Thursday, May 26, 2011

May's Morons of the Month

  • Stephen Harper's supporters (including the 40% of Canadians who didn't vote) for not only accepting Harper's corrupt, incompetent, criminal, and possibly treasonous behaviour, but PROMOTING HIM FOR IT (he now has absolute power over Canada). Not only that, but they've taken to harassing people like me for pointing out the stupidity of this -- including phoning me at home!
  • (and we won't even get into Harper's appointment of DEFEATED Conservative candidates to the Senate, or appointing one of the largest cabinets in Canadian history, or making an unelected Senator one of our rotating Deputy PMs...)

  • Various left-wing nutjobs for not only insisting that Osama Bin Laden isn't dead (seemingly just for the sake of it), but for calling him a hero -- no joke -- and for actually THREATENING ME because I point out that Bin Laden himself called himself a mass murderer (then there's the random and totally unprovoked calls that I'm an idiot and a troll, because I disagreed with some of the loonier things that the Zeitgiest movement stands for).
  • The Ontario Provincial Police/Toronto Police Service for continuing to accept blatant law-breaking from the boys in blue (specifically, defaming Jack Layton with a dubious claim that he visited a massage parlour and received services -- with notes that were illegally obtained -- and then continuing to cover up for the G20 gestapo officers who beat up unarmed protesters).
  • Hamilton Police Officer Oliver Mann, who --with his partner -- arrested Michael Dixon for robbing a jewelry store (and defending it even after losing a lawsuit over it this month), despite Dixon looking NOTHING like the robber, and having an alibi that multiple witnesses were willing to confirm... if Mann and his partner had bothered to look into it, especially when asked by the Crown.
  • Evangelical nutcase Harold Camping and his followers, for their now-infamous prediction that the world was going to end last weekend... and continuing that act ever when proven wrong (again), and even after bilking many out of their life savings.
  • Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu (and the Zionist lobby), for getting in a snit with Barack Obama over his request that they give back land that was basically stolen from the Palestinians, in 1967.
  • Sarah Palin, for crediting Bin Laden's death to George W. Bush -- who had NOTHING to do with it -- and totally ignoring Obama's hand in it.
  • The Tea Party for continuing to claim that Obama is a Muslim infiltrator (see Birther recognition last month), even after he CLEARLY KILLED MANY MUSLIM TERRORISTS.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Earthquake" (film review)

"Earthquake" (movie review)
Saturday, May 21, 2011

In honour of today supposedly being the day of the rapture, it seemed appropriate to talk a little about this old disaster movie that I saw a few days ago: 1974's Earthquake.

It was made in the heyday of 70s catastrophe flicks, like Airport, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno, but if you haven't heard of it, you're not alone. Despite the movie being a hit at the box office, winning Oscars for its effects, and being the first movie to use the short-live Sensurround system (more on that later), and boasting a cast of screen legends (like Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner), even in the early 90s you were hard pressed to find it in any video store or on TV. In fact, the Universal Theme Park ride based on Earthquake is the only attraction there, to my knowledge, to have been renamed because no one knew about the movie that inspired it!

The plot is very simple: in Los Angeles, we follow a football player-turned-engineer (Heston), his estranged wife (Gardner), his actress mistress (Genevive Bujold), his father-in-law and boss (Lorne Green), as well as a disillusioned cop (George Kennedy), a daredevil (Richard Roundtree), his mechanic's sister (Victoria Principal), and an unhinged national guardsman (Marjoe Gortner) as they go about their lives amid strong tremors. However, the tremors -- getting stronger and more frequent all the time -- turn out to be the appetizer for The Big One; a cataclysmic earthquake that reduces L.A. to wreckage, and abandons its citizens to chaos. And things go downhill from there...

There's really not much to artistically say about this movie, but it is reasonably suspenseful and the characters engaging (if dangerously close to soap-opera territory). Marjoe Gortner in particular deserves praise for his psychotic yet believable soldier character. The really big problem with the earlier dramatic scenes is that they literally serve no purpose at all, except to make you care about the characters.

Simply put, this movie is pretty much a visual effects reel with some acting in it -- and oddly, a lot less irritating than the Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich movies that make at least a minimal effort to balance the formula out more. As far as the effects go, they were definitely stunning for the movie's time, but they are a bit dated today. Apparently, model effects weren't quite finessed in the early 70s -- I vividly remember a remake of the Big Quake sequence being created in the early 90s for the Universal Florida ride, and being very convincing even today. Probably the only difference was in camera technology and some materials, but it makes all the difference in the world.

In regards to the Sensurround that I mentioned -- which, by the way, is a feature on some DVD releases of Earthquake -- it's basically a subwoofer on steroids. As a gimmick for the film's theatrical release, Universal had theatres install these large speakers in the floors, and programmed the soundtrack to play sub-sonic vibrations through them, for the quake scenes. They didn't really make any extra noise, but they made you feel like the room was shaking apart.

The problem was, sometimes it really was -- there were numerous reports of theatre walls and ceilings cracking, and businesses next to theatres having their merchandise break when it fell off of shelves. As multiplexes became more common, this system was even more irritating than it seemed to be worth, so only four or five movies altogether were released in Sensurround.

Anyway, if you're interested in pure mayhem and melodrama, I very much recommend checking this movie out... though you may have to hunt for it on YouTube.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Harper Conservatives vs. Canadian Women

Remember how Stephen Harper promised that his government would never re-open the issue of abortion in Canada? Don't be so certain of that.

While Harper's supporters would like us to forget it, his core base includes the so-called Christian Right (ie. groups like Focus on the Family, the Canadian Family Action Coalition, the Institute for Marriage and the Family, and the other politely-labeled hate groups). And that core base turned out in Ottawa today, to demand that Emperor Harper ban abortion. It's even being Tweeted, that about 65 Conservative Meat Puppets will table a private member's bill to do just that (which is an extremely sleazy way for Harper to claim that he personally never re-opened this Pandora's Box).

Now, before we get into this rant, let me make something clear. I personally am very dodgy about abortion; I have a very big problem with it being treated like just another kind of birth control, and I have no sympathy for women who get them simply because they couldn't be bothered to make sure their partners wore rubbers. However, I have an even bigger problem with any group -- or government -- telling a group of complete strangers that they have no right to control their own bodies (especially in a case like rape or incest).

Am I the only one to find it a little odd, that the same people who claim to hate big and intrusive government, want to intrude on a woman's private parts? And that they claim to not want to control people's lives, but that is EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO?

Of course, there's also that tiny little issue of how these groups claim to be "pro-life", yet they often hate public health care, hate welfare, hate day care, hate public schools, hate gun control, and are totally fine with pre-emptive wars and the death penalty (and often act like vegetarians are freaks of nature). George Carlin put it a hell of a lot better than I ever could, but it is pretty obvious that these zealots don't really give a shit about preserving life.

Finally, I know that social conservatives hate facts (as well as a lot of other things), but here are some big ones they need to respect: the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that forbidding a woman from getting an abortion is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Whatever else your thoughts are on abortion, it's easy to see why: telling someone that they have no ownership of their own body, is essentially slavery. Furthermore, the majority of Canadians are pro-choice. By trying to force this agenda on us, you are directly saying that the voices of the majority do not matter -- I know that you don't think that this is important, but it would cost Harper big time in the next election (if he decides to allow one).

Oh, and while we're speaking of holes in your philosophy, can you please try to remember "judge not lest ye be judged", "forgive thy enemies", and "render unto Caesar, that which is Casesar's"? Thank you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Harper's Intimidation Has Begun

Well I knew years ago, that Harper's supporters were going to get nasty if he ever won a majority. Why wouldn't they? He can do whatever he wants, and all of his history says he's going to do whatever he can to wipe out disagreement, by force. (if you don't think that's so, take a look at how he treated outsiders during the election, or how he treated peaceful protesters at the G20 summit last year)

The morning that I found out that Harper got the majority, I wrote in to every Canadian newspaper that I could, with the following letter (which got printed in at least two papers):

"What is the matter with this country?? I hate to sound like a sore loser, but this honestly makes no sense to me -- how is it that the only Prime Minister to be found in contempt ANYWHERE, who is wasting our money in record levels, who attacks dissent all the time, and acts as if democracy is a dirty rumour, actually got elected to a majority government? It's not like his corruption was hard to spot!"

Well, within hours of its first printing, some yahoo phoned my house. He identified himself as "John Stephens" and then stopped talking (apparently thinking that that name means something to me). He then said I made a lot of wild statements (even though everything in that letter is substantiated), and said I sounded like Jack Layton -- I thanked him for the compliment.

He tried to get me to meet him for coffee, but since I'm not in the habit of meeting total strangers who stalk me in the phone book because they have an issue with me attacking a crooked Prime Minister, I said no. I lost all patience with him though, when he actually tried to excuse Harper's behaviour by claiming that Harper's had a minority since 2000. I screamed at him that not only was JEAN CHRETIEN in power in 2000, but Harper wasn't even in federal politics at the time. Frankly, so much of what this guy was pulling was bad enough, but you've got to have a ton of nerve to stalk and patronize me, when YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE FACTS.

Over the last few days, some of Harper's meaner YouTube fans have left comments on the "Bored on the Corner" vid where I announced Harper's majority (I flagged the worst of them, but you can try to look for them here). Basically they were calling me a loser and a communist and a hippie and a welfare bum, etc. etc. (pretty weird conclusions to draw from what I actually said in the video, but anyway...) I think my favourite was from the user "welovesarahpalin" who accused me of having bitter hatred for conservatives and Christians, when on other videos he/she (and others) literally called for the severed head of a CBC journalist who got threatened at a Harper rally, for asking a hard question.

(this is also someone who claims that conservatives aren't racists and bigots... I replied with a link to a video of a Harper MP attacking gay people)

Not surprisingly, they then left comments on my YouTube channel -- once again -- ASSUMING that I'm unemployed, that I'm a welfare bum, that I'm lazy, that I'm a communist etc. and that EVERY LIBERAL/NDP SUPPORTER IS LIKE THAT (even though I've met NONE who are like that). I was told that if I fit any of those criteria, I should just die.

It won't fucking happen!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April's Morons of the Month

With the election dominating Canadian news this past month, I'm going to just get this out of the way...

Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party, for (among other things) their repeated attacks on Canadian voters. This is not merely rhetoric -- for those who don't know, the ReformaTories have taken to spying on people who are pre-registered for his campaign stops, and having the RCMP (illegally) eject them for anything in their Facebook histories that doesn't totally fit the Conservative line. The offending criteria include having casually posed for pictures with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff (and presumably other opposition leaders/candidates), having attended other parties' rallies in the last few years, and even having been in environmental groups.

In addition to this, their candidate in Guelph (Marty Burke) apparently had his communications director (and University of Guelph majordomo) Michael Sona disrupt a legitimate advance poll and allegedly try to STEAL A BALLOT BOX, all because they discovered that someone at Elections Canada had jumped the gun and held the poll without getting full authorization first. (see story) To date, no charges have been laid in the incident -- and no evidence has surfaced to support Conservative claims of partisan materials being circulated at the poll. Of course, Guelph Campus Conservatives initially boasted about this incident, until Elections Canada ruled that the poll was operated properly and thus the votes all counted. At that point -- particularly after Harper claimed to support EC's ruling -- any and all comments GCC's members made on Facebook against the poll, disappeared.

None of this, by the way, touches on the many cases of vandalism against Liberal and NDP supporters... or how the Conservatives very rarely attend all-candidates events (like electoral debates)... or how Stephen Harper has the nerve to continue claiming that Canadians don't care about this election, or the record-making contempt ruling, even after Canadians tuned in to the leaders' debates and attended advance polls IN RECORD NUMBERS.

Still on the subject of the election, Sun News (aka "Fox News North"), for proving less than 12 hours into its broadcasting career that it is a Harper propaganda station that doesn't give a damn about really reporting news. For example, on the first day of its rather pathetic programming, pundit Charles Adler claimed repeatedly on his show that the Harper government was overthrown over its budget... Even though the budget never made it to a vote, and everyone paying any attention to the election at all knows that Harper was overthrown over contempt.

Then there was their overtly ripe smear attack on rising-star Jack Layton of the NDP. Two days ago, Sun Media exclusively "broke" a story from an anonymous ex-cop claiming that Jack Layton was found naked in a Toronto massage parlour, in the late 1990s. Since nothing in this story suggest that Layton was arrested -- or even did anything illegal -- the cop in question sat on this "story" for the eight years that Layton was leader of the NDP, and only decided to come out with it on an extremely biased tabloid channel in the final days of an election that Layton could very well win... well, even Conservative supporters agree that this smells fishy (Harper's cult, on the other hand, just takes this as gospel).

Incidentally, since this information was leaked without the permission of the Toronto Police, they are having the OPP investigate it -- and Layton has implied that he may take legal action of his own, once the election is over.

Donald Trump -- trying to be the Republican candidate for President, next year -- for reviving the Birther nonsense over Barack Obama's birth certificate. Keep in mind, that even GLENN BECK thinks that this is a stupid obsession. Anyway, when Obama's long-form birth record was released -- which would be totally unnecessary for any other president -- adding to the long list of documents explicitly proving that he was born in Hawaii, Trump took credit for its release... and then went after Obama's schooling, for some reason.

Rumours that Trump then demanded proof that Hawaii is a state, cannot be confirmed -- which I hope is a good sign -- but for looking like a complete racist idiot, he's been attacked by both sides of the political spectrum. When even staunch Republicans are embarrassed by this guy, I hope it's safe to say that his presidential aspirations are dead.