Thursday, January 17, 2008


This is much better.

Apparently all NATO military forces suck, not one in particular.

I also loved the stories about Peter MacKay saying that Gates wasn't talking about Canadian forces. You know that same shit was spun all over the NATO nation media. So who, exactly doesn't suck at fighting guerillas?

Nobody, that's who. That's why we still have geurrilla warfare. Because it works.

Friday, January 11, 2008

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

This is just. Fucking. Awesome.

My favourite bit?

It was not immediately clear whether the man has a history of mental illness.

Colour me convinced. He has a mental illness.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


In the mid-nineties, an incredibly dark and funny Scottish film was released, apparently launching Ewan McGregor's international film career. It's a funny quirk of history that we have Shallow Grave to blame for Down With Love and Star Wars: The Craptacular Egotism Prequel Trilogy, and at the same time, to thank for Trainspotting and Big Fish. I pass no judgement on The Island because it was cool and derivative at the same time.

In Shallow Grave, three flatmates seek a fourth, who dies. The rest of the movie revolves around what they decide to do with his body, and how "Hugo" came to die in their flat. It also stars Christopher Eccleston, who is partially responsible for the stylish and utterly vapid Gone in 60 Seconds remake. Eccleston plays "David", a misanthropic accountant. (In Shallow Grave, I mean. In Gone in 60 Seconds he was a cabinet maker who sold stolen cars. I know. I didn't see the connection either.) At the dinner party welcoming Hugo to the flat, David says what may be the most memorable line in the film:

Normally I don't usually meet people, unless I already know them.

(Though I must admit that while reading the IMDB memorable quotes page to make sure I didn't misquote, I came across such gems as, "God, you two are sensitive! All I'm doing is implying some kind of ugly sordid sexual liaison. I'd be proud of that sort of thing." and "So this affair you're not having - is it not with a man, or not with a woman?")

But before I get too far down the slippery slope that can be Scottish cinema (I mean, Danny Boyle: Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, and I'll cut him some slack and include Sunshine. I've not seenit, but it looks promising.), I'd like to return to that single line by David. "Normally I don't usually meet people, unless I already know them."

I find myself surrounded by strangers tonight. I work in an art gallery (for now), and there's a show opening tonight. All I'll say about the work is that it's not very interesting. My job is to man the gallery to make sure no one sets the place on fire, gets drunk, or gets arrested. I'm also here so that if any of these things happen, our insurance company will cover it.

Artists are usually an interesting bunch. These artists are abnormal in normal ways (aside from the bearded guy in a skirt an heels, which not even gay artists can pull off without more flamboyance than this guy has). Their families and friends are painfully normal (except for the conventionally abnormal ones). Another understood task of mine is to play host, answering questions and selling work. Others would mingle. I've never been any good at mingling. I am, in many ways, like David. Not an accountant. Not a misanthrope. An introvert. A person who, while enjoying the company of others, does not like to hang out with strangers.

You could argue that this is a poor character trait for an aspiring politician. I might agree. However, my introversion tends to manifest itself in two ways:
  1. Absolute disdain for and consequent ineptitude with small talk.

  2. The ability, honed by necessity, to limit my circle of friends to people I actually like.
The latter, arguably, makes for a poor politician. I'll work a room and shake hands. I'll be friendly. But I have few friends. Fortunately, politicians are supposed to talk about big things. Weather, local sports, and the slow-motion (but not slow enough for my satisfaction) train wreck that is Britney Spears' personal and professional life are not things that get people elected (at least they shouldn't). However, though I don't really like most people (especially those bastards who didn't vote for me), I usually respect them, and I can hang around them, provided we don't have to make small talk. Again, big conversations make me happy. Small talk makes me cross. I'll be friendly, just not pointless.

I'd like to return to the crowd filling the gallery again, for a minute, if I could. I don't want to sound like I feel superior to them. I'm wearing jeans and a dress shirt, for god's sake. I'm hardly revolutionary in my attire, my attitude or my practices. And to be fair, when so much has been co-opted by business, how can one TRULY be different? I'm just not interested in talking to them. It's still small talk, even if your nose is pierced or you have fuzzy boots.

Every day, misanthropy looks more appealing.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A medical miracle

I find this vaguely amusing.

A man falls 47 stories to the ground. His brother falls with him. The man survives the fall, and because of amazing work by his physicians, he regains consciousness after almost a month.

It is, apparently, a miracle.

It's an easy joke to make, but the miracle he could have used was not falling in the first place. His brother really could have used a miracle like that. He died.

Or, if that miracle wasn't going to happen (though it seems it would have been the cheapest as far as the costs to alter reality goes), he could really have used no injuries at all. Presumably, his brother would have preferred the same miracle.

I just watched Superman III again last night. Superman would have been a helpful miracle, too. He could have swooped in and saved them both. Then captured a mugger and prevented an armed robbery.

So this guy, a window washer, deserves a miracle (and a rather slipshod, shitty one at that--he's going to have a lot of chronic pain to deal with). His brother, a window washer, does not. God's a funny guy.

And if god gets credit for his recovery, who gets credit for the fall?