Metroblog

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

31 March 2007

Catholics, Avert Thine Eyne

Since the big Donahue-and-cry, you won't be able to go see this. So I present it here as a public service.



I feel Cosimo Caravello was courting controversy, but Donahue's been at it a lot longer and he's a bigger whiner, as he proved when the gallery caved in and kow-towed and he said:
"Because we did not like the way the Roger Smith Hotel handled the decision to drop the display, we have no intention of contacting the 500 organizations that we alerted to this assault on Christian sensibilities to inform them that the exhibition has been cancelled."
That is: "Our pressure tactics and whining worked exactly as planned, but we're still not going to call off the dogs."

So I'm stepping in.

To the millions of Catholics who both read this blog and belong to brownshirt organizations: The show's cancelled, folks, put the placards, blackjacks, and stompin' boots away. For now.

--Mme Metro accurately (and insistently) points out that I read it at her blog first.







My LOL Moment

I don't type those letters unless I actually did (and here's why) but ...



--Via I Can Has Cheeseburger, where smileys and lols have clearly already done their worst.

--Via, in its turn: Envelope Filter.







30 March 2007

Peter Schilling, Sage of Our Time?

Peter Schilling barely charted over here. "Major Tom" was top of the pops for a few weeks.


I think the song "Let's Play USA" was on his second album "Things to Come." I can't find audio, but here are the lyrics:

Where oh where is mickey mouse?
Live and well in the White House
What's the word on common sense?
It's been sitting on the fence
Have you seen the mastermind?
Someone smashed it from behind
Leaders saints and honest men
What's become of them today?

Let's play USA, let's play USA

How I love the life I lead,
cannot think and cannot read,
watch our values slip away,
play the game of USA

Even though we lost the race
to get the first man into space,
we will be the first country
to run automatically.
Soon the robots we create
starring on the great white way:

Let's play USA, let's play USA

How I love the life I lead,
cannot think and cannot read,
watch our values slip away,
play the game of USA

Won't it be a lot of fun
every man will own a gun
Shoot the ones whose point of view
makes a point that bothers you
Go on and pollute the land
Clean air will be sold in cans
Did you hear the master plan?
One nation under Disneyland!

How I love the life I lead,
cannot think and cannot read,
watch our values slip away,
play the game of USA



I'm not anti-American. I'm in mourning for what they've lost and hoping they find it again.







Not a Lotta Time Today

I have more on my plate than I can really handle today--without blogging. But here's something I'm thinking on:

This week, the RCMP imploded about pension money mismanagement and corruption. It's so bad that disgraced ex-Commissioner Zacardelli might be called in to testify--despite the fact that he has either a faulty memory or a penchant for lying (See: "Maher Arar" and "Zacardelli").

A US deppity and Homeland Security bozo is fighting to have a case dismissed in which he shot two movers who'd come to his home to echange a bed he claimed was damaged. He shot both men, one three or four times, then placed an iron bar on the ground and claimed they were threatening him with it.

A border patrol officer in the US stole $15,000 worth of pot out of a border enforcement vehicle.

An off-duty Chicago cop boot£µ¢λed a barmaid after she refused the drunken @$$#0!3 service. In the video, the cop looks to be about 230 lbs. The waitress might be 170.

Because oh yes, there is video. Of both those last two events.

And I pause to wonder: What sort of amoral £µ¢λwits are being hired to be cops these days?

First there's the monumental hypocrisy of law enforcement in the first place. How many cops do you know who smoke dope and drive when they're half-in-the-bag? I've met more than one. But really, that's nothing Joe Citizen doesn't do on his off hours.

But outright criminal behaviour coupled with the monumental assoholic stupidity to get caught on video?

I can just see the recruiting video:
"'Roid rage? Turn it into a career! Bad credit, no credit, bad debt? We don't care--refinance your home from the evindence locker! Make a career of bullying and intimidation!--But if you're too stupid to make it into the Fatherland Insanity Department, then there may still be work for you in law enforcement. Think about it: it's either this or 'Y'want fries with that?' again on Monday. Sign up now and get a free can of pepper spray!"

What am I saying? There's nobody too stupid for Fatherland Insanity. Look at who's running the Justice Department.

And then there's the formaldehyde-saturated maraschino cherry on this $#!7 sundae. While the cop stomped the barmaid into paste, a guy at the bar watched for several seconds, then bravely began throwing glasses and other items at the monster cop ...

Sorry, I meant: "Then bravely reached for his cell phone".

Update: someone pointed out to me that off-duty cops in the US often have off-duty guns. Maybe grabbing one's cell is the best one can do.







29 March 2007

This Can Only Be Someone's Brain on Drugs

How else to explain that the United States government watched a man torture and kill thirteen people in six months; watched as a man was kidnapped from Texas, taken across the border to Juarez's notorious "House of Death", tortured and killed along with two other people and did nothing?

Even though they knew the kidnap victim was the wrong guy?

By mid-2004 the body count was sixteen. And the US government, including members of the Texas Justice Department (now known simply as the "Hollow Laugh Department") did sweet fuck all. Except record it all.

And cover it up.

The morality of the "War on Drugs" has hit a new low. I won't say "the bottom"--not with an ex-cokehead in the Alabaster Asylum who got there partly by handing out indefinite sentences to cokeheads.

It's enough to make a man want to believe in a god. At least while I barbequed in God's personal torture chamber I'd have these fine folks for company.

Read the link and realize that the United States has now become the hollow mockery of freedom and justice this administration keeps accusing the UN human rights council of being.







26 March 2007

Metroblog Music Monday #1

Messages. Sometimes a person comes along and says something that's so truthful that the message carries down through the ages.

But over the years I think many of the central messages from the "big guys" have been distorted, or forgotten. So I think we need to look a little closer to our own lives and times to find our messages. After all, if anyone had video of Jesus, for example, there'd be a whole lot less arguing about what "love thy neighbour" really meant.

So here are a couple of vids from a man whose messages carry extremely well. These videos are about forty years old, and as relevant today as they were then. Dubya never saw any of them. Too busy branding pledges with red-hot coat hangers and scoring kegs 'n' coke, I guess. Makes you wonder how different the world could have been.



Pete Seeger, folk singer, $#!7 disturber, sometime communist, and messenger.



If you've skipped the other two videos, because we all know we're busy, can I ask that you watch this one? I have nothing to say about it because what's necessary is already said, with the minor excaption that the words "Viet Nam" might need changing.







23 March 2007

Happy Thank-You

Just wanted to say thanks to Mme Metro, her guest Ms. M., to Creatrix, and to my boss, who was the only other person at work yesterday and took time out from nursing her wisdom tooth sockets to sing me "Happy Birthday"! It was a nice, low-key kinda b-day.

By purest and happiest co-incidence, I had half-decided to treat myself to a microphone cord. So Mme and I entered a pawnshop (though from the prices it was more of a rook). Whiles I surfed miles of mic-to-quarter-inch plugs, she discovered a copy of the DVD we had lost, the first season of Made in Canada.

After work Mme Metro presented me with a card sent from Creatrix-ville, cooked me butter chicken, and diluted it with Elephant Island apple wine. She also gave me my present from I.H.--a CD by The Box (listen to "So Beautiful" and "Run For It" on the "New Album" page here.) frontman and creative force Jean-Marc Pisapia. The disc is called "John of Mark" and I've had it on my radar for years.

So we had our curry and our wine, and treated ourselves to two precious episodes (we have to ration them). Then we watched Hellboy ... still wondering why Mme M. felt that was appropriate.

I also realized yesterday, that I'd been telling people I was mumble-mumble years old all last year, even though I was actually mumble-mumble-minus-one. So I've caught up again, which is nice.

I have a feeling it's going to be a good year. Not perhaps as busy in terms of enormous life events as the last, but damn fine in any case.







22 March 2007

The American Prime Minister

It seems like only months ago that Steve Harper introduced divisive US-style politicking to Canada, fighting a "morality" campaign to deny gay Canucks human rights.

It was only last month that he brought in American-style "attack" ads against Stephan Dion.

It was, at long last, only yesterday that he rose on his hind legs and actually parroted the Bush administration pravda "You're either with us, or you're with the Taliban".

In his follow-up statement this morning, he refused to apologize and said:
"I would like to see more support in the House of Commons from all sides for Canadian men and women in uniform
[...]
I think Canadians expect that from parliamentarians in every party. They have not been getting it, and they deserve it."
--Via the Globe and Mail

Oh really, Steve? Name me these straw-man politicians you've pulled out of nowhere. Find me one person who says "I support the Taliban." Or "I don't support the troops."

Name the people you're accusing or sit down and shut up, damn you! We don't want your Bushian political discourse here.

It has been said before:
You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
--Joseph N. Welch, Special Counsel for the Army
9 June 1954







So Much for Evenings and Weekends

And possibly blogging for a while.

Yesterday we had a first cast meeting and read-through of the New Play. I'm not actually the youngest member of the cast, but it becomes increasingly evident that they had little choice but to cast me for the lead. To paraphrase Wayne and Schuster: "The youngest is but a beardless youth, the others are but youthless beards." So I fit the age for the eager young teacher by default.

When Mme Metro took the message giving me the lead, the director said "The lead girl's pretty cute. Don't worry--he only has to kiss her twice." Then she cunningly offered Mme the chance to stage-manage. Mme turned her down; she presumes any theatrical ingenue has better taste.

On the way home last night I stopped in to the theatre where the last play I participated in was performed. Four of the company were rehearsing a musical number for Current Production as I came in. They paused and one of them said: "Oh good--I was just about to phone you. D'you want to stage-manage for Current Production?"

So my schedule until June or so goes:
Monday and Wednesday: New Play.
Thursday through Saturday: Current Production Stage Manager.

Mme Metro has stuck my picture to the fridge so that she'll recognize me when I get home.

Mme brought home a strange woman last night. I thought this might be something to do with my birthday, and I was right. This morning they seranaded me with a dystonic but oddly pleasant redition of half of "Happy Birthday" and presented me with a total of $5.30 in Canadian Tire money, which as everyone knows is exchangeable at any of our fine socialist hospitals for a nose job, appendectomy, or tattoo removal.







21 March 2007

A Few Remarks

Concerning the genre offering (said genre being sweaty-nearly-nude-really-cut-young-guy-but-only-in-an-acceptably-heterosexual-way) film 300. These remarks come from Mr. Dan Savage, who deserves a Medal of Freedom at least as much as Franks, Bremer, or Tenet, but will probably never get one from the twice-born coke freak in the White House for some reason.
Homophobic? It's Ann Coulter on a meth binge.
--And no-one wants to see that.

Oh, I dunno though ...
The Persian army is an armed gay-pride parade, a threat to all things decent and, uh, Greek.
--'Cos we know the Greeks, they aren't about the boyz a-tall.
The Persian emperor? An eight-foot-tall black drag queen.
--And no-one wants to see that.

Oh, I dunno though ...
Why gay up the Persians? So the straight males in the audience can identify with the Spartan King and his 300 soldiers [...] from the International Male catalog.
--Without admitting that their eyes aren't roving over the sole female character in the film.

These are Mr. Savage's opinions, not mine. But we pretty much agree on this. Especially the bit where he says that:
What isn't up for debate are the film's politics [...] George Bush is going to blow a load in his pants when he sees this movie.
--And nobody wants to see that.



No, nobody at all.







We'll Have Nunavut

Little Larry at work is somewhere between 22 and 28. He grew up in a mining town in North Ontario; nice guy, likeable. And he is, in my opinion, a pathetic example of his generation.

He has chronic back problems, apparently some rare muscle contraction problem that in fact is aggravated by almost every treatment applied to back problems in this modern era. This I know because it's the kind of thing guys discuss at work, and while I didn't expect the full history, it's within the bounds of reasonable workplace conversation. However ...

He has psychological problems, which include panic attacks. I know this because he casually mentioned it one day, following the fact-drop with the words:
"Yeah man, I got a lot of issues."

Call me crazy ... no, call him crazy, and perhaps it's just a wee bit old-fashioned of me, but I rank people who tell me their psychoses in a casual work situation alongside people who lovingly describe their bowel movements to me. It's your $#!7, you deal with it. Don't involve me.

We play a little poker for free, but he also plays online and at the casino. And always claims to be winning. £µ¢λing always. I find that immensely suspicious. Possibly I'm just jealous 'cos I'm not as good a player as he is? Except that the past few weeks I find I've still got a chip and a chair while he's heading out the door. Last week he went from the free game to the casino, where I watched him lose $100 in under an hour. Then he went to the casino bank machine and got another hundred.

I left at that point. Next day he said to me:
"You shoulda stuck around. You woulda seen a terrific comeback".

He believes conspiracy theories. He's not alone. It seems like all the 20-somethings at work believe, for example, that the September 11th attacks were somehow orchestrated for the benefit of forces invisible, but suspected to be the US government. The water-powered car was bought up and suppressed by GM or the US government or ... But of course he can't defend his paranoia. It just makes him feel he's got one up on the rest of the world--he's so smart he can see stuff the rest of us can't. And yet ...

Today he raised his head from his cubicle and said:
"Nunavut--that's a Canadian province?"
Thunderstounded, I said:
"Uh ... yeah."
"Oh ... how long's it been like that?"
"About a decade ... ?"

I was wrong. It's been eight years--fifteen since the boundaries were first drawn. How self-absorbed do you have to be to not have noticed that? Surely the lad had geography somewhere in school? Possibly ten years ago, I'll grant you. But still--the creation of a whole new £µ¢λing Territory passed him by?

Presumably he was too busy watching Survivor to notice?

A recent study found that today's college kids are the most self-absorbed, narcissistic generation ever. Forget "Talkin' 'Bout My Generation". These guys are the "talk all about me" generation.

They're totally unplugged from the wider world. As the world becomes more interconnected, it seems they're losing the things that make that interconnectedness meaningful. Critical thinking, moral judgement, political savvy--all gone in the rush to "peer connections" through media.

Television, iPods, YouTube--these are the things their identities and knowledge universes are based on, it seems.

Oh--and presumably bleating away on their "blogs".







20 March 2007

Oh--And the Big News

It turns out I'm not too old to play the lead after all. Apparently the director of the play thinks I have great stage presence. So I get to play the good-looking young teacher who just blew into a town full of fools. In a world composed of characters entirely devoid of any intelligence, I'm the only one with brain cells.

Casting for type, if you ask me.

I tend to agree with the director's assessment. When I am on a stage, I am definitely present. Quite obviously there.

But there are thousands of lines to memorize! Eeeee!







Tuesday Morning Rain

It seems to have been a much busier weekend than I recollect. Managed to rake the debris of winter off the lawn (front lawn only, but it's still progress) and prune the cherry tree within an inch of its life. Then somehow it was done.

Sunday I was wakened by a violent allergic attack. It felt as though someone had hammered sand into my sinuses. Come Monday morning I was dragging ass severely, so phoned in sick to work. My boss must have been thrilled. The other two writer/proofreaders are on holiday this week, which with me sick for the day left only one person on the clock.

By 1 PM Monday I was going crazy. I was so tired that I couldn't think straight, but couldn't manage to get even another hour of sleep. So I said the hell with it and walked to the gym. I managed to get into the zone and spent almost two hours sweating out my general rotten-feelingness. Of course since this is the gym to which my company is sponsoring memberships as part of the fitness challenge, I ran into some early-shift co-workers who knock off around 3. Should be interesting to see whether anyone snitches and if so what might come of it.

My workplace has the usual issues with absences, no real problem, but now they're demanding paperwork and planning for stuff that used to get done on a "wing-it" basis. For example, medical and dental appointments are supposed to be "booked". There's a form for it nowadays.

I'm not a clock-watcher, and I feel this is the sort of administrative behaviour that turns people into clock-watchers. If I am required to book off the hour I spend at the dentist's, then I feel I should be paid for the at-least-an hour per week of overtime I work. But there isn't a mechanism for that, for some reason.

Not much going on at the moment. Thoughts on the Tories' paintball budget later if I have time.







15 March 2007

Moments

Some random stuff, in no particular order and for no real purpose.

Yesterday the chiropractor was finishing a follow-up inspection (I hurt my back about three weeks before this Workplace Fitness Challenge started).
"Have you lost weight?" she asked.
I was actually surprised. My belt size hasn't changed, although I notice I'm wearing my pants higher--almost at my actual waist rather than around my hips.
"I don't think so."
"Well have you been exercising?"
"Yeah, about two weeks now."
"I thought so--you've toned up."

"Toned up". Me. I'm smiling quietly to myself as I write. I didn't even think I had muscle to tone.

This morning I was coming in to work from the gym, and I saw some people standing on the sidewalk holding their coffees, trembling in the frost of what is turning out to be a near-cloudless day so far. And I remembered that sweet, ever-savoury moment as the first nicotine rush met the first mouthful of coffee. And then I thought Wow. Was I ever really like that?

Yeah, I was. Spring is when I miss smoking the most. Standing in the sunlight, absorbing vitamin D, caffeine and nicotine. It's a good thing I can live without it now. I've almost been away from the habit a full year. Nearly long enough that the smell makes me vaguely ill rather than nostaligic. Which is good, because my willpower alone might not be able to keep me from having one a day, or something equally silly.

Did I mention that I walked/ran the entire mile to the gym today? I hate running. The sabretooth tiger is extinct and therefore I see no need for anybody to run. I work at a place with a flexible-ish workday, so I never have to run for a bus. I plan appointments so that I can stroll to them from work. Yet today I came out of the house and began to alternate walking and running 100 paces at a time. It's almost exactly a mile to the gym (and, admittedly mostly on a gentle downhill slope). That was kind of cool.

Last night Mme Metro and I went to a Karaoke night. I normally enjoy them. Singing is one of my vast array of semi-secret vices, along with the Powerpuff Girls.

[Wha-at?

I like the writing, okay? Let him or her who hath understanding dig this quote from the movie:
Well I was reaching down between my legs to ease the seat back, and suddenly this atomic punk came out of nowhere, lighting up the sky with no fair warning, and now ... Jamie's crying.
And to quote Bugs from the Looney Tunes Back in Action flick (far better than Space Jam and a favourite of Mme's)
Lady, if you don't find a rabbit in lipstick funny, you and I got nothin' to say to each other.
]

Animated movies on the brain today ... where was I?

Oh yes, so we went to a Karaoke night. Normally I groove on K-nights, I enjoy the crowd vibe, and I'm not a bad singer if the audience is sufficiently sozzled. But this was an audience of individuals and their fans. No-one seemed to be paying particular attention to anyone on stage. The manager of the bar was schmoozing (loudly) with her friends at the table next ours, and one of the two guys running the show kept wandering off when anyone was performing. He stuck around for the skinny blonde girl who was with a party who seemed to be from the strip bar downtown. And honestly it was hard to blame him. Her voice was very good when she picked the right tunes.

But she wasn't a patch on the fat chick. Yeah, not just big, fat. About 300 lbs. And a voice like a £µ¢λing angel. Though I confess that I can barely remember what that sounds like ...

In future I want American Idol and the karaoke bars to set up screens. The evaluations should be done entirely blind. Because in real music, appearance is £µ¢λ-all and the sound is everything. But a fat bloke can get away with it, and a hottie can ignore performance flaws. But Mama Cass better have both terrific pipes and amazing stage presence, as well as the ability to totally ignore people in the audience looking at her and whispering behind their hands.


Speaking of stages: I just got done playing a phone repair man in a local play. Now another play has an opening. The woman casting it says I'm too old to play the lead, but she might give me the baddie. I've always wanted to play the villain.

Please leave your smartass comment below.







14 March 2007

Texas Legislature Reverts to Form, Votes to Let Women Keep Suffering Cancer and STDs

The Texas legislature just stamped out Gov. Perry's breath of fresh air and reason. Gov. Perry had ordered that all Texas schoolgirls entering grade six (about 12 years old) should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus.

No-one was going to be "forced" to get it, no matter what various organizations propagandized. Instead of being an "opt-out" requirement, people now have to opt in. And my guess is it'll cost more than the projected $300 for a statewide program.

Bascially: In a 119-21 vote, the Texas House decided to let future cervical cancer cases continue to bloom and grow. Or get caught in a pap smear.

Never mind that cancer treatment costs millions (I suppose those costs are covered by insurance and the patient--not the taxes that pay legislative salaries). Never mind that around 1.4 million Texans have no medical insurance. Never mind that a quarter of the girls who could be vaccinated today will never get a pap smear. And never mind that even if they do, pap smears have to be interpreted by humans and don't always give straightforward results.

Never mind that $300 of prevention can stop cancer cases that cost the state and the victims millions. Never mind that 20 million Americans have this infection and that the numbers are only going to go up. Never mind that prevention could stop pain and suffering for millions of young women (and men--'cos boys get HPV too).

Shortened headline:
Texas Legislature Says '£µ¢λ 'Em'

I wonder--what's the male/female ratio in that @$$#013-eum? Ah yes: about 5:1.

Just never £µ¢λing mind.







13 March 2007

An Heroic Act of Civil Obedience



Some college students filmed this to draw attention to the stupidity of making a law that is intended to be broken.
Via David W. over here.







Motivation

It's about fitness and health. I'm up at ten-to-six each AM to go get sweaty in order to avoid an untimely heart attack. It's about boosting my mind, or biceps size. Or reducing my waistline. And it is, one hundred percent.

Okay, maybe 99 percent ...

I'm doing biceps curls when I get cross-eyed trying to avoid staring at her in the mirrored wall. She's curvy and compact, with a face like a Chicana Tinkerbell. I try not to stare, yes I do, really. I may be rude, crude, and socially awkward, but I am not entirely unreconstructed.

Besides, who likes being stared at--'specially in a gym? People stare at my sweating, lard-gutted carcass all the time. If I hadn't learned as a bowl-cut, horn-rimmed, polyester-shirt-clad child not to give a $#!7 I might be intimidated. Most women seem to arrive, exercise like fiends, and depart. I do something similar myself. Probably for similar reasons.

But having seen her catch my eye in the mirror no less than three times, I give up and allow myself ten seconds of uninterrupted ogleing. As I return to the machine she flashes me a smile that suggests she lives to make dopey guys drop heavy weights on our toes.

She wants to be stared at, it seems clear. I'm not shopping for anything--I love my wife and I'm reasonably sure the sentiment is reciprocal. I'm certain she isn't shopping for something, and if she was, well we're in a gym--it might safely be described as a "target-rich environment". So what's the harm? Aside from crushed toes? As I move the pin to select a stack of plates, she's flickering in my peripheral vision, looking my way. I ignore her with dignity.

Almost.

Fhat the wuck, I think, and throw on another ten kilos.







12 March 2007

Dog & Pony Show, Act I

The Bush administration has begun holding secret hearings on the status of 14 high-profile "detainees" at Guantanamo Bay.

These 14 people, of the 385 still imprisoned at Gitmo, were shifted there via the CIA black prison system, used especially for torture. Or as the White House likes to say: "high-stress interrogation". The distinction is immaterial, not least to the torturers.

So it is in the interest of this regime that trials take place in secret. It is also neccesary that these defendants be convicted, otherwise the whole show could be exposed for a farce.

Allowing the defendants to testify in open court would just expose the worst crimes of the Republican administration to the light of day. And who wants that?

Except anyone actually interested in justice.

One might speculate that denying the defendants the basic provisions of the rule of law might aid in getting easy convictions and easy death penalties. But that would smack of a coverup, and there isn't quite evidence for that. Yet.

Any verdict, guilty or innocent, originating from such a one-ring circus should be regarded with as much trust as the trials of offenders under the Taliban regime.

Some may say: "Well sure, but at least one of those men was one of the masterminds behind the September 11th, 2001, terror attacks. If anyone deserves a kangaroo court, it's these guys."

Just remember that "kangaroo" was originally an Australian aboriginal word meaning "I don't know."

And the hope of the Bush administration is that we never will.

Meanwhile, conservative pundits demand that Scooter Libby, convicted of perjury, be set free. Because they're all about that "rule of law" thing. Especially in regards to perjury.

Just ask Bill Clinton
.







09 March 2007

So I Said to Myself: "Self ...

... never issue a photoshop challenge around a designer."

Creatrix wins the official Metro No-Prize™. I knew I should have insisted on the moustache--or on her natural hair colour. Still, you can see the resemblance to the picture below--heck they might have been separated at birth, which would explain a great deal. Please feel free to amuse yourselves by drawing a moustache on your monitor with a felt marker.


--Coul Sister

I see a whole new cultural phenom here: "Coul-food", "Coul-music", a TV program called "Coul-Train" (dibs I the porn title!) An expression: "White as Coul".

On the other hand, I never want to see a "Coul-chute".







My Bro in the 'Fro



Prescient, wasn't he?

Thanks to Colorado Bob, who first posted this over at Mur's place.

Is it just me, or does Coulter actually look like him? Hard to tell, unless someone's got a pic of her with an afro in her natural colour and her cute little mustache sans bleach.

Okay--I'm offering an official Metro No-Prize™ for anyone who turns up a picture of Coulter in a 'fro. Mustache is optional.







07 March 2007

If Left Untreated ...

Seven gets you three he won't be staying at Walter Reed while the work's done.

Jon Stewart had something to say about the Reed fiasco. If that link's no good see it here.

It's noteable, Canadians, that the great health crises taking place right now have their roots in a lack of national health care.

1) Walter Reed neglect and mismanagement.
Caused directly by the privatization and crony contracting that are the hallmarks of the current administration.

2) The looming disaster of the United Auto Workers and the Big Three.
Back in the 1920s the auto makers were offered a choice: offer full health benefits packages or push for universal health care in America.

The auto makers chose to buy health insurance for their members, in a gesture which has resulted in the modern situation, where there are 90% fewer UAW members and where the remaining workers are paying dues to support pensions at a ratio of one active worker to two retirees.

GM and Ford especially are facing massive pensions and benefits defecits. And d'you think those dues-paying workers will be feeling charitable when the negotiations open up this year?

3) Forty-five million (45, 000, 000) people or so who can't/don't pay into the health system in any way, and who can't afford basic humanitarian standards of care.
When the uninsured are hurt, it costs money. In the US that money is covered by the individuals who do have coverage. This results in unequal rates, fine print, valid treatments not being covered, insurance companies whose first policy is "Deny the claim", and in some cases having to accept your employer choosing your physician.

Here, everyone gets treated and everyone pays for it. And physician choice is looked after by the fact that we're rather short on doctors--but find me an emergency patient who didn't get the treatment they needed when required--even if they had to wait 18 hours in a hallway.

4) Doctors and pharmacists who feel their personal prejudices are morally superior to their oaths and professionalism.

Just remember that when, for example, your provincial government wants to have a "conversation on health care" and approves of the introduction of purely-for-profit or "private" health care schemes.







CPAC 2007 Unglued



--Courtesy of Crooks and Liars, and The Nation's Max Blumenthal







Out of Context

So Ann Coulter opened up her yap and shot it off. Again. Too bad. Isn't it fortunate she's a way-out wingnut instead of a mainstream conservative.

Isn't she?

It is now clear she's not. She is, in fact, the embodiment of the Republican heart and soul, the conservative movement that has so corrupted and ruined the United States.

She's saying she was "taken out of context". That is, that somehow it was acceptable to use the word "faggot", to link that word to John Edwards, and to do so at a massive gathering of her fundie conservative bretheren.
That was the "context" she was taken out of. And yet people in that crowd laughed and cheered.

Because they find it amusing. Make no mistake. Feminizing men of the opposing party is the thing the conservative base enjoys best.

Sean Hannity defended her remarks as "a joke". I suggest we send him a joke in the mail so that he can tell the difference.

I have said that conservatism must reclaim its credibility, its senses of decency, moral outrage and justice, and its faith in democracy. And its sense of humour.

Because if this is a joke, soon there'll be a TV series about the hilarious hi-jinks in a concentration camp or torture facility.

Spocko points out that Glen Greenwald said it much better over at Salon.
If Coulter is such a blight on humanity, such a monument to indecency and all that is wretched in our political culture, what does it say about the political movement that has been running our country for the last six years (at least) that they embrace her so enthusiastically?

--Emphasis is the author's.

I also have a personal beef with Coulter. She cheered on the Israeli army's murder of UN observers, including a Canadian. Did you read the quote at Spocko's Brain?

If I suggested that she should be held at Gitmo and force-fed three gallons of water a day until she's filled a vat with her own urine, and that she should then be boiled alive in said vat, is that any farther out of line that her own remarks?

Not that I'd ever say such a thing. And if I did it'd be a joke. Besides, they're taking it all out of context.

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06 March 2007

If You Don't Have Something Nice to Say ...

Fine example I am. I go on about the lack of civil disourse on the internet and then I post the below.

I apologise to the actual conservatives who read my blog (I know there's at least one). I was tired, and angry (for the nth time) about the hijacking of the term "conservative" by people who identify themselves as such to avoid having to declare themselves small-minded, big-mouthed bigots.

It was a day that brought me into inadvertent contact with Ann Coulter, whom true conservatives should be beating back into whatever hole she crawled from with cricket bats, with Tailgunner Joe McCarthy, whose date of death should be a national holiday in the USA, and with Conservapedia, the right-wing's answer to reality.

But my frustration got the better of me, and by writing angrily about conservatives in the tone I did, I haven't improved anything at all. My apologies to the many real-world conservatives I have known.

But I won't remove the post. Much as I feel embarrassed about it, it is part of the public record, and to remove it feels dishonest. Nor will I tinker with it to make it more sensible and reasonable; Unlike the White House.

My apologies to the true conservatives who occasionally read my work. Who can tell the difference between necessary military intervention and personal aggrandizement and adventurism. Those who believe a government has no right to spy on its citizens. Those who believe in justice, including the Geneva Conventions and habeas corpus. Those who damn lies no matter what the source, and won't trade facts for prejudice.







Conserveapeds

cahn-surv-a-paed.
Etymology: Just as a quadruped is four-footed, a centipede is 100-footed, and a sauropod is a big-footed primitive lizard, so are the conservapeds plodding and slow.

Conservapeds once thundered in mighty herds across the political landscape. Sadly, their small brains did not enable them to prosper as a species when confronted with the real world.

Conservapeds are particularly noted for having the smallest brain and largest mouth of any of the humans. In extreme cases, members would be shunned by the tribe for the ability of their mouths to inadvertently collect their own feet (see picanthropus Coulterii and "faggot" for reference).

There is genuine concern that the species is endangered; dwindling numbers have left a population that can only breed with similar members, or indeed relatives, all dwelling in small colonies situated to a greater or lesser extent around Washington, DC, USA. There is debate as to whether a planned cull would be of any benefit.

Recently, an attempt was made to create useful work for the leftovers of the species to do. By inventing the unintentionally humourous "Conservapedia", it was hoped that the species would maintain its numbers while it created a little fantasy world for the species to live in

Unfortunately it was a foolish and vain attempt. The effects of laughter on the conservative ego, previously well documented, resulted in male members wasting their beer money on guns and monster trucks to compensate, lowering vital feedstocks. Worse, when Viagra was tried as a last resort, many of the troop disappeared and turned up in the Dominican Republic.



This truthy edition of "The Natural World" was inspired by Conservapedia, the encyclopedia whose motto remains "Our minds are made up, don't confuse us with the facts!"

Particularly by the entry that includes the statement:
"On the contrary! One can't be "fair" and factual. If we give equall opportunity to both sides of the political spectrum we will be half nonfactual. I beleive that absolute truth is right-of-center (that's why I'm a conservative). Conservapedia needs take a position on political issues or else we will abandon factuality.
--BenjaminS 17:09, 6 March 2007 (EST)

That is, there's an absolute truth if you see things with a bias. Um ... Naw. I'm sure that was meant ironically. But this conservaped is correct in saying that Conservapedia can't be fair and factual. And also in his apparent claim that by giving equal time to "liberals" the accuracy of Conservapedia will go up by fifty percent.

and also

David hit the nail on the head. We don't make false claims of neutrality, as Wikipedia does. We have certain principles that we adhere to, and we are up-front about them. Beyond that we welcome the facts.
--Aschlafly 17:49, 6 March 2007 (EST)

"Beyond" their bias "they welcome the facts". One has to feel a little sorry for them. Particularly since reality appears to have such a strong "liberal" bias. As a conservative myself, I welcome reality.







Scoot, Scoot, Scooter Good-Bye

Yes! Pumps fist in air.

Note the important thing the sub-headline says: Scooter Libby tried to conceal the identity of the person who outed Valerie Plame.

That is, Scooter Libby comitted crimes intending to hide the person who first comitted the federal crime of revealing the identity of a CIA agent.

Now lemme see ... who could Scooter have been protecting?
In his lair, the Dark Lord stirs uneasily and cries out in his fitful sleep.

Sorry--I typed "lair" when I meant "Undisclosed location".

I hope this is just the cornerstone crumbling; that this is the first chink hammered into this Berlin Wall of silence, this castle of lies which the current Administration has built about itself. And when the wall finally falls, letting in the fresh air and light and dispelling the stench of corruption that has drowned Washington for the past six years (yes the past six. Clinton's crimes were petty by comparison and his administration was cleaner than any republican administration since 1980).

And as the naked, blind, pale creatures that caper within blink and squint and begin to burn away in the sunlight, perhaps we will hear the blessed word "impeach".

I dare to hope.







05 March 2007

My Bizarro Moment

Today, I wrote a small article relating to the following:
Six Killed in Baseball Team Bus Crash
Bluffton University, a small Mormon college in Ohio, was shocked last week by the deaths of six members of its baseball team. The team bus apparently left the highway travelling too fast for an exit ramp, flipped and fell 30 feet, coming to rest on its side. Twenty-nine people on the bus were injured, seven critically, including the team coach.
My boss looked at it and said: "Well we really need to keep ourselves to workplace safety related material."

The number-one killer of workers is road accidents (and don't get me started on the "accident/incident" debate). This article seems entirely appropriate. Wasn't the coach at work? How about the bus driver? If sports scholarships are a form of payment then the students were travelling to work. Our audience is supposed to be mid-level safety management. Shouldn't the risks of having workers travel--particularly by charter bus--be a concern to them?

Is it just me? How come I can't see how this isn't workplace safety related?







04 March 2007

A Campaign Film

From the heady days of 2000. Before it turned out the Supreme Court was in favour of using affirmative action to allow mental defectives promotion beyond their modest dreams and enormous incompetence.



I think that, could I vote in the US, I would vote for any candidate who gave a press conference while stoned at the Playboy Mansion. I also believe I could vote for a guy who said "I want to be a ferret in the pants of government." Even after all these years, it's still hard to believe that with Duke as a choice, the American Supreme court picked Bush the Lesser.

Doonesbury just uploaded the Duke 2000 campaign videos. Remember when everyone figured things were going to get better? I still think they will, about 687 days from now.

More vids here.







02 March 2007

Yahoo!: More News That Ain't

This was prominent on Yahoo! News this morning:



So we have here a skewed appeal to authority: A "former Canadian minister of defence " oughta have some grounding in science, right?

The Minister of whom they speak, Paul Hellyer, was Minister of National Defence in the Pearson government. (1963 or so). One might consider it worth invesigating whether his current knowledge of terrestrial science was entirely up to scratch. Paul Hellyer is also 83.

I said over at Darren Barefoot's place a little while ago that a sure sign of writer senility is the appearance of the writer himself in his own work. Not an avatar, not someone whose name starts with the same letters, the actual writer.

In public figures, a similar phenomenon causes them to make increasingly stupid statements or do daft things. In both cases, political or showbiz, they have forgotten that media is a two-way conversation. They no longer remember that there's an audience out here in the dark. Age and ego stoking have convinced them that they're the most important element in the conversation.

Which makes the Ottowa Citizen, which sent "newsgatherers" to fetch this nugget of drivel, irresponsible. Yahoo! News is just foamy and bubbleheaded. Still it's harmless, and more entertaining than US foreign policy, which suffers from Alzheimer's:



This cartoon is from The Economist of last week or so. Let no-one say I do not source what I use (I was going to say "steal", but my legal advisor said not to).

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01 March 2007

Florida Still Full O' Rednecks, Rednecks Still Dumb as Stumps

City manger Steven B. Stanton has been running the city of Largo, Florida for fourteen years. All he really wanted was to do his job. Oh, and be a woman.

Well, the City Commission says he can have one or the other, but not both. A vote to fire Stanton went 5-2 against him. For the record, the Lady Mayoress of this burg (a known woman) doesn't seem to feel that a civil servant who did his job faithfully for 14 years should have any trouble doing it in a skirt.

The stated reasons for firing him all run to the same stupid tune. Sample:
“I’d second-guess every decision he made [...] There was a lot of hiring and promoting and firing and every one of them could have been influenced by this whole scenario.”
--Andy Guyette, from the article at the NYT.

Mr. Guyette (Hey--maybe it's all about his transgender name issues?) claims he feels that Stanton would have been biased against people who didn't support him, and that that bias would have leached into the hiring and firing process. Cronyism in Florida? Well we sure don't want that creeping in!

This, from politicians in a state where dead politicians have to be buried using an auger, is just sickening.

That is to say, having created "this scenario" by screaming "Oooh, it's icky, keep that thar away frum meeee!", this putz and friends feel that Stanton might feel a little aggrieved.

Yuh think, Cletus?

I think the real problem Guyette and his friends have with Stanton's judgement is that, after surgery, he'll be a woman. And we know their judgement can't be trusted.

Or maybe, deep down, it's because those five councillors are terrified they won't be able to resist his engineered feminine charms?

Thank god that in Canada this $#!7 is actually illegal.

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A note.


Wikipedia seems to be being hacked more intensely than usual. On the page concerning Bloody Mary:
The folkloric character is a ghost or witch said to rape, kill, squeeze, eat, and bury children who call to her f***ing ass!;
On the page regarding the Bunny Ranch:
the moonlite bunny ranch is a sex whore house.
As opposed, presumably, to the celibate type.

Perhaps the Truthy editors of Conservapedia are trying to get a little of their own back?







Beer and Cheese

Two of my favourite nutritional supplements. Look, there are people gobbling yeast for their "health" (as though being well-fed wasn't enough for them). Yeast is in beer a-plenty. And cheese is a great source of calcium. But now I have to give them up, theoretically.

As I approach my somethingth decade of life I have to consider my weight and health more soberly. This week my workplace is getting on the "biggest loser" train, six weeks after introducing a voluntary butt-out program. It seems to me that the boss is trying to have us all become perfect. But that's another question.

So I sign up, I pay half of a three-month gym membership. Theoretcially I can get together with a salesperson--sorry, a "personal trainer" to set up a program "that works for me".

Salesperson: So what sort of program are you looking for?
Me: Um, how about "sit at computer, melt away pounds"?
Sales: {polite laugh} Well what activities do you enjoy?
Me: £µ¢λing. £µ¢λing's nice. I also like lying on the couch watching TV and eating pizza. Ooh! Ooh--have you got one for people that like drinking lots of beer?


Say! I wonder if my boss would pay for a three-month membership at the Bunny Ranch?

So we get a half-price three-month gym membership, a nutritionist session, and a personal trainer session. Yay. Anyway, since I'm between twenty-five and forty pounds overweight (we don't have a scale in the house, and why would we want one?), I figured I'd sign up.

After all, I have nothing to lose. Well, you know what I mean. Watch this space for further announcements.

On the plus side, I've sucessfully sidetracked to bloody marys, which have the added advantage of containing a full serving of vegetables. Heck, if my liver holds out maybe I can turn this into a diet book! Drink Yourself Thin!