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

29 August 2007

Truscott Vindicated

I remember the first Maclean's magazine article I ever read. Back before it became the flag-rag for the radical right in Canada, when it was something reputable and journalistic.

I believe one of the feature articles from that first issue was a two-page spread inviting kids from all over Canada to contribute verses for the book Alligator Pie, new-released that year. But for once, that wasn't my central concern.

The cover picture was a drawing of a kid on a country road, leaning against a bicycle. And I suppose it was that picture that got me to read the headline, whatever it was. But the sub-head read: New evidence suggesting that Stephen Truscott did not rape and murder Lynn Harper.

That was 1976. Lynn Harper, 12, had been raped and strangled in 1959. In the intervening 17 years Stephen Truscott had been sentenced to death (at the age of 14), had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, and finally been released.

However, he had never been cleared of the murder. He was released on points of procedure, and because of tampered or incorrect witness reports and shoddy detective work by police.

But until yesterday he was still a former convicted murderer. Finally the Supreme Court of Canada vindicated him.

And it kept running through my mind that had someone else (Dubya, for example) been in charge of Ontario's death row in 1960, Stephen Truscott would have been dead and in the ground for 48 years.

There is no room for the death penalty in a just society. Cases like this aren't the example ... every case where there's the slightest smidgen of doubt, and someone still dies for it, is the example. Cases like Stephen Truscott's just hammer the point home.

23 August 2007

When Is It A Tragedy?

"When you lose control andja got no soul" ... I know, I know.

But seriously, I've been reading about the carbon monoxide leak that damn-near-killed some unfortunate Virginia Tech students a week or so ago. And the media is damn wierd about it.

Some organs refused to mention the name "Virginia Tech" at all, referring only to an incident at "a college dorm in Blacksburg, VA".

Some absolutely orgasmed all over themselves to throw in a gratuitous mention of the murderous rampage (with guns) that killed thirty-plus people last year.

Some mentioned the school, refused to link to the murders, but then called the incident a "tragedy".

Here's my problem: what is a tragedy? In this miserable and unfortunate incident, two people wound up in critical condition. But so far all the victims are alive. So, well ... If nobody dies is it a tragedy?

Thirty people shot in a single incident: tragedy, clearly.
(Tens of thousands shot around the US annually? Apparently not. Not according to the NRA, anyway.)

Two people in intensive care? By the standard set above? Not even close. Yet someone's family is going to have to sit beside an intensive care bed, hoping and praying that their loved one will come back to them, and come back whole. Here's hoping.

From an exclusively linguistic point of view I tend to go with Kim Mitchell. If nobody drowned and nobody died, it's most likely an excuse to go for a soda.

21 August 2007

The War On Drugs, Harper Style?

From the Globe and Mail
"The debate over whether to legalize marijuana, for example, has left an entire generation confused over whether or not pot is legal in Canada. Ladies and gentlemen, it is not," Mr. Clement said.
Think about that quote for a second.

The debate about whether to legalize something is causing doubt as to whether it's illegal? Possibly only one of Harper's ministers could make that statement. Of course, since the ministers in the Harper government are ventriloquist's dummies for ol' Stiff Steve himself, the rhetoric is nothing astounding.

Just you watch: they're going to trot out the old, groaning paraphanalia of prohibition again, I bet. Rather than re-opening debate they'd prefer to take the old "spare the rod, spoil the addict" approach?

I feel this is just the opening salvo. It's been fairly clear from the day of Harper's infliction on us that he's been itching to align our policies more closely toward the US ones.

If we work at it, we too can make our prisons even more overcrowded, clog our court systems, add disproportionate legal response to minor infractions and give the police even more bully power. Just like the emerging dystopia to our south.

I'm in no doubt as to whether or not pot's illegal. It is. I'm a responsible, hard-working, taxpaying Canadian citizen. And I'm fond of a toke or two now and again. Now could somebody either arrest me or go blow a goat? Most cops won't bother you for pot unless you're also doing something even dumber.

These people continue to think in mid-Twentieth-Century terms about Twenty-first Century problems. That needs to change. Either that, or the government does.

I'm watching very carefully to see whether they support the Safe Injection Site. By December 31st we'll all know whether this government really believes in the health and healing approach, or whether they're moralistic morons driven by contempt.

Oh, and I guarantee that some of Harper's Conservatives like a toke too.

20 August 2007

The Scariest Thing I've Heard in Ages

From the Windsor Star, reporting on "confrontation" between protesters and cops in Montebello, PQ.

The "Three Amigos" summit has been characterized by the usual marginalization of protest that surrounds these things: "Complain all you want, as long as we don't have to pay attention," is the rule of the day. The protesters are allowed a little "Zone of protest" well away from the action, surrounded by wire fence. Just as blacks in Alabama once were allowed to have their own special fountains, lunch counters, and bus seats.

But there is much to protest. These meetings are secret, closed, affairs where the "Amigos" will play little games with the economic and social fabric of our nations. Having seen what Bush is capable of in his own unfortunate ex-republic I'm thinking Canadians and Mexicans have a right to be very, very, alarmed.

But Harper doesn't give a crap:
As Bush was walking towards him, Harper was asked by a reporter what he thought of the protesters. "I've heard it's nothing. It's sad," he said.

Of course it's nothing. They're just ordinary people. Not like him or George.

But the truly frightening thing is the official statements:

Much of the discussion between the leaders will be bureaucratic in nature, said a government official last week. "A lot of it isn't very interesting," the official said.

That is: "Keep moving, nothing to see. We'll tell you what to think once we've finished. You shouldn't be interested in what we're doing here."

The most secretive, power-hungry, PM in Canada's history goes into closed-door discussions with the worst US president in history and I'm not supposed to pay any attention whatsoever.

Via the Metro Creative Aquisitions Dept. (#2)

Originally aquired from Azahar. Sounds just like me, doncha think?

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading

You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now

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18 August 2007

Trouble In Reporting

From Editor & Publisher via Cliff Schecter

NEW YORK The great John Edwards-Ann Coulter feud took another turn on Friday, with the former senator calling the columnist/author a "she-devil" on a visit to Iowa.

Coulter had hurled a gay slur at Edwards earlier this year, and after more back and forth, his wife called her during a national TV appearance to ask some hard questions.

Edwards had reminded the crowd today in Burlington, Iowa, that his wife had challenged Coulter to stop "personal attacks." He continued: "We know these people. We know their game plan. They're going to attack us personally," Edwards said, according to an ABC report. "They attacked Elizabeth personally, because she stood up to that she-devil Ann Coulter."

Catching himself, he added: "I should not have name-called. But the truth is -- forget the names -- people like Ann Coulter, they engage in hateful language."

Clearly E&P has misunderstood the issue. Coulter didn't use a "gay slur". Being called gay is one of those insults that's like a drink: it affects one only if accepted. And the word "gay" itself is not a slur. Had Coulter said "John Edwards is gay" she would have been demonstrably, provably wrong, and she would have had to retract that remark, not because it was insulting, but because it was inaccurate.

But the words were chosen carefully, lest the harpy should have to eat them. What the shriek-speak Fantasy of the Fascists said was that she "was going to say a few words about John Edwards, but if you say the word 'faggot' you have to apologize" (I'm not sure of the wording, but I refuse to enter that dribbling loon's name into Google, lest it become more contaminated than it already is).

The issue was the word "faggot." In the mouth of the Coultergeist and her far-right-field friends it's supposed to be insulting, degrading, implying a lack of manliness. It also reveals their take on the minority they have been working so hard to alienate, disenfranchise, and assault.

Clearly they haven't been watching the performances of the Republican Party lately. Isn't Jeff Gannon manly? How about Mark Foley? Glenn Murphy? Or the endless other closet-case Repugnicans?

Of course, Coulter herself is very manly indeed, right down to the adam's apple and need to prove her machismo by using a word that is rapidly coming to sound like saying "negro" with two g's; well, in private, many of her supporters are quite fond of that word too, I'm sure.

So the issue here is about whether or not Edwards accurately described the beloved icon of hate as a "she-devil". I feel the terminology is wrong, and Edwards should reract it. The correct term is simply "devil". At least until some poor unfortunate soul sacrifices themself for the sake of biology by getting close enough to obtain a DNA sample to see whether she does in fact possess a second X chromosome.

However, Editor & Publisher owes the world an apology too, for calling Coulter an "author" and "columnist" without irony. I've tried to read bits of her books, and the hate-screed she writes could at best be described as the ravings of a deranged hag afflicted with the madness that accompanies late-stage syphillis. I'm considering a guide called "How to Read Coulter--If you absolutely must".

From Chapter One:
The best way to handle her books is to hang them on a nail in the outhouse.

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17 August 2007

This Was Gonna Go Up Last Night

But I played a little poker, had a little beer, went to the blues jam at the Voodoo, sang a couple numbers, drank more beer, had a couple of shots of spiced rum and ...

Well, you see why I didn't get to posting. Of course, I figure that getting stonkered and singing is probably much the way Elvis would have celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his own death if he were alive to do so today ...

Waitaminnit ... Something not quite right there ...

Anyway, I wanted to remember what I consider to be Elvis' finest moment:

The US Library of Congress says this is their most requested item--more requests than the Constitution. It's easy to see why.

According to reports, Elvis arrived at the White House stoned for his meeting with President Richard Milhous Nixon; A meeting at which he was to be sworn in as a Drug Enforcement Agency agent.

That Elvis--what an instinct for comedy!

He was a pretty good singer, too.

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16 August 2007

What's Your Theme Song?

From the Metroblog Creative Aquisitions Department, via Jesse Custer from Ration Reality

Your Theme Song is Back in Black by AC/DC

"Back in black, I hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back"

Things sometimes get really crazy for you, and sometimes you have to get away from all the chaos.
But each time you stage your comeback, it's even better than the last!

So Very Stolen

Off the blog of M. Cliff Schecter, new to the blogroll but an old favourite.

I also added Mr. Anchovy's and Ration Reality in there. Well worth reading.

As for this? Well, as Schecter points out, it's hysterical 'cos it's how the people fighting immigration in the US really think.

If you want to realize how racist the "send-'em-back-where-they-came-from" side of that debate is, consider: When was the last time you heard anyone condemn immigration into the US from Canada?

Of course, most Canadians aren't working for $0 an hour at Wal-Mart, so they probably don't want to move to the US, with the possible exception of Stephen Harper and Stockwell "Doris" Day.

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15 August 2007

Well, Someone's Foaming at the Mouth

Okay, so this idiot owner leaves his dog in the car, and the intrepid Animal Investigator from the SPCA rescues it from being baked to death by smacking out a window. I'm mostly okay with that.

(I'm not okay with the self-righteous folks in cities like Calgary who apparently size up your animal's condition on their own, then smash the window and possibly steal your dog, but whatever.)

But then this consumate @$$#0!3 goes and handcuffs the owner to his SUV and pisses off with the "dying" mutt. While cuffed to the vehicle, idiot owner says he was beaten by infuriated passers-by.

Said investigator gets suspended. Whines about it, and suddenly he's all over the news and people are holding rallies for him. I take it the same stupid donks at these rallies cheer loudly when a Toronto cop beats someone with his nightstick?

There's a lot wrong with this picture:

1) An "animal investigator" gets handcuffs? Why? He's not a cop, no matter how passionately he wishes he were. Under what circumstances has he been called upon to use them before? Maybe he just wanted to try them out? Oh--and how come no other SPCA jurisdiction in the province issues handcuffs to its oficers?

2) Ex-Investigator Tre Smith (ex-"cast member" of ex-"reality-based" TV show) refuses to provide a statement about what, exactly happened; presumably on the advice of his lawyer. His boss was blindly backing him at the start, saying: "He was jeopardizing the rescue operation and was threatening the safety of people at the scene." Chyeah, right.

I suspect that the owner of the dog probably just looked at ex-Investigator Smith the wrong way.

3) If a cop had done this, he'd be off duty and on charges. Smith is lucky he's not getting sued.

Two stupids don't make a smart. Smith had no business handcuffing the guy in the first place, and less leaving him helpless, cuffed to his pigmobile. Imagine if some clever dick had let loose the handbrake, and the vehicle had coasted down a hill into Lake Ontario, for e.g..

When the story broke at my workplace, the volunteer firefighter I work with said "Good. I commend that guy. I just wish he'd locked the asshole in his car so he could feel what the dog felt."

Tre Smith is a dick, and the fact that the guy he handcuffed was a dick too isn't going to change that. The people supporting this bully are just flat-out wrong, and need to grow up.

On Student Debt

Two posts over at Wandering Coyote got me thinking:

The first celebrated the cancellation of $26,000 in student debt.

The second mourned the fact that it was only $16,000 and a bit.

I dislike the student loans system. Higher education benefits everyone, by dint of the increased taxes paid by people who earn more as a result of attaining it. I believe education should be free within a few minor conditions.

Heck, we already have near-free college. Under the current standard roughly 60 percent of my student debt was forgiven, and paid off by the taxpayers of Canada. But only because a) I was a mature student , and also b) I had help and resources in the form of my parents, who expressly helped me to apply for grants and bursaries.

(b) was the more important. A close friend who is raising two kids by herself complained about her student debt and bitched that the government was worse than the Mafia. In talking to her I discovered that she didn't have (b), and that she'd never asked anyone at the Student Support office if there might be ways to reduce the debt. She was not alone. And she, a single mum, was in the hole roughly $26,000 in living costs, tuition, and child care. This was year one of a two-year program.

The job I got out of college paid just over $30k per year.

My brilliant plan? Actually it was Mum's:

1) Everyone takes testing to determine what they have the best odds of success at. They are not bound to study it, but the information cannot help but be useful.

2) Upon graduation from high school, the Canadian government commits to pay your tuition, and a student living stipend (uniform throughout all of Canada) for your first year.

3) To qualify for second-year funding you must complete your first year in the top half (third, fifth, whatever) of your course (that is, all students of the same course at the same school).

4) And the cycle continues.

By the end of a four-year program, the government is paying for only an eighth of all students, and they're the best of the crop. There could be other incentives for trades or professions that are highly in demand. And for over-subscribed occupations, the system could be made tighter, so that only the very best got their way paid for them, while the rest might be encouraged to seek other paths.

Among the advantages: Those who failed out could have the option of continuing on their own dime, or using a modified student loan program. And if at any time they joined the top half of the class again they would requalify for the money.

Those who flunked would be no worse off than under the current system, except that the Byzantine labyrinth of official forms and processes, that groaning monstrosity of administrative balderdash that is the Student Loans system as it stands, would be replaced by a much more streamlined outfit, with interest at competitive rates. And that would create incentive for students to ponder carefully whether they really, really wanted to be, for example, vets or dog groomers.

Yeah, its "Darwinian". But as it is, many "students" are fiff-faffing about in colleges saying "Well I dunno, really, I kinda like working with ____," and getting good grant money thrown at them to learn not much; when they themselves would really rather be plumbers, architects, or something other.

13 August 2007

Roger Ebert on "No End in Sight"

This is not a documentary filled with anti-war activists or sitting ducks for Michael Moore. Most of the people in the film were important to the Bush administration.
The subjects in this film now feel that American policy in Iraq was flawed from the start, that obvious measures were not taken, that sane advice was disregarded, that lies were told and believed, and that advice from people on the ground was overruled by a cabal of neo-con goofballs who seemed to form a wall around the president.
Who is Charles Ferguson, director of this film? A one-time senior fellow of the Brookings Institute, software millionaire, originally a supporter of the war, visiting professor at MIT and Berkeley, he was trustworthy enough to inspire confidences from former top officials.
Although Bush and the war continue to sink in the polls, I know from some readers that they still support both. That is their right. And if they are so sure they are right, let more young men and women die or be maimed. I doubt if they will be willing to see this film, which further documents an administration playing its private war games.

Go read that review, if only for the last paragraph.

And as the Ship of State Founders Further in Its Own Poisoned Harbour

The fattest and sleekest of the rats comes slithering down the hawser.

From CBC:
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Rove, who is credited with designing the strategy that twice won Bush the White House, said it was just time to leave the president's side so he could be with his family.

"There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family."

How republican: to profess to be doing something for "family" when in fact the words "to save my slimy hide" would be so much more appropriate.

Good riddance. Hopefully he will soon be followed into retirement, indictment, and internment by the ridiculous clown he helped put in office.

10 August 2007

For Mme Metro

Who, despite owning a cellular phone herself, gets pretty incensed at the stupid things people do with them. Like answering at, or calling from behind, the wheel. Or in a public space.

Got it offa Blue Gal, who also provided me a link to this great page from Joe Bageant. It's a letter from a reader about taking Jesus back from the Wingnuts.

Paging Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor

From the hyeeeeeeeeesh! column.

A man in England was so frustrated at having to wait for sex-change surgery that he took matters into his own hands. To make a long story short ... er ... well, he chopped off his genitalia.

As the article points out, Holli, formerly Howard, is a builder and apparent DIY enthusiast.

Through the invaluable assistance of the internet, he found a page somewhere detailing how to carve your meat-and-two-veg at home. Imagine that ... Step One: Lots of towels, check ... Step two: Big sharp knife, check ... Now for Step Three ...

What term does one enter into a search engine to get "How to remove your genitals (male) with a carving knife in the comfort of your own home?" A casual search for "remove your own gentials" undertaken, need I explain, purely in the spirit of scientific inquiry, returned a page on the care and feeding of Pit Bulls, which seems like a rather drastic measure when carving knives are so cheap.

Personally I applaud his initiative. So much money could be saved if all those damn whiners did their own appendectomies, for example. Maybe we could start an incentive program, wherin the government would pay you part of the cost of the surgery you saved the health system from having to perform?

One Year To Go

How are you this fine morning?

I've been up since three. It's now five. This has gone on for four nights now. It's mostly related to allergies, I think. But I've also been dealing with five nights of lucid dreams in the past week. I haven't dreamed lucidly more than about once every nine months for at least five years. More on this later.

Right now I'm thinking about Tibet and China. From the blog:
This is what the Chinese government gets for trying to sell the world a lie. They want the Olympic spotlight and they want to improve their global image without actually doing anything to change their authoritarian ways. Simply window dressing the capital at this time is not enough.

And from the comments:
Comment from bookishboy
Time: August 8, 2007, 4:49 pm

“This is what the Chinese government gets for trying to sell the world a lie.”

Um, am I missing something? They apparently “get” all of Tibet. And in exchange they have to put up with an annoying banner, hung on one of their national monuments for the scant hour it takes the authorities to remove it.

Why do I get the feeling that China would be OK with that?
Myself, I'm not thrilled by any of it. I feel about China the way I feel about gravity: it's there, and you can't avoid dealing with it. This isn't some tin-pot dictatorship like Libya (oops--am I allowed to say that now they're on the side of the angels in "The War Against Terror"?). Around an eighth of the world's population lives there, and the fact that the billions of Chinese citizens haven't broken into open revolt suggests that in fact things aren't that miserable there, as a whole, for the average Chan-in-the-street.

But to send the Olympics there was a stupid mistake at best. It gives the beknighted hole legitimacy. It says "We accept this totalitarianism lite regime and all its works." Which would include the occupation of Tibet, the threatning stance against Taiwan ... and the myriad abuses of its own citizens. Of course, the IOC has never been above a good bribe. Wonder what China's new legitimacy cost the Party?

So I'm glad to see activists kicking off the 365-Days-of-Grotesque-Moral-Compromise.

Of course, China got the $#!7ty end of both communism (The "cultural revolution" and the "great leap forward") and capitalism (the loss of the security of inept state planning in return for restricted participation in a corrupt and shadowy "free market").

I believe, though, that as its citizens explore the limits of their new-found freedoms, sheer population pressure will drive China into more modernization and reform. And the thing about internal revolutions is that imperial powers lose their colonial states while their attention is directed inward. Make no mistake, Tibet will be free. And China will eventually fall to some form of democracy. It'll take a few more generations, but it's hard to see how they can avoid it.

And unfortunately, as the Bush experience with North Korea and Iran proves, simply not talking to them does no good. It just means the resentment festers.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Tell me: D'you think we'd be boycotting the Olympics in 2008 if Tibet had oil? Or if China had a population of 200,000?

08 August 2007

Desert Island Discs

The final question in my interview with Azahar.

5. What would be your 10 Desert Island Discs?

1) The Box--All The Time, All The Time, All The Time
Possibly the only concept album themed on "Le Petit Prince", by Antoine St-Expury. Which makes it appropriate, for the Little Prince was assuredly shipwrecked on his small star. When they filmed the story of my harrowing adventure, the tune "Remnants" would underscore the opening sequence in which the camera speeds from island across vasty ocean to the shores of whatever nation I was departing from.

2) Pink Floyd--The Wall
When I feel miserable or deeply unhappy, I put PFTW on loud and let my troubles wash away. I think it's because the imagery in the songs is so bleak that in my most miserable moments I look positively chirpy by comparison. This would be a terrific tune once the newness of being stranded on a desert island wore off and I began to sink into depression. I see a moment: I've just chucked the last bottle, which I have just emptied, out to sea with a message in it. My pencil is broken. We get a short sequence of me trying to sharpen it with bottle openers and stones. Then a montage of the pencil continually breaking. Finally I toss the stub out to the beach and lean against a palm, listless and inert. As the sun drops into the tropic seas surrounding my lonely prison, "Is There Anybody Out There" begins to play, followed by either a sequence of clips of my family, worried, at home, underscored by "Another Brick in the Wall Part 1"--with the appropriate image set to the words "... a snapshot in the family album ...". Alternatively, "Nobody Home" with clips of brooding Metro chucking stones into the sea, seated, watching the sun climb and drop again for a day or two would be good.

3) Tom Cochrane and Red Rider--Boy Inside the Man
It was a toss-up between this and Neruda. Neruda contains the tune Lunatic Fringe. But for overall solid enjoyability from one end to the other, it goes to Boy. This would begin to play when, seated on the sand, Metro finally notices some bit of jetsam that must have been drawn to the island from some nearby habitation. Upon seeing this evidence that the outside world really exists, our hero rises from his torpor, probably to the signature track, and gets moving.

4) I have in my collection an ancient tape (yeah, tape) of Rossini's "greatest hits", which I have always found productive. In the movie version, at the part where I stop moping about being stranded on a desert island and begin actually getting off my keister and doing stuff i.e. building rude hut, constructing primitive toilet, building the tiki bar, etc. , this'll be the track played as the skeleton of said hut rises skyward in pixillated motion. I particularly see "The Barber of Seville" as the significant track.

5) In any good desert-island film, the hero must be shown learning to gather food. It is essential that this be shown with pratfalls and grimaces as he tastes unknown and unexplored foods (though the brief episodes of convulsions and vomiting usually go on off-camera). Mine would have to be underscored, I think, by "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, from the album "Stunt". Cue humourous incident wherin our hero spears himself in foot while fishing. Clips of improving hunting skills, difficulty in cooking, then finally a view of the careful selection of precisely the correct palm wine to go with speared fish.

6) Once the strandee has established a little life for himself, the obligatory human presence must be detected. A footprint is a good indicator. Initially, said presence must be hostile, in the form of Natives (cannibal, dusky), smugglers (cruel, ruthless), or possibly RIAA representatives (hair-trigger, obstructionist). During such tension-filled moments, the sound you hear would be something threatening. Low and slow at the start. But rising as our hero panics, and runs into the smuggler/pirate/cannibal/cheerleader who will become his new best friend. Matthew Good would come in handy here. Maybe "I Miss New Wave", off "Beautiful Midnight."

7) Once an appropriate Native/Smuggler has been co-opted into our hero's cause, there must be images of fun and frolic as the two people get to know one another. Cue funny Native-shows-clueless-strandee-how-to-do-something-much-more-efficiently sequence, followed by Strandee-tries-to-teach-Native-golf/frisbee/oboe. This would be set to the Rolling Stones "Beast of Burden", from "Some Girls."

8) Of course, if this was more a Blue Lagoon type of movie there would need to be some Dire Straits, just for the love scenes (Brooke! Call me, babe). I favour "Romeo and Juliet" from "Making Movies".

9) Now comes the crisis--something forces our hero's hand and he and faithful Native companion/ good-guy smuggler/ lithe, lissome, love slave must depart in haste. It's an exciting sequence. First there is noise. Either Native drums or the sound of smuggler engines on the end of the Island where they have heretofore been unseen/loath to venture. Then someone spots the line of people, beating the bush and advancing on our heroes' positions. Someone runs rapidly through a green blur of forest to bring the news that the hiding place/food cache/stack of porn mags has been discovered and the someone who now knows they're here is determined to find them. As our hero pulls the cover off the as-yet-incomplete raft and the two shove it into the lagoon, we see clips of the advancing horde of cannibals/coke fiends/cheerleaders pushing through the forest. As they break into a run on the beach, throwing spears/firing rifles/flinging pom-poms, our heroes clear the reef and drift off on their rickety craft, cast into the uncertainties of the unforgiving ocean. The whole thing would be ironically scored by Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills"--though the disc would be the "Much Music Power Hour" album, 1986.

10) Our heroes languish attractively, parched and sunburnt for many days, until rescue. After several disappointments, a ship hoves into sight, and with the last of their failing strength they manage to capture the crew's attention. Cue recovering heroes, in blankets, struggling to communicate in English after so many years. Then a return to city life, the struggle to adapt/readapt. After long, miserable shots of Metro looking lost in crowds, uncomfortable in suits, and hiding in the bathroom at parties, we see him reach some sort of internal accommodation with his new environment. He sits down at his desk and picks up the phone, we see him from behind as our camera eye vanishes backwards through the wall, out of the building, panning ever wider to the shot of the Great City skyline, where the credits begin to roll, dwarfing the buildings and disrupting the hell out of rush hour. This would be scored by either Coldplay's "Clocks" from "A Rush of Blood to the Head". Alternatively, Dave Matthews' "Crash into Me" would work, off the "Crash" album.

I think that I could stand listening to no music but those albums mentioned here for up to five years. However, this does rather presuppose that I would wind up marooned on the only desert island in history to contain a CD/MP3 player. Of course, I suppose if I was on the right Island the Professor could rig one up from a pile of coconut shells.

This concludes my interview with Az. I hope we all learned something from it. I know I did; although unfortunately I cannot remember exactly what it was. Next post will include the interview instructions for the interested.

07 August 2007

Yesterday was a Statutory Holiday

--All the statues got the day off, I guess.

Actually, because yesterday was a statutory holiday, I took the day off blogging as well, and determined that I would not post. I decided that I would post on the day previous, advising that I would not.

However, I left it a little late and when I finally turned my attention to the work, I discovered that it was past midnight and that, having determined I would not post on the holiday Monday, I was in danger of violating that resolution.

Instead, O Avid Fan, I have decided to post today that I was unable to post yesterday about not posting the following day. Here is that post. Not the one about the lack of a holiday post, but rather the post about not posting that I would not post on the holiday.

I hope that makes everything quite clear.

03 August 2007

Not My Longest Post

But in response to Mur's recommendation that I visit Coff's Harbour, Australia ...

I knew I'd heard the name before, in connection with the picture my folks have of the Biggest Banana in the World. To jog my memory I headed over to, where else, Google.

The Biggest Banana in the World

From th'Goo it was a short, or long, trip to:

The Longest List of the Longest Stuff at the Longest Domain Name at Long Last.

Dot com.

I just thought that was a fantastic name for a site. Go look at it, your life will be a little richer, if not longer.

Interview Question Four

4. Where in the world would you live if you could choose any place at all?

Well we can eliminate anywhere that's not a democracy of some credible sort. Having thus knocked off roughly two-thirds of the globe ... I think I already live in the finest country on Earth. If I were deported, I'd get them to ship me out to Oz, which could be Top Nation if they'd elected someone else.

I wonder whether I could narrow it down to three choices?

In Australia: I really enjoyed Byron Bay. Yes, I know it's not really Oz. It is instead an enclave of Canada and Holland. Canucks and Dutch swarm the place and one day they'll actually put up a border control post. But it has excellent beaches with good surf for learning on ... come to think of it, what else do you need? Ah yes--and Cheeky Monkey's bar was the first place I ever drank where the tables were designed for dancing on (from the website it looks as though they've tarted it up a bit). Oh, and Nimbin, popular among herbacious boarders, is mere minutes away by bus. Or even shorter as the Deadhead flies. There's also the famous Cape Byron lighthouse, where incoming daylight first strikes the Australian mainland.

In Canada:
I just got back from a little island in the Pacific. Well technically it's in the Strait of Juan Da Fuca (prounounced "Wanda Fewka", to avoid confusion. Students at the local community college were thrilled when it received university accreditation status, because they could now wear sweatshirts reading "Juan Da Fuca U"). It's cool, and the piece of it I was camping on is a co-op dedicated to simplicity, and therefore primitive and undeveloped. The local slogan is "nothing permanent". The only structures permitted at campsites are driftwood shelters to cook and hide out of the rain beneath. The local ocean is chilly, but the beach is sandy. Wildlife abounds.

However, I have always believed that if I live a good clean life and worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster in appropriate fashion, then when I die I will go to Truro, Nova Scotia.

I was in Truro for only one terrific night, as passenger in a bus full of young men on our way to do something military. Truro had draught beer at 75¢ a glass. Truro had one bar which contained four bars (including a country bar, but you have to take the bad with the good, right?). Truro had an enormous nursing college, rendering the male/female ratio the best I've ever seen. And Truro had seemingly the highest number of natural redheads in Canada (not that I'm picky, but it was what I was noticing that season).

The neighbouring countryside, what I saw of it the following morning, was rolling hills and farmland, good for walking.

So those are my choices. I have others. Fréjus, in France. Berlin (East). Basically anywhere there are people to watch and interesting stuff to do, with a place to retreat to once I'm tired of doing interesting stuff.

01 August 2007

Metroblog Scoop!

Well probably not, really. But all my Avid Fans will doubtless be thrilled to learn of the reunion of Sean Astin and Christopher Lee in a major project.

You will recall that the last one involved a certain amount of magic. This time it's not so much the magic itself as The Colour of Magic.

Yep, Sean Astin as Twoflower, David Jason as Rincewind, and gawdelpus, Christopher Lee as THE VOICE.

In celebration let me offer you a quiz:

Which Discworld Character Are You?

You scored as The Librarian
You're the Librarian! Once a wizard, now an Orang-utan (due to an unfortunate magical accident), you refuse to be turned back for a few reasons: In this form, it's easier to reach the shelves and hold more books; having the strength of five men makes people return their books on time; life's great philosophical questions boil down to "When do I get my next banana?" You only ever say "Ook" but are usually understood well enough.

The Librarian


Commander Samuel Vimes


Lord Havelock Vetinari




Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax


Gytha (Nanny) Ogg


Carrot Ironfounderson


Cohen The Barbarian






Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with