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

Saturday, July 25, 2009

'Cause it's hard to waste time on the internet...

When Cordon Bleu dropouts go bad, and a plethora of other diversions that will ensure you never get anything done on time ever again.

Thanks a lot JJ!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Canada's New Conservative Government: Getting Things Done For to Canadians

Fellow inkstained wretch Alison brings us up to date on the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik:

Whoa, whoa, whoa - back that up a minute -- did I just read what I thought I read?

"He describes being interrogated in Sudan in 2008 by Foreign Affairs parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai, who questioned him about Osama bin Laden and what he thought of Israel.


From Deepak Obhria's website:

"Deepak Obhrai was born in Tanzania and attended school in three separate continents: in Tanzania, India and the United Kingdom. He graduated as an Air Traffic Controller in the UK and worked at several airports in East Africa. After immigrating to Canada in 1977, Deepak worked in the accounting department for the City of Calgary before becoming self-employed. He and his wife Neena became owners of a chain of dry-cleaning stores and also formed a company to explore joint venture opportunities in overseas markets."

So was it his experience as an air traffic controller or as a dry-cleaner that made him an expert interrogator? What the in the name of Mata Hari is the parlamentary secretary to the Foreign Minister doing questioning a Canadian citizen about anything? If Mr. Abdelrazik is such a huge threat to our security why wouldn't the public safety minister be the one involved? Or the Justice Minister? What is any politician doing conducting interrogations?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And they don't shed on the rug either

A little something for our friends Dan and Tammy at Jackson Street Books:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read"
-Groucho Marx

Books I am reading now:
  • Nixonland (still dipping into it a bit at a time - a fantastic modern political history of the United States)
  • Against the Day (after 18 months-the longest I've ever spent reading any single book-I'm finally nearing the end of this Thomas Pynchon epic.)
  • Appaloosa (a nice little western by Robert B. Parker, recently made into a film written and directed by Ed Harris, who stars along with Viggo Mortensen)
  • The Rum Diaries (Hunter Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel of expat journo life in Puerto Rico, soon to be a major motion picture)
Books just finished:
  • Resolution (Sequel to Appaloosa)
  • The Tonto Woman and other stories (great collection of Western short stories by Elmore Leonard, including Three-ten to Yuma, an office discussion of which started me on the whole Western kick recently)
What's on your summer reading list?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Fools, you did not heed the words of the mighty Ming!
Tremble, puny earthlings and click here to watch as I take away your sun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Attention puny earthlings!

Bow before me, Ming the Merciless, and bend your worthless selves to my will or I will blot out the sun tomorrow at 11 am!

I require all governments of the earth to surrender unconditionally to me and evacuate and cede the following territories to me for my Imperial dominions: New Zealand, Kuai, The Isle of Man, Switzerland, Panama and Baffin Island.
All of the following territories are to be evacuated for use as waste storage sites and all residents are report to the nearest Dominio's Pizza, Foot Locker, Walmart or Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet for induction into my global army of slaves: Texas, Alberta, Australia, Mongolia, Portugal and the Vatican. All national treasuries are to be forfeit to my personal coffers.
Also, two chili dogs with extra onions and jalapenoes, some onion rings (the good ones, not those crappy minced onion ones they sell at Burger King) and a diet coke Big Gulp. One gets a bit peckish ruling over the known galaxy with an iron fist.

Pathetic fools, do not test the patience of Ming!

You have until 10 am tomorrow to comply or feel my icy wrath as I blot out your sun!

Disobey me at your peril puny earthlings! I am Ming the Merciless and I am your master! You will worship me as a god or I shall take away the sun!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

One small step...

Frankly I think the Onion headline understates it.

40 years ago, July 20, 1969, humans walked on the Moon. The MOON. Maybe you've seen it? Big yellow thing in the sky? said to hit your eye like a big pizza pie? Yeah, that thing. As a species, we've been there and done that. We went to The Moon.

In the history of human endevour, that is still the big one, our greatest technological achievement. Seriously, the Pyramids - mere sandcastles. The artificial heart - a bit of biomechanical clockwork. Splitting the atom - okay, impressive and dangerous, but also some pretty nasty side effects. The computer and the internet - yeah, just like the human brain, 90% of it is used for porn. Cracking the code and mapping human DNA is going to be a bigger and bigger deal as time goes by, but if you told DaVinci or Newton or Galileo about it, they wouldn't know what you were talking about. If you told them "Len, Issac, Gal - we went to the moon" they would be all "no way! that's fucking amazing! Holy crap, wait until we tell the Pope - he'll freak out!"

I don't mean to disparage the early astronauts: Guys like Yuri Gagarin and the Right Stuff boys were beyond brave - early space travel was a dicey business that involved getting shot into the sky in a box built by the lowest bidders - or the astronauts currently living in the International Space Station, who are still a long way from home. Manned satellites are going to become more and more common and the zero gravity/vacuum enviroment has enormous industrial and scientific potential. But we're talking about the difference between sailing up and down the coast and sailing across the ocean. In orbit, you go round and round the Earth, the Apollo 11 boys actually went someplace. I feel sorrier for Michael Collins than just about anyone - imagine going all that way and having to wait in the car.

All the reasons people invariably give for opposing space exploration - it's too expensive, it's a "waste" of resources, more pressing problems on the ground - are all reasons to go to space. Space exploration costs a fraction of what is spent on the military. The money spent in Iraq probably would have bankrolled a Mars colony. This rock we live on is eventually going to run out of resources, no matter how careful we are. We will eventually use up all the oil, all the iron, all the water - you name it we will run out of it sooner or later, including real estate and elbow room- so we better get out there and find some more. A lot of those more pressing problems are likely to be solved by technological development driven by space exploration and colonization - and if they can't be, it might be nice if humanity had a lifeboat.

40 years ago, we finally proved we didn't need to keep all of humanity's eggs in one increasingly fragile basket. Why no further progress has really been made is anyone's guess. Financial costs have a lot to do with it, but NASA is the rare government effort that has actually made money (You think all those communication satellites were put in orbit for free?). The only reason we don't have permanent manned bases on the moon, launching manned missions to Mars is a lack of political will. We could have done it by the mid 80s or at least the mid 90s if we as a species hadn't been busy squandering money on ways to exterminate ourselves via the nuclear arms race.

So we went to the Moon and all we got was this lousy, soon-to-be-shut-down space shuttle program and the nobody seems that interested in going back at the moment except the Indians and Chinese. We left behind some probes and a couple of golf balls and and worst of all, a plaque with Richard Nixon's name on it. We should at least go back to clean up that kind of embarrasing shit.

There are even people out there whacked out enough to think that Capricorn One was based on a true story and that we never landed on the moon. Their tiny minds just can't handle the idea that his is something humans could have done. I think Buzz "the second man on the moon" Aldrin deals with such critics in the most appropriate way.