Welcome to Winter 9

The ninth year for the Welcome to Winter 9 skate contest came and went so smoothly that if you weren't in the know, you just did not know. No whining, no fights, no parents abusing young officials. In short - real civil for an "unorganized sport". It was wonderful to see the skaters tearing up the indoor park, having a good time doing it AND being civil to each other in the process. Three cheers for skateboarders. Three cheers for event sponsor and organizer Tiki Room, and all other corporate skateboard company type sponsors.
Here are some photos to let you know what you missed if you did, and to remind you of what you saw if you were there.


Noel with a fistfull of dollars, the man never leaves home without his roll.


Nosin' it


This dude ripped hard and fast all day


2pac - always last off the course


Hittin' the rail


Sarah M over the stairs, she took second place in the 13 and under


Mikey T took first in the Best Trick Contest

More pics at my flickr site.


Religion Rears Its Ugly Head.Again.

From MSNBC this headline:

Kansas education board downplays evolution
State school board OKs standards casting doubt on Darwin

Once again Kansas is rushing forward to push religion ahead of knowledge, and has

"approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution."

Who are they? Who do these people think they are? Are they all evolutionary scientists who have become disgruntled with the status quo? Have these scientists taken it upon themselves to call into question, challenging of course with evidence and documentation to support their position, the theory of evolution. Or are they something else all together?
I will go with the something else answer, as I investigated the Kansas State Department of Education website, found the board information and read the published biographies of the members who voted in favor of approving these new science standards. From what I read it appeared to me that there was nary an evolutionary scientist among them.
Here is what I found:

Mrs. Kathy Martin

Kathy belongs to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Clay Center

Mr. Kenneth Willard

He is active in his church, and school and community organizations.

Mr. John W. Bacon

John earned his Bachelor's degree in accounting from Mid- America Nazarene University in 1985 and is now self-employed as a certified public accountant.

Mrs. Iris Van Meter

Iris graduated from Kentucky Mountain Bible College in 1956 with a degree in Christian Education. She worked in broadcasting for several years as a radio announcer and control operator. Iris was a minister's wife for over 30 years and held many offices in the church and community.
She has been a Republican precinct committeewoman in Neosho County for several years and has been an active supporter of the Republican Party.

Mrs. Connie Morris

Her autobiography, From the Darkness: One Woman'’s Rise to Nobility, has been published by Huntington House Publishers. The book is Connie'’s story of recovery through Christ from incest, rape, domestic violence, substance abuse, and poverty during her early years in the Appalachian Mountains region.

Dr. Steve E. Abrams

He is a former board member of Family Life Services and is a member of First Baptist Church in Arkansas City.

Also from the article:

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Thank goodness for that gem. Won't that make the job of a scientist that much easier, not having to search for these so called "natural explanations". No more head scratching, no more thinking! No "natural explanation" required! Perhaps now the Flying Spaghetti Monster will get the recognition and standing it deserves, and will be taught alongside Darwin in Kansas Schools.

It is vital we all pay closer attention to, and take an active role in the democratic process at all levels if we don't want to make public schools nothing more than an extension of religious institutions.

Keep it where it belongs, preach to the converted.


Life Hacks

Always being somewhat reluctant to part with a whole pile of money for most articles of clothing, I am a frequenter of the local Value Village. For the uninitiated among you, at Value Village the discriminating shopper will find all manner of second hand clothing, books, housewares, and bric-a-brac. Don't have much use for the bric-a-brac or the used houseware items, but I always have room in my closet for an obscure t-shirt or two. Then one day I decided to look for shirts with the express intent of hacking their corporate messages with messages of my own.

Here are the results:



These two fun alterations of these "shadverts" (shirts as advertising - you heard it here first) were fun, the reaction has been favourable, and I will keep this up as a weird kind of subversive recreational word gymnastics.

And just the other day I saw a bumper sticker on a car that made me laugh. I had my camera with me and hurriedly snapped a pic ...


Here's hoping the cops aren't paying attention to bumper stickers, at least for the sake of the driver of this car.

Don't You Just Love Fall?

Took a walk on a beautiful fall day, and had my camera along. Just thought I would share some of the sights I took in on a gorgeous calm fall day.


Looking West off the Bridge in Les Sherman Park, those in the know will understand this is near a certain contentious location.


Looking East off the same bridge.


This is my street, close to my home.


It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... oh just a plane.


Tree and sky, not much more to say.


Kind of a cheat, this was taken at Wascana Trails in 2004, but it was taken in the fall.

And a wasp nest we found ...


and closer ...


and closer still ...


Way more colorful than just green, too bad it is so short lived with the blanket of white coldness coming next.


Talking Trash Cans Or Are They?

The German company Solar-Lifestyle and the City of Berlin have installed talking trash cans around the city to encourage users to deposit trash where it belongs, rather than on the streets of Berlin. Citizens depositing trash in these receptacles receive a positive affirmation for their actions in the form of a "thank you" from the trash bin itself. Wonderful if it works, I say, but then I started to examine these "trash cans" a little more closely.


Compare and contrast the image of the trash can with the image of the sinister Dalek from the BBC Television series Doctor Who. Notice anything?


Look again. While the outside of the trash can does not immediately look like a Dalek, it does appear like it is concealing a Dalek inside. Could it be that pretty soon someone walking up to one of these trash cans, rather than hearing "thank you" will soon start to hear the frightening refrain of "exterminate, exterminate" before being vaporized? Is Solar-Lifestyle nothing more than a clever front for a hostile alien takeover of our planet? And are they making us clean it up before exterminating us? And what about this web site, the online home of "The Dalek Builders' Guild"? Training ground for trash can / world destruction builders?

I am going to find somewhere quiet to rest my head and try to sort all of this out.


Another Reason Not To Go To Wal-Mart

run spot run

As if substandard wages, shoddy merchandise, and a grind your suppliers until their employees bleed aren't all reason enough to avoid Wal-Mart, here is yet another provided by the folks at The Progressive.

This article tells the story of a high school student in North Carolina doing a project where he was asked to

"take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights"
which turned into a real life lesson on the Bill of Rights, complete with Secret Service agents.
The student
"had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's down sign with his own hand next to the President's picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."
Standard freedom of expression stuff these days, expressing disgust and disdain for the most powerful man in the world but then he took the photos to Wal-Mart to be developed, and this is where things went a bit haywire. According to the article:
"An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service."
Thank the sweet baby Jesus' tiny toenails America can count Wal-Mart employees among its "first-line defense" against terror and anti-government forces, as beckoned by Condoleezza Rice's siren song in 2002:
"Rice urged Americans to remain vigilant, calling the public "the first line of defense" against attacks. "There have been many cases in which Americans who were alert to suspicious circumstances around them have been able to tip law enforcement officials," she said."*
Secret Service grilled the student, and his teacher before taking the matter to the Attorney General where it was decided that no further action needed to be taken. At least sanity prevailed.

Thanks for keeping America safe Wal-Mart.

Somebody please make it stop.
*source United States Department of Defense


Who Likes Concentration?

I like concentration and if you do also, you can now play this memory game with photos from my flickr site. Check it out. Will work with any tags from flickr, try it out.


Why You Shouldn't Believe Everything You Read

and some free music

Now generally speaking I have respect for the Globe and Mail and its reportage on all things current, but a story appearing in the September 29 issue of the Globe, viewable here, truly has me questioning the journalistic integrity of this paper. True enough the reporter does state clearly the source of the facts and figures he parrots in his piece:

"The illegal downloading has cost retail music stores more than half a billion dollars in lost sales since 1999, a study by Pollara for the recording industry estimates.

But therein lies the problem. Where is the balance, where is an alternate view? Where is the fact checking? One should not just throw out a number the size of "half a billion" without any substantiation whatsoever. Let me ask this, is it that sales have dropped by half a billion dollars, or is it that as stated in the article:

"Canadians illegally download 14 music CDs or other files from the Internet for every file they take from the web legally, a new recording-industry poll suggests.

...and from this they have made the mathematical leap that because Canadians are downloading these 14 CDs per person, we are not buying them and therefore that is lost revenue. I would suggest that this "half a billion dollars" figure is really not accurate at all, it was chosen because of its largesse, its roundness, and because big numbers shock people. Just because people are downloading music, does not mean they would buy it if they could not download it. Maybe Canadians are illegally downloading 14 CDs worth of music annually because it is so lousy they would not pay a cent to have it, and instead because it is available freely they will give it a listen, let it clutter up a hard drive for a couple of months and then delete it like the trash that it is.

Maybe a better question would be, why does the music industry continue to churn out pap targeted at 9-13 year olds like there is no tomorrow? Why is there such a lack of talent and/or intelligence in so-called "popular" music? I cannot answer these questions, other than to say obviously it is because it sells today, it has sold in the past and the recording industry is banking on the fact that it will sell in the future. Trouble for them is, in the future that is shaping up now people are able to listen critically before they part with a few hard earned clams for some meaningless drivel with a catchy tune that will be played to death on commercial radio (don't get me started on commercial radio). By listen critically, of course I mean illegally download and if it is really good go out and purchase a copy. What would appear to be happening is, music listening is up, but music buying is stagnant. Stagnant like a pond covered in slime, dark and smelly, with leaches on the bottom waiting to suck your blood.

And like all good things that live in dark slimy places, you cannot expect a lot of high level logic from these lifeforms. Quotes such as:

"Not only does music file-swapping harm artists, but it also points to an erosion of respect for intellectual property that threatens Canada's economy and values at the core of our society," said Graham Henderson, president of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, which commissioned the polls.
Thank you Graham Henderson. Canadian values are being threatened, quick find a legislator - ban something! For a more balanced look at file sharing and its harm or non-harm to the Canadian music industry please check out FirstMonday.org.

On a happier note - free music. All one has to do to download a fair bit of free booty is register at Amazon.com and go to their music downloads page. There. Free AND legal.

Rock on downloaders.


Pocket Mod and Sudoku

Quick one.

Check out PocketMod you organizing freaks. A FREE handy little utility you use to make little wee pocket organizers to ... help keep you organized I guess. What I was excited about though are two things.

1. It is a freely downloadable utility
2. You can make you own Sudoku books

Rock on you organized puzzle fanciers.

Smash Capitalism

How long is it going to take the collective mass to realize that this headlong race toward the lowest common denominator also known as capitalism is killing us. Killing us all. It is just not that obvious (although it should be) to us in the so called West. In order for capitalism to thrive people must acquire, and acquire, and acquire some more just in case they forgot to acquire for a minute. Therefore we must also produce, and produce, and produce some more which places enormous strain on the ecosystem, the plants, the animals, and our fellow human beings. And for what? Really, what is it all for? Take some time and think long and hard about that one. Then start to consider the gap between rich and poor and wonder and think, then wonder some more. Why should that be?
I know it may sound terribly naive and utopian, but why can't we all share what we have, put our various talents to use for the good of us all, and as far as remuneration is concerned - end the inequality. Now the argument that is always put forth goes something like,"Why would anyone be a doctor, or surgeon if they are not going to be paid more than a janitor?", and it would seem to me that if one has aptitude for a certain area, or wants to pursue a certain line of work, the amount one is paid to do the work is not the prime consideration, nor should it be. Working for the good of us all, allowing us all to achieve a minimum level of health and well being, is that too much to ask? I could go on, and on but suffice to say a significant mind shift is called for to change our current course, and the capitalist system does not want us to change our thinking.
Why chase after baubles when so much more is at stake. Humans should have arrived at a point in time by now where we realize that this Earth of ours is our one and only home, and all life depends on our stewardship. I say our stewardship not because I want to place homo sapiens above all other forms of life, but because we have done and continue to be able to do damage on an enormous scale all the while being fully conscious of the end results of our actions. We will squeeze every drop of oil from the earth, knowing full well what we are doing, yet not bothering to stop because there is no incentive in the capitalist system to encourage us to do so. The way I see things, we can either change willingly or change when the whole thing comes crashing down on our heads. Personally I would rather make the change than have it forced upon me, but that's me.

Rock on consumers.


A bridge, a cautionary tale, and a link

The above is from my photos at Flickr and was once again taken when I was in Weyburn last summer.

A Cautionary Tale

I was at a relative's home the other night for supper, and among other things we had a very tasty watermelon, feta and black olive salad for supper. Don't ask or question - just make it for yourself, you won't be sorry. Now the cautionary message concerns an after supper occurrence, and I feel as if I would be letting a portion of the human race down if I did not pass along this warning message. I realize that this warning may not apply to all, or even many but if I can save even one person from having to suffer the indignity I was exposed to it will have been worth it. If you have a cappuccino maker (and I don't think it is brand dependent - but this one was made by a certain GIANT chain of hipster coffee shops, some of which may or may not be located in the GIANT chain of hipster bookstores). Anyway without further ado - the warning.

For the love of god people clean out your drip trays!

When I was a kid growing up in the 70's I used to hate coming home from school only to smell the thick, cloying, annoying smell of a fresh permanent administered to my mother by one of the members of her coffee clutch. Yuck. Now the perm smell is one thing, but now I have an image for you, an image that will hopefully help you to grasp the awful smell that came from the decroded piece of crap otherwise known as the filthy drip tray on my brother in law's cappuccino maker. Picture if you will a llama, now imagine a llama that has been fed nothing but a highly volatile mixture of prunes and refried beans, and imagine the poor beast after about three hours in the throes of gastric unrest, its bowel feverishly working to rid itself of every last bit of waste material in as quick a fashion as possible. Getting the picture? So the llama's posterior is caked in fresh diarrhea, then some chain smoking beauty trots the unfortunate ungulate into your kitchen and proceeds to vigorously perm the fetid mass of ass hair. That image sort of begins to describe the smell that came from the drip tray on my brother in law's cappuccino maker. So, if you have a cappuccino maker and a drip tray please heed these words and clean it out.

A Link

As promised a link. Now before you just go clicking on it, please if you have epilepsy or any type of seizure disorder this may bother you, everyone else crank up your volume and prepare to be amazed ...

Killer Japanese Seizure Robots



Nodding donkey

Don't have much to share word wise today, so I thought I would share a picture. If you have noticed I have added photos along the top of the blog under the header. Even though you can view them all at Flickr I thought it might be nice to have larger views of them and others every once in a while. I snapped this photo in Weyburn of something I have always called an oil pumper, but looked on Wikipedia and found the term nodding donkey and quite like it.

Look at my nodding donkey photo, and like it.


A Fantastic Meal

Free plug for earls restaurant follows ... you've been warned.

This week I returned to a restaurant that while it may seem to be unabashedly trendy, always does its best to serve up quality food at a price that is not over the top. It had been some time since the last time I had eaten there and I was not at all disappointed with the food this time.

What we ate:


  • Chili Chicken tossed in a fiery sweet chili sauce with crispy wontons
  • Togarashi Shrimp and Wontons gulf white shrimp tossed with togarashi spice and a refreshing mango and jicima salad, crispy wonton chips

Main Course

  • Grilled Chicken and Baked Brie on Ciabatta grilled chicken breast, melted brie, roasted apples and spinach with sweet fig jam and garlic mayonnaise on toasted ciabatta - with a side of fries
  • Santa Fe Chicken Salad spicy cajun chicken, avocado, feta cheese, sweet dates, corn and black beans in a peanut lime vinaigrette with mixed lettuces and crispy tortillas


albino rhino and the winter pudding ale were the beers of choice

We were both so full dessert was not even a consideration, but full in a good way not the unhealthy bloated feeling that I am quite sure factory farmed animals feel on a constant basis.

So, in a nutshell my recommendation for a nice relaxed evening of dining with some good quality food would be to give earls a try, you will be pleasantly rewarded.


Wal-Mart vs. Costco


Wonderful news in from LabourResearch.org, that sheds some light on the lies that Wal-Mart has fed to us all for years now. It seems like paying workers a living wage actually makes good business sense, and when your workers are able to afford to be consumers, home owners and tax payers themselves - society as a whole may benefit. Another standout from this article is that Costco CEO Jim Senegal takes home only about 10 times the pay of a typical Costco employee, contrast that with the salary of Wal-Mart’s Lee Scott whose take home pay was a whopping 5.3 million dollars, a little more than that of most Wal-Mart employees who on average are paid $9.68 an hour.

Highlights from the article should you care to read only a synopsis:

Costco v. Wal-Mart: How They Stack Up

Global Workforce
Wal-Mart: 1.6 million associates
Costco: 113,000 employees

U.S. Workforce
Wal-Mart: 1.2 million
Costco: 83,600

U.S. Union Members
Wal-Mart: 0
Costco: 15,000

U.S. Stores
Wal-Mart: 3,600
Costco: 336

Net Profits (2004)
Wal-Mart: $10.5 billion
Costco: $882 million

CEO Salary + Bonus (2004)
Wal-Mart: $5.3 million
Costco: $350,000

Average Pay
Wal-Mart: $9.68/hour
Costco: $16/hour

Health Plan Costs
Wal-Mart: Associates pay 34% of premiums + deductible ($350-$1,000)
Costco: Comprehensive; employees pay 5-8% of premiums

Employees Covered By Company Health Insurance
Wal-Mart: 48%
Costco: 82%

Employee Turnover (estimate)
Wal-Mart: 50%
Costco: 24%

Sources: Wal-Mart, Costco, Business Week, Forbes.com

More reasons never to let your shadow darken the aisles of Wal-Mart.


Polaroid-o-nizer and Rasterbator

Castro Lights One Up

I came across the Polaroid-o-nizer the other day. This nifty little bit of PHP scripting will automagically convert any old regular photo into a hip looking Polaroid style photo, all without any messing around in photoshop, no plug-ins, no filters, no fuss, no muss - just pure unadulterated Polaroid-o-nizer goodness.

Try it free today! Polaroid-o-nizer. *note - this link now appears to be fixed! See update below.

And on a related note another interesting free online photo manipulation utility called the Rasterbator, now don't get your self twisted yet. While the name may raise eyebrows when shouted out in the middle of a crowded supermarket, what it really is according to the website is:

The Rasterbator is a web service which creates huge, rasterized images from any picture. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into extremely cool looking posters up to 20 meters in size.

And for those with a slow connection, you can download a stand alone version to, ahem, Rasterbate in the privacy of your own home.

*** Update ****

My thanks to Patrick P for sending me an update to the Polaroid-o-nizer link, as it has been broken for quite some time.
For those who fancy the polaroid look here are three alternatives:


and different name, same type of service


Rock on you photo manipulators.


Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

Nothing earth-shattering but I happened to be checking out links at Kottke and one of them pointed me in the direction of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and more specifically to
their MoCCA - Now Then! This exhibit features the art of professional artists as made today, and also shows the type of art they were making as children/adolescents. It is really quite interesting. Check it out.


We Are All Weak

Is it just me, or do we now live in a significantly less physically demanding society than that of our parents? Now before you go getting all defensive, just ease back on the couch and I will tell you why I even raise this issue. I watch very little television, and listen to even less commercial radio so pardon me if this is old hat to you. I watched some of CBC's airing of "The Lord of the Rings" and it was here this idea came to me and all because of an advert for Advil. I think it was Advil. At any rate some common pain relieving medication. In it they show a man being pulled by his dog, and he seems powerless to stop it - all the while there is a commentator's voice in the background giving the blow- by-blow for a steeplechase race. Next it is weight lifting commentary and we see a man trying to heft a 27 - 32" television, and finally it is synchro swimming type of commentary and a couple rolling paint on to their ceiling. Then they cut to the product shot and tell us, and I can't remember the exact wording but something like for all your aches and pains, or for everyday pain relief, something like that. And it hit me. What the hell were any of those people doing that they should require medication? Honestly. Walking the dog. Moving in a new larger tv. Painting the ceiling. Come on. What kind of pussies do they take us for?
I was mildly insulted by the whole premise, and then stopped to consider that perhaps the vast majority of people across this great land really do get little to no exercise, and could possibly seriously strain themselves while walking the dog. Sad. No building tall buildings, tossing hay bales, twisting wrenches for the modern human - no. We strain ourselves decorating our houses and hoisting yet another leisure time device into position in front of our couches. Tell me it isn't so.


Is that a burrito in your pocket ...

... or are you here to kill me?

This is the funniest / saddest thing I have read in a while, and it is fitting commentary on the state of the American psyche in the new, ultra heightened, minuteman border patrolling( link to real audio file), homeland security fixated, you're either with us or against us, paranoid freakville that is the 21st century United States of America. Pardon me if the preceding wording was a bit strong, and I apologize to all those Americans who appear to "get it", those Americans who did not vote for Bush in the last election and all those Americans who are in the process of moving to Canada. If you have not clicked on the link at the beginning of this entry yet, here is a brief synopsis:

CLOVIS, N.M. Apr 29, 2005 — A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

A burrito. A 30 inch burrito. How paranoid can Americans stand to get before they are just shooting each other on site whenever someone is carrying something not immediately recognizeable? What gives? And the creator of the burrito is quoted as saying:

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," Morrissey said.
Oddly large burritos. Burritos of Mass Destruction. Perhaps this is what ol' Saddam needed those large aluminum tubes for - oddly large burritos, not nuclear weapons. Maybe rather than harming neighbouring countries, Saddam was really trying to feed them. Feed them oddly large burritos or strangely huge falafel. What if he learned his lesson from all that scudding, and decided to just say no to scudding, and yes to feeding? And this whole weapons of mass destruction type of country invading that has so engaged the U.S. government could have been avoided if they had just asked up front about any "oddly large burrito" development programs Iraq may have been undertaking. This whole armed invasion of Iraq, all those body bags, the nasty prison torture situation, filling Cuba up with those "unlawful combatant" fellows, all of it may have been for naught. Couldn't someone have just said:

"Say, any of you Iraqi fellers planning on deploying any Weapons of Mass Consumption? Planning on launching an oddly large burritos anytime soon? Got any mobile burrito factories, kinda like lunch wagons, only bigger?"
End of story. The Iraqis offer up some oddly large burritos, or some strangely huge falafel and this whole mess is avoided. But no, Bush has to do it his way. Invade first and ask questions later, when it is too late and the questions and their answers are rendered meaningless by the senseless carnage. I would personally like the Department of Homeland Security to move that colored indicator alerting all Americans to the current threat level to "green". Green for "low risk of terrorist activities", and strong chance of guacamole.
Rock on you security conscious fellas, and pass the salsa.


I want that ...

Flippin' awesome.

McFarlane Toys and Fox Licensing & Merchandising proudly announce a new licensing agreement bringing a "sweet" line of action figures based on characters from the hit cult-flick Napoleon Dynamite.
I hope Pedro has removable hair, in case his head gets too hot, and notice the wording on McFarlane's site ...
"Ever Take Those Toys Off Any Sweet Jumps?"

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.
Go grab yourself a dang' quesadilla.

Rock on Napoleon.


Old Age Security

I came across this today and it set my mind to thinking on its possible uses, particularly as relating to US Homeland Security. The gist of the site is that by scanning a fingerprint, the computer will then go on to create ...

" ... a 3D labyrinth made from one's own scanned fingerprint."
Perhaps instead of requiring all Canadians to have a passport to enter the United States, we could have some kind of timed trial to successfully navigate the 3D maze of your own fingerprint. It would be both fun for the whole family and secure. Of course Elsie Wayne would probably have something to say about this, as seniors would definitely be at a disadvantage when it comes to speed and agility whilst navigating a giant 3D replica of their fingerprint. Wait a minute, maybe they would have an advantage, as by the time they get as old as Elsie, they have probably worn off most of their prints, and the walls would be really short, and they could just look over them and see the ending - probably drive right over them with those little electric powered scooter/chairs they're always driving around.

That doesn't sound fair at all, and it would be better for Canada if they just stayed home and spent some of that money they all have socked away right here in Canada, rather than dumping it all over the golf courses in Florida and Arizona or where ever it is the hip seniors are wintering these days. Maybe rather than working for faceless corporations like McDonald's or WalMart they could pursue some kind of volunteer work that actually makes a difference to the communities in which they live. Now I know you're probably thinking that I am being a little tough on the seniors, and that they didn't spend all their lives working to retire and work for free. You may have a point. You may not. Think of the state of our society these days, it is mad (and my friend Chairman Don likes to point this out as often as he can). I thus far whole heartedly concur with all the Chairman's observations, and got to thinking ... whose fault is this mess anyway? All those seniors who have spent the last forty plus years ceaselessly toiling for the man, sweating to advance the capitalist, me-first agenda of the corporations and capitalist robber-barons who have plundered our society expressly for the benefit of "the shareholder" and "the CEO". From what I can tell, with a few

notable exceptions
, they did it without thinking about it, or questioning what exactly it is/was they were participating in. So long as they made it to church most Sundays and begged forgiveness from their god,

what they did the other six days a week was all hunky dory.

Rock on and good luck in the maze of your worn down 3D fingerprints seniors. Oh and thanks for the mess.


Speaking of Dinosaurs ...

"Adam naming the animals"

Ok, now this is disturbing. It almost really is time to just throw up our collective hands and shut out the lights on the whole southern half of the United States. Listen, just because a book written two thousand plus years ago tells you that your god created everything we see here doesn't necessarily make it so. If I am looking for a phone number I wouldn't rely on last year's phone book, and it is this same line of thinking that makes me hesitant to consult a book that is over two thousand years old when I am looking for scientific information relating to this world of ours. This book was written long before the "scientific method" came into vogue and as such leaves a lot to be desired if we are to consult it as a science text. What is wrong with people that they want to take this book so literally? Why would they want to make a place like this? Why would they say things like this? Have they consulted any other sources than their book, or are they so blinded by dogma that their ears and minds are deaf to reason?

And what about all those people who could possibly benefit from some access to the information presented in the IMAX films that will now not make it into the heart of darkness? Has the religious right taken such a stranglehold over U.S. society that running an IMAX movie that a small percentage of the population sees as "controversial" is now not done because of the climate of fear that has been created? Wrong I say. Many IMAX theatres are located in "Science Centres" and not churches, Sunday schools, mosques or synagogues. Where is the conflict? Where is the need to back down from promoting a scientific point of view? Where is the backbone?


Why Can't My Party Have a Hip Spokesperson Like Elsie Wayne?

Or ... Conservatism has never looked so cool.

I really do not know what I was thinking all these years. It has always seemed to me like the Conservative Party ( Reform, Progressive Conservative, Conservative Reform Alliance Party, Alliance ... who can keep up) had a rather stuffy image. But look at Elsie, with that slight smile, that ever so Mona Lisaesque upturned mouth, the slightly raised eyebrow, that plastered in place shock of white hair. Elsie rocks and she knows it. And this week she let us all know it by delivering a refreshing blast of maritime air at the Conservative convention in Montreal. Here is a woman who is not afraid to speak her mind. She spoke up loud and clear, stating that women, conservative and otherwise, should not be able to exercise their personal freedom to procure an abortion, and instead she would be in favor of outlawing legal abortion in Canada. Rock on Elsie. In any other party in Canada she would run the risk of being run out as the senile dithering aunt who complains too loudly at family functions about gays getting married, and whatever happened to the days when men married women, and women stayed home and had babies and washed clothes and cooked and cleaned and went a little insane and perhaps needed to get some valium to help with the insanity, but there's nothing wrong with a little prescription medication now and then so long as it is patent protected for at least twenty years, so long as it helps you make it through the day. But this is the Conservative party. They embrace Elsie and her narrow minded, pinch faced view of the world as their own and loudly applaud her.

When it comes to people who wish to live together, whether they are women or men, why do they have to be out here in the public always wanting to call it marriage? Why are they in parades? Why are men dressed up as women on floats? They do not see us getting up on floats to say we are husband and wife. We do not do that. Why do they have to go around trying to get a whole lot of publicity? If they are going to live together, they can go live together and shut up about it. There is no need for this nonsense whatsoever and we should not have to tolerate it in Canada.

The above is Elsie taken from transcripts published by the House of Commons. Rock on Elsie and rock on Conservative Party of Canada, you dinosaurs.


Excellent Icelandic Travelogue

"The lady from the suite below us I see at breakfast, a big bear of a woman who looks as all the American tourists in Iceland do: pissed off and annoyed.
Hamilton based cartoon artist David Collier (of Drawn and Quarterly) is attending the NINE Comics Festival exhibition at the Reykjavik Art Museum in Reykjavik, Iceland. CBC , Canada's public broadcaster, is posting his impressions of his time in Iceland in a neat little travelogue which can be viewed here. Say what you will about the CBC and whether or not it should be spending our tax dollars to cover the Olympics, or NHL hockey but in my opinion it is one of the best outlets going right now in Canada for finding out what is really going on. Not just the sensational type news stories, but what is going on all across this great land of ours and what we as Canadians are accomplishing abroad.


Burroughs, the WTC and capitalism

This is up for grabs on eBay. Looks like w.s. burroughs wasn't down with the capitalist symbol that was the WTC. I also found this interesting. Seems like the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism is running a little short on funds and is asking for donations. Always tough to see die-hard capitalists down on their luck and begging for hand-outs. Now something I did not like to see. Seems like it is business as usual for the Bush clan, and is it me or did Dubya capitalize the letter "c" in the word "cocky" (now "Cocky") usually used to describe him since his election win last November?
The original "Cocky" Bush, and the new and improved version:

(notice the goat horns). Maybe George is just a metal fan, a Texas Longhorns fan or perhaps he is sending out some secret Masonic salute to his brethren, who knows? What I do know is that it runs in the family, as does the seemingly innocent ability to profit from the spoils of war and the "war on terror". Rock on you crazy Bushes. Makes you wonder what WSB would be aiming at today if he were alive. Cheers.


Begin at the beginning

I was born not only fully conscious, but also cut my own umbilical cord. My mother was really into providing her first born with a good start, and therefore kept a set of headphones attatched to her burgeoning belly for twenty four hours a day after the first trimester, and kept a steady stream of audio books flowing. I completed a university level education by absorbing a steady stream of info from all the content mainlined into my brain, and being a fetus sleep was not an issue. I never slept, I subsisted on a diet of nutrients from my mother's blood supply and knowledge from the headphones. I could not wait to develop enough to leave the womb, I had so much to say, many questions to ask and a mother to become acquainted with. My birth went disastrously wrong though, and rather than the beginning of my life was nearly the end. When the time came and I felt the rhythmic contractions that signaled my impending trip to the world, I was excited and as the labor progressed I made my way into position and prepared to greet the world. I was close to the opening of the birth canal when I stopped moving forward and felt a tightening constriction around my neck. In my haste to exit the womb I had allowed the umbilical cord to loop itself around my neck, and with each contraction it tightened itself around my neck. I knew I had little time before the blood supply to my brain would be constricted and brain damage would occur so I had to act fast. I wiggled an arm free, twisted and thrust my tiny limb into the coldness that is the world. I finger-spelled the word "scalpel" two or three times in quick succession. Luckily the doctor had done some volunteer work among deaf laplanders in Finland and quickly and without hesitation handed me the scalpel. I was very careful bringing the sharp instrument back into my soft home so as not to cause further problems. I then cut the cord, thereby freeing myself to be born.