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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Uke blogging

I actually posted a link to a recording of this song a few years ago when I was being pilloried for using a word that women really, really don't like. Stolen from the Skipper over at the Galloping Beaver who got it from the Divine Ms. Z.

Blogging will be non-exisitant for a few days as I soak my cares away at a mountain onsen hot springs resort over the new year's holidaze. Talk amongst yourselves until I get back, smoke'em if you got'em.

Update:Video fixed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Journamalism tips

When trying to get someone's name after you've gotten a comment or taken their picture, beware of people who just spell out their last name first, or start throwing initials around, otherwise you could end up making a really embarrassing mistake like this poor bastard at a Fargo N.D. newspaper did. As one of my coworkers often points out: "You need a dirty mind to publish a clean paper."

Apparently Mr. Jablomi gets around.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Christmas in the Woodshed

Radio Woodshed will be running special seasonal programming starting Dec. 23 straight through Christmas Day and into Boxing Day. And by special, I mean holiday music, comedy and stories ranging from David Sedaris' hilarious Santaland Diaries to stories from the Vinyl Cafe to Tim Curry reading "A Christmas Carol" and lots, lots more.

The holiday fun will kick off at 7 pm EST Dec. 23 with Tim Curry reading Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in its entire unabridged glory and continues in about a 16 hour loop with stories from O. Henry, Paul Auster, William Burroughs, Dylan Thomas, Lord Buckley and others roughly on the hour, interspersed with music from holiday music by Carly Simon, Neil Diamond, the Crash Test Dummies, Aretha Franklin, Bing Crosby, the Asylum Street Spankers, and Tom Waits among many others and comedy by John Cleese, the Arrogant Worms, the National Lampoon, Steve Martin and many, many more!
Just click the radio over on the right to tune in.

Special thanks to technowizard PB for fixing my Shoutcast connection from his iPod Touch while in the middle of dining out. Santa will be extra good to you this year.

The Tim Curry Christmas Carol will be rebroadcast again at 8 pm (EST) Xmas Eve and from noon on Xmas Day with lots of music and other stories long and short in-between.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stay Klassy Kate

Kate McVillan of Small-minded Roadkill has apparently clutched her pearls in a swoon at the incivilitiy of those of us on the left who took issue with her celebration of journalists dying on the job. She hasn't come after me, because I'm small enought to pass unnoticed in the larger scheme of things, but she has loosed her flying monkeys on some other blogs. In particular, she seems to be stamping her little jackboots in the direction of the esteemed Dr. Dawg. When she didn't get the retraction she demanded, she had this to say in an email reproduced by the good doctor:

I have to say I now wonder why anyone on the right gave you so much as a passing snort when your wife passed away. I know I certainly regret it now. I had assumed you were a human being.

Stay klassy, KKKate.

Canada's Lowest Common Denominatrix (tm PSA) apparently took offense to this post by Dr. Dawg in which he pointed to his own noting of McVillian's at the very least tacit, if not effusive approval of the deaths of dozens of journalists over the past year in the context of talking about the right wing fascist cult of death. While KKKate said little enough herself in her post, the comments that she let stand are illustrative of just how deep a sinkhole her blog is and give a general picture of the kind of people who hang out there, lapping up her every word.

I wish I'd bought the T-shirt:
"Journalist. Rope. Tree. Some assembly required."

Posted by: Jim at December 19, 2009 8:02 AM

Well darn. I thought I was linking to a story about something bad happening.What's that old saying..I'd rather have a mother as a whore then a journalist?

Posted by: Justthinkin at December 19, 2009 8:05 AM

I've said for years the only way to save the US is to hang all of the media first. Looks like my views aren't so out of the main stream.
"Freedom of the press requires you support it, not subvert it."
When your group works to subvert our freedoms (speech, guns, property rights, etc) don't be surprised if we wouldn't like to see you pay for it.

Posted by: paulcr39 at December 19,2009 8:11 AM

It isn't a pretty picture and it goes a long way to explaining why Canada has strayed so far into the weeds in the last few years.

Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight

Another cop who should be flipping burgers. And another set of brain-dead 'moran' commenters who's mouths should be filled in with cement. And yes, I'm talking about you "Ganhdiablo," "jblackrupert" and "nos744"

Now THAT is what I call a war on Christmas!

Fortunately, or unfortunately I don't live in a place where people put up a lot of external decorations and Christmas lights, so I'm unlikely to be confronted by something like this. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but you gotta give the guy credit for originality.

Controversial Christmas Display, Jesus versus Santa

NIPOMO – One Nipomo man's holiday decorations has his neighbors banding together to get it removed.
The display is of Jesus and Santa, the two icons of Christmas. However, Jesus is holding a shotgun over the dead body of Santa Claus.
Neighbors want the display taken down citing that there are children in the neighborhood and they find it disturbing. "I know its freedom of speech, but it's pretty disturbing and there are lots of children, that's our main concern," says neighbor Susana Cruz. The artist, Ron Lake, who is house sitting where the decorations are on display, says that it represents the commercialism of Christmas.

More pictures here

Christmas special reruns

Someone commented over on the Galloping Beaver that I had posted the same favorite Christmas song this year - Christmas in the Trenches - as I did last year. Guilty as charged, it's still my favorite after all. And all the television networks recycle all their Christmas specials year after year so why not? Here are some holiday favorites from the Woodshed:

Yes Virginia, your cynical little friends may be right in the purely physical sense, but they still don't know what they are talking about.

Christmas wishes from some guy in a white suit with a banjo

David Sedaris' Santaland Diaries

And just so you know - Radio Woodshed will be on the air Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a broad selection of Christmas music, comedy and a number of Christmas stories ranging from John Cleese's five minute rethinking of the "The Night Before Christmas" to a three-hour reading of "A Christmas Carol" by Tim Curry. Click on the radio to tune in.

Monday, December 21, 2009

the naughty list

Nice list: Richard Colvin, Progressive Bloggers, the usual suspects from the blogroll
Naughty list: Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada, Joe Lieberman, Kate McVillain and commenters at Small Dead Animals, Blogging Tories

who has the best readers?

I do. Theo sends me a couple of his original cards every year and they are among the nicest gifts I get from anyone, anywhere.

the rest of the year in pictures

Part three of the Associated Press' best photos of the year

And you wonder why reporters drink

It's not enough that most of us work long, hard hours for crap wages in a dying industry that is constantly criticized by people who don't know what they are talking about most of the time, or that we are constantly being pushed to lower our professional standards, dumb down coverage or devote time to writing about idiotic crap instead of real news.

People in the news business with those problems are the lucky ones. In a lot of places, writing the truth about what is going on around you, can get you killed.

As depressing as this story is, the comments are downright frightening.

CC shows us how Canada's Lowest Common Dominatrix (a term coined by PSA) and her Stormfront farm team get their jollies off dead journalists, too. Apparently, having someone look around and tell people when the government or other powerful people are trying to screw them is a terrible, terrible thing to some idiots on the right and shooting the messenger seems sensible to them, mostly because they are batshit crazy. Talk about hating freedom...the mind boggles at some of the comments. I don't want to say that Kate McMillan and her gang of flying monkeys are the worst people in the world--they probably aren't out there setting fire to children on a daily basis or anything-- but they are certainly among the worst people on the internet.

What they fail to understand is that everything they know about the world around them is the result of a reporter doing their job. The only reason they know enough about what goes on in Ottawa or Washington or Afghanistan to criticize the decisions being made is because they saw a reporter on TV telling them about it or read a story in the newspaper. Those on the right that fear the government is going to take their guns or complain that it is wasting their money - where the hell do they think that information comes from? the government? And spare the "the blogs will replace newspapers/radio/TV news" bullshit. No "citizen journalist" is going to spend 50 hours a week, 50 weeks a year sitting through government committee meetings for the thrill of being the first on the internet to report that taxes are going up 1.8% or that the government is looking at establishing a rutabega marketing board.

I'll admit that the press doesn't always do its job as well as it should, but the journalists on that list are not dead because they were lazy or biased or crappy writers. Journalism is one of the few jobs in which people die not because they made a mistake, but because they did their jobs very well.

As people in a democracy get the government they deserve, so too do consumers get the media they deserve in a capitalist free-market. You want to know why the cable networks and news magazines are full of bullshit stories about Michael Jackson's plastic surgery or Paris Hilton's latest panty-flash or reports about water-skiing squirrels? Because that crap sells. Because reading about what the government is doing about the deficit is borrrrrrrring! Because consumers want mind-candy, not difficult to process information that might make them uncomfortable.
"Don't show me starving children in Africa or the government violating the constitution, then I'll feel bad because I'm not doing anything about it, it's depressing. I want good news!"
Nobody really cares that Tiger Woods slept with a bunch of women and fucked up his marriage, we just like to see that rich, successful people have the same problems as the rest of us. Nobody wants their opinion challenged, they want to know they were right all along -- that's why FOX News is making a fortune telling idiots that Obama really is a marxist muslim from Kenya and that illegal aliens are plotting to impregnate their daughters just so they can be forced to get an abortion. They knew it all along!

If you don't like the stories you see in the press because you think they are stupid and pointless, write the editor and tell them to quit publishing trivia. Believe me, the reporter who is sent out to cover the waterskiing squirrel would much rather be doing something that matters. If you don't like the stories you see in the press because you think the reporter hasn't done his job and has messed up the information, write the editor and complain. Make the media do a better job, because an informed electorate is essential in a democracy and the only way for it to be informed is by having a free press that does its job.

Reporters who do their job well are not the problem. Consumers who reward media organizations for not doing their jobs, who demand more eye candy and less real information about important things, are the problem.

And if you are one of the knuckle-dragging blar-har-har nitwits who like to cheer for reporters dying on the job, well, fuck you very much. Thanks for doing all you do to make the world a worse place.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

another several thousand words

The Associated Press photos of the year part two

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ukraine's got talent

Move it or lose it

Rick Mercer lays out the rules of the road for pedestrians. I would only add that stopping to gawk around at the top or bottom of an escalator shouldn't be hanging offense, at least not the first time, but standing in the doorway of the subway car to wave bye-bye to your friends while other people are waiting to get on or off the train should be for anyone older than five.

Friday, December 18, 2009

then they came for the hyperbolic and paranoid...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Highway to Health - Last Tea Party Protest of the Year
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis
For those who can't see the clip, it's from the Daily Show on Dec. 16. It's a bit of video from the last Teabagger rally of the year. It features some outstanding examples of total lunacy. We have uber-douchebag and perrenial also-ran candidate for governor of New Jersey Steve Lonegan of "Americans for Prosperity" proclaiming that "we cannot allow the pen to become mightier than the sword," and Rick Scott of Conservatives for Patient Rights demanding ponies that shit gold and to top it all off right-wing talk radio shrieker Laura Ingraham oh-so-very-respectful reinterpretation of Rev. Martin Niemoller's famous amphorism about the Holocaust updated to serve the Republican party and their wealthy masters.
Clearly, for someone who speaks on the radio for a living, Laura has some trouble getting her dim-bulb ideas marshaled into coherent speech. I guess she's learned to speak from watch old Dubya speeches. May she's the one that needs the teleprompter. This is what she is being quoted as saying in full, and since the bit about "property owners being confiscated" isn't in here I can only assume these were prepared remarks distributed ahead of time to various new organizations

“First they came for the rich. And I did not speak out because I was not rich.
Then they came for the property owners, and I did not speak out because I did not own property.
Then they came for the right to bear arms, and I did not speak out because I was not armed.
Then they came for me and denied me my medical care, and there was no one left to speak for me,”

Not that her gibberish is any less offensive for being phrased with proper grammar and diction. Now, the question is this: Does Laura Ingraham really believe that boosting the income tax a few percent for the wealthiest people in the United States is the same as genocide or is she engaged in a cynical piece of blatant manipulation and false equivalency in order to get people to vote and engage in political activism that is against their own best interests? Or is she just trying to stir controversy to get herself mentioned on the news? The bottom line is that she is either a completely ignorant moron, an evil fascist demagogue or an amoral attention whore - not that any of these things are mutually exclusive.
Once again the right hits the bottom of the barrel and keeps on digging.

Bonus blazing stupidity: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Stupid) bounded on to the stage at the same rally and cheerfully declared the demonstration "The Charge of the Light Brigade" - obviously she's not a student of history. The famous charge was a disaster - a futile attack on the wrong target that got huge numbers of men killed for no reason at all, due to the stupidity and rashness of their commanders. On second thought, maybe Bachmann is smarter than I thought.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dear Joe Lieberman

Senator, I've been talking to a lot of liberals lately, especially liberal bloggers and we all agree. We are convinced that we must at cost stop senators from Connecticut from walking blindfolded across expressways, sleeping on railroad tracks and drinking bleach. All of us liberals agree that you must not do these things and that by not doing these things you will make us all very happy. Also, we firmly oppose senators playing Russian roulette. We feel it is an abomination and something that should never, ever be allowed, especially for members of the Senate. Please Joe, stay away from Russian roulette, don't ever put a round in the revolver, spin the cylinder, put the muzzle to your temple and pull the trigger. Never do that, it will make all us Liberals so very, very sad. And please Joe, stop smoking in bed, especially after sloshing kerosene around the room. We liberals further demand that you never, ever shower with a toaster or go swimming with your anvil collection. Don't do it Joe! It will really piss off the liberals if you do, especially the bloggers.

Your pal
Rev. Paperboy

P.S. If you really wanted to drive us liberal crazy Joe, you could give all your money to the homeless and then go from bed to bed in hospitals across the United States apologizing to people for making sure they won't ever be able to afford decent health care. Boy, that would sure teach us liberal bloggers a lesson. We'd just hate that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My favorite Christmas song and story

In all the list making the other day about best and worst Christmas songs, I completely forgot about my real favorite.

Excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

more border shenanigans

While Canadian border authorities are acting like a bunch of dicks in worrying about whether a U.S. reporter coming into the country is going to say mean things about the Vancouver Olympics we learn via Boing Boing that the U.S. Fatherland Security blackshirts are beating up foreign citizens who are trying to leave the United States before leaving them to die of exposure in a snowstorm.
This is a big part of why I fork out the extra few hundred dollars to fly to Toronto via Vancouver on Air Canada rather than the cheaper route through Detroit on Northwestern - It means one less set of self-important paranoid authoritarian stormtrooper demanding my papers. These are not the 'droids you're looking for fellas, honest.

Rumors of a coup

Would someone kindly light a fire under Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe and explain to them that they don't have to let Stephen Harper steal their lunch money and give the entire country a wedgie? Word is now that Stephen Harper is going to try to progue Parliament again until after the Olympics rather than submit to an order by the House of Commons to turn over uncensored documents in the Afghan prisoner investigation. Doing so would allow the Conservatives to take control of the Senate in the new year, so while it would mean a few of their bills die on the order paper, it would allow them to blatantly defy the will of Parliament and dodge the Afghan prisoner scandal in the short term.

I can't believe I need to haul this out again so soon.


Probably, but a lot of key political people seem to be dying in plane crashes over the last dozen or so years - Ron Brown, Paul Wellstone and now I hear about Mike Connell, the GOP's head IT guy who was responsible for the all the lost Bush White House E-mails that were found today.
Let me be clear, I am not saying all these people were murdered, but the person who looked into the circumstances surrounding Connell's death is not exactly some fruitcake with a website, she is "a Peabody and 4 time Murrow Award winning veteran of ABC News. She recently co-produced "Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery" for HBO Documentaries which won a Scripps Howard Foundation Award for Excellence in Journalism," so I'm not inclined to dismiss the idea outright that something could be fishy. It certainly deserves to get as much coverage as the completely bullshit "Hilary Clinton killed Vince Foster" story that keeps getting repeated despite being debunked again and again.

the year in pictures - part one

If a picture is worth a thousand words this will be my longest post of the year by far.
Part one

Monday, December 14, 2009

The not-so-happy holidays

Further proof of the great divide between the news section and the editorial page section in the Wall Street Journal is brought to us by Atta J. Turk. Though, I have to admit, If it weren't for the greedhead Randites running the editorial page and their fellow travellers on Wall Street, on K Street and in Congress, the news guys would have had such touching subject material.

(link now fixed, thanks to JJ for pointing it out)

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.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Uke - all originals edition

the stupendous Shelly O'Brien

the marvellous Molly Lewis

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's that time of year again!

Subway etiquette is important in Tokyo. No matter what happens, no matter how crazy the situation you must not react. A stoic countenance must be maintained. You must not complain or you will be the nail that sticks up. As a result, some people get away with murder on the trains. Molesting women is not as common as it once was, but it is still such a problem that some train lines in Tokyo have "Women Only" carriages during morning rush hour. And almost no one ever gives up their seat for the elderly or the heavily pregnant.

Poor subway etiquette and people's reluctance to complain has lead to the development of a series of monthly posters in Tokyo train station reminding people about how to behave on the train.

Every year, Japanese companies pay their salarymen a pair of bonuses - one at the start of summer and one at the end of the year. Traditionally, the end-of-year bonus is celebrated with massive drinking parties at which dour, serious-minded captains of industry drink like university frosh frat boys on Spring Break who have just gotten out of jail and are vacationing with the heir to a brewing empire after crossing the Sahara on foot. Leading to posters like this one.

This year's spring bonus was reckoned to be a very small one at most companies due to the worldwide financial crash and no one is optimistic about the year-end either. Which I guess explains the cans in the latest poster, what with convenience store or vending machine beers being the poor man's alternative to the local izakaya.

hat-tip to Shibuya 246

I know, you think I'm exaggerating. Think again. This was taken last night by one of my workmates.

hat tip to the Bald Avenger


A shoe for a shoe for a shoe leaves Iraq barefoot

Monday, November 30, 2009

Canadian Question Corner

Are we all completely 100% sure that Don Cherry wasn't secretly calling the plays for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in their last-second championship loss to the Montreal Alouettes?

Just asking....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Just ask Nixon

It isn't the misdeeds that get you in real trouble, it's the lies and the cover-up. Rick Hillier and Stephen Harper better bear this in mind and get on the right side of this avalanche of shit and they better do it now. This crapola isn't going to cut it.

It doesn't matter what kind of excuses they want to make or how they or their defenders want to spin this. The Canadian Forces took prisoners and turned them over to people they knew were torturing prisoners. The brass were told about it and they did nothing for far too long. And now they are trying to claim that they didn't know and that report that were made weren't made. I would direct your attention especially to page five of this document.

Wake up call on climate policy or Obama-crush?

Would it be wrong to speculate that this:

Harper to attend Copenhagen after all
Decision follows announcement that U.S. President Obama would visit city that's playing host to climate summit
John Ibbitson
Ottawa — From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 8:27PM EST Last updated on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 9:57PM EST
With the Chinese and the Americans leaving him no choice, Stephen Harper reversed himself Thursday and announced he would, after all, attend next month's meetings on climate change in Copenhagen.
Reporters frantically phoned and texted the news from the Prime Minister's aircraft as it taxied for takeoff en route to a Commonwealth heads-of-government meeting in Trinidad, reflecting the reluctant, impromptu nature of the decision.

has something to do with this?

Scientists target Canada over climate change
Damian Carrington
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 November 2009 22.54 GMT
Prominent campaigners, politicians and scientists have called for Canada to be suspended from the Commonwealth over its climate change policies.
The coalition's demand came before this weekend's Commonwealth heads of government summit in Trinidad and Tobago, at which global warming will top the agenda, and next month's UN climate conference in Copenhagen. Despite criticism of Canada's environmental policies, the prime minister, Stephen Harper, is to attend the Copenhagen summit. His spokesman said today: "We will be attending the Copenhagen meeting … a critical mass of world leaders will be attending."
Canada's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the world's highest and it will not meet the cut required under the Kyoto protocol: by 2007 its emissions were 34% above its reduction target. It is exploiting its vast tar sands reserves to produce oil, a process said to cause at least three times the emissions of conventional oil extraction.

Bad day in Buffalo

In which a blogger and activist is detained and harrassed by fatherland security thugs at the Canada-U.S. border. IANAL, but I don't think a passport-packin' U.S. citizen can be denied entry to the United States. If they are suspected of a crime within the United States or are wanted for crimes elsewhere, they can obviously be held in custody pending trial or extradition, but I don't think the authorities can keep citizen out of their own country just because they don't like them. Nothing is more dangerous or more odious than a bully with a badge.

UPDATE: It appears we have antidemocratic bullies working both sides of the border. Unless they had some reason to suspect Amy Goodman was going to advocate machine-gunning the medal winners or something, her opinions on the Olympics are really none of the Canadian Border Services Agency's damn business.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday Uke Blogging

Brought to you by Mood Rings, available at your local gas station counter.

just because

Crisis,What Crisis

Sorry, not much logic in this song. Remember when she admitted that she didn't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was? Obviously a perfect choice for Obama to name to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Viva Woody Guthrie

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why I do my best to ignore Rosie Dimanno - example number fortyleven

Because apparently the reason all those Afghans the Canadian Forces captured were turned over to the Afghans to be tortured is that I, and people like me, said disparaging and oh-so-unfair things about Rick Hillier shooting his mouth off and the U.S. Armed Forces. It was because of us nervous nellies with our namby-pamby attitude toward torture and our complete dominance of the conduct of Canada's New Government that the government dared not stand up to the Afghans or hand prisoners over to the Americans who would have simply fed them cake and ice cream and kept them in air-conditioned luxury at Baghram Air Base and not tortured them at all.
I say "apparently" because that is the way Canada's favorite commonsense fiesty gal reporter (a pose I tire of very quickly since being a female and a journalist have not been mutually exclusive, or even unusual, for several decades) reports it in her latest column.

She seems to think that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was "just a few bad apples" and that not handing over prisoners to the Americans was just the result of knee-jerk anti-Americanism.
She contends that Canada "chose" the Afghans (who live there) over the Americans as front line allies, despite knowing they were medieval barbarians who would torture prisoners as soon as look at them. Not like the Americans.

Of course, she could be right or she could be wrong, totally misinformed, just plain full of it and more interested in attacking people on the antiwar side than making any sense. But it's Rosie DiManno, so what are the odds?

Great minds think alike?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen

Flying Spagetti Monster bless the National Film Board of Canada.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dick Cheney - diplomat

I suppose Cheney would have advised Obama to grab the emperor by the lapels, tell him to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki and go tend his goldfish?

From The National ToastPost

Former vice-president Dick Cheney is attacking Barack Obama again, this time for the U.S. President’s bow to the Japanese Emperor.
Cheney told POLITICO.com, “There is no reason for an American president to bow to anyone. Our friends and allies don’t expect it, and our enemies see it as a sign of weakness.”

Would someone please take the stick out of Dick Cheney's ass and wallop him upside the head with it? Bowing to people when you meet and when you part is a sign of respect and courtesy in Japan, just like shaking hands in the West. It is such an ingrained habit here that I've seen people do it when they say hello and goodbye on the telelphone. Gee Dick, I wonder where all that anti-American sentiment around the world comes from? It couldn't possibly be from arrogant corporate plutocrats like you who fail to demonstrate any respect or common courtesy for other people, could it? Imagine the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth if a world leader refused to shake the offered hand of the U.S. president?
Treating others with courtesy, consideration and generousity -- even forgiveness or forebearence where appropriate -- is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and confidence. Blowing your stack at every perceived slight, real or imagined, and behaving like a petulant meglomaniac is the classic trait of every two-bit tyrant and petty dictator in history. Hardly surprising the rest of the world heaved a sigh of relief when Dick Cheney and his band of chest-thumping hicks left the White House.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sell a few Michelangelos and feed Africa this year

I think most reasonable people, where ever they are on the political spectrum, would agree that hunger and poverty are objectively bad things and the fact that one in six people on this planet does not get enough to eat is pretty awful, especially when we in the wealthy developed world look at the plenty that surrounds us.

So when I saw this story about the UN food conference in Rome, it perturbed me. As usual, all the diplomats sitting at the banquet table agree that hunger in the poorer nations is a terrible thing and "somebody ought to do something about it" - at least, they all agree until coughing up some money to irrigate fields in Africa or start fish farms in South East Asia or build better dykes in Bangladesh is discussed and then suddenly everyone is full of excuses.

But then I read a little further and got really ticked off.

"Despite endorsing the strategy in the first hours of Monday's meeting, the 192 participating countries did not commit to the $44 billion a year for agricultural aid that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says will be necessary in the coming decades.
Soon after the delegates approved the declaration, Pope Benedict took the floor to decry "opulence and waste" in a world where the "tragedy" of hunger has been steadily worsening. Benedict's speech marked the first time a pontiff attended such a gathering since Pope John Paul II took part in a 1996 food summit.
The pontiff, lending his moral authority as head of the world's 1 billion Catholics, also called for access to international markets for products coming from the poorest countries, which he said are often relegated to the sidelines."

The Pope, who insists that every sperm is sacred and his flock must keep having lots and lots of Catholic babies, who lives in a golden palace full of priceless art in his own nation-state in the middle of Rome with his own private army and bank (estimated to have at least $10 billion invested in foreign corporations), who presides over a global organization that brings in an estimated $50 to $100 million a year in donations alone, who made sure that the Church spent millions defending pedophiles in the U.S. and elsewhere and who wears simply fabulous hats, is decrying "opulence and waste."

Yeah, right.

Sure, the Catholic Church is one of the world's largest charitable organizations and Catholic charities do a lot of good work, but how many of "Peter's Pence" get spent on running a parallel religious school system where there is already a perfectly good public school system? How much of that money is going to the pay for the Monsignor's Cadillac? What is the ratio of bibles to bags of rice that are getting shipped to starving nations? How much is getting spent on making women feel bad about seeking an abortion or using birth control? How many lives, how many man-hours of labour, skull-sweat and angst have been dedicated to appeasing an invisible sky-daddy instead of helping humans in the here and now?

I'm not saying the Catholic Church (or any other church for that matter) doesn't do good works -- it does provide some vital services in some pretty grim places around the world. But for God's self-proclaimed spokesman on Earth to sit in the lap of luxury and start railing about "opulence and waste" is just a bit rich.

Columbus, go home

the General shows us someone who knows how to best handle the teabagger/minutemen xenophobic dingbats, with mockery.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Vacation time

Gone to Hawaii to hunt the wild ukulele and hang out on the beach, see you next week

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Weekend uke blogging - turning Japanese edition

the original

the covers

Non-uke cover, but check out the voice on this woman!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I bet the Leafs could have him in the second round

Sure, his fundamentals need a little work, and he's no pretty boy, but this kid is big, strong, tough, dangerous and wild at heart. He's aggressive in the corners, has the killer instinct needed in today's NHL -- he'll really maul the other team.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pre-emptive halloween uke blogging

The best religions have great hats

"National Toast" or "So Long and Thanks for all the Fishwrap"

It looks like curtains for the Canada's most right wing national rag. As much as I bleed ink and hate the thought of another newspaper closing down, I will not shed a tear for the National Post - I only hope the courts refuse to allow the Aspers to tie this anchor around the collective neck of their other newspapers, which like most other papers have enough financial trouble to deal with already.
The National Post was started by Conrad Black to attack the governing Liberals after Prime Minister Jean Chretien refused to grant Connie a waver and let him become a British aristocrat while remaining a Canadian citizen. The soon-to-be Lord Tubby of Fleet Prisoner No. 90210 Lord Black of Cross Harbour decided that this would not do - mere law was not going this plucky underdog billionaire from achieving the British peerage that every Canadian boy dreams about. Deciding the Globe and Mail was not sufficiently conservative or at his beck and call, Tubby threw some money around, hired the cream of the conservative pundit and columnist crop, and set up the National Post.
It has never made money, nor has it impressed anyone with its editorial brilliance.
Despite the occasional presence of some bright lights, the National Post has been a rag from day one, the print equivalent of the FOX TV news, but without the constant stripper stories or teabag rallies.
Eventually Black gave up, renounced his Canadian citizenship and bought took his seat in the House of Lords and sold the money-burning Reform-Tory organ to the Asper family, long-time Liberal party supporters who under heir-to-the-throne David Asper seem to have converted to the Likud-Republican neoconservatism embraced by movement conservatives in the United States and Canada. The acquistion of the National Post and the former Southam chain from Black, along with their purchase of several specialty TV channels, seems to have been the beginning of the end for the Asper family's CanWest media empire.
Which, given the extent to which the Asper clan seems to like to interfere with editorial policy at their media properties, is just fine by me.
When a news organ with pretentions to respectability starts giving editorial space to hateful, chuckleheaded boobs like Kathy Shaide and "Raphel Alexander" -- well, its time to take Old Yeller out behind the barn and do the decent thing.

Update: Well, the court has ruled that the National Post can take the rest of the former Southam chain of newspapers down with it. This is a shame because some of them, such as the Montreal Gazette, were actually doing okay compared to the rest of the industry. On the bright side, there could be some decent newspapers for sale at fire-sale-on-boxing-day prices for anyone crazy enough to want to take a chance on the newspaper business these days. Otherwise we may as well pucker up and kiss goodbye the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Edmonton Journal, Regina Leader-Post, Vancouver Province, Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times-Colonist and the Windsor Star. Which pretty much leaves the country with country with a bunch more cities that just won't have a real daily newspaper anymore.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everything old is new again

It seems my former arch nemesis from my tenure at the Port Dover Maple Leaf back in last century is still doing what he does best - annoying the hell out of anyone even marginally more progressive than King George III, especially women. I'm sure he will take Antonia's critique to heart - not.
I'm pretty sure this is the same Ian Robinson who was the editor of Maple Leaf's main weekly competitor, the Simcoe Times-- back then he was a right-wing reactionary who delighted in the faux populism of people like Preston Manning and pissing off anyone who's knuckles didn't drag the floor. I seem to recall that when my predessor at the Maple Leaf was more or less run out of town on a rail for suggesting in print that one of the local service clubs' annual blackface minstrel show was an appalling disgrace (this was in the late 80's--the 1980's not the 1880's), Ian was either silent or said something about it being a harmless local tradition.
As long as politics didn't come up, Ian was generally a personable guy when the press gang were out for beers and a lot of us suspected his rabid conservatism was just a contrarian pose. I guess not.
Nice to see that in our ever-changing world, we can still count on some things to stay exactly the same.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bambi II - Revenge of the hunted!

Sometimes it's okay to reuse free promotional items in your video store, sometimes...not so much.

(stolen without hesitation from the geniuses at "So Fucking Metal")

Sunday, October 25, 2009

smart guys on Wall Street

Calvin Trillin meets a guy in a bar who explains why the financial system went kablooey. For what it's worth, this explanation makes as much sense as any I've heard so far.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend uke blogging - man in black edition

the original

the covers

Best. Kazoo. Ever.

Is it hot in here or is it just Whitney?

no uke, but a very different cover

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You say it's your birthday, it's my birthday too

Happy birthday to Mike, Rina, Pete and of course, me.

Some people, well, they just plain suck is all

And yet, if I'd caught the miscreant who added the 30% bend to my front wheel and "straightened them out" I'd be the bad guy.

Some days at work are more entertaining than others

From the dept. of You Couldn't Make This Up:

Policeman held over theft of schoolgirl's underwear
The Yomiuri Shimbun
KOBE--A policeman was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing undergarments from a 14-year-old girl while visiting her house to question her about a crime she had witnessed, police said.
Arrested was Yuki Miyamoto, 26, a policeman from Aboshi Police Station in Hyogo Prefecture.
According to the police, at about 1:50 p.m. Saturday, Miyamoto went to the second-year middle school student's house in Himeji in the prefecture, to question her about a case of public indecency she had witnessed earlier the same day.
Miyamoto is believed to have entered the student's room and stolen about 25 items of underwear.
The student told police that when she was about to take a bath, she noticed her underwear was missing. Her mother reported the theft to the police.
The police questioned Miyamoto about the incident on the same day.
They said Miyamoto has admitted to the allegations.
"It's inexcusable that a uniformed policeman committed a crime during the course of duty," Junichi Wada, head of the Hyogo prefectural police's office of personnel supervision said. "In addition to investigating the facts, we'll deal strictly [with this matter]."
(Oct. 21, 2009)
and I had almost forgotten this one from last month. I was going to post it when it first ran in our paper, but I was uh...holding it, for later use.

33% of men sit to pee: Toto poll
About one in three Japanese men tend to sit on the toilet when urinating at home, according to results of a survey by toilet maker Toto Ltd.
The Internet survey conducted in May, covering 500 men in their 20s to 60s whose homes have Western-style toilets, found 33.4 percent said they prefer to sit, citing "ease of posture" and "to make cleaning easier" as the main reasons.
The figure was 9.7 percent higher than in Toto's last survey in 2004.
Takuji Yano of Toto's public relations department said, "It seems that people are tending to be more conscious about the bathrooms in their home, such as equipping washlet attachments to the toilet and trying to keep them cleaner."

I wonder if Pastor Anderson knows about this?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Before House, before QI, before Jeeves and Wooster

Watch A Bit of Fry and Laurie 4x02 in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Quote of the day

"Television, a medium - so called because it is neither rare, nor well done."

-Ernie Kovacs

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend uke blogging - the all-booty edition

The originals are here and here if you really need to see them

Another take on this vital issue via the magic of Ukulele

But the last word goes to the maestro - Mr. Richard Cheese

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obviously the real racists are the couple who complained

If you are a clergyman, you can pick and chose the people for whom you are willing to perform wedding ceremonies. If a couple comes to you and you don't think they should get married you are well within your right to refuse to perform the service or give the couple the blessing of your church, temple, mosque, shrine, coven or soltice circle. Catholics are under no obligation to allow gays or non-Catholics to marry in their church. Orthodox Rabbis can refuse to marry goyim. Druids can decline invitations to sanctify the handfasting of one of their congregation to a Republican. Churches are private organizations and can do what ever they want as long as it doesn't involve human sacrifice or annoying me in my home.
Government officials do not have that luxury. If someone meets the legal criteria for marrying - that is to say, they are of legal age and not obviously insane or under duress or siblings - you have to give them the licence, no matter what your personal feelings are.
So this dimwitted clown doesn't have a leg to stand on when he tries to defend his refusal to grant marriage licences to interracial couples. He should not be allowed to resign, he should be removed from office, yesterday. Naturally though, he claims not to be a racist, he's just thinking of the children:

However, [Justice of the Peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward Keith] Bardwell told the Hammond’s Daily Star that he was concerned for the children who may be born of the relationship and that, in his experience, most interracial marriages don’t last.
“I’m not a racist,” Bardwell told the newspaper. “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house. My main concern is for the children.” Bardwell, stressing he couldn’t personally endorse the marriage, referred the couple to another justice of the peace.
Yes, I'm quite sure he has nothing against black people, he even allows them into his very own home. I'm sure he has a vast collection of Fats Domino records and thinks Tiger Woods is a credit to his people, some of his best friends yadda yadda yadda...

Which, of course is all bullshit. He is refusing to comply with the law and denying people a civil right on the basis of race. Despite his protestations to the contrary, this makes Justice of the Peace Crackerpants McCracker a racist.
I'm sure 200 years ago his ancestors were singing the same song - They were not racists, but they just could not support abolition because "what would happen to the poor children of the freed slaves without a white master to look out them? why they'd probably start stealing watermelons and the next thing they'd want to learn to read and before you knew it they'd be leering a white women and then where would they be? No, slavery was the only way to ensure those poor children didn't go wrong and get uppity and get themselves in trouble."
"Its for their own good," they'd say.

Bardwell's concern for the children of interracial couples is actually very touching, since the offspring of such relationships so often go wrong.