Monday, December 31, 2007

Pope Big Oilers Fan is big Pope B. I'm not at the Vatican right now because I'm out at the Drake. Just finished watching the Oilers lose. If this is a Cardinal or a Bishop come on out. If this is a member of the one true faith come on out. If this is Matty, Barby, Willy, Judy, Jenny or Sven, I know you're not Catholics, but come on out. If this is Mel Gibson, come on out but you have to shut up. If this is Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins or Philip Pullman come on out but you guys have to wear skirts. Please recommend this post

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Vortex of Hypocrisy and Shame

I was really saddened this week when I read about the death of 16 year old Aqsa Parvez, allegedly murdered by her father. I was having a bad week to begin with and events like this don't help any of us. To me it is purely a case of domestic abuse and not an issue of immigration, race or religion. Nonetheless, the blogospere swarmed on the story, and honestly I found a lot of the commentary quite disgusting.

Unfortunately this tragedy is being used as a wedge in the ongoing Islamophobia that our society has steadily descended into since September 11, 2001.

I grew up with a friend whom I'll call B. When we were children our fathers were good friends so we saw each other a lot. I don't know how our fathers met. B's father was a WWII Pow in Hong Kong and had life long health problems because of the starvation and torture he endured. After my father passed away I didn't see B nearly as much. B and myself and our families were remarkably alike. Born in the 60's, white protestants, United Church, Boy Scouts of Canda, parents who moved into the new suburbs of Edmonton to raise their new families, etc.

B's mom and my mom occasionally talked and I'd often hear about what he was up to. After high school he had a deep Christian experience and became active in a large Pentecostal church. Neither he nor his family were particularly religious as far as I can remember. Eventually he became a leader in the Church, married and started a family. As some point I lost track of him as he moved to BC.

Sometime in 2006 B was arrested and charged in suspicion of the murder of his 16 year old daughter. I couldn't have been more shocked and saddened by this news. Talk about the last thing you would expect to find out about someone you knew.

The murder did not make the national news. It made the news in the locality where it occurred and made the news in Edmonton, but only because they were from there. The story quickly fell off the media radar and is difficult to find references on the internet at all. I still don't know if B has been convicted and sentenced yet. Last bit of information was the judge sending him off for a Psych evaluation.

When this crime occurred there was not widespread swarming in the blogosphere. No one made broad sweeping hate filled comments about Pentecostals. No one demanded that B go back where he came from. No one blamed it on the fact that B refused to assimilate into our way of life. (An Orwellian term if there ever was one. ) No one cried moral outrage because Pentecostal leaders did not hold press conferences to denounce the crime.

I'm afraid I find this contrast slightly jarring and not particularly flattering to our attitudes. I grieve for an old friend and his family. And I grieve for another family that I do not know who in addition to all else, has to deal with media glare and tightly focused racism. Please recommend this post

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cockroaches Need to Pick It Up a Bit

I enjoy reading science articles, especially about insects. It seems that there were a lot of cockroach stories this week. Basically, if you're keeping score the cockroaches got their asses kicked. They're scoring low on the intelligent design check list.

1. Israeli scientists studied the predatory relationship between a certain species of wasp and a certain species of cockroach. Read this and be sure to watch the video, it's pure Tarantino. The wasp attacks the roach and when it gains control it injects a venom in the roach's brain which eliminates what little intelligence and free will the roach might have had, and leaves only the ability to drool and be led around. (Insert joke about niece's boyfriend.) The wasp then grabs the roach by its antennae and walks it like a dog on a leash back to waspville, where it's led compliantly down into the nest, aka God's waiting room. The roach becomes a living buffet for wasp larvae while everyone hums Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin.

Wasps are predatory and they totally play dirty. I've read a number of articles about some of their tactics and they're just sick minded little goons. The scientists wanted to know how the wasps did this to the roach's brain. They reversed engineered the venom and figured out how it worked. It was a fine tuned chemical that blocked some signals to the brain but not others. To prove their theory they created an antidote which was able to restore the roach to full functionality. It was able to resume a fully productive live. Cockroach 911 rescue with William Shatner can't be far off. Since they have an antidote they now have a moral obligation to rescue the roaches.

2. Japanese scientists did basically the same thing to the Cockroach, except with a solid state backpack:

TOKYO - A big brown cockroach crawls across the table in the laboratory of Japan's most prestigious university. The researcher eyes it nervously, but he doesn't go for the bug spray. He grabs the remote. This is no ordinary under-the-refrigerator type bug. This roach has been surgically implanted with a micro-robotic backpack that allows researchers to control its movements. This is Robo-roach. "Insects can do many things that people can't, " said Assistant Professor Isao Shimoyama, head of the bio-robot research team at Tokyo University. "The potential applications of this work for mankind could be immense." Within a few years, Shimoyama says, electronically controlled insects carrying mini-cameras or other sensory devices could be used for a variety of sensitive missions - like crawling through earthquake rubble to search for victims, or slipping under doors on espionage surveillance.

Far-fetched as that might seem, the Japanese government has deemed the research credible enough to award $5 million to Shimoyama's micro-robotics team and biologists at Tsukuba University, a leading science center in central Japan. Money from the five-year grant started coming in this month, and young researchers are lining up for a slot on Shimoyama's team. (link)

Anytime a scientist talks about a great benifit to mankind run and hide. The Japanese scientists talk like they've forgotten the important lessons learned from their scrapes with Gojira and Mosura.

As if we don't have enough to worry about on this planet. I've seen enough Ridley Scott movies to know this has the potential to completely ruin our already doubtful future.

3. And then there's the Belgians. They studied the sociology of the Cockroach and built a robot cockroach that was able to emulate behaviours that made the real cockroachs accept them as part of the tribe. Kind of a big tent red tory blue tory thing going on there. No word on whether the scientists were German Belgians or French Belgians.

Researchers in Belgium infiltrated cockroach colonies with robots in order to study their group behavior. The robots didn’t look much like cockroaches, but the roaches didn’t mind as long as they smelled right. Not only were the robots accepted as fellow cockroaches, but they became leaders and influenced the groups’ behavior!

Once again you see the zombie like capitulation. Hey, lets put that guy in charge, the one that looks like a lego toy. is becoming one of my favourite sites.

All this leads to the usual speculations about evolution. The Cockroaches are going to have to pick it up a bit and evolve some defense mechanisms. They should be avoiding the wasps somehow, not to mention the Belgians and the Japanese. If scientists can develop an antidote to the wasp's stupidity shot then maybe the cockroach will evolve this. Since evolution is incurably slow this could take some time. There is evidence that some species grow bigger and stronger over time. A million years from now there could be some awfully big cockroaches running around. They will have some irrational hatred of wasps, Belgians and Japanese imprinted in their DNA. Humans will probably get smaller because we no longer have the need to fight or flee. H.G. Wells probably had it right in the last chapter of The Time Machine, except instead of really big crustaceans, they'll be really big cockroaches. And they'll be dumb and mad.

I hope I've scared some children. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Twelve Songs

Twelve Songs Plus

1. Tori Amos - Fat Slut. Seriously. First tune up. Didn't catch the lyrics but they seemed a little direct. First time listening to Tori. Will she kill me? Time will tell. I would like to be listening to the radio when the 12 year old phones the request line. Your on Power 601 go ahead to you have a request? Yeah, um I'd like to request Tori Amos Fat Slut and I'd like to send it out to my friend Michelle...

2. The Byrds - Goin Back.

3. Serena Ryder - Good Morning Sunshine. This song gets covered a lot on those Idol shows where they are trying to manufacture a new celebrity. So I promised I was never going to listen to it again having fond memories of seeing Hair. The song has been redeemed.

gliddy glub gloopy nibby nabby noopy
la la la - lo lo
Its pure brain candy. Plus she's hot. And talented. Hot and talented. There sure are a lot of people doing 60's covers these days. Quite a few of them are hot. I know I'm being sophomoric.

4. Shirley Eikhard - Let Me Down Easy. And after you let me down pick me up and put me back in my wheelchair. I've been let down easy before. If you visit her website she has a long list of people who have covered her songs. It is pretty amazing.

5. Lucinda Williams - Mama You Sweet. What's the song really about. No, really.

6. The Monkees - A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. The Monkees kept me sane during grade 6 and part of Grade 7. Remember: Monkees not Monkeys.

7. The Beatles - Bungalow Bill. Best line: In case of accidents he always took his mom

8. Wailin Jennies - Long Time Traveller. My niece thinks she's 6 feet tall. She's so delusional. She's like 5'2. I don't why I thought of that. Why here why now?

9. Karan Casey - When Will We All Be Free.

10. Zombies - Season of The Witch.

11. John Michael Talbot - My Vows to the Lord. So we went from Fat Slut to John Michael Talbot. Is anyone shocked. I listen to JMT late at night. It is music that is intended to augment meditation and reflection. So is Fat Slut, but only if someone dedicates it to you on live air.

12. Stephen Fearing - The Man Who Married Music. Love his song-writing.

13. James McMurtry - Red Dress. Not unlike Fat Slut in some ways. My favourite song of his (and I've heard them all) is Choctaw Bingo

Please recommend this post

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Listening to?

I'm listening to some classical guitar courtesy of Liona Boyd's The Spanish Album and Sharon Isbin Plays Baroque. The way she plays, she'll never be broke.

On the inside cover of Boyd's album is this picture of her with her cat Muffin. That Cat's eyes are creeping me out.

Hey, didn't she used to date Trudeau? There are any number of ways a paragraph can go sideways when you're talking about Liona Boyd, Muffin, and Pierre Trudeau. I'll leave the punch line up to you. I just like her playing a lot. I'm pretty sure Trudeau would not have liked that cat.

I know less about Sharon Isbin, although she has four or five CDs recorded. She may or may not own a cat, and has never denied not dating a Canadian Prime Minister.

The Vestibules CD Get Spiffy is also in the mix. They provide a welcome break from the byzantine guitarists. My favourite track is Jesus Goes to Hawaii. It is refreshingly irreverent. Or, irreverently refreshing.

The Vestibules is a comedy trio of Terence Bowman, Bernard Deniger and Paul Paré. None of them have dated a Canadian Prime Minister, although to be fair I have not read Mulroney's latest chest thump. Please recommend this post

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cat Food For The Brain

I went over to Sa?e?ay at Market Mall. It was really busy because in the new economy stores cannot find people to fill positions. Or, they screwed up on their scheduling. Take your pick.

They had two clerks on and about 20 people in each line up. I was in the under 15 items line. I've always wondered why they have that. Its not really that much faster when they're busy. Do the cashiers ever count people's items and what if anything do they do if you are over? Why don't they have a minimum item count in the other lines? How did they arrive at the number 15. Where there a bunch of MBA's in a boardroom all day debating this very important number and repeatedly texting Iris to get them more donuts. More Donuts!

If I buy a bunch of Bananas is that one item, or 5. If have a friend along to shop with me can we go up to 30 items? What if I order cigarettes and make the cashier walk all the way to the other end of the store. Why don't they have a line up for people who don't require high maintenance.

Is it less than 15 or less than or equal to 15. If the latter, the signage is incorrect, and in which case it is actually 14 items.

This lady was in the line up in front of me. She was way over 15 items, and had designer frames that you can only get in Mount Royal. She had 50 or more items I guessed. And I had plenty of time to think about it. She was flipping insouciantly through People magazine reading about Britney Spears' mothering skills, which is only available in the under 15 line. The joke here was that it was a short read. Oh, never mind.

She was somewhat pretty (sort of a cross between Amy Winehouse and Vanessa Redgrave) so the men in the line-up just made googly eyes at her. Except for me; I glared at her with the glare-over-15-items-glare-of-death. The cashier waited until she had unloaded all her crap then said condescendingly, do you think you have less than 15 items there deary. You could have heard a pin drop. Deary! Deary indeed. The lady made some upper caste type gesture that was sort of like, Well what are you going to do about it. Nothing thats what I thought. Then she cackled like the Witches in Roman Polanski's version of Macbeth. All right, I made that last part up about cackling. But it would have fit. I've been having a lot of problems lately with my imagination versus reality. I did not make the part up about Roman Polanski filming a version of Macbeth. 1969. Lookup it up. They showed it in high school, but then got in trouble because the Witches showed their boobies.

After she paid she turned to me and apologized and insisted she had no idea this was an express line-up. I would have given anything, even one of my inexplicably sore testicles for just that right come-back. But nothing. Screw this decaffeinated life. I'll wake up at 4am tonight with a total zinger. I'll thank my brain for working so hard on this problem. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank BRAIN for all its hard work. However we feel we need to move in a new direction at this time.

As a dramatic finale 100 item lady waves her finger in the air and demands a school boy to haul her stuff out to her car.

Then the cashier said to me, are these your banarners. That's exactly how she pronounced it. Banarners. Again, no come back. Yes, they're my bunyanyeers, and I'll be paying with my Innerflact card. How was that for a comeback. A little to obtuse? Agreed.

No one has any manners any more. Except me. I let people walk all over me while remaining polite, cheerful, and avoiding a fuss. For this reason I'll never be the mayor of Calgary. Please recommend this post

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Statistics and Hysteria

I was just reading this analysis from Stats Canada which suggests our family demographics are changing.

Regarding gay couples:

Half of all same-sex couples in Canada lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, in 2006. Toronto accounted for 21.2% of all same-sex couples, Montréal, 18.4% and Vancouver, 10.3%.

In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).

Over half (53.7%) of same-sex married spouses were men in 2006, compared with 46.3% who were women.

Regarding one person households:

During this time, the number of one-person households increased 11.8%, more than twice as fast as the 5.3% increase for the total population in private households. At the same time, the number of households consisting of couples without children aged 24 years and under increased 11.2% since 2001.

On legally married versus single or common-law:

Unmarried people outnumber legally married people for the first time

For the first time, the census enumerated more unmarried people aged 15 and over than legally married people.

In 2006, more than one-half (51.5%) of the adult population were unmarried, that is, never married, divorced, separated or widowed, compared with 49.9% five years earlier. Conversely, only 48.5% of persons aged 15 and over were legally married in 2006, down from 50.1% in 2001.

These results are based on the 2006 census, which compiled the responses of almost 9 million Canadians. But not me, I was just cleaning house and found my completed but never submitted form. All the census people probably know me by now as that recalcitrant thwarter of statistics gathering. You could make a movie about it with Reese Witherspoon and that guy from Ferris Bueller's day off and it would be quite funny.

Anyway, I was about to head off to the club when Baldrick came in and breathlessly told me I must read the latest vomitous screed from the Calgary Sun.

Apparently the broader trends are not holding in Calgary, and as a result the Calgary Sun had to diatribe about how much better we are than other Canadians, to quote:

Calgary is holding the fort in a country where the notion of the traditional family is increasingly under siege, states a federal census.

Holding the fort? Against whom? The enemy? What is the traditional family and who is sieging it? These military metaphors are red flags for plain old fashioned bigotry.

States a federal census? Huh? That has to be the most poorly written most mendacious pukey line I think I have ever read in a newspaper. It is absolutely disgraceful to mingle your bigotry in with someone else's headline and make it seem like they're a bigot as well.

But that's our Calgary Sun, defending us tirelessly against statistics, trends, facts and ideas. Please recommend this post

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Word of the Month

The word of the month is rodomontade.


vainglorious boasting or bragging; pretentious, blustering talk.

Sample usage:

Mr. Harper rotomontaded endlessly about how smart and moral he was.

Mr. Black's rotomontading didn't go unnoticed by the sentencing Judge.

The Calgary Sun engaged in stupifying pro-war rotomontade.

My girlfriend whispered in my ear, a little less rotomontade and a little more action.

I suggest you use the word at the dinner table today. Surprise your loved ones with your buoyant literacy. Put your spouse in her/his place for once. No one would have comeback for a word like that. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is your face in order?

Canada's new government: Mouth open. Yelling. Finger pointing. Bad hair.

Canada is a difficult country to manage. Almost everything in Canada is based on some type of accommodation. That's why we have Catholic Schools, RCMP officers wearing Turbans, bilingual courts and Ben Mulroney on television.

One of the main differences between Canadian conservatives and Canadian liberals is that conservatives have no interest in accommodation. They want to throw everything into a blender and have it come out pure white. It's their way or no way.

Hence the current fake debate over women wearing religious facial covering while voting. Oh, the outrage. My preference would be to have Muslim women reveal their faces when voting but if they do not wish to then it is a relatively harmless compromise to show sufficient documentation. It is also, mostly, none of my business. In no way does this compromise take away my rights, any more than the happiness of a gay couple will ruin some straight couple's marriage.

I have voted in many elections in Alberta and I cannot remember ever having a returning office look at my face. It goes more like this: take driver's license, look up address on voter register, cross voter off list. With 10's of thousands of voters passing through a polling station and a horde of returning officers, it seems unlikely that seeing someone's face would have any particular deterrent effect.

Maybe the returning officers should be required to ask you if you are gay, collect stamps, or believe in evolution. Seems like common sense to me.

I pity the first returning officer who turns away a WHITE voter because their hair has been died blue and they've grown a large porn star mustache in the intervening years since they got their driver's license photo updated.

To say that something is required because it is common sense is not an argument and has no weight because common sense is just a euphemism for my opinion. We obviously know by now that Mr. Harper is a bully and not a consensus builder. Intimidating an independent body that is commissioned to oversee election fairness is very very scary scenario. It is no different than Harper's frequent intimidation of Judges. Harper's generalissimo personality will be his undoing.

Remember, it was Stephen Harper who forced the Canadian Taxpayer to spend millions of dollars defending electoral fairness laws when Harper was the head of the National Citizen's Coalition. Who was Harper representing? Sorry, Mr. Transparency would never say.

Where was the outrage when Alberta's Provincial Progressive Conservatives were found to be at the centre of the Ward 10 voting scandal in Calgary's last civic election. In this case, a large number of mail in ballots were forged. Although they got caught, the punishment was ridiculously light, and some of the players were never even brought to trial. And, of course, no finger wagging from Mr. Harper.

Our Constitution guarantees us certain rights, such as the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience and the right to lawfully participate in elections. Mr. Harper's intimidation cannot change that. Please recommend this post

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vicki's Banjo Bowl Fantasy

Vicki Hall of the Edmonton Journal has a dream:

Can you imagine the spectacle of thousands of prairie folk invading downtown Toronto for Grey Cup? Could there be anything better than for the CFL? If the Labour Day series is any indication, we could see the Roughriders and Blue Bombers in Hogtown for the big game.

Yeah, that would be something. Saskatchewan and Winnipeg in the Grey Cup playing in Toronto. They've never played each other in the Grey Cup[1] and both teams go back to the 1930's.

It would create a huge political problem for the CFL, the CBC and the organizers in Toronto. Think of the panic when they realize that no one east of Kenora will tune in or care. Cue the Nick Nolte film.

It is unusual to read this kind of prediction in the Edmonton Journal of all places, but Most Esk fans have known for some time that they won't be seeing their team in Canada's number one sporting event, or even in the playoffs.

Politics and ratings issues aside, I agree with Ms. Hall that this could be one of the best Grey Cup match games ever. Who would you rather watch? Calgary and Toronto? BC and Montreal? Pffft I say.

Bring on the Banjo Bowl non-pareil! And that's exactly what we're going to call it. BBNP for short.

[1] The Grey Cup was named after Lord Grey, an Edwardian aristocrat whose wife couldn't get the hang of washing her delicate lingerie in the hard mineral laden waters of Upper Canada. Its a fact.
[2]In 1951,1966,1969 and 1976 the Ottawa Rough Riders played the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Grey Cup. That would have been a hoot to watch the foreign visitors scratching their heads.
Please recommend this post

Alnoor Kassam: Stop Talking!

I was wandering down a back alley across from SAIT when I saw this billboard:

This is a campaign ad for Calgary mayoralty candidate Alnoor Kassam.

Alnoor Kassam is running against 3 term Mayor Dave Bronconnier. I can't help but be a bit puzzled by the slogan A Little Less Conversation, A little More Action! I really am not sure what he means by this. The political culture in Calgary and Alberta is such that politicians do whatever they want with complete impunity behind a veil of secrecy.

I think that a Mayoralty candidate who campaigned on more transparency in civic government could hit a raw nerve and possibly score some points. Is Alnoor that candidate? Less Conversation is like telling people to shut up and doesn't lead me to believe the candidate thinks transparency is important.

Alnoor's logo creates cognitive dissonance. A green hexagon with the enlarged word GO inside it. Hexagon means stop. Green means go. Less conversation, but I have a lot of ideas.

Alnoor's campaign also may have received the kiss of death already, by way of a semi-lucid endorsement from Paul Jackson, who is probably just manipulating Alnoor to campaign against liberalism, progressive thinking, and literacy.

Bronconnier's message does not seem to be that much better. Even though he is the most well funded of all the candidates he will probably run a low key, issueless campaign. Everything is fine. Like David Emerson, he'll just tell the voters that he has to carry on with his important work. He is already using passive meaningless language like, leading with passion and purpose.

Please recommend this post

Friday, September 07, 2007

Kent Austin: Bigger than Jesus

So RidersFan is sitting out on the pool deck enjoying the last few days of summer, when Rider's Coach Kent Austin comes along. Being a nice guy Austin takes some time to chat with RidersFan about football and whatever. RidersFan and Coach notice a cooler of cold beer on the other side of the pool. Coach says, hey, you want me to grab you a beer? RidersFan says sure. Coach Austin then walks on the water across the pool, grabs two beers, walks back across the water, pops open both beers and hands one to RidersFan.[1]

RidersFan's jaw drops. Finally when he can talk again, he says, hey how did you do that. Easy, says Coach, the bottles have twist tops, very easy to open.

Sunday, September 9: Roughriders at Winnipeg

Prediction: Winnipeg by a few points.

You have to pick the underdog once in a while even though my prediction seems unlikely. All winning streaks must come to an end. Somebody somewhere needs to put a stop to the green surge.

Friday, September 7: Calgary at Edmonton

Ick. Don't make me watch this game. Don't make me call it. The odds are in favour of Calgary. Historically, they have a slight edge in the Labor day re-match. Also, Edmonton is demoralized and the towns folks have started calling for the head of the coach. How this helps is anyone's guess.

Bus loads of drunk Calgarians[2], who started drinking at about 2pm today, should be arriving in Edmonton right

Maciocia isn't helping either. He was muttering about making some visits to Santa Maria Goretti Church, which is near Commonwealth Stadium. No word on how long it will take to get that message through. Maybe watch a few game tapes just in case.

Update: Calgary 20 Edmonton NOT 20

[1] Punch line ripped off from old beer commercial. Otherwise, events as described actually occurred.
[2] Rhymes with Vulgarians. Ha.
Please recommend this post

My Mulroney Rant

Our former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney stopped taking his medication and is now talking to the media. Like Richard Nixon, he looks back and feels he got a bad deal from history and wants to do a makeover on his image. Although Mulroney is quite wealthy, the National Post has offered their image making services for free. I feel embarrassed for Mulroney, it is not often that someone is so dumb they lose an argument with a dead guy. There are some serious head issues going on here.

Mulroney has held a long and persistent delusion that Pierre Trudeau ruined Canada and that God himself appointed him to fix it. These delusions of grandeur are not uncommon in politics, but seldom do they run so deep. The main outcomes of Mulroney-to-the-rescue were the Reform Party, the Parti Québécois, the disintegration of the Federal Progressive Conservative Party and the subsequent disenfranchisement of millions of moderate Red Tories. Moderate and tolerant people in the Western Provinces would like to thank Mr. Mulroney very much for turning us over to a bunch of head in ass crazy lunatics. Not to mention ruining TV for ever through the untalented fruit of his loins.

We have more important issues in 2007 than what Trudeau did or didn't do when he was teething. This latest attack is not about Canada or history, it is about Mulroney's easily bruised ego, and his lifelong hobby of seeking revenge on the vast multitudes of those who apparently betrayed him. Lucien Bouchard was a duplicitous separatist? Oh dear, lets write an Opera. Who the hell cares whether Lucien Bouchard is invited to your funeral? I wish Mr. Mulroney a long and healthy life, but when he does die, I hope this guy gives him equal time.

If I wanted to get dragged back into the absolute moral black hole of the 1980's I would grow my big hair back, re-cultivate the magnum PI porn star mustache, and go looking for those 4 inch wide ties I used to wear. But no, I have no interest in going back to the 80's.

Canada is largely a country that cannot be governed to the satisfaction of any particular group or region. Our history proves this. The fact that we did not get our own constitution until 1982 is retarded and backwards. The fact that Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion was not legally enshrined until Trudeau's Charter[1] in 1982 is retarded. The American people got a Bill of Rights in 1789, the British in 1689, the French in 1789, the Finns in 1919 and so on. Clearly, Canada was behind the human rights curve by a long shot. The fact that we have no elected senate is shameful. Liberals should have been at the forefront of the debate from decades ago, yet it was left up to political extremists who view an elected senate as a back door to assert their ridiculous views over Parliament and the rest of us.

No one politician or party is to blame for Canada's long term issues, but at the same time Mulroney did absolutely nothing to fix anything.

Mulroney has no business criticizing Trudeau for opposing conscription. In both world wars it was a debate that very nearly broke up the country. Mulroney is not dumb, he knows that by playing verbal games with the conscription issue he can further divide a country that is conflicted over our involvement in Afghanistan. And he thinks this makes him look good?

Mulroney was much younger than Trudeau, born in 1939. At that time the Mackenzie King Government (Liberal) and the American government (FDR - Democrat) were turning away Jewish refugees from Europe. It is likely that many of those Jewish people died as a result of being forced back to Europe. To me this is a far more serious historical issue than whether Trudeau opposed conscription, but you are unlikely to hear Mulroney talk about it because it doesn't serve as a suitable platform for his vanity. It is debatable whether people in Canada knew about the holocaust at this point, or what our Governments knew about it in the 1930's. To say that Trudeau opposed conscription because he was anti-semitic or didn't care about the death of European Jews seems like a fairly ignorant thing to say.

As a person who as never known war or conscription in my life time, I consider it highly inappropriate for me to pass judgment on those of a previous generation who either went to war voluntarily, or refused to go. If you are not faced with that choice yourself, you are hardly qualified to talk about someone else's character. Mulroney was a baby when WWII broke out, and apparently has not moved forward that much.

If Trudeau said or did things that were anti-semitic, he deserves to have a light shone on it. Antisemitism is a much larger problem in our society than most people will admit. I'm not really sure what Mulroney can claim as his contribution to stopping antisemitism in Canada. Probably just some self-serving rhetoric here and there.

Final word: Mr Mulroney, if you chop the head off a dead man it does not make you taller.

[1] The Diefenbaker Bill of Rights in 1960 was a noble document and forward thinking but it was an Act of Parliament and not part of a constitution.
[2] My spell checker does not recognize Mulroney as a word and suggests Moneybag and Melloney as alternatives.)
Please recommend this post

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Night Music

Friday nights 12 music tracks as selected by a soulless cold piece of silicon. And I'm not referring to my ex. I'm referring to my CPU, which throws out pseudo-random numbers to Windows Media Player, which in turn examines the number and translates it into a track in its library, being careful never ever to play anything by Jimi Hendrix. Why? I must know why.

12. Don't Stop Swaying - Sophie B. Hawkins
11. River - Madeleine Peyroux and Kathryn Dawn Lang. Composed by Joni Mitchel
10. The Yellow Furze - Karan Casey
9. The Old Ways - Jenny Allen
8. Walkin After Midnight - Patsy Cline
7. Afternoons and Coffeespoons - Crash Test Dummies
6. Raglan Road - Loreena McKennitt
5. Pacing the Cage - Bruce Cockburn
4. Softly She Goes - Gordon Lightfoot
3. Where Is My Love - Lucinda Williams
2. Sweetsexywoman - Sophie B. Hawkins
1. For You Blue - Beatles,George Harrison

Bonus YouTube video:

Kiran Ahluwalia - Koka

Unbelievable! Please recommend this post

Edmonton Eskimos on bye Week

It is a bye week for all the western CFL teams.

Hey, esks fan, its a bye week, take a deep breath and
chill out.

No wait, don't take a deep breath.

Well at least you have something to look forward to:

Get to the buffet early.

Disclaimer: don't put a plastic bag over your head its dangerous and you could suffer serious consequences up to and including death its a fact. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Summer Reading - Part 1

Alternate Title 1: Government By Outrage

I just finished reading Dr. Kevin Taft's latest book Democracy Derailed. Derailed is probably a generous word. The book is basically about government scandal in Alberta and the undermining of basic democracy. I think it is fair to say Alberta is at an all time low point in terms of its democratic traditions.

Almost all of the issues Dr. Taft discusses are not new to me. From the Asbestos removal at the Holy Cross Hospital, to Multi-Corp, to cabinet Ministers owning Oil companies - it has all been out there. However when you put it all together in one book it leaves you with a rather foul taste.

This is a book all Albertans should read. Dr. Taft has a very good writing style. He explains the issues clearly, providing a lot of detail and back-up, while not talking down to the reader.

The book's website has a very good quiz on some Alberta history and issues. Regrettably, I scored very low on the quiz and I was quite embarrassed. It is an indication that there is always surprises and false assumptions if you don't educate yourself.

Take the quiz. Let me know how you did.

Disclosure: I have no relationship with the Alberta Liberal Party. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We Support

Bad title. Sounds like we support libel chill when in fact we support which is against libel chill.

Help us fix Canada's outdated libel laws

This is an important issue. Under current Canadian law someone can be sued for libel for almost anything. Our laws have not kept up to our technological advancement. As a member of several different blogging communities I link to hundreds of blogs each of whom link to hundreds of other blogs and resources which continues ad infinitum.

There are currently lawsuits underway that argue that web site owners should be liable for the content they link to whether directly or indirectly. This has massive implications for standard online technologies such as blogs, aggregators, search engines and Wikis.

The end result is that authors will not exercise their right to free speech or join online communities simply out of fear. The high cost of legal defense will cause many to cave in even though there is no case.

Anyway, please visit and educate yourself on the current lawsuit and the defendants need for your support. I would also recommend visiting section15 for more background information. Please recommend this post

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CBC Irritates Retard

Tonight at 12:30 am the CBC will be re-broadcasting the last 13 minutes of last nights thrilling football game between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Regina Rough Riders. There was a huge thunderstorm around the third quarter and the game was suspended for about an hour.

The CBC broke off coverage of the game so they could stay on schedule and show their Saturday Night Late Movie. So, to the CBC we present our first annual Dave Hodge Pencil Tosser Award of Excellence. Aside from the prestige of this award, Steve Armitage will get a free dinner for four at the Kelsey's in Sherwood Park, Alberta. (Order a day or two ahead of time if you're hungry.)

Later last night, the natives in Edmonton were not un-restless. One retard phoned 630CHED to complain that the CBC had broken away from the game, and not only that, they were showing soft core porn.

To the retard we award an important award we have not named yet, for not being able to distinguish between soft core porn and a British Indie film that won all kinds of super obscure awards.

I find it odd that someone would be upset about soft core porn after watching a bunch of grown men in tight polyester grabbing each other's packages and slapping one another on the butt. Each to his own.

Anyway, the winner of this award receives a two DVD package featuring Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal and a bootlegged copy of Hilda Does Bassano. Until you can offer a plausible explanation as to which one is art and which one is soft core porn you are not allowed to call any radio shows.

According to my sources the last time the Rough Riders were this successful this early in the season it was because Ron Lancaster was their QB. I have a dire warning: If the Rough Riders get anywhere near the Grey Cup a horrible rupture will occur in the Space/Time/Timbit continuum. And also the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup. Please recommend this post

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday's Nonsense Garden

The media in Edmonton is divided into three groups.

The first group is following the LPGA golfers around the Mayfair Golf & Country club desperately trying to get one of the golfers to say something nice about Edmonton. Beware of roving packs of people with microphones and a huge Chris Pronger shaped chip on their shoulders.

The second group is trying to figure out how to pronounce golfer Mhairi McKay's first name. The Scots Gaelic consonant Mh is pronounced like a V. airi is pronounced to rhyme with Starry not Mary. Farry, not Larry. How far is it? Its farry. Sometimes Scots names have pronunciation that seems weird to us. For example Menzies can be pronounced Mingus. Rhymes with Dingus. Maybe the Dingus ate your baby? The Scots were never happy about being colonized (rhymes with fallinized not rollinized) so they subverted the consonant system of the Empire. The British referred to this as anticonsonantationalism, which Scots consider derogatory, and mostly unpronounceable.

Or it could just be they had their own language before the English came along. How would I know? I'm not a trained lingust.

The third group is busy calling WTA #1 ranked Justine Henin Justine Henna. Henna?

The remainder of the Edmonton sports media is in Regina (rhymes with) covering the game between the Rough Riders and the Eskimos. Late in the second quarter the Eskimos are leading 21 to 10. The Eskimos are playing bizarrely and unexpectedly well. Bryan Hall sounds like a kid with ADHD. Yes, all looks well for the Titanic as it sails along majestically.

One hopes that Vicki Hall of the Edmonton Journal will not have to discuss package grabbing with A.J. Gass in the post game interviews. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Donelons: Update

Some further info:

The Edmonton Journal's Obituary is here.

There is a guest book here.

The TD Canada Trust Bank is accepting donations for a trust account for Chelsea Donelon.

Please feel free to leave your comments by clicking on the link at the end of this item. Please recommend this post

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday's 12 Random Songs

I loaded a whole bunch of new music on my player then put it on shuffle to get 12 random songs. The ghost in the machine blew smoke in my face and refused to randomly play any of the new tracks randomly. Once again I'm forced to use the word insouciant. It seems a bit insulting when a million electronic pulses can put their tiny little heads together and completely ignore your new stuff.

Friday night's 12 random songs:

1. Beatles - I Will

From the White Album. I had a girlfriend who insisted the White Album was made by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I'd say I know how you feel but its just not true.

Who knows how long you've hated me
I know you hate me still
Will you wait a angry lifetime
If you want me to shut up I will

2. Cowboy Junkies - I Saw Your Shoes

Margo sees her guy's shoes by the couch and it makes her romantic and a song ensues. Whenever I leave my shoes anywhere people glare at me.

3. Sophie B. Hawkins - The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down.

Cover of Robbie Robertson's classic.

4. Christopher Parkening - Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring.

Is it man's desire or man's desiring. I never argue with liner notes unless they've been translated through 9 languages. I've always liked this song more on guitar than on piano or organ. Parkening is a phenomenal guitar player.

5. Jenny Allen - Craven

One of my favourite local singer songwriters.

6. Monty Python - Finland

If you haven't heard it, the important lyrics are worth reflecting on:

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I want to be
Pony trekking or camping
Or just watching TV
Finland, Finland, Finland
It's the country for me

You're so near to Russia
So far from Japan
Quite a long way from Cairo
Lots of miles from Vietnam

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I want to be
Eating breakfast or dinner
Or snack lunch in the hall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

7. Blondie - Will Anything Happen

Yes Deborah, something will happen. The 80's will end. Disco will die. You'll spend years in court fighting your backup singers over royalties. Then people like me will re-discover you because we're too cheap to buy new music.

8. Angelo Romero - Andante from Piano Concerto No 21.

Another great classical guitarist. This would be a great song to play at a wedding while everyone is sitting there waiting for the Bride to show up. It has a great sense of uncertainty and tension.

9. Los Lobos - That Train Don't Stop Here.

A break up song that rocks like crazy.

10. The Byrds - Paths of Victory

A cover of a Dylan song. Sort of in the tradition of an old southern spiritual or a union song.

11. Crash Test Dummies - I think I'll Disappear Now

Their songs are too deep for this time of night.

12. Bruce Cockburn - This is Baghdad

A sad lament about the current state of Iraq.

Your bonus track is this video about the Fates found on Youtube.

Unfortunately I have to sign off for now and go look for my pants. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tom and Gladys Donelon

Sad news from the Baptist Union of Western Canada website:

It is with great sadness that we share the tragic loss of Tom and Gladys Donelon to the Canadian Baptist family. Tom and Gladys, along with their daughter-in-law Wanda and their granddaughter Chelsea, were involved in a car accident in Alberta on Monday afternoon August 6th. Wanda was also killed and Chelsea is in a hospital in Edmonton with critical injuries.

Tom and Gladys served in Turkey with Canadian Baptist Ministries from 1982 until their retirement in November, 1992. They were faithful to their Lord and to their church, Braemar Baptist in Edmonton. They will be deeply missed.

Absolutely heartbreaking. I had the privilege of knowing Tom & Gladys when I lived in Edmonton and attended Braemar Baptist Church. They were the most selfless and dedicated people I have ever met.

I was always grateful for the kindness they always showed towards me even though I was probably the worst Christian ever. I am only one small voice among a large number of people who loved and respected them. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogger Names Beaver Worst Magazine Ever

After conducting a thoroughly scientific poll this blogger has determined that the Beaver is Canada's worst history magazine. We confined our poll to history magazines because, a) Canada doesn't have a lot of them, allowing for easier data manipulation, and b) because MacLeans would have blown all the competition away.

There have been some rumors that a small group of zealots used technical legerdemain to manipulate the results. Regardless of how the totals came about it is a clear reflection of public opinion and thats all there is to it.

That was a pretty lame satire.

I was wondering if the Beaver allowed this survey to be hacked deliberately to create a controversy. It was predictable that flying monkeys would push Trudeau to the top of the list and that the Conservative leaning media (almost all of them) would parrot it out as the gospel truth. When seen as a publicity stunt it makes more sense because they published a more broader survey about worst Canadians that had a slightly better methodology.

Hat tip to for being the first to make a skeezy semantic connection between Trudeau and Clifford Olsen. Good job!

In the real study Trudeau does not make the list and Ralph Klein is listed as the worst Premier. I'll bet you don't read that story line anywhere, at least not in Albera.

These polls have a limited value and usually do not interest me that much. They are often heavily influenced by region and ideology. There are very few internet polls that cannot be manipulated.

I find myself asking why a political group would find the need to manipulate a poll. The childish desire to embarrass people you hate comes to mind. Or, perhaps people honestly believe that manipulated opinion is real opinion. Maybe they believe in the big lie theory, that if you repeat something loudly it becomes true.

Like the Beaver poll anything you read about Trudeau in the media, especially the Alberta media, is likely to heavily exaggerated and distorted. As a history magazine, the Beaver probably knows this.

I have a dirty little secret: I generally liked Trudeau. I liked a lot of things he did. Not all of it, but I don't hate Trudeau. I find Trudeau hatred irrational and childish. As a life long Albertan I've always had a hard time understanding the raw emotions that Trudeau evokes. There is something wrong here. It is disproportionate. It is impossible to have a rational conversation about the Trudeau era.

Incidentally, finishing second to Trudeau in the hacked survey was Chris Hannah, a punk rocker that I've never heard of until now. I thought I knew all the punk rockers in Canada. Punk rockers are not exactly known for their conformist conservative point of view.

How did a punk rocker end up finishing second to Trudeau. His Wikipedia bio explains it best:

They have taken an active stance against human rights violations, racism, homophobia, imperialism, fascism, and capitalism. The band supports the vegan lifestyle and animals rights campaigns.

I think I know who voted Hannah up the list. Please recommend this post

Monday, July 30, 2007

Edmonton Eskimos: Pfffft

July 27, 2007
Saskatchewan Rough Riders 54
Edmonton Eskimos 14

That is a difference of approximately 40 points.

7th most widely gaping loss ever. But not the most embarrassing road trip. That occurred when they pulled the team bus over, fired the Coach and kicked him off the bus.

I called the game correctly, although i feel awestruck by the sheer voluptuousness of that score. I know how that guy felt standing on the pier in Liverpool watching the Titanic pull out and saying to his friend, you know I think there's a bit of a design flaw there....

In Calgary the Schadenfreude was flowing like beer at Oktoberfest. In Edmonton it seemed like the message coming from the Sports columnists was look a monkey smoking a cigar!

Hey, here comes the coach, lets ask him a question.

Coach Maciocia, over here in the blog, quick question sir. How many turnovers did your team make in that horrible horrible loss?

Five! Holy Mother of God in a small dark Grotto! That's a whole lot of biscuit dropping. Thankfully we're covering the CFL and not organ transplanting.

Thanks sir, and I for one would be very disappointed if they fired you this week.

And, oh yeah, Calgary lost whereas I predicted they would win. The media in Calgary is trying to push the Stampeders to trade Henry Burris for Jason Maas. Good luck with that. The media is piling on Henry Burris the same way they've piled on every single talented player the Stampeders have ever had. It will end in the predicable manner.

So far this year my predictions are 2/4. Statistically, this is exactly the same as 4 monkeys pushing one of two buttons upon being electrocuted. Please recommend this post

Google Semantics Never Disappoint

Most websites use some type of software to analyze their traffic. I use the free version of sitemeter which gives me as much info as I need for now. There are days when it does'nt work very well because the technology on their end is maxed out or having outages. Also, I don't get any info if the visitor has Javascript turned off. But who can blame someone for turning off Javascript? But, like I said my site meter is free. Its sort of like a girlfriend/wife thing. If you don't buy the cow you can only have a bit of milk and no cream.

One of my favourite reports is seeing how visitors were directed (or misdirected) to the site. Sometimes they hit the site directly through a bookmark or by just typing in the url. Sometimes they come in from a link on another blogger's site. Frequently they are directed through the absolute madness of a search engine like Google. Yes, people type in various keywords or phrases and end up right here. From what I've been reading there is a low correlation between what they are looking for and the actual content.

We Canadians are mostly known for our meekness and our tendency to apologize. If you put 3 Canadians in a room and one of them farts the two non-farters will apologize for being present and making the farter feel uncomfortable. Its true. If you have the same scenario but with Americans one person will get sued and two others will never have children. In truth, I think Canadians' constantly apologizing is annoying and possibly pathological.

As a Canadian I feel I ought to be apologizing to people for the fact that Google is very poor with semantics and meta-data. It is impossible for Google to know about context or the varying meanings of a particular word. Supposedly the web is getting smarter with better emerging standards for information tagging.

Here are samples of some key word searches that people used to find this site in the last week:

sherwood park alberta sluts
daryl katz wife
chads pants
new arena in edmonton sketch drawing
edmonton oilers kates purchasing
"mark kingwell" pretentious
nose hill park gay
analysis of birth movie - nicole kidman
bill bixby provides photo that proves elvis is alive
watch movies alone, or don't watch them
insemination proces women videoclip
bush colonoscopy (multiple hits)
shame on me

I didn't include the searches regarding very very very dirty subject matters. Do other bloggers get search hits from people looking for very very very dirty filthy subject matters?

I've decided for this reason to strenuously avoid the use of the word slut in any blog post. So no more discussions of the Blacks. Please recommend this post

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Alberta CFL Teams In Action

The Edmonton Eskimos are about to kick off against the Saskatchewan Rough Riders in Regina.

Prediction: The Eskimos will lose by at least one touchdown. Playing in 31 Degree heat in front of 30 thousand hostile trailer park boys will be insurmountable. They're probably peeing their pants right now.

Tonight the Calgary Stampeders will play the BC Lions.

Prediction: Is pains me to call it thus, but Calgary will win by less than a touch down.

Last week, I was 1/2. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stupid News Story (Blogging Cliche)

I often wonder how couples make decisions about their everyday busy lives.

Earlier that morning...

She: Honey, I'm dropping the baby off at gran and gramps this afternoon.
He: Really...
She: What? Whats wrong?
He: Sweets, your parents are imbeciles.
She: Don't talk about my parents like that. Anyway I told you I was going to check out that Pilates class.
He: Pilates? Wasn't he the guy who killed Jesus?
She: Damn you're stupid. Anyway, this dialog has gotten way off track and that blogger is glaring at us because he wants to finish his story.

Thanks folks. So anyway, the gran and gramps get this idea to put the one year old out on the deck...

Gran: I'm going to put little mr poopy pants out on the deck to air out a bit.
Gramps: Don't we have rattle snakes around here?
Gran: Um, yeah. But we also have a Chihuahua.
Gramps: Yes. I forgot. Did you take all your meds today?
Gran: Sweets I think that blogger fellow wants to continue on with the rest of his story.
Gramps: Well he looks mighty queer to me.
Gran: Shush he can hear you.

Thanks folks. Anyhow, the baby is just sitting there and a rattle snake shows up and gets all offensive based on some pretty predictable if not obscure evolutionary mechanisms.

The Chihuahua saves the baby by leaping in front the striking snake and taking one for the team. The dog nearly dies but pulls through courageously. Unfortunately, given the dogs brain size and inadequate memory he'll probably try the same thing next week.

Meanwhile, intelligent design takes a major hit. God shuffles his feet realizing that the snake took several billion years to evolve to the point where it could efficiently kill a toddler but doesn't really knows why.

This is not a very funny story if you're a parent (or a dog) but you have to admit it is pretty funny the way the media is turning the dog into a hero rather than calling child welfare services. After an extensive investigation it was determined that the Grand Parents had all the right bumper stickers.

Chihuahuas have very very tiny brains. They don't play chess. Its likely that the dog's response was based on something as equally primitive and screwed up as the snakes need to rid the neighborhood of babies. Attributing courage to the dog is like...well I don't even have a simile because it is so stupid.

Thus, the dog will need to find someone on its vacancy level to help tell its side of the story. Welcome to Larry King Live, I'm here with a very brave little dog...

Had the dog any degree of evolved intelligence whatsoever it would have looked at the situation and thought, you know what, I think I'll just let you two work this out..

And don't send me any stories of your dog dialing 911 that time when you had too many Red Bulls. When Timmy fell down the Well and the Dog started barking, that was a TV show. In real life the dog would have just sat there and licked his balls.

For leaving your grandson alone with a Rattle Snake, defended only by the least evolved breed of dogs ever you win the Five Of Five Feculant Thumb Award. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Decal War of Convenience - Part 1

This evening Calgary City council voted down a proposal to place Support Our Troops decals on city vehicles. The vote was 11-4.

I thought about it last week and decided that I was opposed to the proposal for a number of reasons. While I was pleased that they were sensible enough to see through this pro-war nonsense, at the same time it is unfortunate that the debate and its tone can end up sending the wrong message.

Support Our Troops is a political slogan invented by the Republicans in the United States and co-opted by Canadian Conservatives not long after Canada's New Government was elected.

Like all political language, as George Orwell pointed out, the meaning is not literal. Support Our Troops is a euphemism for supporting Mr. Harper and his pro-warfare policies. Deceptive language is used to confuse people and get them to buy into things without having to explain all the details.

This type of political language is also intended to divide people into good vs. evil factions, based on a delusional sense of self-righteousness. If you don't agree with the slogan, you will likely end up being accused of many things. We know from the American experience with the Iraq war that people who did not support the war were accused of bizarre things, such as supporting terrorism. To me this is a reprehensible thing to do to a fellow citizen.

I think you would have a hard time finding a Canadian who does not believe in the literal premise of supporting the troops. What does supporting our troops literally mean when you strip away the brain dead jingoism.

In my opinion, it means:

1. Providing them with the skills and equipment they need to do their jobs safely.
2. Providing them with a proper salary so their families don't have to live in rat traps or use food banks.
3. Support their families while they are on mission.
4. If a soldier should be killed in action provide proper death benefits.
5. Providing proper health care to injured soldiers.
6. Providing proper pensions and health care to veterans. Don't make an 80 year old spend years in court suing the Government for an entitlement.
7. Not putting soldiers in harms way merely because you as a politician believe in an outdated notion of the glory of war, or because you think an agressive war posture will get you more votes.

You could easily argue that our Government has failed on any number of the above requirements. And you could also argue that pushing decals with slogans does nothing to actually help the troops.

The City Council's compromise was to allow the sale of the decals in City Of Calgary facilites. And yes, I know that the proceeds of those sales go to a well know charity that helps military families. And yes, I agree with this compromise.

However, I'd like Canada's New Government to explain why military families have to be supported by private charity while Mr Harper's supporters and the frat-boy tabloids lecture the rest of us with bumper sticker slogans. Apparently they don't support the troops, at least not literally.

It seems ironic that many of our war dead gave their lives because of a threat to our basic freedoms, the most basic of which is the freedom of opinion. Something to think about the next time the Calgary Sun tells us all how we have to think about our troops and Harpers war. Please recommend this post

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Night Moral Dilemma

Friday night dilemma: to watch the Edmonton Eskimos play the Saskatchewan Rough Riders. Boooooooring. Or, to drink the last ounce or so the Dom B&B Liqueur that my neighbour gave me. Actually I gave it to my neighbour for Christmas. He drank almost all of it until his wife found out he had it. Then he gave it back to me with an ounce or two in the bottom. There must be a term for this type of thing. Post-consumptive regifting?

I don't really drink so I may top it up with water and give it to the neighbour on the other side. No, really it's supposed to be weak like that. Its the French, everything they do is understated. His wife is a hoity toity Liberal. She'll understand.

I'm picking the Eskimos over the Riders, but not by much. Less than 1 TD. It will be the Esks 15 minutes of fame this season, and then *poof*. During the Eskimos game I plan on walking around in my underwear and imitating Bryan Hall. Like you have something better to do on a Friday Night.

Tomorrow the Stampeders play the Argonauts here in Calgary. There is no amount of hooch that could get me to sit through that one. Prediction: Calgary loses causing a media firestorm of Biblical proportion. Blood bath.

How will the CFL Western Division finish up you ask?

1. BC
2. Saskatchewan
3. Edmonton
4. Calgary

I'm currently very busy setting up the equipment required to do live coverage of President Bush's Colonoscopy. Or Tom Higgins' decapitation which ever comes first. Please recommend this post

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Future Cabinet Minister

The AP is having a particularly slow day:

MENOMONIE, Wis. (AP) - Debbie Hulleman's pet dog Pepper likes to chew things.

She's gnawed on lipstick canisters, shampoo bottles, ball point pens, toothpaste and now the list includes nearly US$750 in cash - gobbled right down.

Usually you need an MBA in order to turn cash into dog shit.

Its a stupid story, but wholly redeemed by my excellent punch line.

And yes, the story goes on to explain how they recovered the money in the back yard. Sorry to spoil. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Edmonton Oilers For Sale?

A local Edmonton billionare is trying to purchase the Edmonton Oilers, according to both TSN and The Edmonton Journal. Daryl Katz tried to purchase the team several months ago but the Edmonton Investors Group did not vote on the offer because the Board did not consider the team up for sale.

The ownership structure in Edmonton is quite different than in many other NHL cities. The Edmonton Investors Group has about 7700 voting shares distributed unevenly among around 30-35 investors. A small board of directors runs the day to day operations of the group. Since forming there have been some natural conflicts and politics and I suspect Katz is succeeding in dividing the shareholders into factions.

According to the Journal, the share holders will vote on the offer in August. A two thirds majority would be required for the sale to be approved. But, I would be cautious about believing anything you read about the Oilers in the Journal.

This is the third time that Katz has made an offer. The previous offers were in the $155m dollar range. The current offer is $175m, along with a hint that he might build a new arena. The Oilers facility is in rapid decline and like the Saddledome will need to be replaced sooner than later. I think the offer is well over the market value, but whats 25m give or take. I wonder why Katz is so desperate to own the team.

The offer was made directly to the share holders rather than to the Board of directors because the Board is not interested in selling. It is clearly an attempt to leverage the dissatisfaction of some of the share holders with regards to the way the team is being run.

I'm not really clear if this strategy will work or not, and it is anyone's guess whether the shareholders will vote to sell. It is possible the Board of Directors has some kind of strategy that could prevent the sale. Perhaps a corporate version of the neutral zone trap.

I'm just guessing, but I think most Oiler fans would prefer group ownership rather than one billionare owner. The memories of Peter Pocklington very nearly killing or relocating the Oilers is still fresh in everyone's mind.

Maybe if they sell they can bring in a fresh management team into the front office, but don't get me started on that topic. This controversy is the last thing the Oilers need heading into the next season with a questionable team and a fragile morale.

In unrelated Oilers news, family members and at least one complete stranger are recommending that I toss out my Oilers shirt, pictured below:

I refuse. Some clothing is sacred regardless of having holes or tears. My Mother suggests that she did'nt bring me up to wear stuff like that. I didn't have a comeback so I told her my sister was checking into rehab. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Music Acquired

I have it in my my greasy palms right now:

Its so sweet to listen to. I'm sweating and grabbing my collar a lot, like Rodney Dangerfield. Please recommend this post

Always Watch Movies Alone

We sent J to the video store to pick up a movie or two. She came back with The Painted Veil starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton and For Your Consideration starring Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levi, Harry Shearer and the rest of the Christopher Guest repertory.

For Your Consideration is the latest in a series of unrelated mockumentary style movies, including Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind.

I think I had suggested we wait for the teenager to come home from her "job" and then send her to the video store. The last time she went we ended up with The Exorcist and John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. Satan was the butt of all jokes for the remainder of the weekend. Which is probably why I tripped and fell on the pavement scraping my knees and elbows.

In the other room, for some reason Clam Bake was playing on the computer but no one was watching. One definition of mental illness is wishing Elvis had stuck to music instead of acting in B-Movies, while at the same time wishing Elvis had stuck to acting in B-Movies instead of making music. Just so you know, an Elvis movie playing on a computer is not a high point in Computer Science.

There was only one baked Clam in that movie: Shelley Fabares. She had two #1 hits in the early 60's. I'll bet you can't name them. I can't. The Clam Bake plot was lifted right out of Shakespeare. A rich dude wonders if chicks will like him if he's just an ordinary guy. So he trades identities with another dude, played by Bill Bixby. The sad thing about Bill Bixby, aside from dying from Cancer long before his time, was the fact that right up until his death he believed that Elvis Presley was alive. Clam Bake also has an unintelligle sub-plot involving Shriners and weird pajamas. The moral of the story is: artists who suck in one genre have a reasonably good chance of successfully sucking in another genre.

What would have been really cool is if they made the Exorcist a musical, starring Elvis Presley as a singing Priest. Singing, dancing, singing, exorcising. Speedboats...By merging the plots of Clam Bake and the Exorcist you could have made one decent movie. I'm still waiting to be discovered as a writer/producer.

Painted Veil went into the player first and after about ten minutes it was replaced with For Your Consideration due to heckling. The Painted Veil was still playing its opening credits 10 minutes in. It was moving slower than a Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon race horse death investigation. Later when reading the IMDB screech about Painted Veil one could not but notice that the credits had twenty different child actors cited as "Singing Orphan". If things get so bad in a movie that you have to pull out the singing orphans you mights as well get Elvis baking clams.

For Your Consideration was funny, but not as funny as the three previous movies in the series. Best in Show was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. Not everyone likes this type of humor because it is subtle and understated. Fairly black and sarcastic. By black humour I mean humour that makes fun of the tragedy of life, and not cheap shot humor about Bidets.

For Your Consideration also lifted a thing or two from Shakespeare. The idea of making a movie about people making a movie is self-mockery at its best. Shakespeare frequently mocked actors and writers by having plays within the play. Rumor is that Eugene Levi and Christopher Guest don't want to make another Mockumentary. Perhaps the schtick has run its course. Even if they stop now they'll have four very funny movies. Please recommend this post

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Night Mr. Cranky Pants

A Calgary couple will not have their case heard at the Supreme Court of Canada. The woman became pregnant through artificial insemination. The male partner did not want to raise or pay for a child so they came up with this idea that they would sign a contract releasing the male partner from all parental responsibilities. The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled they could not do that in light of Alberta's Family law.

The reasoning of the various courts centre on the simple idea that if the man and woman are living together in a common law relationship, then there is a reasonable expectation that they will both assume responsibility for the child's well being. As it is can you imagine what it would be like to be that child as you grow up, finding out that your mother's partner did not want to be your father. I would play dumb for a few years then one day just out of the blue let him have it right in the balls. Then I'd hire Eddy Greenspan.

Regardless, such a contract would likely never ever be enforceable. What's the big deal anyway. You live in this house in this relationship, take care of the damn baby.

I don't know what people are thinking when they come up with this stuff. I would bet that they have a typed up written agenda before they make out. Do not get me started down that parody road.

I have no interest in what James Dobson, Dr. Laura or the Federal Conservative caucus thinks about this issue - they can all go suck a big fat pickled egg. My crankiness about this story is based purely on common sense, secular humanism, perhaps even the theory of evolution.

Years from now the amorphous blob of a non-parent will be lying on the floor stroking out. He'll drool out something about calling 911. An insouciant teenager will reply that unfortunately legal agreements prevent him from participating in emergency interventions for non-family members. The Beatles Love,Love,Love will be blaring on the radio in the background. It will be like the last episode of the Sopranos. Sort of a weird ambiguous ending with shady looking men milling clutching legal pads.

Only in Calgary. Please recommend this post

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lord Black, Toilets and Sluts

I have payed little attention to Lord Black's trial. It does not really interest me that much. I don't feel sorry for David Radler, the board, or the Hollinger Shareholders. And honestly, I have no idea if Black is guilty of any crime. I commented to a friend that I hoped he would get a fair trial and my friend said, F* that, I hope he goes down. I replied that our system can only really work if even the most obnoxious creeps among us can be treated fairly. He stared dully at me and said why? I replied that because otherwise stupid people like you will end up in jail for something you didn't do. He didn't like that much.

Anyway, two things in the trial caught my attention:

Exhibit A:

One day, while riding the court house elevator Barbara Amiel-Black called several members of the press sluts. Presumably she was angry that the media was writing about the husband and his woes in a manner she disapproved of. Its always the same with self-adoring people. Everyone is out to get them because of envy (which I would remind you is also a Cardinal Sin). It is sad to realize that someone is too dumb to realize that their childish outburst is really a self-condemnation.

When you think about it, twenty or so years of Amiel's dark yellow journalism can be summed up in that one outburst. Every single column could be summed up: you are all sluts.

I can't think of one pleasant idea that emanated from that mass of slimy semi-gelatinous overcooked ichiban-noodlish mush that was planted between her ears by some malevolent alien force...(editor: woah dude, A journalist who has always been noticeably lacking in any kind of class, kindness or logic, now calls her peers sluts and expects empathy.

Exhibit B:

The prosecution brought up the fact that Black's New York condo, payed for by the Corporation, was noted to have a bidet. This fact is fairly pointless. It is not illegal to own a bidet or for a corporation to purchase a bidet for its Chief Executive. The mention of the bidet was probably intended to reinforce the idea that his highness is not one of us and needs to be brought down. How better to do that than to reference exotic European toilet habits. The hard working people of Chicago would no doubt look down on a man who dresses up as a toy soldier and squats over a porcelain ass sprinkler. In shorthand: hey look, a Frenchman.

If I could have one present for my birthday, it would be this: the CBC interviews Henry Kissinger and asks him how buying Lord Black a bidet made Hollinger Shares worth more. But alas, Dr. K. apparently won't do any more interviews with the CBC because they kept asking him whether he is a war criminal.

I actually think the jury people will see through the bidet shame and ignore it. But if they don't I won't cry. It would be sad if our toilet gadgets became one more thing to divide is into factions.

Some useful background information:

The bidet was apparently invented by the French Royal Family. Just before they were decapitated by the first generation of French Liberals. The word itself could have many origins, but mostly likely evolves from the French verbs trot or straddle. As Steve Martin observed, those French have a different word for everything.

The Japanese, obsessed as they are with toilet recreation, have invented the first bidet with a built in blow dryer. This far exceeds the Japaneses' last greatest invention: the toilet that emanates fake flushing noises so as to hide the real sounds. Which also might be useful as a portable device, to be used should you find yourself in an elevator with Barbara.

June 21, 2007
Calgary, Alberta Please recommend this post

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Crumb versus Java

I was just sitting here minding my own business trying to read a textbook on Java. Riveting stuff. Although I enjoy technical writing I'd hate to have to write a complete textbook on a programming language. I would not be able to suppress my sarcasm and my metaphors would probably be inappropriate. Metaphors are very important in technical explanations. For example sometimes in software design theory we refer to two software pieces that are tightly coupled. Imagine the metaphors.

Anyway, I suddenly noticed that someone left a copy of a Robert Crumb Sketch book (Volume 10) on the chair next to me. You might not know this Artist's name but if you were around in the 60's or 70's you probably would recognize one of his cartoons or posters. He is probably most famous for the various versions of Keep on Trucking.

When I was 12 or 15 (I can't remember) I had two kinds of friends. One type had Crumb's Keep on Trucking poster on their wall. The other had that stupid Farrah Fawcet poster.

My favourite Crumb poster is the cover he created for the Cheap Thrills Album around 1968:

Robert Crumb met Janice Joplin in 1960's San Francisco. They became friends and she asked him to do the Album Cover. Crumb was paid a one time fee of $6,000.00 and Columbia Records ended up owning the rights to the drawing. I believe Crumb eventually got the rights back, but much later. When Janis Joplin heard that Crumb had lost the rights to the work she immediately fell over and died.

(Editor: Oh come on, that's really mean.)

And not all that funny.

The Crumb sketch books are unstructured and have no narrative. They're sketch books. There are previously unpublished doodles, out-takes, and works in progress. This shows an interesting side of the artistic process, that it can be iterative and repetitive. Occasionally he writes self-deprecating comments in the sidebar. Why can I never draw a chair properly?

Other Crumb notables include Natural Man - an old man in a flowing robe with a long white beard who strides along with his elbows flying around like he's Chris Pronger. Then there are all the Hell's Angels, pictured on ridiculously tricked out bikes, the odd one with a big cyclops eye.

There are a lot of drawings of women. Mostly the women are wearing hot pants, drawn with their backs to the artist, and always looking saucily over their shoulder. Always, they have very large butts. That was just his thing.

Rumours have always persisted that the FBI watched Crumb because his Comics were considered politically subversive and anti-America. Thankfully they were. If our society does collapse I would squarely blame Robert Crumb, John Lennon and Mad Magazine just for starters. I have more on my list and I'm watching you all.

Calgary, Alberta
20 June 2007

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

12 songs on a may morning

I was riding my bike into downtown this morning and thinking how bizarre the combination of tunes that were on my player. I was thinking about posting the play list as is my occasional habit. But there was this dude walking his dog with a 30ft leash on the busiest commuting bike path in the city. He was insouciantly sauntering along while doggy ran back and forth across the path. Bikers and bladers were veering off the path or hitting their brakes to avoid being clothes-lined by the leash.

Anyway, dude, if you're out there, I still think you're an idiot. And I'm sorry if you did'nt hear my whole comment. I was in a hurry.

And doggy: your master is stupid. Feel free to come and live with me. Slip out the back jack.

Anyway, that irritated me. So I'm not going to publish the titles or performers of the tracks. Just the lyrics. If you guess them all without googling, you can problably win something.

My brother-in-law would probably find this easy because he knows the lyrics to every song ever written. But probably not his daughter, because she only knows Jazz.

Go to sleep my darling
Lay down upon your bed
May the rhymes of childhood songs
Dance inside your head
When night time falls around you
I know that you're afraid
But the heart will bring you home again

The birds are singing in your eyes today
Sweet flowers blossom in your smile
The wind and sun are in the words you say
Where might your lonesome lover be?

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I "something something" the "something something"

Yonder come miss rosie, how in the world did you know?
By the way she wears her apron, and the clothes she wore.
Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand;
She come to see the govnor, she wants to free her man.

So I went running down a list of things
some were real, but on some of them I lied
'cause I felt I had to justify each breath that I'd been breathing in this life
Then I realized I was playing into someone else's rules,
trying to keep my score up in a game I did not choose
Then I looked that ghost straight in the eye
and said "You'd better not be coming back by again"

O shepherds, shrink not with afright,
But hear the angel's warning.
This child, now weak in infancy,
Our confidence and joy shall be,
The power of Satan breaking,
Our peace eternal making.

You say you got a real solution
Well you know
we'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're doing what we can

and i didn't know i was the ride
i didn't realize i'm sorry
didn't know i was the ride
i didn't know myself

although your world wonders me,
with your majestic and superior cackling hen
your people i do not understand,
so to you i shall put an end
and you'll
never hear
surf music again

Took a walk down the street
Thru the heat whispered trees
I thought I could hear (hear, hear, hear)
Somebody call out my name as it started to rain
Two spirits dancing so strange

ruth-anne and lynn come from baxter springs
thats one hell-raisin town way down in
southeastern kansas
got a biker bar next to the lingerie store
thats got rollin stones lips up there in
bright pink neon
and they're right downtown where everyone can see em
and they burn all night
you know they burn all night
they burn all night
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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Word of the Month

The word of the month in our little place is insouciance. Just because it has French roots does not mean it is dirty. It just means the quality of being insouciant. Recursive definition no? Try this: indifference or a lack of concern.

I think it was Voltaire who referred to New France (Quebec) as a few acres of snow. King Louis must have been impressed by such insouciance toward the new world.

The runner up was another French word ennui. Which conveys extreme weariness or discontent. I hear ennui in Mr. Harper's voice every time I hear a clip of him speaking. He's not a very happy man. Probably a little insouciance at home.

Those French have a word for every emotional shade you can think of. And don't get me started on Sangfroid.

I'm willing to give out a suitably prestigious award to anyone who can use the words insouciance and ennui in one coherent sentence. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blogging Topics of the Future

The blogging future is before us my insouciant little friends.
Suggested topics.

How to get kicked off a blogroll, free speech.
Stephen Harper vs Stephane Dion.
Tippi Hedrin.
That horrible movie The Secret.
Anna Nicole Smith vs. Ryan Smyth.
Global Warning or Global Warming or Global Warring.
Easter. (Or, Don't Touch My VCR).
My Niece gets her braces off, gets a piercing and thinks she's soooo cool.
Jesus, Mary and their Baby lived in France. Its a fact.
How did all that ink get on my forehead.
Tippi Hedrin
Other miscelaneous crap. Please recommend this post

Life Insurance Salesmen

Please recommend this post

The Traditional Definition of Shame

My neighbour has porno magazines all over the back seat of his car. I noticed it last week when I was getting out of my car because they park next to me on my driver's side. I've been obsessing about it because I find his insouciance is upsetting. And its not even classy porn like Playboy, but the lower end of the filth spectrum. Not that any porn is classy but you know what I mean. Let's just say that those woman are never going to have a Federal Judge rule over where they get buried.

I always see this dude or his wife in the parking lot. They're usually nicely dressed and always say hi to me. On Saturday I came home the same time the wife did. I got out of my truck while she was getting some packages out of the back seat. She said hi to me and asked me how I was. My mind raced 90 miles an hour. It was -15 and sweat spurted out of my forehead. She had put her shopping bags right on top of the porno mags. Nonchalantly. Defiantly even. I stammered that I was fine and ran into the house.

I had a flashback to grade 5. Me and two friends had a stack of playboy mags that we traded around. Although now that I think about it I'm not sure I ever got them. My friend was deathly afraid that one of our parents would find and confiscate them so he had a long list of hiding techniques and rules.

My other friend, after many months of pleading, finally got his turn to take the stash home. He hid them very carefully and cleverly in his bedroom following our other friends detailed instructions. Within a day his mother found every single one of them.

She never said a word but stacked them all up nicely and orderly on his night table, in descending date order. My friend freaked out called me over. I rolled around on the floor and could'nt stop laughing until I almost threw up. He hid them again. The next day, same thing. Big pile of neatly stacked date sorted porno.

We never really knew whether she just did'nt care or did'nt bother to look at the covers. His dad never said anything either. I've never seen anyone so scared in my entire life.

The other friend went on to become a civil servant. I often think of him handing a manilla folder to somebody important, which is supposed to contain a study of wolverine migration patterns in north western b.c. but instead contains a well thumbed copy of TRIPLE-D!.

Is that what the world has come to? People now leave their sleazy porno lying around anywhere without the slightest bit of shame. I'll never be able to have a normal conversation my neighbours again. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Yes, But They Still Lost

A few nights ago the Edmonton Oilers played the Dallas Stars. There was a bizarre ending to the game. Watching the video clip explains it better than I can. The reason I found this event interesting is the way it was covered in the media. I submit the following points for your consideration:

1. All the blame was directed to Patrik Stefan a young Czech player who missed the shot, and not to the Oiler's defenceman who gave away the puck in his own end. I could'nt find even one article that mentioned the name of the Oiler's player who made the original mistake.
2. Patrik Stefan is actually a pretty good player. Maybe a better player than the Oilers defenceman who gave up the puck . Only a few hockey writers mentioned that Stefan was drafted fairly high. Higher even than Vancouver's Olsen twins.
3. The pointless comparisons to Steve Smith scoring on his own net in the 1986 playoffs came fast and furious. That was tragic. This was amusing.
4. Regardless of what last minute heroics the Oilers pull out they were playing Dallas, and Dallas must beat the Oilers. It has to be this way so the delicate yin/yang balance of the Universe is not upset. The sooner Oilers fans realize and accept this the more docile they will become. All that screaming is very unseemly.
5. Nobody gives the Oilers fans any credit for their belief right up until the last second that somehow the Oilers will win. If this had happened in Calgary their fans would have already left and it would'nt have made the news.
6. The announcer on the video clip seemed a bit drama queeny to me.

See, I can write Sports topics just as well as anyone. How hard could it be?

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