Metroblog

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

31 October 2008

This Is What Nearly Got My Ass Fired Today

Uncontrollable laughter attracts the attention of bosses who may then become inquisitive. Slow computer chose that moment to freeze up. I remained calm, cut her off at the pass by killing my monitor, rising, collecting my coffee cup, and heading for the machine. Later, I claimed it was a private e-mail message and sent her something that I've had on tap awhile. So, no worries. But a quiet reminder that work doesn't approve of personal surfing (though we all bloody well do it, including the various chairma).

But here, in all its glory, it is:
Baby Bird - w4m

I'm fed up with watersports and feel Constrained by traditional dominant- submissive roles? I want to try a more nurturing role: feed me like a baby pelican! Both sexes welcome, males preferred. I will supply the raw herring and you bring the big strap-on beak.

No weirdos.

Location: Your House
This was originally posted to craiglist chicago.

Found it through some blog or other, and I wish I could recall which ... If it was you, let me know and I'll add a link and give you the hat tip.

And yes, I'd have answered. But I think I might be too much of a weirdo for her.

Perhaps this is a job for Raymond Luxury-Yacht (pronounced: "Throatwobbler-Mangrove)?



Oh go on, watch it--it's only a wafer-thin forty-two seconds.

Another craiglist post I spotted was the one entitled "bag of butt plugs and/or mannequins parts". But I noticed that the poster had announced that "Mannequins have been picked up all we have now is the bag of butt plugs," and all I was really interested in was the mannequin parts. I was going to send them to thirtysomething as a gift. But the butt plugs would convey the wrong message entirely.







The Unintentional Joke #1

I was reading up on the notorious Sydney Mutilator, a gay, schizophrenic man named Allan Ginsberg (how about that for a co-incidence?), AKA Allan Brennan, AKA William MacDonald.

MacDonald used to troll bars that catered to down-and-outs and the gay singles, who were treated in much the same fashion at the time. After his second murder, saith trutv.com:
Undercover police disguised as vagrants mixed with the down-and-outs of the many wine bars and hotels that catered for that type of clientele. It all proved fruitless.
Obviously they weren't convincing enough ...

MacDonald actually reads as a rather sad case--not simply a crazed killer, but actually insane and unable to cope with the world.

In a not-unrelated development, one of the salespeople came through here a minute ago and said: "I'm selling my butt off today."

I asked him if that meant there was a discount. He didn't seem to get it. Our salespeople really need to be looked after by kind people. They seem to alternate between Pollyanna-like sunshiney grinning personality and pure deep dark moping.

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30 October 2008

Blogging is So Damn Difficult These Days

I wish my workplace would plump for a new computer ...

Seriously, the 228K of RAM (no, that's not a typo, regrettably) that my machine brings to the table is now officially insufficient to even let me do my work.

Said work consists of, by hand, doing the crap the our IT department thinks is beneath them. That involves combing through some subset of the 11,000 articles my workplace keeps at various online locations and categorizing them, which involves, essentially, opening the back end of a web page and ticking one of a selection of boxes. I also correct the titles and punctuation. The apostrophes, in particular, seem to have met with a series of unfortunate accidents during the Great Server Rollout Malfunction, Physical Hard Drive Crash, and Mass Migration Back To The Old Site But On a New Server.

Or as IT would have it, the "Product Launch".

I don't mind, it fills up the days and although it's tedious as hell, at least I know it's being done right. I'm convinced our IT experts are all English as a Second Language students. They can give you the alphabet in two or three goes, but they'll have to refer to their character maps ....

My computer can't handle the website, which is quite simply a variant of a popular blogging site. I type a sentence, go for a coffee, and return in time to type the next sentence.

So my boss told me to do it from the disused Dell two workstations away. However, there are a couple of interesting issues with this:

1) The new computer is throttled--for some reason I can't access my email account from the damn thing. No Yahoo mail, no Gmail, no nothin'--bastards.

And that IS a work issue--I sometimes work from home, or send myself different versions of documents I'm working on. And I don't use Outlook when I can avoid it.

2) My boss doesn't want anyone to know the unused computer exists. She's afraid someone will declare it surplus to requirements and take it from us.

I'm worried that if I get the Dell, which is running XP, then I'll miss out on the big shiny new computer I'm supposed to get when the company perforce has to upgrade from Win'00 to XP next year. That is, since I'm already running it on the Dell, I won't get a new machine.

Which would presumably come with censorware prepackaged, I guess, bringing us full circle to #1.

Anyway, here's a great video about how to get those gays to stop harping on about gay marriage.



Stolen from the occasionally violently funny Margaret Cho, who is God's bitch.

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28 October 2008

I Can Pass, But I Can't Pass a Card Room

Me, last night:

"So I peek at 'em, and I'm looking at ace-king diamonds, right? So I hit it for three times the big blind. Two next to me cave, Donkey down the end calls, the rock on my right calls.

The flop arrives, ten-queen diamonds, rag. I check, Donkey hits it for half the pot. Rock calls. I need one diamond to the nut flush, so I call. I figure Donk's on a pair of tens and wants to scare me out.

Next card out is the deuce of diamonds. I've got the nuts, so I shove it all in. Donkey bloody well calls. Rock folds.

I figure Donk might be getting optimistic with two pair, but no. We flip over--the twerp's got pocket deuces, clubs and hearts. Three of a kind against my nut flush.

I'm just about to start raking chips when the river comes: Deuce of spades. Friggin' quads! Damn hee-haw."

Anthony Aloysius St. John:
"Yeah man, baaad beat. That guy's been loose and lucky all night."

Me (thinks): My god--I'm speaking in jargon!


Briefly: I play freeroll poker at one of the local restaurants. Players accumulate points. The top eight players will get to play, in December, for a trip for two to Las Vegas. Which is a fine place to be in the midst of a Canadian winter.

Because I'm a respectable poker player, most times, I've struggled into tenth place with 2650 points. The fellow above me, in position number nine, has 3200 points.

He wiped out early last night, so didn't earn any points. I earned 500, which leaves me in ...

Yup. Tenth place.

As Emo says: Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

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23 October 2008

Sarah Palin Porn--It's Here!

Just after the nomination of the hottest Republican since ... well, ever, Raincoaster mentioned that casting calls had gone out to find actresses resembling the lipstick-bedecked pit bull of Alaska.

"Who's Nailin' Paylin?" is the first effort in the new genre of political porn--at least if you don't count those films Henry Kissinger made while working his way through college. Here's minute one, which overflows with the rich dialogue and snappy witticisms we've come to associate with such works.



I notice, though, that the gentlemen in automotive distress have "CA" on their shoulderboards. Does that mean they're Californians? Or is it a clue that Larry Flynt has discovered the secret Soviet Canuckistan invasion plans?

Obviously I'll have to watch this film now, in the interests of counterintelligence. Which seems appropriate. But anything for the Motherland, y'know?

Reaction has been, well, mixed. On the AOL board there seems to be a high level of criticism, for some reason.

Me, I figure the people who first whored out Sarah Palin were John McCain and the Republican party. They presented to America a veep candidate who was an insult to the intelligence of the population.

But hey--at least McCain and his advisors gave Palin some new outfits before they sent her into the streets to troll for voters. I just hope she doesn't "plaster on the makeup like a trollop." Her running mate is known to disfavour women who do that.

Me, I find it oddly inspiring that a fundamentalist Republican has inspired Larry Flynt to raise the bar (and anything else he can still raise at his age) on political satire. And I'll bet he sells a lot of copies to Republicans, they're the closeted, uptight type.

Now of course, some folks deride this film as sexist, and claim that if someone made a porn film called "Big O Bama!" that the makers would be called racists.

Theory of Porn 101 FAIL

Besides--porn films about black men? Come on.

Or not, as suits you.

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22 October 2008

So You Know You're Never Going to be a Rock Star, Right? #3

We all have moments when we realize that some invisible line in our lives has been passed, that our dreams have rather had the shine worn off of them. These little moments, in the aggregate, serve as notification to the thinking man (or person of other gender) that quiet desperation is more likely to be our life's path than riches, fame, and the adulation of millions.

For example: One of those little moments, for me, was the abrupt realization that I was unlikely to front a paying band again.

Don't get me wrong--it wasn't like I ever made enough off singing to buy a pool--or even a pool table--but there is satisfaction in having crisp, foldable recognition passed into your hand.

Today I had another little moment.

Avid Fans (all both of them) may recall that my weight is often near the top of my concern list, probably below money, and the reduction of my carbon skidmark for that matter, but above the condition of the shocks on my car at the moment, for example.

So I have lately taken to using the sandbag workout found here. And I'm guardedly optimistic that it's producing some results.

As someone going from zero, I'm currently using thirty rather than the reccomended fifty pounds, and I use weight plates stuffed into an old backpack rather than an actual sandbag, but I can now do two full circuits without risking my back, I think. But I'm reeeeeally paranoid about that, so thrity-five and two'll do for now.

However, one cannot surf the 'net for long looking for bare-bones fitness and conditioning routines without running into "The 300 Workout."

That title looks so wrong on the page--it should land there, sculpted in letters of stone and announced by the same guy who used to do all the movie trailers: THE ... THREEEEE ... HUNDRED ... WORKOUT!

At any rate, one link led to another, and I found myself on the web page of Gym Jones, which sculpted the bodies for the film for which the "program" is named. No relation to the crazed demagogue who killed his followers in one of the largest mass suicides since, coincidentally, the Spartans took on the Persians.

Or was it?

The page responding to opinions voiced by people who had heard of the program read pretty reasonably overall. Much of the philosophy seems sensible. However, there are some slightly amusing parallels with the other Jim Jones. First off is the page of "disciples." Which is an interesting word, when you think about it.

Then there's front page. It includes this phraes
"The support of a like-minded group, dedicated to The Art of Suffering, provides a safety net."
Okay, I'm pretty willing to accept that "No pain = no gain." Okay.

But suffering isn't a dammned art! People do it all the time, without prior experience or training, and the difference between me and thousands of gym rats not to mention churchgoers is that I don't believe it's a great and grand thing to suffer outlandishly in a needless cause.

So already there's some philosophical difference between me and Sr. Jones, G.

Now that alone wouldn't necessarily stop me from buying in. After all, I was a pretty much total peacenik at the time I joined the army, too.

But then I look at the pictures accompanying the page on Opinions. And I realized something.

This is a great workout--all that guff aside about deliberately inflicting mild torture on yourself (and paying someone to do it for you, no less--although I understand it's a service you can get for free in certain countries--Just ask your local RCMP, CSIS, or Canadian consulate to set you up an appointment).

It's just that I'm not interested.

I just find that I don't want the body shown in the final photo of the series on that page. Sure, it looks great--I'd have to beat the girls off with my veined biceps--that's probably one of the things they teach at Gym Jones. But I doubt it'd really be worth the effort.

At present I look more-or-less like the first photo. I don't think it's my natural shape. But neither is the final picture. I'd probably be good with Week eight. And I wouldn't have to spend two hours a day in a gym trying to maintain that shape, either.

I guess I just value my time and my comfort too highly to really, really wanna be a star at this stuff. Assuming for a moment that at the age of mumble-mumble I could possibly achieve that shape.

I suppose I'd just as soon spend that time blogging. And isn't that nice for us?

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Meta-Meta-Blogging

You know "meta"--when we talk ABOUT the thing while talking about the thing? This is a post like that:

Picture Metro and Mme in bed ...

Not like THAT, you pervert! At least I hope you're a pervert. I mean, this blog is hopefully a pernicious influence and corrupter of the young, so you should certainly keep your kids and the uninformed away, eh?

Anyway, there we were in bed, doing what folks usually do in bed ... Reading--what do you think most folks get up to most of the time?

At some point a discussion started, I don't recall about what exactly--I think it was about Mme's reccurent criticism of my allegedly faulty memory (Disclaimer follows as required by Mme Metro). But I could be wrong about that.

Anyway, I said something that got her laughing. Followed by:

He: And the sad thing is, you're thinking about blogging this, aren't you?

She: Looks into my eyes and dissolves into uncontrollable giggling.

He: And the really sad thing is, I'm thinking about blogging that!

And now I have. So I have now blogged about Mme and I speculating about Mme blogging.

Well I had to post something, yeah?

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21 October 2008

"Fair and Balanced" Without Regard For Truth

I read today that FOX has hired Judith Miller. Anyone remember her? She's the ex-New York Times reporter who:

a) Having been tipped off by an inside source, in 2001 phoned an Islamic charity suspected of terror links to ask for comment on the raid that was going to happen later that day.

b) Leaked the name "Valerie Plame" in an effort to discredit Ambassador Joe Wilson, who had published an editorial critical of the Bush administration's homespun fictional "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Miller spent 60 days in jail for refusing to reveal that her source on the story was I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted of five charges in the affair, and regrettably pardoned by Bush.

Miller had had a signed confidentiality release from Libby.

c) Miller was the person who supplied the White House with real, actual, journalistic-y stories about the weapons of mass destruction. She'd get "tipped off" by White-House-beloved Iraqi exiles, publish stories, and the WH would point to the stories and say "Look! Independant confirmation!"

Since 2005 or so, what's she been up to?
"On August 18, 2007, Miller appeared on Plum TV in the Hamptons to discuss her opposition to a plan to build a CVS Pharmacy in Sag Harbor."
--Saith Wikipedia. Presumably polishing up her journalism-y-ness.

She also got hired by a right-wing think-tank (although "think" is likely too strong a word). Polishing up her Rupert-Murdoch friendliness, I guess.


All in all, Judith Miller presents excellent credentials for becoming a reporter at FOX News, where any resemblance to actual journalism is purely coincidental. I'm glad they've got her. It'll make it so much easier to tell when she's lying. Observers should start at a default of 100% of the time.

Oh for FSM's sake ... they're going to make a movie about her. It's entitled Nothing but the Truth."

I think they ought to lop the last three words off that title.

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17 October 2008

Hinterland Tales: The Ant

Mme Metro pointed this out to me.



I sent the link to my boss. I mean, times are tough economically, and it never hurts to issue a subtle message, eh?

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John Cleese On Sarah Palin

In which he likens her to a parrot.



No word on whether she is like a Norwegian Blue parrot, but if that fake, grating Minnesota accent is anything to go by ... At least he says she's a nice-looking parrot.

Sort of sounds like "Loverly plumage!"

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16 October 2008

There's Always a Bright Side, If You Look Hard Enough

Admittedly, with a minority Conservative government that wants to incarcerate 14-year-olds for life, close down safe injection sites because their ideology doesn't allow them to accept that harm-reduction works, no matter what the damn scientists say, allow industry to continue to pollute as long as they do it less intensely, privatize health care, generally follow the Bush pattern for running a once-proud nation to $#17, and which was allowed to continue in power only by a combination of having half the voters of Canada stay the hell home (damn their rotten souls to North Korea) plus a 19th-century first-past-the-post system, you have to look pretty damn hard.

But I have found one:

With the minority re-defaulted into power, we are at least finally spared the incessant Harper refrain: "Under the previous Liberal government ..."

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15 October 2008

Wednesday Like a Monday

So after a five-day weekend (thank you, whoever infected me with this persistent thing), I have:

1) Another minori-Tory government.
I fully expect the Right Honourable Stephen Harper to stick by his promise of fixed election dates and take the country to the polls on October 19th, 2009. Assuming he has any intention of keeping his word this time.

As far as I can tell, having triggered an election in violation of his own law, Harper campaigned six weeks and cost the Canadian taxpayer $260 million in order to win four seats. At $65 mil per seat they'd best be pretty comfortable, eh?

In the meantime it'll be another year of muzzled ministers, twelve more months of the triumph of ideology over either science or compassion, and another 365 days of creeping privatization of the fundamental services government must provide. Assuming Harper sticks with that fixed-date promise.

But let me state for the record a) thank the FSM that's over with, and b) thank the FSM it's only a minority. If Stephane Dion (or whoever replaces him) can manage not to simply recuse his entire party every time a stupid vote comes out, that is, if he dares to topple the government whenever they bring in more legislation that attacks basic Canadian principles, then at least it'll force Harper to c- ... c-c- ... (C'mon Steve, you can say it!) COMPROMISE from time to time.

2) A bacterial lung infection and a bottle of antibiotics. I don't fully trust my doctor--he's too eager to sign me up for a handful of whatever's going sometimes, but I have to admit that since I took the first few my lungs no longer feel like I'm inhaling roofing tar. Which is kinda good. I enjoy breathing. I got hooked on oxygen at a very young age (to all those young conservative supporters: Just Say No).

3) An urgent-ish need for money. It's been an expensive coupla months. Have you got any?

4) Low virtual memory--at least that's what the popup here on the screen says--can't you read it?

5) A thumping headache and a loose filling, which helps me hang onto

6) A filthy mood.

It doesn't help that IT is up to its usual tricks here at work. We have a collection of article on legal compliance and regulation at our membership site. In the migration to the new site, they all disappeared. We asked if IT could possibly kindly bestir its collective ass and find the damn things (fair go, they lost 'em, right?). We were answered, in essence:

"We have no resources to dedicate to that project at this time. However, if one of your editorial staff could come up with a list of the missing pieces, find them and record the URL from the old site, and match those pieces to the newsletter edition they came from, you can send us a list and we'll make the corrections if we ever do have time."

The old site no longer exists. IT knows this because they were the ones who destroyed it. Which is a measure of the co-operation we're getting. And WE, goddam it, aren't the ones who screwed it all up!

All in all it is not a shiny, happy kind of day. However, I have a cure. Several of them, actually. One is Pink Floyd: The Wall. However, I also do very well with Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare" album, and a dose of the Muppets is always welcome.

Therefore:


I feel a little happier now. How about you?

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13 October 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

I'm thankful for a great number of things, including all (both) of my Avid Fans.

I've also got a great nasty cold right now. I'm gathering strength for a family dinner. But I wanted to be thankful in public for, in no particular order:

Community theatre
Mme Metro
Steady, paid work
Reasonably good health
Living in a great community
The future government, which hopefully will either be an anaemic Conservative minority or a Liberal squeak with increased Green presence.

I hope that all of you have something for which to be thankful at this time.

~M







10 October 2008

If the World Could Vote

If only.





From the Economist: The Global Electoral College.

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08 October 2008

Great. I'm a £µ©λing Plant

So I get a mysterious email from "Jenny", one of our product managers:

"Metro, when you have a minute could you come by and see me?"

Quick mental review:No porn on workplace computer? Check. No office supplies in my trunk? Check. No blogging from work ... Uh-oh. Oh well.

In other words I have no idea what she could possibly want of me.

My managing editor is waiting in the office, but it turns out she's not supposed to be there with me.

"You're not even supposed to know about this," says Jenny. My boss raises her eyebrows and leaves.

"Have a seat, Metro." Jenny says, smiling.

Vaguely reassured, I sit.

"As you know, we're having this company meeting today. And we're ... we want ideas about how to increase renewals ..."

I look blank. I'm a writer. Renewals are surely a sales issue, right?

"So we'd like ..."

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that when some official uses we'd like, the thing we'd like is never good?

" ... you to just, you know, be in the crowd, and when Bossa Nova asks what the different departments can do to increase renewals, maybe you'd have an idea ..."

Understanding dawns, sorta. So does the phrase Potemkin village.

"And," I inquire "do you have any ideas ready?"

Turns out she doesn't. Oddly, this makes me feel better. I vouchsafe a couple.

"So if Bossa Nova was to call on you, you'd have an idea ready?"

Great. Just £µ©λing great. I am beginning to understand how Colin Powell found himself before the UN presenting fictional evidence on yellowcake. The only redeeming grace of this is that they've actually asked me for my own idea.

On the way back to my desk I stop in and ask my boss whether she thinks the management knows what a Potemkin village is.

I wonder what they'd say if Bossa Nova lobbed the loaded question over to me and I responded with:

"Well, as Jenny and I discussed in her office today ..."

I'm seriously wondering what they'd do if I waited for the bait question and said:
"Well, as we discussed in your office prior in preparation for this meeting ..."

Update:
Bossa Nova gave a tortuous talk c/w PowerPoint. He never once noticed me.

Afterward, Jenny came by and said "Oh, I think he was looking for you, in the crowd
(of about twenty, in a small room)."

"Ah," I replied "That would be me? In the lemon-yellow shirt?" Pointing at same.

Okay, so I lurked around the back but it wasn't like I was avoiding being the company Judas goat.


Or maybe it was.

You see, what they're doing now is finding out that ideas cost money. So they have these stupid contests where the idea is for the workforce to come up with ideas to sell the product. Then they get a sea of ideas for the peanuts they pay around here, plus some "prize" which assessed honestly might approach one-hundredth of the value of the revenue generated by said ideas.

In the current case, the "Race for the top" seeks to generate $3 mil in revenue. Everyone is expected to contribute, and at the end the whole company will get some unspecified event.

"How much fun the event is," says Bossa Nova, grinning like an enthusiastic schizoid off his meds, "Depends on how close we get to that $3 million."

I lean into the ear of the girl in front of me:
"I think that means that if we only make a million, they'll take us to church."

I'm from the most exploited department in the company. Our attitude with reference to adding "sales" to our responsibilities, quite frankly, is spelt with two "u"s.

Worse, we're totally overlooked. Our company has had record growth and profits for the past three years. My colleagues haven't had a raise in four, let alone a bonus. The sales team gets recognition and bonuses. During the stupid meeting the boss singled out the IT department for praise despite the fact that everything they've touched turned to $#17 in the past two months, and my boss has largely been working overtime putting out the fires. Including the one that resulted this morning when a daily newsletter failed to leave the building, and there was no-one in IT to handle the problem. My boss isn't allowed to touch that stuff, despite being about 110% responsible for it in the eyes of management.

Worse, the non-voting gen-Y yutz I mentioned earlier also got an "above-and-beyond" award, despite being an unco-operative sonofabitch in a company where passive aggression is occasionally expressed at posisitively artisic skill levels.

And for these guys I'm supposed to play Poindexter (or Ollie North) and chirp up with free suggestions from the sidelines?

My attitude to this is accuarately summed up in two words.

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07 October 2008

Holy Crap! Election Edition

You know you're uninspiring when your carefully-controlled crowd applauds only on cue.

And you know your plan isn't working when your pet newspaper says:
While Mr. Harper tried to project some heart at a nation's financial suffering, at least as much as any automaton can deliver while reading off a teleprompter, his anemic response to the continuing economic slide clearly fell far short of a poll-reversing political rescue.
Inspiring he isn't.

More from, of all news organs, the National Post:
His platform launch was disorganized by usually meticulous Conservative standards and there were subtle traces of panic in the air.

To watch the government surrender on a bill to curb funding to film and video entertainment that strays from acceptable standards was a laughably desperate attempt to pacify Quebec.

Mr. Harper's attacks on Mr. Dion for ringing the alarm about an oncoming recession sound hollow when he boasts of predicting tough times ahead 10 months ago.
Canada's most conservative news journal save the nouveau Maclean's doesn't like his "platform" (which is apparently missing a few planks) any better than anyone else!

Meanwhile, the forces of good are trying to get their $#17 together. Witness voteforenvironment.ca, a website that's attempting to use the first-past-the-post voting system in this country for good. Wandering Coyote had a link to it, but Mme Metro pointed it out to me earlier.

(Disclosure: I was against FPTP before I was for it, and vice versa. I can't seem to make up my mind on this one. Possibly because I tend to favour not fixing it if it ain't broke, and I'm not fully convinced fixing FPTP is necessary)

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Okay, Maybe I Do Have a Little Something

So my co-worker George and I were discussing the upcoming election.

"I'd vote for the Greens," quoth he, "But I can't stand the Liberals."

Why not?

"Because I don't want to pay more taxes."

"So vote Liberal," I advised, "They're planning to give back 10% of your income taxes."

"Oh, but it'd be too easy for Dion to say something like 'With the economy like it is, we can't hand you back your money, so sorry!'"

He's also concerned that "the Green Shaft will make companies pass the tax on to us."

"So you'd rather take your chances with the Tories?"

I explain to him that Harper's "wait-fifty-years-and-see" program is no earthly good. I point out that even if the Conservatives' cap-and-trade system and "intensity targets" (which mean you can actually increase your pollution output so long as you reduce your pollution per unit) had a chance of working, it would still cost companies money, and under his fear-driven scenario, the companies would still pass those costs on to the consumer. But the difference is that the Liberals are offering Canadians cash the-hell back. Which is more than the Conservatives are.

"Look," says I "Go to www.thegreenshift.ca and plug your numbers into the calculator.I bet you'll save money. Mme and I would save $700+ per year."

"Yeah, but that'd get eaten up in energy costs, and more, when gas goes to $2.50 a litre."

"So you figure if the Tories get a majority they'll magically dial it down to a buck a litre? Look--my energy costs (scribbling on back of envelope) work out to about $1200 annually for gas, $600 for heating fuel, $500 for electricity. That's $2300. If it all jumps ten percent I lose $230. From $700, Mme and I are making $470! And with two kids under 18 you'll do even better than we do!"

"Mmmmm ... No," he says distractedly, "I'm not gonna do that. I'd never vote for them anyway."

I guessed at his family income, a combined total of 56,000. According to the calculator he'd save $1200 minus his energy costs. Now he runs two cars, both older, kinda guzzler-y, he heats a home that's bigger than mine, and I assume to 75 or something. So let's assume his energy costs are twice mine: $4,600. Price increases on energy drive his costs up $$460. He gets $1200 back off his taxes, making $800.

With the Conservatives in charge he gets squat.

Teh stupid it is hurting me.

Meanwhile, our fearless K'nigit of the Order of the Blue Sweater (which he wears to prove he's not, in fact, a robot) is busy saying "the economy's fine ... *click*... the economy's fine ... click ....the economy is fine..."

Oh, and after a month of "campaigning" by simply calling his opponents poo-poo heads while failing to appear at a single publicly-accessible event, he's finally going to reveal his platform today.

I hope it has a trapdoor.

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I Got Nothin'

I'm a bit behind at work at the mo', my folks are coming for Thanksgiving this weekend, and my cubicle, where I write workplace safety material, looks out over a rooftop that is apparently being resurfaced by the Laurel & Hardy Contracting Group.

I'm busy.

However, in my wanderings o'er the web, I discovered this at Edmonton Sun-based Hicks on Six:



I love vandalism with a sense of humour.

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02 October 2008

The Silence is Golden ... Maybe

Slave to the Dogs recently took me to task in the comments for what she believes is a "one-sided view" of the current competitors for the US presidency. She perceives me as being biased toward the Democratic Party candidate, for some reason.

My contention is that under the circumstances, I'm as balanced as a gyroscope, it's just that the Republican Party candidates are so incredibly pathetic, desperate, and immoral that they make Nixon look principled.

I fully intend to answer STTDs charges--after all, one should put one's arguments where one's blog is. However, I'm too busy to post right now.

I'm in full election fever mode. I have a civic election and a federal one within a month, and of course there's my preoccupation, now easing somewhat, with wondering how some thirty-five percent of allegedly responsible adults could still support the wrong side in the US contest.

And then there's the financial crisis ... I'm doing something I have not done ever before--speculating.

Heretofore, my retirement investments have all been very conservative. I like Guaranteed Investment Certificates and other types of bonds. There's a security in that word "guaranteed."

Mme Metro, however, has had a flutter on the higher-risk section of the spectrum for a couple of years. She has been investing in a fairly aggressive (read: "risky") portfolio.

Which has, of course, tanked. From a peak value of around twelve bucks a share, it's hit $8.50 or so, with most of that loss coming in the past month.

So I'm buying.

Why? Well it's simple: The US Federal Reserve must act. I originally figured they'd extend the same attitude to the massive shadow banks (institutions that don't accept deposits but make their money off trading and fees) that they did to the homeowners who are being foreclosed on.

To this day I believe that bailing out the homeowners would have been a better solution, since all of this financial chaos had its genesis in the mortgage crunch.

{You can probably skip this bit}

Think about it: Under the current plan, $700 billion (a figure that essentially fell full-blown out of Hank Paulson's ass) goes straight into the vaults, propping up the banks and giving their directors and shareholders big bonuses ... straight out of the taxpayer pocket.

Under the plan likely to pass, the US government will essentially buy shares, with similar results but hopefully less obscene greenmail to the people who caused the problem.

Under the Metro plan, the money goes to top up people's mortgage payments. It flows from regular humans to the banks, filling the vaults while generating revenue for the people processing the transactions. And people don't lose their homes.

The economy is a machine. It pumps money back and forth. What Paulson seems to be proposing is to shove some gas in the tank, and then sit back and see if the engine spontaneously starts. My idea would be to check the timing and then see if it starts before pouring more fuel into a tank that isn't actually empty.

But what do I know?--I'm a writer, not an economist. But I do read a lot (Which makes my opinion considerably more informed than that of George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and John McCain [S&L much?]).

Okay--that was a cheap shot. But they make it so easy!

{Here's where you can start reading again}

In any case, this disaster is so wide-ranging that it actually poses a global threat. Action must be taken, and inaction isn't an option. Despite the Bushies bloviating about how government regulation is the problem for seven years, they seem in the eighth to have woken up and realized that it's actually the solution.

So I'm betting that one rescue package or another will pass before the end of the week, and I'm buying into the same aggressive growth fund as Mme Metro, on the principle that once the bailout goes through, the rising tide will lift my puddle duck racer along with the Wall Street yachts.

So that's what I'm doing instead of posting ... as I just did.


Side note: Here's a summary of the Bush legacy in seven words:
Heckuva job, Brownie
Mission accomplished
Voluntary regulation

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