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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A little weekend music

And since it is Feb. 14, here's a little something from Mr. Waits courtesy of Driftglass (see blogroll)

No one is above the law

Speaking of douche bags, Calgary is going to have a very special visitor on March 17. I hope he's given an appropriate reception.
Somebody make a call to The Hague and tell them to sweep out a holding cell. If the British and the Spanish can arrest and hold Augusto Pinochet, surely we can have the mounties grab an admitted violator of the Geneva Conventions who has bragged about having people tortured. It would be a shame if they had to taser anyone in the process. Surely, we can at least stop such people at the border.

So many douche bags, so little time

It's not a term I toss around lightly, but I just seem to be reading about so many complete and total douche bags lately that its getting a bit mind boggling. I already knew the Prime Minister was a douche bag, but this pretty much cements his status. And I knew there were a considerable number of douche bags in the born-again Christian antiabortion camp and in the military and in the media, but lately they seem to be everywhere. I'm seeng stuff about douche bags in academia, in business, in music, even (and I know this will shock you) in the Republican party.
The worst part is that they seem to get all the hot chicks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Read some satire, win a free trip to Cuba

Go read this hilarious article by Barbara Ehrenreich, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku that claims that a nuclear weapon can be made ‘using a bicycle pump’ and with liquid uranium ‘poured into a bucket and swung round’.

Did you enjoy it? Good, I thought you might. Oh, and congratulation, you may have just won a free eight -year trip to a glamourous CIA prison in an exotic location like picaresque Pakistan, historic Poland, exciting Afghanistan or everyone's favorite extra-territorial dungeon of the disappeared, Guantanmo Bay. Waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation all included free of charge.

Monday, February 09, 2009

If you're so smart, how come you're not rich

Since I've been resting here in my undisclosed location in the aftermath of the Canadian parliamentary crisis and the U.S. presidential inauguration, I've been very busy lately reading the conservative blogs and listening to the talk radio they pump into the lounge 24/7 to get the truth that the liberal MSM won't tell - you know about the victory in Iraq and how Barack Hussien Obama is really Malcom X's love child - that kinda stuff. This post started, as so many posts do, as a comment over on RossK's Gazetteer, so if it seems I am repeating myself, rest assured I am and that your engraved apology is on its way from the Woodshed's department of redundancy department.

One of the members of our blogging posse, RossK, is troubled lately. Troubled because grant money for research is drying up fast and as a researcher, that grant money not only pays for him to further humankind's knowledge and probably save lives in the future, but it also allows him to "put food on his family."

Science, bah! What has science ever done for us? Okay, the Internet, but what else? The only things more useless than science are liberals and maybe the roman empire.

Fund basic research to encourage breakthroughs that might lead to new technologies as a way to stimulate the economy? That's crazy talk! Everyone knows that is the moneymen - the brokers, the bankers, the leverage and arbitrage artistes - that drive economic innovation and deserve all the stimulus money! Who else could come up with a way to sell loans made to people who had no hope of paying them back as a AAA investment! Hooray for capitalism! If only government could be run like a business.

Come on RossK, science has its place in high school and stuff, but do you think those freewheeling capitalist Masters of the Universe can get by on a measly half a million dollars a year (plus whatever they can steal) without a big fat bonus? Do you think those Lexuses and 3,000 square foot ski condos are going to buy themselves?

Don't you realize that if the government takes the $120,000 grant that supports your biomedical research and pays the salaries of the three people you work with, and instead gives that money to a needy bank, brokerage or multinational corporation, those companies can pay the bonuses they need to pay to keep the kind of executive talent around that got them where they are today. And that money filters down into the economy through sports car dealerships, caviar importers and expensive escort agencies. That bonus money plays a vital role in the economy in other ways too. Do you really want the banker in charge of asset-stripping a borderline profitable small manufacturer that the bank has foreclosed on being distracted by wondering if he can afford another Rolex or a third country club membership? Do you want the people who run our economy stressed out over not being able to get a decent tee-off time just so your "research assistants" can squander the money that could have been spent building a private company golf course on bulk lentils, bus passes and cheap instant ramen noodles and clothing imported from China (a nation of communists)? Do you RossK? All in the name of "learning" and "scientific inquiry" and all that other egghead stuff? My god, you science geeks are a selfish bunch!

Any conservative will tell you that science is overrated. Whether its climate scientists yammer on about melting ice caps and drowning polar bears or biologists with all their "Darwin this" and "evolution that" -- don't they know it snowed in Delisle, Sask. just the other day and that God made the world -- as is -- in 168 hours. Just look at the success the new government of Canada has had removing science from such areas as food inspection and nuclear regulation. Industry can take care of itself, why can't science? If you Pointedexters are so smart, how come you're not rich?

huh? What's that nurse? It's time for my medication? NO! NO! NO! I like the voices in my head, they are my friends! They want me to be a success, just like the other blogging tories here on the ward! Don't come any closer! PUT DOWN THAT NEEDLE! I'M GONNA REPORT YOU TO STEPHEN HARPE........zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

* * *

In all seriousness, Astro, one of the commenters over at RossK 's joint, suggests its time to stop letting the economists run things and start listening to the scientists. He's right, but I'll go him one better.

It isn't just time to listen to the scientists instead of the economists and moneymen, it's time to take most of econmists out behind the barn and put them down like diseased cattle. And it's long past time to take most of the moneymen and other latter-day would-be robber barons, strip them naked, and kick them out of the back of a moving van in Kabul or Dhaka or Port-au-Prince or Kitcisakik and see how far the Harvard MBA and the old boys clubs get them then. As far as I'm concerned, every single one of these bonus babies should be put in the stocks and the government should subsidize truck farmers by buy all their rotten produce and handing out to people to throw.

A little something for the Monday blahs

(With a grateful tip of the Fez to Rocky Torok from the Second Life posse.)

For added hilarity, read the comments and see 1)how some people can manage to get outraged by just about anything; and 2) why the vast majority of people who comment on YouTube posts should at the very least be marooned on an island somewhere if not just put up against a wall with blindfold and a last cigarette and Pop! goes the weasel. Honestly, sometimes I think the herd needs to be thinned.

This video is the second funniest thing I've seen this week, the funniest is here, (read it bottom to top) made even funnier by Harper fluffer Sandy Crux missing the boat entirely. I'm waiting for her outraged post about how This Hour Has 22 Minutes and SNL's Weekend Update are "using negative spin" and "disinformation."

Academy Award preview

A bit of guest blogging from my dad, fresh from screening the last of the five best picture nominees:

AUSTRALIA - This is a long but entertaining flick that reminds one of an old fashioned Saturday afternoon at the movies. It is an apparently serious epic with a side order of Roy and Dale, Indiana Jones and Gone With The Wind. The scenery is beautifully photographed and the performances are fine, especially the young Maori boy. Give it 3 out of 5 stars.

DOUBT - This is not a film for lightweights but it's a terrific, though provoking flick for drama lovers and great acting/screen writing afficionados. The title says it all. The viewer gets to make up his own mind on the issues raised. Doubt is everywhere throughout the whole effort. All four major acting roles have been deservedly nominated for acting awards. What can you say about a film featuring constant faceoffs between Hoffman and Streep. Absolutely rivetting! 5 out of 5 stars!

VALKYRIE - This is an above average film in the war, intrigue, action history genre. As with other reviewers, the only fault is in the casting. Every actor in the film is British (that's not a problem, they all do quite well, thank you) except for two. Tom Cruise in the lead role is one exception. While our boy Tom is quite ok, one has a difficult time at this stage in his career accepting him in this serious, good-Nazi role. His recent off-screen antics as a goofball, lightweight don't help him. The other exception to the all British thing is minor but made mechuckle. It occurs during the climactic sequence in the film when all hell is breaking loose and this Nazi officer rushes into the commandant's office to report on the hell-raising. Very serious stuff. However, the reporting officer is played by the German actor who used to play Sargeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes. When he rushes into the commandant's office I expected him to announce, "I know noootthiiing! Anyway give it a surprising 4 out of 5 stars.

GRAN TORINO - A must-see for Clint fans. Clint plays himself, which is to say Dirty Harry with arthritis. Do not go if you are offended by racial epithets but you just have to understand Clint's character, you see. This is the guy's acting swan song for goodness sake so live with it. Anyway, the climax is surprising and there is a message. For auto buffs, you'll love the title "character" and Clint's garage shop. And I loved the bluesy song over the closing credits. The song is more Oscar-worthy than most of the junk that gets nominated. Anyway, "Make my day" and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - I went to this film prepared not to like it. I'd seen the previews and it didn't appear to be my cup of tea. However, it passed the stern test and won me over. It is an excellent film, period. The Art Direction and scenery are second to none. the special effects and make up are much more Oscar-worthy than some ridiculous science fiction or action junkpiece. And Brad and the rest of the cast are fine too. The story sounds really schmaltzy but it is well told and really interesting and emotional. Try it, you'll like it. A surprising 5 out of 5 stars.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - As with Ben Button I went prepared not to like this film. It's not my cup of tea again. This time, however, I liked it but not enough to say that it won me over. Recently, I read a review that called it a "shameless fairy tale" and compared it to "It's a Wonderful Life" (without the snow, I suppose). The review was entitled "Mr. Capra Goes To Mumbai", which I thought was rather clever and accurate. It is extremely well filmed often with hand-held cameras and the scenes of the Mumbai slums are striking to say the least. But the plot is predictable and there is no challenge for the viewer. The dance scene and catchy song at the end is supposed to make us feel good I guess but I was left wondering where Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly were. It's worth seeing but only 4 out of 5 stars from me.

FROST/NIXON - A terrific film highlighted by Ray Langella's portrayal of Tricky Dick. He is excellent and gives a portrayal of the former president that shows all of the pathetic warts. The climactic scene leaves one with a tight gut. However, the film is lifeless at other times, given to smiling and winking by Frost. It might have been interesting to let the viewer see more background on the formidable "talk show host" and his partner in crime Reston. On the other hand that might have detracted from the central character of Langella's Nixon. 4 out of 5 stars!