2011-12-31

An Act Of Police Depravity

I'm posting this because it makes no sense cops lose sense this easily. It should NEVER be tolerated.

Ever.

When I saw this picture of what Fullerton, CA police did to Kelly Thomas my mouth dropped. What the hell were those animals thinking? Explain to me the differnce between criminal thuggery and law enforcement after crap like this?

Let me rephrase the scenario. It says cars were being vanadlized. If my car was damaged would I want the police, said to be acting on my behalf since they're meant to serve and protect, to respond by murdering someone? Of course not.

And make no mistake. This not only a cowardly act. It was murder.

Handguns And Children

Hey, I'm on one of those short-posts frenzies NSK at SE loves so much! Like a 'gator on a feeding frenzy!

Red Herring Alert

Hm.
I don't think "universal health care" is solely to blame for Europe's financial woes. It's a part of it, sure, but not the main point; especially most systems in Europe are mixed and not uniform.

On Bullying

From Le Quebecois libre:

"State social and welfare policies have undermined the traditional family as well as the influence of religious institutions. During an earlier time, religious institutions ran charities and social assistance programs that were funded by voluntary donations. The spiritual and emotional guidance that was once part of children’s lives is long gone, replaced by programs in state schools that are devoid of any such guidance.

While state officials may claim to be addressing the school-bullying problem through tougher rules, they may be reluctant to admit that the bullying problem is the long-term result of successive state policies. Until governments overcome their reluctance to repeal the numerous regulations and laws that have directly and indirectly contributed to the problem, parents may wish to consider the home-schooling option out of concern for the safety of their children."

I've been lamenting the first part for years. We've offloaded our sense of dignity and personal responsibility to the state. The second part leaves me uncomfortable because it seems to absolve the parent's responsibility and sense of accountability.

Happy Prosperous 2012

Before I forget, let me get it out of the way.

Love,

The Splendid Commentator

Afternoon Saturday Music



In some way infinite but definite way, perhaps, we're all institutinalized.

Do Something

Jeb Bush in the Wall Street Journal.

"...Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."

As Florida's governor for eight years, I was asked to "do something" almost every day. Many times I resisted through vetoes but many times I succumbed. And I wasn't alone. Mayors, county chairs, governors and presidents never think their laws will harm the free market. But cumulatively, they do, and we have now imperiled the right to rise.

Woe to the elected leader who fails to deliver a multi-point plan for economic success, driven by specific government action. "Trust in the dynamism of the market" is not a phrase in today's political lexicon.

Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?"

Interesting comments as well.

Question

In action movies, why are the keys to a car or truck always in the ignition?

2011-12-30

Anthony Bourdain's Montreal's Layover



Let's just say what Bourdain did in this video I did multiple times for a period of about 10 years. It also reminded me of my few trips to Paris to visit my cousins in the restaurant business. My education in all things Parisian was getting hammered, riding on motorcycles going from restaurant to restaurant (drinking and eating along)  until we ended up in a market buying fish at 5am with the owners of a Chinese restaurant.

There's something magically queer when the Calabrese are hanging out with the Chinese in the middle of the night choosing between Atlantic or Pacific salmon in the center of Paris.

Montreal is pretty cool for the sort of stuff Bourdain is doing in the clip. Lux was also an eatery (now closed) that never closed. And God bless him for exposing the insipid law against street food vendors.

***

The French guys Bourdain palled around with in the back of pick up also reminded me of the sort of guys who used to show up at the outdoor rink to play hockey. Classic French-Canadian stuff. They play hard and party harder. One guy I'll never forget looked like something right out of an obscure comic book. Frizzed hair, tight old GW jeans, and a cheap fitted leather jacket he could skate like the wind but didn't have much control of his speed as he constantly crashed into the boards. We would just laugh and nod saying, "that guy is fucking nuts. St'un malade!"

Classic Premises Aren't Old And Stale

In attacking or arguing against "less government and taxes" a popular phrase is "these are old and outdated ideas!"

Really?

How can they be if both have been steadily increasing over time?

Moreover, how can something fundamentally basic as keeping government in check and taxes at reasonable levels ever be "outdated?" It's the essence of political discourse. It's a classic.

Like a cheeseburger.

They just...are.

More Ron Paul Ads

Dr. Paul's ads are actually entertaining. Know what else? They're not those typical and terrible attack ads.

Ron Paul Ad Inspires

Imagine? We already saw it. It's called Red Dawn.

Wolverines!

This is possibly the greatest political ad I've ever seen. How can one (mostly conservatives) argue otherwise?

Powerful. Lucid. American.

And it comes by way of Ron Paul.

The quip about Rome is spot on.

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Skeptical Eye. Un croissant pour vous!



If there's one thing I've changed my stance on when it comes to the military is that forced involvement to protect our interests is plain, bad policy. There is no bigger picture with it. The bigger picture is exactly how Ron Paul sees it. Only then will America,  the most important civilization of our times, the one nation all peoples across the world once looked to for inspiration, regain its status as a "beacon of light" defending the ideals of natural rights, freedom and prosperity for all.

Until then, they're just pretenders moving along waiting for King Arthur to reinvigorate its original purpose and sense of dignity.

I don't mind waiting.

Question

It is telling that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution hasn't really been challenged - scientifically speaking - since he published his thoughts way back in the mid-19th century. His work shook the foundation of philosophical and scientific thought to which we're likely still digesting. Not like psychology, which has been subjected to all kinds of revisionism and afterthoughts over the years.

The only sphere, as far as I can tell, where natural selection is being challenged is in politics. The contemporary (mostly left-wing) political narrative seems to have settled on the notion that "Darwinian capitalism" prevails in our lives. As if Charlie invented natural selection. Recall, he empirically examined what he observed.

If natural selection exists among men, the so-called "surivival of the fittest" (which was not coined by Darwin), there's little man can do about it but stand by and watch the strong survive - genetically speaking of course.

The current weapon at his disposal - to "equalize" things - is impose various state laws and legislation helping to protect (not improve) the "weak" who have no chance at surviving. Which don't want to believe nature discriminates. I say current because we've only begun to mess around with DNA and genetics.

"Well, the rich are exploiting the poor ergo we must...blah, blah."

So the narrative goes.

Darwin explains that when it comes to mankind selection (where man carefully selects what to breed between animals plants etc.) is no match for natural selection. Nature wins. I don't even think there's a spread to gamble on either. The margin between the mysterious power of nature (propelled by God) is no match for mighty mice like man.

If this be true, then, is man kidding himself with fabricated political laws in an effort to thwart natural selection? If accepted, then, are we not actually weakening mankind?

In short is employing political answers to natural questions futile?

***

Yes. Man has come up with engineering, and scientific feats to contain nature but we succeed most where we observe and work with nature to arrive at new answers to various questions - and truths.

***

Ironically, the publication of On the Origin of Species was a product of the "survival of the fittest." By the time Darwin was set to publish his theory, some 20 years after first conceived, Alfred Russel Wallace was about to do the same since he too had come up with a theory of evolution on his own. Darwin wrote to him of this coincidence and Wallace graciously stepped aside.

The rest is history. Darwin is a household name while the only Wallace a mildly interested person would recognize is William from Braveheart.

Alexander Graham Bell, in another example, simply beat Elisha Gray to the patent punch.

History is littered with near "winners."

In fact, we see this every single day.

The Olympics, so revered by a chunk of humanity, is but a Charles Darwin experiment in a sports setting. The difference between, often, a gold and silver medal is mere milliseconds in, say, track and field.

The gold winner triumphs and much he or she inherits in praise often converted into money through endorsement, book deals, public speaking etc.

2011-12-29

Chew Slowly Fatso

A couple of years back I posted something about how it's a matter of time before the government actively involves itself on matters of private diet.

It's already upon us in the form of various taxes (sugar), controlling of how much salt restaurants, forcing McDonald's to change part of its menu (etc., we all have seen the reports over the years) can use and now this: A $1500 (British pounds) machine courtesy of the British NHS that helps fat people control their obesity.

I don't mind that people like Michelle Obama goes on tour fighting a health concern of her choice -in this case obesity. It's the role some First Ladies have taken. But by golly gee mee, the second it becomes coerced action, it loses its value since it means taking more personal liberties away.

Quote From von Mises

von Mises:

"Today the tenets of this nineteenth-century philosophy of liberalism are almost forgotten. In continental Europe it is remembered only by a few. In England the term "liberal" is mostly used to signify a program that only in details differs from the totalitarianism of the socialists.

In the United States "liberal" means today a set of ideas and political postulates that in every regard are the opposite of all that liberalism meant to the preceding generations. The American self-styled liberal aims at government omnipotence, is a resolute foe of free enterprise, and advocates all-round planning by the authorities, i.e., socialism. These "liberals" are anxious to emphasize that they disapprove of the Russian dictator's policies not on account of their socialistic or communistic character but merely on account of their imperialistic tendencies.

Every measure aiming at confiscating some of the assets of those who own more than the average or at restricting the rights of the owners of property is considered as liberal and progressive. Practically unlimited discretionary power is vested in government agencies the decisions of which are exempt from judicial review. The few upright citizens who dare to criticize this trend toward administrative despotism are branded as extremists, reactionaries, economic royalists, and Fascists. It is suggested that a free country ought not to tolerate political activities on the part of such "public enemies."

Agree or disagree?

2011-12-28

More Irrational Government Coercion

I don't get this at all. Classic case of state over reach in the private consumer/owner relationship. Why is the state sticking its nose in the affairs of private citizens?

A restuarant owner is forced by the city to stop serving food with topless waitresses.

Zoning laws? Pft.

Call it what it is: Tyranny.

***

This is an example of how the government inefficiently "manages" an economy and imposes its will and coercion when it's not necessary. In this case, this will hurt the business owner and his bottom line thus impacting his employees. Less money, less to spend, less to grow. Think about this across the board.

Oh.

Sales taxes are going up. So is the cost for health care and insurance premiums. All things we have no say in. It will add up to a few hundred dollars less in our pockets. 

It's part of the government's plan to "balance the budget" by 2015.

I always wondered how an entity like the government could permit itself to be in debt in the first place.

Greatest Band Ever Reason #565 477

Missed this one.

The Greatest Band Ever Reason #565 476

What do you get when you combine an orchestra and choir with The Beatles?

Peace. Tranquility. Beauty.





Learn Something

What is Prostration?

Best Banker Ever!

From The Renegade Economist:

Sweden In The 20th Century

Brief synopsis of Sweden in the 20th century.

By all appearances, it looks like a paradise, but it's well known even Sweden, an iconic image for the welfare state, is in economic difficulty. It will be interesting to see how they navigate through this.

I mean, they did leverage Norway (I'm sure Norwegians are pleased that Sweden permitted the Germans to use their railroads into Norway), Denmark and Finland well to their advantage against Nazi Germany coming out of the war in a relative good shape.

Was this survival of the fittest at work?

***

Growth rates in Sweden seem to be in a better state than the core European Union members. The projected GDP for Germany, UK, France and Italy are frighteningly low.

The USA remains solid with only India and China outpacing it; which is normal since they are so far behind.

***

From the link provided:

-Spain's unemployment rate is at 20%.

- Japan's inflation rate remains at 0%. Incredible. What is it, 20 years now? And we were supposed to all learn Japanese!

-I know Canada isn't experiencing the same problems as the U.S., but the unemployment figures are not that far apart. Canada is pretty much in line with what it always seems to be fixed at about 7%. The USA at 8.9% (the number is much higher by other measure) but I remember it at as low as 4% just 12-15 years ago.

-Speaking of Canada, Montreal in particular. I had a couple of hours to kill as I dropped off the gals at the theater. Maybe it was the weather, but I was left depressed witnessing the countless for rent and sale signs I saw in shop windows. I used to hang out in that area but a mere 20 years ago and I don't recall this hip area being so desolate. It was rocking all the time. Now, the only vibe I felt was the slow bite of the economy sucking the life out of small business.

The only ones that remained familiar to me were the corporate coffee shops, ethnic bakeries, and restaurants opened early in the last part of the 20th century. Those places can withstand an economic downturn (and high rent) because they probably have the cash strength to do so and likely own the property in which they operate. Everyone else didn't or don't seem to be lucky. Trendy clothing boutiques and small restaurants especially. Sure, new places came in but not enough to shake the idea that we're in a weak economic environment.

2011-12-27

Possible Movie Plots

Sherlock Holmes Meets - or solves - Jack the Ripper.

My 'Ism'

I just realized something. I need a good "ism" to attach itself to this blog.

What to be?

Hm.

How about post-primitve constructionism?

2011-12-26

ACL Injury Claims Another

ACL report.

Adrian Peterson is the latest athlete to tear his ACL.

As some of you know, I keep an eye out for this. One thing I know, it's very hard to get back to 100% after such a serious surgery. If you're a pocket QB like Brady, then you can resume your career as it was, but for a running back depending on all sorts of lateral movement it's a far different story.

They're hopeful he'll be back by Week 1 in 2012. Man, that's optimistic. It takes one year for the ACL to heal properly no matter the procedure or person. It doesn't discriminate. I don't know why cases of people getting back to play inside 10 months seems to be creeping up. I wouldn't do it. Andrei Markov came back after nine months. He reinjured his knee last year and hasn't been seen since.

And like the Vikings, the Canadiens inexplicably gave him a contract extension.

I know it's bad what I'm about to say but ACL tears are near-career ending.

The psychology behind suffering such an injury can't be under estimated.

***

If I'm a Philadelphia Eagles fan (and I am), I'd be rather pissed about how the year went down. The Eagles won't be in the playoffs after much promise going into the season. Things like that happen but when you consider the Eagles are 4-1 within the division with a +/- differential superior to the Cowboys and Giants -  who will battle for the NFC east division - it's a hard one to swallow.

They just didn't get it done.

Up, Up And Away!

Wouldn't he - that being Rock Hudson - have been a good choice to be Superman in a movie?
Count me in as one of those people who enjoys those Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies of the 1960s.

2011-12-25

Germany And The EU

Country of the year?

There is none but, to those of us who have some grasp of European history, Germany is a good choice because they stand in the middle of the great (non-democratic) European experiment that may or may not fall to pieces. Recall, that Europeans have been dreaming of a united Europe since the fall of Rome. It's why Charlemagne created the Holy Roman Empire.

Betraying Jesus

More Caravaggio.

The Taking of Christ. (1598)

Notice Peter screaming on the left with Judas embracing Jesus as the Roman soldiers move in to take Christ away.

Outrageous Statements

I can't make any "stupidest" statement of the year, or "person" of the year or any other list because I don't keep track what goes on. I just post and run.

So I'll go with the last thing I've heard. It really encapsulates how logical fallacies run rampant with pundits.

Congratulations Lawrence O'Donnell (who seems equally as angry as right-wing radio personalities). You've made the grade. To make The Commentator is bigger than Time.

In his attempt to answer back to the assertion by politicians "government can't create jobs" he chimes in with this:

“The government created your job!”

Goodie Lordie.

I respect the intelligence of my readers so I won't dig deeper.

I'll leave it up to you to comment and even offer any that are worse - which I'm sure there are.

Arab Spring

About that Arab street.

It's interesting that for years and years - even in high school in the 1980s - we kept hearing about the "Arab street" yet all we saw were people waving their fists in town squares amounting to nothing except to be the butt end of our Western jokes. We were conditioned to believe it was all because of the Jooooos!

Fast forward to the Arab spring of 2011. It was all about toppling their own regimes. This is not to say the fear of Israel is not there, or the same old boss will take over or that a blanket of extreme Islam won't take over, but the bottom line is the Arab people did what many observers felt needed to be done first: Look in the mirror and clean up your own mess first.

It's a start.

Eat Meat With Punk

I know it's Christmas and all but I'm bored so I'm going to post a couple.

The Simpsons:

Don't eat meat! Eat deer!



Punk band The Plasmatics and Wendy O Williams. Odd interview with Snyder follows. You can tell punk was freaking people out. Still, you don't see too many interviews like that on prime time these days:

2011-12-24

Christ In Caravaggio

Caravaggio's Christ at the column (1607).

Speaking of Christ, this painting reminded me of when I first saw Michelangelo's fresco at the Sistene Chapel. As you walked in you had a sense you were about to witness something magical and as you looked up towards the sky (or God), its magnificence overwhelms you; its beauty strikes your eyes like an angel entering your soul.

Baby Jesus

From Fine Art America.

Journey To Christmas Music Archives

Here's a link to a fantastic wealth of historical Christmas albums.

Christmas And Hookers

Tom Waits is just plain awesome.

Daycare Update

My payroll taxes equal one month's salary of a potential person I can hire.

I don't care it's tax deductible at the end of the year. I prefer to have it up front to grow and expand quicker. 

Fin.

2011-12-23

Brief History Of Currency

Paper currency first made an appearance in China and then Sweden in the West.


"Western civilization had minted precious metal objects and coins for trade since about 500 BC. Devaluation and inflation often destroyed a monetary system. Banking systems were cyclic with nations and rulers, and the need to transfer large sums of money to finance the Crusades provided a stimulus to the re-emergence of banking in western Europe. In Europe, the first issuer of paper money was Sweden, where in 1661 Johan Palmstruch's Stockholm Banco introduced the first banknotes. Unfortunately, the bank subsequently overextended itself and had to call in government aid. Despite this example, other European countries soon followed the Swedish lead. In 1694 the Bank of England was established and was soon printing "running cash notes".


They just didn't call it a bail out.

Plus ca change...

Money Is What I Want

Money isn't the root of all evil.

Humans are.

Money is just a conductor for our capacity to permit evil to conquer.

It's something I always believed. Only this time, I cared enough to set out and trace back who originally said it.

Here's the quote in proper context:

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10 - King James Bible.

Money itself can't be evil. It's just paper with a number on it and an assigned arbitrary value.

Desire for it can wreak havoc on our souls.

***

By extension, I guess, we can say government as a stand-alone construct isn't bad. It's an empty shell. What we fill it with will determine if it's good or bad. Much like an RRSP. A retirement plan is just a hollow tax-sheltered plan injected with money. How and where you invest the money will determine the rate of return.

Christmas With Calvin And Hobbes

Nice tribute to Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes. Calvin's snowmen creations were priceless.

Reading History Masterpieces One At A Time

I'm reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species - among the most influential books in history - and a thought occured to me.

It's interesting we, students at some point, were rarely - if ever - asked to read landmark books. Novels remained a part of the curriculum (Shakespeare, Twain, Poe etc.) but not master works by, say, Aristotle, Bacon, Dante, Weber, Descartes and a host of other great political, philosophical and historical works. Most of our knowledge of reputed works of the written thought comes in contact by way of second-hand information or secondary (and sometimes tertiary) sources.

Even in university I was never asked to read masterpieces of any sort. What I learned was explained in a text book explained by a scholar. In other words, I wasn't reading it for myself to form a true, independent opinion.

One by one, I've decided, to read books that I feel I should read as a pretend-pseudo-amateur historian.

Meh.

It's a tad tedious reading through such books anyway. Is there a movie condensing all the great books in two hours?

Habs Fall From Grace

What's left to be said about the once glorious Montreal Canadiens? It's a mickey mouse operation with no vision operating in a parochial environment.

I believe, or at least I want to believe, the average Quebecer understands it's no longer (exclusively anyway) about language but about knowledge and other intellectual assets these days. No one is saying you shouldn't speak - or learn - the language of a said market but we're saying is it shouldn't come at the expense of seeking excellence. After all, a language can be learned.

***

So now "they" (les autres as I call them) want to boycott Molson's for hving the audicity to hire a unilingual human being - without even given the guy a chance to A) prove his mettle and B) to learn the language. The ONE family, moreover, who reacquired the team when no "chez nous" businessmen wouldn't.

And who have been the "cause and solution of all man's problems" (as quoted by Homer) by providing many a drunk Canadian with intoxicating liquid moments.

***

I completely reject the "how would Torontonians react if the Maple Leafs hired a non-English speaking coach?" It's a presumptuous logical fallacy.

I don't know how Ontarians would react but I can almost guarantee they would not react like (mostly nationalist) Quebecers. There are reasons for this assumption. For example, Toronto doesn't have language baggage. If a coach came in speaking only Czech and took the Leafs to the Cup, I doubt it would be much of an issue. In ths way, Toronto fans would be closer in line with international soccer where foreign coaches are hired by native clubs and national teams constantly in a fluid maret where ideas are consistently exchanged.

Italians, German, French, and Dutch coaches are famous for imparting their know-how in coaching other nations including Korea, Greece and Russia - to name a precious few. The same for Argentina and Brazil. Currently, a pair of Italians are coaching England and Ireland. The point is clubs go after ASSETS and the best possible talent. Language fixes itself later.

Big clubs like AC Milan go as far as to help one of their "assets" integrate into Italian society by providing Italian courses - among other things. Their philosophy is simple: Italy is unique and in order to maximize the potential talent of an asset you should take care of it.

I see none of this with the Montreal Canadiens. For a team in a society that claims to be distinct, I'm surprised it hasn't been proactive in nursing its talent better to accept and understand Quebec society.

Rather, it's busy wasting its time trying to avoid conflict with an over-inflated media. It's called poor management of resources.

The Habs should always be ahead of the curve in identifying and  developing talent - especially given they already know what is asked of it when it comes to coaching. If you're operating in a restricted talent pool because of the politics (and quite frankly, I don't see why it should), then you'd better make damn sure you have a fluid list of candidates close to your chest. As for the players, it should have hit someone in the organization by now that something is off when the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers - two main arch rivals in your conference - consistently do a better job of drafting French-Canadian players. At least, that's my perception.

Instead, you get the fricken Keystone cops.

The Canadiens, in one last soccer analogy, function less like the Packers, Yankees, Ferrari etc.(brand names they should be associated with), and more like another once proud institution, Liverpool of the EPL. If you follow soccer you know what I mean. Comedy of errors are the norm for both.

In this construct I've described, Toronto would be the norm and Montreal the exception when it comes to accepting talent. Particularly, it should be mentioned, with hockey. The Habs are identified as a part of "Quebecois" culture (even though the Anglo-Irish fact runs deep can't be disputed or discounted) which makes things more complicated.

Indeed, you don't (or didn't) see this issue with the Alouettes, Impact and once upon a time Expos. It's as if the Canadiens exist vicariously through an entire population.

It's not an easy situation (not made any easier by interfering and thoughtless politicians serving to prey on the language divide) and all I can do is wish Randy Cunneyworth good luck because he certainly doesn't deserve the infantile criticism he's getting.

Again, I blame the organization for poorly handling this.

***

Current Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is among the greatest and most successful managers in the history of soccer.

In this clip, culture and assets comfortably live side by side. There's no reason why this can't be the case in Quebec.

I include Ireland as a legitimate dark horse to go deep at Euro 2012.

Charting American Airstrikes

U.S. airstrikes in Pakistan on various charts.

Having Fun With Christmas Songs For Africa Lyrics

Ok.

After 20 odd plus years, I actually paid attention to the lyrics of some of these 'Save Africa' songs from the 1980s by recording artists from the UK, USA and Canada.

First up, the United Kingdom. Band-Aid (which always made be think of plasters) banded and bonded together to release the greatest selling single (I believe) in UK history - Do They Know It's Christmas?

Already the title wreaks of 'white man's burden' guilt.

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid
At christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade
  

As opposed to the rest of the time we only accept darkness and the apocalypse.

But say a prayer - pray for the other ones
At christmas time


Again, just at christmas. Not Easter, Halloween etc.

it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
  

Ah, thus begins the guilt ride. No, shit. Really? A whole wide world?

And it's a world of dreaded fear
Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears
And the christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
  

Nice collection of metaphorical words. I like. Sounds like something ride out of Lord of the Rings.

Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you  

Fucken-A. That's what I always say.

And there won't be snow in Africa this christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life  
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow


Ok. Technically this is all wrong.  Nothing grows in Africa? Really? I thought bananas, coconuts, pineapples, coffee and dates are grown there. Rain forests don't count?  I betcha lots of crap grow in the jungle too. And really, no rivers flow? What, over 4300 miles of the Nile is not enough? You want lakes I'll give you lakes! Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in Africa. Never mind about Victoria Falls.

Sounds to me like Africa has a major corruption and distribution issue.

Here's to you
Raise your glass for everyone
Here's to them
Underneath that burning sun  


Because this will eliminate starvation and solve the problem. Take that! And that! You stupid poverty.


Make sure you eat your sandwich for there are starving kids in Africa. Not South America or even possibly in your own city!

Feed the world
Let them know it's christmas time and
Feed the world
  

"Here's some beef jerky and remember, it's Christmas." I always imagine a giant person with a spoon feeding every child on earth with that line.

In honesty, I really don't think they give a shit it's christmas time in North Africa. Being mostly Muslim and all that. It's a small technicality I realize but still...


Next up. The Americans. "We are the world."


Actually, the lyrics aren't that bad. I think "we are the world" means we literally are the world. Not a reference to the Americans being the world - though it could mean that. I don't want to get into a "Born in the U.S.A." type of misinterpretation here.


Finally, Canada. "Tears are not enough." Which in true Canadian fashion, was released under the USA album.

First, let me get my vomit bucket.

Seems like overnight
We see the world in a different light
Somehow our innocence is lost


Curious, how did we "somehow" lose our "innocence?"

How can we look away

Easy. There I just did it.

cause every single day
We've got to help at any cost


Every single day? I can barely get my own shit in order. Gee, I don't know, that seems like a lot of pressure.

We can bridge the distance
Only we can make the difference
Dont ya know that tears are not enough


I think if you get all the bestest engineers in the world - with some alien help -  you can build that bridge somehow.


Only we can make a difference? What about Africa itself? I think they can have a more meaningful impact on themselves but that's just me and my callous, antiquated conservative posturing.
I would like to add no children were fed during the writing of this post.

2011-12-21

Tribute To Kim Jong-Il



I'll chime in with my thoughts on the joke known as the Montreal Canadiens later.

2011-12-19

Question

Do libertarians hate superheroes?

I mean, most fall on the side of the law and take part in government operations in the name of freedom.

Are they interventionist vigilantes or libertine mercenaries? Something else?

2011-12-18

Vaclev Havel Dies

One of the more interesting political figures of our times.

Lounge World Music



Sounds like something right out of the 1960s. But it's, I believe, the work of Alex Gimeno.

Some of you may recognize this song from the latest Grand Marnier commercial.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Music

...with George Harrison...



Tough Times For India

Economically, India is experiencing some turbulence.

Wheat Board Scrapped

Harper's piece de resistance: Eliminating the wheat board.

"The Canadian Wheat Board was created in 1935 as a voluntary marketing agency for prairie wheat. In 1943, what is referred to as the "single-desk" was created, essentially a monopoly that meant all western farmers had to market their wheat through the board."

It had its time.

Ron Paul Good For America's Political Scene?

...or its soul?



I think it's great how Ron Paul is pushing the GOP. He looks poised to challenge if not win Iowa.

All I can say is, go Ron Paul!

Look, the arguments used against Paul is premised on the fact people don't understand libertarian principles. It's not that hard to grasp.

Sure, there are some "spooky" things he advocates; like legalizing marijuana and reducing the government by 80% (which I believe most givernment departments shouldn't have been in operation in the first place), and basically eliminating the concept of Manifest Destiny. Then there's the issue of that infamous (awful) " news letter." Ok. He has baggage.Who doesn't in politics?

Still.

He's exactly what this country needs. A kick in the ass.

Britain Keeps EU At Bay

Is/was Great Britain right all along to not fully join the European Union?

Gingrich Caricature

Newt as Marvin the Martian? "Where's the ka-boom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering ka-boom?"

Iraq's Future

Now with the Americans out of Iraq, will it descend into madness and chaos similar to what happened in Vietnam?

2011-12-17

Dealing With The Devil

Faustian bargain. Picture says a lot, no?

No Hubris Here



Yes, President Obama has given much to intellectual political philosophy.

*Rolls eyes.*

Love how he measures himself through the amount of policies he created.

Props to Skeptical Eye.

Canadiens Make Bold Move

The Montreal Canadiens did the 'unthinkable' and hired the unilingual anglo Randy Cunneyworth to replace head coach Jacques Martin.

I like the move because it finally gives me a reason to post this scene from Semi-Pro starring Will Ferrel (funniest man alive):



I dedicate this to all the hard core nationalists out there freaking out.

2011-12-16

Milbury Charged With Assault Of A Minor

Wasn't a fan of Mike Milbury as a player (he was a Bruin after all), General manager (absolutely awful with the Islanders), or commentator/analyst (on CBC and NBC). Now this. Not good.

A bit lame.

Hitchens Dies

What a shock.

Christopher Hitchens was certainly very interesting.

Daycare Update

In the "things I've learned about me" corner...

I'm not cut out for human resources.

Then again, I always knew that. It's just being confirmed.

To me, human resources is almost like drama class. Not big into drama.

Time Pays Tribute To The Protester

Ok. Fine. Time picks "The Protester" as people of the year for 2011; from the Arab spring to Occupy Wall St.

But.

The Tea Party aren't a part of it?

Interesting.

2011-12-15

I Want To Drink Your Blood

Currently reading Bram Stoker's 'Dracula.' Good reading. It's hard to read stories you're familiar with through film and television.

More European Craziness

Delicately, I proceed to discuss how Europe has lost its mind part 43858384.

I say delicately because a number of people from across the Atlantic pond read this lousy blog.

So, with some respect I continue.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

So. Water doesn't help prevent dehydration according to the Europeans?

It makes no sense. Aren't we humans, simple logic states, made up of 75% water?

What's going on in Europe?

And if you think we're immune, think twice. Witness the idiocy behind banning light bulbs.

Soft tyranny is here as the author of the link (Health and Fitness Advice) asserts.


Brawls And Other Lame Sports Stories

The college basketball brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier reminded me of a soccer game I played in over 20 years ago. Actually, two games.

The first was the legendary "Duvernay brawl" in which my team was a willing participant. It so happens my cousin and a friend from Australia took in the game. It went sorta like this: My closest friend - right until today - was trash talking all game long with a guy who went to school with us. He played for another district. For 90 minutes they squawked at each other. It was fucking annoying. I rarely spoke much, if at all, in any game I played. If someone tried to get into my head it was easy to block it out since I knew why they were doing it. The best revenge was to score and win. I'm not big into that sort of stuff but it's part of the sports culture.

Where I did get nasty was on the squash and tennis courts. Man, I was possessed with a John McEnroe temper - I'm even a lefty. Yeah, I swore and threw rackets.

But it was competitive soccer I played.

Weird.

Anyway, I kept my words for when they really mattered.

Bsck to the story. At the end of the game we stood to shake hands and my friend decides - after slight provocation - to shove the guy. All hell broke lose. I mean, hell. Parents, dogs, refs, and players alike were engulfed in fiery fisticuffs. My friend's brother - who was and is big and powerful - was hurling kids about like they were rag dolls. It was hilarious.

Someone pulled me out of the scrum before I got a chance to take part.

My cousin asked if all soccer games in Canada ended in a fight.

"Hey, we may have invented hockey, but you guys came up with Aussie rules rugby," I replied. "Now that's psycho!"

Some sports station used to carry Aussie rules back in the day. Still remember the announcer screaming, "Hawthorn!"

***

The other story is in regards to a championship match in high school. It was a cold November day. Cold enough for us to "go out and win the thing...fast." Our coach, the science teacher, thought he was badass when he refused to let us wear pants, long johns or other gear to help keep us warm. "Your energy will get your body hot!" he said. Maybe, but I remember running straight to the locker room after the game to celebrate.

During the game some douche kid -  I still remember his face - was covering me on defense. His tactic? Since he couldn't stop me if his life depended on it, he would come stand next to me and place his foot on top of mine. The first time he did it I laughed out loud. I figure I'd go score and he'd back off. Nope. He repeated the infantile exercise no matter the score. I think we won 4-1 or 4-0. Whatever, he was original I'll give him that.

Point is. I didn't lose my cool when confronted with absurdity. How can you get angry with absurd actions? Sure, my primal instinct was to punch him out, but I just ignored it and went about to finish my job.

So whenever I see an athlete losing it to the point of hitting someone else, I do keep the "heat of the moment" argument at bay.

Keep your cool. Nothing is worth gambling your honor and dignity.

Daycare Update

I've been asked many times how things are "going?" with the daycare.

Swell, I suppose. All things considered. Not where I want to be in terms of "comfort" but hey...

Despite a decent amount of kids (I'm at 55% capacity in eight months.I expected to be around 70% by now...but hey...), I've been experiencing the hardship of paying down overhang debt.

In these days where blame is squarely placed on "banksters" for economic ills, let us spare a moment on how the state can wreak havoc on the economy.

See, I can trace back a lot of the avoidable problem to the government. See here again, we "costed" the renovations based on using, well, workers. It was work a monkey and his brother with a DEC could have accomplished.

But in the eyes of the government they weren't "qualified' because they didn't carry around "union" sanctioned (scam) cards. Threatened with fines and revocation of the contractor's license, we had no choice but to go on the "table." The inspector (who always remind us of 1917 Russia and/or Little Italy circa 1910 when the dons ruled the streets), made it clear he'd be on site everyday since he lived up the street.

Which, see, means "assume the position."

Toute pour la "societe."

So. Costs went up almost double. I've been catching up ever since.

Oh, what happened to the people thrown off the job? They were out of work, went on unemployment. The usual insanity when the state sticks its fingers where it shouldn't. It's better, I reckon, for them to keep up the nonsense and put people on the welfare line instead of just earning a living.

I mean, new immigrants just want to work. So let them break down walls. They're only going to form the base of our middle-class.

In my case, the government hits me more directly than "corporatists" do.

2011-12-14

Putting The 'Kiss My Ass' In Kissinger

I couldn't think of a better title.

The other day a friend emailed me saying "Kissinger should hang for war crimes." And this person is nowhere near sympathetic to those who cling to 1960s style liberalism.

I've grown tired of the "lefty liberal" shtick about Henry Kissinger.

I have questions based on basic observations and facts:

-Why does, say, McNamara get a pass?
-Clinton in Kosovo?
-Truman for launching the Enola Gay and Korean War?
-What about "clandestine" atrocities?

Kissinger keeps good company. At least classical liberals hate each with equal balance.
What's with the contemporary fascination, if not obsession, with Kissinger/Nixon? Especially in the context of the Vietnam war? Shameless as they may have been, they didn't start or even escalate it. Kennedy and Johnson did respectively.

I find it ironic for (anti-war) people who have a ravaged hatred for the GOP since it was the Democrats, the America some chose to desert, who took the 'Nam gamble.

In fact, it is Team Blue who initiated (not that they're more "evil" or anything; just the timing I reckon) most of the wars in American history; including the bloodiest in the 20th century.

Since I'm on it, if Bush is hated for his invasions of two countries (of which one Obama is taking credit for despite calling it "dumb" in 2002: Iraq), why does Obama get to be "hero for a day" with Libya?

So Kissinger, as I've said off the top, is hardly alone.

Bad Logic On Theoren Fleury And Tim Tebow

No time to break these down but here are two epic logical fails:

Pat Hickey has raised eyebrows for his recent comments about Theoren Fleury and him speaking out about sexual abuse. Curious to hear from some of you regarding what you think of his logic - or lack thereof.

Hmpf. I suppose one could simply conclude he wrote such an article in order "to sell papers."

His follow up is no better.

I think he has forfeited the right to ever criticize Don Cherry again.

Which brings me to the classic adage we should keep close to our pocket: Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

***

The same misapplication of thought is found with mental illness.

***

Don't know why but I thought of Dylan's 'Postively 4th Street.'



Then there's this silly piece about Tim Tebow.

Yeah, sure. Perfect logic. If Tebow wins the Super Bowl, Christians will go on a gay bashing on a Mosque burning spree. Why stop there? Why not add that Jew and 'niggar' lynchings will spike?

Naturally.

Didn't liberals claim right after 9/11 and the Iraq invasion Americans would suddenly lose all humanity and kill Muslims in random acts of violence?

Naturally.

I guess it was a matter of time.

The piece in its original form can't be located.

2011-12-12

Small Pox Poster

This poster is from the 1970s.

Iraq Troop Drawdown: Mission Democracy Accomplished

Woosh!

A few years back I asked the question on this pointless blog whether a succeeding Democrat President would take credit for Iraq should it ever "succeed."

The answer for me was "of course!" Does a manager not take credit for winning a championship even though they may not be the architect that conceived victory? It's only natural. Votes are at stake. Votes.

The key word to describe the Iraq invasion used by one President Obama was"dumb." Now, following his announcement of withdrawing U.S. forces because the mission has been a success, he takes credit for "democratizing" the country.

You can't do both buddy. Or else you have to accept the fact Bush was right. Tough bind I reckon.

Classic case of 'watch what you say because you never know when you have to sit on the other side.'

Tebow Does It Again

If Tim Tebow leads the Broncos to an improbable Super Bowl...

God's gonna make a comeback.

Imagne if he leads his team past any of the Ravens, Steelers, Patriots, Saints or the mighty Packers?

Not to go all Biblical on you all but that's David v. Goliath.

***

He is the most intriguing figure in sports right now. Messi? Pft. Crosby? Bah. Kobe? Yawn. Pujols? Meh. Woods? Whatever.

Tebow is where it's at. If I'm jumping on this band wagon so be it!

Imagine when he learns to throw the ball!

2011-12-11

Corrupt States

The most corrupt states as reviewed by Harvard.

RRSP Limits Should Be Changed And Daycare Update

Pretty much how I felt during my time at the bank regarding RRSPs. RRSP's in general, though an excellent vehicle of forced, tax-sheltered (temporarily anywats, the taxman always steals what it wants in the ends), remains rather inflexible.

There never was much argument that public servants, on average, benefit with better pensions than the private sector. Self-employed workers (small business) are on the worst end of things. We're there so that the government could siphon as much as it could to "redistrbute" cash in the name of "social justice."

My wife is a teacher. One thing I know is the union health plan is terrible - and expensive. The other problem with education (well, ok, there are many, many problems) is the concept of tenureship. Good luck ridding yourself of a bad teacher.

***

Of course, all we have, if any cares to really, really, really observe is state anarchy with billions of dollars inefficiently allocated and wasted.

I resent the government more than corporatists because it is the state that threatens me with fines and imprisonment if I don't comply.

Alas, some citizens find it perfectly normal for the government to punish people for merely refusing to fill out a (long-form) census form.

It may be so for some, but not for me.

While we're nowhere near the state of affairs Europe finds itself in, we're on that path.

***

There's a new battle on the daycare scene. It seems the state is readying to hand out subsidies to basically what amount to cronies. Surprise, surprise.

Private daycares are finally mobilizing and hitting back. It's ironic how Canadians (Quebecers in particular) live in fear of public institutions becoming "two-tiered," yet in fact, it's exactly what the state creates. The other irony is that it's meant to give access to all, yet it's becoming more and more inaccessible.

How silly are things? The state is set to limit permits in areas that truly need them and give them out to remote places with birth rates that have either stabilized and not in a growth pattern.

Waste, waste, waste. I see it everyday now that I'm on the inside.

Waste.

And waste is a sin.

2011-12-04

Canadian Ghost Ship

What happened to the Mary Celeste? Canada's "ghost ship?"

Brazilian Legend Dead

1982 was the first World Cup I followed. Of course, aside from Italy winning, the lasting memories cam by way of Brazilian players like the elegant and cerebral Socrates who died at the age of 57.