Saturday, June 14, 2003

Pick a card 

More Americans picking on Canadians here. Jean Chretien is the Queen of Spades. The only male queen. Ouch.
This whole 'deck of evil people cards' thing is spreading fast; there have been a few left wing 'deck of warmongers.' This one is fairly well thought out. Movie stars are (bleeding) Hearts. Media, foreign leaders, and US democrats each have their own suit. I wonder why Hugo Chavez is on there; he may be a pinko, and he may control a lot of oil, but does he have anything to do with Iraq at all? Couldn't they have found the King of Liechtenstein or something?
The other problem (except for the obvious) is that a lot of the quotes from these longhair freaks are non-controversial expressions of why they do not think bombing Iraq is a good idea. Does a simple opinion really threaten these people that much? Do they really think these people should suffer the fate that these guys should suffer? Do they refuse to watch movies that these anti-war celebrities are in?
If they do, they should get a life.

Damn yankees 

This cheerful libertarian has noticed an aspect of canadian prohibition. He should criticize his own damn country!
Actually, it's kinda nice to have the attention. Scroll down to read my badly written account of why this evil persists.

This means war 

General JC Christian declares war on Pender Island. Because "they eat Christian babies on a holiday they call "Boxing Day."

I've already mobilized of a battalion of deer that are trained to kill. You're either with us or with him.
We're more polite.
Choose us.

Forgotten but not gone dept. 

George Puil exposed as a bad dresser, skinflint, Scrabble cheater and idea-stealer. And that's just what his friends say.
The article mentions that he had manure dumped on his doorstep, but negelcts to mention that he threw manure out of a wheelbarrow at bystanders while he was marching in the gay pride parade. He made a few enemies. His busstrike may have inspired Van's greatest rabble-rousing mag to come out of retirement. And this brilliant comics writer wrote a comic saying that if he saw Puil walking down the street, he could not think of a reason not to punch him in the face. Puil had fun though:
"I enjoyed every moment of it. I really had a good time," said Puil, adding that now that he doesn't have a city hall parking pass any more, he takes the bus downtown and it's quite easy from where he lives.
"I love TransLink."

Sure you do. Guess you don't take it after 1 am or so. And where I live, there are no bus stops. That may not be your fault. But I'm still mad about it.
Good riddance, Mad King George. You will not be missed.

It depends on what the meaning of "blank" is 

I think this phrase will become very popular soon. And not because of Clinton's new book, either.

It depends on what the meaning of 'imminent' is 

This is a new low in rightwing dissembling. In trying to answer Paul Krugman's charge that:
The public was told that Saddam posed an imminent threat. If that claim was fraudulent, the selling of the war is arguably the worst scandal in American political history — worse than Watergate, worse than Iran-contra.
Luskin, incredibly, tries to argue that Bush never claimed Iraq was an imminent threat. Here's his source:
Bush didn’t say the Iraqi threat was imminent in the State of the Union. And Bush never used the term in the October 7th address. The same held true for Bush's speech last year to the United Nations, his speech/press conference of March 6th, and his speech as the war was beginning. Either Bush didn’t use the word "imminent," or he used the word to argue that we should not wait until the threat is imminent.
OK then. But, while he may or may not have used the actual word 'imminent', did he use a word similar to 'imminent'? Let's go to the links. From the Oct. 7th address (which contains, according to its title, denial and deception):
Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time.
Let's break it down, mathematical style. How urgent is the danger, Bush is asked? Very, Bush answers. On a scale of 1 to 10, it is an 8. Soon, it will be a 9. In my understanding of the English language (if not Luskin's), urgent is very similar to imminent, and danger equals threat. Ergo, Bush claims Iraq is an imminent threat. If the claim is fradulent, will Luskin apologize?
Luskin's claims have more value than just providing us with this lesson in elementary idiocy. Bush's doctrine of pre-emption's entire foundation is that Iraq was an imminent threat. That's the point of attacking a country that has not attacked you; you need to be pretty sure that they will attack you, and soon. It was not Luskin's side of the war debate that was arguing that while Saddam certainly is a threat, we should wait till Blix gathers evidence before we go to war. So there.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Nothing to lose but our emoticons 

From a commie posting board:

Anyone here with any graphical experience? I think it would be nice to have a couple of revolutionary emoticons to spice up the board a bit. hammer and sickle, fist red star etc. they are imported as gif files into the database so if anyone designs a "commie smilie" post it here and if we like it, I'll add it to the smilie collection.

Personally, I've always found emoticons so....bourgeouise. Scroll down to see a happy face in a keffiyeh.

Spin and Squirm 

So, looks like Bush is a big fat liar. This site quickly runs through quite a few warmongers' explanations for the missing weapons. This William Buckley quotable is particularly mindboggling:

Mr. Cheney went on in his speech to refer specifically to chemical and biological "agents," but said also that the Iraqis continue to "pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago." Indeed, he said, we have "firsthand testimony from defectors" that the pursuit of nuclear arms is underway.

There are those who take an easy position here. It is to conclude, like the New York Times's hysterical Paul Krugman, that Bush and Cheney are, very simply, liars.

There are those who say that the simplest explanation is usually correct. Not Buckley, though. Another great right-wing position, as parodied by Jon Stewart, is that Iraq had WMD's but did not use them during the war, "because they didn't want to give us the satisfaction!" Saddam would rather make Rumsfeld look bad than stay in power. Must be because he's a madman. Another technique is to not answer the specific allegations, but to yell about how all of Bush's critics love Saddam and hate America and like seeing Iraquis in mass graves. Here's Instapundit adressing the peace movement:
Well, it's better than admitting that if you'd had your way, Saddam Hussein would still be shoveling children into mass graves, I suppose. And that's what this is really all about. Having lost the argument about the war, and having had Saddam's brutality proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the anti-war folks have to do something to regain the moral high ground -- because, to them, the moral high ground is theirs by right, regardless of the nature or consequences of their actions.

In fairness to Reynolds, there is information attacking specific allegations in that post. It's just a good example of the argument I'm discussing. The problem with this argument (besides its utterly loathsome assertion that peaceniks are 'objectively' pro-genocide) is that it has no effect if those criticising Bush for lying are (or, more pertinetly, were) war supporters. Like this guy. Or there's this magazine. Or (ahem) me. Take it way, Mr. Bowden:

I supported this war because I believed Bush and Blair when they said Iraq was manufacturing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons in the hands of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that shared Hussein's hostile designs made such a threat a defense priority - or so the argument went.
I was taken in by this administration, and America and Great Britain were led to war under false pretenses.
Events have moved so swiftly, and Hussein's toppling has posed so many new pressing problems, that it would be easy to lose sight of this issue, but it is critically important. I can imagine no greater breach of public trust than to mislead a country into war....
Truth in public life has always been a slippery commodity...Facts are marshaled to support arguments and causes; convenient ones are trumpeted and inconvenient ones played down or ignored. This is the political game.
But when the President of the United States addresses the nation and the world, I expect the spinning to stop. He represents not just a party or a cause, but the American people. When President Bush argued that Hussein possessed stockpiles of illicit and deadly poisons, he was presumably doing so on the basis of intelligence briefings and evidence that the public could not see. He was asking us to trust him, to trust his office, to trust that he was acting legitimately in our self-defense.

It suggests a strain of zealotry in this White House that regards the question of war as just another political debate. It isn't. More than 100 fine Americans were killed in this conflict, dozens of British soldiers, and many thousands of Iraqis. Nobody gets killed or maimed in Capitol Hill maneuvers over spending plans, or battles over federal court appointments. War is a special case. It is the most serious step a nation can take, and it deserves the highest measure of seriousness and integrity.

When a president lies or exaggerates in making an argument for war, when he spins the facts to sell his case, he betrays his public trust, and he diminishes the credibility of his office and our country. We are at war. What we lost in this may yet end up being far more important than what we gained.


J-Live on 9/11 

J-Live's song 'Satisfied?' is arguably the only good song written about 9/11. I may not agree with all the views expressed, but it tackles this most difficult subject with clarity and intelligence, arguing that the world's basic principles did not change on that fateful day. It's better than 'Have you Forgotten?', anyway.

Hey yo, the air's still stale
The anthrax got my Ole Earth wearin' a mask and gloves to get a meal
I know a older guy that lost twelve close peeps on 9-1-1
While you kickin' up punchlines and puns
Man fuck that shit, this is serious biz
By the time Bush is done, you won't know what time it is
If it's war time or jail time, time for promises
And time to figure out where the enemy is
The same devils that you used to love to hate
They got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate
The same ones that traded books for guns
Smuggled drugs for funds
And had fun lettin' off forty-one
But now it's all about NYPD caps
And Pentagon bumper stickers
But yo, you still a nigga
It ain't right them cops and them firemen died
The shit is real tragic, but it damn sure ain't magic
It won't make the brutality disappear
It won't pull equality from behind your ear
It won't make a difference in a two-party country
If the president cheats, to win another four years
Now don't get me wrong, there's no place I'd rather be
The grass ain't greener on the other genocide
But tell Huey Freeman don't forget to cut the lawn
And uproot the weeds
Cuz I'm not satisfied

Is the line about letting off 41 a reference to Bush Sr.'s involvement in Iran-Contra? Regardless, intelligent political songs are music's rarest commodity.

BC prohibition 

Apparently there are no bigger problems facing BC than underage drinking . Are 2 pieces of ID really necessary? My experience of Vancouver bars is completely diferent. I get ID'd all the time, and I have a beard that makes me look a lot older than 19...Are taxpayers paying for this 'secret agent' operation? The most irritating thing about this article is that it does not actually say whether the bars did ask for one piece of ID, and the agents "are at least 19 but look significantly younger than 25." One of the spies in the photo certainly doesn't look like a So the story is that bars don't ask people in their early 20's who can legally drink for a basically superfluous second piece of ID. Big news.

New CDs 

I went to buy a Discman and some new CDS. I got Pete Rock's Main Ingredient , Sly's There's a Riot Going On , and Brooklyn high-school teacher J-Live's wonderful All of The Above . The liner notes continue a great trend that I have noticed in 'Conscious' rap albums, such as The Roots' Things Fall Apart, and Black Star's album. The rapper writes a little note about the story behind each song, why it was written, how they found the beats, what the song means.

For example about 'One For The Griot', a song in which a character telling an anecdote changes the ending twice at his friend's request, J-Live has this to say:
A griot is a really good storyteller. Some of my favorite griots are Slick rick, Biz Markie, Ghost Face, etc. Furthermore, I grew up on a lot of those 'Choose your own adventure' books. I thought it might be interesting to write a story, and flip it with a different endings. I don't particularly prefer any one of these endings over another. Its just cool to step outside of telling the story of my life for a second and let my imagination around a little.

About 'All in together now' , a song with a Cuisinart approach to lyrics (go read it):
Songs like this make people say I got way too much time on my hands. Oh well I wanted to write a rhyme that made sense when you chop it in half and kick every other line. Not much more to it than that.

If you think rapping is easy, just try to write songs or poetry with such strict formal devices. Not much more to it than that.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Literary Hypercriticism 

Literary hypercriticism is an idea I have for a new genre of literary criticism. It would be just like regular literary criticism, but really nasty. It would be filled with nitpicky sarcastic comments based on destroying the writer's self-esteem. The literary critic can actually cause the Death of the Author. I think I would be good at it.

Example: "Hey Shakespeare, that's some really incredible blank verse you just wrote. Real good iambic pentameter. Why don't you learn the difference between an iamb and a trochee, you fucking moron?"

It's like a lot of Neo-Marxist/Deconstructionist/Feminist criticism, but more honest. And fun to read.

Free rag roundup 

I'd like to start a regular feature, in which I review various free magazines which can be picked up on the streets of vancouver. I will begin with The Republic , which I picked up a few days ago. The front page article is a long incomprehensible rant about why artists are to blame for the materialism of our age, particularly in BC. It went off about William Gibson for a while. Confusing. It had some good stuff inside, though. Generally pretty left-wing (instatheory: the less you pay for a magazine, the likelier it is to be left-wing) though some articles were an exception. I would write more, but I seem to have misplaced the rag. The one memorable thing was an editor's letter explaining why the rag is now free and supported solely by ads. The odd thing about this is that this paper used to be named 'The Free Republic'. So he makes the paper free, and he takes the word 'free' out of the title. Really coherent policy.

Typo watch: I don't have it in front of me, but I seem to remember a few.

All the Hilary reviews you will ever want to read ever 

If, when hearing that Hilary Clinton has a new book, you immediately wondered what John Updike or Erica Jong thought, this is for you. The last one, by America's Most Underrated Novelist, Francine "prose" Prose, is very good.

"It's as though the air guitar itself didn't exist." 

Air guitar competition. Read about it.

Nothing exceeds like excess 

I used hyperbole four times in one paragraph in that last post. I feel like David Eggers.

Why I love New Brunswick 

These clever transitions would make more sense if blogs were read down-to-up. Maybe you should just scroll down to the first post.
The great thing about the NB election was that everyone won. The PC actually won, (though there may still be recounts; one riding had a 19 vote margin), the Liberals gained almost 20 seats and almost won, and the NDP retained its one seat and was not actually wiped into oblivion, and may have actually gained percentage of the popular vote. It was a win-win-win. All three party HQs were celebrating. Doesn't that make you feel good about everything.
If the PC had actually lost, it would have been amusing. NB premier Bernard Lord was being touted by the vast right-wing conspiracy known as the Canadian media as the next PM of Canada a few months ago. He would win the PC leadership, unite the right, defeat Paul Martin, cure cancer, and end world hunger. And now he is 19 votes away from losing in a province with a population of about 50,000. The Progressive Conservatives were already reeling from their new leader's deal with David Orchard to rip up NAFTA and redistribute the property of the aristocracy and send the free press to Siberian work camps (or not). If Lord had lost, the ashes of this once proud national party would be danced on by sumo wrestlers, then peed on. Maybe if their name wasn't an oxymoron people would actually like them.

I'll leave the last word to NB NDP leader Elizabeth Weir:

"It's the most extraordinary campaign I've ever been through,'' said Weir, leader of the New Democrats since 1988 and the veteran of the three political leaders.

"To have such a clear and defining issue -- car insurance rates -- made this an election campaign like no other.''

For me and you both, babe.

City Hall likes Lesbian S&M  

On the porn tip, kudos to Vancouver City Council for declaring Little Sisters Day. It is very courageous for politicians to take a pro-gay porn stance. For politicians beings against gay porn is generally like being pro-mothers, children, and cute furry animals. It is a very easy position (except for Republicans; attacking cute furry animals is a major part of their platform). The only thing I regret is that our damn liberal media did not try to start a firestorm about this. Would have been entertaining (if misguided).

Looking back at my posts, it seems that most of them are about sex. I better write more about something that people are actually interested in.

Winning new pornography 

So I get a message in my mail that there is a parcel waiting for me. This was surprising; who would send me a parcel? I went to pick it up, and it was a package from Mint Records. (The great thing about getting a package, by the way, is that when friends say things like "so where is your package"or "can i see your package", you can make funny funny jokes.) What could it be?
Well, (maybe i just should give up on trying to build suspense) it was a New Pornographers package! Which I won! With their new CD and ugly posters! And Mint Records flyers! I never win things! And weirdly, they never notified me that I won! Why?
Could be because I entered the contest (months ago) on the Exclaim web site and they tried to email me. And when the subject matter of an email contains any combination of the words 'you've just won', 'new', 'pornographers', and '!*@#' (you know, the exclaim logo), I tend to erase it. I'll never erase an email again.
There's just a few problems with this small victory, though. A big one is that I already own the new CD, Electric Version . It's good. But I dont need another copy. So knowing I was going to win it would have prevented me from buying it, and would have saved me $15. It would have been nice if I had won their old CD, or concert tix to their upcoming show.
But that brings me to a second problem. The New Pornographers are almost alone in my record collection in being intensely hated by my girlfriend. It's strange, since I love many genres, such as gangsta rap and old country, that are hated by most right-thinking people of my acquaintance, and K loves those. She is not alone in loathing this sweet Vancouver supergroup. One friend hates them because of all the hype, while another just hates Neko Case's voice (he is obviously insane). Upbeat catchy rock songs are just so 1997.
So I finally win something, and I already own it, and I can't even play it most of the time. Story of my life, I guess.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I want to defy the logic of all sexx laws, or Why Canada hates sex 

This editorial is right on.
"Engage in a threesome and you could be busted."
Oh shit, I didn't know that...I guess I better turn myself in. ;)
The sadly ironic thing about a lot of Canadian obscenity laws is that they were passed by feminists attempting to ban anything degrading to women, such as images of women being tied up. They were then used by (presumably) heterosexual Canada Customs guards to ban anything they found disturbing, such as, say lesbian S&M featuring images of women being tied up. Damn homophobic feminists.

Because Vancouver Police have nothing better to do 

This is funny. I actually know the "self-described erotic-arts activist" John Ince from when I lived on Saltspring. Strange, sex-obsessed man.
"We'll sue the attorney general for damages because our argument would be that any prosecution would be equivalent to a raid on a synagogue or a gay theatre," said Guderna
Because there are thick hard cocks being circumcised at synagogues?
The play is "about the social control of erotic art." So being arrested is the point, man. I suppose I'm sympathtic to their cause, being generally against censorship in all its forms. And I think anyone going to this play will, thanks to the Sun, know what to expect; any cries of being shocked would be silly. But I don't know. Sex in public is not a constitutional right. And my right not to see, say, John Ince having sex when I walk down the street damn well should be.
The truly offensive thing about the play is its specificity-lacking title: Public Sex, Art and Democracy . Why not just go wild and name it Love, War, Sex, Society, Art, Justice, Democracy, and the Search for Publicity ?

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Flower Power, or: LBJ is a big fat hippie 

Just saw the LBJ 'flower' ad. (To try to view it, go here) After the creepy little girl (she kind of looks like the little girl from the ring ) blows to pieces along with the world, he says, "We must either love each other or we must die." Never really knew that LBJ was such a big softie. Or that successful parties in the 60's could talk about loving their commie enemies. Someone should use this ad against Bush. Keep it in black and white, because it looks great. In fact, why not keep the ending and tell people to vote for President Johnson? It would blow their minds ! And if there's one thing Lyndon B. Johnson loved, it was blown minds. Indeed, I can think of no better way to honor this great patriot.

Why I Hate New Brunswick 

Welcome to my incredibly exciting blog. As a first taste of the wild excitement that this blog is sure to excite in even the most reseved reader, I present to you my first post. It is about the most burning issue facing humanity (if not the universe). Yes, the results of the New Bruswick provincial election are now in. And I watched a small part of it happen. Live. On CBC Newsworld.
When I started watching it, the Liberals had 26 seats, the PC had 26, and the NDP had 1. And there were still two ridings not reporting! Who would win those ridings, getting the 28 seats necessary for majority government? Dramatic, eh? Yet the true drama of the broadcast was the spectacle of a Canadian election being broadcast opposite game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. The anchors were so embarassed. One asserted that this close election is as exciting as Game 7, which considering hockey's sad state these days, is probably unfortunately true. When someone scored in the game, the broadcast would replay it, and the anchors would say, "Did that guy score?" "No, I think it was that other guy." After this happened a couple times, the male anchor admitted he knew nothing about hockey. He made a joke about his hockey pool, and the female anchor awkwardly changed the subject by saying "But if you had an election pool, you probably would not have bet on Jimmy McJames, running for the Liberals in the Wakkitiki riding and currently winning." If you prefer watching Canadian anchors being awkward to watching hockey, this was the broadcast for you.

What I really wonder is if that was the only thing NB residents could watch on Monday. If it was, they must have been pissed. During the last BC election, people practically firebombed CBC for changing from the overtime of some playoff game (between St. Louis and someone?) to the early results of a very foregone election. Its not as if the results of the election would have any effect on their life or anything. I liked the switch (though the friend at whose house I was watching it was mad), since at one point the count was 2 Green seats and 1 Liberal seat. If they had stopped counting the ballots at that point, the Greens would have won! That was probably the last moment of hope in BC politics. It was in June 2000, I believe.
When I was in Israel, I was watching a game of soccer with family on kibbutz, and a little box on the screen appeared showing the results of a big suicide bombing. Soccer and death were playing on the same screen at the same time. The channel got in some serious shit for not just changing over to the news (which they did after a few minutes). Their excuse was that since at that point there were no fatalities, the news was not significant enough to warrant being shown on a full screen. Suicide bombs without actual deaths just weren't that newsworthy. That time (March 2002, for those keeping track at home) was perhaps the most depressing in Israel's generally depressing history.
And another sad, sad concept: in every election since the dawn of democracy, as in the Stanley Cup finals, the Devils have won.
Anyways, the most embarassing moment of the night was when my girlfriend (hence forth known as 'K') came home. It is exceedingly difficult to explain to a girlfriend why one would want to watch the New Brunswick election results. I tried the old "The main issue of the election is car insurance! Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever heard?" But the channel was changed to a more 'interesting' one.

It is very relaxing to watch election results that will in no way effect your life, while having no strong rooting interest in who actually wins. It's like watching two American teams playing in the...Aww, nevermind.

1,2,3. Testing, testing.

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