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

Thursday, February 09, 2012

the chamber of mature, sober second thought

Meet Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein:

It's speculation, but I think it is highly likely that Conservative Senator Irving Gerstein's report cards from primary school must have included the notations "Has problems sharing" and "Does not play well with others"

The so-called house of sober second thought witnessed the kind of contest normally associated with first-grade birthday parties, as a showdown erupted over seating arrangements this week.
The newly elected chair of the Senate banking committee, Conservative Irving Gerstein, didn't want the vice-chair, Liberal Celine Hervieux-Payette, sitting next to him.
When he asked her to step away from the head table, she refused.
So Gerstein, elected this week as chair, called a vote to kick Payette out of her chair.
With a Conservative majority on the committee, the motion passed Wednesday and the game of partisan musical chairs ended with Payette being forced to grab a seat farther away.

Click to read the whole thing to get a proper picture of  the kind of petty dickishness that prevails in Canada's ruling party.
Given the level of maturity demonstrated, I'm guessing Gerstein was worried he'd get Liberal/French/girl cooties if he sat next to Hervieux-Payette.
But the Conservatives have a majority, so I suppose we must respect their authority


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

There is a reason Florida has its own tag on FARK

Ah Florida, land of orange blossoms, beaches, golf courses built on gator-filled swamps and the early bird buffet special. Home to Disneyland, retirement paradises and more crazy per capita than any other state in the union except maybe Utah. I'm not sure if it's too much time in the sun or all the prescription drugs all those retirees are flushing into the water table, but Florida seems to produce a lot of screwy stories.
Even given all that, it is hard to know just where to begin to describe the colossal amounts of fail, stupid, sexism and sheer wrongheadedness in this:

Sentence for domestic abuse: Jail or dinner and a date

A romantic night on the town with his wife rather than a night in jail was the sentence for a Florida man arrested after a marital fight over a birthday.
After careful questioning of Sonia Bray, Broward County bond court Judge John Hurley told the lawyer for her husband Joseph:
“He’s going to be out of jail by 3 o’clock today, he’s going to stop by somewhere and get some flowers and a card.”
By now, Joseph Bray and his counsel are grinning in a video broadcast by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
“He’ll pick up his wife, get dressed, take her to Red Lobster and then go bowling.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Bray.
The next day, Hurley ordered, the Brays were to sign up for marriage counselling.
The judge explained the leniency of his creative ruling after asking Sonia Bray repeatedly if she felt threatened by her husband or had been injured. Was money or alcohol the root of the problem?
“No,” the tearful woman told the court. It was just “a lack of communication between both of us.”
Hurley pried out of Sonia Bray that her husband had neglected to wish her happy birthday the day before, or even talk to her. They argued and he pushed her onto a couch, grabbed her throat and raised his fist, but never hit her, she said.
More careful questioning got her to admit she liked bowling and Red Lobster for a night out. Hurley threw in the flowers himself.
“Flowers, birthday card, Red Lobster, bowling,” Hurley ticked off for an abashed looking Joseph Bray. “You’ve got your work cut out for you.”

Needless to say, county court judges are elected in Florida, though at least they need to have a law degree and pass the Florida Bar exam. Sometimes democracy  is not the best system.
How long before this idiot is on TV as a replacement for Judge Judy? (Big surprise on the link: His favorite book is Atlas Shrugged). Whoops, he is on TV, of a sort.

My parents just got a place down there, so this is worrying.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

turning pages

#9 Why Me? by Donald E. Westlake
Is there anything as pleasurable as a midweek day off (especially a Monday?) - sleeping late, getting up to strong coffee, a toasted western, and a Dortmunder novel you haven't read yet when you have no other plans for the day? I doubt it. Read this in a single three hour sitting without so much as a restroom break. Nobody does humorous caper novels like Westlake. It is odd that none of these have seemed to translate into decent movies, though its been tried again and again. For those not in the know, John Dortmunder is a professional thief who lives and works in New York City. Aided as always by an eccentric  group of accomplices, Dortmunder is the master heist planner. He is also the unluckiest crook ever born. In this instalment, he inadvertently steals the world's largest and most famous ruby and the resultant political heat has the NYPD, FBI and CIA, a variety of terrorist groups and and foreign spooks and every crook in NYC looking for the stone and the guy who stole it. Needless to say, zany hijinks ensue.

#10 The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
There is more than than zany hijinks afoot in Dave Eggers novelization of his screenplay adapted from the classic picture book Where the Wild Things Are. As in most of Eggers work, there is raw emotion, existential angst and movement, always movement. I loved Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and the combination of sorrow, whimsy and affection he brings to most of his writing make this a very affecting novel. Few writers understand and can portray the mind of a nine-year-old boy this well.