hundred civillians.

    Let's say that again: two soldiers, one country's infrastructure and 107 civvies at time of posting.

    This my prime minister described as a "measured" response.

    If I didn't think Harper was the prime ministerial equivalent of a kidney stone (hopefully soon passed) I'd be ashamed to be Canadian.

    ***, trapped at the bottom of a well of his own building can only stand by feebly excusing this sort of brutality by pleading "self-defence". Worse, he blocked a UN move to call for ceasefire.

    Let me ask you something Mr. ***: How do you think the Arab world will regard your failure to make any kind of stand? Do you think this helps A)root out the causes of anti-(North)American hatred in Muslim hearts or B) fan the flames to an even whiter heat?

    This cowardly decision to stay silent when the time came to stand on your hind legs and speak out, this contemptible inablility to shrug off the politically expedient in favour of the humanitarian, this pathetic tolerance of the sort of behaviour Saddam Hussein was pilloried and eventually deposed for, will be paid in blood.

    But since it likely won't be yours I guess you're okay with that.

    Cold Desert isn't.

    "Measured"--pfah! Couldn't he have just said "fair and balanced"?

    I urge Canadians to write to the Office of the Prime Minister here and tell him what you think.







    15 July 2006

    It's the Muppet Meme!

    I just hopped over from Raincoaster's pad. Seems like there's a Muppet meme out there, what with Big Bird and the Asian Who Flew--sorry, I mean the Asian Flu, and the The Muppet Personality Test
    .

    So what muppet does ol' Metro turn out to be?




    You Are Kermit



    Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.

    You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.

    Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.

    Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!


    This has been a Muppet News Flash.

    While researching that pic I found this one. Does the earring mean the rumours are true?







    14 July 2006

    Here Comes the Raincoaster Again

    You're really just trying to push that He-Man video to the bottom of the page, aren't you?

    Haven't you learned by now that dignity, restraint, and reason are no good for page views?

    Oh, fine. Have some Ann Coulter.



    Screw that. Restrained. Honest. Impartial. Whatever.
    Go to my blog (my precious, my baby) and see vitriol, violence, and gonzo spittle-generating rants. With bonus Henry Rollins.







    This Is What Playing Hard-ass Gets You

    A decently-written piece on why the US's options in the current crisis are limited.

    And a piece from the Guardian on why it's never going to amount to much anyway.

    Through his actions *** has fostered distrust among his allies, inflamed the hatred of the enemies of America, and driven even the most even-keeled to take a side. So now he has nowhere to turn when the world looks to him for action in a crisis of his own making.

    Pat Robertson, who believes in Israeli statehood only because there has to be an Israel to be crushed in the Last Days, must be preparing for the Rapture even now.

    For the stability the Iraq war has brought to the Middle East, we thank you, ***.

    Impeachment. Bring it on. A boy can dream, can't he?







    In Other Proofreading News

    I'm a proofreader and editor, despite the appalling variety of errors at this page, and so I feel compelled to offer my services to the desperately needy.

    I recently sent letters to the Acanac phone/internet company and another site whose name I can't recall at present. I offered them a two-day rewrite package with a significant discount. So far I await response fruitlessly.

    But their spelling is clearly reflected in their other talents: check out the number-one hit when one enters their name at Yahoo!.

    It seems to me that communications companies would perhaps want to be a bit more concerned about how they're communicating on what is for most customers their first line of contact.

    That's okay. I have a gig with Yahoo! News coming, I'm sure.

    Is that edifice located on Sesame Street? Maybe it's run by Lefty?







    Sick and Twisted News

    The Muppets, who have presumably finished shilling for the "green" Ford Escape hybrid (which gets about 4 mpg more than the regular model, at an additional $10K or so) have been drafted to serve America's "war effort".

    Featured songs:
    "It's Not Easy Wearing Green"
    "C is for Claymore"
    "A GI is a Person in Your Neighbourhood"

    Favourite line:
    "One hundred and five! One hundred and five wonderful millimetres! A-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

    This recuiting, uh, family support video has been brought to you by the letters G, W, and B. And by the number 2841.







    Not Certain I Like Where This Is Going

    When I initially granted Raincoaster's request to contribute here, I had no idea she intended to alter the tone of the discourse in her own unique way. Ah well, no good deed and all that.

    In Other News,

    I've added Frontier Editor to my blogroll. Mainly because he's wonderfully esoteric, and manages on balance to project an impartiality even about people I seem unable to refrain from dripping bile on from a great height.

    Cold Desert joins the discourse because I've read him on and off for a while, and because now seems a particularly appropriate time to add a Lebanese blog. I hope some of my Avid Fans (it seems certain there's more than one) will pop over and get his perspective on current events.

    Normally I stay clear of Middle Eastern politics, although I'm rarely thrilled by any nation or person (and there's more than one in the Middle East) which believes it's some god's personal favourite.

    There were ways for Israel to pursue its ends other than trying to bomb out Lebanon's infrastructure and targeting and killing civillians. I can't say much more without exceeding my meagre moral authority.

    And though Hizbullah's a bunch of @$$#0£€s, the lousy calibre of the national leadership is no help.

    Naturally Steve Harper's right alongside the US on this. He calls the re-occupation of Gaza "measured response". I wonder--when a Canadian gets kidnapped, will SH muster the might of the entire Forces and invade somewhere to find him or her?

    Hmm. Seems not. Perhaps he measures his response with a different yardstick.







    I HAVE THE POWER!!!



    Including the power to post stupid eighties music videos featuring ambiguously gay, ambiguously incestuous couples.







    13 July 2006

    I Guess He Took Their Advice

    From The Onion
    In August 2004 the CIA asked * to stop blogging. Who knew?
    Of course it's a fake. Everyone knows * can't read or write.

    Some Avid Fans were kind enough to express confusion about my use of the asterisk to represent the name "George W. Bush" and asked for an explanation.

    Simply put: I believe he is a man whose name cannot be forgotten by history quickly enough, and I intend to help history out. If I could afford it I'd take history on a bender of pre-salvation-Bush-ian proportions, like you do to help a friend forget a girlfriend or boyfriend who's truly £µ©λed them over.

    There is no question that wherever they bury Bush's mortal remains, funeral planners should include a urinal cake in the arrangements.

    For my part, I will expand the substitute for his name to "***" to avoid confusion.

    But it still spells "moron".







    12 July 2006

    Sometimes a Great Phrase

    Comes to you out of the blue. Or in this case the yellowing pages of Donald Jack's novel Me Bandy, You Cissie:
    "She just got up and brushed herself down, looking at us in silence for a few seconds.
    Then she shrugged and pouted a little, and picked up her suitcase and her coat and strolled off, her miniature form brightening and fading as she passed under successive haloed street lamps, until she reached the corner and disappeared from sight."
    Fitting words for the departure of Raincoaster, who at the last has owned us to be good hosts here at Casa Metro.

    It's been a satisfying and moderately alcoholic week here, and we will miss the Drenched One, at least for a while.

    Godspeed sweetie, we'll see you later.

    Metro & Mme







    Bush Can Call Me Steve--Harper

    'Specially when the silent dog whistle doesn't work.--Metro

    I'd suggest "Little Stephen", Steve, but he's extremely cool and you're . . . not.

    When this first became an item of interest in Canada (That is, * treating non-US-ians with the usual contempt):
    "Longtime friends contacted Friday say Canada's 22nd prime minister has been known as Stephen to family, friends and teachers since grade school. Never Steve."
    --From CBC.ca

    What's interesting is that Harper's now saying "just a few close friends" have ever called him Steve.

    "But I've been called a lot worse than that - including by people who say they like me."
    --Steve Harper (aka Stevie, Stevester, the Steve-a-rama, the Steverino, Steve-ums ...)

    Considering how few people actually like him, I suppose it's possible they've just been overlooked.

    It may seem a small and petty thing. But it's really just one facet of a much larger issue: Bush has no respect for anyone besides himself, and no nation but his own.

    The fact that he calls the elected leader of the largest truly free nation on Earth by a diminutive doesn't mean they're chums. It tells us what he thinks of Harper and our nation as a whole.

    As Paul Frazer (former Canadian and now Washington Consultant) says here: "You don't need tight [friendships], you need respect".

    Must be rough getting neither, Steve-O.







    11 July 2006

    They're Volunteers--Yeah, Yeah, That's It, Volunteers!

    Wal-Mart employees are trained, one presumes, to be many things. But bomb disposal experts?

    That's a $#!7load to ask for $7.75 an hour.

    Wal-Mart in Quebec, if memory serves, has had troubles before. Let's see. . . Ah, right.

    Let's see, minimum wage and bomb squad duty too? Why the hell would anyone want to unionize?







    Motto

    If ever I sort out the whole business of whether I'm armigerous, I intend to engrave upon my escutcheon the motto: "Nihil Facillius Nihil Simplex" ("Nothing easy, nothing simple", sort of). You've read about my adventures with various retail outlets. Now our new Vonage phone doesn't seem to want to work with Shaw. Stay tuned for further developments.

    In a similar vein: I was preparing to roast that complicated Christian Gentleman, *, for his late remark that Besayev, Chechen leader and terrorist "deserved" death. But if as Putin and GWB promise he was the mastermind behind Breslan, I have to agree with the general sentiment. And I still don't really feel it's an appropriate remark for a head of state.

    Certainly doesn't reflect this sudden non-shift in policy (so sayeth Tony Snow). Said announcement seems to have gone out on the QT--you think they'd want to shout it to the world, no?

    Or maybe they don't want us asking where the other 550 suspects are? Or why the CIA is still allowed to waterboard suspects between airplane rides?

    Whil we're talking about secretive regimes: The stilted, earnest headlines at Itar-Tass are something else. Yes, I know they're translated, but still . . . I found this gem particularly amusing:
    RF ready to deal blow on terrorists in any part of world
    I guess the idea is that coked-up, violent, ideology-driven people are somehow less threatening? (Have they seen the White House lately?)







    10 July 2006

    Today in 1925

    The Scopes Monkey trial began. Read more about it here at The Writer's Almanac. If you don't see it, go into the archives and search for today's date.

    The alarming thing is that with over a century elapsed since Darwin published Origin of Species there are still arguments not about whether the "theory" is true (by any really scientific test, it's as true as can be measured), but whether or not it should be taught in schools, and whether creationist philosophy should be taught as science alongside of it.

    It shouldn't. Period. End of discussion.

    Lately this has come to be called "intelligent design", or sometimes even more disingenuously, "teaching the controversy". But it doesn't matter what you call it; it isn't science. And there is no controversy except when creationists are allowed to determine school curricula.

    If you want to tell your kids that the world was created when some god cut off some other god's testicles and tossed them into the sea, fine. But don't expect me to allow a school to fill my kid's head with such garbage. I like my science straight up and I take my religion weak, with salt.

    I don't deny people their religion, or the right to teach it to their young. But don't waste the taxpayer's money on it.

    In Other News

    Today marks the end of my third month at the new job. Assuming they don't can me by quitting time today, that means I'm past probation. Cool.







    Of Booze and Buds

    It was a lovely afternoon. In fact, it was a lovely day, starting, as all my favorite days do, in the afternoon, and with coffee.

    Mr and Mrs Metro and I went on a field trip to Tinhorn Creek Winery. 'Twas lovely. This is all ye know, and all ye need to know, except that the 2Bench was so nice I borrowed $22 dollars I do not have from Metro to purchase a bottle, to be opened when I finally get, like, a job. Whatever that is.

    We spent the evening watching Sideways. There was a false start, as while I was out getting my healthy exercise climbing the local hills, they'd started up a Weird Al Yankovic movie, and kept refusing to shut it off. "Oh, this is the best scene, this is my favorite scene, just this one scene" I heard no less than three times, perhaps four (the painful memory is fading now) before finally putting Sideways on. It was a charming movie, and the Cabernet Franc and the Gewurztraminer which accompanied it were equally lovely. Metro started whining about being out of Bar-B-Que Chips and booze about a third of the way into it, so we downgraded him to beer and finished off the wine ourselves. Serves the bitch right.

    Probably a secret Merlot drinker.

    I think he farted in the hot tub, too.

    As for Hugh Hefner Of The North's tips:

    1) GOOD Wine

    2) More GOOD wine

    3) Beer doesn't actually get you any points, although it does cause bloating. So what are you really after in a woman? Compliance is better fostered by a nice Cuban rum; if you get off on Hindenberg doppelgangers, beer's your best bet.

    4) "Paul Giamatti in Sideways (the guy flick you've never seen)." I am, like, SO not sure where Metro gets that Giamatti's a chick magnet that for the sake of his marriage I am not going to explore even the concept that he might find The Posterboy for Fortysomething Angst sexy.

    5) More beer You know, if it's not good beer(ie Fin du Monde), it doesn't really do anything other than maintain the state of drunkeness established by the wine. I'm still the one pointing out the Ann Coulter items on Fark and blogging at three in the morning. Metro's the one that can't handle the beer.

    and

    6) Le hot tub. No argument there.

    As for making eggs at one in the morning, when does he think I usually have lunch???







    I Simply Wanted to Say

    That her Raincoasterness has just said, and I quote:
    "That was the definitive version of a boozy evening."
    And this, of an evening spent with myself and Mme Metro, contrasted against the number of evenings spent by RC guzzling cheap yet palatable gin.
    Now she is likely to complain about the fact that she has not yet had dinner--which was her damnned fault in the first place!

    So here, gents, is a recipe for pleasing a woman who thinks herself hard-to-please:

    1) Wine

    2) More wine

    3) Beer (once you've run out of wine)

    4) Paul Giamatti in Sideways (the guy flick you've never seen).

    5) More beer

    and 6) Le hot tub.

    Let this be a lesson to all my Avid Fans.

    Nota Bene: Her Raincoasterness is preparing scrambled eggs in the kitchen at 1 AM.

    See what a small investment in a winery gets you?







    08 July 2006

    He Did It!

    It took almost a year and 14 trades, but Kyle MacDonald has been offered a two-storey farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan. [...] MacDonald began his quest last summer when he decided he wanted to live in a house. He didn't have a job, so instead of posting a resumé, he looked at a red paper-clip on his desk and decided to trade it on an internet website.
    Kyle MacDonald is truly the Mac Daddy of the internet barter circuit.
    He's inspired me to start a website called "oneblueprimeminister"*, with aim of trading up for, say a giant squid. Or a video of Paris Hilton. Or a boatload of blog-hit-generating search terms.

    Anything at all, really.







    07 July 2006

    Ann (AntiChrist) Coulter Plagiarism Roundup

    So the bottle blonde of the Republican Guard has been caught out in a few instances of "socialism," otherwise known as "A capitalist borrowing without intention to return," a state with which most socialists are familiar, since it entitles you to no reciprocary rites and yet burdens you with responsibility for the state and usage of the items in question, in this case actual thoughts and their literary expressions.

    Bottom line: she's been basically nailed in A Bloody Bajillion Instances of Plagiarism.

    Ferinstance:

    This list does not include instances of factual distortion or wrongly-cited
    material. The following list focuses on those examples, identified by the New
    York Post and others, in which it appears Coulter has, without attribution, used
    another writer's words, or a substantial portion of another person's unique
    research.

    In this list we're not making any judgments. We're putting the
    textual evidence before you. You decide.

    COLUMNS
    "Read My Lips: No New Liberals,” Aug. 5, 2005

    Example 1: "As New Hampshire attorney general in 1977, Souter opposed the repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime even though Roe v. Wade had made it irrelevant, predicting that if the law were repealed, New Hampshire 'would
    become the abortion mill of the United States.'"

    Alleged Source: "In 1977, Souter as state attorney general spoke out against a proposed repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime -- even though the measure had been largely invalidated by the Supreme Court in Roe. vs. Wade… 'Quite apart from the fact that I don't think unlimited abortions ought to be allowed . . . I presume we would become the abortion mill of the United States[.]'" ("Liberals Leery as New Clues Surface on Souters Views," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 1990)(Identified by John Barrie/New York Post)

    Example 2: "He filed a brief arguing that the state should not have to
    pay for poor women to have abortions — or, as the brief called it, "the killing
    of unborn children" and the "destruction of fetuses." At this point the only
    people more opposed to abortion than Souter were still in vitro."

    Alleged Source: "The year before, Souter had filed a legal brief arguing that the state should not have to pay for abortions for poor women. Abortion was referred to as "the killing of unborn children" and the "destruction of fetuses."" An assistant
    attorney general has said that he, not Souter, wrote the brief. (Ibid)(Identified by John Barrie/New York Post)

    Example 3: "Also as state attorney general, Souter defended the governor's practice of lowering the flag to half-staff on Good Friday, arguing that "lowering of the flag to commemorate the death of Christ no more establishes a religious position on the part of the state or promotes a religion than the lowering of the flag for the death of Hubert Humphrey promotes the cause of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire."

    Alleged Source: "In 1978, Gov. Meldrim Thomson exhorted state employees to 'reverently observe Good Friday' and ordered flags flown at half staff to 'memorialize the death of Christ on the Cross.' A federal judge struck down the order as a violation of the First Amendment's ban on an 'establishment of religion.' Souter appealed,
    arguing that Jesus Christ is a 'historical' figure. 'The lowering of the flag to commemorate the death of Christ no more establishes a religious position on the
    part of the state or promotes a religion than the lowering of the flag for the
    death of Humbert Humphrey promotes the cause of the Democratic Party in New
    Hampshire,' Souter wrote." (Ibid)(Identified by John Barrie/New York Post)

    etc, etc.

    For those who don't know why I'm making reference so casually to Ann Coulter's merkin colour, I refer you to the Vanity Fair of a month ago. Is there a straight man in America that hasn't seen first-hand that the carpet doesn't match the drapes?







    A Picture is Worth a Thousand Blogs


    From Aislin, whose art I am just about worthy to lick. In fact I think I'll get this put on a stamp.



    For those of my Avid Fans who may not get the reference, find it here.







    06 July 2006

    Ann Coulter takes on Rupert Murdoch

    Fifty bucks on Murdoch. Metro, can I borrow fifty bucks? It's a sure thing.

    raincoaster here, guest blogging. They tell me that's what it's called when you're locked in a steamy room, chained to a desk. They say I'll be let out soon, just as soon as I blog. And that if there are any spelling mistakes it's no Sauvignon Blanc for me, but only ratty old Chardonnay. What is this, Eighties Night?

    Today, they offered me a "scenic drive in the wine country." I nearly jumped out as we passed the landfill, heading up the gravel road to the looming, Lovecraftian mountains. Ain't nuthin between there and the Yukon, but fortunately Metro bailed on the Everest climbing routine 'round about the time we passed, I kid you not, Cowpat Farm.

    Help, help, I'm being oppressed!

    In any case, deep-fried vainglorious plagiarist Ann Coulter, 45 and really a brunette (still is, below the waist), has attacked the New York Post for reporting (quite accurately) about the latest incident of "borrowing" in her work. Like how Attila the Hun "borrowed" Europe.

    Here's the quote that superheated the rocks in Ann's head:

    Conservative scribe Ann Coulter cribbed liberally in her latest book, "Godless," according to a plagiarism expert.
    John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls "textbook plagiarism" in the leggy blond pundit's "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program.

    He also says he discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column, which is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers, including the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.


    And here is what the Harpy from Darpa replied:

    Coulter wrote: "Once considered a legitimate daily, the Post has been reduced to tabloid status best known for Page Six's breathless accounts of Paris Hilton's latest ruttings, and headlines like 'Vampire Teen -- H.S. Girl Is Out for Blood.' How crappy a newspaper is the Post? Let me put it this way: It's New York's second-crappiest paper."

    She added: "Maybe the Post's constant harassment of me is an attempt to shake me down for protection money like they did with billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. I have sold a LOT of books -- more books, come to think of it, than any writers at the New York Post."


    As Gawker said, she may have even written some of them. Some.

    And here is what the Political Cortex has to say:

    Of course, as New Yorkers know, picking a fight with the Post is not always smart, as the paper is quite good at splashing a person's mug across its cover accompanied by an embarrassing headline. (That's what tabloids do after all, and if there's one thing the Post is, it's a good tabloid).

    I look forward to the Post continuing the Coulter plagarism investigation, and perhaps featuring the next chapter of the saga on the cover.

    To help the Post out, feel free to suggest a good tabloidy headline for the Coulter plagarism scandal in comments. (Trust me, this is the only time I will EVER ask you to help out a Rupert Murdoch property).







    Stephen Harper: Wrong Again!

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper said after a meeting with George Bush at the White House that both countries share security concerns and face the same kind of threats.
    Harper suggested the recent arrests in Ontario brought that home. He also said both countries are defending the same kinds of values.

    Like, uh, support for equality in marriage!

    Um, how about freedom from torture?

    Oh well, surely everyone can get behind decriminalizing marijuana?

    Eliminating the death penalty? I know it's not a priority here for some reason, but surely the US is trying to catch up to the Twentieth Century?
    Hmmm.
    Okay Mr. H., I give up. What "same values" are you talking about? I can't think of any I have in common with *. And from what I read in "What Canadians Think" I seem to be fairly typical. By the way Mr. Harper--improve your popularity--read the book.

    Honestly--couldn't he at least wipe off his chin before giving a speech?







    05 July 2006

    THEY'RE HERE!

    Normally I'd use the singular, but when discussing raincoaster, one must use the plural, to contain all of her personalities.

    Today, for example, she complained of eating a crust of bread. Will she tell you that there was smoked salmon cream cheese on it, and that she prefers the heel of the loaf? No.

    She's blogged about my home, my hospitality, and my Nash Metropolitan without so much as giving me a link. When you've known her as long as I have, God knows you don't expect justice, but it would have been nice.

    Today, Mrs. Metro bought a litre and a half of respectable Okanagan Sauvignon Blanc by raincoaster's special request. It was chilled to perfection. I approached raincoaster about her doing some guest blogging on my site in exchange for Sauvignon Blanc. Know what she said?

    "Oh, that doesn't count. That's the cheap stuff. There's some Jackson Triggs Proprieter's Special Reserve, it's quite expensive..." and you can imagine where she went from there.

    She's right, though. It is the cheap stuff; hence, I don't think she can taste the arsenic.







    In Ottawa

    Janet Libbey, acting director of the Mothercraft Day Care Centre, said the federal proposal to give parents a monthly allowance of $100 is inadequate, as the average cost for a preschooler in the capital is approximately $900 per month.

    "Well, it can be a minimum of a year's waiting list," said Libbey. "And sometimes with the full-time program, 18 months is not unrealistic. And there's still many families we never get to."


    $#!7!

    Might as well spend it on beer and popcorn anyway, eh?



    Our caretaker Prime Minister is due to visit * in a short while. There will be minor concessions made in order to encourage Canadians to elect Harper by something more convincing than default.

    Concessions:
    "Hi Mr. Bush."
    "Oh hey, uh, Canuck-guy."
    "Should I kiss your Yale class ring, Mr President?"
    "Naw, naw. Not needed, big guy."
    "Oh, well thanks."
    "Yeah--just keep on with my boots."

    Meantime: In response to the clear presence of rockets capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction at least as far the Sea of Japan, the Bush administration took bold and decisive action, telling Pyongyang yet again: "Don't do that!"

    North Korea has no oil.







    04 July 2006

    Again With Zellers

    After forming a seriously positive impression of Kim, manager at Zellers here, I sought to commend her to her employers.

    What am I supposed to think of this web page?
    Tell us about your experiences shopping in our stores
    Hbc is interested in what you think of your shopping experience in our stores. We need to know - and want to know - how our stores look and if our sales associates are courteous and respectful.

    All of your comments are welcomed and valued. If particular sales associates have provided you outstanding service, help us celebrate their success. Conversely, if you're disappointed in us, we'd like suggestions on how our stores can improve.
    But guess which is the only section of the page without an active e-mail link? Nor is there any advice on where to write to, whom to address, or what to expect when you do. I notice though, that they keep a PDF credit card application handy.
    Be assured ... we're listening. Thank you for making Hbc family of stores better places to shop.
    Are you, Zellers? Are you really listening? Somehow it doesn't seem that way.







    "Wait a minute folks ... "

    "You're trying to say you're cleaning up politics and you brought in this seriously draconian tightening of the contribution rules, and now we find out you didn't disclose a few million dollars of contributions, which every other political party in this country has treated as a contribution for the purpose of the contribution rules?"
    --Prof. Heather MacIvor, Windsor University

    Now the Cons want the Liberals investigated for the same offence; to see if they were really any worse I guess.







    On the Other Hand

    Aprevious entry complained about service recieived from our local Zellers.

    Briefly: they re-sold our patio furniture set, offered us a different one (which surely we would have bought in the first place if we'd wanted it?), then said they'd ship one down from another store "when we have a truck coming the right way".

    On the way home, the Mme and I agreed we weren't happy. I determined to arrange to pick up said patio set myself and demand $50 off. But a friend said: "Don't restrict them to $50. Let them make you happy."

    I wanted to thank Catherine, and Kim at Zellers who without any prodding immediately offered us $100 off the set, and a free rainproof cover for it. She did indeed make us happy, and saved us having to spend our money elsewhere in future. Note to Zellers: promotion should beckon.

    Mme Metro and I enjoyed our first lunch on the deck yesterday with visiting guest (as opposed to guests who live here?) and fellow blogger Raincoaster. I am forming plans for a blogging exchange. Watch and wait.