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

30 November 2006

Okay, So Last Post Was A Downer

But we're doing okay today, so I thought I'd join the quiz meme. As the saying goes, Resistance is Useless. Hmmm--where did I get that from?

Kinda sounds like me, no?

You might wanna turn the sound down for that one.

Update Raincoaster points out that the link above just gets you to the Liquid Generation homepage. The quiz is here.

29 November 2006

Blood in the Streets

Sometimes the experience is too up-front and immediate to fully digest. I haven't absorbed this, I haven't quite figured out what the hell to think, so forgive me if I spill my guts.

Mme Metro has shanghai'd me into assisting with the local Christmas parade. So tonight we went to a meeting. It was well-run, and to someone running on about four hours of sleep, mercifully brief.

As we drove home, cautious of the recent coating of snow on the ground, I stopped behind a mini-van. I could see a silhouette walking around in the headlights, crossing the road in front of the mini-van, on the balls of its feet.

Prick I thought What's he think he's up to, jaywalking with snow all over the road?

I had time to take in a couple of teenage girls in the darkness just beyond the yellow glare. The silhouette had disappeared.

Then a man fell out of the darkness in front of the van.

I caught only the briefest glimpse as he landed heavily on his left shoulder, facing the van. He was native--that is to say "North American Indian". He appeared to be wearing a red, white, and blue jacket, though I didn't understand why at first.

The young man who had been the silhouette lunged out of the lights and landed heavily on the other man. He went to work with a vicious, brawling right hand. I saw him draw his fist back beyond his shoulder once, twice, three times.

I was out of the car, yelling:
"Hey--HEY! Break it up ..."

The man in the stopped van in front of us was out at the same moment I was. The younger man hopped to his feet and backed away, dancing a little, just a few feet away.

I could see the man on the ground was bleeding from some cuts to his forehead. From a couple of feet away I could smell the alcohol.

"It's okay," I told the young guy. He had a pinched, narrow face and his eyes were flat and crazy, "He's down, you got him ..."

He wasn't listening.
"You fuckin' {something} me--you're gonna get fuckin' punked!" he yelled, point-punching at the downed man.

"Yeah," I said "he gets it, now just go, okay?"

He looked about eighteen in age, but older and darker in terms of sheer viciousness. The two girls were standing nearby. I gathered them by eye and they came closer. One of them put a hand on his right arm. He didn't look at her.

"He fuckin' {something} me, he gets fuckin' served, alright. He gets fuckin' punked," he said again.

"Yeah," agreed one of the girls. She wore something I think was an anorak. Her hair was dye black and looked like a wet mop left to freeze. I remember thinking she could use a hat. But I was worried the kid wouldn't get away.

He looked between me and the driver of the van, whose name I later learned was Glenn, and who was born exactly one decade prior to me, and who lived at a house with the same digits as mine. He shook his head, but allowed the girls to lead him off up the street.

Glenn and I turned to the victim. Which is what he was. The kid hadn't had a mark on him that I could see, but as the man staggered into the headlights of Glenn's van, I could see that his jacket was white and blue. The red was blood.

Initially I thought he'd just gotten a nasty cut on his scalp. They bleed badly, but they're usually not bad.

"You okay?" I asked "You're bleeding a bit." Which was like saying that the Arctic Ocean was a mite cool.

"Little fucker stabbed me." he said. He held his arms across his neck as though to make sure it was going to stay put.

I looked toward the car. Mme Metro, bless her, was out with her cell phone.
"Call the police," I yelled "And an ambulance."

I was frozen for a second. The little creep was armed? I hadn't noticed. The man took his hands from his neck and I saw deep cuts with puckered edges. One of them running, though not spurting. He was mobile, and reluctant to let us help him. Even when his legs gave out and he slumped onto the hood of the van. Glenn and I lifted him off, and I think I saw slight shame in Glenn's eyes at his concern--was it for our injured man or his hood?

Then I thought better of it. He'd stopped to help. He was here. Whatever else he was, that was what mattered. And I was handling the wounded man gently, trying to get blood on my hands. For a moment, I was ashamed.

My first aid training might have helped, but I think I'd forgotten it, and the bleeding man wasn't having any anyway. I pointed out to Mme when she later regretted not using her phone to snap a pic of the assailant that using it to call the cops was probably at least an equal priority. The three kids were up the block now, not hanging around, but not quite leaving. I saw a young man in a black hoodie walking up the street towards us and thought for a moment I was going to have to contend with the kid again.

"Is that him?" I asked Glenn.
"No," he said uncertainly.

Mme was trying to give the police dispatcher our location. The native was groggy. As I watched, he sank to the ground. I didn't know how much of that was due to pain, shock, blood loss or alcohol, but I knew it wouldn't be long in his condition before he passed out, and I was worried that if he did he might not wake up.

Glenn helped me get him into our car. I pulled out. As I did, the three young people, thugs, or whatever, melted into the darkness of a laneway. The man in my passenger seat, almost unconscious, mumbled something about carrying a machete next time he was in town.

"Hey," I said "What's your name, man."

His reply was nearly inaudible:
"Okay Johnnie--stick with me man. I'm taking you to the hospital."
"You're not a cop?"
"No man, I'm not a cop." I'd already reassured him on that point before we got in, but I could understand he might not have picked up on it.

"Where ...?" his head nodded forward and his hands dropped. Blood ran down his jacket. I tried again to push out of my mind what my upholstery was absorbing.

"Johnnie? Johnnie--you gotta stay with me, man. You're gonna be okay, okay?" It was a plea as much as anything else.

We rolled up to the hospital. I went in and alerted the nurse on duty. She snapped up when I explained that I had a man with me who might have been stabbed.

I'd thought Johnnie would need carrying in, but in fact he was standing unsteadily by the passenger door when I came out, and he walked into the hospital under his own steam, into the arms of two nurses.

Glenn arrived as the cops did. He gave a statement, which was how I found out his name and the other info. I gave a generic description of the kid to the cop, and only then realized that as far as I knew, Mme Metro was on the scene with Glenn's wife and no car, and some punk with a knife in the darkness somewhere.

I asked Glenn about the situation, and learned that I'd left only moments before the cops arrived on the scene. He'd hardly done telling me this when Mme Metro walked through the door, carrying Johnnie's outer jacket.

I absently washed the blood from my hands in the hospital toilet. I went outside and tried to clean some of the blood out of the car.

As we drove away, Mme sitting on a plastic bin liner and trying not to touch the frozen/dried blood on the handle, I thought about returning to the scene and looking for the kid. I thought about that kid with the knife, maybe, and how we didn't have much of a description.

My wife in the passenger seat. Shit. I have bigger fish to fry. Kid with a knife. He was probably indoors already--none of the three had on a toque as far as I know, and one of the girls wasn't wearing gloves.

I thought it might be cowardice for a moment. But then I thought
Hey. We stopped. We were there. We helped.

Whatever else that, or my later actions, make me, it's gotta be enough. And maybe for tonight, it is.

As promised, for Raincoaster

I Just Had a Thought

As I said elsewhere, one of my sisters and I, along with our parents, lived in Quebec for many years--probably long enough to be citizens of the brave new nation Stephen Harper is being idiotic enough to build.

But another sister was actually born in the province.

Now follow me here: If the geographic region called the Province of Quebec isn't a nation, if rather it is the people of that province who form a nation within a nation, then each group of people represents that nation in their person right down to the individual.

So my sister is, in fact, the representative of a nation. You know what those are called? Right--ambassadors!

This is great news: I see free parking for the rest of her life, as she swoops into hotel loading zones with her diplomatic plates. Fancy dinners, limousines. And like diplomats through the ages I am certain she will be pleased to exercise her right to hire relatives and friends at ludicrous salaries to do things like hold doors, pour drinks. Surely she will need someone to guard the new giant-screen television and beer fridge, to ensure that they are not stolen or destroyed as a result of hostile action by Canada in the person of one of the informal communists who grace the city in which she lives?

Call me, sis--I work cheap! Sorry--I mean: "I stand ready to do my duty to my country-within-my-other-country."

Mr. Harper, we await with eagerness your forthcoming invitation to dinner with the Governor-General. Naturally, any failure to invite us will be considered an official snub and an act of war upon the nation of Quebec.

Vive les idiots parlimentarians!

Thanks to St. Jude for That!

I just happened to have another preview window of the blog changes open. So I opened the source text, quick copy and paste, and as they say: voila. Though what string instruments have to do with it I know not.

So in the sidebar you'll find some of my favourites. "Things my Girlfriend and I have Argued About", I warn you, is not safe for work, as you'll disrupt the place with your fevered snickerings. You may notice that the majority of them are along the theme of silly. Well, foolishness and absurdity are part of what I like most about the internet. There's just so much of it available.

That reminds me--must put in link to White House and Parliament.


I just spent forty-five minutes adding loads of luverly links to the blogroll. When I went to click "Preview" to see what my genius had wrought, a stray hair or something caught under the mouse, joggling it and off-setting my catlike ninja reflexes for a fraction of a second.

Meaning that I clicked "clear edits" instead.

Erasing all traces of the changes.

*Bangs head slowly and rythmically against wall*

28 November 2006

So Cynical it's Almost Gallic

Our theoretically loyal prime minister, the same one who parachuted a Republican party hack (yes, that's right, the US Republican party) into the London, Ontario electoral riding over the wishes of the local Conservative Party, has had a genius idea, a pure, clean way to sweep the sovereignty debate* into history with one blow.

Or perhaps, suck.

The Liberals started a debate by proposing an internal party motion to consider Quebec a nation. When people asked what that phrase meant, they hemmed, hawed, and in a show of typical party unity, proceeded to plunge knives repeatedly into one anothers' backs. They're now saying that, like most normal Canadians, they'd prefer not to talk about it.

Stephen Harper saw an opportunity. The Conservative party always maintained that Quebec was a province of the united country of Canada. Here was a chance to affirm some "core values". So Harper got on his hind legs in parliament and said that Quebec is a nation within a united Canada.

As always, Harper was willing to let MPs vote their consciences on
this--as he was on the gay marriage vote:
Conservatives were ordered not to oppose the government motion and nearly every member showed up to support it, despite reports that some have deep reservations.

--Via CBC

This whole thing may seem a little off message for a party of federalists until you consider that "core values" in Harper's book clearly means "a willingness to prostitute myself and my party to any john with five bucks in Canadian Tire** money."

This was Stephen Harper's chance to nuzzle the Bloc Quebecois teat for votes in parliament, which his minority government desperately needs if they're going to do anything useful besides keep a bunch of old white Ameriphiles off the street.

The trouble is that Harper's definition is fuzzy. Being "Quebecois" apparently makes one part of this new nation, yet he doesn't appear to think that being a Francophone Canadian is enough.

He has not established, for example, whether a family recently arrived from Bombay (Mumbai) living in Montreal (Montréal) qualifies for the Quebec passport.

And what of a person born and raised on the West Island (Ile de L'ouest) who speaks no French and lives in Leduc, Alberta?

What about my wife--born within the borders of the nation within? Or me--who spent eight years speaking not just Francais but "Kebek-wah".

If language is a defining characteristic, then surely the Newfoundlanders are a nation within Canada. To say nothing of the Cree, Iroquois, and all the other First Nations tribes. Ukranians ... Americans ... Heck, who isn't a nation?

But wait--there's fine print. Harper's Quebec point man and Canada's Transport Minister said that when Harper spoke of the Quebecois being a nation "we meant people who came over with Champlain" or similar statements. Sound thinking. After all, they're all dead. But wouldn't citizenship in the nation-within-Canada of Quebec devolve on their descendants?

Hell--they were Catholics. They interbred with the Irish Catholics, and the English protestants, and the Germans and the Spaniards. And they spread throughout the country. It might not be overstatement to say that from the 1608 population of New France (Quebec), arose the majority of this great nation's population.

So in fact, the Nation of Quebec is the same as the population of Canada!

So glad that's sorted out. Now can we please go back to scrapping over the national identity?

*Note for people from foreign parts: Canada enjoys a tortured relationship with one of its senior provinces marked by bitterness over old wrongs, such as history--the English conquered New France about three hundred years back and some people have never forgotten it. Had the Anglos known the political whingeing and backslapping that would result, they'd have given it back.

By the standards of past debates Stephen Harper is, with his "nation-within a nation" remarks, essentially indicating his personal willingness to perform oral sex on every voting citizen of Quebec.

**Look for Les Pneus-Québec coming soon.

27 November 2006

They Aren't Out of the Hoods Yet

Sorry--TBCBHHS again.
The good news for the Republicans is, after less than two weeks wandering in the wilderness, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. The bad news for the American people is, the light might be coming from a burning cross.

Find the rest at Buzzflash

24 November 2006

The Trouble With 'Net-Based Research

Is that one is quite likely to get sucked up into things that bear as much relationship to your actual quest as a cow knows about calculus, but that are too funny to pass up.

For example: Volkswagen has decided to cut out the middleman and put together its own mid-life crisis package.

Of course, they might be better off with a selection of professional grooming products.

Subaru might wish to start offering free U-Haul rentals.

It's All Too Much For Me Brain

Clearly I have fallen prey to some editorial disease.

I am writing as we speak--well as we speak I'm blogging. And in fact, we're not really speaking because you're reading this. So while I should be writing for pay, I am, in fact, not.

Just glad we've cleared that up. Good. Now ... where was I?

Ah yes--I have been felled by a disease called TBCBHHLS, or Too-Bloody-Clever-By-Half Headline Syndrome.

I was writing a piece about a drunken ship's captain and found myself titling it:
"Rum-Sodden Me and the Lush"

A Ko-(tex)-production

When you hear the name Disney, what name do you immediately think of? That's right--Kotex!

Had to post this before Raincoaster found it.

Way back before Bernard and Bianca saw their first pair of naked boobs, Walt was getting into bed with quite another species entirely as, y'know, was his wont.

Well times sure have changed, haven't they now? I think I'm going to approach Disney/ABC/Miramax/Touchstone Pictures about my idea for a line of instructional videos for hot bi women who like to dress up in leather, nurses' outfits, and English riding gear.

I'm soooo immatoor. Seriously--the information seems accurate, as far as I can tell. No pressure to think anything of the whole business. Except for one small question:


Forgot to Blog This

A day ago, plus over forty years, something spectacular and wonderful happened. Doctor Who was broadcast for the first time on November 23rd, 1963.

The twenty-second is known for quite a different reason. As no-one is likely to forget for another fifty years, or until every piece of evidence has been sealed for another century, US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot and killed as he rode through Dealy Plaza in Dallas.

Millions of other people have more to say than I on the subject (see "Addenda" below). But this was on my mind a day or two ago as I was walking to work. Peter Gabriel was in my headphones describing how:

They're coming 'round the corner
With the bikers in front
And I'm wiping the sweat from
my eyes

even as I was coming around a corner and nearly walked smack into the car.
The little blue Ford.
With the bumper sticker:


Peter Gabriel's comment:

And I let the bullet


There are lots of places where you can read about what happened in Dallas that day. Penn and Teller dedicated an episode of their program Bullsh*t to conspiracy theories, and spent part of that time unscrewing Kennedy conspiracy screwballs. I may not agree with everything they address on this program, but their stance on conspiracy theories, and particularly on the phrase "nothing can convince me" is soundly and succinctly expressed.

I do believe that there are things that we have not yet been told about the Kennedy assassination. However, I do not feel that a Cuban/mafia/circus midget/CIA conspiracy put into action by Oswald/Ruby/Bobby/Marilyn will be one of the things we will eventually find out.

The government of the United States recently resealed the records for a while. I feel they did this for economic reasons. The taxes off the trade in badly-written paranoid screed, videotapes with production values like 1950's porn, and the rantings of bloggers who can't spell probably pay the whole security budget for Area 52.

What's area 52? Well it's the super-secret actual location of Area 51. That air base they opened in the desert is a decoy. Don't believe me? Look--I have some photos--you can see for yourself ...

More interesting Bullsh*t about the so-called moon landings:

23 November 2006

Sometimes You Realize You Had It Good

Metro used to work at an oil recycling shop, driving around in a 5-tonne truck picking up 45-gallon (205 litre) drums of waste oil, oil filters, antifreeze, and other products.

The work was hard, the products we handled, slimy. Surfaces underfoot were treacherous due not to the surfaces themselves but the massive quantity of oil absorbed by the "oil-resistant" soles of our steel-toed boots. Injuries were not unusual. Backs twisted, bruises, cuts.

But every year the boss went crazy with appreciation. He'd spend roughly $23,000 on the Christmas party, where he gave away flat-screen TV's, DVD players, and once, a novelty motor scooter. The first year, Mme Metro and I got a portable DVD player, the second it was an iPod video--both valued at about $300 at the time they were given.

Accompanying the gifts were bonus cheques and various company-related merch. I still wear to work the jacket I got last year. But things have changed. For one thing, I'm not doing the truck-driving thing any more. I've gone white-collar, and make my money by sitting behind a desk stealing other people's best lines and filing the serial numbers off 'em until they look like mine.

So this year I was surprised when the office sales & marketing apparatchik appeared with an envelope. It was labelled "editorial dept".

"Here's the envelope for Stan's gift," she announced chirpily.

It was explained to me thus: for some reason, each department gets its own envelope. "There's no obligation" to contribute. The money is collected and used to purchase our boss Stan--one of the company co-owners--a gift.

I have massive problems with this. For starters, why not simply put a box up in the canteen? Why is it necessary to have each department contribute separately when we all work in the same building? The woman in charge is a smarmy goit who works in sales. She may just think it's good organization, but the perception is that she likes to keep score.

Also, my department has about one-fifth as many employees as hers. If each person puts in $5, her department will produce about $100. Ours will come up with about $25. So to look half as good we each would have to donate twice as much.

And another thing: we've just put behind us the biggest sales month in company history. For the second time, at least. Our work has probably put this guy into a higher tax bracket.

But we should be getting him a present? £μ©λ that!

The first time we broke the sales record, he ordered in 20 pizzas and we had a company lunch. It was a good lunch and we got to talk to people from foreign lands (like marketing, which is more a strange and alien world where YOU GET MORE!!!!).

Anyway, that was nice. The second time, he passed out $2 scratch-and-win lottery tickets. People were overheard to say that they'd have preferred the pizza again. But we were okay with it. Until the television. He gave the sales department, among other little trinkets, a flat-screen TV.

Seeing as sales would have bugger-all to sell without our efforts, we felt just a wee bit resentful. So when I see an envelope marked "Stan's gift", I am, to say the least, ambivalent.

Or am I out to lunch here? Mme Metro has suggested that the situation is aggravated by my change in type of work. But I know very few people who work in a white-collar situation outside my company. Is this usual? Do the well-heeled get presents just for being rich enough to employ other people?

I see this as being totally bass-ackwards. What do you think?

22 November 2006

My Favourite Question

We all have one. A question we like others to ask us, in the belief that we reveal something significant with our answer, or a question we like to ask people, with the idea that we will learn something about them. Here's mine:

"If they made a movie of your life--who'd you like to see play you?"

I used to think Keanu Reaves, oddly enough. Then George Clooney, as I got older. Phillip Seymour Hoffman might make a better job of it.

Lately, if asked, I think I'd have to say David Tennant.

Leave a comment, if you like, with your favourite question, your answer to that one, and an answer to mine:

"If they started filming your life and gave you creative control, who'd play you?"

21 November 2006

Corruption Incoming

Via the ever-entertaining Waiter Rant.

Why is it once you elect a man he starts thinking he oughta go to the head of the lineup?

This is worrying. The Dems have had the house for what, two weeks? And someone was dumb enough to either let Edwards do this or do it for him, without any concern for democracy--which even more than communism espouses standing quietly and diplomatically in lines, waiting your turn--or even for the look of the thing.

It's a tiny thing, but if power were to be considered a diet (and in a democracy power should be sparingly rationed indeed), corruption is a sandwich.

It starts with a little bread and butter. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Of course, to have a sandwich, you need filling, and a top slice. So yeah, it's a little higher in fat and calories, but it's really just bread-and-butter with a little extra. And that's okay--power does come with its perks, not particularly democratic, exactly, but an accepted part of the job.

But you can't have just white bread and turkey--y'need some mayo in there. And while we're at it why not some bacon? Hell, throw in another slice of bread and make it a club. Speaking of clubs senator--why don't you join me on the yacht next weekend ...

Soon your local senator/congressman/MP/MLA is slurping down a hoagie and thinking: "Okay--so I blew my diet just this once ..." or "Well those Wal-Mart folks don't really need a raise, do they?"

Then he's doing a perp walk under a jacket--or simply silently and suddenly disappearing from the public eye, and thinking: "Oh come ON people! I only nibbled a little ..."

Or as a famous woman once said "The serpent tempted me, and I ate."

20 November 2006

Why Unionize?

The WaPo carries an article noting how hard it is to raise interest in unionizing among young miners; from a few days back.

And why should they? Things are good, the pay's high, and Wal-Mart sells the stuff they want a price that's close to anyone's pocketbook. Except that that's not true. Not for everyone. Not by half.

In an echo of the good old days of the 1930's, janitors protesting low wages in Houston were run off—and over—by horseback cops.

Those arrested--who make about $8.50 an hour--had their bail punitively set at $888, 888 each by the Harris Country DA. Clearly a move meant to chill the nascent labour unrest.

Meatpackers at Smithfield, NC, went on strike to protest the treatment of illegal immigrants after the company fired several dozen outright for producing fake social security numbers. About 2/3 of the workers at the plant are hispanic immigrants. Conditions in the plant are known to be dangerous, and the company is known for busting unions.

One reflects that the anti-union cause in America might be helped partly by hiring workers who can't risk being outed as illegals.

Note: The "We made it" on that page refers to the resolution of this strike--the company is still not yet certified.

There is a resurgence in worker politics. The production lines have gotten faster, work's gotten harder, the corporate profits have ballooned from simply good to obscene, and the hours have gotten longer while wages and benefits have been stripped away. Times are good for CEOs while workers are not allowed to even sniff from the same trough. Complainers are kept cowed by the threat that "we'll move your job to India"--although management's often getting ready to do that anyway.

And the current Occupant likes the situation. Richard Stickler--a mine company official whose sole interest in industrial safety is to reduce its scope--was renominated for the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. For the fourth time. Stickler currently heads the agency under a thing called a recess appointment, essentially made while Congress' back was turned.

If even the Republicans (not exactly labour friendly at the best of times and still less now) can't back Dubya up on this, should anybody?

Paul DeCamp was renominated to head the wage and hour division of the Department of Labor. Which might inspire less horror if he wasn't an attorney for Wal-Mart who's already tried to exempt workers from being able to be paid overtime.

George Dubya Bush. Friend of the working man.

Confined Space, whom I shall shortly add to my blogroll, is where I found the linked articles above.

18 November 2006

Kinda Long Week

My week just sort of dragged along there. Don't know why, just one of those things. I had my YouTube moment of gluttony. Sometimes I cringe looking at the post. But if one less person posts a 30-second, badly-lit home movie of a cat playing with a banana because of that posting, it will have been worth it.

The Webbys are taking no more nominations for Jesus' General. Thanks to anyone who voted or nominated.

Where does Nag on the Lake get all these quizzes? This one was kind of interesting; the "What Classic Movie Are You?" Quiz. I was pleased, though not surprised to find that:

Got to go now.

Off the shoulder and in the wind, man.

17 November 2006

I Am Committed To Helping The 'Nets Deliver Its Votes For The General

As a true conservative, complete with red blood, I naturally seek out my own kind out here in the tubes of the internets.

One of the blogs I enjoy is the fundametally manly General JC Christian's Jesus' General. The general is a true American patriot. And consevative? He's so red they're publishing new editions of The General JC Christian Badge of Courage. So red they're releasing a collector's-and-card-carrying-survivalists' DVD edition of the movie General JC Christian Dawn. He's so red that Crayola got sued when they refused to name their reddest crayon "General JC Christian".

The General is everything a true patriot ought to be: loyal, demanding, solidly behind the Great Leader in his holy crusade against Islamofascidefeaticratism, and deeply suspicious of brown people, in Whateveristan or at home.

But the French are perverting the course of democracy by trying to swamp the board in favour of people with, to say the least, dubiously uniheterosexual blogs: "Pirates Cove"? "Captain's Quarters"? Are these true, General JC Christian blooded, conservative-sounding monickers? They also delete pro-uniheterosexual, biblically-approved kinds of votes from the board.

I think we should all get behind the General (in a uniheterosexual and biblically-approved kind of way) and help him snatch back the Webbys from the enemy communislamodefeatofeminicrats.

Please help by going right now to the nomination thread, and exercising your democratic right to vote for General JC Christian, Patriot!

Here are his URL and Atom feed:

Jesus' General

I invite you to copy and paste them into the comment form.

Remember--If you don't then the democrats have already won. Oh, right ...

While you're they're, throw in a vote for Raincoaster. Otherwise she'll complain.

Update: This is beyond a joke. I've voted for Jesus' General three times and it's disappeared every single time. Perhaps they think I'm black?

Update update: Can't post picture. Clearly the French have infiltrated Blogger as well!

16 November 2006

I Swear the Steel Plate in My Groin's Picking Up Discovery Channel!

This may have become my favourite food porn subject: banana porn. Forget mango porn--its time is past.

What happened was that when I discovered the video in the post below, I also dicovered this video here. It's still there because I'm too clueless to get GPrime's embedding to work.

So I decided to see if it was on YouTube. It is:

But in searching for it, I was overwhelmed. How many mad people are out there posting video of their pussies with bananas?

So glad you asked that question. Lemme show you. Note: most of these are crappy little videos with no really worthwhile content--as is, experientially speaking, usually the case with cute cat pictures and video. In fact, I honestly suggest skipping most of them. Take my word for it. It's just that there are so many of the damn things!

However, if you
must watch, I urge you to cut the sound.

Pointless video #1

#2--Part one of a two-parter, can you credit it?

#3--What is the sound of the other shoe dropping?

#4 It was a dark and dorky vid:

#5 Best of the Banana Bunch. Backing track from The Big Lebowski.

#6 A delicious recipe from Africa. Once the cat is wrapped in the banana leaves, simply pop into the oven at 400 degress for eight minutes a pound.

#7 Seven! Seven vondeful veirdos vith video cameras, pussy cats and bananas! Ah-hah-hah-hah-hah!

There were others. But we were starting to get away from ones in which the pussies actually were actually playing with the bananas.

When I am called to judgement, and must stand before my maker, blinking in the glare and thinking $#-eeeee-!7. I honestly didn't think this dude was for real. I guess I'm in the deep warm brown now, I shall defend my actions on Earth by saying: "I didn't mean to be a bad person--I grew up in a twisted, morally corrosive atmosphere of total inhumanity to one's fellow beings." And I shall show this blog posting as proof.

I'll probably get refugee status.

Sick, Twisted, Bloodthirsty, and Deeply Disturbing

I'm not so much concerned with the content as I am with the person who made this video. They're probably still out there somewhere, y'know?

--You have possibly been profoundly unsettled thanks to GPrime, where I first found this, although I couldn't get the code to work so went with YouTube.

15 November 2006

Some Stuff is Just Too Good Not to Share

Like this video, which I think must be tongue-stuffed-firmly-into-cheek.

All this time I've been so wrong.

Just one question: why did He also shape the bannana like a human penis? Or should we, in light of the related comment on the shape of the human mouth, be asking a slightly different question?

I'm just askin'!

Robots of Ages Past

I blogged once, long, long ago, about one of my favourite Sesame Street characters. His name was Sam, and in the modern politically correct terminology he was a silicon citizen, a ferro-American. A robot. In fact, Sam moved, sounded, and looked a great deal like a Sesame Street Dalek.

Sam's purpose was to provide for humans anything they wanted or needed. Unfortunately he suffered from severe hubris. He was convinced that machines were perfect, not in a vain way, but with the blind acceptance of pure, unconfirmable faith, and despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Two years or so ago I searched the internet for any picture of Sam. Today, I found not merely a still pic, but video! For the first time in over mumble-mumble years I watched him try and make it to a hot date. And as they say on Sesame Street and Bittorrent, it's nice to share. Please enjoy:

While Researching Something Entirely Different

Sometimes I just type random search terms into Google to see what comes up. At one point I was trying to compile a list of two-word terms that produced no hits whatsoever. To give you an idea of how tough this is, try combining the word "peppermint" with any other. High-point hits included "peppermint rust", "peppermint shoes", and "peppermint paint". But even with quotation marks I got a hit for "enamel khan".

On the other hand the 'net has truly Monty Pythonesque moments. Such as if one were to go searching for "leisure suit" and wind up on a page about monkeys in Staffordshire.

And then there's the stuff that makes you realize that we have more leisure time than ever in the course of human history. Such as this page, "Candy Addict", entirely devoted to rating and quantifying candy.

How did I get here, you ask? Well I work for a workplace safety company, and I was doing research into worker deaths. So I was glad to stumble upon such a happy little nugget in the midst of all the crushings, severings, asphyxiatings, etc.

Update: Brian, the owner of Candy Addict dot com has pointed out that the page I linked to takes the reader to the middle of a top-ten list rather than the beginning. We of Metroblog thank him for the attention. Find the beginning of that list here. It's well worth a read, especially if you're a parent.

14 November 2006

Belinda Stronach Takes Lot of Crap, Rises in My Estimation

First there was the business about her switching sides in parliament. A lot of people--even those who were glad she did it, and including me--gave her crap for that.

That decision, to switch sides and sit as a liberal party member, came as the country was at fever pitch over a motion that but for two votes could have toppled the government. It cost Stronach a personal relationship with Peter MacKay.

It's ironic that MacKay has a headline on his homepage reading "Remember, Respect, and Reassurance". And it's equally ironic that his homepage calls him "The Honourable".

"The Honourable" took his breakup with Stronach very well. Until recently, when he belied the "Honourable" and ignored the "respect". In response to the question, from the Liberal side of the House of Parliament: "What about your dog, Peter?" he replied: "You have her." At first he flatly denied it. But once it was up on Youtube that became an untenable position.

Stronach was named as the other woman in a divorce suit filed by the now-ex-wife of former hockey enforcer Tie Domi, in the face of a judicial tradition of keeping such identities if not secret, then at least politely hidden. She was pilloried in the press for it, despite no actual evidence turning up.

Then columnist and commentator Norman Spector, normally a fairly measured man, called her a bitch on live radio.

As if this wasn't enough, the ever-jovial Ralph Klein said in a speech "I never knew she had a conservative bone in her body ... except one." He then went on with "Speaking of Peter MacKay ..."

Klein's an abusive @$$#0!3 anyway, so it's not surprising no-one seems to be taking him to task for the remark. But Spector seems to have weathered the storm, and MacKay is now acting like it never happened.

I used to think she was a two-dimensional heiress, a poor little rich girl doing politics because she wanted to be a big girl to daddy or something. I may have been wrong. She's just acquired serious substance by launching an initiative to help ordinary citizens actually contribute to pulling Africa out of the crapper.

Spector is full of good advice, but I don't know what sort of good works he may have done, if any. Klein's an Albertan-Canadian conservative, and the best thing he's done for anyone is retire. MacKay's a federal conservative cabinet minister, so it's possible he may have to be reincarnated several times to work off the foul karma.

Stronach is throwing her not-entirely-inconsiderable mass behind an initiative called the Spread the Net campaign. It's a good cause that anyone can get behind--y'know how I know? Rick Mercer is a co-launcher. And whatever you may think of Mercer, he's 100% genuine.

The idea is simple:
In Africa over a million kids die of malaria every year. That’s pretty overwhelming. It was [Dr. Jeffery] Sachs however that told us that it really doesn’t need to be that way. The answer is simple, tangible, old fashioned and cost effective. One of the best tools to fight Malaria is a mosquito bed net. The net goes over the bed and usually two or three kids will sleep under the thing. The net is treated with insecticide and will continue to do its job for over five years. If you buy a kid a net, there’s a pretty good chance you can save one or two lives. And the cost? Ten bucks.

That’s what is all about. If you go to you can give ten bucks and a mosquito bed net will be purchased and distributed for free in the first two targeted countries – Liberia and Rwanda.

Dr. Jeffery Sachs is one of the world's foremost economists, if you still need to be convinced this is a good idea. The economic impact of having about five million more African kids who are strong enough and healthy enough to go to school, or at worst to help support their families, is estimated in the billions of dollars.

Here in North America, we're on the crest of the enormous spending spree that acts as our annual launch into the financial roller-coaster.

Before you go out and buy something else. Before you spend 8 bucks on parking, and start shelling out the $836 (average US spending per consumer) for presents, spend a lousy ten bucks on this. Do one little good thing, then go blow your wad at the mall.

Hell, if you're a full-on Donald Trump lover and really only motivated by greed consider that the life you save may be making your Nikes next year when labour in China, India, or Viet Nam gets too expensive.

Don't say "I'd like to but I haven't got the money to spare." I have "no money" at the moment. But I have a job, a roof, and food. So I eat out a time or two less this year--I need to lose the weight. So I put the donation on my credit card, I'll get a lot of it back as a tax break.

Pop over to Rick Mercer's blog if you're still not convinced, or visit

I'm not motivated by causes. I don't get off on Quixotic gestures. This initiative is the first grass-roots idea I've seen that I believe can "make a difference", in the parlance of the industry, to the starving, war-racked misery that is Africa in the "modern" age.

We can do better.

I'll post on this again once I make my donation. My advice is get yours in now, before I challenge you to match whatever I scrape up. Comments invited.

Shamelessly Lifted

From The Writer's Almanac
It's the birthday of humorist and essayist P.J. (Patrick Jake) O'Rourke, born in Toledo, Ohio (1947). He's known for his political humor in books such as Give War a Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice, and Alcohol-Free Beer (1992) and Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism, which came out in 2004. He wrote, "Wherever there's injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months late and bomb the country next to where it's happening."

O'Rourke shares his birthday with William Steig, Monet and Astrid Lindgren, creatrix of Pippi Longstocking, once my sister's favourite reading.

13 November 2006

An Inane Question From Metro

When was the last time you heard someone whistling as they walked down the street?

It seems to me that we've gotten too serious, too cool. Even kids no longer bowl along the avenues swinging their arms and bellowing at the tops of their lungs. And we did. It's not something I dream was true but isn't.

Now I see people walking up the street listening on their 'pods to music no-one else can hear, and not sharing it. When we are tempted to bob our heads or do a funky strut we seem overcome with shyness. So we walk stiff.

Today as I walked into town with my own Yepp popping and snapping David Wilcox in my ears, I found myself warbling along. It's reasonably safe from embarrassment--the streets are cold and the hour is early. But it was fun.

So today perhaps you should sing a little, cut a groove on the sidewalk, doubleback and jive, ignoring the stares if any of strangers on the street. And if they stare, remember that part of it will be raw envy.
Now all of you people,
when I say 'jump',
I want you to jump in the air.

I want you to jump in the air,
and stay there.
--David Wilcox, Rockin' the Boogie

12 November 2006

New Camera Feature Helps North Americans Maintain State of Denial

Lose weight without diet--without exercise--without drugs. Without in fact doing anything at all! Lose weight photographically!

First fat clothes, then fat aisles at supermarkets. Now a camera that removes pounds . HP and Pentax are flogging a feature that lets you avoid all that tiresome photoshopping while still allowing you to make your high-school friends jealous.

Next year: cameras that turn brunettes blonde, make your skin paler, reshape your nose in harmony with aesthetic principles and give you bigger tits/packages. It will be released just in time for the Oscars.

HP is said to be acquiring the rights to "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", as well.

Experts predict absolutely no impact on internet chat rooms.

I just had a thought: logically speaking, if you took a picture of Mary-Kate Olsen, wouldn't she vanish?

Pulling out the Big Guns

Have you stepped on the "long tail"? It's may be a fantasy conjured up by some people who may or may not understand math.

The idea: Consider the pyramids. Sure, the view from the top third is great, but there's more material in the bottom half if you want to build a really big house.

Now consider a graph like so. If the graph is big enough, then the area of the "tail" might be equal to the area of the "head". Or in blog-hit terms, you get as many hits by concentrating on the readers who are the "tail" of your search engine hits.

In my case I think it means this: A certain percentage of you, o Avid Fan, arrive looking for the damndest things, from "Britney Spears sex tape head naked" to "cartoon hobo bums" to "mango porn". And no, I can't tell which of those is the more disturbing.

What the hell is mango porn anyway? Anything like Oedipus Rex performed by vegetables?

Still, I am advised by a long-tailed search engine hit counter that the post that should get me the highest number of hits on this blog would feature Joanna Lumley, nude wearing a hijab, playing a Yamaha U7 piano and reading physics while staring into the oncoming headlight trails of the BBC One Skycops who were on their way to confiscate her silly pictures of Haifa Wehbe in their 2004 Chevy Aveo (which was panned in its Lemon-Aid review, despite a generous plastering of sports team slogans).

Tomorrow evening maybe I'll see whether this actually works.

Where the hell would you find a silly picture of Haifa Wehbe anyway?

11 November 2006

Today is Remembrance Day

Unusually, I didn't go down to the ceremonies this year. Normally they're held at the cenotaph. This year they were at the convention centre, and the granite monument with its bronze plaques stood alone in the wind. I don't know why. I think the charitable assumption is that it's so the veterans can sit comfortably and it's out of the chill.

This week saw a bit of a kerfuffle regarding the sale by a peace group of white poppies. These poppies divert money from the Legion, where the funds are badly needed to help in their continuing and again-expanding mission to help care for the Canadian veterans of war. Embarrassingly, the Canadian Legion has had to action this on the basis that poppies are a trademark.

Those selling the white poppies claim that their poppies are dedicated to the idea of "never again", and that they celebrate peace, while the red poppies are dedicated to glorifying war.

It has clearly been a long time since the last serious war, if people can so much forget why poppies are the symbol. Red poppies, specifically. The poppies which grew from the mud of Flanders, fertilized with the blood of thousands. And which grow today, in another place where blood is being spilt.

This is why we celebrate--not in the sense of jubilation, but as a solemn mass is celebrated--and this is why the poppy, the red poppy is the emblem we wear. To remember the dead, and to think about why they died and about what is worth dying for.

Today I wanted to offer my public thanks to my dad's cousin Clifford, who was torpedoed twice during his Merchant Marine service. Canadian Merchant Marine sailors had to fight for decades to have their service recognized. He was from England, so I don't know what his experience was.

I only remember a round little man with coke-bottle glasses, who greeted me from a bed in which, to the best of my knowledge and with very rare exceptions, he spent every day of the last thirty years of his life, his health ruined.

I'm thinking of my own cousin, who could be in the air above Iraq as I write this. And of course I have to think of the people below.

Of my best buddy Seagull, who sometimes can't talk to me much about his time in Bosnia, Haiti and the Gulf. Of John, my ex-roomie, who just returned from the 'Stan safely.

And my buddy Rob, who had nightmares:
"I tell you man. Sometimes I still wake up with the smell of burned flesh in my nose."

And then he told me about the day he surved a mortar attack on an elementary school, and afterwards had to stuff kids two to a body bag, because they were short on bags.

And I think: That's why we do this.

To all those wearing a uniform tonight, keep safe.

10 November 2006

Just to Prove Cat Owners Are Stupid Too

Member of the BC Legislative Assembly Scott Fraser wants the antifreeze that poisoned his cat banned in favour of new, (and about twice-as-expensive) less-toxic kinds.

This is so completely £µ©λed. It's hard to know where to begin.

Uh--Scott? Assuming you had him confined to the house, as a "responsible" owner would--why'd you leave the anti-freeze out in the first place, you daftie?

Was Andre in in fact your house Mr. Fraser? Your yard? Or were you "responsible" for letting him roam the neighbourhood at will--pissing and $#!77ing freely on your neighbours' properties and terrorizing the local bird and small animal population? And able to enjoy the odd garbage can, milk dregs, or dish of antifreeze?

Don't be sad though--you can go get another cat from the hordes the SPCA has to kill every year because affectionate, "responsible" cat-lovers can't be bothered spaying or neutering their pets. I assume the late lamented Andre had had his spark plugs off?

Rather than regulating anti-freeze, regulate pets. In the meantime, blow me. But if you're going to try to make the world safe for cats, why not make some real laws: Mandatory spay-or-neuter laws. Mandatory keep-Tiddles-under-control laws. Stuff like that.

Or are you going to press for a ban on automobiles because so many people's responsibly-kept pets get turned into pussy rugs every year while they're out creating the next generation of glove liners?

"Two ounces of ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a dog, one teaspoon can kill a cat, and two tablespoons can be hazardous to children," says Fraser's bill.

I'd like to thank you for that information, Scott. I've been putting it out in saucers at 1/2 a litre apiece. This'll be a great savings.

"Even if you don't like pets, everyone has friends and loved ones that do have pets," said Fraser.

Yup. And those friends and loved ones need to learn to behave responsibly and keep control of their personal choices.

But don't worry too much about the spaying/neutering issue, Mr. Fraser. I've just found a way to make money off of the kittens.

I've got to get started; Christmas is coming and they make great gifts!

Dogs With Teeth Need Regulations With Same

Disclosure: I have never particularly liked dogs to begin with. Nor cats--though I find myself living with two.

But I am a responsible curator, and the animals are not allowed into the great outdoors. And when they crap, someone in this house (not me, more often than not) scoops it from the litter box and down the bog it goes.

Furthermore, I agree with dog enthusiasts that cats are basically parasites. Like fleas with their own fur coats, only they scratch you. Dog owners have all sorts of fulsome praise for their animals. You hear words like "companion", and "member of the family".

Well would ya please start treating them like members of the family? If a member of your family $#!7 on the sidewalk you'd clean it up, right? If a family member could turn violent any second and take a kid's face off you'd restrain him, right? If a family member went around sniffing stranger's crotches and butts or humping their legs you'd keep tight control of them, right?

In the over-fed, overly well-off Americas, the domestic dog population has rocketed. Dogs are seen as some kind of a right, like having a mom and an apple pie. This increase brings with it an increased number of injuries and attacks. It also bring tons of smaller offences which nonetheless drive non-dog-owners into a purple rage.

Lately, dog owners have learned to disguise themselves as responsible persons: yesterday I was walking the path to work when I saw an Owner holding a leash attached to an animal straining in the bushes by the side of the track. As I approached, said Owner pulled a white plastic grocery bag from his jacket pocket and stood, apparently ready to collect the offering.

I had walked about three paces past when I heard the bag crinkling as he stuffed it back into his jacket, and his footsteps as he began walking on, leaving those special little sausages by the walkway.

Another owner watched his four-footed-friend bound up to me, barking in what he doubtless thought was a playful manner and I interpreted as "Prelude to Cujo". When the animal placed its claws on my shoulder I shoved it away and told it to "go away".

"Aw, he's just playing," said the owner.
"So am I," I said, and sprayed him with bear spray.

Not really. But there's always a next time ... and there always is.

I will no longer pretend to tolerate such antisocial behaviour. These pricks doubtless wander on thinking they're sufficiently special that they, of all owners, should be allowed to let their dog prance around leashless, scattering $#!7 about the landscape with abandon.

Just lately I have found dog$#!7:
On the local school playing field.
On the path I walk to work, in many, many locations.
On the sidewalk by my workplace.

And of course on my shoes.

The majority of dog owners think themselves responsible, I'm sure: "it's just the few bad apples" who are offending. I agree.

To curb those "few bad apples" I intend to press for a law that will confiscate the animal and failing payment of a thousand-dollar fine, will result in the animal being gassed and sent to the Purina factory--Don't be angry with me; I'd rather do it to the owner.

If I can't have that--I'll settle for a thousand-dollar license fee, plus a $30 tax on every container of dog food sold. It'll all go to a fund to defray expenses for the 25,000 people (US figures) who'll get mauled because some alleged "responsible owner" feels their "family member" is too special for a leash.

Prove me wrong, people. Curb your damn dog.

Just to Show You Any Idiot Can Do It

It's not exactly extreme pumpkin carving, but as promised in my Halloween entry, here's a shot of my jack o'lantern.

It took roughly two hours to carve. The pumpkin had a decently thick rind, but not a huge one; so instead of ambitiously trying to get it right in every detail I decided to go for something that would look right once lit up. I also learned that it wasn't necessary to widen and flatten the features to take into account the broadness of a pumpkin vice the narrower image I was using.

I think it's pretty decent for a first effort. It looks a bit like some sort of monk in the light (I was actually worried for a bit that someone might think it was some kind of Chinese caricature), but once the candle was in it looked like this:

Which, while not perfect, actually bears some resemblance to V for Vendetta, as I intended. That link takes you to Legofish's picture, which I used as a guide.

09 November 2006

The Democrats Take the Senate

The concession of Mr. Allen leaves the Dems plus independants in control. Or the Republicans, if Joe Lieberman's going to be his momentumous self.

Is it appropriate or ironic that today in 1945 marked the beginning of the Nuremberg trials?

Today too, Markus Wolf, the East German spymaster who inspired John Le Carré's "Karla" died. He was one of the original Nuremberg correspondents.

Read his account, taken down last year, of what he saw in Nuremberg.
"Perhaps I was naïve, but I had seen the photographs of all these Nazi leaders, in all their former pomp and glory. Then, in Nuremberg, I saw normal, simple people sitting in the dock. They seemed like staff in a railway station or in a post office. [...] We must not forget that many Germans supported Hitler, he came to power with the help of German capitalists and business leaders.

When you think of that time, so many people looked away from the crimes that were going on before their own eyes."

That's it for today. Thanks for visiting.

08 November 2006


He's not a sacrfice to the true believers, oh no!

Rummy now says it was the prospect of congressional criticism that made him step down.

That is to say, now that he may be subject to genuinely independant oversight, he feels it's time to run.

More succinctly: he can't take the heat, so he's getting out of the kitchen.

Quite right too. And only three or four years too late.

Note to Self: Honesty Always

My Avid Fans (both of you) know which way I lean. I am a conservative.

For this reason I have been riddling with rhetorical grapeshot the "big-government, high debt, zero-compassion, value$-based" government of George the Younger as represented by the Repulican-dominated House and Senate.

Here today is my promise that I shall do my damndest to hold the Democratic House and/or Senate to the same minimum standard. Corruption and hypocrisy are as revolting in the blues as they were in the reds.

Of course, they may make it easier for me. The Dems rarely trumpet their "values"--and oddly enough don't seem to be plagued with the same scale of scandals. I think also, that the Republicans bring to the table people who consider themselves "hard-headed" and "not afraid to get their hands dirty". As indeed we have seen. The trouble is that this "pragmatism" leads to a father-knows-best attitude, without the requisite internal checks and balances one needs to lead honestly. Consider the Bush cabinet, for a horrid example.

But now that they're not so freaked about being labelled "traitors" or "soft on terror" maybe the Dems'll find the moral fortitude to take firm positions on the values that make America American. Freedom of the individual, the concept (lately out of favour) of justice ...

But they say power corrupts, so we'll see.

Good News All Around!

They don't have the Senate yet, but the Democrats have stormed Congress. There's a Muslim congressman. The governor of Massachusetts is black. A woman is Speaker of the House for the first time.

And best of all, Rumsfeld is going! Too much, too little, and 3000 American corpses too late, but finally. He's just a surrogate for now, though. W. had to be seen to be getting the message. And clearly he still doesn't.

The troops are doubtless crying:
"Free at last, free at last--thank God we're free at last!"

Finally America has a democratic government that's worthy of showing off in the world. All they have to do now is prove that the new boss isn't the same as the old boss--for example by repealing Bush's anti-constitutional rules and moving to force him to actually ban torture. Just a suggestion.

All it would take to make it completely civilized is one little impeachment . . .

But I'm still happy.

07 November 2006

Finally We Agree on Something!

History is made today as I find myself in agreement with Dubya on probably the first and last thing upon which we'll ever agree:
"No matter what your party affiliation or if you don't have a party affiliation, do your duty, cast your ballot and let your voice be heard."
--Via Yahoo! News

Elsewhere, the Republicans are doing business as usual--intimidating voters with threatening phone calls (tip of the Fifty-Mission Cap to the General), busing the homeless in to hand out fake voting guides, and the usual bag o' tricks so well honed by Karl Rove & co.

Diebold, of course is helping to deliver votes to the president. Although there seems to be a glitch--one Republican candidate's vote got rejected too. It is ridiculous, given the number of mistakes and problems they've had, that black-box voting should be treated as an acceptable voting method.

Story Followup: Letters to God

After putting half of the letters to God he found floating in the Atlantic on eBay, Bill Lacovara has cancelled the auction. He says the letters will be forwarded to the daughter of dead Rev. Grady Cooper.

Twenty-five bidders pushed the price for the letters past the $500 mark.
He said he and his family have received many hostile letters and phone calls from people upset that the letters were put up for auction, and said it never was his intention to profit from them.

--Via Yahoo! News

Of course. No-one puts anything they got for free on eBay with the intention of profiting from the sale--what are these people thinking?

Still, I'm glad Mr. Lacovara got his head out in the end.

YouTube O' the Day

If a face could launch a thousand ships, Faith Hill could torpedo the fleet with the knot in hers.

Has she not noticed? we live in a video age. And as soon as you make a stupid remark, or do something so asinine you'll never live it down, or even if you act in an unaccountable noble and entirely human way, it's up on the 'net.

I suppose it's possible she didn't notice the camera trained on her. I suppose it's also possible I might pull a lightly-grilled weasel sandwich with mustard from my boxer shorts.

Is she so incapable of holding her temper in? Or did her mommy forget to teach her how to be a graceful loser?

Who cares! Like the song says: "That's Entertainment"!

Of course if content creators, broadcasters and their pet celebs had a little more dignity then it wouldn't be. Thank god there's always someone willing to throw a fit.

Today's the Day

Motivation to vote:
"As you go to the polls, remember, we're at war."
--George W. Bush

06 November 2006

Good News For Creationists ... Uh, Hangonaminit

Japanese fisherpersons caught a four-finned dolphin on Oct. 28th. I found out about this from BoingBoing.

This is good news for creationists. Creationists often argue that the world is DEvolving rather than Evolving. Since this dolphin is apparently a throwback, it suggests that they're correct.

Unfortunately, to accept that idea you would first have to accept that dolphins did in fact evolve in the first place.

Since according to creationists this is clearly not true, then the dolphin must be ... Um. Evolving?

There is one really bad piece of news: The Japanese are still unapologetically catching cetaceans. Perhaps they will eventually evolve as well. No bets on creationists.

03 November 2006

What Would Jesus Do?

Meth, apparently.

You've got the megachurch Bush-luvin' pastor who scores drugs.

You've got the mayor of Topeka having to mail out letters apologizing for godhatesfags dot com's (and godhatesamerica dot com's) loony Pastor Fred Phelps' coming out to protest at soldiers' funerals.

There's been bribery, more sex, lying ...

Boy, these family-values types are just right out there livin' large with the lord, ain't they?

Mary Cheney, Jack Haggard, Mark Foley ... all strident GOP campaigners against gay marriage. All gay or bi. All pried out of the closet by public scandal (or in Mary's case by her daddy's loathing for queers).

Gay secretaries in the Fatherland Insanity department, gay escorts posing as reporters for the White House PR machine ... The list goes on and on.

What is this weird self-loathing these poor people experience? What drives them to embrace the party which denies them the constitutional right to "the pursuit of happiness"?

Y'know, Hitler liked his men tall and clean-cut too, and apparently Eva Braun died a virgin. Strongly suggests something about which side of Gay Street he strolled. But he hated homos so much that he sent them to concentration camps.

Not that that should inspire any comparisons to the modern behaviour of the Republican Guard, surely.

Thank the FSM I live in a country where fags can marry. Sure Harper keeps planning to "revisit the issue". But what's he gonna do? It's the law, and most MP's, including his, don't want it "revisited".

Not, you understand, that I'm letting my guard down.

General Delivery, The Atlantic Coast

A New Jersey man found over 300 letters addressed to "God" washed up on the beach. Most of the letters were sent to a minister who's been dead for a couple of years.

Many are wrenching--a teenage girl trying to get past her abortion, a man asking to win the lottery--twice, and a man senteced to 18-54 years for a crime he claimed he didn't commit.

No reports on whether God responded. Certainly the late Reverend Grady Cooper obviously did not open them.

Interestingly, early reports say that the finder, Bill Lacovara, was "planning to keep them, then maybe throw them out". Others though, seem to say that Lacovara feels God forwarded him these letters with the object of making him some moolah. He's apparently decided to put the anguish, gratitude and pain of 300-plus strangers on eBay. What a thoughtful guy.

Of course, if you're one of the victims--like the teenager asking for "forgiveness for 'killing one of your angels'--you could always make sure to put in the winning bid.

Reminds me of something ... Ah yes--that's it!

I hope Lacovara has a little human decency and burns the stack. Meantime:

Dear God:

I have a teensy, tiny little favour I wanted to ask. It seems like a mighty big job for me, but to you it's easy, 'cos you're like, omnipotent and stuff--y'know that 6/49 thing? Could you just think about me winning it? I don't really want the money--you can read my mind like Mr. Spock and you know that. If you look in my heart (please don't touch my pacemaker--you might set it off) you'll see how I want it so I can help those poor ladies at the car wash. They're so poor they have to buy their bikinis one piece at a time! So I was thinking that if I had a big old limosine or a Rolls-Royce then I could always get it washed and they could work hard and I could give them a big tip so they could get more bikinis.

I also want to help world peace, and maybe get me one of those cute African babies Madonna and Angelina Jolie got. So maybe you'd better make me win it two times, eh? Just to be on the safe side.



Voting Republican?

If you're one of the dwindling number of people planning to "stay the course" with the Republican party, a man named James Richard Brett has some words for you, including these ones:
"Figure it out America. You have one weekend to make one of the most important choices of your life. Are you going to support the reckless status quo, or are you going to choose a new team to pull us through the next years?"

The rest of it is here. And I say well said, Mr. Brett.

The rest of the world is hoping that the madness has passed, and the Democrats--or independants--will take control of Congress and the Senate. I've given up on holding my breath after the last election, but I'm crossing my fingers.

I confess though, that I feel there's clearly no hope for any district in which voting machines are used. There is, I suppose, a good reason to name them "voting machines" rather than "vote-counting machines". A thing's name should describe what it does, after all.

Wanna know why I have no hope for black-box voting? We could start with the Princeton study:
"We found that the machine is vulnerable to a number of extremely serious attacks that undermine the accuracy and credibility of the vote counts it produces."

Or the minibar key story:
"The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet.


Update (Oct. 28): Several people have asked whether this entry is a joke. Unfortunately, it is not a joke.

How about the "flip-of-a-swith" problem? (via BoingBoing):
If you want to steal an election, use a Diebold machine.

Here's a cascade of other concerns raised, from a Google search at BoingBoing.

The head of the Diebold company is on record as having comitted to "deliver votes to the president", meaning Dubya.

But maybe they'll have fixed the problem and will be printing a paper record? Doubt it. After all, the articles above detailing the multifarious flaws in black-box voting aren't raising any new concerns.

The good news is that on the strength of the current polls, a GOP victory will look decidedly bad, and smell worse. The least suspicious thing Diebold or its friends can do, it seems to me, is lose by a smaller margin.

02 November 2006

The Club

When Mme and I got our shiny new car, it was a weird moment for me. I'm traditionally a beater freak. To illustrate: before getting the Ford Focus, my own last car was a $100 1976 forest-green-over-rust Ford Maverick, bought in 1997.

So my vehicles have traditionally been the kind I could leave parked in any neighborhood with the windows down and which would still be there when I got back. Most of the time I lock my doors to protect my cassette collection, 'cos it's usually more valuable than the car.

But now we have a shiny new-ish Focus. And for the first time in my life, I bought a "club"--a large metal bar that locks across the steering wheel, the better to prevent strangers with a liberated attitude towards the concept of private property from taking the car away.

We don't really need one. Ford now puts a microchip in the keys. I'm not wild about the idea: I feel it lends itself too easily to privacy violations, but it's effective as hell. It is impossible to start the car without the chip. And it's impossible to properly program the chip unless you already have the key*. Still, we bought the club. Why?

After careful thought, I rationalize it thus: The car itself is about as secure as I could wish. Short of actually stealing my keys or carjacking me, a thief can do nothing once he's broken the windows to get in.

But while he's in there he might steal my cassettes, or my maps, or go looking for the vials of crack that I never keep in my car, using a knife on the upholstery.

So the club is a message, it says:
To the person with the hungry eyes and the junkie rash who's peering thoughtfully at the steering wheel:

The owner of this car is sufficiently security-conscious that he doesn't keep money, food, or other interesting items in his car. Nor handy vials of crack.

This you can tell by the fact that despite the already impressive security in place to prevent the unauthorized borrowing of his vehicle while he is away, the owner has nonetheless fitted a "club"-type anti-theft device to the wheel.

Now go your way in peace.

And it works, too. Yesterday the SO parked in the Downtown East Side, a raffish neighbourhood to say the least, where recent Olympic celebrations have resulted in a massive increase in the homeless junkie quotient, Mme Metro wisely installed the club on the wheel.

Upon her return, not only was the car still there, but she herself had to call a locksmith to cut the club off. It cost $40. Which was slightly less than it might have cost me to FedEx her the key she took off her ring last month on the assumption that in our bucolic new home we wouldn't need it.

It occurs to me that in that neighbourhood she should have asked a passer-by.

*Note to Ford customers: Ford actually prints the wrong instructions on how to code new keys in its manuals. It also charges $30 to program a new key. When I, grinding my teeth flat with frustration at my own inability to program my spare keys, no matter how carefully I followed said instructions, asked my dealer about it he claimed it was a "security thing". He did not charge me the $30, and I would not have paid if he had. Concealing information like this makes the company liable.

The logic seems to run: in case a thief stole my car, using a working key, he could not then copy the key so that he'd have a spare.

01 November 2006

Hallowe'en '06

I'm fond of Hallowe'en. Growing up it was usually the big celebration that happened just before the first snow hit.

Of course that meant that costumes in my childhood tended to be confined to above-the-neck or fit-between/under/over-a-snowsuit-and-toque outfits. But I've never forgotten how much fun it was.

Last night I got completely into my role as candy-disher-outer. I rummaged through the Tickle Trunk Mme and I keep filled with castoff clothes and plastic swords, and lo: out came a pirate costume complete with rakish eye-patch.

So I put on the striped shirt, leather vest, eye-patch, a sash with a sword stuck in it, and wriggled my feet into my old Boulet boots. For a dashing finishing touch I put on a skull-and-crossbones bandana--just something I happened to have lying around, like you do.

And I waited. And waited. For three hours.

At nine last night I threw out the pumpkin I'd spent two hours carving into the mask of V (for Vendetta). Which I'd done a great job of, by the way--pic later. I put the costume back into the Tickle Trunk.

And I wondered Where the hell are the little bastards?

Then I realized. Close by, there is a school. Doubtless it emits some sort of standing wave radiation that children can detect, and keeps them away.

Oh well, more chockies for me.