Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Today is a Good Day to Blog

I was skimming through a Blogger Knowledge article on CSS hacks when I came across a link to a peculiar blog; it is called bo logh and it is published entirely in Klingon. I think that this Blogging phenomenon must be gaining momentum if the Trekkies are climbing aboard.

Anybody who's ever heard of Star Trek probably knows that the Klingons were one of the mythical alien races from the series. According to the Klingon Language Institute, Dr. Marc Okrand intended Klingon to be a fully functional language that had its own vocabulary, grammar, and usage.
Klingon Alphabet
Klingon Alphabet

If you wanted to insult someone gravely in Klingon, you could say Hab SoSlI' Quch which means "Your mother has a smooth forehead." Never considered the friendliest of fictional alien races, Klingons say nuqneH instead of "hello"; NuqneH translates roughly into "What do you want?"

Spoken Klingon sounds like a cross between a semitic language (like Hebrew or Arabic) and an eastern european language (maybe Russian or Polish). I'm very tempted to learn Klingon but its use would be marginal at best; I'd be better to learn Mandarin Chinese or German rather than an artificial tongue spoken by a couple of thousand sci-fi devotees.

Now, I must tugh (hurry up) and bring this post to a bertlham (an end). I shall chegh (return) when my laundry is done. Mevyap (Enough) of this Klingon!

Montreal through a veil of morning fog.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Bush Gives the Terrorists Ammo, Claims "History will judge me"

Oustanding blogger Shatnerian should be applauded for linking to an incredible G. Dubya interview conducted by Radio & TV Ireland on June 24th. The Irish journalist responsible for such potent questions must be a devotee of Zen Buddhism, or at least some form of yogic meditation. His approach reminds me of a fly fisherman who casts his line and lets the Atlantic salmon bite the hook on his own.

One particularly chilling exchange had to be when Bush was asked about whether God was a part of his plans to thwart Al-Qaeda:
"Do you believe that the hand of God is guiding you in this war on terror?

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, I think that God -- that my relationship with God is a very personal relationship. And I turn to the good Lord for strength. And I turn to the good Lord for guidance. I turn to the good Lord for forgiveness.

But the God I know is not one that -- the God I know is one that promotes peace and freedom. But I get great sustenance from my personal relationship. That doesn't make me think I'm a better person than you are, by the way. Because one of the great admonitions in the Good Book is, don't try to take a speck out of your eye if I've got a log in my own."
Does anyone have an idea which part of the Bible that "log in my eye" quote is from? I'm sure that this will play well with the Fundamentalist Muslims out there, a disenfranchised lot who already think that the War on Terror is really a War on Islam. The President's God believes in peace and freedom, unlike theirs? This is too fuct up to believe. (I try very hard to avoid swearing needlessly because I don't want to be censored by archaic filtering software!)

It would have been a lot better to say "We all worship the same God of love and peace" instead of trying to distinguish between the merits of Yahweh and Allah. By rambling incoherently without considering the impact of his words, Bush is putting his troops stationed in Iraq at unnecessary risk. The founding fathers wanted to keep the church and state separate for a reason. Bush should know better than to provide Al-Qaeda with notable quotes for their recruitment pamphlets.

I wonder if this was truly in the job description when George W. found the "Help Wanted" ad in the Washington Post:
"My job is to do my job and make the decisions that I think are important for our country and for the world."
Does this mean that Bush is in charge of deciding what's best for the planet? This is a scary thought but I'm sure he must have meant that the choices America makes will inevitably impact the rest of the world.

George W. Bush may not worry about his reptutation--in the same interview, he said " History will judge what I'm about..."--but he is facing a tough re-election battle versus Sen. John Kerry and I'm sure that the American public won't forget the pain they feel each time one of their sons or daughters gets killed in Najaf or Baghdad by an AK-47 round. Bush would be wise to remember that history gets written by the victors, and it looks like winning the War on Terror may be an impossible dream. Police have been trying to thwart crime for millenia but there are still crooks out there and there will always be.

Terrorism is also known as asymetrical warfare by military strategists, and due to America's immense military might, conventional attacks are ineffective. Anyone who seeks war with America has no choice but to strike covertly, and the efficiency of this mode of battle has already been established.

Instead of just trying to chop down the forest, we should try to prevent new seedlings from sprouting. By making amends for our past crimes against Islam (ie. supporting repressive regimes like the Al-Saud Wahhabbist "Royal" family, a major human rights violator), perhaps future generations won't decide to take up arms against us.

What do you think? Will the War on Terror ever end? Does Bush have the moral high ground? Please comment below.

Liberals Win Minority Gov't: NDP Will Hold Balance of Power

"Across Canada tonight in an extremely tight election, we hope Canadians vote to put Canada first and vote to support values that make Canada the envy of the world."
Scott Brison, winning MP of Kings-Hants riding (Nova Scotia), regarding the Liberal's minority government victory.(WP)
The Liberals have earned themselves another spin on the merry-go-round that is Canadian politics. With a reasonable showing of 135 seats, the Libs won't have the absolute majority to pass legislation effortlessly, but they'll be able to retain power if they can enlist the support of Jack Layton's NDP. They've already ruled out a coalition government but if they want the NDP to vote in step with their proposals, they'll have to give the New Democrats a reason to play along.

Contrary to the worried chatter of the financial markets, this is truly the best of all possible scenarios. Harper and his Conservative warriors have been bested; although they won roughly 99 seats, this won't be enough to remove the Liberals from office. Economists are afraid of minority governments because they associate them with higher spending.

Since the Conservatives will now be the official opposition, they will hold the responsibility of keeping Liberal spending within reasonable limits, but they won't be able to institute their heinous platform of military expansion and tax cuts at the expense of our social programs. Harper may also have a new cross to bear; his own party may question his ability to ever beat the Liberals, a party that was tainted with the stench of corruption arising from their role in the Sponsorship Scandal but who still won in the end.

The other major reason that I'm smiling from ear to ear is that minority governments in Canada have always proven themselves to be most fruitful. In the past, such governments have instituted valuable social programs like employment insurance and universal health care.

Expect the NDP to try to bring in proportional representation, similar to the electoral systems in Germany and New Zealand, which should bode well for smaller parties in the future. Proportional representation was very effective for Germany's Green Party in the past, allowing Joschka Fischer to become Foreign Minister in 1998, and giving Green party supporters worldwide a reason to be optimistic.

Jack Layton has vowed that he will hold Paul Martin to his election promises and that he won't lie down for a Liberal government if their proposals aren't up to snuff. Since his 20 or so seats will be the security blanket that Paul Martin's Liberals will be forced to clutch, there is a good chance that our country will improve and make life slightly better for everyone.

Canada has never had one voice; we are a chorus of varying tones and pitches, with nobody rising above the din to negate everyone else. This is something that we should be proud of. I commend anyone who bothered to vote and I hope that we can all take pride in our form of government, since we managed to hold an election that was over in 5 weeks and didn't require the intervention of our Supreme Court to conclude.

Also, when I look outside at the trickle of early morning traffic on Guy Street here in Montreal, I don't see any civil war developing. Peace and good government; that's all Canada ever wanted.

If the Liberals try to pull a fast one on us, I'll be waiting. Keep your eyes open, Canada.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Harping on Harper: Why you Should Not Vote Conservative Today

Today is V-Day here in Canada and across the country, polling stations will be stuffed to the brim with about 65 percent of eligible voters. In the days of old, votes were bought with free pints or cash prizes. Current election rules limit such freebies so we're destined to be charmed with grandiose election promises, most of which will never make it past the House of Commons.

Changing things in Canada is like trying to accelerate the gradual movement of a glacier; you can push all you want but things will crawl along and there is a good chance that you'll see snails and wheelchair-bound grannies whizzing by. Still, we have a vital parliamentary system that allows for several parties to play a role in governing our nation. This gives more Canadians a voice in governance since they're not faced with a "lesser of two evils" choice like our neighbours in the USA.

I realize that this is the last minute and all, but please bear with me. I'm not going to ask you to vote NDP, even though I did--they're not going to win in my riding of Chateauguay-St.Constant but neither are the tories--but I will make one small request. If you have any love for this country and all we've achieved, please don't vote for Stephen Harper and his Conservatives.

You might be wondering why I'm so concerned. First of all, he has no respect for minority rights or for the disenfranchised in our society. He wants to offer major tax cuts to the wealthy like his distant cousin George W. Bush (hopefully soon to be once removed) and we all saw what this did to the US; it created major deficits that will cause future generations to suffer and inevitably bear the burden in the decades to come.

Stephen Harper also wants to build up our military and to support our American allies on their global preemptive warfare policies. This would mean invading Syria or Iran (which one is next on the Neo-con list? I imagine it would be whichever one has more oil) and also tarnishing our reputation as a nation that admires peace and diplomacy. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have a military but I don't think Canada should become another Great Britain, docile and always eager to please the Right-wing hawks of Washington. Let us keep our hands clean and let them take care of their own illegal invasions, thank you very much.

Harper also wants to sign on to the American Missile Defence Shield, and this would be another big mistake. Missile defence of this kind is illegal by NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) standards and would be sending the wrong message to the rest of the world, since the US will still have thousands of ICBMs pointed at other countries but would be nearly invulnerable to missile attacks. One could even argue that this could lead to a world war because the mutually assured destruction theory would go out the window. I'm sure most Canadians don't want to be caught in the middle of a global nuclear arms race.

The Conservatives not only disagree with the Kyoto Accord, they want us to pull out of it. This short-sighted view will hurt our ties to the European Union, a major trading block and potential market for Canadian exports. They are solidly behind Kyoto and a British MP has reputedly warned that Canada will look silly to pull out of the accord now, especially when Russia is on the fence and waiting to see who else backs it.

If I haven't convinced you yet, Stephen Harper doesn't believe that gays should be allowed to marry. This is a form of discrimination according to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which he says is fundamentally flawed because it might offer protection to pedophiles. This is pure bullshit because our criminal laws already cover sex crimes and nobody is arguing to change the laws themselves since they serve a valuable purpose; keeping our children safe from exploitation. Harper and his Albertan base are just using the sexual predator issue to ban gay marriage, a completely different issue altogether.

Ontario, I don't mean to single you out but you're quite influential and populous, so it is important that we understand each other. I have many relatives living in your beautiful province and a couple of them have expressed interest in voting Conservative. If it's just for the tax breaks, you should remember that you're going to pay more in the long run if the Tories win. Their tax cuts will be erased by increased fees for government services, increased tuition for students, and most Canadians won't even save all that much (it will only affect people who earn enough to pay a large amount of tax). I don't have any exact figures, but by reading the Tory platform, you can see that they will have to eliminate some of the programs that we know and love if they want to avoid running a deficit.

They've already talked about scrapping the Atlantic Development Agency which will stab the Maritimes in the heart by depriving their lackluster economies of badly-needed investment. This will mean more maritimers being forced to rely on social assistance, and that will be paid for by guess who? Ontario, Alberta, and BC, because they are the wealthy provinces who pay more in Federal tax than they receive in transfer payments.

The Liberals may have their weak points and they've definately made some mistakes, but they are still a better choice than the Conservatives. Like Joe Clark so eloquently warbled (paraphrased...), "Better the devil you do know than one you don't. Vote Paul Martin before you think of going with Stephen Harper."

One last point to ponder is that Canada is proving that it is a very left-wing nation. The Green Party, the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois, and the NDP (all left-leaning parties) command over 65 percent of the vote, meaning if the left was united like the right (the Canadian Alliance swallowed the Progressive Conservatives, remember?), the choice would be clear. Instead, we're splitting our vote 4 ways and the Conservatives are the odds-on favourite to steal this election (with a minority government).

Locate your Electoral District.

If you believe in peace and prosperity, if you don't want us to become a virtual 51st state, if you have any friends or relatives who happen to be gay, if you believe in legalization of marijuana, if you believe that the church and the state should be separate, then voting for the Conservative Party is the wrong choice! (To get a better understanding of your political leanings based on the party platforms, visit Who Do I Vote to do a nifty little test that will give you an unbiased measure of which party really floats your boat.) Or, just vote liberal or Bloc or NDP and talk to your friends. It isn't too late to save Canada from the Blue Menace of Stephen Harper's Conservative Party; the polls close at 9:30 PM EST.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Poxy: Privateer punk or Pirate Pop?

[Sorry for that awful alliteration in the title.] In the summer of 2003, when the joints were two-papered and I still had an income, I wrote a post about "Bar Le Sapphir". Since then, I've become far more destitute and when I do come across the odd pile o' cash, I'm less prone to waste it on a baker's dozen of beers at a nightclub. Still, I miss the place. The fish in the T.V., the bar that's constantly lit on fire, the couch on the ceiling; it makes me dream of busking tomorrow to finance a Friday night there.

I want to go on Friday specifically because of "Panic with Plastik Patrik", a punky garage/new-wave/no-wave rock night. Billy Idol, The Cure, The Ramones, The Hives...I can't imagine a better place to rock out after a hard week of blogging and consuming intoxicants. [I owe it all to a pal of mine--Dennis, who runs a successful firm that sells Wi-Fi products to businesses. Contact him if you own a hotel or café anywhere in North America!--because he was the first person to tell me about Sapphir.]

Perhaps I should get to the point? At Sapphir, Xavier Caffeine is one of the DJ's (he usually opens for Plastik Patrik). He also happens to be the lead singer of one of the rising stars of the Montreal rock scene, a band called Poxy. [JB offered one of Poxy's MP3's as a "Song of the week" at least a fortnight ago]. They're from Montreal and are definately a band to watch with a telescope, because by the time you read these words, they'll probably be close to conquering the hearts and minds of several foreign nations at sword-point.

Poxy play a style of music that they have branded "Pirate Pop" (according to a Chartattack Interview) and this description fits them like a parrot on a shoulder. Their sound might occasionally wear the feather boa of glam but it is far too abrasive to pass for anything weak; sometimes sounding like punk, it's nothing like Blink 182 and their new-school-punk soft-ice-cream sound. On their own, Poxy stand aside any of the best post-rock bands like The Stills or Interpol, only they are more accessible and not as deliberately obscure. Poxy want everyone to get high and dance like they're partying with David Bowie.

Poxy Band

Keeping with the Pirate theme, they know how to rock the boat. Xavier Caffeine used to be a part of Caféine, a MTL glam-punk band that caught the eye of many underground scenesters locally and this provided him with enough experience to pull off gigs that blow the windows out and the chutzpah to write an album that really resonates with some people but doesn't cut corners.

I'm not the only one who thinks Poxy is worth the time and trouble. Just ask Jamie O'Meara, resident music editor of the Hour, who said that their debut album was "Hands down the best rock album to cross (his) desk so far this year..." back in 2003. Also, they've earned glowing write-ups in Chartattack, The Montreal Mirror, and the Journal de Montreal, but they have yet to tour the United States.

On another note, when Poxy played at the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto, one of their members Phil lost a mixer to a covetous fan. He wrote at their site:
"To the asshole who stole my 80$ mixer down at the Bovine, I though I'd let you know you left my 3000$ laptop right under it you stupid fuck!
Poxy will be taking the following places by storm with knives in their teeth and a murderous gleam in their eyes. Be sure to bring gold bullion or some sort of recreational drug for them to seize:

June 25th
Moncton NB w/ L'Attack

June 26th
Halifax NS w/ L'Attack

July 10th
Quebec city QC w/ Plastic Bertrand

July 29th
L'Autre Caserne, Quebec City, QC
During Envol & Macadam fest

July 30th
Le Swimming, Montreal QC
3643 St. Laurent Blvd.

Keep your spyglasses on their official site for news, press clippings and even a few MP3s. I will try to get an interview with them for JB.

Arcade Fire Feed 7" Record to Hungry Americans

Montreal's reigning royal family of the indie rock underworld, the Arcade Fire, have released a 7" record south of the border via their label, Merge Records, and you can feel the buzz from here. It is called "Neighbourhood 7" and Pitchfork already broke this news on May 4th but I thought it warranted mention just the same because Merge have begun to promote the AF on their site and I'm curious to see what the U.S public will think of their miracle-a-minute sound. ("Angel" fans may have heard the AF when one of their songs was used on the Fox TV program)

"Neighbourhood 7" Album Cover

The A-side of the record is a song called Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) which should appear on their new LP as well. The B-side is apparently a 1940's radio broadcast of Win's maternal grandfather with his 'Alvino Rey Orchestra'. Here is what their Merge bio has to say about the B-side.
"Win Butler is the grandson of Alvino Rey, who led the Alvino Rey Orchestra with a pedal steel guitar from the 30s to the 70s. He grew up in Texas where he and his brother (Will) learned how to play music from their mother (a jazz harpist)."
Reading the press release for the AF 7-inch brought a smile to my face.
"Get these now before the buzz really starts on the Arcade Fire. You can tell all your friends next year - 'I knew them when...'"
Reading a statement like that one makes me think that the music industry is modelled upon the feeding habits of the seagull. A couple of brave birds will begin to peck at a morsel of potential food to see if it is palatable, and before long, thousands more will flock to the place to try and get their beaks in on the feast.

The Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire

I'm betting that their LP "Funeral", which is slated for a September release, will earn them a Juno awards nomination in 2005. I haven't heard any of the new songs yet since they haven't played any Montreal shows as of late, but I'm 90 percent sure that the record is going to get the mainstream music press frothing at the mouth. (Most of my friends have become AF fans after hearing their self-titled EP. One exception is my cousin Anders, but he's far too obsessed with Faith No More and Tori Amos to even give the Arcade Fire the time of day!)

Being the thieving bastard that I am, here is the tracklisting for the "Funeral" LP which I stole from Pitchfork.

01 Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
02 Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
03 Une Annee Sans Lumiere
04 Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
05 Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
06 Crown of Love
07 Wake Up
08 Haiti
09 Rebellion (Lies)
10 In the Backseat

I'll get in touch with the Arcade Fire in the fall to see if we can get a reviewer's copy of their new album for this blog; I'm sure they'll be happy to oblige. Until then, you can visit their official site for news and a couple of sample MP3's.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Canadian Political Celebrity Deathmatch, Part II (the English Leader's Debate)

Just in case you were busy sitting on your porch with a cold one, I figured I would do the right thing and watch the Canadian Federal leader's debate for you. It appeared commercial-free on CBC. I slept through the first half hour or so--I always nap after supper--but as I awoke, the stalwart four gave me several immediate impressions.

Gilles Duceppe proved to be far less reptilian than I expected. He was mostly well-spoken, especially when he confronted Paul Martin in his closing words, asking Mr. Martin to become transparent and to "tell the truth, sir." Mr. Duceppe also mentioned Quebec in nearly every sentence, demanding that Mr. Martin repair the fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces.

Leader's Debate

In the early days of medicare, the Federal government used to pay 75 percent of the costs of medicare, and during Paul Martin's time as finance minister, he reduced this by approximately 25 percent. Canada's universal public health system has been reeling ever since, suffering from longer wait times, restrictions to critical systems such as PET scanners and specialists, and hospitals that are less able to respond to emergency situations. Duceppe wants Quebec (and the other provinces) to get back that missing money since health care is under provincial jurisdiction.

Still, Gilles Duceppe did frighten me at one point. When questioned by Stephen Harper about sovereignty, he proclaimed that he believed that Quebec was a nation and there was a sort of glint in his eyes. He looked like a man inhabited by spirits, or even a rebel leader. He must truly want Quebec to separate. If not, I'd be tempted to vote Bloc Quebecois because of their impressive left-wing agenda and public policy proposals.

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, disappointed me with his dizzying little-boy hands flailing about and his constant interruptions of Mr. Harper and Mr. Martin. Don't get me wrong--I believe that the NDP is the single best political party in contemporary Canadian politics, and will vote NDP on June 28th--but I felt that Mr. Layton seemed excitable and slightly mean-spirited. Unlike the sedated, evangelical-minister speaking of Mr. Harper, or the grandfatherly business tycoon cadence of Mr. Martin, Mr. Layton sounded like a smarmy university professor, trumpeting his views loudly but not giving his opponents the credit due. Nobody likes a know-it-all and Canadians are no different.

Even though most of what he was saying was a hundred percent true, it appears that the NDP will be reduced to participation in a minority government at best. This could happen if the Liberals win more seats than the Conservatives, but not a solid 50 plus one majority. In this case, the NDP could actually influence public policy and pull us away from the brink of joining America's imperial ambitions.

The enfant terrible of the night had to be Stephen Harper. He was gentlemanly, appearing to be as calm as a Prairie wind in springtime, even when accused of wanting to slash social programs, remove the grants to regional development groups like the one that keeps the Maritimes afloat, ban abortion, and balloon Canada's military by tens of billions of dollars. He looked very serene behind the podium, probably sensing the momentum that his party has been gaining in the usually Liberal voter stronghold of Ontario.

The last national poll I saw listed the Liberals at 34 percent, the Conservatives at 33 percent, the NDP at 19 percent, the Bloc at 11 percent, and the Green party at an impressive 5 percent (I can't recall the margin of error but you get the rough idea). This seems to indicate that Mr. Martin has a tough hill to climb if he is to retain his Prime Minister's parking spot for long. With the NDP, the Conservatives, and the Bloc all taking aim at his ten-year legacy of slashing programs in order to balance the budget, Martin is being pierced by political buckshot and that is why his party is bleeding red votes.

During the debate, Paul Martin did his best Winston Churchill impression, puffing out his chest and barreling through the constant stream of accusations and insults without blinking an eye. (Jack Layton doesn't blink very much either. That was another disconcerting little detail that caught my attention!) Mr. Martin did come across as an experienced leader when he spoke about his vision of a Canada that respects the Charter of Rights and also when he proclaimed that we would never assist in the weaponization of space.

I don't really know who "won" the debate but I think that Ontario is going to have to decide what kind of Canada they want to be a part of. Since that is where the Conservatives have really been making inroads (rumour has it that even Belinda Stronach is going to win her riding!), if Ontario decides to punish the Liberals by wandering into the Conservative fold, the whole nation will be veering sharply to the right. If the Conservatives win , before long, expect us to have troops dying in foreign wars, terror attacks in retribution for our dilly-dallying with the global-pariah American juggernaut, and a Right wing fiscal policy that would slash taxes on the rich at the expense of the poor and the social programs they rely upon.

Taxes are never going to disappear. If they're going to collect a percentage of our income, they should give it to people in need and make sure that it isn't being spent frivolously. I agree with Mr. Harper that we should be careful not to throw money at problems without analyzing their potential impact on our citizens. Still, social awareness has always been a Canadian trait and we should not abandon our legacy of social justice in favour of a Pro-market, laissez-faire capitalist nation like our American neighbours.

Canadian Flag

Above all, let us build a nation that is internationalist, transcending borders like our trans-atlantic cousins the Europeans. Let us spread peace and help the third world to grow and prosper. May we protect the environment and enrich ourselves by becoming masters of the aeolian turbine and the solar panel. The Maple Leaf should never be worn on a uniform unless involving a UN-approved peacekeeping mission. We should let gays marry and potheads smoke, provided they're buying it from a safe, government-regulated source (and the tax revenue from that would pay for a lot of social programs). Heck, we should even proclaim to the world that we'll never invade them and that they're all welcome to visit or to emigrate here.

We should open our arms to the planet and watch the global goodwill it produces. Sure, there will always be a couple of bad apples out there, but as long as we contain them with the help of friendly foreign governments and the International criminal court, we don't need to bomb them into the stone age. Let the Hawks and Elephants hunt for nations to demolish. I believe that Canada should work for peace.

What kind of Canada do you want to see? Who was the winner of the leader's debate? Comment below.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

JB's Lo-Fi Cover of Arcade Fire - "Old Flame"

Lo-fi is an understatement! I'm learning that recording over the phone is quite the challenge. At least I can say I have something in common with 50 Cent; he once phoned in 8 bars of freestyle rap from a jail payphone, which later appeared on a popular mixtape. Yeah, I gots tha street cred, mofos.

Click the grey button below to hear my rendition of "Old Flame".

this is an audio post - click to play

If Win & Regine hear this, I hope they won't shun me. I did my best but vocally, I'm more comfortable in lower tonal altitudes. I'm more a Tom Waits than a Thom Yorke, even though they're both freaking awesome.

All virulent self-criticism aside, "Old Flame" remains a great song and I hope you enjoyed it.

Reagan Will Live On

After ramping up defense spending to stratospheric heights, funding anti-democratic guerillas around the globe, and declaring that trees are a major source of pollution, Ronald Reagan passed away this week at the age of 93.

His resilience is quite impressive. Not only has he refused to yield to death's cruel scythe, he's going to run for Vice President of the United States!
"Difficult times call for great leaders -- men of vision, strength and courage. Men like George W. Bush and the shambling, reanimated corpse of Ronald Reagan. Welcome to the official Web site of Bush/Zombie Reagan 2004, Inc., home of the new Republican presidential ticket!"
Apparently, he has the vitality of a twenty year-old and the ability to withstand the loss of his limbs, as long as his skull remains intact.

Bush/Zombie Reagan

John Kerry, contrary to popular opinion, is not a real zombie. He just pretends to be one in order to sit on the fence and court both the zombie and the non-zombie vote. According to the makers of Bush/Zombie Reagan, Kerry is more like a sort of Frankenstein, with his body parts culled from many good, All-American gravesites.
"Is Zombie Reagan really that much of an advantage? Doesn't John Kerry have the zombie vote locked up?

No. John Kerry, in fact, isn't really a zombie. He is more akin to Frankenstein's Monster, built out of parts stolen from graveyards under cover of night. He simply claims to be a zombie for political advantage."
When a nation is divided along partisan lines, sometimes it helps to keep a sense of mirth and laughter regarding politics. Personally, I don't hate Reagan as a person, just for what he represented--he was a master of rhetoric, a spinning politico who would spout one-liners to cover up his massive deficits or his entanglement with crooked corporate giants.

Not all Republicans are cut from the same cloth as Reagan, and thank the empty, acid-rainy heavens. I would rather listen to an earnest, trustworthy guy like John McCain than some actor who pretended to be a cowboy on the silver screen. I'm sure Reagan wasn't an evil guy but he made some baffling decisions. (Why sell WMD to Saddam Hussein? Ronald sent Donald Rumsfeld to meet the dictator and seal the deal, for fux sake!)

What do you think of Reagan's achievements/blunders? Was he the National Treasure or a Natural disaster? Please comment below

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Monday, June 07, 2004

Eugene McCarthy: Maverick Politician with Balls of Steel

"Salon: You said after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that America itself is not innocent of terror.

McCarthy: That's right. It doesn't mean we should forgive those guys -- bin Laden and the rest. We shouldn't. But we need to be aware that we terrorized black people for 300 years, for nearly 100 years after the Emancipation. They were still being terrorized when we passed the civil rights legislation in the 1960s. The other effect that was a kind of terror was our buildup of nuclear weapons. When we produced the hydrogen bomb that was a so-called clean bomb -- it killed only living matter -- it didn't destroy trucks and tanks. They said you wouldn't have to rebuild the cities; the bomb only killed people. We're still not doing much about the terror of nuclear weapons."

Interview with Eugene McCarthy in (they require you watch a brief commercial in order to read their articles. It's mostly painless!)

With the dearth of Reagan-worship going on these days, it is refreshing to read about a Democrat like Eugene McCarthy. His many years in the U.S. Senate and his unsuccessful attempts to win the presidency may have caused his name to fall by the wayside but he remains a Great Man just the same.

He had the balls to run against his own Democratic Party because they had sunk America into a quagmire in Vietnam (during JFK's presidency) but Robert F. Kennedy's strong showing caused Eugene to drop out of the race. He was also the only elected public official willing to question the other famous McCarthy's insane, quasi-paranoid inquisition of suspected communist sympathisers. In post-WWII America, this was an act of bravery. Standing up against the seemingly-immovable status quo is always reserved for the most fearless of us all.

I wish that the current Democratic nominee (although he hasn't "formally accepted" this title yet) were made of fire and water like Eugene, instead of being carved completely out of wood. Yes, it is a little known fact but John Kerry is only a couple of termites away from becoming sawdust.

Of course, if I were an American citizen, I'd gladly vote for a pile of wood shavings over the current Diablus Horriblus, George W. Bush, in an instant. John Kerry can be expected to hold the line in terms of Iraq but he will definately make strides to reach out to other nations and rebuild some of the collective goodwill that Bush has so tragically destroyed. Bush's constant refusal to engage other nations on matters of global importance and the ballooning deficit (that originated due to his tax cuts for the rich) will probably result in his political downfall.

One stumbling block to a Democratic win in 2004 is John Kerry's fear of being a Liberal. Sometimes, he seems to try to appear more Right-wing than the Republicans (witness his fear of standing with the Pro-Choice folks, or even his assertion that he is against Gay marriage) but I think he'd still be an improvement over Bush. Don't even get me started on Nader. (I love Ralph's moral conviction but he may just split the vote again and that would be both bad for America and nightmarish for the rest of the world, ie. four more years of Bush-league politics).

Eugene McCarthy is still alive (at the ripe old age of 88) and apparently he still writes the occasional poem, but he's given up on politics, except as an observer. Cheers, Eugene, and let us hope that young Americans will be inspired by your bravery and devotion to freedom, not by that brash, "cowboy with his guns drawn", world-antagonizer Ronald Reagan. (Reagan's legacy includes selling chemical and biological WMD to Saddam Hussein, arming guerillas in Nicaragua to overthrow their government, and nearly turning the Cold War into a nuclear one. I won't be weeping when they put his coffin in the ground.)

Friday, June 04, 2004

Jeremy Brendan Wants to Work for You!

Calling all benevolent billionaires, craven capitalists, and blog boosters! I, Jeremy Brendan, am tired of my lacklustre lifestyle and prolonged absence from the nine-to-five world. I need a job and my Monster hasn't been helping at all. I've been out of work for nearly a year (unless you count my 4-day stint pitching heat for a lying pack of telemarketers. I quit but left with my soul intact). I wanna work instead of banging on the keys all day.

I have a large cornucopia of job skills to offer your business/organization/cult. These include, but are not limited to; selling objects or services to disinterested strangers; writing polemical rants or completely objective, sang-froid news articles, depending on how much I trust the editor; rolling spliffs, although I max out at two papers, and I may expect to smoke if I'm going to the trouble of rolling the damned thing; interviewing musicians, as long as I can appreciate their music and they're not from American Idol (William Hung excluded); and playing rhythm guitar. I can groove to anything that sounds good but I would love to play dancepunk, indie rawk (à la Flaming Lips/Silver Jews style), or even country, as long as our lyrics aren't about the death of our dog or how much we hate hippies.

Naturally, I can also do any number of manual labour tasks but my arms are rail-thin and my cardiovascular system needs some work at the gym. I can't lift anything over 100 lbs and even 80 or so would sap my endurance if I had to cart it back and forth a hundred times. I've worked at a museum, in the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, at a cigar store, in a seedy dépanneur, at a multinational computer reseller, and at a retail technology chain (the one that used to sell parts but now it's trying to push MP3 players alongside satellite dishes).

Nine times out of ten, I'll put in an honest days work and if you're willing to pay me at least nine (9) dollars CAD per hour, I'll even throw in a smile in the morning and a spring in my step. I won't blog at work (except possibly at lunch hour, if you don't mind) and I'll keep my mind on the task at hand, not the foreign policy of my southerly neighbours or last Sunday's episode of Trailer Park Boys.

Please let me know if you want to schedule an interview or just hire me without even blinking an eyelash. I can also provide a more accurate, less readable C.V.; one with real dates, job titles, and even my real name.(It ain't Jeremy Brendan, that's for sure)

Are you on the job hunt? Has your honest spear pierced any juicy prospects as of late? Tell us about your search and whether it has produced any meals.