Monday, January 30, 2006

The Quotable Bush

Forwarded to me via email (thanks, Hope!), apparently a verbatim Bushism.
Any added sarcasm from me would simply be redundant. :)


WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: 'I don't really understand. How is it the new plan going to fix the problem?'

Verbatim response: PRESIDENT BUSH:

Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers,affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled.
Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Bush Regime as A Text Game

The Bush Regime as a text game. This is very funny!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Is It Warm in Here?

Okay, good. It's not just me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Election Watch '06: Swing to the Right

Stephen Harper should enjoy his moment in the sun. For a guy who’s the next Prime Minister, his government is not in a good spot.
His minority is more tenuous than the previous Liberal government. Consider that Harper’s Conservatives won fewer seats than Martin’s Liberals won in the previous election. Clearly, Harper was hoping for a majority and major breakthroughs in Ontario and Quebec. Heck, he did worse than even I thought he would. While there was some progress for them in Quebec, the Liberals held a lot of their ground in Ontario, winning the popular vote there and denying Harper his majority.
In fact the Conservatives won no seats in the country’s three biggest urban centers, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. There’s a decidedly urban/rural split to the Conservative vote. Could this be the start of a deep American-style polarization?
The Liberals showed surprising strength considering they ran a bad campaign and were plagued by scandals. While they suffered in Quebec, they fared better than expected. And thanks to Martin’s resignation, the Liberals will have a new leader facing Harper, possibly making Harper look like yesterday’s news.
The Bloc suffered the most. Expecting to do well, they lost seats and votes. Worse for them, the Tories established themselves as a federalist alternative in Quebec, and with the defeat of the Liberals, the Bloc’s biggest campaign issues, the Liberal party scandals in Quebec, are now off the table.
Even the NDP had some bad news to go with their good showing. Despite gaining a number of seats, they fell two seats short of holding the balance of power.
Where can Harper hope to gain support in the inevitable 2007 election? He won the West; the only place he can gain support is in Ontario and Quebec, and when he starts sucking up to Central Canada, he’ll lose the West. It’s a time-honoured Tory tradition. As Hugh Segal noted on the CBC last night, “When the Liberals are in power, the West votes Conservative. When the Conservatives are in power, the West forms a new party.” Both the Reform and the Bloc Québécois were born out of the self-destruction of the last Conservative government. (And let’s also remember that the last Conservative government, possibly the most corrupt government in Canadian history, ran, like Harper, on being fiscally responsible and promptly had a decade’s worth of the largest deficits in this country has ever seen. But I digress.)
Stephen Harper could be the 21st century version of Joe Clark, a brief Tory minority while the Liberals re-invent themselves. In order to win central Canada, he will have to stick to Ontario-friendly progressive issues (whatever few the Tories have) and abandon (or postpone) the more contentious right wing nut case items of his agenda. Even if Harper wins a majority next time, his days are numbered. He will continue to pander to central Canada as he must to maintain power, the West will feel alienated and the Conservative coalition will implode like it always does, setting the stage for another generation of Liberal rule. For good or ill, it is the natural order of things.
And Harper isn't helping himself by saying things like he “will start rebuilding this country.” Memo to the PM: the country isn't broken.
If Harper thinks he has a mandate for massive social change, he is woefully mistaken. He barely has a mandate to change the stationary.
Obviously, Canadians were weary of giving Harper a full mandate. They remember that if Harper had been PM three years ago, we’d be trapped in a dumb and awful war.
Canadians wanted to spank the Liberals. And they did. They also did not want to give Harper and his neo-con cronies free reign to run the country. And they didn’t.
There’s not a lot of good news to go around after last night’s election. Perhaps the worst news of all is that Stockwell Day might actually be prime material for a cabinet post.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Election Watch '06: Rep by Pop vs First Past the Post

If Canada had a 100% Rep by Pop electoral system, tonight's election results would have looked something like this:

Conservative:
124 seats (actual results) vs 111 seats (rep by pop)
Liberals:
103 seats (actual results) vs 92 seats (rep by pop)
Bloc Québécois:
51 seats (actual results) vs 32 seats (rep by pop)
NDP:
29 seats (actual results) vs 59 seats (rep by pop)
Green:
0 seats (actual results) vs 14 seats (rep by pop)

Election Watch '06: John's Guide To Electoral Reform

After watching all the Tweedledums and Tweedledumbers lo these last few weeks, I've concluded that Canada clearly needs some electoral reforms. To wit, I humbly offer these suggestions:

1. Whoever Wants to Be Prime Minister Should Be Automatically Barred From Seeking the Office
Clearly, the power associated with the office of a national leader attracts the wrong kind of people. One has to only look at our southerly neighbor to see the ultimate example.
Anyone who actually desires the office of Prime Minister is clearly not the sort of person we want running the country. As the famous philosopher Herman once noted: "The people capable of running the country are too smart to get into politics."
(And this goes along with the mood of most voters in the country. Very few actually want any of the current party leaders to be Prime Minister; either they feel they are left with little choice and must choose the lesser of four evils, or they are not voting for one party as they are voting against another one. I think we have to go back to the heady days of Trudeaumania to find the last time the Canadian populace was genuinely moved to vote for someone.)

2. MPs Should Be Chosen at Random from the General Population
To carry things one step further, anyone wants to be an MP should be barred from office. But then how would we choose our MPs? Via lottery. One citizen would be chosen at random from each riding.
This has the immediate benefit of a House of Commons that more closely represents and reflects the views of the national population.
For example: if 85% of Canadians are against the war in Iraq, it should work out that roughly 85% of our randomly-chosen MPs would be against the war.
If 52% of our population is female, then 52% of our MPs would be female.
If 4% of Canadians are lawyers, then the new House would only have 4% lawyers (as opposed to the 80% it seems we have now).
Parliament would resemble more of a municipal council or Territorial legislature, where various groups may form alliances for specific issues and votes, and a different set of alliances for a different set of issues. All votes would be free votes; there would no parties so no reason to vote along party lines.
Much like how the position of Speaker of the House is voted on by MPs, they would now also select MPs for Cabinet positions, including Prime Minister. (A single mother with two kids would be an excellent choice for finance minister. She would know how to balance the budget, as opposed to a millionaire business man who's so removed from real life that he's never in his life had to account for every cent. But I digress.)

And in Other News... Shatner Sells Kidney Stone

Another great moment in pop culture.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

From the eMailbag: Analogies and Metaphors

These are, apparently, some examples of analogies and metaphors from high school students. While I doubt if this is the actual source, they are funny. (Thanks to Gail B.)

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without ClingFree.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole
scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on
vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m.
instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hairafter a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m.traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Melinda had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
20. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
21. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lameduck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
22. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
23. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
24. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he though the heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
25. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
26. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
27. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Election Watch '06: Highly Illogical

Not that I have any burning desire to continue to poke fun at Stephen Harper, but what the heck.
A canada.com story points out that apparently Harper is a huge Trekkie (scroll down to the second half of the article).
"Like, huge," says a source. "And it has to be the classic series, from the 1960s - none of that Next Generation, Deep Space Nine crap." Okay, I'll give Harper a point for being a fan of "real" Trek.
How true this really is I don't know, but it readily sets up the tried and true "let's compare the candidates to Star Trek characters" joke.
Paul Martin is Scotty. Clearly, he's always whining about needing more power, but he's also trying his damnedest to keep his wee bairns flying. Unfortunately for him, it seems that the good ship Liberalprise is on it's last legs, no thanks to the evil Klingon, Commander K'Gomery.
Jack Layton is McCoy. He has a cure for everything that ails you, and most of them are just good old fashioned horse sense. He's always muttering that the rest of the crew don't follow his advice. He is always speaking the truth from the heart, and as always, no one listens.
Gilles Duceppe is Captain Kirk. Which makes sense in a way as Duceppe wants to fly his ship his way, damn Starfleet and its blasted regulations. He's not going to listen to some blasted bureaucrats from across the galaxy tell him what to do. He's going to take his ship and fly on a seperate course.
Finally, Harper is unemotional, his smile is forced, and he speaks in a monotone. His logic often fails him at critical plot points. Obviously, he is Spock. He even has the same haircut.

Monday, January 16, 2006

D'oh!

Found this interesting fact in, of all places, Chris Turner's excellent sociological study Planet Simpson: How A Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation.Since 1950, the United States has used more resources than the entire human population of the world managed to consume prior to 1950. And using a little extrapolation, since the United States, at 5% of the world's population, uses about 25% of the world's resources, which means that since 1950, the entire world has burned through 4 times the amount of resources than the entire human population of the world managed to consume through all of history before 1950.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hogan....!

This has been bugging me for a while... how come all the Germans on Hogan's Heroes' speak English?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Pregnant Car Pooling

As noted by this CBC report, an Arizona judge has ruled that a fetus doesn't count as a passenger in the car pool lane. An Arizona woman was ticketed for driving alone in an HOV lane, but fought it in court on the grounds she was pregnant at the time.
Of course if she had won, this would have opened a whole new range of legal questions (never mind the complications it would present to Roe v. Wade). If expectant mothers were to be allowed to drive alone in the car pool lane, surely expectant fathers would have to have the same right. Otherwise, that would be sexual discriminaton! :)

Angelina is Having Brad's Baby: Do I Care?

Angelina Jolie is having a baby with Brad Pitt.
Why is this latest chapter in yet another Hollywood real-life soap opera all over the news? (It's the banner headline on Thursday's National Post... above the title, for gods sake.) Who cares? Or more importantly, why does anyone care?
A co-worker of mine was heartbroken -- heartbroken -- that Pitt's apparent fairy tale marriage to Jennifer Aniston ended. She blamed Jennifer for the break-up (she was firmly in the Brad camp), but was prepared to be mad at Angelina should she have somehow been involved.
That my co-worker could be so wrapped up in the private lives of three people that she has never seen in person, let alone met or interacted with, is something I find amazing in a vaguely disturbing sort of way.
For starters, we have absolutely no notion of any so-called celebrity's private life. None. Zippo. Nada. Jennifer Aniston seems like a perfectly decent and nice person. But is she? How the fuck should I know? Maybe she spends all her spare-time quietly visiting orphanages. Maybe she spends all her free time bitch-slapping her puppies. Maybe she doesn't even have puppies!
How can I feel justified enough to pass judgment of these people's live when I have no inkling about them that hasn't gone through a team of publicists, an airbrush artist, The National Enquirer and Mary Hart?
And why would I be interested anyway? They are not people I know, I have no vested interest in their lives. And yet millions or people are apparently keen to know every sordid detail.
I don't understand the public's interest in celebrity, but I do understand the media's: $$$. If people want it, we'll supply it. Entertainment reporters as drug dealers, magazine editor's as pimps. It's a crazy world.
Now, when Jennifer Aniston has Vince Vaughn's baby, call me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Election Watch '06: Candidate Dump

The Tories became the first party to dump a candidate after it was revealed that a BC candidate was facing smuggling charges after allegedly smuggling a car and 112 bottles of booze across the border in 2004. Derek Zeisman will have to sit as independent should he be elected. This could be a sign of things to come as Harper and the Tories edge towards a majority in the polls. The last Tory government under Brian Mulroney was rife with corruption and resignations.
On the other hand, this is the first real glitch in the well-run Tory campaign. The Liberals are panicking; anytime a Prime Minister announces a major campaign plank like eliminating the constitutional Notwithstanding clause (and does it so suddenly that it doesn't even make it into the party's election platform), you know that he thinks he's spending his last days at 24 Sussex. Clearly, Martin is trying to insinuate that Harper has a secret agenda against same-sex marriage, abortion, gay rights and other progressive issues. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Harper did, but Harper, from his perspective, has had the good sense to keep his mouth shut and the good luck that his candidates have done the same thing.
And in a bit of surprise, Mario Dumont (head of the provincial Action démocratique du Québec party) advised voters not to vote for the federal Bloc Québécois). Dumont will not recommend a federal party to vote for, but did say he will vote Conservative. The real surprise will be when Harper gives Dumont a cabinet post. Golly, yes, what a surprise that will be.
I'm sure Jack Layton said or did something this week, too. But no one's listening.

One For the Gamers

Here's one for all you gamers out there!
Crank up yer speakers!
(Passed on by Hope.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dead and Loving It

Forbes has printed a feature on rich dead celebrities.

Here's Forbes' List of the Biggest Dead Money-Earners of 2005:
1. Elvis Presley
2. Charles M. Schulz
3. John Lennon
4. Andy Warhol
5. Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel
6. Marlon Brando
7. Marilyn Monroe
8. J.R.R. Tolkien
9. George Harrison
10. Johnny Cash
11. Irving Berlin
12. Bob Marley
13. Ray Charles

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Need One of These!

The Homer Simpson Talking Pizza Cutter.
...mmm... talking pizza....

Monday, January 09, 2006

Election Watch '06: Playing Your Cards Right (or Left)

Somehow I've gotten myself on the NDP's emailing list. While normally I instantly delete any political email I get, I opened this latest one and lo and behold found this little gem just in time for tonight's debate.



(I should note for the record that no political party has tried to contact me personally, apart from a pre-recorded phone call from Dr. Keith Martin, my Liberal MP. And with the NSA probably listening in, I hung up in a hurry.)

King Kong (2005)

It's a familiar story: boy meets girl, boys casts girl in movie, girl meets other boy, girl and other boy fall in love, girl meets giant ape on Skull Island, ape falls for girl, boy captures ape, ape becomes a star on Broadway, ape destroys Broadway.
Peter Jackson's loving remake of 1933's King Kong is not a perfect film, but it comes very close. And slightly over three hours, it runs a little long. 20 minutes could have very easily come out of the Skull Island sequence. But that's a minor quibble, and if I'm going to be forced to sit through an extra 20 minutes of a giant gorilla battling giant T-Rexes, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
The film starts in New York as out of work actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) has a chance encounter with shady film-maker Carl Denham (Jack Black). Carl convinces Ann to join his crew and himself on a sea voyage to make a film on location on a south seas island. Denham also practically kidnaps his writer, Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody). What Denham hasn't revealed is that the island is uncharted, and an ancient heretofore unknown society on the island worships a large and dangerous being named Kong.
Jackson's remake follows the original's plot nearly note for note, but he manages to provide a few narrative deviations along the way. It's full of nods to the original, from Denham discovering that an actress named Fay is unavailable for his picture because she's shooting one for Merian Cooper at RKO (that would Fay Wray making the original Kong), to Peter Jackson's cameo as one of the pilots that kills Kong (original Kong directors Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack also did the same).
The film looks gorgeous. Just gorgeous. From a beautifully recreated depression-era New York to the lush jungles of Skull Island, the sets and production design are sumptuous and amazing.
The cast is mostly top notch, although occasional I thought that Jack Black seemed a little out of his depth, particularly his reading on the film's famous final line. But again, another minor quibble. Black holds his own for the most part.
And Kong himself is a wonder. With Andy Serkis (Gollum of Lords of the Ring fame) doing the motion capture work, there seems to be no limit to the range of emotion that can play across the big ape's face. And of course, it's Kong that propels this picture, from the battles with dinosaurs to his emotional attachment to Ann, his sorrow at losing her and being captured, and his all too brief joy at finding her again. If the audience cannot feel for Kong, this film is lost, but by the end we are firmly in Kong's camp, and our heart's break during the final battle atop the Empire State Building.
Grab your popcorn and a large pop, plan your bathroom breaks accordingly, and see this movie on a big screen. A larger than life movie legend deserves to be seen on a large screen.

Your Birthday Song

Here's a site that will tell you what songs were No. 1 during any particular week.
Topping the charts on the day I was born was How Do You Do It by Gerry and the Pacemakers in the UK, and He's So Fine by the Chiffons in the US.
The site suggests that the No.1 song on your 18th birthday is your life's theme song. So my UK theme is This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens, while my US theme is Kiss on My List by Hall and Oates. So apparently I'm going to live in an old house with two men who want to kiss me. This is not how I envisioned my future.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bad Pun of the Day

So I'm watching Killer Tomatoes Eat France, the epic fourth film of the Killer Tomatoes trilogy. (Now before you go and question my sanity, let me point out that the original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is a bona fide cult classic, and features an actual helicopter crash caught on film. The first sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes features a very young George Clooney in easily his best role ever. But I digress.)
Anyway, one of the characters in the movie (bits of which were actually filmed in France) is standing in a boat on a famous river and ringing the boat's bell. Two other characters comment.
"Who's that ringing in the Seine?"
"Gene Kelly?"

Ain't It the Truth


The Wooster Collective

Saturday, January 07, 2006

And in Other News... meow!

Domestic cats date back 11,000,000 years to South East Asia. That's a lot of cat chow!
Click here for more.

Unclear on the Concept 2

Once again, we find that some politicians are still unclear on the concept of "irony."
According to this CBC report, the BC Provincial government is launching a campaign to attract new public service employees into the fold. The government fears a coming shortage of senior civil servants. Said Minister Ida Chong: "We realize it's important to attract, to retrain, to recruit people into the public service. And we're looking to brand the B.C. public service as an employer of choice."
Interestingly, the provincial goverment has just spent the last four years downsizing, deregulating and contracting out public servants. Said Mary Rowles, the research director for the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, "It's never too late to build pride within the public service, but they've made it an uphill struggle for themselves after years of privatizing and freezing wages and making arbitrary reductions in ministry staff."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Don't Buy Your Blu-Ray DVD Player Just Yet....

Even while the first HD-DVD and Blu-Ray release announcements are being made today, the next generation storage disc is already under development: the Holographic Versatile Disc, or HVD.
The same size as your average CD or DVD, it's expected to hold 3.9 Terabytes of info, the equivalent of 160 single-layer Blu-Ray discs, or 485 DVDs, or (if my calculations are correct) about 11,000 CDs.
I gotta get me one!

Interesting Comparison

Passed on by Gail B.

Interesting Year 1981
1. Prince Charles got married
2. Liverpool crowned soccer Champions of Europe
3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament
4. Pope Died

Interesting Year 2005
1. Prince Charles got married
2. Liverpool crowned soccer Champions of Europe
3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament
4. Pope Died

In the future, if Prince Charles decides to remarry ... please give the Pope a heads up!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Observations and Other Delusions 3

Will someone just hurry up and give Bush a blow job so that he can be impeached?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Linus and Blankets

My sister gave my cat Linus a Christmas present, a lovely cat blanket that looks like this:














However, Linus has an uncanny knack for totally ignoring or avoiding blankets that are laid out just for him. He will snuggle up right beside the blanket and will not lie down on the blanket itself. In 2006, he continues this tradition by refusing to lie on his new Christmas present:

Unclear on the Concept

This week's "Unclear of the Concept Award" goes to Pope Benedict XVI, who is obviously unware of the meaning of the word "irony," as well as the history of the Catholic Church, when he laments that fanatical fundamentalism can inspire acts of terrorism.

Observations and Other Delusions 2

I once left a Christmas tree up for 18 months.
That may explain why I'm divorced.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

HAPPY GNU YEAR!