Saturday, April 25, 2009

All over the map

I don't understand this man. Last week he was abso-fuckin-lutely nuts. This week he's sane:
Last week I said that an intensely inexperienced 21-year-woman should not have had to give her life in the pointless war in Afghanistan. The responses were fascinating.

Most of the critical ones seemed obsessed with the fact that the poor girl indeed should have been able to die. A rather perverse way to support her and her family.

The vast majority of these were the usual nonsense. "Everyone is equal," "you're a dinosaur," "I hate you." Then all sorts of delightful and failed attempts to spell the word "misogynist."

OK, let's go a step further. Anyone who claims the war in Afghanistan is about gender equality is either supremely naive or extraordinarily dishonest. We said hardly a word about women's rights in that country until the United States was attacked on 9/11. So, apparently, women were treated well before the Twin Towers outrage but badly afterwards.

More than this, while the Soviet Union was a repugnant regime, the Afghan government begged for Russian help when it was attacked by the Taliban and one of the policies Moscow advocated was women's rights.

You figure him out.


I wonder if Henry Winkler knew the contribution he was making to Western Culture when he went and jumped that shark. The phenomenon has bled off of TV, and has become a sort of catch-all for when someone becomes a parody of themselves. Some people get to jump that shark over and over: Pat Robertson is a great example. There are a lot of repeat offenders, to be sure.

Sometimes the shark-jumping happens on the DL, and it kinda slips under the radar for a while. In fact, I think sometimes the shark-jumping relegates people to the shadows for a while. It's like a time out: "You've exceeded your crazy. Go into the corner and wipe the froth off your chin. You can come out when you're ready to apologise."

I think Michael Coren jumped his shark last weekend. It took me five days to notice, though, because his crazy finally bumped him from the pages of my local fishwrap.

Caring for Karine
Sending our daughters to war in Afghanistan is just wrong

No need to beat around any proverbial bush, is there? Let's begin at the beginning. It is apparently for our sons to go kill brown people, but sending our daughters is just wrong. Why, you ask? Good question.

So Canada sacrifices another victim on the altar of equality.

Last week a young girl dressed up as a soldier died in the increasingly futile and pointless war in Afghanistan. She was 21 years old, had been in the country for two weeks on her first tour of duty and probably weighed a little over 100 pounds.

Oh. Girls can't fight wars. Right. Hang on, children. It gets better.
Please know that I mean no disrespect to Karine Blais or to her family...

He doesn't mean the disrespect, but there it is, possums. That's some pretty good disconnect.
...and I grieve for her and them. But what on earth was she doing in such a place and in such a job?

How does grieving for her involve insulting her? I missed that stage of the process. Maybe it's a subset of anger: being a misogynistic asshole.

Look at the photograph of this beautiful girl. Look at the innocence, the gentleness, the grace. All of them precious aspects to the human character. So when I say that she was "dressed up as a soldier" I mean it as a compliment. I've known soldiers all of my life and I have an invincible respect for them. I've seen their courage, integrity and sheer decency.

He has respect for all of them, except this one. And it probably would have been okay if she was an ugly girl. But she was beautiful, innocent and gentle. He can apparently even detect grace from the photo, which, while irrelevant, is pretty damned impressive. I don't like this war. That's not a secret. I think the courage of our soldiers is being wasted and misdirected. But I don't think any of them are playing dressup. Killing people is deadly serious. Mr. Coren needs to keep that in mind.

I've also seen their capacity for controlled and righteous violence, which is
absolutely essential for any fighting man. Yes, man. Because there are few if
any women who have the skills required to serve as a front-line combat trooper.

The thing here is that he's not talking about skills. Skills can be learned. I'd wager that anyone (almost) could learn the skills necessary to be a combat trooper. What he claims is that women (or at least most of them, and certainly not this one) don't have the TEMPERAMENT to be a soldier. He means that as a compliment. I suppose maybe it is, if, like me, you think that soldiers are misguided weapons, perpetuating a fundamentally unjust system. If, however, you claim to believe that being a Canadian soldier is just too cool, and you say that girls can't do it, you're a sexist jerk. Besides, what the hell does he mean by righteous violence? I don't think the violence in Afghanistan is particularly righteous. And how is it different from any unrighteous violence our soldiers may be compelled to commit.

Yes, yes, yes, I know it's fundamentally anti-Canadian to say this but I'd prefer to articulate the views of the silent majority than hide behind some modernist fetish that places more importance on the myth of absolute equality than the safety of a girl who should be laughing with college friends rather than fighting theocratic madmen.

It's not anti-Canadian, it's anti-twentieth century. And I would argue that the boys ought to be laughing with college friends as well.

How much more odious can this guy be?
Can we really imagine for a moment that if a group of Taliban tribesmen rushed a trench or an encampment this poor young woman could fight them off, could deal with the thrusts of their long knives and heavy clubs?

Oh. That much. He manages to be sexist AND racist there. Because the Taliban guys don't use guns or explosives (certainly not the kinds of explosives that actually killed Karine). And seriously, what the hell is he on about? If you're being swarmed by a whole bunch of men, I don't know that having testicles is going to be the deciding factor.
Do we seriously think that the men in the unit would not risk their own lives to protect a pretty young girl who was inevitably being beaten to the ground by salivating killers?

That's just stupid. Do you think they wouldn't fight for a mate if it were a man?
The very reason we have various weight categories for all forms of organized fighting is that whatever the training, a pugilist's weight and muscle bulk give an advantage to the heavier combatant.

That's also stupid. I doubt there's a lot of hand-to-hand combat happening in Afghanistan. And if it was, then training will mean a lot more than weight. I'm about 250lbs. I outweigh my brother-in-law by about a hundred pounds. I have no doubts that he could kick my ass.
More than this, even contrived cultural denial should not prevent us from admitting that the death of a daughter or a wife is different from that of a son or a husband. Women nurture, give birth, care in a way that is unique. Quite simply, they are different from men.

I don't even know what the hell he's talking about here. Women are different, sure. But the capacity for motherhood does not make one a bad soldier. This kind of talk went out of fashion while Queen Victoria was still alive.
If captured, of course, such a woman would be repeatedly raped. And tortured. Again, I'm not meant to say this. Not Canadian, not CBC, not Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Not the sort of thing we're supposed to feel, so we pretend that men and women in the army, police and fire service are given the same tests and have to fulfil the same requirements. Yet truth still breaks through.

This is misdirection. For one thing, while it may be true, male soldiers would likely be tortured. And the raping of women is ostensibly one of the things we're there to prevent. If a woman wants to help with that, I see no reason we shouldn't let her. Besides, she was killed, not captured. He also is putting words in the mouths of his opponents. I have no doubt that a female soldier would be raped (hell, US soldiers were raping their male POWs). Saying so is not a PC violation. I'm not sure anybody is denying it. But by claiming that liberals WOULD deny it, he gets to call us stupid.
We rightly condemn Islamic extremists in Afghanistan because they treat women so badly. Then we allow one of our own to give her life so that we can congratulate ourselves on how liberal and egalitarian we are, lie about how gender difference don't matter and then encourage our generals and politicians to obscure the truth on television about soldiers and causes.

WTF? Seriously: What. The. Fuck? Is he saying that because we let women into the military we are as bad as the Taliban? I think he is. Chew on that a minute, possums. Roll that stupid around in your mouth a bit. See how it tastes, and then spit it out. This guy is a joke.
What hypocrites we have become. Poor, poor Karine -- this is not the way it should have been.

You and your country deserved better.

What does that even mean?

Mr. Coren, I'm calling it again. You're a bigoted asshole.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Canada is apparently not a haven for Canadians.

Canada's Federal Court has ruled that the Federal Government has an obligation to try to protect its citizens even when they are abroad. It has indicated that the government has an obligation to its citizens that is greater to that of ou allies.

The Tories are going to appeal. Because they're just that classy.

The last time I wrote about Omar Khadr, I was accused of being an uninformed asshole. I'm going to go out on a limb here and do it again. We need to do what we can to protect this kid.

There are lots of reasons. Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11. The FBI has still not tied bin Laden to the attacks. NATO invaded Afghanistan when the Taliban refused to turn over bin Laden. They offered to if any evidence could be provided that linked him to the attacks. No evidence as provided bcause as far as we can tell, it doesn't exist. When NATO did invade Afghanistan, this kid was helping to defend it. As a child soldier. He killed someone in battle. He was then captured, and was not declared a POW, but rather a new, made-up category of detainee, and then put into a prison in Cuba that was built there to avoid sticky legal things like the Bill of Rights.

Omar Khadr, even if he did kill a US medic, deserves to be held in a POW camp, and to be treated humanely. Those are the rules, and while the US is fond of making them up as they go along (such as redefining waterboarding as "not torture" when done by the CIA, but a capital offense when performed by another government), if they want to be the World Police, they should at least pretend to play by the rules. At least with citizens of allied nations.

And the defense for not pushing for his repatriation? The Tories are continuing the policies of the previous government.

Know what? That just means that the previous government was wrong. By that rationale, Obama should keep Gitmo open. Hamid Karzai's government OUGHT to institute Sharia Law. Previous French and German governments invaded most of Europe. Maybe they ought to take another run at it. Maybe the US (and Canada, and the UK) ought to have a look at reinstituting slavery.

Basing your own policies on a previous governments is faulty reasoning. If someone else was an asshole, you are not less of an asshole for following through on their plans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Canada is a haven for terrorists

For years, our leaders have tried to dispel the American myth that the 9/11 attackers got into the United States via Canada. It appears we still have some work to do.

On Monday night, in an interview aired by the CBC, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked why she wants to increase security on the Canadian border to the same level as the Mexican border. She replied: "To the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorist have entered our country across a border, it has been across the Canadian border."

"Are you talking about the 9/11 perpetrators?" asked interviewer Neil Macdonald.

"Not just those, but others as well," responded Napolitano.

Not just those. So the 9/11 myth persists, eight years and one administration later.

--The Toronto Star

The 9/11 bombers did not enter the US through Canada. That is a fact. But here's the thing.

So what if they did? Is it Canada's job to protect the US? Do we have to screen all our immigrants to find out if they harbour resentment toward the US.? And if they do, doesn't that just mean they'll fit in pretty well around here?

The US has the biggest defense budget on the planet. They have overlapping security agencies with overlapping jurisdictions. They have Border Security, Customs agents and Homeland Security. Not to mention Immigration, US Marshalls, the FBI, and the goddamned Coast Guard.

Even pretending that those 19 assholes entered the US via Canada, how is it OUR fault or OUR problem? Pretending that these guys came through Canada to get to the US to learn how to fly planes, and plot the act, OUR gus did their job. These men didn't commit crimes in Canada. Our citizens are safe.

If the US can't protect it's own citizens, it needs to figure its own shit out. It is not Canada's job to patrol the US border.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guns and Jennifer Connelly

Those are the things that generate the most traffic around here. I have no illusions about my skills as a writer, thinker or commentator. It's T & A or the possibility of violence that will draw the crowds.

In fact, the post I wrote about a handgun ban a while ago still generates traffic and comments. I'm not sure what to make of that, since I don't think I'm all that far out with my stance. It's based on, as far as I can tell, reason, not emotion. I know there are factors I have not considered, but the purpose of a handgun is not something I approve of. Murder is not a good thing. It's one of the few Abrahamic principles I can get behind.

Guns are for killing things. Handguns are for killing people. They're one of those things, to borrow a phrase from Nicholas Cage in The Rock, that I wish we could uninvent. We can't, so limiting the availability is the best option. There are all kinds of weapons we already limit, and I don't see people clamouring for their right to own mustard or chlorine gas, vehicle mounted machine guns, or high explosives. These things are also designed for killing people, and we have decided as a society that killing people is generally wrong. So we don't let these things out into general circulation.

I'm not the only one to think this way, either. There are people who are pointing out that the wide availability of firearms does NOT make people safer. That dude who went nuts on the Greyhound bus only killed one guy. Possibly because God only told him to kill the one, but probably also because he had a knife, not a gun.

Alternet posted a relevant story today, as well:

The Gun Lobby Asks You to Please Lay Off the Mass Killings While It's
Trying to Influence Legislation

"The NRA is asking gunmen to refrain from mass shootings while key gun
bills are before legislators," says a newscaster in a recent editorial

Say that! On a month that began with the Alabama, Illinois church and
Germany shootings and ended with the Oakland police killings -- a Miami mass
killing, a Turlock, CA church shooting and the Mexico shootings not even making
the public radar -- lawmakers are not thinking of gun owners as an oppressed

I'm not suggesting for a minute that people not be allowed to defend themselves, though the commenters on the last post are suggesting that I am. However, we have a system in place that's designed to defend us on our behalf. We hire people to carry guns so that the rest of us don't have to. If you think that a widely armed populace is safer, then I think you might be missing a few things.

Some crimes are violent by nature, and a ban won't stop them all. But most crime is not violent. Most is property crime, and that sometimes becomes violent. If we were truly serious about stopping violent crime, we'd address poverty and the horriying wealth imbalance. We'd address the illness inherent in a consumer society, where people are measured not by the quality of their character, but by the quality of their shoes. We'd look at improving education, health care, and addressing mental illness (which is a very small factor in crime, though it makes the best movies). We'd stop making violent people heroes.

In the meantime, a reduction in the number of firearms is a good way (well, certainly better than no way) reduce the number of property crimes that turn violent.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Energy Savings

Yeah, yeah. Never posting, being all lazy and shit. Not apologetic. I owe very little to my "audience", such as it is. I write for me, and lately I've been not writing for anyone. So, while I am ashamed of myself, it has nothign to do with my readers. I just need to write more.

I have, however, to return to a recurring theme around here, found an incredible way to save energy. Not like electricity, mind you, but my own. It's apathy.

Eventually, spending a lot of time in the echo chambers of the internet leads to an inevitable but discouraging conclusion. You're not going to change the world. You talk to other greeny-type people, and they agree (mostly) with you, and you all decide collectively that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and you'd better start a vegetable garden.

But all that does is ensure you have too many tomatoes in August (or whenever they come; I haven't actually started this vegetable garden yet), and it does very little to prevent the collapse of the resource-based economy.

You can talk to others, too. People who are different, conservatives, for instance. I was talking to one last night. I didn't understand her at all. At all. I can't begin to tell you how fucked up her perspective is. Oddly, she's one of our closest friends.

But eventually you get tied of talking to people who will not be swayed, or who already agree with you. You start to retreat. That's what I'm trying to prevent.

Call me out. Get me writing. I need to save the world. I have a daughter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Audience

I saw Misery at the Grand Theatre a couple weeks ago. I was disappointed. I was disappointed with the audience, for one. They thought the whole thing was funny. I was disappointed with the acting. Annie was nutty, not menacing, and considering the stories we've heard recently about people being held against their will (by their fathers, or by a government), that sort of geist should have been easy to muster. I was disappointed with the sound. There were cues that were spoonfeeding the audience, and I was insulted.

But the one thing that confuses my wife the most is that I was disappointed with the set.

The set was amazing. An entire farmhouse that could pivot to move focus to the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, or the exterior, plus a second-floor staircase that as best I can recall was never used. The bedroom consisted of a bed and bedside table, a chair, a lamp, and some stained wallpaper. The living room was minimalist, the kitchen was kitschy. The stairs were there. Study and superfluous, but there nonetheless.

In my opinion, the whole thing was superfluous.

Sure, you need the bedroom, and one other room that Paul explores, but that's it. The stairs, the outside, the living room, the upstairs hallway, the bathroom, and the alcove were all unnecessary. The geography of the house is unimportant, and you don't need to build a house for the audience to know that they're supposed to be imagining a house. We've paid our price, and we're willing to work a little for the experience. The kitchen can have a medicine cabinet (and if I recall correctly, the medicine Paul sought was in the pantry in the novel), and it's not unreasonable to assume that the scrapbook might be in there as well (or near enough to make no difference). What is important is that Paul leaves his cell while the warden is out. Who cares where he actually goes? The set was an unnecessary cost. I can think of ways that money might have been better spent.

Last night was a good example. Last night I saw two performances, one a staged reading on an empty set, and another a performance involving a chair. That nearly empty stage was a kitchen floor, inside a wall, a Venetian canal, a bar and a mausoleum in Paris, a New York alley, a midway, a bathroom, a stoner's kitchen, a ticket booth, a barker's podium, a Ferris wheel, the scrambler, the merry-go-round, the caterpillar roller coaster and the fun house.

I don't recall ever thinking to myself, What the hell? The stage is empty!

Jeff Culbert used language and storytelling to evoke the scenes, focusing on character rather than locale. It was a wise choice, because the stories are not about Mehitabel's drowning lover or Archy's cockroach orators. It's about Archy and Mehitabel. Jayson McDonald gave a very physical performance, playing half a dozen characters at home, in line, on rides and on the phone. Powerful, and no doubt exhausting, it rendered the set moot. Again, the characters were more important than locale.

And honestly, that's why we watch plays, movies and television, isn't it? Why we read books and magazines and poetry? To hear great stories about people. Stories that happen in places, for sure, but usually stories about people (or roaches and cats). Not all the time, to be sure. Sometimes they are stories about places, too, but there are characters in those stories, too (think Hell House, Sin City, or Cabaret for examples), because stories about places aren't enough for people.

The Grand Theatre hosts some amazing, inspiring and enviable performances. But as long as they keep mollycoddling their audiences, I'm going to continue to feel a little insulted, and prefer alternative theatre, like the stuff we have here.

Come see archy and mehitabel and Fall Fair. You have to work a little harder, but you won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Public relations

It will come as no surprise to most people on the planet, let alone those who still read this blog despite my puling broken by silence, that the Catholic Church is having some PR problems.

This is a good example:

Just a week after Pope Benedict made the decision to bring holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson and his ultra-conservative bishop friends back into the fold, Pope Benedict elevated Father Gerhard Maria Wagner to auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Linz, Austria. Now, if you thought Williamson’s assertions on the Holocaust sounded crazy, just wait until you hear what Wagner has to say on everything from Hurricane Katrina to Harry Potter.
Pope Benedict is kicking ass and taking names in the classless Olympics, and I find it an interesting strategy. To be fair, lenient religions tend to experience a decline in membership, particularly in times of crisis (I don't have time to find a source), and so maybe he's hoping to arrest the inexorable slide into irrelevancy that faces the Whore of Babylon (as Rick Warren would call her) by toughening up. Or maybe he's just playing the German Hardass typecast. I don't know. I do not profess to understand the man. I do not desire to.

However, I have some advice. When it comes to saying crazy shit with no basis in reality, it occasionally takes a little soft sell to get the buyers in. Some guy was actually god and so he came back from the dead? Hard to swallow, really, and I guarantee that part of the church's attrition can be attributed to the fact that is says some crazy shit. Transubstantion is the most public example, and relatively recent, too, in that it's a doctrine that is less than half as old as the church itself. Saying new crazy shit all the time, that takes panache. It takes style. It takes finesse.

I would argue that it takes Tom Cruise.

Tom believes some crazy shit. It's not much crazier than other religious shit, but it's still pretty damn crazy. And every time I turn around, another celebrity seems to have converted to Scientology. The common thread? Tom Cruise. This guy must be really fucking persuasive. He could sell anything. He could sell freezers to the Inuit. He could sell slavery to Africans. He could sell crazy religious teachings to crazy religious people. Apparently his charm is boundless.

What we need is to hook the pope up with Tom Cruise. Apparently Catholics have some sort of resistance to the craziness of Scientology (though Katie is in peril), and so the pope would be okay. However, the pope desperately needs to sell his crazy shit better, and I can think of no one who can sell crazy shit like Tom.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

God made men...

...but Samuel Colt made them equal.

Toronto's mayor has asked London, Ontario's fourth or fifth largest city, for support in asking the provincial government for a province-wide handgun ban.

This may surprise you, considering my political affiliation, but I'm not really a fan of rules. I recognize that they are necessary, but I also recognize that many well-meaning rules are often misguided. Ontario's pitbull ban is a good example. It's a blunt instrument designed to punish irresponsible dog owners, but instead punishes the dogs.

And I know that Greens seem like well-meaning-do-gooder social engineers, but we're not about banning things, we're about internalizing costs.

Having said that, I dig on handgun bans.

I know that a ban won't significantly reduce the incidence of violent crime. And I know that people who are willing to break the law in order to kill, rob or terrorize aren't likely to be swayed by the prospect of another charge of possession of a banned weapon. And I know that there are lots of law-abiding handgun owners that will be adversly affected by this law, and they won't have done anything wrong.

But still, a handgun ban strikes me as a good idea.

I'm not saying ban all guns. And I'm not saying that just because guns kill people we should ban anything that kills people. That's absurd. But here's the thing.

Handguns are specifically designed to kill people.

Long guns are for hunting. Knives are for cutting. Baseball bats are for baseball. Cars are for transportation. Pills are for medicine. And they all kill people. But none of them exist specifically for the expressed purpose of killing people. And that's why a ban is a good idea.

Think about it. We have controls on things that are designed to kill people, and we only let certain people have them. Tanks, armoured personnel carriers, grenades, bioweapons, and the like. How are they different from handguns, besides the scope of murder available?

You may have to defend yourself against a bad guy with a gun someday. However, that bad guy is more likely to have a handgun if they're not banned. And it's not your job to kill the bad guys. That's the job for the cops. As for killing people in other countries? That's the job of the military. If you want to be allowed to kill people, become a cop or a soldier.

The fact is that a handgun ban will reduce the number of guns on the street. And it will be easier to identify the people who are bad. You'll be able to tell, 'cause they'll be the ones with the guns. If the only people in the province who are allowed to have handguns are the cops, we'll all be a lot safer. And if someone does use a gun in the commission of a crime, I find it reassuring that they'll have an extra five or six years in the cooler to think about whether or not they should have grabbed a machete, instead.

Yes, people are violent, and they will kill people. But they will at least have to use a little ingenuity and use a tool that isn't designed specifically to make the job of killing someone easier.

Friday, February 06, 2009

You can't write irony like this.

I am trying to come up with an apt metaphor for the Catholic Church right now. Granted, they recently decided to get rid of Limbo within their doctrine, but as someone asked me, how can they do that? Did God do it or what? WTF? However, more recently, they've reinstated the practice of indulgences. This is one of the things that Martin Luther was pissed about. You'd think they might have picked up that this is a bit of a sticking point.

And more recently, they've rehabilitated some people who thought it was becoming too easy to be a Catholic, and they took their toys and went home. It wasn't the 95 theses, but it was still some guys starting a breakaway sect. Pope Benedict clearly felt they had learned their lesson, I guess, and let them come home. However, he clearly didn't vet these guys well enough, and has been bitten in the ass.

One of these guys is a Holocaust denier. He's entitled to believe this, I guess. He obviously already believes some pretty crazy things. What I dig about it most is this.

The German government is pointing out this guy is a crazy nutbar anti-semite.

The pope may have jumped the shark.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pace yourself

I've written before about the need to stay angry in order to stay motivated. I gave a PTGHWAC to Greta Christina (who I recently saw quoted in the local fishwrap) for her take on anger and how it's been the most influential force in social change in history. By and large, I think she's right. Being compassionate and empathetic is all well and good, but being pissed off got Rosa Parks arrested, it started the Stonewall Riots, and I daresay it got the suffragettes picketing the White House.

The problem is that anger is corrosive. It eats you, and it cand cripple you. This happens to me periodically. I'm an angry bastard. I'm pissed off at most voters in Canada and in the US, and completely gobsmacked by nearly half of American voters (who bothered to vote), and by a little over a third of own (well, really, about 18% of Candian voters, since about half of us are pleasantly uniformed and apathetic; must be nice.) who continued to endorse clearly bankrupt ideology. Want proof? Harper claims to be a conservative, but spends more than Liberals. WTF? Nobody has told me what conservatism means anymore, except the predilection to hate brown people, commies and fags.

So I've been pissed at most voters on the continent. That's a lot of anger, and it burns me out. I cease to be motivated to do anything, because not only can I not save the world, I can't even save myself. I'm just too fucking angry, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Let it go, just relax, blah, blah, blah. I know, I know. But the problem is that when I see a problem, I like to fix it. My inability to fix it makes me madder. I wish I could stop paying attention and let it go, but wilful ignorance is the one thing I find utterly incomprehensible, baffling and infuriating.

I should write more. To do that I need to calm down. I should participate more. To do that I need to calm down. I should love, laugh and sing more. To do that, I really need to calm down.

I will start bloggin regularly again. I hope this will start my renaissance. If not, I'll still continue to riff on the news. I can't let it go, even though it's probably killing me. I'm going to stay angry.

If you're paying attention, you either go mad or get mad.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I love miracles. They happen all the time. They're awesome. When a plane crashes safely in a frozen river, it's a miracle. However, to paraphrase a line from Saved!, seems to me that the miracle they could have used was not having the fucking birds fly into the engine.

The contradiction is obvious, it seems, to everyone but the faithful. There are miracles all the time, but they're rather shitty miracles. Here are some examples:
  • A boy is not hit by a stray bullet because a watermelon stopped it. The bible his brother was holding, however, failed to stop same, and his brother was shot. Nevertheless, a miracle.

  • A plane crashes and no one dies, because of some kickass flying by the pilot. It was not the pilot who saved them, it was god. Were I the pilot, I'd be pissed.

  • Jesus appears in a wet screen door, a pita, a tortilla, a chip, or whatever.
So what happened to burning bushes, fingers of fire, pillars of salt, crowds being struck blind, the death of the first born, various & sundry plagues, parting of seas, staves to snakes, surviving a furnace (and what the hell is with this god and fire?), and walking on water? If god still performs miracles, seems to me he's just phoning it in these days.

God gets credit for all kinds of shit, but it seems to me that people always have to do the heavy lifting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's not the band that I hate...

It's a line from an old Sloan song: "It's not the band that I hate, it's their fans..."

This is how I feel about the CPC. It's not the party, it's the conbots. The CPC does what the CPC does, which is anything it thinks it can get away with. I expect most governing parties are the same to some degree. But these guys are good. They can get away with almost anything.

Transparency? I didn't mean US. Jeez!

Accountability? That's for pussies.

Fiscal responsibility? WTF? In this economy? Madness!

Senate reform? Well, I meant more conservatives...

Fixed election dates? Obviously, that only applies to majority governments, not ones that are able to pass legislation with near impunity. Don't be silly.

But the burr in my saddle, the onion in my oinment, the black fly in my chardonnay is the goddamn conbots. The ones that thing the CPC is cool, no matter what it does, how it disagrees with their promises, plans or stated intent, and no matter how detached from reality it might be.

  • See? They cut the GST, not like those tax & spend Liberals with their balanced budgets and social programs. Those guys were crazy. But cutting the GST is good for the economy. It increases spending...

  • Recession? What recession? That's crazy talk. The fundamentals of the Canadian economy are sound.

  • Budget deficits are cool, because we need to keep the economy moving.

  • The government should stay out of business. That's why deregulation is a good idea.

  • Well of course business can't be trusted to eep their noses clean. That's why there's going to be an inquiry. Someday. Maybe.

  • Coalition with the separatists? Treason. In 2003? That was COMPLETELY different. The Liberals were in charge then, and Adscam!
This is called cognitive dissonance. It's not quite a mental illness, but it's close. It's separating your ideology from reality, and it's most evident when dealing with religion. I'd argue that the two are pretty closely related.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Charlie and Lucy

It's been a month. I know. Sue me. It's amazing what an ridiculous personal schedule, a debilitating illness and existential angst can do to a person's get up and go. I spent most of the last four weeks coping. So you can, too.

I saw something funny on the news the other day. I mean besides the no-good-guys carnage in the middle east, the idea that we are prosecuting a Canadian soldier for killing an unarmed Afghan civilian when hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians have died because we invaded, and the continuing faux-sheepishness of Dubya. This was also aside from the continuing media presence of Palin and her "you guys screwed me" tour, and Coren's constant bitching about the liberal media. On the media. On four different media.

It was this:

And why not? He's such a nice guy.
MONTREAL – Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his political rivals an olive branch today as he dialed down last month's heated parliamentary rhetoric and promised a conciliatory approach to a coming federal budget aimed at helping the ailing economy.

The friendly, co-operative tone came as a new poll suggested a resurgent Liberal party under new leader Michael Ignatieff, who was himself pledging to hold the governing Conservatives to account with a pre-budget wish list of his own.

"Now is the time for try and reach consensus if that's possible, but especially to try and work together – federally, provincially, internationally, across party lines – to deal with the problems that everybody knows are urgent and large," Harper said.
I laughed out loud, because I thought I heard heard that before.

Harper's promises to be nice and play well with others remind me of Lucy's football stunt with Charlie Brown. Everyone knows she's gonna yank that ball away, and everyone knows that Harper's gonna pull some asshole stunt at the first opportunity, because that's just the way he is.

January 27. Mark my words. Watch the hilarity ensue.