Saturday, November 29, 2008

Emperor Harper shall fall on his sword.

Stephen Harper has a lot of nerve. This country is facing the worst economic crisis in 70 years, and his government refuses to do anything about it. On top of that, he takes steps to actually obliterate the majority Opposition Parties, crippling true democracy in this country, and he has the gall to label a coalition as "undemocratic and illegitimate?"

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

Bah Humbug?

Hey. As we all know, Christmas is about a month away. As much as I like the colour and magic of the holiday, we all know that I wouldn't be talking about it if there wasn't something about it that makes me feel like a Grinch, once in a while.

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

Lest We Forget

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day in Canada, and Veterans Day in America. I fully intend on pausing for silent reflection, at 11:00 if possible, and if I encounter any veterans in the next little while, I will thank them personally for the sacrifices they made. However, that is just about all that I will be doing. I respect the veterans plenty, but past a certain point taking part in these rituals just seems like going through motions.

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

Congratulations to Barack Obama

I'll keep this short and sweet; congrats to Barack Obama on not only winning the election, but becoming the first mixed-race President-Elect in American history (it's about bloody time, too).

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

"Bored on the Corner" endorses Barack Obama

Ok, so tomorrow the Americans are going to elect a new President. In the interest of being fair, I will wish good luck in any case. However, in the interest of sanity I hope that moderates prevail, in which case I'm personally throwing my moral support behind Barack Obama. I don't have that much of a beef with John McCain, other than him coming off as a bit of a flip-flopper, but Sarah Palin scares the living hell out of me -- especially considering that if McCain wins, she will likely take over for him in a few years time.

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.