Monday, March 28, 2005
As you go north, the highway breaks slightly east and the Rockies break west. It is not long before you can only see scraggy hills to the west. This is ranching, oil, natural gas, forestry and rodeo country. To the east, the skies are clear now and you can see the prairie roll out and slightly downward to the horizon.
Directly east is the Alberta badlands, with their weird hoodoo structures and deep valleys that have rock faces showing geological strata. There are more dinosaur bones and fossils found here than anywhere in the world. Yet, we are right smack in the middle of creationist country.
They say this is one of the busiest highways in Canada, but at the very least, it is the backbone of the Alberta economy. Anything you can buy or sell in this economy is visible in one form or another from the highway. RV's, boats, tractors, donuts, Elk Antler Aphrodisiacs, hamburgers, antiques, used cars and trucks, sides of beef & pork. Everything is big and sprawling.
An aging bachelor in a Corvette blows by me as if I am standing still.
As you head north, the temperature drops a bit and there is more and more snow. The fields are mostly still white and the snowdrifts in the ditch or against snow fences are weirdly textured from the wind. There are a few stands of poplar and evergreen trees here and there.
There are trucks everywhere, mostly oilfield service trucks. I have lived here all my life and still have no idea what all that gear is. There are flatbeds hauling the big valves, compressors and pipes that connect the vast web of energy pipelines together. You can see where the pipelines cross the highway. Most of them head south to the American Midwest. There are semis hauling everything imaginable: junk food, livestock, or the latest Wal-Mart crap. Otherwise, the traffic is mostly families jammed into SUV's mini-vans and four-by-four trucks, old folks with oxygen tubes in their nose driving new Cadillacs, and the ubiquitous rancher/farmer in the farm truck. Most of them have bumper stickers complaining about the usual grievances: the Kyoto treaty, the Gun Registry, the Wheat Board, the unelected senate, generally, the idea that liberals live in their world.
A farmer has a big sign facing the highway that says "Separation Long Overdue" that makes me laugh whenever I see it. It is a nervous laugh because I am familiar with the specific hell that these people want to drag the rest of us into with them. Another has a sign that says Jesus is Lord, which I suppose is saying much the same thing. These slogans always used to be on grain elevators but almost all of the grain elevators are gone now.
Sunday Evening. Now I am heading back south to Calgary just after supper. The sun is dropping just behind my right shoulder but there are still coral colored wisps of clouds to the south. It gets dark quickly. Occasionally there are clusters of undulating yellow lights off in the distance from some little town. In every direction, there are cell towers and oilrigs with red or white beacons. Some spin, some blink, some just stare back at you. The sky above is clear and the stars are showing.
The highway gets busier as you get closer to Calgary, and everybody drives fast and tailgates. Soon you see the canopy of light over the city as all the outdoor illumination reflects upward. This is quite pretty in the winter when you get a million lines of light bouncing around off ice and snow crystals in the air. I have always lived in big cities and I have always liked seeing city lights at night. I wonder if it could be a reverse SETI project, beaming all our wattage out to space hoping to meet some interstellar friends. With our luck, they will be imperialistic neo-cons, and we are the Iraq of the Galaxy. Alternatively, all that light could just be a law and order thing, deterring teenage nihilists with odd German accents from stealing your car stereo. Please recommend this post
Friday, March 25, 2005
Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is in hospital in Montreal recovering from lung surgery and pancreatitis. His condition is described as stable and improving, which means that any subsequent mockery is not only tasteful but necessary.
When his condition was first detected he was immediately shipped by Fedex from Wall Street to a Socialist Hospital in Montreal.
Doctors said the surgery was complicated by the fact that Mulroney's entire head was fairly far up his ass. The spokesman went on to say the medical team had absolutely no idea what caused the pancreatitis.
Don't worry, there's no court cases going on trying to have him unplugged.
My favourite memory of Mulroney was when he eagerly signed us up for the first Iraq War. Bush1 kind of took a shining to our Brian. He positively beamed with pride when Canadian Fighter Jets were strafing Iraqi boats in the Persian Gulf. I do like to see a man happy in his work.
I hope Mulroney is ok, I'd hate to see Corky go without a father. Please recommend this post
If you're an Egyptian child worried about the Angel of Death/Passover mythology, don't worry. The Angel of Death is tied up in appeals courts somewhere in Florida. Please recommend this post
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
There's not a lot of things that make me smile these days but this song and the video just blew me away. Please recommend this post
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
John Cleese writes an open letter to Americans.Please recommend this post
NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE
By John Cleese
To the citizens of the United States of America,
In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. (Except Utah, which she does not fancy.)
Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect :
1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium". Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise". You will learn that the suffix 'burgh is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed". There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.
2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize".
3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon". If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.
4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.
5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.
6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders" which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day".
9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps". Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.
11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added
to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.
12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer", and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager". The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen
Knat's Urine", with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Knat's Urine". This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.
13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline" as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).
14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.
16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you
shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).
Thank you for your co-operation and have a great day.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Perhaps we should ask the young and the feeble to leave the room now so we can have a frank and open discussion about this topic.
First of all, go read the Book of Genesis, Chapter 38 for the background story.
Onan was the son of Judah. Onan's older brother died having been struck down by the Lord. Onan's obligation under Jewish law was to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law. This was not a task he was obviously enthusiastic about since as you can see in the Bible text he committed the flagrant sin of coitus interuptus. This is the first time this was mentioned in the Bible and the Catholics elevated the story to a vast and far reaching condemnation of birth control. Thus, over time, the Sin of Onan, came to mean the practice of having sex without having children.
So that is the first meaning of the metaphor, a rather sharp warning against family planning.
The second meaning, which is quite often used by Catholics, is the sin of (okay this is where it gets a little raw) self pleasure. Yes, we're talking about masturbation. AKA spanking the monkey. AKA shaking your fist in anger, etc etc. And please don't write me with your favourite euphemism. This is difficult as it is.
Anyhow, this was certainly the meaning we got in those lectures from Sister Brigette Madolyn of the Holyrood Academy of Boys Woodworking, which I attended one semester. I doubt sister Brigette was talking about the first of the meanings to a bunch of geeky 12 year old boys.
And that was certainly not the meaning I intended when referring to my member of Parliament. (Oops! I meant "A" member of Parliament.) Frankly, I don't see that man engaging in any kind of coitus, interuptus or otherwise. At least not with a sentient person.
I hope this clears up the original letter. Its just one of those cases where Catholics use a Bible story to condemn many different things.
Anyway, I hope you all have a Happy Palm Sunday. Please recommend this post
Friday, March 18, 2005
Your idea that the local parish priest withold the the sacrament, indeed eternal salvation itself, from Catholic Members of Parliament who do not uphold canon law against homosexuals and baby killers is a stroke of genius. One day Catholic seminarians will be taught about the Henry Doctrine I'm sure. If a Member of Parliament can be made to fear for his eternal salvation then i'm sure they'll start doing the right thing.
My problem is, i don't think this is going far enough. As you know canon law is quite expansive. For example I recently discovered through Sun Media that Peter McKay and Belinda Stronich are involved in an intimate relationship. They appear to have no shame or modesty and are flouting their pathetic little tryst. Just thinking about those two entwined in lust sends a shiver up my spine. Anyway, i believe you should look into this clear violation of canon law. I know striking up a secret Inquisition board and calling secret witnesses is a hassle, but it must be done. The good news is that it is not Peter McKay and Scott Brison which a lot of us were worried about. Please handle this discretely, not in your usual flamboyant manner, they're not Liberals after all.
Which remainds me, my group is adamant that you should not be shaming any Catholic Conservative Members of Parliament for reasons that are very very complicated and I can't go into them right now. But I know you agree because you have never condemned any Catholic Conservative Party Members of Parliament for violating canon law. And believe me, just between you and me, they can be a sordid bunch when you dig around a bit.
By the way, I heard one of the Conservative Members, from Calgary no less, was on a Catholic TV show and was complaining about the burden of being a single Catholic male. Apparently he is struggling with the sin of Onan. I thought you might chat with him and offer some private shaming. I'll forward his name, secretly, to your committee in the usual manner.
a loyal supporter Please recommend this post
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
I am writing to you about our colleague Ambassador Cellucci. Just between you and me I think he's been over the edge a bit lately. Mad cow, softwood lumber, missile defense, Iraq - all these issues seem to have taken a toll on our mutual friend. Lately he looks haggard and defensive. He has those deep bags under his eyes that come from knowing the truth but not being able to get the heathen to understand it.
I heard he was leaving his post shortly and I hope you can help him find a more suitable job in a think tank somewhere. Do you have a replacement in mind yet? Mr. Cellucci would be kind of hard to replace but I have an idea for you to consider that I think would work out really well for both of us. (BTW: I was disappointed to hear that Mr. Wolfowitz is now unavailable for this post. )
My idea is that you appoint our loyal opposition, the Conservative Reform Alliance caucus, as the collective U.S. Ambassador. You will not find a more loyal group to carry out your President's agenda with respect to Canadian relations. Think of it: 70 full time eyes and ears constantly on the look out for any kind of anti-American thought or action. You would be well served by these loyal patriots. And I also know they would carry on this important work for free.
This would also save our loyal opposition leader, Mr. Harper, and his Deputy, Mr. Day, the trouble of having to run to the Washington post to publish their anti-Canadian pro-American op-eds. As the collective Ambassadors, your media and ours would run to them breathlessly and publish every word they utter. Good deal for you. Have you ever read our National Post?
Anyhow, I hope you will give this some serious consideration.
A Canadian Patriot
P.S. I'm so sorry about Dr. Axworthy being so rude to you. I've written a very lengthy letter to David Horowitz about him. With any luck, you should'nt hear from him again. Please recommend this post
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Naomi Klein, my favourite writer is at it again over here.
The Section15 blog takes James Taranto and the Wall Street Journal out behind the wood shed.
Robert Fisk, not unsuprisingly predicts civil war in Lebanon. As predictors go he does not have a bad track record.
Why do these people hate America so much?
The rapture is right around the corner and we got a lot of work to do. Once the Christians leave they'll be a lot of stuff to be fixed up. We can beat this lake of fire thing if we have a plan and stick together. One of the things you can do to make this go smoother is to read this blog every day.
And finally, the word of the day is contrarian-obfuscationism. Please recommend this post
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Speaking of slow death, I watched the movie Final Destination 2 with Aly Larter and Canadian actor Keegan Conner Tracy, pictured above shortly before getting the pipe through the head, or blown up, I can't remember. (Consumer activists should note that she was driving a Ford Explorer.) Intending to scare 16 year olds into staying in school this scene inadvertently created a chewable metaphor for life: The jagged pipe is almost always right near your head.
The theme of death stalking people has been done over and over again in literature and movies FOREVER but never so relentlessly predictable as in this movie. How many movies make you cheer for death? Usually death has some kind of theological purpose, but here its just to get to the end of the movie as quickly as possible. At the end of the movie they blew up poor Aly which seems to suggest she won't be back for the third in the series. And there will be a third.
Save your 4 bucks and watch Max Von Sydow in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Or if that's too heady for you how about Monty Python's Meaning of Life.
Death by Salmon Mousse, now that's funny. Please recommend this post
From the Toronto Sun...
The Sun won't shine at a private Catholic school in King City, Ontario, where a Grade 10 student was docked 22% off her history assignment for using clippings from this newspaper [Toronto Sun]-- deemed "non-reputable" by her teacher. Jessica Bolzicco, 16, an honour roll student... said her teacher cut the grade on her current affairs assignment from an 87% to a 65% because she used the Toronto Sun as her source. Students were asked to bring in three clippings from "newspapers of repute."
How would an honour roll student not realize that the Sun has no intellectual merit on any topic? And using the same source on one project is hardly sound. While the teacher engaged in sort of a knee jerk reaction, its pretty easy to understand why. But, it would make a good teaching opportunity to have the students discuss the Sun stories and understand exactly why it has no repute.
Principal Paul Paradiso admitted the Sun has a good reputation for news coverage but fails from a "moral point of view" due to its SUNshine Girl and Boy. (The SUNshine Boy has not appeared in the paper since last September.)
No they don't have a good reputation for news coverage. But they do make a considerable income off sex trade advertising, while at the same time constantly soap boxing about morality issues. In the bigger picture, is'nt that weirder than a picture of a girl in a bikini?
So what really does the Catholic teacher object to? Maybe by non-reputable they just mean that there are pictures of girls in bikinis, but otherwise they accept the Sun's ultra right-wing content.
Sun Editor-in-Chief Jim Jennings said he was appalled by Jessica's story. "It's ridiculous that a history teacher would censor a student who brings in clippings," he said. "I thought education was about the exchange of ideas, but what do I know -- I only have a PhD."
Education is about the exchange of ideas. The Sun is not. Thats the point. And who cares if the editor has a PhD? I don't even want to know what that guy wrote his thesis on. The kids in that class probably need to be prepared for University where they sure as hell won't be citing the Toronto Sun in their research.
Read the article... Please recommend this post
But, suffice it to say when I read that name I said out loud: Exactly!
Soon though, in the comments section of the blog, as is prone to happen, the Frenchmen took it upon themselves to think up funny new names for the antichrist.
Some of the suggested names:
333 Eric the Half a Beast
666-A The tennant of the Beast.
999 the dyslexic beast?
667 Neighbor of the Beast
665 Antichrist underachiever
222, the factor of the Beast
1/666, the inverse multiple of the Beast
-666, the additive inverse of the Beast
66 - amputee beast
|666| - the Absolute Value of the Beast
@@@ - The amnio sonogram of the Beast
I quote these without permission, but knowing there's no great sin recognizing that there are many people funnier than myself. Quite a few actually. Possibly millions.
But seriously, don't these people know they're bringing a whole lot of bam-stick on themselves by making fun of the apocolypse?
I have to read the later chapters of this revolutionary little book. I'm quite anxious to see if there is a role for Canada in the great end game.
Read the original post here. Please recommend this post
Sunday, March 06, 2005
When contacting the Embassy use the following talking points.
- Could you please just shut him up.
- You said he was leaving for the private sector. When?
- Why is he such an annoying brain dead hack?
- Could you please just shut him up.
- There is more to Canada than the Fraser Institute, the Alberta Government and Sun Media.
- We are not stupid colonial rubes who need to be lectured daily by a gaseous overbloated self-inflated overly hyperbolic 5th rate talk show host. (Charles Adler was here first)
- Once again, could you please just shut him up.
- Lets see what else...Oh, yeah, our Prime Minister does not report to the Ambassador.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Naturally there is quite a bit of shock and grief. The officers were all juniors in their 20's and early 30's and there has not been such a great loss of officers in one incident since the late 1800's.
The nature of the tragedy will re-ignite a whole bunch of contentious political debates (law and order, marijuana legalization, gun registry, etc, etc) and soon you will start to see a whole punch of political spin. Even Stephen Harper is saying its too early to connect the horrific event with public policy. (Maybe he should call Art Hanger and tell him to stay off the radio for a while.)
Since my primary interest is politics & media I know this tragedy will create a lot of discussion and debate. I just don't think today is the right time. Please recommend this post
Now, I understand that there may have been some miscalculations in Washington based on faulty advice from your resident governor of the "northern territories," Ambassador Cellucci. But you should know by now that he hasn't really won the hearts and minds of most Canadians through his attempts to browbeat and command our allegiance to U.S. policies.
Sadly, Mr. Cellucci has been far too closeted with exclusive groups of 'experts' from Calgary think-tanks and neo-con lobbyists at cross-border conferences to remotely grasp a cross-section of Canadian attitudes (nor American ones, for that matter).
As our erstwhile Prairie-born and bred (and therefore prudent) finance minister pointed out in presenting his recent budget, we've had eight years of balanced or surplus financial accounts. If we're going to spend money, Mr. Goodale added, it will be on day-care and health programs, and even on more foreign aid and improved defence.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Just a quick update to let you know that Jeri Ryan is running away with the poll. Although there is a strong 'bugger off' contingent out there as well.
Some astute readers asked why Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax was not included. Well, because the series had no critical acclaim and no one ever heard of Terry Farrell before or since. It seems that DS9 was a bit of a career killer for all involved.
The original poll called T'Pol T'Pal by mistake. T'Pol is the character played by Jolene Blalock. There is no T'Pal. However there is a T'Pau. She was a Vulcan elder on the original Star Trek series and that character re-appeared in a younger version in an Enterprise episode. I was thinking about Janeway at the time and that your mom is so hot thing kind of intruded into my subconscious.
Confused yet? You would be surprised how many trekkie web sites refer to T'Pol as T'Pal or T'Pau. I think there was also a dance band in the 80's called t'pau.
I'm hoping that some day science will be able to extract all the pop-culture crap from my sub-conscious and replace with more useful information.
Of course this is all a complete waste of time and band width so I'm going back to work now. Hopefully my upcoming material will be more useful. Please recommend this post