Metroblog

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

30 August 2008

Shat, Man ...

We do not, here at the ol' Metroblog, suffer from the Shat obsession characterized by certain other bloggers in the neighbourhood.

Still ...

This has to be some kinda sign of the approaching apocalypse. Joe Jackson, one of the original punks, coupled (ugh--sorry, little wave of nausea, typing that)together with the Shat, coupled together (and I think I just threw up a little, in my mouth) with the animated Star Trek series coupled together with (anyone got a Tic-Tac?) K/S slash.

Be-£µ©λing-hold. Lyrics below:



Common People
by Pulp

She came from Greece, she had a thirst for knowledge
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin's College
That's where I caught her eye
She told me that her Dad was loaded
I said "In that case I'll have rum and coca-cola
She said "fine"
And then in 30 seconds time she said

"I want to live like common people
I want to do whatever common people do
I want to sleep with common people
I want to sleep with common people like you"
Well what else could I do?
I said "I'll see what I can do"

I took her to a supermarket
I don't know why
but I had to start it somewhere
so it started there
I said "pretend you've got no money"
but she just laughed
and said "oh you're so funny"
I said "Yeah
Well I can't see anyone else smiling in here
Are you sure

you want to live like common people
you want to see whatever common people see
you want to sleep with common people
you want to sleep with common people like me?"
But she didn't understand
she just smiled and held my hand

Rent a flat above a shop
Cut your hair and get a job
Smoke some fags and play some pool
Pretend you never went to school
But still you'll never get it right
'cos when you're laid in bed at night
watching roaches climb the wall
if you called your dad he could stop it all
yeah

You'll never live like common people
You'll never do whatever common people do
You'll never fail like common people
You'll never watch your life slide out of view
and then dance and drink and screw
because there's nothing else to do

Sing along with the common people
Sing along and it might just get you through
Laugh along with the common people
Laugh along although they're laughing at you
and the stupid things that you do
because you think that poor is cool

Like a dog lying in a corner
they will bite you and never warn you
Look out
they'll tear your insides out
'cos everybody hates a tourist
especially one who thinks
it's all such a laugh
yeah and the chip stain's grease
will come out in the bath

You will never understand
how it feels to live your life
with no meaning or control
and with nowhere left to go
You are amazed that they exist
and they burn so bright
whilst you can only wonder why

Rent a flat above a shop
Cut your hair and get a job
Smoke some fags and play some pool
Pretend you never went to school
But still you'll never get it right
'cause when you're laid in bed at night
watching roaches climb the wall
if you called your dad he could stop it all
yeah

You'll never live like common people
You'll never do whatever common people do
You'll never fail like common people
You'll never watch your life slide out of view
and then dance and drink and screw
'because there's nothing else to do
I want to live with common people like you.....

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29 August 2008

"PHreeeeoooow ... powpowpowpowpowpowpow!" : Harper

Steve Harper just pulled another page from the George Dubya Bush playbook. No word on whether he padded his suit.

On this one issue, I'd actually say Harper's more hypocritical than his mentor--Bush at least had flight time, even before ditching National Guard duty to dodge Vietnam.

The scene: Harper's touring the north and no-one cares. He's threatening an election, and seems to misunderstand that Canadians can't wait to vote him out.

He's making noises about Arctic sovereignty, but no-one cares except the Russians, whose attitude to Canadian claims of sovereignty over the pole is similar to that of a father whose 3-year-old son tells him "You're not allowed to sit there! That's MY chair!"

So how to generate interest?

Enter a "scramble". Canadian jets roared out on a NATO "Sovereignty Patrol" (wanna bet that the word "Sovereignty" was added by Harper's [American] political strategist?) to "intercept" a Russian plane that was allegedly in the air somewhere near the Arctic. Now cue photo-op:
MacKay and Harper visited four CF18 Canadian military jets sent to Inuvik in response to what officials said was an unidentified aircraft that had neared Canadian air space.

The arrival of the aircraft was only "coincidental" to the political meeting, MacKay said. Officials declined to elaborate on the situation.


All I can think is:
"Whaat? No 'Mission Accomplished' banner?"

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26 August 2008

Sympathy for the Iron Lady

I am no fan of Baroness Thatcher. But we're all human, and it turns out she is too. Iron Maggie is slowly rusting.

This is the bit that most arouses my sympathy, the last few lines of the story:
Carol Thatcher wrote that one of the most difficult episodes in recent years had been the death of her father Denis Thatcher in 2003, which her mother often forgot had happened.

"Losing Dad ... was truly awful for Mum, not least because her dementia meant she kept forgetting he was dead," she wrote.

"I had to keep giving her the bad news over and over again."
It is a state we all are likely to come to, if the FSM grants us a life sufficiently long.

My uncle, David, is in a group home for Alzheimer's patients in Florida, he's been there since he became paranoid and violent and too much for my aunt Moira to look after. She was a formidable woman and, oddly, reminded me of Mrs. Thatcher in some indefinable way--perhaps it was the sheer indomitability of will brought about by her years as a nurse.

Well in any case, she passed on about five years back now. And my greatest sympathy is for my cousins, because David apparently still greets them with "Hi! How's your mother?"

I hardly know what to wish the Baroness. "Long life" would sound insincere, ironic, which this post really isn't meant to be. Yet "a swift and painless passing" seems somehow malevolent, though we should all desire it.

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Dial "M" for "Metroblog"

Today's post is being brought to you by the letter "M" and the number 1000.

M stands for "Metroblog"

M stands for "Metro"

And now I want you to all stand for the Mth post here at Metroblog!

And M stands for "Most of all I'd like to thank YOU." I couldn't have done it without my approximately-one-tenth-score of Avid Fans.

Please join me for a massive meal featuring mashed mongoose meatballs, mangled macaw, macaroni and mortadella, and mangoes. Followed by music by Men Without Hats, Men at Work, Midnight Oil, and Motorhead.

Well, actually, since you probably can't make it for munchies, here's the music.

Men Without Hats


Men At Work


Midnight Oil


Sod--I could listen to those bastards all day. Check M out:
here and also here. And look up "The Forgotten Years."


Motorhead--well actually it's Lemmy, Whitfield Crane, and Ice Cube.


Thanks for being with us this long, and here's hoping the next few years are shorter on political blog fodder and maybe a little longer on the personal development, eh?

~M

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22 August 2008

"It's Like These Guys Take Pride in Being Ignorant"

Jesus. Jumnped-up. Christ.

In a jet-propelled sidecar.
Decorated with flames and pinstripes and piloted by the frickin' ghost of Dale Earnhardt.

It took eight damn years before someone prominent in politics came out with that headline statement.

THIS is what the wingnut wurlitzer is talking about when they sneer the words "elitist" and "intellectual". The death of true information, fact-based thinking and rationality, and the embracing of woo, folk "wisdom," and feel-good thought.

THIS is what they talk about when they denigrate mainstream media for having a "liberal bias" (read: "basis in reality").

THIS is what they're defending their "right" to when they force Creationism into schools in the name of teaching the non-existant "controversy." Freedom of blind ignorance and wilful stupidity are not, so I understand, guaranteed under the Constitution of the USA.

THIS is what they're on about when they vote to restrict and hamstring scientific research in the name of "snowflake babies". What they insist on when they tamper with public health law to allow people to withold treatment, medicines, vaccines and even money for international aid based solely on whether they feel that their particular god would approve.

Bush is proud of his ignorance, from his "charmingly candid" (read £µ©λing frightening) admission that he doesn't like to read, to his claim that "the jury is still out on evolution."

And he was elected by people who believe the same sort of thing. Reading is bad--it makes your kids ask questions you can't find the answers to. It makes them think that the crap you believe might just be ... well, crap. It forces you to justify your dumbass beliefs against sharp-edged, nasty, noisy people who not only believe different things from you but may have a lot of inconvenient "facts" on their side.

Finally someone's actually said it, and in public. Ignorance IS NOT A GODDAM FAMILY VALUE. Feel that fresh air!

But finally, too, someone's written a good book about it, and offers a good interview here.

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Some Good News From the Pews

More Americans Question Religion's Role in Politics quoth the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.



Even more interesting was the snapshot data on opinions regarding gay marriage, an issue which prompted many states to put ridiculous measures on their ballots in 2004 enacting discrimination (one of those republican values, I guess) as law.

In 2004, the number of people who regarded equal marriage as "Very important," the number of people who said churches should butt out was 25%. Now it's 50%.

It's a hopeful sign, I think. Now if only we could trust people to not vote for the candidate they believe their God would prefer, and simply choose the best option, then we might be getting somewhere.

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Bob Novak has a Brain Tumour

His erratic behaviour has been making headlines of late. I'm sort of gratified. He had a fair dollop of integrity, but he seemed to be slowly falling into the swamp of old, angry, conservatism that plagues much of the US. So it's comforting, in a way, to find out he's merely ill.

(Though I can't help but wonder if we'll see the cheering over this in certain quarters that we did over Teddy Kennedy's.)

The news is about a month old. But I felt that this image deserved a little attention. This is the picture from the front page of the Arizona Star for August 8th. I've rearranged the elements to fit this page, by sticking the picture, which originally was up at the right, captioned "Novak's" [sic], over the advert, but I have the original screencap if anyone wants to see it for validation.



Bob, I never knew you. I thought you were just another angry white guy.

In a way, it's comforting that Teddy Kennedy came down with one first. Otherwise I might regard this as further proof of my theory that modern conservatism of the "libertarian"/FOX/Limbaugh brand is in fact a pathology.

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20 August 2008

Stuff You've Always Wondered About #44

Mme Metro put me in the way of this wonderful selection from McSweeney's:

CORRECTIONS TO LAST MONTH'S LETTERS TO PENTHOUSE FORUM

A sample:
In the letter "And Wifey Makes Three," the letter writer stated: "My wife was eager to engage in a threesome with me and our incredibly hot 19-year-old babysitter." The sentence should read: "My wife was disgusted, repulsed, and, in every imaginable way, opposed to the thought of engaging in a threesome with me and our incredibly hot 19-year-old babysitter."
And imagine, for all these years I thought those letters were faked!

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The New Metrotoy

I have been, on occasion, known to play the guitar. The reaction, when I play, varies. My music has been known to evoke mild amusement, and sometimes broken sobbing--particularly from people in the same room.

Nevertheless, I perservere in the face of this Philistinism. However, it has occurred to me that a few lessons probably wouldn't go amiss. Being known as "The Jack Benny of Guitar" is wearisome after a time.

However, there is a minor issue regarding lessons. It's time. Or rather, it's about time and the general lack thereof. I do not believe that Mme Metro is sincere in her threats to leave if I find "just one more" activity, but there has been a sort of suitcase-y atmosphere about the place lately.

She's really not being fair, I think. It's not as though I'm overcomitted:

1) Two to three nights a week for poker.
2) Four nights a week in rehearsal and performance (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
3) Sailing, swimming, and generally hanging around beaches.
4) Oh--and work (There are surely better ways to spend eight hours a day, but my shot at hippying around North America in a VW microbus is on hold until I have a pension because, well, I like to eat, quite frankly. And even more so if I have been ingesting certain hippyish substances, so the Doritos fund must be fed).

Mme finds most of these pursuits not at all entertaining, and has occasionally expressed an interest in me dropping one or several activities. She complains that the housework, which apparently came free with purchase of house, isn't getting done, and implies that this is my fault.

"How can it be?" I answer with my usual unerring logic: "I hardly ever have time to do any!" Furthermore, it seems to me that since I'm mostly not home to mess the place up, the responsibility for cleaning it should lie elsewhere. Not with Mme, necessarily, but I have noticed that those bloody cats mess the place up all the time, and not only do they get away clean, but I am forced to clean up after them!

However, my physician has warned that the ringing in my ears may become permanent if I advance this theory again within the hearing of my wife.

My alternate reply--that staying out of the house more would alleviate the pressure to clean it, somewhat, has not, thus far, met with diplomatic politeness.

I have explained endlessly that there's plenty of time for us to share through the winter months, when it gets too cold for the beach. I mean, it worked for Persephone, didn't it?

In any case, it seems nothing will suffice but that I limit myself to the few activities listed. Though I keep buying the odd lottery ticket, purely at random (because they tell me the winning ticket will be a random one) in an effort to spend more time at home during the day.

So guitar lessons, as an added activity, are out, rather.

So the other day Mme and I went to Future Shop to buy a digital camera (did I tell you the Kodak bit the dust two days following purchase? We bought a Canon SD1100--great little unit). And standing along the back wall was this little number:



It's a Yamaha EZ-AG. The equivalent of an instrument with training wheels. Perfect for the thumb-fingered learner (namely me). It has LED chord buttons that demonstrate where your fingers need to go. Poifect!

Price: $180 or so. On clearance. Soooo ... not. Terribly. Cheap. At a time when money is tighter than the Bush administration around a courthouse.

So the other day I tried looking it up at futureshop.ca, hoping to find a web special. God. Help. Us. Their search engine is a search engine like Stevie Wonder is a marksman. For the vast majority of queries it tenders the reply: "Your search for "" returned no results. Please piss off."

Okay, I added that last bit. But it is a site guaranteed to try the patience of a saint (Why do people think saints were patient anyway? Most of them were so impatient to get closer to a god that they persuaded people to send them to meet him ahead of schedule in a variety of excessively nasty ways). Suffice it to say that futureshop.ca's web lackeys have a lot of work ahead of them if they give a $#17 about actually serving the customer.

However, there's a dark cloud wrapped around every silver lining. I contacted a Future Shop lackey, after stumbling through trying to describe what I wanted. I asked him a few lame questions. Then just as I was about to hang up he said:

"if you take the demo model, you can have it for fifty bucks."

Gentle reader, the store was closing in an hour, and I live forty minutes away, plus a local construction delay. However, I secured the deal for the following day. At $50, Mme Metro was reluctantly persuaded to allow me to invest in my future rockstar status object. And so yesterday we picked it up.

Today I know ninety percent of the chord shapes for "Hard Day's Night." I love this gadget.

It came without peripherals, but the Yamaha support site seems friendly enough. Perhaps I'll post a song or two out here once I figure out the software ...

Hey! Where ya going? Come back here!

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18 August 2008

Election Watch 2008 II: Harper Telling Porky-Pies?

Mr. Open?

Mr. Honest?

Mr. Accountable?

Surely not!?

Quote from Harper:
"I do think it's fair to say that in the past few months, and particularly over the summer, we have seen increasing signs that this Parliament is really not working very well anymore, it's becoming increasingly dysfunctional."
~Steve Harper

Now this report is from the Canadian Press, so it might be presumed to have a reality-based bias, but it seems to have a few countervailling ideas.
And despite the fireworks at three politically charged committees, two dozen others have been quietly labouring away for months on a range of bills and hot topics, from the seal harvest to climate change.

In the final week alone before the summer recess, MPs tabled nine committee reports, sped through a series of last-minute votes, approved $335,000 worth of finance committee travel and unanimously rushed through a bill reforming military court martials.
Still, steamin' Steve doesn't think it's working (for him):
It seems Harper's real beef is with the problems his government has faced on a set of unique committees chaired by opposition MPs.

Harper was also infuriated when, on two of the remaining 21 standing committees, the opposition attempted to displace routine legislative agendas with ethical controversies.
Weeell, that's understandable, innit? You're a minority Prime Minister, a placeholder in history, and suddenly people insist on asking awkward questions about your ethical lapses. Like the way you circumvented election financing rules an dat sort o' fing.

So you accuse your opponents of somehow thwarting the will of the people, apparently forgetting your own work in that arena, and insist that the Opposition is somehow deficient for, um, opposing you when in fact the main obstruction to smooth committee functioning is ... Well, YOUR party.
Hypocrisy, of course, abounds in the nation's capital, all parties being guilty. But this week's hypocrisy moment may rank as one for the ages. The Conservatives wrote the handbook on obstructionism, they've followed it to the letter on many occasions, and they now come forward to proclaim that they are somehow the victims and that they may have no recourse but to go the polls.
Oh, and let's not forget deliberately showing contempt of the Parliamentary process by ordering your minions not to testify to parliamentary committees ...

Of course, there's one easy way to evaluate whether your rhetoric is truth or bullshit:
What is dysfunctional, apparently, is the Conservative's agenda for Parliamentary action. Harper campaigned in the 2006 election on five main promises: the acountability act, a crack-down on crime, a $1,200 child-care allowance, cutting the GST from seven to six per cent, and reducing hospital waiting times.

He and his party fulfilled four of these efficiently, then cut the GST a second time, and now they're getting tougher still on crime, even though most crime rates are falling. (On the fifth promise, waiting times, the best the government has been able to do is to discover that this is mainly a provincial responsibility.) But since those promises were fulfilled, the Conservative government's legislative agenda has been less significant. That is not necessarily a bad thing - King Log is often preferable to King Stork - but it's hard to claim that the opposition is disrupting a non-agenda.

Call the election, Mr. H. I'm betting that the polls are wrong, and that the Liberals will gain while the Conservatives lose.

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15 August 2008

Organ Donation--There's a Problem With That

I notice that Canada's paper of record has an article saying we're going to be creating some sort of national organ donation registry.

It's a sincere effort, but it's foolishness. For several reasons. But the main one is this: It will never be possible to sign up and keep track of every potential donor.
My home province used to take your name when you signed up for your driver's license (postadolescent men who are new drivers are an important source of future transplant organs). Now you have to register seperately as well. I guess the old system was too simple and easy.

I'd register, but I haven't gotten around to it. As I suspect about a third of the available potential donors in this province haven't. So you see the problem with requiring the potential donor to sign up.

Plus there's a motivation problem, especially in the instant-gratification world of today. I mean, it's not as if the life I save might be my own, right?

So here's an idea: Presumed consent.

That is, in the absence of a clear statement to the contrary, you (and I, and all Canadians) are a donor. Unless you have the "Don't take my organs" sticker on your license, you're a resource like everyone else.

Corneas, lungs, livers, hearts, spleens, miles of bowel, and other juicy bits would suddenly become massively available, saving 1200 lives a year.

Let me be clear--I'm talking about automatic donation of all transplant-viable organs after death. I'm not talking about this sort of thing ...



And those sufficiently motivated and/or selfish enough to want their organs to rot or burn with the rest of the carcass could say so.

But the body is only ours for a limited time, and we cannot take it with us. Why not leave some choice cuts behind for others to enjoy? And why should the body physical of the body politic not be a national resource?

Economically there'd be an inevitable boost from the surplus of donatable organs: The government could establish an exchange to donate transplantable organs for free, or at minimal cost, thus keeping the price on the open market low.

Oh, and there's already a thriving, growing market in international organ trade. It needs regulation rather badly.

(I see massive new possibilities in the greeting-cards industry with this, by the way)

My mother feels differently. She refuses to even consider the idea. I'm not sure why. It may be something to do with her faith, but I can't figure out why that would be.

We're Catholics by ancestry (she's a mix--CC and protestant). So we have no trouble with transfusions--else I'd have been dead at about fifteen, likely. Why not transplants?

I sometimes think she's worried about rising from her grave on the Day of Judgement and having to say "Oh--my corneas? Uh, someone's just borrowed them for a minute. My lungs too ..." Then of course there's the dreary business of wandering about Heaven bumping into things until the mix-up gets sorted.

Mum's very British--she'd find that most embarrassing.

Here's a question--will there be cigarettes in Heaven? How about booze? I mean, JC clearly favoured wine over water, for a start. Will there be slot machines that always jackpot on you? And how boring would THAT get after a while, eh?

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Just Busy With Stuff, and Things

I'm onstage in a play at the moment, but leave a message at the click, and I'll get back to you.

I notice that our Prime Minister pro tempore is tired of never getting his own way in a minority government, and has publicly mused about pulling the trigger on an election.

All polls suggest that it's a dead heat, so it's quite possible Harper would get back much the same as he has now. No mandate, just placeholder status.

It's not as though I feel the same way about the Liberal party as I do about Barack Obama--there's no clear Canadian choice for a departure from the whinging, small-minded, petty policies of the past five years. Worse, no-one really wants a return to the cronyism and patronage of the years two elections ago.

But my choice, the Green Party, isn't likely to do more than perhaps capture a seat or two--in fact they're less likely than last time bacause a lot of swing voters, such as we have, will vote for the Liberals in order to push Harper and the Conservatives off the throne.

So the best I can hope for is less paranoia, less government censorship, and less dirty politics.

I would actually vote for anyone who offered to reinstate the hallway questions following Cabinet meetings.

Note to my USian Avid Fans [all one or two of them] and other aliens--the Hallway Question, or Corridor Question was an unscripted, impromptu press conference and communications opportunity/challenge wherein Cabinet members exiting the meeting got grilled by reporters. Of necessity it was a very open process requiring good communication skills on the part of the grillees. Naturally Harper, possesed of the communications skills of a fifth-grade playground bully, shut that practice down as soon as it could be done.

In this he was reflecting the policies of his best friend ...


... who enjoys parrying the press so much, and is so renown for his wit and his quick tongue that he calls them "Gotcha conferences".

Just recently, Harper or his minions within The Party ordered eleven Conservative officials to stay away from Parliamentary hearings into Conservative election finance abuses. Here again he's taking a page from the Bush White House.

Does this remind anyone of events elsewhere? Now let's not always see the same hands ... Mr. Cheney? Mr. Rove?

Harper is the most secretive, uncommunicative person we've ever had in the hot seat. To get me to even consider him a viable candidate (overlooking for now his 19th-century Christianist "morality" and adherence to economic policies discredited several times over the last couple of decades), he'd have to be a lot more open and honest, and accountable.

Seems to me that those are words I've heard before ...

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11 August 2008

Speaking of Fags ...

So one of my fantasies goes like this:

The trumpets flourish, the princess grips my arm tightly, hats are swept off as I ascend to my position standing before the throne.The king limps to the throne and says:

"Good knight, you have saved the kingdom and my daughter. I owe you a debt none could repay. Anything I may offer is yours, you have but to ask."

"Great!" I reply "I want a peek into Dan Savage's mailbox!"

--And no, that's not a metaphor for anything. I just want to read some of the letters he doesn't print. Letters that engender responses like this:
Confidential to Rick in Austin: It is indeed rare for two men to meet and fall in love while each is banging half of a pair of male twins. (Or were you sleeping with two different pairs of twins who shared an apartment when you took that fateful trip to the bathroom? It's unclear from your letter.) And, no, having a Hare Krishna brother shouldn't impact your love life, karma-wise, any more than having an English professor brother has impacted mine, classics-of-American-literature-wise.
I wanna see what the heck the original message was!

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Wackaloons Go Home! Thank £µ©λ.

Author's note:
I actually wrote a post about this the day the news broke that Fred Phelch--sorry--
Phelps' daughter and her happy horde of homo-haters were allegedly coming to protest at the funeral of Tim McLean. But Google ated it. No matter--when has consistency, or indeed coherence, ever been a value of this blog?

Okay, so Russia's busy invading Georgia, Toronto's friggin' exploding, and the first headlines on the news are about a sporting competition taking place in the only country that simultaneously manages to be a communist dictatorship and a kleptocratic ubercapitalist plutocracy.

But if you look hard enough you can still find some good news:

1) Wackaloon godforsaken Westboro Babtist Rat-£µ©λ Choich decided to skip the funeral of Tim McLean.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of the founding member of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, says six youths and an adult did make it through the border to picket outside of Tim McLean’s funeral in Winnipeg, but the church changed its mind at the last minute because “laws in Canada do not protect their right to protest.”


Of that "right to protest", more later if I have the inclination.

2) Wackaloon godforsaken Westboro Babtist Rat-£µ©λ Choich member and founder's daughter and/or niece Shirley Phelps-Roper can't even get her story straight.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, spokeswoman for Westboro Baptist Church and daughter of pastor Fred Phelps, said one adult and six female youths held a brief protest at Sturgeon Road and Portage Avenue from about 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"It was a good, safe distance away," said Phelps-Roper.
May I suggest another location? Also a good, safe, distance away?



I notice that there is a listing for a "Westboro Baptist Church" in Ottawa. I think they ought to either change their name or move roughly five hundred km south.

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08 August 2008

Short Summer Post #793

Word of the day:

Zenvy

To be jealous of someone who has acheived greater enlightenment than you.

Thought for the day:
"Hey, God ... 'With great power comes great responsibility', right? So what comes with ultimate power? Jus' sayin', is all."

Hair metal song of the day

Intro: This is deeply cheesy '80s goodness. If this video was an antique print it'd be tinted orange instead of sepia.

Is it sad that I look at this video and think "That was such an innocent time"?

It's on my mind, as it usually is in August. When I was fifteen or sixteen, I met a guy named Chris--but he should have been named "Vance". He looked a bit like a washed-out Travolta-as-Barbarino. We met on a small island where our parents were camping. Being both desperately horny teen boys, we tended to hang around the same three girls--Kelcey, Elise, ... and I forget the third one's name. Kelcey and Elise were older than we were, and I think they regarded us the way you might look at a yappy terrier humping your shoe, and for much the same reasons.

The term "wingman" hadn't come into common usage, and wasn't really appropriate. "Wingman" implies flight, and our flight feathers weren't really in yet. It was more that we supported each other in actually getting out and talking to girls (which is of course the important first step on a journey that will hopefully end in someone's bed, ideally a rather crowded single or queen-size). So perhaps the proper term is "prop".

When we got home, I hung out with Chris a couple of times. He introduced me to Ratt, and to a number of other players. So how we wound up going to my first concert, which was Dire Straits, is something of a mystery to me.

We were friends for a summer, the way it is when one of you's cooler than the other but there's no-one else around.

And that's it. After the concert I don't think I ever saw him again. Sometimes I wonder where he got to.

But I owe him thanks for helping me realize that one didn't have to be a mackinaw-wearing, chain-smoking, boot-stomping metalhead to enjoy metal. And also for helping me, a painfully awkward, generally unhappy Catholic kid, realize that listening to metal would not actually cause horns to sprout from your forehead.

So Chris, wherever you are, this one's for us:

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06 August 2008

I love Language #32

Via Pharyngula I found this post at Effect Measure.
My view, though, is that small pains in the body politic like this are emblematic of a deeper cancer within. I'll even be so bold as to coin a term for it: a theonoma. Like a lot of debilitating diseases, theonomas are best prevented rather than treated. We've known how to do this since the Enlightenment -- separate theology from civil political discourse.
Emphasis mine.

Theonoma: th e o' no mah (n):
1) The underlying social condition of collective religiostiy expressed in overt display in secular public spaces.
See also:
Bush Administration.

*Sits back and waits for somone to demonstrate the presence of a theonoma.*

Hope it'll take a while.

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Paris Hilton Swimsuit Video--HOT!!!

Yes, it's the film you thought you'd never see. The unedited, heavily scripted film of Paris Hilton getting down and dirty with an older white guy. But she doesn't neglect the interracial aspects--she takes on a black dude as well.

She's got it all--money, classic looks (she looks like Modigliani drew her, no?) and political savvy.

Wait ... Waaaaaaiiiit! What?!

Yes, friends, it's true: Paris Hilton is running for president in this plenty sexy video.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


Yep, Paris Hilton on video here at the ol' Metroblog. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need an emetic.

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01 August 2008

Wal-Mart Makes It Easy!

My decision, that is.

Avid Fans of this blog (all both of you) will doubtless recall my position on Wal-Mart. I feel about Big-ass Retail Senior much the way the Jewish community felt about Yasser Arafat.

So it may come as a surprise to find that I was actually considering returning to see what bargains were in-store for me.

For the past two years I've confined myself to the purchase of compact fluorescent light bulbs at Wal-Mart because the price was very good compared to other outlets. But as a rule I avoid the place like the plague.

What made me reconsider? Simple: They're making a conscious effort at being "green" (although I'm strongly considering moving to "brown" as the desirable descriptor. Earth is mostly brown, under a light coating of what on a cosmic scale must be considered fungus--or possibly slime mold).

That's right, of all the retailers they seem to be the only major label in Canada that's realized that a) "Green" tends to be cheaper, b) Green can bring in customers--some of whom would otherwise like to burn down Wal-Marts everywhere, and c) that it has to be more than just reusable bags for sale.

But then they went this week and £µ©λed it all up.

I can't be sure who they DO support, but they don't support their employees:
"The meeting leader said, 'I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union,'"
Yeah, because what Wal-Mart employee in their right mind would actually want a union?

I mean, what did unions ever do for the workers, eh? All they ever did was stop us working seven days a week sometimes, and make us stop working after forty hours if the boss didn't need us to. And we all know how those measures dismasted the economy. No--people are clearly better off without unions.

It's surely not co-incidence that the only unionized Wal-Mart in the world suddenly shut down shortly after the union was certified, is it?

I'm not entirely sure about the pros or cons of the Employee Free Choice Act. But to connect it to how you vote in a federal election, and specifically to whether or not you pick Obama or that other dude as president?



On balance, I'm glad they've given me a reason to return to my prior level of patronage--after all, I still have major issues about their labour practices and social and corporate behaviour.

Wal-Mart needs to take a lesson from Spider-Man: "With great power comes great responsibility."

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