2010-08-31

Headlines I Hate

"It's the East Coast versus Hurricane Earl."

I hate when media frames things this way. In order for it to be a competition two willing participants have to be engaged. No?

A hurricane doesn't ask "wanna play?" It just hits you and you can't do a damn thing about it except take cover.

"The Commentator races to prevent inevitable volcanic eruption."

Rethinking And Retooling What Should Be Obvious

Hm.

I meet a few of his suggestions. Liberal arts education (History Major), speak three languages (albeit terribly. I think Canadians and Quebecers in particular have a natural advantage and luxury on this front. Too bad we act like parochial jackasses that threatens it), travelled (modest but plan to do more), strong knowledge of the classics (trends never interested me except to keep an eye out for them. It's funny, knowing the classics helped me detect bull shit. By classics I include music), I consider myself to possess high personal moral and believe religion and ethics (and basic finance) should be taught before Women in Ethiopia courses.

So according to this guy, I have most of the tools necessary to beat up the Chinese and Indians. Yet, I barely got anywhere - well, there were some achievements but not what I was looking for - which admitedly was my fault. I mean, I wanted to be the King of Siam and was sent into a sad, downward tail spin when I found it no longer existed. Thailand didn't have the same ring, you know?

Wo. I thought this was about taking out the Uzbekistani's not about me!

You think there was demand for a guy like me in the market place the last few years? Na-ah. How do you even begin to explain on a piece of shit CV what you're really about? The only thing a CV is good for is to make sure you're not hiring a nut job who can't hold down a job. Other than that, it's a fucking crap shoot. Many applicants have learned to master "what employers" want (read: deceive) during an interview it's hard to really detect the real character of a person. You only know once they're in and by that point government regulations (yes, depending on the industry and situation I know) make it hard to fire their asses since they're already up to speed on "les normes" before you are.

Hate people like that.

Shit, just went on a resume rant. Cool.

Any. Way.

If anything, the mean, cold word was hostile to my philosophical outlook. "What are you gonna do with that degree? And why are you reading Aristotle and Cicero? I get all sorts of comments from the "realist" peanut gallery. Somehow, to them, I'm wasting my time.

We'll see how all this culminates into once I open the day care.  Still, I'm not going to pat Mr. Mead's on the back for something that's effen obvious to me.

Other than that, fat Chinese kids make me laugh.

Read Mead's take here.

World Freeman Society

I don't join organizations or funky clubs because I don't trust I can actually fit in them. I'm still adjusting to life with a wife and daughter. Every morning, when I wake up, I greet my wife with a "and you are?"

The World Freeman Society is one such group that's better off without me.

Daycare Update

The person who heads urban planning in the municipality where my daycare is has left his position; just when he was becoming reasonable according to the owner. His assistant - who I don't care for all that much. Neither did the architect (s) for that matter - has been promoted. Short on warm politeness and long on a bureaucratic mindset, she can be quite the obstacle.

It didn't take long for her to impose her Reign of Absurdity. We finally got the ok to build a lousy extension to the building and just when things were beginning to go smoothly (we only waited four effen months) she pulls this classic: She's demanding a sump pump be put. As if we're a piss hole of cash.

Here's the kicker. There's no basement. The owner tried to explain to her, if you talk any contractor in the galaxy, they'll ask why. What are you going to pump if you have no basement? She stubbornly demanded one. During our architectural phase, the experts followed the provincial codes. However, news of the codes didn't get to the municipality and she often left them speechless. They would ask written "proofs" from experts (more money spent) on what the province already allows. We had to play ball since, you know, I had to get two sets of permits.

Absurd and time consuming.

Ever have a conversation with a mad man? I have. I'd rather have a conversation with a madman than some bureaucrats.

As for the extension itself, the inspector was snooping from 6am. He called two workers "suspicious" (as if they're enemies of the state) and tried to catch the contractor and the owner in a lie. It would all be so comical if it weren't so frustrating.

I'm cool with ensuring "rules" are respected but holy cement truck, it's incredible overkill. Permits, permits, permits. Permits! You! Do you have a permit to wear those boots?

So what happened? Because he spooked people enough, instead of working commencing yesterday, they hope to begin tonight.

I lost yet another day.

Useless Vanity Puff Post

I shattered all records here at The Commentator with my 164th post for the month of August. So far my post productivity is outpacing several OECD nations.

PM Power

A lot of people feel that Chretien and the Liberals led Canada proudly. Personally, as a two time voter, I don't agree. Now everyone is piling on Harper and his band of merry conservatives for being tyrannical.

How damn soon we forget. It was Chretien who was called the "benign dictator" remember? In any event, the nature of Canadian parliamentary politics is such that the power of the Prime Minister is extremely concentrated in one person. No wonder our last two leaders come off as "dictatorial." It's not necessarily a characteristic trait in them but more them using the power available to them. Trudeau and Mulroney also played the game well.

'Ti Jean was sparkling, if anything, for what were essentially cocky interviews and statements. Who could forget when during a summit (I forget which one) in Vancouver the police pepper sprayed protestors to which a journalist asked Chretien about it. His answer, "pepper is something I put on my steak." In a thick, Chretien accent of course.

Statutes Of Limitation On Valour

Apparently.

Anyway. Is it "statues" or "statutes" of limitations? Poor, poor Kramer.

I don't mean to insert myself into this story (but I will), however, this sort of pointless overlapping is pretty much what I faced to open my business. You can't do this before that date and by the time that date arrives something else on that day prevents you from getting it.

This story is old-ish but one worth raising.

2010-08-30

Satire

I think I'm spending a little too much time over at SE. 

Recruiting Jihadists

Would the Mosque/Community Center be vulnerable to becoming a recuitment center for jihadists?

Is it far fetched to think it can?

***

Rauf a slum lord?

So much for Eugene Robinson's assertion that he's "practically a flower child."

Both Right And Left Are Bankrolled

I keep reading about how the right is controlled and bank rolled by the Koch's and Murdoch and their evil, uncaring agenda...blah, blah, blah. And? Point? Isn't the left bankrolled by the likes of Turner and Soros? Man, Soros by himself can bankrupt nations in one hour. Turner is essentially a eugenicist.

Seems to me the only difference is conservatives are more organized and mobilized.

My question is: Is their agenda reflective of the people's beliefs and values or are they dictating it from the top and influencing our values and belief system? 

***

Should we care about ideology?

***

This blog is officially looking for a sugar mummy to bak roll its operations. Together we can make great music together.

2010-08-29

Effective Ad, No?

Glimpses Of Employment

Me at work:

Music Sunday

Some songs stop The Commentator straight up. Like 'Ooh-la-la' by Faces (The Faces; Ronnie Lane was awesome wasn't he?) or 'Blue Sky' by The Allman Brothers or as we see in the clip, 'Maggie May.'
"Love, you haven't touched your sushi. Love?"
"Wha?"

I don't eat sushi.



Just a superb cover of McCartney's hit:



Speaking of The Beatles. I remember when people used to ask, "Lennon or McCartney?" I never liked the way people always felt the need to divide people up. The best answer to that is Lennon AND McCartney. BOTH were indispensible to the band. One without the other and The Beatles aren't The Beatles.

The "debate" became more heated after Lennon died. I'm sure McCartney was impressed.

Proactive Reaction

I keep hearing people in the media say blogs "react" to news or are "reactionary" in nature.

Effen duh.

Sure, some manage to make the jump to quasi-journalistic status. Some become influential somehow but overall blogs are diaries. They'll evolve over time but in its purest form it's a place to be vocal and offer opinions.

To me, I see it as a conscience of media and society at large. We're more proactive-reaction. How to put this? Let's see. Let's take entrepreneurs and businessmen. Some people want to own a business but not all can build one from scratch - either because they don't have an idea (which makes them less of an entrepreneur) or don't have the skills to launch one - so they do the next best thing: They buy a franchise. Along the way, they learn business and may or may not branch out and take the final step.

Same with blogging-journalism. Blogging can be seen as a franchise solution (for some aspiring writers. Most are just plain happy to blog for its own sake) to exploring a career they may have overlooked.

For the longest time we just had to accept or at best write a letter to the editor to give our opinions. Now, people with their own personal thoughts and ideas can say, "hey, that's not what I think here's why..."

 For instance, I can see this title on Time "Is America Islamophobic" come back here and write, "that's a retarded title" for many reasons.

Media once upon a time, when techonology wasn't what it is today, had a "captive-influence" advantage in that all information passed through them. With the internet, that position of informational power has been softened and blurred if not obilerated.

The more cocky smug mainstreamers will add bloggers "wear pjamas while living in their mother's basement." First off, pretty presumptuous. How do they know we grew up with single parents, huh? Eh?

Of course, they didn't check their sources to confirm if that's true and we all know media don't "react" or play "shill" games.

I'll tell you one thing, I don't live in my mother's basement, (well, I did. Once. Long ago) consider myself to be successful and dress as smoothly as any Rat Pack member.

Better than the average journalist I've seen anyway.

2010-08-28

Mangos On A Stick

Now I saw it all.

With the streets of St. Laurent boul. closed off to traffic, Montrealers did what they do best: Lay back.

Shop owners from Rachel all the way to Sherbrooke streets were selling all sorts of stuff. In a precious few blocks you could sink you teeth into Portuguese, Italian, Hungarian, Asian - you name it - food. That wasn't it. Musicians, magicians, dancers and an assortment of artists entertained thousands of Mtlers.

So what did I obsess over? Mangos on a stick. Fucking stupid.

But. One man's stupidity is another man's novelty. People were nuts for mango on a stick.

Fruit on a dish? Nah. Put an entire mango on a stick and suddenly people act like it's fucking sliced bread.

"Honey, you never eat mango!"
"Yeah, but now it's on a stick! From now on, I won't anything unless it's on a stick! 2 dollars is that it?"

I don't know why but it bugged me. Maybe because I didn't find rabbit on a stick. Or artichoke on a stick.

"Man, what am I gonna do with all this mango?
"Put it on a stick."
"Don't be stupid."
"Well, I have all these sticks..."

The other thing is the city of Montreal should block off traffic every weekend on one street for one month a year. It can only be good for the economy. No?

Day Care Diaries

All this interventionism in the day care industry and still I find many places I wouldn't put my dog (if I had one) in. Unless I hated him or her and wanted to be cruel.

But Commentator, imagine how worse it would be if there was no interventionism!

Don't be so sure.

Different Teaching Strategies For Different Empires

"...the shrewd Persians have a law that on the death of their king they must practice lawlessness for the next five days...in order to learn by experience what lawlessness is...so that they may become more trusty guardians of their kings."

Sextus Empiricus

Stated another way: You don't know what you've got until you lose it.

Or: You're gonna love me when I'm gone.

And: Wait til your father comes home.

No? Maybe not.

Why I Blog Part 11...I Think

It's an outlet that would otherwise be directed at people close to me would have to endure.

This way, I write and forget and family members are spared.

***

I don't market this blog. I don't because I barely trust or comprehend or respect have of what I write. How can I ask people to "subscribe" to this. I'm filled with so much self-doubt and skepticism I can't get past the "shut up dipshit no one cares what you think" obstacle. So I just let it be. If people gravitate here it's because they really like it. I prefer it that way then following and expunging energy on marketing campaigns.

Yes, I subscribe to the post and they shall come (eventually or never) philosophy.

Call it Field of Blogs.

My Goals And Objectives

My wife asked me about "my goals" the other night during supper.

Stupid question but I answered anyway.

"Me? My goal, sticking my hand out slowly rotating it as if I was about to perform a magic trick, is to flip meat on the barbecue with my bare hands."

My wife is a school teacher. There's nothing she can do, I'm sure she realizes by now, to prevent people from acting like immature gnomes later in life.

Terrorism Goes Beyond American Imperialism

It's pretty standard, if not typical (and tiresome), now to take the position, in rationalizing 9/11-Islam, by looking at it strictly from an American perspective. Notice it's all about "what" America does. It's rarely, if ever, about the conditions of the kleptocracies to which these people exist. It's never about their own issues.

American imperialism - however defined - is just part of the equation and I submit a smaller, but by no means not less important, one than we think.

American imperialism - or any kind for that matter - is a neat excuse to use as a smokescreen for terrorist organizations. It was the perfect cover to draw the U.S. into an underground war and it was a brilliant ploy. A ploy strictly used to further their own agenda: Religion. Or if you prefer, religious imperialism. They found an all too willing participant in America. The debate should be about whether America should have accepted the dance in that context.

This is not to suggest foreigners on one's soil is not a legitimate grievance. The question is how much weight should it be given?

In that light, said "reasons" why Al-Queda exists and does what it does is too appeals our self-absorbed and naive sensibilities. Read the handbook, readily available anywhere, to really see what they're up to. They don't hide it. And we shouldn't deny it.

Whenever I see a terrorist Imam step up and read out a list of grievances I'm reminded of Hans on Die Hard when he invented a list of grievances to convey the L.A. police to mask his real motive.

I remember back in my wasted days in University professors, almost in lockstep (not all), rallying around the "it's American imperialism, stupid" argument. Conversely, this imperialism kept people poor and disenfranchised with nowhere to go leaving them vulnerable...to fight America. Same routine in Europe.

Somewhat simplistic, I reckon. It never satisfied me this explanation.

As I knew then, and we know now, these dudes are highly educated and wealthy. They just recruit poor pawns to fill out the roster so to speak- like any army on earth. It's always the smart ones the most dangerous - like serial killers.

Geez, I thought people would have figured it out by now.

Frankly, and this is just me, I find it sad Americans take the sole position of their country being an "accessory" to evils being perpetuated on their soil. How about an honest discussion that includes Middle-East countries free of all the buts?
In fact, listening to this Imam and the whole NYC bull shit, I can see why people are rubbed the wrong way with all this.
Sure, Western imperialism has had an impact on the region but the problems of the Arab world go well beyond just the Soviets, British and Americans.

Blaming only America is just another form of denial to a real problem.

I recommend readers pick up Bernard Lewis and the history of the Mid-East. He does a good job of explaining it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is Occam's Razor dudes. Occam's Razor.

Post-Economy

Please allow me to take a different take on America's economy.

It's post-agrarian-post-manufacturing-post-industrial. It's service and knowledge based now. Can it be they're in transition? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the country still has a good kick at the can left in it.

It's more likely to look like one of those post-industrial societies we see in sci-fi flicks than receding back into a stone age.

In the long-run, that's gonna be in their favor.

Conservatives Are Gonna Have To Do Better

I keep hearing how conservatives are for "free enterprise."

What, liberals aren't? A socialist can't own a business?

Enough of the vague platitudes. Time to explain exactly a little more in detail what conservative "values" are. Do they mean a conservative political and intellectual platform is more conducive to free enterprise? How? Lower taxes? Smaller government? Fine. How do you achieve those goals? How do you go about making government smaller? Are you prepared to accept the consequences of those decisions by dismantling what's in the state armoury?

Specifics please.

To me, free-enterprise is a personality attribute. The question can be reframed as; which ideology best supports free-enterprise.

2010-08-27

Just Another Day In Statistville

This has little to do with Quebec per se and more to do with the wider debate, if not war, about personal civil rights across North America. That the Quebec government is tyrannical about its education laws is not surprising. It's their shtick. As I pointed out, they've decided culture comes before individual choices.

However, those who complain have to realize they allowed this to happen. We accepted government social welfare programs which led to excessive interventionism in the private sphere. We signed that contract and to break it will take nothing short of a revolution or renaissance of some sort. The day we signed over our bodies to the state under universal health care was the day the government accepted the signal as becoming the point guard in our lives. After all, what can be more sacred than our bodies? We willingly offloaded our rights to the government for the "collective good."

Not judging that decision. Just sayin'.

It's not surprising then that concepts of private property is limited. If you sit on oil, think twice if you think it's yours. Eminent domain limits your private property rights. Or that the government is now mandating where people can't smoke including in private spaces. Or that they now have the courage to begin an assault on your diet. Or that they, as is the case in Quebec, control education with an iron fist dictating where people can send their kids AND what they will learn. If people would take a step back, they'd realize education is part of the private realm. We've been conditioned to believe it's the state's job. If you want to fight Bill 104 go here then.

Premier Charest, or any politician, doesn't care about you or you're rights. The mere fact he's taking people, free, tax paying citizens, to court is heinous in itself. Remember that. It's an attack on all Quebecers.

Like I said. Quebec is not alone on this front. The province goes a step further than most jurisdictions because of the language issue but it's no different from what I read goes on in California, New York, Massachussets or Ontario.

We've been witnessing a slippery slope for 50 years now. It's all dried up by now I reckon.

Hello?

Terrorist Plot Uncovered

So. Terrorists wanted to take out the Parliament building. So much for the theory of "if we distance ourselves from the U.S. they'll leave us alone." Here's the article at the CBC. The last paragraph I found interesting:

"Their profiles are likely to raise concerns about homegrown radicalism, said security expert Eric Margolis, who said the roots of the radicalism is likely triggered by anger over the involvement of Western governments in countries such as Afghanistan."

I'm not so sure about this. Wasn't it assumed or posited that terrorists were from poor, uneducated backgrounds? Of course, we now know it's not the case. I've always felt they'd find other excuses to commit such crimes. What they "say" is their reasons for it may mask the real point: Power and dominance regardless of who is "involved." After all, they do kill their own.

I know someone who was an air marshall in the RCMP and is currently on patrol with them. Without getting into specifics, he basically said it's worse than people think. The cops know more or less where the cells are but can't act.

There's also a very curious line of logic among people who are not taking this seriously claiming we're over reacting. One went as far as to ask officials release the suspects lest we look like an anti-Muslim country.

Look. We're not anti-Muslim; we're defending our security interests against terrorists who happen to be Arab terrorists. Just like those in the States who want to protect the borders aren't anti-immigration but want the Federal government to uphold immigration laws.

In neither case is it driven by xenophobia. Sure, it may attract some a-holes but we shouldn't mix things up. Truth is, it's the media that conjures up images of fear. They're always coming up with a "backlash against Muslims or Hispanics feared" headline even though, save a precious few isolated incidences, it's never really happened.

What's so difficult to grasp?

Question For Libertarians

Hobbes asserts man's natural state, when left completely free, is war. What's the libertarian response to this?


Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) once asked, "Is man inherently good with bad tendencies or is he inherently bad with good tendencies?"

Muslim Mosque Musings

I notice the American media has characterized those who oppose the NYC Islamic Community Center with a possible Mosque as racist. They've hit the Islamaphobia button. I don't think America is "Islamaphoia." They're, letting aside the nuts, just "why-build-it-right-here-given-what-happened-phobic."

As I've pointed out, I find it very strange how a group of people who up until recently did nothing but essentially attack religion - specifically Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism - with vitriol that hinged on hysteria, suddenly find love for Islam in NYC?


The right is talking about St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church as if there's a double standard but it doesn't sound as though they were told not to build. Rather it's a question of hammering a deal with the Port Authority. In any event, both churches lack funds.

Back to racism. I'm privy to some comments in the Christian Arab community and lemme tell ya, if the NYT or WaPo or Times got their hands on this....oooo nelly! They'd see rushing to play the race card (yawn) as is a lazy cop out. They pretty much agree with those who say, "why there? Why not cut a deal and go elsewhere?" There are limits to "freedom" and at some point all parties have to be "reasonable" in certain situations. The word is compromise. Didn't anyone ever watch Sesame Street? Wait. I think they covered the word 'cooperation' and not compromise.

The other thing, as it's been pointed out, is the revival of property rights in the popular discourse. Usually this sort of stuff conjures up images of lone libertarians defending their shacks.

Of course, as people are finding out, it's a little more than that. Classical liberals and libertarians and even conservatives talk about this all the time. Liberals less so. Liberals are defending Park 51 (formerly known as Cordoba House) because of property rights. They have a friend in libertarians suddenly. However, the thing that cracks a smirk on my smug face is when it comes to banning smoking in public and private space, they have no problem when the state enters the property rights realm to meet that objective. Or they don't seem too concerned about property owners along the Mexican-American border. If they are, please forward me literature.

The right is often criticized for its hypocrisy on matters of morality and economics; particularly fiscal responsibility. When it comes to religion and proerty rights, the left aren't exactly honest either.

***

Two contrasting examples of Muslim (women) in the work place. Someone was telling me how in their daycare a Muslim worker got up and left the kids behind to go pray. She was stunned as this was obviously irresponsible and if inspectors dropped in she would have lost her license. I don't know if she disciplined or fired her. I have to ask. Meanwhile, after one full year, I just found out my daughter's teacher is Muslim. Yet, you wouldn't have guessed it. She seems to adjust to secularism quite fine; like Turks I reckon.

Who said Muslims can't "adapt?"

2010-08-26

Quote

Presumptuousness is the mother of all fallacies.

Author: Me. Moi. Io.

Long-Gun Registry Efficient

Earlier on The Commentator, I said there was no credible report about the efficiencies of the long-gun registry. Now we have one. I'm not so sure about the conclusions.

By the way, I'm thinking of joining a gun club next year.

No joke.

I used to skeet shoot when I was a teenager. Want back in. Nothing like shooting inanimate objects. Nothing. Yesireebob.

Come to think of it, what would make it better is shooting priceless pottery and ceramic dishes from all parts of the world. I destroy works of arts - For free!

Things I Hate

DJ's - if you can call them that these days - who interrupt the end of songs before they end. Sometimes some of the best part of songs is at the very end.

Dr. Johnny Fever or Venus Flytrap would never do that.

2010-08-25

Times, They Change

Funny.

And for the record, I do think downloading is shameless and illegal. I don't blame kids. They take their cue from their parents and society at large. Someone failed to explain to them, along the line, it's not cool and here's why...

Instead, all we hear are all sorts of lame excuses (the record companies make a killing and are evil, evil I tell you! Like how my cousin rationalized committing credit card fraud by asserting credit card companies have slush funds for fraud anyway. The thing he failed to compute was they past those losses along to other credit users) to justify their activity. The bottom line is you're stealing from a writer or artist. It's no different than stealing a pack of cigarettes or cards or chocolate bar.

Ethics, and the teachingof, is needed more than ever. It doesn't sound like parents are taking control either.

Best .50 Cents Spent Evah

I did something noble today. Ok, nobel in my mind. Before I get to it, I'm what you call a bleeding heart softie. I do, for example, give to homeless people. Not all of them because I would go broke since Montreal seems to have one on every corner (so much for the effectiveness of the compassionate welfare state), but I'll drop some coinage on a couple. A few years ago I did so in front of a friend. "Why did you do that? They get nothing from me. The government kills me on taxes on the premise they'll take care of them." He was right. He saw it as double dipping and what was left in his pocket was his.

As I try to convey on this blog, we don't do enough to keep tabs on exactly how the state runs its affairs.

Still, I couldn't bring myself to ignore a guy with one shoe. I once gave my lunch to a young guy. It wasn't a cheap lunch either: Capicollo, provolone, basil, tomatoes, olive oil and light honey dijon on a delicious ciabatta.

I also give to kids at street corners trying to raise money to go to a hockey tournament held in the nether-regions of this vast province or students selling chocolate to earn a trip to the Science Museum in Ottawa. To me there's value in their goals and that they're going door to door is a good experience. They'll meet a guy like me and they'll encounter curmudgeons. It's all part of the learning curve. Heaven knows they're learning a clean version of life in school these days.

It's not ultruism. It just is.

So today I did something I never did before. I forked over .50 cents for lemonade. Quite frankly, I took it as a sign from God since I was drying up faster than the Sahara. I have to admit, in today's heightened paranoia, I felt a little weird pulling up with a 4x4 up to a lemonade stand with two young girls - I looked around to see if there were any cops. Hey, I'm a product of my media environment I guess - so I tanked the juice, thanked and wished them luck and off I went to a meeting.

Then I wondered. What if the cops were around not to question me but shut their operation down?

We live in a time where our laws are numerous and have allowed ourselves to become slaves to a city code or bylaw to the point of interpreting them to the letter. I see it in my hockey pool. It's retarded how nine guys will let some things go understanding it won't be detrimental to the integrity of the pool but ONE person will object insisting we act like effen Nazi robots. Guess who wins? "If we allow this then this will happen" and "who will think of the children?" "c'est la loi" and "it's a slippery slope" and "the greater good" and any other typical cliche you can think of will be used to defend a statist position. Next thing we know, we have to bend to Mr. Tightypants.

"Spirit of the law" is another fave of mine. I've observed it's always applied when interests are threatened. No one cares about the "spirit" of the law. Talk about moving targets.

Common sense and common decency counts for nothing. The idea that winking at a law (that may or may not be stupid to begin with) will somehow lead to an inevitable evil end tires me.

I believe in the wisdom of crowds. If, say, ten people are governed by a law, but are in agreement to be lenient for a particular situation, then so be it. See it as an assembly exercising legitimate free will on a law they consented (hopefully) to in the first place.

Yes, I do believe busting up lemonade stands, taking down Christmas trees, or fining someone for breaking a mysterious bylaw putting their bag on a park bench, demanding permits to sell socks, or like what happened to us in the 1980s, a person called the cops on us for playing hockey in the streets* - whatever - to be reprehensible acts regardless of the damn laws. These are trivial things to get caught up with. I think there are waaaayyyy bigger fisheses to fry (with some garlic). We can barely take care of that business so focusing on whether a kid uses chalk on the street seems a little tyrannical to me.

Not advocating a free hippie commune take drugs in front of your neighbour while barbecuing naked world here. I'm not unrealistic.I understand I benefit too from zoning laws for example. Or that if my idiot neighbours decide to party for two days straight pushing my patience to the limit, I know I have recourse. I'm not obtuse enough to bash every single regulation or law since many do make sense. But gosh...chill a little.

I do question the veracity of some of them anyway. Permits are nothing but a racket and you can quote me on that. Racket.

When you increase your laws you increase the chance at corruption as Tacitus said. Not only that, you have to hire so many people that not all are properly educated or naturally endowed with a public servant temperment. Chances are, you'll be hiring a lot of assholes to interpret the laws.

In a way, taking that lemonade was a way for me to increase my sugar intake (and it was a little to sugary) thus giving a big middle finger to whoever - citizen or bureaucrat - would take that right away.

I just hope that girl will spend her .50 cents wisely and not go gamble on a lotto ticket. In fact, there oughta be a law on how a 10 year-old can spend their (tax-free) money.

Kidding.

*The cops were cool about and were in a bind. A taxpaying douche was well within his rights. So they asked us to compromise and move the game. We did. A case of "reasonable accomodation" and despite what I've written above I want to believe is the norm rather than the exception.

California Public Sector Bubble

The thread on this post, towards the middle to end, actually goes into the government v. corporation thing.

A public sector employee earning 800 k? That can't be so, can it?

Oh wait.

Orwell Was Prescient

England has a 'Head of Behaviour Change?'

You know what? I think it's time they stop saying "We haven't been invaded and conquered since 1066." I think something is going down in the UK that's more sinister than William the Conquerer.

What's Good For The Goose...

Since I'm stabbin' along I want to try this topic out.

As delicately as I can, please allow some pontification on this post.

We are told, by various people in the media and personal accounts, that the Tea Party is an astro-turf enterprise rooted in racism. More or less, right? Even though no official platform lucidly articulating their loose movement is forthcoming. Agreed so far? All we have are snippets of some among them acting like racists and others, in their honesty, believe to be doing a good thing free of any racial thoughts.

But that doesn't stop people tagging the "baggers" as racist. Anectodal evidence for the most part I reckon.

Now let me draw and drag in the Muslim community and Islam. We're warned to not take the misguided words and distorted views of a few and apply them to the whole of Islam. Even though there's documented evidence that so-called "moderates" are not immune to, say, conspiracy theories on 9/11 or that the United States was an 'accessory" to what happened on that day. Is it that much of a stretch that this line of thinking exists among even the most moderate of Muslims? Which, in turn, spurns suspicions among parts of the population. Of course, it proves little, since non-Muslim Americans can think the same thing.

Point is: You either apply the sensible law of  not "painting all with one brush" or you don't. Until the Tea Party states its overtly racist, it's tough to accept them in its entirety as such based on suspicion. People are entitled to suspect but not to indict.

Likewise, it's tough to accept Muslims at large to be sympathetic to "accerssory" rhetoric even if it comes from the mouth of one guy until Islam as a whole declares it to be so.

I don't see that. I see lotsa pickin' n choosin' depending on what side of the ideological fence you sit.

One more note about this. If Sarah Palin is attacked for her connection to Dominionists, then how is it different for Rauf and his connections to unsavoury elements of Islam? One is mercilessly scrutinized, while the other is not?

Government Versus Corporations

I'll take a stab at this government versus corporations thing.

The one thing libertarians do is rail against encroaching government (especially in matters of private life)but don't voice enough, according to critics, concern over is the threat of an MNC. Maybe they're less inclined because a corporation is a legitimate enterprise. The fear on the left is a business becoming a monopoly to the point of becoming a de facto government. My friend once said of the two evils, he'd choose government because they have a duty - in principal I added - to protect its citizens whereas corporations hide behind self-interested stockholders - that have a function in wealth creation I added.

However, if one of their (libertines) tenets is "it's all good until coercion is used" don't corporations use coercion to influence the democratic process? Which doesn't say much for a government that let's itself be pushed around. Not unless it's a government run by TDR of course.

Now we pretty much have corporations and governments fused together. The laws in place do less damage, it seems, to big corporations and serve more as an irritant to small and medium size businesses.

Talk amongst yourselves.

More Thoughts On L'Affaire Mosque

The New Criterion ponders Feisal Abdul Rauf.

S'okay. Apparently s'allgood.

Poooolitzer Prize winning writer Eugene Robinson called Commune Mosque Rauf practically a "flower child." Weird.

Aside from the fact that he doesn't present a fact supporting this claim, readers are basically left to take his word for it?

I'm tempted to draw an Italian/Mafia analogy with the Muslim/terrorist one. But I won't.

Not yet. Not until I'm pushed. Against a railing. In Niagara Falls. Like that idiotic kid in Superman.

Can't Escape Race

Obama on race at Maynard Institute.

"One of the ways that I think that the civil rights movement . . . weakened itself was by enforcing a single way of being black — being authentically black," Obama said.



"And, as a consequence, there were a whole bunch of young black people — and I fell prey to this for a time when I was a teenager — who thought that if you were really 'down' you had to be a certain way. And oftentimes that was anti-something. You defined yourself by being against things as opposed to what you were for. And I think now young people realize, you know what, being African American can mean a whole range of things. There's a whole bunch of possibilities out there for how you want to live your life, what values you want to express, who you choose to interact with."

Yeah, I know the feeling.

2010-08-24

Gay Bar Next To Mosque

Dunno how realistic this plan is but it's getting a little out of hand. But what if Greg Gutfield succeeds in getting the reaction he wants from them?

If he does and they make a stink about it, double standard at work, no? That's what I'm interested in.

I'm having a blast reading sites like Media Matters and other "progressive" and liberal sites defend religious rights. It's amazing to listen to them strenulously tell people (rightly) to not paint Islam with one brush meanwhile it's all they do with Christianity.

They say the right is insane, I say the left matches them step for step.

The thing I don't get about President Obama is he asserts the Mosque/Community Center/Cordoba/Park51 (or whatever it is they're calling it) has a right to open, yet he's against gay marriage, the right to bear arms and people choosing if they want or need medical insurance?

Playing With History

I feel a little uneasy linking to Huffington Post. From time to time my sister sends me links to the site and each time I'm left with one eyebrow raised. Sometimes two.

They really need to ban Kool-Aid.

Anyway. This article in particular left me utterly unsatisfied. I have a degree in History and so it's hard for me to take it too seriously.

It seems rather puerile to say nothing of being a pointless exercise. The "Marconi v. Tesla' thing in particular is mistreated. Not that the facts presented were necessarily wrong. It's just how it's applied I wonder about.

Aside from the fact I'm not really a fan of creating"over rated" lists for historical figures (history in the wrong hands can turn ugly), it would be interesting to learn what his criteria was to settle on these eight since it can hardly be an exhaustive list.

You can make a case for many, many, many people to join the list. People think The Beatles and Wayne Gretzky are over rated. You know?

This being a liberal site, notice the insertion of Reagan.

*Rolls eyes*

On this subject, I appeal to readers and their thoughts. Is it a puff piece?

2010-08-23

Gay Vibe Contest Announcement

I don't know how many readers here are gay (or happy) but if you are you can win a trip to Tel Aviv.

You have to join Facebook to enter the Tel Aviv Gay Vibe contest.

Hey, Scott is polite and a good guy who helped set up my interview with the hilarious Leslie Kritzer so I'm doing my little bit to make the world a better place.

Since the FB page is low on details I've copy/pasted the email here:

"Just a quick note about a contest underway you might want to tell your audience about. Tel Aviv Gay Vibe, a new campaign from the Tel Aviv Tourism Board, is giving away a free trip to Tel Aviv, including roundtrip airfare and three nights in a hotel.


To enter, people need to visit the “Win the Vibe!” tab of the campaign’s Facebook page, download the campaign’s logo and have someone take their picture outdoors with them holding up a printout of the logo. Then, post the photo on the campaign’s Facebook wall.

Judges will choose the posted image they like best and that person wins the trip.

Your audience can keep summer going by entering this contest and booking a trip this fall, where beach weather lasts into November."

Here's some copy he sent me about all this:

"Hailed as “a dashing piece of gay heaven,” TEL AVIV GAY VIBE is the new, six-month initiative launched by the Tel Aviv Tourism Board to fulfill the city’s promise as the world’s newest gay capital. From its golden Mediterranean shores lined with stunningly beautiful men and women to world-class nightlife, restaurants and fashion, Tel Aviv is an oasis of freedom, energy and fun.



“Tel Aviv is not just gay-friendly,” said Tel Aviv city councilman and LGBT community leader, Yaniv Weizman. “Tel Aviv is gay!” Europeans are instantly familiar with Tel Aviv’s buzzing cafĂ© culture and cosmopolitan shopping, while LGBTs are often surprised by the city’s openness – and how popular European tourists are to Israelis."

Criminals Didn't Get The Gun Registry Memo

"Why don't we have a sex offender registry?" (Julian) Fantino asked angrily. "We have a gun registry. The (federal government) is very busy spending tons of money on the gun registry which is regulating law-abiding citizens, essentially."

The gun registry is just the latest in a long list of well-meaning theories and laws that don't convert well into practicality. To say nothing of the administration costs to run what the former police chief has correctly asserted regulates law-abiding citizens.

Reminds me of the battle against drunk driving. They want to lower the limit to essentially less than one glass of wine. They can put it to 0.00 and there'll still be drunk drivers killing people because alcoholics don't follow rules. It's pointless and I've yet to see a report that supports it works. Even during those traps how many of those people are just one-time offenders who happened to have two beers? I don't think they're the problem at all.

Same with the gun registry. It would have to take a remarkable kind of naive individual to actually believe criminals would register their guns. Moreover, citizens who hold libertarian principles to heart are also likely to ignore the gun registry.

In fact, there are no credible studies or facts that prove the gun registry actually saves or protects lives. All it does is create a fall sense of security. Lotsa finger snapping and shuffling of papers and not much else.

"Our crusading Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, reported on the gun registry and told the public the Canadian Firearms Centre couldn’t provide “evidence-based outcomes” that it works."

***

"Edmonton cop Const. Randy Kuntz used a police magazine to survey officers across the country on the issue of the gun registry.


He got 2,631 replies and 2,410 of them said the gun registry is useless as a crime fighting tool."

No shit. On the computer it can say "No guns registered on this house" even though it's the house of a known criminal. What will cops do? Walk up eating a doughnut laughing because the data base says the coast is clear?

Obama's Lineage

I normally could care less for a person's lineage. "Yeah, you may be a descendant of Pepin the Short, but you're still an asshole! Now pay me!"

The whole Obama roots thing is getting old. It won't be long before someone traces him back to a mysterious lost Inuit tribe with alien connections.

Here's his lineage. I don't know how accurate or reliable this is but he sure has deep lying connections. I mean, a distant cousin of James Madison?

Holy crap! My how times have changed! Obama's political philosophy ain't Madison datsfirshure.

What's also interesting is given all these connections, Obama seems to be clueless himself of his background. Clearly, in addition, he's not "black" but bi-multi-racial. A man of many colours and civilizations.

He's still a liberal though.

Hot-cha-cha-cha-cha!

Stats In Graphs

Thought this chart was interesting:

As for tax cuts, I don't know why people are against them. It means more money in YOUR pockets. There. I said. Simplistic. Don't care.

German (Krautrock) Rock

Wicked stuff from Can:



2010-08-22

Save The Word Voluntary

Quebec is mulling over making wearing a helmet while cycling mandatory.

There's that word again. I don't know why people choose it over voluntary. I prefer that word. Don't you? If you don't, then get lost. You heard me. Beat it. Your mother wears construction boots.

At this rate, the word voluntary will be a forgotten relic of the English language. As a matter of fact, I thnk it's time to save the word 'volunrary!" But first. Pear juice beckons.

One of the rationales pimped out to defend this idea is because it'll save money for the public health system. A poor excuse indeed. What good is this system if it means we have to take yet more personal liberties away to save some bureaucratic monstrosity money?

More to the point, think of how much money will be spent just campaigning to convince people that wearing helmets as a preventative measure is good for them.? That cost alone will likely be more than the odd person who winds up in the ER. Man, at some point you just have to let life be.

Which brings us right back to the point of the government doing things to "protect" us from ourselves.

All bull shit of course.

Anglo Alliance

The British-American-Canadian-Australian alliance and empire just a conspiracy theory?

If not, I have one question:

Who's doing the cooking?

Confessions Of The Commentator

I have a bad habit. I tend to buy all sorts of things; sesame oil, sweet pickles, olive spread, hummus, red relish, fancy sauces and jams, Nutella, peanut butter, salsa, specialty biscuits and other gourmet items etc. The racks inside the door are stacked with all sorts of shit. I think I have five hot sauces.

I usually start one bottle off and consume it like a depraved lunatic. Then, for some reason, half-way through, some of these items languish for months in the fridge. They sit there. Staring. Forming whatever forms on bottles in fridges. Then the question, "I'm cleaning the fridge. Are you gonna eat this?" "Oh, I forgot about that! I love it! Nah. Throw it out."

I confess, I eat probably 80% of what I buy but sometimes the sweet and sour onions don't make it, you know?

***

I have a problem with my keyboard. The icon that allows me to type jumps all over the place. I can be typing one line and it jumps to a previous paragraph. If you're not paying attention it can be quite the mess. It's even happened where as I'm furiously typing it jumps to a submit button and actually publishes!

It's a monarchical pain in the divine ass. Someone told me it's a glitch. Is it?

Duh

"In the military, . . . complex, divergent thinkers, either . . . bite their tongue or they get out.. . . Very, very rarely they get to be generals."

Isn't this the case, like, for anything?

Reminds me of my time in the bank. You read what? Who? Why? What's it got to do with banky thingies?

The Beast Has Changed His Number

Dials: 666.

"That number is no longer in service. It has been replaced by 668."

"Since the last issue many things have occurred, every one in accordance with prophecy! ... War events thunder on, rapidly approaching the prophesied climax!... Hitler now emerges as the "BEAST" of Revelation! Bible prophecy shows the Roman Axis forces will take Egypt, Suez, Palestine, — even Gibraltar. Britain will go down. And, unless we turn as a nation to God our beloved United States will have to go under ... we lack TOTAL Defense, without which we shall never win. We are at the END of the present order. ARMAGEDDON is now just a short way off."

Chill, dude.

My wife's family is going through the painful process of cleaning out her father's possessions. I was around the other day, rummaging like a cheap whore, and came across a copy of The Plain Truth - a conservative Christian paper from the 1980s and I believe still in publication published by Herbert W. Armstrong. Armstrong was the founded of the Worldwide Church of God.

The above quote sounds so much like the economic armageddon rhetoric of today.

Debating "The Mosque" Is Not Bigoted

It's interesting the left suddenly loves private property and freedom of religion in the wake of the Mosque controversy. The NYT and Time have done nothing but paint Catholicism with one broad brush with the molestation scandals. But Islam is off the table when it comes to criticism?

There's the legal right issue, of which there's no doubt the Mosque is well within its rights to build, and the symbolic and emotional angle. Which, naturally, is far more complex to disentangle. As it stands, the majority of New Yorkers/Americans are against the idea. Does it make them ignorant? Is it in fact a Constitutional issue?

It doesn't help that apparently the main dude behind the community center has made what can be construed as controversial comments about American foreign policy and its role in the 9/11 attacks.

Personally, I don't think being against the Mosque is bigoted or even ignorance. It's just drawing a line in the sand that's all. I don't see anything wrong in debating this.

Once again, this becomes a battle between the major ideologies and not necessarily about religion.

2010-08-21

Charts And Stimulus

Scary financial charts.

I know the Celente's of this world are calling for a massive retrenchment or downright collapse, but I'm not convinced the U.S. economy's, while in terrible shape, fate is sealed.

Good discussion on stimulus and whether it works here.

Stimulus does work; it's politics that determines if it succeeds or not.

External Debt Rankings

Ranking of nations by external debt.

Another ranking here.

Countries we don't normally associate with high (external) debt are. Countries like Austria, Germany (although it remains a top creditor nation along with Switzerland and Japan), Netherlands and Switzerland.

Notice how Italy - often seen as the most indebted nation (because of its public debt as a percentage of GDP) - while endowed with a large debt in total dollars, by percentage of GDP and per capita, it's not one of the highest on the external side. As pointed out in another post by an economist, Italy's debt is mostly internal. It still doesn't mean there aren't severe problems with its economy. It's just the debt isn't the issue: Growth and wages are.


Canada, United States and Australia are stars next to some European nations.

More Sitcoms

I mentioned Taxi in the last post. So...

One Of The Best Sitcoms

I don't site too many influences for this blog but if there is one, it's WKRP and Magnum P.I.. As you can tell by my avatar and my Magnum box. Like a good album or any piece of art, 'KRP just "worked" for me. It didn't seem forced or fake. It felt genuine.

Like Taxi, WKRP had a criminally short run.

Obama's Religion In Vogue

If it's not one thing it's another in politics.

While the left went berserko on Bush, the right is not that far behind on Obama.
He's not according to 'The Presidents Fact Book.' He's listed (despite his father's Muslim background) as a Congregationalist; a Protestant denomination. Ironically, that puts him right in line with the religious Presidential lineage.

Seem to me it's best to focus on his policies.

***

I will say this. If Bush spent 20 years in Rev. Wright's church, we'd never hear the end of it.

Democrats Not So Sure Of Their Own Health Care Message

Well, from day one the math never made any sense. So the White House backtracking a little (something Obama is really getting good at) on it is not surprising.

I don't know anything about American health, except for the fact I paid $35 bucks to see a doctor in 1986 to check out my busted ear drum in Florida, but was it really a stretch to believe it wasn't going to save money? I couldn't understand why they would use that angle.

I guess they felt by dressing it as fiscally responsible, somehow, someway down the road was the way to go given the present econo-pyscho state of Americans. They further probably figured people would learn to love it and the anger would go away.

Confessions Of The Commentator

Sometimes, when I'm driving around in the middle of the night, I stop, look both ways and go through red lights. What's the point of sitting and waiting in the dead of night?

Harper's Black Book

Threat to democracy? Ha, ha, ha!

After we're done laughing about our democracy being transparent move on to Harper's 'Black List' article and how it's a "threat to democracy." Just ask the dude who got kicked off his own property by the Quebec government how he views "threat."

In any event, Harper really needs to chill. Chretien only wishes he could have pushed the PMO this far.

Think You Have Property Rights?

Think again.

The Quebec government is siding with a corporation and forcing a man of his property because it happens to sit on a shit load of gold.

Maudits tyrants.

2010-08-20

Boring Times In Canadian Politics

The on-going census debate is starting to jade my respect for Canadian politics. For the record, I back the Conservatives in making the long-form voluntary by eliminating the threat of jail time and fines. Geez, if this gets Canadians all emotional...what will happen when something really important has to be tackled?

While the other parties agree to the former, they still want to fine citizens. So the conservatives will look to "compromise" and leave the fine in.

Once again, they back down. To some, this is healthy Canadian democracy. It's bull shit to me. It's not democratic when the effen issue is whether to fine us for our private information.

I find this ghastly. If I don't want to answer that's my effen business. Do they honestly believe that libertarian-leaning Canadians are going to offer the "right" information knowing they can be fines? On some level people fight back, you know.  It pisses me off when the government comes to me with a knife at my neck.

And what else is new that the fucking Liberals and NDP would back such nonsense?

Economy Not Fixed

I was reading Eugene Robinson earlier. Ooo nelly. The government really has to ban Kool-Aid. Holy crazy stimulus package, Bat-Man! How can any person, let alone a fricken journalist who won a Pooolitser, actually publicly proclaim success on the economy for the Obama adminstration? The more they do it, the worse the picture really is.


Anyway. The chap in the video touched on something that taps into my outlook. For me, recessions are not necessarily a bad thing. It's a way for the economy to self-clean itself. They're as natural as, well, pubic hair. It really shouldn't take a genius to see this. However, it looks like now it does. To this guy, stimulus was a way for the government to misguidingly eliminate recessions. It looked like worked in the post-war era but now, it looks like, the ride is over.

Originally from The Daily Middle.

Where I remaind confused about is, if Obama is anti-business, why does he bail them out? For such an anti-guy, he sure is in bed with them. Don't misunderstand me, his rhetoric doesn't fill me with much hope about free enterprise, but there are some loopholes I'd like filled before I rubber stamp him as such.

Ubiquitous Gerald

Celente is everyfrickenwhere now.


You know. I think his message resonates more with Americans than Obama. It's amazing to read comments and message boards. Even on liberal websites, where die-hard Obamabots live, you'll find disenchanted voices.

All Bush's fault of course.

Naturally.

*Floop, floop, floop. Fish stares back at you*

Beer, Beer, Beer

A couple of beer websites for your enjoyment.

World Beer Awards.

For the fun of it, I checked out how North American beers did. Not bad overall - although the Americans have the edge. Sam Adams certainly cleans up. In total, the U.S. won 45 awards by way of seven breweries. Canada, for its part, notched 15 through five companies - including a couple from Quebec. I think I'll go pick up a couple tomorrow. By 11 am I expect to be screaming, "you don't know me" to my French-speaking neighbours.

Not surprisingly, the Belgians, English, Scots and Germans dominate the list. Some Czech beers I saw too.

The other is tastingbeers.com.

There's Something About Rush

"Women hate Rush. It's a fact." So my friend proclaimed passing a joint around years ago. Perhaps a tad oversimplification but my own experiences with Rush and the female entity corroborated with him and his red shot, docile green eyes. "Change that please, Commentator" a girl I was dating, oh I don't know, 20 years ago. "Yeah, seriously" my younger sister lamented in agreement. My older sister once removed a Neil Young cassette saying, "his voice fais pas mon affaire." Loosely translated, "his voice just doesn't do it for me."

Iconic Canadian rockers, Rush is a peculiar band to be sure. I've seen Rush live twice in my life. One thing I like to do at concerts is survey the type of crowd and lemme tell ya, Rush has a special fan base. The type of girls Rush attracts are not the ones who watch 'Sex in the City' I reckon.

I don't know why this is so. Is it the Rush "sound" in all its...I still can't describe Rush. They're definitely not progressive (that fucking word again). Progressive rock - what was so damn progressive about it? King Crimson, for example,  is just plain abstract-freaky. Not progressive.

Anyway. Is it the "concept" albums philosophy? Geddy Lee's primal yelp? Or is it because he reminds girls of the mute rocker at the back of the class who wore a tight jean jacket and worn out "Sticky Fingers' t-shirt with headphones wrapped around his neck and tobacco shoes? They say in life there is no black and white. With Rush and critics, there's no such thing as a grey matter. You're either with them or against them.

What is it with Rush that on one hand, they garner one of the biggest most loyal cult fan base in rock history (and I'm talking among Zep, the Dead and Beatles territory here) where they've sold multiple gold and platinum albums (I'm pretty sure they're the most influential Canadian act in history - perhaps The Band is in their league?) and on the other hand, a sneering scathing dislike from critics and intense indifference from casual listeners. Which may explain why this magnificent band is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I know. Just plain stupid.

I have to admit, I'm not a die-hard Rush fan. I guess for me there is shades of grey after all. Some of their songs don't do it for me. Rather, my respect and great admiration of Rush stems from their artistic energy from the lyrics (inspired by Neil Peart) to the wicked hard driving roar of their music. Live, it just can't be three guys can make that kind of poweful musical noise. It just can't. It really is a marvel to behold.

The other thing I love about Rush is there's no over rating them in my mind. Canadians tend to over valuate its artists, not Rush man. These guys are bona-fide cultural giants whose art spans across the globe. Sure, there have been Canadian artists (a small exclusive club I think) that have reached such acclaim and Rush is among them.

Who is Canada's "Beach Boys," or "Bob Dylan?" or "The Beatles?" Is it The Band? The Guess Who? Or is it plain, plump Neil Young? Or is it indeed Rush? I can name a few others but I think this is the short list.





Just The Way I Like It

Sometimes credit has to be given where it's due. I was over at a government office downtown - why do people jog in the center of town? The key to good running is to avoid interruptions and downtown that's all you find including people, traffic lights and sidewalk crevices all impeding your flow. I don't know hw they can find that magical equilibrium point giving runners that "cruise control" feeling. It's as if you'll never get tired. Ever. I digress -  to register the name of my day care (yeah, yeah I finally got one). I must admit the servants were courteous, friendly and professional.

Not only that, I was there no more than 10 minutes to get things done. No fuss, no muss. No wait times. Just the way I like it. Mind you, not that many people open businesses so that could explain the thin lines. Meh.

The only thing I didn't like was when I was informed by the lady at the wicket (who was kind of hot for her age) that in doing a name search if the name is available I didn't have to pay. But the government still took my money. I forgot to ask if I can get it reimbursed. I have to check into it.

Not only that, that, I heard some of the people helping others in English.

No, this doesn't mean I'm turning soft but gotta give them a shout out. I encourage them to do more. In fact, if they're not already doing it, I would train public sector workers as if they're in the private sector. Cutting down government (unless where necessary) is an unrealistic goal but retraining workers to be efficient (and bilingual) is very feasible.

Aside from the parochial cretins who shout "McGill Francais," those who believe once Quebec separates Westmount will pass into the hands of "les pure laines," and the Liberal party of Quebec hiring more fascist-inspired language police inspectors, Quebec is coming along...slowly.

Speaking of those miserables. I've met a few in my day. Why, one told my father -during the 1995 referendum- as he handed over the rent cheque, "hold on to it because it's the last I'll give you. We're taking over."

I still chuckle over that.

It's amazing how these people lack any intellectual dignity. Rather than build their own institutions, they want to steal the ones created by the English, Scots, Jews and Irish and to a lesser extent, Chinese, Italians and Germans. It's all you need to know about their mindset.

2010-08-19

Clemens Indicted

And Congress is involved because....?

Reform A Better Option

I keep hearing we have to "reduce" the size of the government. In theory, I would like nothing more, but in practical terms, where to decide what gets cut? Is this possible without some major pain? Nonetheless, it doesn't mean there aren't government offices and departments that could easily and deservedly be nixed. It would take some kind of honesty between government and citizens to make this happen.

Pragmatically speaking, we'd probably be better off by trying to make the public sector work more efficiently. One way to do this is change the culture so that civil servants think and act like those in the private sector. It's deliberately vague I know but no one is paying me to delve further into this. My point is, civil servants can be made to be far more responsive and efficient. Reform, retrain and reinvigorate.

Where we can't be efficient, we must not allow more government agencies to open.

I see signs of it going that route in some cases but overall there's more we can do.

Beer Ads

Sometimes (mostly local) Canadian beer commercials annoy me. For example, a micro-brewery will differentiate itself by comparing their product to the large American beer companies. They give the impression that all American beer runs through Bud, Miller and Coors light. The prevailing "brand" strategy is our beer isn't weak and watered down like the American versions. Even though when I go to the States there are an endless amount of micro-breweries (and styles and tastes to go along with that)  to choose from.

Seems to me Canadians should be comparing themselves to the likes of Sam Adams and Brooklyn because the country does actually produce pretty good beer.

It's a classic case of overplaying your own quality and under playing your competitors quality.

I'm no beer connaisseur - I prefer wine - but I've come across some pretty strong American beer in my day that I considered as good - and sometimes better - than anything in Canada.

Aw, what's the point? The Most Interesting Man in the World, who doesn't always drink beer, prefers Dos Equis.

2010-08-18

Take Your Best Shot



Somedays I feel like Joey and others like Jake.

This scene inspired Pat Benatar's 'Hit me with your best shot.' Originally it was called, "Hit me with your best shnot." But after watching Raging Bull, Benatar switched it to 'shot.'

The dialog, pace and feel of this scene is reminiscent of European films.

Progressive Overkill

Salon traces back the origins of the Cordoba House-Ground Zero controversy.

Although I have no idea what the opening sentence means:

"A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan."

Aside from I'm not sure if "Muslim-Americans plans" should be both plural, why did the author add the word "progressive?"

The word progressive is becoming a little over used these days. I hate the fact that on group of people claim to be more "progressive" than others. Talk about presumptuous arrogance. In the context of the article, what exactly makes them "progressive?" It wasn't explained. Is there such a thing as progressive Christianity and would the left ever admit to it? What was the author trying to convey or even influence by constructing his sentence that way? That he's soooo prog in his politics?

Salon: You're really progressive Commentator!
The Commentator: What do you mean I'm progressive? How am I progressive? I'm here to amuse you with my progressiveness? I make you laugh because of my progress? How the fuck am I progressive?"
Salon: I don't know. You're just, you know, progressive. A progressive guy.
Larry the Monkey: Take it easy, T.C.
T.C: No, I'm not gonna take it easy. Salon is a big boy, he can fend for himself. How am I progressive? Because I blog? Maybe I'm fucked up but am I a progressive clown?
Salon: T.C., you're really making it bigger than it really is.
T.C.: Jesus Christ, how am I fucking progressive? You said, I'm progressive..."
Salon: Get the fuck outta here!
T.C: Ha, ha almost had you! Me! Progressive. It is to laugh!

The Many Faces Of Comedy

Still reeling from my last error, I shall grovel for eternity, I present this picture of Lenny Bruce as a token of my deep regret.


A long, long time ago my uncle Paul gave me his Lenny Bruce albums. Thinking I was going to vomit from my eyes with laughter, I instead was left baffled and bewildered. It wasn't funny or at least not in the way a doofus 14 year-old understood humor. It wasn't until years later I began to understand a little better who Bruce was and how he fit in the world of stand up comedy - I feel inexplicably weird typing that word next to his. He was about other things...like free speech.

Holy Crap

I accidentally put up a post that should never have been published and I thank Brett Ginx for brining it to my attention. Sometimes you post and don't go back to make sure all is ok.

I realized, upon reflection, what I first read was not what I originally thought it meant. Somehow I hit 'published.' Happens from time to time.

My apologies.

You're welcome anytime into Canada if you can handle that part of your citizenship initiation is to drink baby seal blood.

Past Orientalist Edge In Rock

If you're into discovering past trends in music (like I am), The Believer published a most engaging piece about "Syrian rock and roll" by way of Mohammed El-Bakkar and how Americans latched onto its sound in the 1960s.

Eddie Kochak, who wrote among other things, Shish-Ke-bob rock, is mentioned in the article but couldn't (not surprisingly) find a recording of this song anywhere.

El-Bakkar's website is certainly equipped with humour.

2010-08-17

Yearning For Private Space

I went to my family doctor the other day, itsokay everything'sfine, well, up to a point. There's not much he can do for that second head growing out of my neck. It's coming along nicely. Doctor says it'll start talking soon. Right now it moans and grunts whenever it wants something. I think it's a boy. If it is, I'm gonna name it Herman. Or Larry. Not sure.

Anyway.

The thing I hate about going to my doctor's, aside from the fact he still doesn't seem to recognize me after 24 years, is the lack of privacy when I present myself to the secretary. It's such a quiet place that you can hear perfectly any conversation - and I have 79% hearing in one ear. No matter how much you try to shield yourself and talk in a low hush tone or telepathic code, the acoustics boom and bounce off the back files and onto the waiting room where patients are a tad too interested in your tribulations for my taste. Either that or I'm a narcissistic paranoid.

Come to think of it...

Meh.

So if I have a pubic hair growing out of my eyelid, not only will people hear it, the secretary is likely to repeat it as if she's talking through a megaphone. "What? You have a pubic hair coming our of your eyelid?" Just call TLC or Discovery already, will ya? At which point I put a book to my eye and run away crashing against walls and into invalids.

I'm an intensely private person so I don't like people who choose not to keep a healthy social distance from me. For example, while I was talking to the secretary some idiot deemed it appropriate to walk up to the counter and stood right next to me to rest his hand there as if he was part of the conversation. Rude prick.

I notice that sometimes secretaries are pretty good at protecting territory but this one wasn't disturbed even though I had Franks' hot sauce spewing from my eyes I was so angry. Sometimes I make a gesture to send a message but on this occasion I was a coward and accepted the impolitesse of my fellow douchetard man.

To me, all this lack of privacy, would be like if a gynecologist had an open loft concept with his patients.

You know?

I bet you do.

Misunderstanding The Enlightenment

World Socialist Website takes The Nation to task about its position on the Enlightenment.

Looks like socialists loathe postmodernism as much as me!

It's an interesting read.

Obama Saves GM? Yikes!

Wow.

Not too many articles leave me speechless (the last one was on Huffington Post by some associate professor talking about how "rational" liberals were) but this one did. It's funny. Whenever liberals venture into the world of business and finance they sound like children or like they never took a business course in their lives.

Or, if you prefer a pop culture reference, it should remind you of Kramer when he worked for a corporation for free but had to be let go because his reports were like "he had no business training."

Peter Beinart is the latest writer to step up the with the kool-aid brigade uncritically claiming - through superficial stats - Obama "saved" GM. The author mixes blind partisan ideology with business as well as any conservative ideologue.

Oof.

Now for something a little more mature. Business Week puts it into better perspective.

A couple of things to note. One, Ford didn't get a bail out. Two, Chrysler's turnaround is under FIAT's watch.

All Obama did was inject some cash like a an athlete injects steroids. Short term profits don't ensure long-term viability and on that front GM has major issues.

At least socialists make an effort to report free of Obamanitis (in fact, they're not fans of his) as evidenced in the article below about GM and the union execs.

Julie Don't Go!

I was fucken reading about Julius Caesar when the following paragraph reminded me of the great comedy duo of Wayne & Shuster:

"On the morning of March 15, 44 BC, the Ides of March, Caesar awoke to find his wife Calpurnia in a near panic. According to the ancients, nightmares had plagued her the night before, warning her of impending danger to Caesar. This was to be the last meeting between Caesar and the Senate before he left for Parthia just 3 days later."




"Julie don't go!" That stuck with me and still say whenever my wife leaves to go out slutting around town.

I used to watch W&S just before Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights from 7:30pm to 8pm. You couldn't get more Canadian than that.

And it was a blast.

GM Irony

Does this qualify as delicious irony?

Automotive union workers kick out UAE execs:

A vote on the changes was originally scheduled for Monday, but was cancelled by the UAW after Sunday’s informational meeting made it clear that opposition was nearly unanimous. The new contract would, among other concessions, cut wages from an average of $29 an hour to $15.50.



General Motors, the UAW, and the state government have been working to sell the plant to JD Norman Industries, which was demanding the nearly 50 percent wage cuts as a condition for the sale. GM and the UAW are now denouncing workers for opposing the destruction of their living standards.

Yeah, from time to time I head on over to the Socialist website. Meh.

Anyway. Isn't this what observers and former execs have been recommending to save costs at GM? Interesting to see the union take this position. I guess it wasn't economically tenable all along, no?

My father-in-law (God rest his soul) once told me the story of how he had to deal with the union for Steinberg's. Steinberg treated its workers like gold (as he put it) and did all they could to be fair. However, one of the union leaders was over the top and unreasonable making things messy for nothing. He further didn't appreciate being made to look like he didn't care about people. If anyone knew my father-in-law he was class all the way.

He remembered telling the union rep that he should be careful how he behaves to achieve a goal lest one day he be put in the same position. He pleaded with him to no avail that their offer was fair.

The rep (who was originally from the States), moved on and years later opened his own store and the two bumped into one another. Lo and behold he was on the other side of the fence and facing what my father-in-law did with him. "I always remembered what you said, Johnny. Now that I'm on the other side I can see you were more than fair with us."

Life coming full circle.

Management isn't always the bad guy.

Tamil Refugees

Tamil refugees explained here at Canadian Immigration Developments.

Delicate balancing act indeed.

Compassionate Canadians

20% of Canadians aren't sympathetic towards lung cancer patients because of its link to smoking.

How nice.

Who's next? Diabetics because of its link to sugar?

2010-08-16

The Ramifications Of Quebec's Archaic Education Laws

Quebec has the dubious distinction of splitting families based on...language. The individual, as I've repeated here many times, is subservient to the collective here. It's a shame Quebec is willing to ruin a child all for language. It's parochial and basically unfair.

These are not my values and I'm sorry for families to have to go through this. Think of it. This reflects poorly on our family values that we're willing to permit this. It's awful and shameful.

Americans thinking of moving here better make sure they understand the laws. Most probably employ a reasonable rational expectation that the government wouldn't do what's "wrong" for people. They'd be wrong. Culture first here. Remember this.

Quebec wants to be independent. Part of independence entails mature behavior. We want to sit at the table among nations. If this is how we think be prepared to be a bit player with little, if any, influence.

I'm sure, I want to believe, my brethren regardless of where they stand politically, would agree this is simply not right.

2010-08-15

Still Relevant

Four years later Pierre Rehov's interview on MSNBC discussing the psychology of suicide missions still carries weight. Only snopes.com seems to have it up.

Tension With Sweden And Its Jewish Community

Sweden is often cited by our intellectual classes as a model to follow. We figure anything is worth copying from there even if it's bad - see education.

Sweden has its own pack of problems. Anti-semitism among them:

"(There is) quite a high level of anti-Semitism that is hidden beneath critics of Israel's policies," said Beate Kupper, one of the study's researchers, in a phone interview, citing a tendency to "blame Jews in general for Israel's policies."

It's like people who say "we don't hate Americans but it's government." Maybe it's true for some but is it for most? In the case of Israel, the above quote is hard to not dismiss giving the West's attitude towards Jews, through pogroms, over the centuries.

"Members of Parliament have attended anti-Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved and the rhetoric was often anti-Semitic, not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric is not branded hateful and denounced, said Henrik Bachner, a professor of history at the University of Lund, near Malmö."

Quebec, with its own anti-semitist history, politicians from the PQ do the same thing.

Reporting And Double-Standards

But there are problems with how media deals with the Middle-East.

Shopping In Peace

Not enough stories like these about the Middle-East and in the West Bank in particular.

"Incredibly, none of the major Western newspapers have visited and reported on the Rami Levy phenomenon in Gush Etzyon, at least according to Google. One senior correspondent for a top American newspaper thanked me “for the tip,” but not a pixel has shown up in her paper. Can it be that the coexistence in aisle 2 and cooperation behind the meat counter run against the media narrative that Israeli “settlers” and Palestinians can never live together?"

Anglo PC Tyranny

I'll let you read the latest anti-freedom bull.

"The ASA noted that the text 'WE SELL BIG KNOCKERS' was clearly a crude comparison between the woman's breasts and the door knockers Tricketts sold, and that the image had clearly been chosen for that reason."


"We also noted the image bore no relevance to the products sold by Tricketts, a door and window installation company."

Of course! That's the point! I thought it was creative.

"The poster breached CAP Code clauses 5.1 and 5.2 (Taste and decency)."

Taste and decency? Taste and fricken decency? According to whom? These folks? Please.

And I love this paternalistic mumbo-murbo-jumbo:

"The poster must not appear again in its current form."

Yes father!

Don't laugh fellow North Americans. We're not that far behind.