Thursday, April 06, 2006

Your Weekly Awards Show

The but-its-ok-when-we-do-it award goes to Colleen Klein for her observation that the 55% vote for Premier Klein was the result of dirty politics at its best. I think she meant dirty politics at its worst but who's quibbling. I think Nancy McBeth would agree with her observation and a number of the other walking wounded who have Rod shaped knived dangling out of their backs. It surprises me that all the techniques the Kleins used to get where they are now are suddenly offensive when others are using them. Grow up. What goes around comes around.

The tired cliche award goes to Liberal Leader Kevin Taft who used the deck chair/sinking ship metaphor to describe the most recent Alberta Government cabinet shuffles. Really, I was hoping for something wittier and sharper. Dr. Taft is a smart dude he could have done better. Something like...the talent pool over ther is getting so thin the entire front row has missing teeth and banjos on their laps. Dr. Taft also criticized Premier Klein for not having enough women in cabinet, a situation which was worsened yesterday by Dave Hancock's resignation.

The dead celebrity of the week goes to Gene Pitney. He had a wack of hits in the 60's, but the only ones I can vaguely remember are Town Without Pity and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. He had this other lesser hit called Mecca, the first verse being:

I live on the West side, she lives on the East side of the stree-ee-eet
And though they say that East is East and West is West
And never the twain shall meet
Each morning I face her window and pray that our love can be
'cause that brownstone house where my baby lives
Is Mecca (Mecca, Mecca, Mecca) Mecca (Mecca, Mecca) to me-e-e-e-e-e.

Its kind of a goofy song when you think about Mecca being used a metaphor for teenage lust. I was listening to this song and thinking to myself that if someone recorded that lyric today there would probably be riots and Danish Cheese maker hostility. The Mullahs would be beside themselves not only because hormones are being juxtaposed with Islam's most sacred site but also because you can't issue a fatwah on someone who just died. I don't think those lyrics would go over very well in our current distemper.

Unfortunately, and I hesitate to bring this up, but that song got me to thinking about the 70 virgins that tradition says each Martyr gets upon reaching paradise. I could probably see where one or two virgins might be appealling - and I'm not sure why, just bear with me - there's a punch line over the horizon some where I'm sure - but after a while you would probably want someone who's been around a bit. What about 2 virgins and 68 girls who've had two or more boyfriends. What 70 virgins? Am I a martyr or a babysitter. Anyway, this whole virgin thing is off base because the virgins have changed quite a bit since the 14th century. They have their own cars and jobs now and occasionally don't get married and have children. The virgins are not sitting around in paradise waiting for the latest doofus to show up for an orgy.

Weren't we supposed to be giving out awards or something? Please recommend this post

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Remembering a Real Leader

Reflecting on the life and death (April 4, 1968) of Martin Luther King has a way of putting the silliness and banality of Kleinapalooza into some perspective. King represented a generation of Christian leaders who were pacifist, liberal, and humanist. This tradition of the Christian faith has all but died out in our times. (Hat tip to the Christian Peacemaker Team dudes. )

Our current leaders both Provincial and Federal seem to me as technocratic and anti-humanist in their view of society. They seem to be completely divorced from the type of ideas that Martin Luther King fought and died for. I see that as a fairly large risk going into the future.

If you only read one thing that Dr. King wrote I recommend The Letter from a Birmingham Jail, a piece of writing that is on par with anything written by St. Paul, who, as you may know also scratched out letters from a jail cell.

Which you can read here. Please recommend this post

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Monday Night Disco

Why don't you tell us what music is playing on your computer right now?

Excellent idea unmedicated-voice-in-the-head. First I'd like to say there's no Michael Buble and no Black Eyed Peas. All else aside, I have some dignity.

I believe the last 10 songs got randomly churned out thusly:

1. John Lennon, Across the Universe (Beatles Naked Limited Edition)

I think this is one of Lennon's best songs.

2. Sheryl Crow, Soak up the Sun

The feel good song of the week.

3. Monty Python, Oliver Cromwell

An interesting history lesson about Cromwell and the Puritan Revolution. John Cleese opens the lesson explaining: The most interesting thing about King Charles I was that he was five foot six at the start of his reign but only four foot eight inches tall at the end of it because of .... It goes totally down hill from there. No where else can you hear some British comedians sing about Presbyterians and the Rump Parliament while Eric Idle occasionally yells Oy Vey in the background. A must listen for anyone interested in English history.

4. Jann Arden, Willing to Fall Down

Jann is so sad but also very talented. She makes me sad. Hey, I'm talented too! I think we just had an epiphany.

5. Martha Wainwright, Factory

My first time listing to Martha Wainwright. I think I like.

6. Beatles, Let it Be (Beatles Naked Limited Edition)

This is the stripped down version. I can't say I like as much as the Abby Road version. It is just Paul McCartney, a piano, some overwrought drums and the two dead ones singing light harmony. If you listen closely you can hear baby seals being clubbed in the back masking.

7. Jane Siberry - Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.

My all time favourite hymn. I'm not sure how it became identified with Christmas. From Siberry's Christmas album Shushan the Palace. Sometimes a song brings back memories of a time and place that is hard to express.

8. Blue Shadows with Billy Cowsill - Think On It

I was sad to hear Billy Cowsill passed away recently. My jaw dropped when I saw the list of the songs this guy wrote for the Cowsills and many others. I never knew anything about Billy Cowsill until I went to a Cabaret at the University of Calgary and saw the Blue Shadows. Unbelievable. I think it was the best concert I ever went to. Some guy kept threatening to beat me up all night for no apparent reason at all and his friend kept apoligizing to me. Later the three of us went for a drink. I gave that dude a ride home and he kept thanking me for the ride in between threats of violence.

9. Carrie Newcomer - The Moon Over Tucson

Never have heard of her but it seems tolerable. Seems kind of new agey. But you never know, she could be one of Cheney's hunting companions.

10. Stone Temple Pilots - Dumb Love

Meh. Please recommend this post

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Freedom 55

I was surprised when I woke up on Saturday and heard that Premier Klein got only 55% support from his party's delegates. I clearly remember earlier in the week writing down 72% as my prediction. Everyone seemed shocked by the low number but after I thought about it a bit it did'nt seem all that surprising. Up on Centre Street a business has a portable sign that says Ralph Klein's Popularity is Finally Lower than his Blood alcohol level. I just about hit the curb when I saw that. You just don't see that kind of dissent in Calgary very often.

As a mathimatical oddity, the number of delegates required to give the premier 55% is roughly 666 delegates. I guess you could call them the Premier's New World Order Club.

What follows are some loosely connected thoughts on why the vote was so low:

1. The Premier has been retired for at least a year already. Completely disengaged. People notice these things. Alberta is completely unprepared for the future and not dealing with the present.

2. By all accounts his Friday night speech was a disaster. Apparently the response was icier than Emmanuel Sandhu's ass.

3. A lot of people thought a two year leadership race would be ridiculous considering that the Government is already mired in severe state of non-motion. See point 4.

4. Lyle Oberg is thin skinned, obnoxious, vindictive and has very bad hair. But he did have a point. A lot of people are probably grateful that a useless member of the party committed career suicide to get a point across. See point 3.

5. The twinning of highway 63 and the infrastructure problem in Ft. McMurray are real big issues to people north of Edmonton and in Ft. McMurray. I really believe a few votes went against Klein because of inaction on this issue.

6. Not being able to explain proposed Health Care changes to the public, or apparently even the caucus, in sentences that use verbs and nouns, and not just turgid, murky passive voiced platitudes. By the way, Iris Evans is an idiot.
(I'm sorry that was mean. I just thought I'd throw it in.)

7. Throwing the Liberal Party policy manual at the 17 year Legislature page would be the last straw for a lot of people. If I were a delegate I would never ever ever support a leader who behaved that way regardless of any other accomplishments.

8. Ruling partys crave power. The thought of a useless leader ruining their popularity fills them with fear and loathing.

9. There has been a dump Klein movement underway, running under the radar for quite some time now. I believe they have been well organized and effective.

10. Corb Lund won a Juno award for a stupid song about trucks getting stuck in mud. I know, its completely unrelated but it pisses me off and I'm not about to make a completely separate post about a stupid Corb Lund song.

I'm sure there are many more reasons that could be thrown around. But as a result of this unfortunate turn of events, I would just like to offer the Premier some possibilities for his future career.

He could...

Steal his daddy's cue and make a living out of playing pool. That damn song has been stuck in my head all day.

Sell his influence, whatever is left, to various corporations to get them favourable government policies or no-bid contracts.

Work with Alberta ranchers to come up with a third way for cattle breeding. Convince them that the current method of breeding is not sustainable.

Work for the Fraser Institute and charge them large sums of money to put his name on the front page of bullshit studies. Sorry, I forgot, he already does that.

Team up with Larry Ryckman and do something really exciting and innovative things on the Alberta Stock Exchange.

Appear as a character witness for Augusto Pinochet when he goes on trial for being a genocidal maniac.

Run his numbered companies full time, whatever it is that those companies actually do.

Go Pheasant hunting with his good pal Dick Cheney. Pound back a few. Pick up some nice looking 50 years old. Lose a bit of face.

Make a full time job out of randomly throwing things at people who don't deserve to have things thrown at them. It could be kind of like a reality show. The simple minded life.

Have a public boxing match with Ezra Levant. What kind of a guy would'nt stick up for his wife after Levant's paper keeps making racial slurs and other pointless ad hominem's against Mrs. Klein.

Keep Barbara Amiel company after Lord Bunny Pants goes directly to jail. Can you tell I miss Frank magazine. Please recommend this post