Metroblog

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

30 March 2008

In the (Hopefully) Temporary Absence of Inspiration

I offer you, as always, the second-best in stolen content.

(The best stolen content is, of course, the stuff Raincoaster steals from me.)

This was appropriated from Aerchie's Archive

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Yea, verily: Who is that, stalking out of the tarmac! It is Metro, hands clutching a meaty axe! And with an ominous cry, his voice cometh:

"Vengeance and goo flow from my veins! I carve into flesh until everything has croaked!"

Find out!
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created by beatings : powered by monkeys



I'm kind of on hiatus lately. Just finished my last play a couple of weeks back, and I'm looking to the future. Trying to hack my life a little.

In particular, I have become a wee bit concerned about the shape I'm in. Last week, Mme Metro went to the big smoke to participate in a study which is apparently attempting to assess the effect of marriage upon one's psyche. Of which I will say nothing further. However, in the process we were called upon to step on a scale. This scale, worse yet, gave a reading of my body fat percentage. I won't tell you the numbers. Just take it as read that I didn't like them.

In honour of which, here are some Canadian musicians, also worried about the shape they're in.

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24 March 2008

The "Cost" of a Caring Society

A new report suggests that my home province could save millions of dollars by ...
Housing the homeless?

Yup.
The paper - entitled "Housing and Support for Adults With Severe Addictions and/or Mental Illnesses in British Columbia" - says providing non-housing services for such people costs the public system more than $55,000 per year per person.

It says providing adequate housing and supports could reduce this cost to $37,000 per year.

The team of researchers - from SFU, the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary - says the overall "cost avoidance" of such a plan is about $211 million per year.
Occasionally I find myself in an argument over social programs such as welfare and the medical system with well-meaning people who say things such as: "Well it's a great idea in theory, but look at the cost."

In this particular case, the cost would actually be negative. Though in any case, the imagined costs of social programs tend to be overestimated relative to the benefits.

Still, given the track record of the "fiscally prudent" BC Liberals (who in any other province would be considered very conservative indeed), I'm not holding my breath.

Prediction: Lots of government officials, including the Premier, will be photographed opening things having to do with the Olympics.

There will be at least twelve times as many such photos as there will be of ministers opening mental health and addiction treatment centres.

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21 March 2008

Making Money off the Dead

I mean, it's an Easter tradition, right? Or at least among churches.

There are several ways of doing this. You can, for example, wait until after the funeral and approach the settling mound of earth, spade, crowbar, and pliers in hand.

You can claim to be disposing of the remains while in fact stacking the corpses like cordwood out back.

You can sell bits of them to people who live under a health system that encourages trafficking in what would otherwise simply become, in the fullness of time, spoiled meat.

You can legislate that everyone in say, Florida, must purchase a coffin (PDF link), even though what that means is that people are purchasing an extremely expensive box to burn the remains in. Worse yet, they may simply be hiring the box without their knowledge.

I have not included the ever-popular outright murder-for-profit racket on this list, as, technically, I feel that this is making money off the living. Whether you've been patiently slipping white powder into rich aunt Mabel's tea for years, or you employ some more abrupt method to score personal gain from random well-heeled strangers, you are still making money from people who were mostly living at the time.

Nor do I include the efforts of the many, many enterprising people associated with the grim industry of death who simply overcharge for funerals, sell ficitional funerary plots, or one of a myriad of similar scams. I've skipped the people who talk about the dead, or run websites or even TV stations for them. Why? Well frankly because there's too damn many of them and this post is long enough as it is.

However, I have found a way to make money off of the dead. It's relatively harmless and actually piggybacks on a far larger-scale scheme.

Grant DePatie was working a late-night shift at a gas station in Coquitlam, BC, when a teen crook tried to drive away without paying for $12 in gas. DePatie apparently stepped in front of the car, was struck, and was dragged some seven kilometres to his doubtless agonizing death.

[Brief digression]
The station manager pointed out that the station had policies in place that said specifically that workers were not to leave the building late at night. However a WorkSafe BC investigation discovered that the station repeatedly and willfully ignored its own policies.

The issue that was never addressed, to my mind, is why a man making something around $9 an hour would risk his life to stop the theft of $12 in gas. Because I know why. The manager would have taken the money out of his paycheque. I have several friends who report that this is standard practice in the industry. It's illegal as hell. But the manager has not been charged, nor has the issue been once mentioned in the media.

After Grant's death, the DePaties lobbied for a law that would force motorists to pay in advance when fuelling up at night. I was generally in favour. However, our government woke from its torpor long enough to push through a set of workplace regulatory changes called "Grant's Law" (not actually law, but workplace regs with the force of law).

[/Brief digression]

Now motorists must pay in advance 24 hours a day.

I don't really mind. I feel it was inevitable. The teething problems have mostly sorted themselves out now, and besides, a lot of gas stations were already putting rules like this in place (which was presumably why the kid who ran over Grant DePatie was fuelling up at that particular station).

However, it also means that the managers will never again have to steal money from their employees. Because now every litre will theoretically be paid for. Isn't that nice? And no-one need ask questions as to why DePatie really died for $12. Nice for the station owners and managers.

However, on to my money-making scheme.
I fuel at a Canadian Tire station for which I have a CT credit card. When I buy fuel, I get points (and this is important) according to the amount I charge on the card, rather than the number of litres purchased. Furthermore, I get five times more points buying gas that buying other things at Canadian Tire.

Under "Grant's Law" I must name an amount, sign a charge slip, and fuel. Then I get my change in cash. The first time I did this, I observed that I got the points for spending $55 on gas even though $8 had returned to my pocket in cash.

Last night I rang in $75.00 and used $55.01 for fuel. I got $3.75 in Canadian Tire Money (5¢ on the dollar). As a bonus, the guy at the station rounded my $19.99 in change up to a full $20!

Okay, so I never said it was a get rich quick scheme. Next week I'll post about how to make money at the casino.







20 March 2008

Just Because

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

No matter what you may be celebrating this Easter weekend, whether it be a resurrected saviour or an occasion to flirt with diabetes, I hope you enjoy it.

Me, I'm off to celebrate spring in the most appropriate way. Just leave the food at the hotel door.







17 March 2008

Mandatory Paddy Post

For St. Patrick's Day and in honour of the fine folk who gave rise to humanity's fairest flower (which would, as I'm sure you'd agree, be my noble self):

Having arrived in New York, Paddy got a job in a big downtown office. During his first week there he noticed that suddenly, between noon and two p.m., the office emptied out completely.

One day about noon, a fellow employee poked his head over Paddy's cubicle wall and said:
"Paddy--You're new here, so I guess nobody's told you yet. You don't have to sit there working away all afternoon, you can do what everyone else does."

"What does everbody else do?" Paddy inquired.

"Well it's like this, see: Each day at noon, the boss takes off. Now he pretends he's going to lunch, but everybody knows he's got a girl stashed away somewhere. And he's never back 'till two. So everyone takes off. Some of us go sink a few at the pub, some of us go for nine holes of golf, and some of us," here the co-worker leered and winked "go home for a quickie."

"Wal," said Paddy, "I might just give that a try."

So the next day, Paddy shuffled out and into the lift with all the other workers. He went to the underground parking lot, got in his car, drove out and thence home. He arrived, and was surprised to see a shiny Lexus parked in the driveway. He crept to the door and let himself in silently. He slipped off his shoes and tiptoed up the stairs to the bedroom, then he pulled the door open.

There in the bed he saw his wife, entertaining his boss with such energy and vigour that neither party noticed the dejected husband standing there. Silently, he closed the door, let himself out of the house, and drove back to work.

The next day, a co-worker said: "Hey Paddy, when the boss takes off at lunch, there's a bunch of us going down to the pub. Want to come along?"

"No," said Paddy, "I'm not going anywhere ..."

"I damn near got caught yesterday!"







Legal Ease

Via the sodden Vixen of Vancouver, we are gifted with this report, written by a Texas judge:
After this remarkably long walk on a short legal pier, having received no useful guidance whatever from either party, the Court has endeavored, primarily based upon its affection for both counsel, but also out of its own sense of morbid curiosity, to resolve what it perceived to be the legal issue presented. Despite the waste of perfectly good crayon seen in both parties' briefing (and the inexplicable odor of wet dog emanating from such) the Court believes it has satisfactorily resolved this matter. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
As much as I dislike linking to William F. Buckley's wayward child, you should really read this report.

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15 March 2008

Just When You Think the Chimp Couldn't Get Any Worse

"Stupidity got us into this mess, and stupidity will get us out."
~Homer J. Simpson, also George W. Bush.
The video reveals a bare room with white walls and a black-and-white tiled floor, where abu Dan’s father is forced to sit and listen to his son’s shrieks of pain. Afterward, abu Dan says, he and two of the others were driven to a market square. “They told us they were going to kill us. They made us sit on the ground.” He rolls up the legs of his trousers to display the circular scars that are evidence of what happened next: “They shot our knees and feet—five bullets each. I spent four months in a wheelchair.”

Abu Dan had no way of knowing it, but his tormentors had a secret ally: the administration of President George W. Bush.

[...]

Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)

But the secret plan backfired, resulting in a further setback for American foreign policy under Bush. Instead of driving its enemies out of power, the U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza.

What a joke. Wonder who's laughing? Probably not the Palestinians, and G-d knows not the Israelis.

Of course, he doesn't just repeat history (Bay of Pigs? Iran-Contra, anyone?), the idiot makes it. On March 8th, George W. Bush became the United States' first truly pro-torture president.

He has passed beyond all understanding or sympathy.
Im-₤µ¢λing-peach, already!

Of course, there is an alternative. And as a bonus, he'll finally get to show some genuine leadership:
"I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

"It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said.
Me, I don't think he's too old. Some of his serving coporals are probably about his age.

I say the man deserves to partake in the excitement of this young "democracy" he has thus far allowed several hundred thousand people to die for.

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14 March 2008

The Editorial Eye

Some folks have it, some don't.

My editorial eye is primarily a musical one. I first noticed it when I went to see a band billed in the advert whence I got the tickets as "Dire Straights".

Some time ago, I observed a sign reading "Live Sat: Vince Neil of Motley Crew."

And the other day I found a web page where an intense discussion of the finer points of the band "Spinal Tap" were being discussed.

However, it should be noted that the Spinal Tap board has a point, in that Microsoft apparently did not see fit to equip any of their fonts with an umlauted "n".

However, other people exercise their editorial skills in other media. Case in point:



In a nearly-related story, a California attorney was asked to surrender his "GO 2 11" license plate. This move by the relevant authority was due to some wanker-with-nothing-better-to-do's apparent contention that the plate could be read as "go to hell."

It's kind of fun to read the response.

Story blatantly stolen off the Spinal Tap Fan site.







12 March 2008

One Quarter Infected

More bad numbers on the sociological front in the US. Up to a quarter of the next generation's flower of womanhood carries a sexually transmitted infection. Among black girls the rate is damn near fifty percent (Thank you Mr. Thurmond and co.).

On behalf of the friends, families, partners and itchy ex-partners of those 3 million teenage girls, I would like to thank George Dubya Bush and his "abstinence-based" sexual ignorance programs. Or do I mean "faith-based"?

You try and teach kids to be honest to the core, then these clowns spend years lying to them about the most important issues of all.

Meanwhile, some good news, many of the girls turned out to be only a little bit pregnant.

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10 March 2008

Head of Anglican Church Revealed as Muslim!

Via Northern Planets, I just discovered that the head of the (apostate) Church of England is also a descendant of none less than the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) himself!

I bet the House of Saud is $#17ting themselves right now ... Oh, wait. They've known since 1986?

This is really going to play havoc with their national anthem.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is Dick Cheney's cousin. Word of advice, Barack: If he invites you on the annual hunting trip--DON'T GO!







06 March 2008

Blogroll Additions, and About Time Too

I've finally gotten around to adding Vlad the Impala of Northern Planets to the blogroll. I haven't yet added his wordpress blog, also Northern Planets. Nor his uncensored Northern Planets Uncensored.

But via The Questionable Authority, I have found a wondrous blog of things tentacular and poetic. Fans of that squid-squeezer Raincoaster will doubtless enjoy the poetic cephalopodcasts of The Digital Cuttlefish.

Go and read the post about English and creationism.

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Girl, 9, Helps Link Vaccines to Autism Cause

... in the eyes of a FOX news editor.

Further proof that FOX is for people with fewer teeth than the normal complement, and fewer brain cells than teeth:
Girl, 9, Helps Link Vaccines to Autism Cause

Well, since it's FOX we know it's bull$#17. (65% certainly, with a 95% probability of distorion of facts).

But:

Ga. girl helps link autism to childhood vaccines
--This is from some organ called "Health Sentinel." I visited their site, and they're full of scary, scary articles about the dangers of mercury fillings (you get more mercury from many city water supplies than you get from your fillings), and happy happy articles about how herbal extracts can stave off heart attacks, tea can fight diabetes (a secret formerly known only to a small, secretive society of British diabetics, presumably), and an apple a day not only keeps the doctor away, but helps you remember where the doctor's office is, should you in fact need to see one.

Then:
Government Concedes Vaccine Injury Case
Ah, this sounds a bit like something truthful, rather than truthy. And guess what--it's from a genuine news organ!

So what actually happened?
As it turns out, the US government has agreed that in the specific case of a little girl who was born with a rare DNA defect, childhood vaccines may have worsened the condition.

No reputable source, and no reliable study, has ever concluded that childhood vaccines cause autism.

Thank the FSM we have good old "Fair and Balanced" FOX to straighten out all those scientists.

If you needed any further confirmation of the bullshit factor, attend the words of the lead ambulance-chaser, sorry, I mean lawyer, for 1,200 families seeking to claim vaccine damages:
It's a beginning," said Kevin Conway, a Boston lawyer representing more than 1,200 families with vaccine injury claims. "Each case is going to have to be proved on its individual merits. But it shows to me that the government has conceded that it's biologically plausible for a vaccine to cause these injuries. They've never done it before."
In other words: "I'll have to fight each of these 1,200 cases seperately."

I bet he's shopping for Ferraris right now.

I have nothing against lawyers. But I hate confidence tricksters. These guys enable a sense of entitlement in their clients by telling them that, contrary to all known science, their families' sufferings are the sole responsibility of government or industry. Meanwhile, the billable hours stack up.

In this one case, the scientific evidence seemingly bore out not that the vaccine caused autism, but that it worsened a pre-existing condition resembling autism.

I am not saying that the ascription of a link between the specific mitochondrial disorder that little girl suffered from and autism spectrum disorders doesn't bear investigating. That's what science is for. But for a lawyer to claim that this single case somehow proves a link is just silly.

Of course, if the condition was pre-existing, then it seems to me that it would change the face of the legal argument for compensation. For unless the vaccinating agency knew about both the dna defect condition and a possible link between that and this disorder, how could they be expected to take appropriate action?

So to return to my original point, which is the more appropriate headline:
  • Girl, 9, Helps Link Vaccines to Autism Cause
  • or
  • Government Concedes Vaccine Injury Case?

  • I just report. You decide.

    Some people feel that it should be up to the individual to make a choice as to whether or not to immunize your kid. I don't agree. For a good discussion of why, see the post over at The Questionable Authority.

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    04 March 2008

    FOX Publishes Article on Net Neutrality

    ... Heavens Quake, Satan seen in Sportcheck purchasing ice skates.

    I believe in net neutrality. And I believe it should be codified into law.

    What would it change for the user at home? Nothing. However, it would definitely change things for the telcos who are already starting to stream the internet. Their aim is simple: create a package of different-level accesses to the internet which they can control.

    "Premium" subscribers will get faster data and download rates. Those of us like my noble self who buy just as much as they need will be relegated to the second tier service.

    We already have tiered service. If you don't believe me, try buying dial-up and running your computer on that.

    There are all sorts of arguments against net neutrality. Most have to do with "it'll stifle innovation."

    Yeah, because from 1994 on, the de facto neutral net strangled commerce and hampered research and development efforts ... yeah, that's it ... sure it has ... The results of this arrested development can be seen all around us ... Well if you're a telco executive, anyway.

    What's really shocking is that FOX news--never the most neutral and unbiased source--is the published of this editorial.

    Presumably they know that no-one would pay extra just to get "Fair and Balanced" faster.

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    03 March 2008

    Health Care? That's for Beginners

    Our last government (the one before "Canada's New Government (TM)") floated the idea of a national daycare strategy to address the truly ludicrous shortage of affordable care.

    I have my own solutions. However, I feel that the Rick Mercer Report (a CBC production) has an even better idea.



    Now how can I convince Mme Metro to sign me up?