Sunday, December 28, 2008
Our runner-up, and most popular Canadian choice, is Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He gets this incredible honour, for not only deciding to do absolutely nothing about our dying economy during the worst crisis in eighty years, but for constantly using shameful, cowardly, undemocratic and even illegal means to turn this country into -- dare I say -- a right-wing dictatorship. Instead of following the route of every other Western country, and doing something about the economy, he chose to stop pay equity to women, and trying to bankrupt the other parties. This culminated in early December, when he not only turned Canadians against each other by calling a majority that has the power to get rid of him "illegal, undemocratic, and un-Canadian", but by taking the route of many dictators and suspending Parliament. If you think I'm being silly, look up Napoleon, Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini. Just for the basics.
The presently unknown men who hit teen Nick Perkins with a car, dragged him for hundreds of feet, and then left him for dead. Basically putting a belt sander to anyone is beyond me, nevermind a teenager who was just hanging out with his friend. Let's move on.
Getting into original nominees sent in by the fans, here's one submitted by Andrew Carter: anti-video game lobbyist and former lawyer Jack Thompson. This guy not only tries to pin the blame for all of society's problems on video games, instead of -- for instance -- poverty and piss poor parenting... but when he does so he is so blatantly homophobic, sexist, abusive, and slanderous, that he actually managed to get himself disbarred earlier this year. While we're at it, there's also the idiots who steal cars and stab cab drivers because they think they're playing the Grand Theft Auto games. There's also author Cooper Lawrence, for trashing the sex scenes in the game Mass Effect without even playing it. She later admitted that she had only heard of the game just prior to being interviewed on Fox News about it, and when she finally did see it, found it less graphic than most episodes of "Lost". Too bad she needed to have her ass kicked on national television before she finally admitted to being careless.
And finally, another fan nomination, this one from Meg Parchem: the shopping parasites in the U.S. who were so obsessed with finding great deals on Black Friday that they trampled people, shot at people, and then whined like crazy when the stores had to be closed over that, because they camped out for two or three days for the sake of a fucking discount. God bless us, every one.
But, the winner this year was a clear one, and I am honestly not at all surprised. There are those who I've felt more strongly about in the last few weeks, but unlike some of the people on this list, I care about what people think, and I care about votes. Ladies and gentlemen, by popular demand, the 2008 Douchebag of the Year... is Sarah Palin. Much of the reason for this, goes without saying, but let's take a look.
This time last year, hardly anyone outside of Alaska had even heard of the controversial Vice-Presidential candidate. So it really says something when, in less than six months, a person goes from a total unknown to one of the most ridiculed and hated politicians in recent memory. How did that happen? Well, a huge part of it is that much of her campaign was shrouded in hypocrisy -- like the fact that she had even less experience and about as much tabloid friendliness as Barack Obama, who she and John McCain frequently criticized as a rookie celebrity. Then there's her frequent accusations that Obama sided with radicals and terrorists, and not really being American, when she herself was blessed by a so-called witch hunter, her church believes in "reprogramming" gays, and her husband was a member of a hard-right wing, Alaskan sovereignty party. Hmmm... so it's okay for a white Christian family to hold highly violent and intolerant views of gays and pagans, and to be part of a party that actively wants to separate America, yet it's not okay at all for a mixed-heritage man to have been around an ex-terrorist when he was a child, to have a pastor who feels like blacks are still being marginalized by the government, and who believes in changing the status quo to actually represent all Americans?
By the way, don't even get me started on how Palin very blatantly used her children as political props. Though I must say, that exposed just how open and accepting right-wingers actually are about teenage, unwed pregnancies, at least when it happens to one of their more wealthy comrades. Or how she and John McCain not only encouraged the anti-Obama bigotry, but ignored the fact that most Americans -- right and left wing -- are fed up with the divisive fearmongering of the Bush years. Remember how they claimed that only the Red States are Pro-America?
Then there's the way she tried to prove that despite having never been outside the U.S. prior to the election, she was completely up to the job of being one heartbeat away from the Commander-In-Chief's office. This idiot couldn't even answer the question, "What newspapers did you read, before getting nominated?" So many of her answers to debate and interview questions, have consisted of totally dodging the question -- and rather pathetically, at that. This person then has the nerve to wonder why most of the world thinks she's a loon?
So, Governor Sarah Palin -- who somehow became the first woman to run for Vice-President of the United States -- congratulations on winning at least one thing, this year: the 2008 Douchebag of the Year Award. And before you try to send the CIA after me for posting this, which I wouldn't put past you, let me explain something to you: the reason why you have a lot of people criticizing you, is because you don't seem to grasp that when you apply for any major job, people usually expect you to know how to do it. When you give interviews or propose policy about ANYTHING, you are supposed to know what the hell you're talking about. Even most conservatives have said that you are not up to the job. Take a hint. Enough said, and Happy New Year.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Popular authors no more "ferociously attack religion" than religious writers such as Dow Marmur ferociously attack atheism. Marmur's criticism therefore oozes hypocrisy.
Marmur seems particularly preoccupied with scholars, saying that atheism was "fashionable among academics" in 1982 when David Hay published his book on religious experience. As a philosophy doctoral student and teaching assistant, I can attest that atheism is even more popular today, and I am optimistic that its membership will increase into the future.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Michelle Ciurria, Toronto
Your op-ed religion columnist, Dow Marmur, has written approvingly of inter-faith dialogue, although he does see pitfalls, and he gives the appearance of being interested in, and tolerant of, belief systems other than his own. I wonder, then, why he feels the need to express quite uncharitable views of atheists and other non-believers.
Rabbi Marmur really knows how to pile it on: "attacking traditional religion has become something of a sport," "authors who ferociously attack religion," "the guise of common sense and scientific objectivity," "their severe strictures," "their second line of attack," "shrill denunciations," "when atheism was fashionable," and "atheist tracts." And that's just one column.
I can hardly wait to rummage again through the dictionary and thesaurus. Somehow I don't think I should expect Marmur to participate in forming an inter-faith Canadian Council of Jews and Atheists any time soon.
Michael Collins, Toronto
As an atheist, I'd like to extend secular holiday greetings to Rabbi Emeritus Dow Marmur and assure him that, in spite of what he might have read, atheists do not feel close to God, nor to any other non-existent being.
Larry Moran, Mississauga
Let's contrast Rabbi Dow Marmur's comments about religion with atheism. His religious traditions come out of a book or books handed down to him loaded with compulsion and dire consequences if not followed. There is also a financial incentive for saying what he does. For someone like me, there are no rewards for what I think other than my own pursuit of truth and common sense. After I finish reading his column, the Bible, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al, I am free to agree or disagree. I am able to pick up Dawkins and say, "That's what I think. At last there are people who think as I do. It's exhilarating!"
You can have your faith. I define religious faith as something to be believed but unable to be proved. Stewart Fisher, Campbelleville
We need freedom from religion as much as freedom of religion. From time to time, a theist or an atheist notes that someone in the other camp has done something horrible or, worse, changed their mind.
Dow Marmur, in spite of my sense that he is a civil and reasoned man with whom it would be a pleasure to break bread, frequently plays this game, scoring petty points on serious issues of significant personal expression.
The person who wrote the headline, however, portrays a far less noble demeanor. Would he or she have been censured, I wonder, if the headline had read "'Tis not the season for Judaism"?
Andrew McCammon, Toronto"Atheist Letters Stir The Pot"
Religious people and religions also deserve respect. Virtually all the hospitals, schools and universities were originally opened by religious people – Christians in particular. I have yet to find a charity run by atheists. I would have more respect for atheists if that were the case.
Clarence McMullen, Toronto
Michael Collins sees the rabbi's words as uncharitable, even though Dow Marmur acknowledges flaws in much dogma. We await a similar acknowledgement from atheists. Mr. Collins seems unaware of the acerbity common to the current rash of anti-theist literature.
Stewart Fisher correctly describes religious faith as "something to be believed but unable to be proved," of course, depending on the type of proof required. Thus, we have faith. Atheism also lacks proof. Thus, atheists have faith.
And Andrew McCammon pleads for freedom from religion. Exactly what is the compulsion from which he seeks freedom in 21st century Canada? No one compelled him to read the rabbi's column.
Raymond Peringer, Toronto
Whoever wrote the headline for these letters misunderstands atheism. Atheism by itself is not a belief; it is just the absence of belief in gods. It's not even a single belief, much less a body of beliefs. Atheism by itself offers no guidance on moral, social or political matters. Atheism, like theism, can be part of an ideology, but neither can be an ideology by itself.
Jim Ebsary, Welland
"Little Regard for Atheists"
Raymond Peringer challenges the notion that atheists seek freedom from religion, and asks, "Exactly what is the compulsion from which he (atheists) seek freedom in 21st century Canada?" I can answer that question for him. We are compelled to recognize God every time we sing our National Anthem. We are compelled to be involved in prayers whenever we attend a meeting of our municipal and regional elected officials. And we are compelled to live under a Constitution that recognizes the supremacy of God. All of these strictures have been imposed upon the general population by bureaucrats or politicians without regard for the growing minority of non-believers in Canada.
Ron Ross, Brampton
"Atheists Deserve the Same Rights as Everyone Else" (mine)
The letters attacking an atheist, who was speaking out for his rights to be respected, disturbed and incensed me. This is not only as a non-religious person, but as a human being.
A writer asks, "Exactly what is the compulsion from which [an atheist] seeks freedom [from religion] in 21st-century Canada?" Well, speaking as an agnostic, I can tell you first-hand that whenever the general public hears about my beliefs, I am very often attacked for it.
Frankly, I and many others resent the implication that we are some sort of malcontents, just because we do not believe the same things as most of the country. We also resent having our beliefs dismissed, just because they are unconventional. The last time I checked, atheists have the same legal rights and freedoms as anyone else – so let's start accepting that.
Stephen Bryce, Stoney Creek, Ont.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Yesterday, the Canada that I know and love went another step towards a slow and painful death.
All this week, Harper has been trying to fend off the frenzy he started, by calling the majority coalition (of the Liberals and NDP, with support from the Bloc) as an illegal, undemocratic and separatist organization. He is wrong on all three counts.
- Any coalition between parties is completely legal, and is generally preferred in a minority government like the one we have. In a situation like this one, where the Prime Minister -- through neglegence and malice -- has sold out this country's people and laws for a chance at more power -- the opposition is obligated to put a stop to it.
- The Coalition has been made up entirely of elected Members of Parliament. Furthermore, as a lot of Canadians seem to forget, this Coalition was voted for with more combined support than the Tories had (the only reason they won the last two elections was because the vote was split among the then-separate parties). Technically speaking, they represent the majority of Canadians, so between that and Harper losing the confidence of Parliament, they are technically the legitimate government now.
- The Bloc is not actually a part of the coalition, they are being consulted -- much like they have been from every government since the party's inception. Furthermore, when the Tories themselves were in Opposition and trying to bring down the Liberals in 2004 and 2006, guess who they had supporting them? Bingo, mes amis.
So our Governor General, forgetting once again that she's supposed to enforce the law and the will of Parliament, has once again granted one of Stephen Harper's weasily requests to hold on to power, and Parliament has been suspended under late January -- supposedly (more on that in a minute). She knew full well that this coalition was ready and willing to take over, and she has the option in Canadian law to have them do so (a lot of experts have said that's her only truly valid option, under the circumtances), but no, she helped Harper delay what is hopefully inevitable by delaying a non-confidence vote that he will never win under normal circumstances.
Harper has already taken every chance to vilify and slander the coalition, with the effect of turning many Canadians against each other. I have honestly seen comments aired on my local TV station, that a lot of people in my area want "every last Liberal, NDP, and Bloc wiped off the face of the planet." Now, he has gone the route of Napoleon, Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, and various other dictators and suspended our Parliament. I would not be the least bit surprised to see him declare martial law if this situation gets any more heated.
It's long past time that this country stand up for itself. Even if you don't support the coalition, you would be beyond foolish to think that Harper has our best interests at heart -- his actions this week, coupled with his total disregard for our dying economy, make it obvious that he doesn't care about anything or anyone but himself.
Canada, take to the streets. The time for a revolution is now.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
This is why most of the country voted against the Tories twice in a row. This is why even more of it hates Harper's single-minded, predatory and borderline-fascist ruling style. Now, the Conservative government has made it obvious that they don't care about this country or its people. They only care about power, and will do anything at all to get it, including destroy everything great about Canada. Our soldiers did not sacrifice themselves for the freedoms of others, only to enable a dictator at home. Stephen Harper must be stopped, now.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The first thing is a very simple one, and it's the overplaying of certain Christmas songs on the radio. It's really more of a minor pet peeve, and a matter of taste, but personally I can really do without the so-called variety stations playing every version of "White Christmas" that has ever been recorded. This is particularly true about the version by Bing Crosby -- whom I'm related to, ironically enough -- just because to be honest there's something about his slow and somber singing that I find incredibly depressing. In fact, the big reason I dislike Christmas carols as a whole is because nine times out of ten they convey a sense of inflated joy and bliss that simply doesn't exist outside of 1950's sitcoms and the effects of a big fat joint. Mind you, the bright side of this is that you can learn to tune it out to a certain extent, especially when you can just turn off the radio.
The second beef I have is a very common one, but one that isn't going away: people making a huge deal out of shopping for perfect presents -- damn, that reminds me, I need to get presents for Stephanie, Megan and my folks. *ahems* Anyway, I know that with any major shopping season, the stores need a big lead-up time. Fair enough, but why exactly did I see a Sears with Christmas trees out, in the middle of AUGUST??? Please tell me that someone's calender was a bit fast, that day. I'm serious. The goofy part is that some shopping gurus out there have actually said on talk shows, that in order to save the most money, people shouldn't even start their shopping until a week or two before Christmas. Are these people fucking kidding me? Anyone who's ever been near a mall in the middle of December knows that by then, you will need to deploy some major artillery just to get a parking spot, never mind to find anything really nice for your loved ones. My motto is: screw the dollar signs, plan ahead, and just get something simple and heartfelt.
Finally, we get to something more serious, that gets brought up every single year in this country and drives me up the wall every single time. Namely, all of this garbage about the role of religion in public holiday displays. Yes, I said "holiday" there, as opposed to Christmas. That's for one simple reason, that a lot of people in my part of Canada seem to forget: Christmas isn't the only holiday being celebrated in the end of December. Many people apparently don't get that while Christianity is the largest single religion practiced in Canada, it is hardly the only one: as of 2001, 77.1% of us are Christians, 16.5% are atheist or agnostic, and 6.3% practice something else, such as Judaism or Islam. According to my calendar, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are being celebrated at around the same time as Christmas, and my understanding is that those who are practicing pagans will be celebrating Yule at that time as well. So why not wish those people some joy as well? If the various forms of government go to the trouble of supporting Nativity Scenes, what's wrong with making some space for Menorahs (which would actually cover both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa)?
Besides, the phrase that gets people's knickers in a knot about this thing in the first place is "Happy Holidays" -- I've never understood what's wrong with that. Somebody's just saying that whatever you're celebrating at this time of year, enjoy it! Even if your tiny part of the world is surrounded by Christians, did the thought ever cross your mind to just think of this as wishing people Merry Christmas AND a Happy New Year?? That's honestly what I thought it meant for most of my life.
That being said, some of the bickering over Christmas Trees is a little much. The fact is, the Christmas Tree was originally a pagan symbol from their own celebrations -- namely, a Yule Tree -- so on the one hand it's definitely not something that any one religion has a monopoly on. Second... it's a fricking TREE! How anal retentive do you have to be, about it being set up in the lobby of some office building, or to give it such a lifeless re-naming as "Holiday Tree"? I'm quite fine with enjoying it on its own merits, thank you very much. If one wanted to make it more inclusive, how about Yuletide Tree, or Festive Tree, or something that actually sounds specific and charming?
Alright, that's all I have to say about this... so to everyone out there, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Happy Hanukkah, or fun Kwanzaa, or anything else you might be celebrating soon. Just have a nice time with those you care about. And before I wrap this up for the season, a friendly reminder that the deadline for Douchebag of the Year nominations is December 19th. See you in 2009. Enough said.
Monday, November 10, 2008
My view on things like flag pins, ribbons, and poppies is that while they probably started out as meaningful symbols, the fact is that any monkey can wear them. You know that saying, "Actions speak louder than words"? The same thing applies here. I make donations to the Royal Canadian Legion when I get the chance to, because I think that making sure our veterans are taken care of, and can teach their legacy to the next generation, is more important than wearing a glorified button just because people expect you to.
For the record, my immediate family does not have any military experience that I am aware of, but that does not mean I was not affected by the various wars Canada has been involved in. My grandmother and great-aunt both had to flee their home, during The Blitzkrieg in The Second World War. Several of my friends have had grandparents fight in World War II and/or Korea, and friends of my parents have a son who fought in Desert Storm. So anyone who completely ignored what I just said, and thinks that I'm somehow blind to what the military has done, really doesn't know what they're talking about.
This brings me to a pet peeve that I've had ever since 9/11, namely the accusation that someone who doesn't support their country's soldiers is unpatriotic or a traitor. Not only is that statement extremely defamatory, but it holds no water whatsoever. I support our soldiers just fine, but anyone who's read these blogs for a while knows that I definitely don't support the government, nor do I have much confidence in where this country may be heading nowadays. That's not treason, that's caring enough to try to fix this country's problems. In my mind, that's patriotism, not blindly accepting everything that Ottawa or Washington does.
I also find statements like If You Don't Stand Behind Our Troops, Feel Free to Stand In Front of Them, flat out disgusting. One of the things that our soldiers have supposedly fought and died for, is our freedom to speak out in any form, never mind against our government. Besides, the fault in this statement is that it assumes that if you're against conflicts like the war in Afghanistan, then you are, again, against the troops fighting it. I can't speak for everyone, but personally my beef is with whoever decided to go in there in the first place, given that all we are doing is replacing one group of fundamentalist warlords with another. Oh, and by the way, why hasn't anyone been that concerned with finding the guy who "officially" put us there in the first place? Remember him?
Ok, that got a little off track, but I trust my point is clear. Just because you won't likely see me wearing a flag pin or a poppy, doesn't mean that I don't care about my country, or its soldiers. I just exercise my right as a Canadian citizen to care about both in my own way. I encourage all of you to do so in your own way, too. Speaking of which, if any veterans, past or present are watching this video... thank you, on behalf of all of us. Enough said.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Second, congrats to the American people for recognizing once and for all that the country -- and the world -- badly need a change from eight years of highly divisive, oppressive Republican calamities. It's time for America to regain its honour.
Monday, November 3, 2008
As far as I can tell, McCain is a relatively moderate man, so for the most part I'm fine with him. Palin, on the other hand, has always come off as divisive, self-absorbed, fundamentalist and incredibly regressive. Honestly, picking her as the running mate was just plain stupid; Americans all across the political spectrum want a change from George W. Bush's fear mongering power trips, yet Palin comes off as a slightly dumber version of him, if that's even possible. When a high-ranking level of the government has little to no clue on foreign issues, doesn't even know what a Vice-President's job actually is, and either does not understand what "Freedom of the Press" means or chooses to ignore it, then he or she is totally unqualified to be in that office. Period.
Thankfully, it seems that most Americans are feeling the same way, and even a lot of Republicans think that Palin is hurting them badly. So the thing I can't understand is why some of her supporters come from the walks of life that they do. Palin claims to be an average, struggling hockey mom, but considering that she splurges at least hundreds of thousands of dollars on her wardrobe, and has a huge staff to juggle her family... well, saying that she's even remotely like the average American is kind of like saying that I have something in common with Jay-Z. Finally, I believe it's been said that there's a special place in Hell for a woman who refuses to help another woman -- so where does that put Sarah Palin, someone who regards rape victims with total contempt? She not only forces women in Alaska to pay out of pocket for rape kits that would convict their attackers, but rather than allow women to abort pregnancies from those assaults, she would rather "counsel" them. I can't picture that sitting too well with a 13 year-old girl who'd been raped by her dad, can you?
Before I go, I'd like to address one thing that I do disagree with McCain personally on, namely his low-blows against Barack Obama and his rather McCarthyist tactics. The last time I checked, guilt by association is unconstitutional in America, and slander is against the law. So frankly, calling the guy a Marxist and possible terrorist sympathizer, particularly with very little proof, only panders to the sort of people that McCain has traditionally sided against -- namely, neo-cons and bigots. So it's pretty rich that McCain will accuse Obama of saying anything to try to get elected. And by the way, why is it that a lot of the people who attack Obama for being left-wing, call themselves Christians? By all accounts, Jesus was a socialist.
I've got to be careful how I close this, because after all I tried like hell to get Stephen Harper booted in our own election last month, and it didn't work. So I'll keep this simple: I hope that after this election, America can finally clean up its act, and restore its reputation for being a free, united, and proud country, as opposed to polarized, oppressive, arrogant, and embarrassing. Enough said.
Monday, October 27, 2008
This article of "Bored on the Corner" is somewhat unique, and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a common metropolitan newspaper. Every day, countless people around the world flip pages like these, reading stories about the world around them, that they usually forget moments later. Unless it's the latest fiasco that a drunken celebrity has gotten him or herself into. But all the time there are stories that, if they are printed at all, are hidden in an unimportant area, labeled as jokes and curiousities. However, every single one of them is true. It just goes to show you that you are just one wrong turn -- or one page turn -- away from truly finding yourself in The Twilight Zone.
Consider the case of a 43 year-old Japanese woman, who had a virtual marriage in the online community called "Maple Story". One day, she finds herself divorced from her digital husband, without any word. What is a jilted technospouse to do? She used her hubby's login to kill her ex-cyberhusband, albeit in digital form. She has been charged with hacking. At first I thought that this was very bizarre behaviour, even for a jilted wife, but how is this any different from an angry spouse that slashes her husband's tires, or drills a hole in his favourite boat?
Then there's 66 year-old Maryanne O'Neill, of Fort Pierce, Florida. Earlier this month, she went into a local Waffle House, ordered a coffee and sandwich, then refused to pay the bill, even when ordered to be police. She was arrested for the misdemeanour, and if convicted, she could be jailed for two months, and fined $500. If you are wondering, her sandwich and coffee would have cost her just $7.45. While this blog is all in favour of sticking to your guns, it also is the first to say that this is just a stupid fight to pick.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, a judge ruled to throw out a lawsuit against God, saying that The Almighty was not properly served, due to His unlisted home address. The lawsuit was filed by Independent State Senator Ernie Chambers, seeking a permanent injunction against God on the grounds that He allegedly made terroristic threats against himself and his Omaha constituents. Supposedly the purpose of the lawsuit, was to prove a point, that anyone should have access to the courts, regardless of whether they're rich or poor. It is beyond me how suing God has anything to do with the average person having his or her day in court, but then again much about religious intolerance baffles me anyway.
Finally, in a case of romance truly being dead, an judge has told an Iowa woman to stay away from her fiancee -- who she is due to marry two weeks -- because in the midst of an argument over her driving, she not only bit her beloved's hand, but ran over his foot. At the risk of making a very cheap joke, my advice to her would-be husband is to run as far away as he can... once the bones have all healed, that is.
What's that you say? Too mundane, is it? Alright, if you want more lurid tales, then I will be happy to oblige. As many of us know, a common feature in Halloween haunt shows is a fake hanging. But I can show you some examples of why this is not a wise thing to try at home. Twice, in October of 1990, teenagers have actually died as a result of these stage stunts gone horribly wrong. The same calamity also happened in October of 2001, under the same circumstances. Each time, the hangings were mistaken for a part of the show.
Before I go, I will provide a public service and remind parents and children alike to be careful of what kind of treats they accept, from certain people. While it's rare for Halloween treats to be poisoned, or to have blades and pins hidden in them, it has happened nonetheless. 1982 was an especially horrid year for these antics. Please be sure to not eat any treats that are homemade, or unpackaged. And boys and girls, please be patient and let your mom and dad check everything you've brought home, before you stuff yourselves with sweets. Thank you.
That's it. I just wanted to show you some of the world's deceivingly colorful locales, and introduce you to some of its more special residents. Fact or urban legend, substance or shadow, but all of it very much a part of The Twilight Zone. So it only goes to show you, that "truth" can easily be stranger than fiction, when you're Bored on the Corner.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
What got me started on this was this thing that a friend sent me, which is a video by Hal Turner about the so-called Amero, which is supposed to be the currency of the North American Union that's secretly being formed by Canada, America, and Mexico. First of all, I wouldn't believe ANYTHING coming from a guy well known for denying that The Holocaust took place, as well as being stupid enough to threaten several public figures on the air. But, some people took notice when he posted a video showing an Amero coin that was supposedly minted by the U.S. Government. The problem is that even a quick check on Snopes -- you know, those guys who look into urban legends on the internet -- would have shown these people that the coins are collectibles, available since 2005, intended to create discussion on the North American Union. Not endorse it. Besides, it doesn't make sense for even the most right-wing politicians in these countries to support a merger that makes them LOSE money -- something that they're much more concerned about than anything else.
Getting even dumber are the 9/11 theories still going around today, like the whole thing being an inside job, and that the World Trade Center was destroyed by a controlled demolition. Really? As opposed to those two huge jetliners crashing into the middle of the towers, loaded with jet fuel and possibly explosives? Come on, I know that North America isn't exactly bursting with geniuses, but give us some credit. If you take out a support structure, like a wall and any beams behind it, then anything standing on it is going to fall. You don't need an engineering degree to figure that out; it's called "gravity". I don't doubt that the Bush Administration knew about it and did nothing, and I'm willing to entertain the idea that they saw a chance to take as much power as they could, but somehow the idea of them staging the thing seems like a bit of a stretch. After all, Dick Cheney couldn't even shoot a hunting partner without the press jumping all over it, do you really think he could stage a terrorist attack without someone noticing?
Finally, we get to some more current, wide-spread, and encouraged stupidity. Namely, the bullshit being spread about Barack Obama. You know what I'm talking about, those ones that say Obama isn't really a Christian -- even though he took some heat over things that his old PASTOR said. The ones that claim he isn't patriotic, just because he supposedly doesn't wear flag lapels or feature the American flag on his campaign jet, and therefore has some hidden Muslim agenda or whatever nonsense is being said about him this week. As I've said before, people who are so ignorant and racist as to infer that being a non-Christian would somehow make a man dangerous to America, are the last ones who deserve attention or credibility. That being said, let's look into this and more.
Part of the reason for the thing about Obama's supposed lack of patriotism is this photo that shows him not placing his hand over his heart, supposedly during the singing of the national anthem -- though the accuracy of that is vague. The problem is that the actual Flag Code states that persons are also expected to face the flag... and as you can see no one is facing the only flag in this picture. Actually, it's kind of hard to tell what any of them is supposedly facing. In any event, modern custom doesn't actually require the hand-over-the-heart thing, as far as I can tell. Moving on, take a look at this picture of Obama's plane, you know the one that supposedly doesn't have the stars and stripes on it. The tail pretty clearly shows a sun rising over a stylized flag. Furthermore, Presidential candidates have been using planes that didn't have the flag on them for at least ten years -- current contender John McCain being the most recent example -- and no one said a word over it. The same sort of thing goes for the vague and unfriendly association Obama had with former terrorist Bill Ayers -- drawing the conclusion that Obama is a terrorist just because of that is not only unconstitutional, but makes no sense. That's like saying I'm a psychotic Bible thumper, because of my ex-girlfriend being like that. One person's actions do not automatically relate to those of a stranger. Period. This just furthers my belief that if Obama were a white man, with a Christian-sounding name, we wouldn't even be hearing this crap. Heck, I already know that we wouldn't be hearing this nonsense about him being The Anti-Christ, because supposedly The Book of Revelation describes the Anti-Christ as a Muslim. This is complete crap, not only because Obama isn't a Muslim, but because Islam didn't even exist when any part of The Bible was written!
Even though I'm very much in favour of attacking authority and the status quo, a big difference between me and the sort of idiots who would spread conspiracy theories is that I actually check things out first. This is a big reason why even some conservatives respect my views -- I don't just take peoples' word for it. It's ironic that a lot of the wingnuts who make this stuff up say things like "Here's what they don't want you to know", because so many of their rants just fall apart if you think about it at all. Enough said.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Now, I didn't see much more in the second half than I did the first half, as far as anything racy goes. That being said, I'll say that chalking up the nudity to "just a couple of boobs and butts" was over simplifying it, there was actually quite a bit of nudity as the movie went on. I'm not terribly bothered by that, but since it could throw some people I should point that out. Also, while the action still isn't super explicit, the staging does get more revealing than I indicated the first time around. I honestly apologize for that.
What this comes down to is the really loaded question surrounding the movie -- is it porn? Well in the hardcore sense, definitely not. As I've said before, there are much more deserving candidates than this in the indie film category. But, by definition you can make a decent argument for it being a kind of softcore. I'll get to that in more detail later.
That being said, to say that movies like this contribute to the so-called moral decay of society is really stretching it. This sort of movie is definitely not marketed to kids, and to be honest it's so obscure outside of cultural circles that I wouldn't be surprised if most people haven't even heard of it. For that matter, it's not the sort of movie that places like Blockbuster just put out front for everyone to see -- in fact, for a while I was convinced that it didn't really carry it, and there was some misprint in the new releases. It was actually buried in a pretty odd place. In other words, if parents actually do their jobs and keep their kids away from this stuff, both by talking about it with them and by actually blocking them from it where necessary, the kids would be fine. To be blunt, it isn't fair to try to censor filmmakers just because some parents are asleep at the switch.
Anyway, the problem with basing a very important public policy on a movie like this is that it's not only wide open to abuse -- as Charles McVety's disturbing attitude towards the harmless Breakfast with Scot makes very clear -- but there definitely needs to be clear, multi-lateral grounds for labelling any movie as obscene. Now, I very rarely agree with the Family Action Coalition on ANYTHING, but as I've said before Young People Fucking *may* indeed qualify as a kind of mild pornography. In any event, the smart thing to do would be to have multiple people in the government review this kind of material... and preferably people who don't have some sort of ax to grind, or a few marbles missing. I can't emphasize that last part enough, not only because of the aforementioned Mr. McVety, but I can honestly remember a Christian group in the U.S. that thought Attack of the Clones was sexually explicit, because Natalie Portman wore a shoulder less dress a couple of scenes. I'm completely serious. People that neurotic about the human body make me wonder if they shower, bathe, and go swimming with their eyes closed.
The really silly part about this was how overblown it got. What any religious group trying to block questionable media never quite seem to realize is that the more you preach against something, the more it becomes known, and the more people get curious about it. In other words, whether this movie was obscene or not, McVety gave it all the free publicity it ever needed, especially by refusing to see the thing in full, and going so far as to flat out lie about it having things like an orgy in it. So if the filmmakers would have been frugal enough to make it as a no-budget movie -- which, take it from someone who's done that, would be easy as pie -- they wouldn't have needed the tax credit in the first place! The ad royalties alone would have made them their money back. But I digress... The point is, censorship is a really dangerous thing for the government to get into, and if it ever does it had better make damn sure it knows what it's talking about. Enough said.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Now that you have officially wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars on what turned out to be a minor temper tantrum, you people have lost whatever right you ever had to call yourselves financially responsible. I'm barely employed, and I spend far more prudently than this government ever has.
On behalf of Canadians, I demand two things. 1) That we all get our money back, seeing as this slanderous and illegal election didn't make any difference at all. 2) In order to prevent this nonsense from happening again, grow up, drop the holier-than-thou crap, and listen to/co-operate with the opposition parties. Children are taught to work together, and in most real lines of work this is not only expected but effective. So quit acting like everyone who isn't a Tory is an enemy of the state, it makes you look like even bigger Neanderthals than you already are. The only thing your party has really proven is how much of a joke the political system in this country actually is.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Well, the election's over, and what I figured would happen did: most Canadians who bothered to vote at all, didn't support Stephen Harper, but he still got in because the opposition vote was split among the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois and the Greens -- sort of. In fact, we wound up with almost exactly the same standings that we had before this big prick-waving fight. BUT, I'm not blaming those people for the mess we're in now. I'm blaming the system that jokingly passes for democracy in this country to begin with. It seriously needs to change.
You see, the wacky thing about how we vote both nationally and provincially, is that for some strange reason we can't vote directly for the leader. We can only vote for our immediate representative in Parliament. Between this and what's called our "first past the post" system, it means that just because a party wins in your area, doesn't automatically mean they will form the government. It would be like Americans trying to elect the next President but only being able to vote for their Congressman. It's no wonder a lot of Canadians feel like their votes don't count -- to a large extent, it's the truth.
So at the very least, what needs to be changed is that an extra piece needs to be added to the ballot; in addition to voting for our Member of Parliament, there should be a second section that allows us to vote for the Prime Minister. It's a fairly simple thing. But it probably won't happen, because this country doesn't like to change things.
Another idea that's been kicked around is proportional representation, meaning that every vote does directly count towards how Parliament is made up. The way things are now, you can win half the seats in Parliament with a third of the popular vote, but with this other system, half the vote means half the seats. Period. This was included in Ontario's election last year in a referendum, but unfortunately some idiot or jerk at Elections Ontario decided to phrase the question in such a confusing way that if you didn't read the news very carefully you wouldn't have had a clue what they were talking about. So quel suprise, things didn't get changed. And that's why I doubt it would change now.
So barring that, it seems that the only other way for change to happen in this country is for the opposition parties and their leaders to clean up their act and work together. First of all, Stephane Dion, please grow a backbone; stand up to Stephen Harper when he's clearly out of line, or stand aside for someone who will. Second, everybody please focus on the matters and watch your tempers -- especially you, Jack Layton -- a huge reason why the public doesn't like some of you guys is because they think you're dull, extremist, or way too obsessed with one issue. If you can't do that, then once again, you should make like responsible leaders and stand aside for better people. By the way, it didn't help that at least some of these party leaders spent more time attacking each other than Harper, or for that matter, explaining to people why they should vote for their party. Another thing is that since a lot of the opposition parties actually have more in common than is generally believed, they should strongly consider merging parties. Hell, the only reason Harper is in power at all is because the old Progressive Conservatives merged with the old Reform Party, so there's definitely a tactical advantage to uniting the left.
Let me break it down by using the results of this last election. As you can see, the Tories have the most seats, but still less than half. Now, for the first example, let's combine the NDPs with the Bloc, since they're ideologically similar. Now, they have enough seats to be the lead opposition. If you really want to go all the way, and all of the opposition into one moderate-liberal group, then Harper is suddenly out on his ass. BUT that probably won't happen either, because frankly the party leaders are too self-absorbed to think of anything but their own careers; the idea of serving the public is often just a rumour to them.
So there you go, three simple and practical ways that we could probably get out of this mess, but none of them is likely to happen, because in a nutshell, it's not in the government's interest for the public to really have any control over things. As a result, we are stuck with another few years of Emperor Harper muzzling information, bullying anyone who disagrees with him, breaking the law, starving the public at large, and very likely advancing any agenda put forth by his friends in extremist Christian organizations, who have the nerve to call themselves Family Values groups. Canada, it is long past time that we as a country get our heads out of our asses and stand up for ourselves, and each other. Because it is very clear that we can't trust anyone else to. Enough said.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Despite what the Conservative candidates want us to believe, this election has not already been decided, and the non-Tory candidates are certainly not irrelevant. I find it odd that their slogan is to Stand Up for Canada, because all of the things that myself and most people love about this country are the ones that Stephen Harper has wanted to take apart from day one.
I'm standing up for our ability to sustain ourselves, and have our own voice in the world, rather than just doing every little thing that the White House does. I'm standing up for the right of all of us to have good health care, rather than having to choose between having a place to live and getting a heart transplant. I'm standing up the right of our youngsters to have a good start in life, and our older population to retire with peace and dignity. I'm standing up for the right of women to have equal pay to men, and the ability to control their own destiny and bodies. I'm standing up for the right of gays and lesbians to be with the people they love, to the full extent that straight people are automatically entitled to. Most importantly, I'm standing up for our right to speak out without being persecuted, and to disagree with the government without being vilified and attacked. I'm standing up for Canadians of all faiths to be served by the government, not just whichever xenophobic, homophobic, and self-righteous fanatics are on the Prime Minister's speed dial this month. I say we should stand up for our right to be free, to live our lives well, and maybe even to exist at all.
Heck, if you really need proof that Harper and the Tories don't care about the public, consider this: he never released a platform of his own ideas, until earlier this week, a week before the vote, and after the debates and advance polls were done. In other words, he tried for as long as possible to make sure that he could pull a fast one on all of us, and not have to answer for it. And believe me, if you even dare to question the Conservative party, you will be laughed and yelled at by the people representing our so-called down to earth, rightful governing party.
I want to be able to vote for the party that I really support, but the unfortunate thing about the party system in this country is that everything left of the Tories is fragmented four ways. That's the very reason why Harper is in the lead, despite two-thirds of this country not supporting him at all. Since the other parties aren't willing to work together, then we have no choice but to vote for whichever party is immediately behind the Conservatives in the polls. For better or worse, that's the Liberals.
In the last election, Stephen Harper said that when he was through with Canada, we wouldn't recognize it. I agree with him. The Canada that I grew up knowing, the one that I suspect the majority of our soldiers are trying to protect, and that most immigrants want to live in, is one of peace, leadership, and acceptance. That is a Canada that has been vanishing at a frightening rate, in the last two years. It's getting to the point where, as a secular, pro-gay rights, pro-choice, anti-establishment activist, am almost afraid to live here now. So I have to really make an effort to remember that dictatorships in the past have always fallen, even if it's taken decades. I just hope that along the way, not too many people like me are put in prison. Simply put, I want my home back. Enough said.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Apparently this happened last night, to about 14 homes that had Liberal signs set up in their yards. Some of their cars also had key marks scratched into them, and their homes painted with slogans attacking Liberal politicians.
Incidentally, I'm not exagerrating when I say that this is the sort of thing you hear about in foreign police states. Back in the late 80's, when Manuel Noriega was being voted out of power in Panama, he had soldiers roam around the country to arrest, torture, murder, and terrorize anyone supporting his opponent. They were called dignity battalions.
I'm not directly saying the the Conservatives are responsible for this, but as I've said before their supporters are so aggressive and intolerant that I wouldn't put it past them. Besides, the slogans said things like "Bob Rae lies", so this doesn't seem like the sort of thing a stoned teenager would do.
Whoever is responsible for this terrorism, they cannot be allowed to win. To anyone in Canada reading this, do not let anyone bully you, or threaten you, for what you believe is right. This country is above that. And to those cowards who are responsible for this, go take a dive into the St. Lawrence river, this country is a lot better off without you. Enough said.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Things were rough for Harper in the French debates, right away; one of many reasons why the man is called a clone of George W. Bush is because they share the same hands-off attitude about the economy. Basically, their approaches are to ignore what goes on in the world until the corporations cry for more money, at which point Harper or whoever cuts taxes for those who have plenty of cash to spare, but ignores people who have to find three jobs just to get decent groceries. Let's not forget, it's because of this sort of "wait and see" mentality that the stock markets around the world nearly collapsed twice this week. I should also point out that historically the worse economic times in history have been supervised by right-wing governments.
What really got to me, though, was Harper's stance that various inspection agencies should be deregulated and privatized -- in other words, the work done by companies only interested in how much money they make. This is after ample proof that this policy has killed people; one need only look at Walkerton's tainted water problem, or the recent listeria/tainted meat outbreak, or the propane explosion in Toronto, to see how seriously corporate inspectors take their jobs. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association Journal recently attacked Harper over this policy. Guess what his reply was? He blamed it on some sort of conspiracy by the Liberal party.
This is typical, not only of Harper but of anyone I've seen support him. They blame everyone else for getting on partisan high horses, but whenever someone disagrees with the Tories they are branded as left-wing extremists, and often Ottawa tries to silence them altogether. Don't forget, this is the only Prime Minister in recent memory who tells the press what questions they are allowed to ask him, and has seen to it that progressive artists can't afford to spread their views in public. And believe me, if you take complaints to the party itself, they will either ignore you completely, or just treat you like you don't matter. And don't even get me started on some of these psychotic assholes speaking for them in forums -- I've actually seen people say they hope I get kicked out of the country, just because I don't agree with them, and call me a liar because I mention events that are reported in every single newspaper in Canada.
Sure enough, when Harper had his rematch in the English debates, all he did was deny that there is an economic problem -- despite rather clear evidence to the contrary -- and call his opponents useless. His entire strategy thus far has been to say that I'm right, you're wrong, and that's that. So I don't buy this "strong leader" bullshit that's in the Tory propaganda. His attitude says exactly this: "You're either with us, or against us." Where else have we heard that lately? Enough said.
Monday, September 29, 2008
For example, it is not only perfectly legal for bikes to ride on the road, but in some places there's no choice in the matter, either by law or by circumstance. That being said, you need to use your head a little, here. If the road is roaring with high speed traffic, you probably shouldn't be putting anything slower than a Mo-ped into the mix. Not only does it needlessly clog the road, but sooner or later someone's going to not notice you, and guess what happens? So yeah, trying to weave this dinky little thing into rush hour traffic is kind of like running INTO a stampede of bulls.
And then there are those who simply don't care about traffic laws, or basic manners. Apparently the mothers of some of these pricks never explained to them that when you're on a sidewalk, you have to make room for everyone. In other words, you don't knock over people who are walking near your contraption. I know that's beating a dead horse, but since the message isn't sinking in then I will beat this fucker into pulp if I need to.
On a related note, evidently there are a lot of bicyclists who don't grasp that you have to obey traffic signs as much as anyone else. The reason for that is that someone could die if you don't. A perfectly good example comes from Australia, where an old man was killed a year ago, by an idiot on a bike who ran a red light. I suppose this is a great time to mention, every time I hear about someone who dies in a bike crash because they didn't wear a helmet, I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. I don't laugh my head off, but I don't shed a tear, either. As far as I'm concerned, they were being incredibly stupid, and got what they deserved. Therefore, I have no more sympathy for them, than I would a drunk driver, or street racer, or just your run of the mill dumbass driving without a seatbelt.
As I said, I know I'm fighting an uphill battle here, because these laws rarely get the chance to be enforced, and anyone arrogant enough to act like this in the first place isn't going to listen to a word I say anyway. But maybe it's about time that we take some personal responsibility; after all, we're encouraged to get involved when our friends try to drive drunk, so maybe we should take a friend's bike if he wants to ride without a helmet. Or slash his tires if he drives like a lunatic, whatever. Enough said.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
My quest to watch and review this movie could probably make a decent comedy film of its own; it only played in one theatre in all of Hamilton, which stopped showing it the week I decided to go see it, the only rental store in my area doesn't carry it -- which is a little funny, considering that it does carry a movie called Wicked Sins, but anyway... -- and when I finally found it on YouTube it was taken down just as I got halfway through the movie. So unfortunately, this is really an incomplete video, and I'm going to have to base my opinions on what I did see, plus do what McVety has always refused to do: research other articles.
The premise is very simple: we follow four couples and one threesome one night, as they all knock boots. Along the way, they discover that sex is much more complicated than meets the eye, partly because no matter how casual or raunchy it may be, it's impossible to separate it from love. So right out of the gate we have some irony; religious conservatives are slagging a movie that actually promotes a message of love and connection, which you'd think they'd be happy to see.
The most common form of slander -- I mean, criticism -- by Mr. McVety about this movie is that it's supposedly pornographic. Admittedly the scenes are very suggestive, and once in a while there is a shot of coupling that leaves very little to the imagination... but that's quite rare. In the forty minutes or so that I caught, I saw maybe a half dozen or so breast shots, and one bare butt, all filmed pretty discreetly. Also, the sex scenes in question showed little more than continuous hip-grinding, rather than any explicit shots of penetration. According to every single review I have read -- both professional and amateur -- this is the extent of the sex in this movie. I kid you not.
It reminds me a little of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre; it has a reputation for being shockingly graphic bloodbath, but when you look at it it isn't very gory at all. Hell, I'm not even sure there's that much blood in it!
Let's break this down: if Young People Fucking is to be called porn for showing the odd boob and butt, then so are MASH, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, most horror movies, Animal House, Not Another Teen Movie, The Last Picture Show, Braveheart, at least four Highlander movies, much of Monty Python's handiwork, and this is just off the top of my head.
We could then go the route of the MPAA and go after hip thrusts; after all, they have a policy of banning movies if they have more than a certain number of humps at a time -- which I find a little strange, considering that some of the more degrading sex acts I can think of don't involve any hip thrusting. If people bumping pelvises makes this movie porn, then you can also say the same of The Shawshank Redemption, Scary Movie, Hellraiser, the original Halloween, American History X, at least three Highlander movies, The Last Picture Show... you get the idea. The point is, it's a really flimsy place to label anything as porn.
I don't dispute that there are movies out there that are so explicit in their sex scenes as to be interchangeable with hardcore porn -- the American-made Shortbus being a perfect example -- but as far as protecting the morals of the public, there would appear to be far better places to start than Young People Fucking. For example, Taking Lives was filmed in Canada, and features a sex scene that has very prolonged shots of Angelina Jolie getting her clothes ripped off and her pounded against her entire hotel room, showing the full monty along the way. But, since it was produced by an American company, it would have been exempt from the rules of Bill C-10. For that matter, what about the Saw movies, which are notorious for extreme levels of gore and relentless torture scenes? They're shot in Canada, but no, they're made by Americans too. If you really want to take the hypocrisy to its logical conclusion, one has to wonder what Charles McVety would have said, if The Passion of the Christ were financed with our tax dollars... I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that he'd call that exactly the kind of morally enriched entertainment we should be showing to all cross-bearing Canadian families.
The scary part of all of this is that this little scheme from the so-called Moral Majority almost worked -- it took a huge outcry to get the Senate to investigate Bill C-10, and even then the government wanted no part of it. In fact they, like McVety, have refused to see this movie. Do these sort of clandestine, fundamentalist oppressors really sound like the sort of people we should have running Canada? When a theocracy rears its head halfway around the world, the first reaction is to bomb the hell out of it, yet when the same type of thing happens at home, it seems we welcome it with open arms. And people wonder why I'm not patriotic. Enough said.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Throughout the movie, the gay orientations of the main adult characters are dealt with very subtly; for most scenes they appear to be roommates who like to cuddle from time to time. To be fair, part of the reason for this is that Eric, the lead in the movie, is a sportscaster and former NHL star who's afraid he won't be taken seriously if his private life is made public. He's also very sensitive to the kind of bullying that boys go through if their schoolmates think they're gay.
Which leads me to the good Doctor's prejudiced grievance... If he and his fellow nimrods actually bothered to watch the movie and pay any attention whatsoever, he would have noticed that young Scot's foster family couldn't have indoctrinated him into anything -- the boy was already effeminate long before they met him.
If anything, Eric in particular tries to get him to appear more "normal", at least by mainstream standards, while Sam tries to encourage Scot to be comfortable in his own skin. But I guess that would be a big problem for a man who thinks that gay men shouldn't be able to marry, or adopt children... or a man who frequently acts as if any sexual activity heavier than a cheek kiss will somehow cause Lucifer to erupt from the bowels of Hell.
As I've said before, Mr. McVety's ignorance and power tripping aren't representative of all conservatives, and definitely not of all Christians. However, there are enough people like him out there, who want to keep people's minds and souls closed to the world around them, that when they get on a soapbox it can do a lot of damage. Not only does it jeopardize our liberties on several levels, but to be honest it makes decent and heartfelt Christians look terrible. I've already said that this guy has no right to preach his garbage to the public, but I'll try something more tactful than my previous version: Charles, you're just embarrassing yourself. Enough said.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Now I can understand people having more confidence in Harper's leadership -- I've said before that I think most of the opposition leaders are pushovers -- but the problem is that Stephen Harper's idea of strong leadership is to run roughshod over anyone who disagrees with him. I've already gone on about how he's filed groundless lawsuits against the opposition in Ottawa, and done everything he could to censor artists who happen to be progressive and left wing, so I'll spare you from a repeat. But we're talking about someone who has shown ever since he became Prime Minister that he doesn't take openness, honesty, accountability to the public, or even obeying the law very seriously. In fact, at recent press conferences he has used the RCMP to remove hecklers and block the media from asking certain questions. Frankly, it's for reasons like this that I don't think politicians should EVER be given "Honourable" as a title. Once you apply it to power-hungry sociopaths who will lie to the public and subvert democracy on a daily basis, the term loses all meaning. This is even more true when some of these people will actually joke about outbreaks that have killed a dozen or so people inside of a month.
For that matter, since we all know that the economy is in shambles right now, trusting Harper to fix it makes no sense at all. His government repeatedly, and openly, sat back and did nothing while factories across the country closed shop -- whether they were losing money or not. His pre-election bribe -- er, I mean, grant -- to auto makers is for them to make large engines for bigger vehicles, when part of the reason they're in so much trouble in the first place is because there's no demand for the damn things! And despite reputation to the contrary, I have to point out that in recent memory it's actually been Conservative governments who've been worse at handling public money, while the Liberals have cleaned up the mess... as much as I hate to admit it.
And another thing, while I have dealt with conservatives who were quite respectful and polite, I really wish more of them would actually respect people's opinions. I can't begin to tell you how many times a right wing pundit has called me an idiot, a brat, a liar, a criminal, or even The Devil himself, just because I happen to disagree with him and have evidence to back up my views. Just because I'm young and have a certain amount of time on my hands, doesn't mean that I'm stupid. I try to give everyone else some leeway and respect, so please return the favour. It's called acting like a grown-up.
But there is some cause for hope -- the other day I saw on the news that two of Harper's news conferences in a row were obstructed by protesters. And while some papers, such as the National Post, have reader responses that sound disturbingly close to endorsements for martial law, pretty much every other paper I've read lately has a ton of complaints about Harper and the Conservatives. I'm not counting on the Tories getting tossed on their asses, like they were after Brian Mulroney had his turn screwing us over, but as long as he's taken down a few notches...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
First of all, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this whole thing is just some sort of publicity stunt. I mean, for all the talk about this girl's privacy, she's publicized her photo, what city she lives in, and the name of the Nevada brothel where she claims on doing the deed. Not only that, but this whole thing was advertised on the ultimate in classy satellite radio, The Howard Stern Show. Yeah, this sounds like a very delicate and discreet affair to me.
Assuming that this is genuine though, I still have some things to say. I'm by no means a prude, and I know that intimacy isn't always as simple and straight forward as we like to believe. However, when a supposedly mature and educated woman elects to have her first sexual experience by selling herself to a total stranger, with God only knows what intentions and fantasies, my gut feeling is that this doesn't bode well for her. Take it from someone who's been pushed to near total lonliness his whole life -- sex should never be that impersonal, especially early on. Personally, my fear is that emotionally, she'll come out of this feeling like a shell. I'm not trying to preach for her soul -- I'm the last person who would be that arrogant -- but honestly, what will this do to her self-worth, in the long run?
There are already a great many women who, sadly, lose their virginity in less than ideal ways -- namely date rape or a full-out assault. So frankly, to voluntarily exploit yourself just seems astoundingly stupid to me. Now, I don't think that what she's doing can or should be condemned or penalized... but I wish someone had tried to talk some sense into her a long time ago. Enough said.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Fortunately, some change has already been made.
Yesterday, I called the office of "my" MP, Conservative Dean Allison. I wasn't able to reach the man in question, but I did give some poor sod in his office a piece of my mind. He danced around the notion of the election being illegal, claiming that the opposition indicated not supporting Harper immediately prior to the election being called -- this conveniently ignores the fact that Harper already made up his mind about having an election by then, and that the actual Fixed Date law states specifically, that the only valid reason for an early election is if the government lose a confidence vote (which, needless to say, did not take place here, because a vote was never called). He also tried to bullshit me about how "in the media" it is supposedly clear how the opposition obstructs the government at every turn. Leaving aside that that's exactly what the opposition is supposed to be doing, it's kind of hard to tell what the media says about Parliament these days, seeing as Prime Minister Harper controls exactly what they hear!
Anyway... the better news just came my way a few minutes ago: The Greens are now allowed into the debates, no doubt because of the MASSIVE uproar and legal challenges that have been brought up from their exclusion. Their leader, Elizabeth May, blamed sexism in the "old boys club". Personally, I think that oversimplifies it. From what I've seen, May is a strong-willed, articulate, and reasonably knowledgeable politician. What's more, she also has a lot of public momentum on her side. In other words, she's exactly the kind of person that a control freak like Harper would be afraid of: a formidable opponent.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I have news for Stephen Harper: he isn't the boss, the public is!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Every single poll that has been conducted since Harper threatened to dissolve Parliament has shown that this election will make little to no difference. Harper himself has admitted to that, yet he insists on doing this, basically because the opposition parties are OPPOSING HIM! Imagine that, the leader of a major country picking a $600 million pissing match, because people are doing exactly what they're supposed to do!
Incidentally, for those who don't know, Harper's claims that the other parties are obstructing Parliament and turning it into a partisan circus are total bullshit. His Conservative cronies are notorious for blocking any and all oversight of the government, blocking access by the press, gutting social programs for totally ideological reasons, telling cities to go fuck themselves, suing the opposition for pointing out that Harper tried to bribe a dying MP, and this tyrant has the nerve to blame the people who stand up to him?
Not surprisingly, we're seeing this kind of shit from The States, too. John McCain calls Barack Obama an inexperienced celebrity every chance he can get, but who does he pick as his running mate? Someone with even less experience, and a much bigger knack for attracting attention. Sarah Palin's resume consists of less than two years as Alaska's governor, where she flip-flopped on useless programs, hoarded money, and apparently fired someone she had no valid reason to push around. Prior to that, she spent an even shorter time as the mayor of a town with less people living it in than most colleges have students.
Anyway, when the press called Governor Palin out on this, as well as her morally questionable views on abortion and abstinence-only sex ed, Senator McCain's response was to cancel interviews of his own! Who the fuck does this guy think he is, the Premier of China?
But if it's one thing that I've learned about the political landscape in North America, it's that it's mostly pointless to complain. Regardless of where a so-called leader claims to be on the ethical scale, they'll just do what they want. Not only is Liberal leader Stephane Dion a gutless wimp who needs to be howled at by the public before he can take a hint that he's screwed things up, but based on what we've seen in Ontario, the only difference between a Conservative and so-called Liberal is that the Libs are after money at all costs, while the Conservatives are after power at all costs. Hopefully there's some chance for change in the States, but up in Canada we're in really big trouble. Enough said.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
What I really don't understand is why someone thinks that certain remakes are a good idea; why were The Omen and Psycho shot-by-shot copies of their predecessors? Why are Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street being remade, when the existing series still make money? How could they even think of redoing The Rocky Horror Picture Show, especially with the exact same script that the original had? All of this goes way beyond paying homage, it's just plain laziness.
I've known for quite a while that society openly discourages thinking outside the box, but this is ridiculous -- especially considering that remakes are very often embarassments to far superior films. Things have gotten so bad that any day now I expect to hear that Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy will star in a reimagining of Lethal Weapon, or that Uwe Boll will redo Faster, Pussycat, Kill, Kill with Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, and Lindsay Lohan in lead roles. Should any of this come to pass, we're officially in a peculiar level of Hell.
On a personal note, what sometimes makes this particularly annoying to me is that on the side, I make movies of my own. Original movies -- no sequels, no adaptations, no remakes. But, since they cost practically nothing to make, and are only available on an obscure website, no one knows that they exist, and about as many are interested in buying them. Meanwhile, all that you see commercials for these days is the latest clone to come from the Hollywood cookie-cutter. There's all the proof you need, that companies are trying to control what you think. Enough said.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I just got back from a walk in The Zoo. Overall it was a great trip (aside from the heat), but there was this one thing that disgusted my whole family.
We saw a peacock walking near a public path, with some chicks -- something that we'd never seen before, in all the years we've been going to the zoo. However, an East Indian man and his five year old son were following them (the boy quite close). Sure enough, this kid ran at and spat at the babies, while his father just watched innocently.
ALL of us, plus some other tourists, saw this and yelled at them both to stop. He only seemed to get the message when we pointed out that if the kid goes near the flock again, the mother will probably attack.
Honestly, this just boiled my blood for two reasons. One, I hate bullies -- one of the few things I can honestly and shamelessly say that I do loathe -- especially anyone who is twisted enough to attack newborns of any species (don't forget, serial killers often start out as animal abusers). Two, no matter what culture you're from (if indeed that is an issue here), if you've been around animals at all then you know that the most universally potent instinct that exists is that of mothers to fanatically protect their young offspring. In short, if the animal has any capacity to harm a human at all, then picking on its own is literally suicide.
But anyway... I wish I'd thought to congratulate these idiots/jerks for teaching a bunch of infants that humans are the most obnoxious and heartless creatures on this planet.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I realize that elections are a key part of democracy, and that there's only so much that can be done to stop leaders from overriding their own laws, or to stop the kind of stupid infighting that we're seeing in the states (ie. McCain having a rather patronizing view of Barack Obama, especially considering that his newly minted V.P. nominee is a young and inexperienced governor... hmmm, sound familiar?).
In my view, governments who break election laws, block any judicial investigations, make a mockery of free elections... in general, have contempt for civil process, should automatically forfeit their stake in the election. In other words, Stephen Harper should be tossed on his ass immediately, and McCain should give up the Republican nomination to another person. But then again, that's because I have a low tolerance for stupid bullshit. That's because I was raised to have a mind of my own, and to behave like a mature adult in public.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
In other news, it's kind of neat that so many athletes are doing well at the Olympic Scams -- I mean, Games -- but I stand by my view that if they really cared about "integrity" they would be competing elsewhere.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Now onto more current events...
As a lot of people know, there was recently a horrible murder on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba, as Tim McLean was stabbed multiple times and then decapitated (among other things that I'd rather not print). The accused culprit was captured at the scene, apparently suffering from severe mental illness.
Even though I generally have a sour view of mankind, I was still stunned and disgusted by the way some fanatics are actually exploiting this tragedy for their personal gain.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently took out an ad that compares the murder to the slaughter of chickens for food (which is a really faulty premise to begin with). Not surprisingly, hardly anyone is running the ad. Now, I am fully in favour of animal rights and humane treatment of them under all circumstances (to be honest, the only reason I'm not a vegetarian is because I don't have a great pallete with vegetables). However, that does not mean that I support this tasteless and just plain stupid advertisement. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that this move would only piss a lot of people off, especially so soon after the murder -- so how can someone actually think that this was a good idea? Not only does it (rightly) cast PETA in a horrible light, but it completely distracts from any legitimate point it tries to make.
The second group exploiting this is one that -- sadly -- I've come to expect contempt for human life from: The Westboro Baptist Church. If you don't know who I'm talking about, this is small congregation in Kansas (largely a family, led by Fred Phelps) who is infamous for not only being dead-set against homosexuality and gay rights, but holds protests outside various funerals that pick-your-untimely-death is a sign from God that He hates homosexuals (their website is honestly "godhatesfags.com"). They have protested at the funerals of Iraq veterans, the victims and killer at Virginia Tech, Loretta King, and even attempted to demonstrate at Heath Ledger's funeral. Perhaps most appallingly, when Matthew Sheppard was beaten to death for being gay, this "minister" and his group protested outside the trial of his killers, saying that Sheppard got what he deserved.
Suffice it to say, these people are not popular at all, and the only reason they are free in the States is because the U.S. does not have a hate speech law. Since that is not the case in Canada, they have usually been turned down at the border when they attempted to cross -- making us a popular target of their hate as well.
BUT they are now attempting to get in to protest at Tim McLean's funeral, to shout that his murder is another perverse kind of divine vengeance upon our progessive laws and social policies.
Words almsot fail me; not only is this view absurd and disgusting, but they have no right to come into Canada and spread that horseshit around. These sort of monsters should be stopped at the border, and if they do manage to get through anyway, arrested the minute they open their mouths.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
In other news, as we all know the Olympics are officially a sham, now. What the hell is the point of preaching fairness and peace, when the IOC is bending over for every totalitarian demand of censorship and oppression, that Bejing wants??
If there's any justice, these games will fail miserably.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
In other news, it was reported yesterday that the Ontario Provincial Police has been continuing to impersonate reporters, in undercover operations. This is despite the fact that many journalists and their associations have demanded that this cease, due to the added danger it puts real journalists in (especially in hot spots like the locations of the various Indian land occupations).
In addition to that, I have a hard time understanding why, of all the legitimate disguises the police would use, they would pick journalists. We're talking about people whose job is to MAKE FACTS PUBLIC, no matter what they may be -- does the O.P.P. honestly think (or expect us to believe) that criminals would be more open to a frigging video camera than they would be to a cop in uniform??
What bothers me even more, though, is the political/PR damage this does; the OPP doesn't have a great reputation for serving the public trust anyway (eg. letting people get assaulted in Caledonia, illegally wiretapping the homes and phones of anyone they want, threatening to kill a protestor just for blocking a road, racist and authoritarian hiring/discipline polcies, etc.)... and this tactic reminds me of how Quebec's provincial police posed as protestors a year or two ago, solely to incite a riot and make the genuine protestors look bad.
Considering that all of this is sanctioned by our government, we are all in really big trouble. This is the kind of shit you hear about in banana republics, not a supposed democracy -- so why don't we see a coup??
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
This is my first episode, originally streamed May 12, 2008.
In short, I'm one of those guys that is so annoyed with certain elements of the world around him that he takes a digital camera and rants about it. I'm kind of like Michael Moore, except that I actually care about facts and good taste.