"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

the countdown has begun

For my Dad, who reminded me of my favorite Christmas album, and my brother, who insisted on naming the schnauzer puppy we got for Christmas one year "Fozzie"

Friday, December 11, 2009

best and worst holiday music

Inspired by a recent all-too-brief discussion on the Paul and Storm podcast, I'd like to pose the two part question "What is your favorite Christmas song and what Christmas song would you like to see eliminated from face of the planet?"

My favorites, surprisingly, are the actual honest-to-God religious carols. The top three being Silent Night, The Huron Carol and We Three Kings (especially as a jazz instrumental), although I am also partial to White Christmas and The Christmas Song, especially the Bing Crosby versions.

I realize that people's tastes vary, but it is an absolute truth that if you are over the age of ten and really like The Little Drummer Boy, it is quite possible you are a tone-deaf moron. When I snap someday and machine-gun a Christmas choir in a shopping mall, it will be because of the "Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum". "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" has also been known to bring out the Scrooge in me. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" is just plain creepy. The Wham/George Michael seasonal crapfest "Last Christmas" is played 25 hours a day in every store and bar in Tokyo, which only one reason I hate it. Also, anything performed by sampling dogs or cats tends to make me cringe instantly and will result in my reporting you to the SPCA if you play it around me.

Put your choices in the comments.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

We don't need another hero

The Skipper has already chastized John Baird, who should never ever wear a turtleneck, for his objectionable conduct and general stupidity related to the Afghan prisoner denial-fest, but this part caught my eye too:

From Macleans:
"Mr. Baird was ready with a response. “Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Let us talk about the facts,” he boldly declared. “The then-Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk, a decorated war hero, someone who has served our country in uniform for decades..."
(Baird then went on for a while in this vein before excusing himself )

Decorated war hero? In what war? Was Natynczyk at Vimy Ridge? Did he storm Juno Beach? Did he fight in Korea? Did he lead some heroic commando mission in Somalia or withstand the seige of Sarajevo or lead F-18 sorties over Kuwait in the first Iraq war? Has he been out battling the wily Pathan in the Afghan hills? Where was he decorated and for what?

A little checking revealed Gen. Walter Natynczyk does have some medals, some of them are even for serving in a war. In addition to being a Commander of the Order of Military Merit, which is awarded for "Outstanding meritorious service and demonstrated leadership in duties of great responsibility" (in other words longstanding excellence in military service in the same way the Order of Canada is doled out to politicians who manage to stay in office long enough to be considered "statesmen" without getting embroiled in a scandal), in 2006 Natynczyk was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross.

Governor General of Canada; Media release. Jan 24, 2006. "MGen Natynczyk is recognized for his outstanding leadership and professionalism while deployed as Deputy Commanding General of the Multi-National Corps during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. From January 2004 to January 2005, MGen Natynczyk led the Corps' 10 separate brigades, consisting of more than 35,000 soldiers stationed throughout the Iraq Theatre of Operations. He also oversaw planning and execution of all Corps level combat support and combat service support operations. His pivotal role in the development of numerous plans and operations resulted in a tremendous contribution by the Multi-National Corps to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada."

So Natynczyk was decorated for his wartime command of forces in a war that Canada was rather pointedly not taking part in. And the award was for his leadership and professionalism, not battlefield valour.

I don't wish to denigrate Gen. Natynczyk's service to this country or to discount the honor done to him and other recipients of these impressive decorations. Nor do I doubt his personal bravery--his record shows that he has served honorably on peacekeeping missions and elsewhere. But none of that makes him a "decorated war hero" to anyone except the kind of mindless uniform fetishists that seem to populate the Conservative benches and form the core of support for the ongoing military adventure in Afghanistan.

Wearing a uniform doesn't make you any more honorable or any smarter or any braver than anyone else and outranking an eyewitness doesn't make you more credible than they are. I think Natynczyk, like most sensible people, realizes this, even if Baird does not.

Baird is an braying brass-kissing ass who loves to wrap himself in the flag and use the Canadian Forces for his own political ends. But this is the Stephen Harper party of Canada and as much as Harper, Baird and Peter McKay love to be photographed playing soldier or sailor, and love to the military as a wedge issue--decrying any opposition to their policy or attempts to hold them responsible as hatred for the sacred troops--as soon as the political bullets start to get too close, somebody is going to be sent to draw fire and that somebody isn't going to one of their own.

Natynczyk seems to understand this and is now making it clear that he isn't going to be falling on his sword for them.

Why won't John Baird and the rest of the Conservative Party of Canada take the word of both our heroic troops in the field and our top soldier? Why won't they hold a full public inquiry?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dudley Dowrong rides away

I'm not even going to try to add my two cents worth except to quote these guys as regards the four horsemen. I like good cops. These four are not good cops. They behaved like uniformed thugs. Dr. Dawg and Buckdog have the round-up on the RCMP's complaints commission's report on the Mounties' taser murder of Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver airport. Since the Crown Attorney didn't see fit to lay charges at the time, none of the four will ever really be made to pay for their crime, but never fear, the federal government lead by Stephen Harper, is making sure this never happens again -- by firing the RCMP complaints commissioner who wrote the report.

If I was the king of the forest.....

Lion, tiger and bear - oh my!
Now if we could just get Rush Limbaugh and the Senate Democrats to step inside the enclosure around feeding time....

h/t Red Tory

Why America is screwed, part 7,598,341

Because if you look in an encylopedia under "utterly useless sell-out bastards" you will find the brief reference "See: 'Senate Democrats'"

It's all in the music

and the editing....

Monday, December 07, 2009

Twinkies, Cockroaches and Evangelists

Three things that will survive no matter what:

Ted Haggard returns to the pulpit in Colorado
The disgraced former pastor is back in Colorado Springs, and his home prayer meetings have drawn an unexpected audience. 'I love a good redemption story,' a supporter says.
By DeeDee Correll
December 7, 2009
Reporting from
Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Ted Haggard climbed onto a bale of hay, Bible balanced in his palm."Welcome to my barn," he called out."Does anybody need a blanket?" his wife, Gayle, inquired as men and women in down coats shivered in the frigid November air. Some huddled underneath a space heater.Then the blue-jeans-clad preacher began chanting: "God is good, God is good, God is good."

This musty barn next to the Haggard home is barely two miles -- but a universe away -- from the massive stage the former evangelical star once occupied at New Life Church. There, he would appear every Sunday before microphones, giant television screens and a congregation so large that services had to be held in shifts.But in late 2006 came what Haggard, now 53, refers to as "the crisis," the revelation that he'd had a sexual relationship with a male escort. Haggard resigned from the church he had started in his basement 25 years ago and left Colorado Springs.

I guess what Roy Zimmerman says really is true, that or he has found a congregation of hardcore born again true believers who don't care where he puts his weiner, just as long as he does a good job being a cheerleader for Jesus.

Just to be clear, I don't care where he puts his weiner. The less I know about what Ted Haggard does when he feels the need to get his freak on, the better. But one does not get to live in the glass house while telling everyone who will hold still long enough to listen to get out there and throw rocks at everyone else's crystal palace. He got caught doing what he has spent his career condemning, that is why he has become a punchline. It's like catching Jenny Craig with her head in a trough of ice cream, or Ralph Nader selling used Pintos.
I don't care that Ted Haggard is gay, I care that he has spent his entire career telling people to hate gays and applying political pressure - including through his regular private chats with the last president of the United States - to deny homosexuals civil rights. If he were straight, this would be bad enough - it's wrong to deny someone equal rights on the basis of who they like to do the horizontal hula with assuming everyone involved is a consenting adult - but he was condemning homosexuality as evil, while hiding the fact that he was shacking up with a male prostitute. That is what makes him an uber douchebag.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

je me souviens

Geneviève Bergeron (1968-1989)
Hélène Colgan (1966-1989)
Nathalie Croteau (1966-1989)
Barbara Daigneault (1967-1989)
Anne-Marie Edward (1968-1989)
Maud Haviernick (1960-1989)
Maryse Laganière (1964-1989)
Maryse Leclair (1966-1989)
Anne-Marie Lemay (1967-1989)
Sonia Pelletier (1961-1989)
Michèle Richard (1968-1989)
Annie St-Arneault (1966-1989)
Annie Turcotte (1969-1989)
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (1958-1989)

Never, never forget.

sunday songs and cinema

I've been remiss in posting the week's presentation by the Second Life Marxist-Lennonist Party's Glorious People's Cinema Project for quite some time, but this week's offering is a true "don't miss" film.

Even if you've never been a big fan of Bob Dylan, "I'm Not There" is still an amazing film and the truest biography ever to take poetic licence. It's so good, I even liked Richard Gere in it, and I usually hate Richard Gere. Cate Blanchett doesn't so much play the late 60s Dylan as absolutely channel the man. She was robbed at the Oscars.

You can find us all at the Red Zeppelin in Second Life (you can join for free) or just listen along to the premovie show on Radio Woodshed off to your right and then watch along on YouTube. Would you believe we've been doing this for more than a year and a half now?

The music starts at 5 PST/ 8 EST, and the movie starts at 7 PST/10 EST.