Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lento's Eleven

First, to fully get the reference, you have to have seen Steven Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, so if you haven't, get up and go watch it. It's one of the best caper movies of all time, don't worry, it's not time wasted. I'll switch paragraphs to give you enough time.

Are we cool? Good. That scene at the end, where they're all together, maybe for the last time, but you know they have a friendship that is beyond even that - since the Velvet Underground tribute shows I was a part of this summer, it seems I now have that as well. It's a fucking awesome feeling.

What it was was this: a bunch of musicians, each used to either fronting their own projects or being an integral part of a HUGE one getting together to play VU songs, each taking turns singing. When ringleader Allan Lento, who has shared countless solo bills with me over the past 5 years, came to me with the idea, in 2009, I was already in. Time passed, and I thought the project had just disintegrated into nothing, until I got a call to join in on jam sessions in May for a June show.

But now it also included maestro Dave Lines on keys, Jordi Rosen on backing vocals and accordion, Will Austin on lead guitar, Patrick Hutchinson also on guitar, my favourite non-millionaire drummer in the world Jackie Gallant, Ingrid Wissink on violin, Richard Rigby on mandolin, Triangles Stuart on bass, Cassie Doubleday on percussion, and Zuzu Knew on viola and doing projections. And we had a blast.

And then we had a second show, at the request of the venue, but Ingrid couldn't make it, yet Luca Fantigrossi was added on bass and the extraordinary Caroline Glass on viola, wind instruments, and on the receiving end of accidentally spilled drinks.

Essentially, it was a supergroup.

And just like the movie, where Lento is Clooney - the brains behind it all, the one guy who puts the team together - then Lines became Pitt, the too-hot-to-look-at second-in-command who seamlessly ends up taking charge of the actual operation when it's running, the master of ceremony of sorts.

Since then, whenever one of us has a show, most of the rest show up and, each time, it feels like a reunion of long-lost friends. New bands have been started between bands members - Jackie alone now backs 3 groups made from these alliances, and I'm kind of jealous I didn't ask her myself the first time we played together, but I was too shy.

And all of this stemmed from a simple, innocent idea from Allan; all he wanted to do was have a good time with good people playing good music. And in the end, he made us into 13 friends who call each other's names out when we're on stage and we see them in the crowd - just because we're so happy to see one another.

It feels great each time. Thanks, Allan. Happy birthday. From the formerly-Lento's Eleven, now Lento's Thirteen.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quebecers Are Like Carey Price

Quebecers are like Carey Price: damned if they do, even more damned when they don't. Or maybe it's the other way around, but there's damnation with every action, that I am positive about.

Much has been said about Exhibitiongate (or Exhibit 1, as I like to call it myself), but I'll post it here anyway: in a pre-season game that meant absolutely nothing in which both teams fielded, basically, half a roster with pros and the other half with rookies or guys who'll never ''make it'', The Anointed One let in 4 goals on a mere 9 shots before being replaced midway in the game, when a #1 goalie in the NHL should stop 91% of shots faced. 23 minutes in, and Price was already getting booed - both a result of his own poor play, but also, probably, as fans had a reason to show the team's management that they disagreed with playoff hero Jaroslav Halak being traded away to make room for Price.

Defenseman Josh Gorges had this to say after the game:
Booing the goaltender in the first preseason game, that's unfair. The fans were cheering but it was derisive. Honestly, I don't understand. It's tough for the whole team. Carey is just one player on the team. Everyone is at fault for the goals that went in. I know expectations are raised, but is he Superman? Is he supposed to save everything?
The next game, Price... let in 6 goals on 31 shots in a 6-2 loss, in Ottawa. Good thing it was on the road, because I suspect fans might have done more than boo - maybe throw shit on the ice, maybe commit murder. All in all, Jesus Price had let in 10 goals on 40 shots in less than two games, for an 0-2 record, a goals-against average of 6.67, and a save percentage of .750.

But the booing got the most attention, obviously, considering it was a meaningless game. Many called the boo-birds ''idiots'', some called them ''fairweather fans'', and other names were called. But, once again, a prominent member of the media - this time a CBC reporter - blamed ''separatists''. What he meant was ''fucking Frenchmen'', of course, the implication being that Price was only booed because he's an English-speaking aboriginal man from B.C. and that a French-speaking Québec-born goalie would not have received the same treatment.

I touch on this subject quite a lot - only because it's becoming more and more rampant in the media; I mentioned it here just two weeks ago. Funny how I don't recall anyone booing European Cristobal Huet, or even Ontarian Jeff Hackett when they were the top dogs here. But we did boo the last goalie to win hardware in this town in José Theodore. And we jeered the best goalie of all time - Patrick Roy, of course - so badly that he never played another game in a Habs uniform and instead went to Colorado to win 2 more Stanley Cups and another Conn Smythe trophy.

We weren't all ''federalists'' then, asshole. We're not all ''separatists'' now, either. What sucks is this douchebag from the only national broadcasting company - the one objective news source we have that spans the whole country coast-to-coast-to-coast - is actually from this province. What this means is he's been nurturing these fucking ''thoughts'' (if you can call them that) for his whole life, and only now laid them on paper.

Sure, he apologized, politely and from the tip of the lips - but the accusation came so fast that you can't help but come to the conclusion that these are his innermost thoughts, and that he's only apologizing for reasons of Public Relations - because you're not allowed to insult the inferior race, it's not politically correct.

Well, dude, here's a brain-twister: seems to me these feelings are ingrained in you because they were taught to you - probably by your parents - and you've lived through, first, the scare of 76-80 and then of the 1995 referendum without actually understanding the issues that were at stake. In your apology, you state you're a ''proud Quebecer, and a proud Canadian''; if so, then, how do you justify one of the two founding provinces of the country not having signed the Constitution? How can you be proud of a country that doesn't want to include you in it, nor in its decisional process - but takes your tax money without flinching? A country that hates every time you request something but doesn't allow you to leave?

The reason there were sovereignists in the first place was to no longer be under the authority of the Queen of England, a separation the Americans did two hundred years ago. Sure, it also involved protecting the French-language-based culture that had successfully resisted assimilation in the past 375 years, but once you've been hanging onto your identity for so long, you kind of do deserve a treat of some kind.

In doing so, seceding would have, essentially, made Quebecers the masters of their domain, so to speak. They would only have to answer to themselves, make their own laws according to their own beliefs, and pay taxes to only one State, effectively reducing the triple-overlap of government levels currently in place. What it meant is this (and this is even more true now in the multi-cultural Québec we have now that leaves no other choice but this one): IF YOU CONSIDERED YOURSELF A QUEBECER, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR FUCKING COUNTRY, TOO.

Full disclosure: at times, I have been for seceding, and at others, against. Currently, while I view the action per se as a - if not the - only way to preserve what is internationally known as Canadian Values (free quality health care, affordable education, poutine as the national meal, a charter of human rights where all are equal regardless of race, sex, creed, religion or sexual orientation), I DO NOT TRUST those who would be in power when that happens (Pauline Marois, Jean Charest, Mario Dumont, most members of the PQ who are over the age of 50) to not enslave us all to the highest bidder. Those I do trust - the smart, inclusive, open-minded, Obama-like charismatic - are always, inevitably, in parties too small to have an impact, or thrown away from their own for reasons of someone else's ego - that's Gilles Duceppe (the smartest and most trusted federal party leader in the Canada), Amir Khadir, André Boisclair, Richard Bergeron, Elsie Lefebvre - people with a vision for a better, safe, more communal society that includes everyone in it. Even you. Especially you.

But you'll never understand because you'd rather blindly hate. At least Carey Price can change public perception by winning us over - winning a Vezina, a Stanley Cup, outplaying Halak for a couple of seasons, overshadowing Roy's exploits. Some would say none of this is likely, at this point, but none of it is impossible, either.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sesame Street Censors Katy Perry

What the hell is this world coming to? A few people write ''angry emails'' and Sesame Street cancels a segment featuring Katy Perry on account that she's wearing something too revealing? The #1 pop star in America? And they take the segment down on their website, but leave it on YouTube?

Just what was she wearing, for crissake? This, a vomit-green dress that shows a bit of cleavage:

America, land of the fucking free. Yeah, land of those with too much free fucking time on their hands having a disproportionate amount of power over what airs and what doesn't.

How hard is it to turn a TV off if you don't like what's on? Oh, wait - how about just switching channels, that way, you'd also maybe come up on another show you might like,and you'd be taking ad revenue away from the program you dislike?

But no: better to not let anyone watch... what's funny is these ultra-conservative types - who hate gay people so much they won't even let them die for their country - don't want their kids to see the beauty of a woman's body to give them an incentive to like girls... then again, we're not talking a naked chick, here, we're talking about a toned-down version of Katy Perry - her videos show a lot more than this fucking thing! And your kids have access to just as easily as Sesame Street's website, by the way.

And the ultra-conservatives are always the first to scream ''Hitler!'' at anything ''the left'' says and puts into fruition (mainly things 'for all'' to use, like medicare, health care, food stamps, trying to revive the economy), yet I seem to remember Nazi Germany as being a place that was more restrictive for all... and aren't those people stopping TV shows from airing the same fuckers who want less government? Which is it, folks? You can't be both against polygamy and cheat on your spouse.

Fuck - with 24, My Name Is Earl, Arrested Development and so many other great TV shows forced off the air, I'm starting to wonder if people who like TV shows shouldn't start writing TV stations to show those ''in charge'' that people overwhelmingly prefer quality programming over stale, safe, pseudo-family-friendly, mind-numbingly boring crap.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Video Of The Week: AIDS Wolf

First things first: if the band's name scares you off, your best bet is to not listen to the music. At all. Ever.

But you will. And you won't like it. You'll find it childish, like that ''art'' that hangs at galleries that is just a rectangle, that your 1-year old son could draw but is worth millions.

Let it be known that the musicians of AIDS Wolf (currently a trio formed of Chloe Lum, Yannick Desranleau and Alexander Moskos) could, if they wanted to, play note-for-note renditions of any Rolling Stones record (although they might actually prefer covering a Black Flag album), but as a no-wave band that hints on hardcore punk and dub themselves ''wierd punk'' (sic), they purposely choose atonal sounds, screams, textures and layers over melody.

They pride themselves on going wild in their live shows, which usually involve their extended entourage being in the crowd but has grown to include a large international following (from a fierce touring schedule and regimen over the past 5 years). And, for that - to build that - the name helps. Certainly.

For a while, they lived their art even outside the sounds of the band; sure, I'm referring to the screenprinting venture Lum and Desranleau are responsible for - Seripop - one that has garnered an international reputation as well, with shows in museums all across North America; but I'm also referring to the nude band pics that can be found pretty much everywhere on the interwebs.

These days, they let the music speak for itself. Case in point: they don't actually appear in the video - not in a decipherable fashion, anyway. Which is the point - and is pretty much the exact same point that they're trying to make with the type of music they choose to play: they're tired of the old, tired rock, and they get off experimenting in something that is both more primal and more 'researched', more layered. To get into it, you need to open your ears' minds and look for what you want to hear. It's too much trouble for many, but it's quite rewarding for others.

Aids Wolf - Suck is Happiness from Emily P on Vimeo.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bill #C-428 And Today's Canada

A good friend I hadn't heard from in two weeks sent me an email this morning that had to do with Bill #C-428 about Old Age pensions being awarded to refugees after only 3 years of their living in the country, when the current timespan is 10 years.

Now, I already knew about this, but in case you didn't, here's an edited version of his message that underlines the big points:
Bill C-428 will allow recent immigrants to apply for OAS in 3 years instead of the existing 10.

This bill had first reading in the house on June 18, 2009. It was seconded by Bob Rae! MP Ms Ruby Dhalla, who introduced the bill, represents the riding of Brampton - whose population is mainly East Indian. Not of East Indian descent, just East Indian.
Right now you have to have lived in Canada for 10 years in order to qualify for Old Age Security. She wants the time reduced to 3 years. Thousands could come to Canada when they are 62 years old, never having worked or contributed to this country's tax system, etc. - and qualify for full Old Age Security benefits. 10 years minimum is reasonable - 3 is not!

Look this up, Google C-428 and you will see this bill has only one purpose, and that is to 'featherbed' a select group of people for votes. 
Now, if this seems unreasonable to you in any way, check the math out:
It is interesting to know that the federal Government of Canada allows :A monthly pension of: $1,890.00 to a  simple refugee  plus :                                580.00   in  social aid
  •   A grand total of :        $2,470.00    monthly
                                                 X  12       months
                                             $28,920.00  annual income 
         By comparison, the Old Age Pension of a senior citizen who has contributed to the development of Our Beautiful Big Country during 40 or 50 years, CANNOT receive more than :
  •      Amount/month          $1,012.00    in Old Age Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement
                                              X  12 months
                                                                          $12,144.00          annual income
    A difference of :        $16,776.00          per year
And that's where it starts being unfair.

The ''ideal, humane, social'' solution is simple: start by giving more to our own senior citizens, veterans and wives of veterans, and keep everybody happy and living under normal humane conditions.

Unfortunately, we- I - live in a country that was great from 1966 to 1976, when baby boomers came in with their great, big ideas and ideals and made this the ''plus bestest country on earth'', with free health care for all, free education, amazing infrastructures, pensions for old people, decent welfare, a steady flow of immigration both for the workforce and refugees to help out the rest of the planet 'cause if you can afford to help out you should - all paid for by peoples' taxes. There were so many boomers and the economy was booming as well; it was all about expanding, growth - there was no limit to where it could all lead.

And then the boomers stopped fucking. The babies stopped coming. But the boomers kept feeding the system, so it seemed sustainable. And if immigration would have been done right, the workforce that was no longer supplied by breeding would have been compensated by outside help. Except the boomers made laws that our schools were better than everyone else's and doctors from Haiti had to resort to become cab drivers and lawyers from Pakistan had to start out as janitors in decrepit buildings - and the workforce was never replaced.

30 years down the line to come up with solutions, but now they say Social Security in North America will be gone by 2040 - maybe even 2025 in Canada. But the boomers are 50-65 right now, and they have no fucking desire to retire any time soon. And when they do, heck, they can just get into politics: it seems you have to be 80 to enter that fucking field anyway.

But that's the thing: they retire in 10 years, soak up the rest of Social Security for themselves, and leave the rest of us to deal with the deficit - already at 500 billion in Canada, which you probably didn't know, because They hide it from you.

The noble thing would be to stop it right now and just grandfather in those who have had it for over 5 years, i.e. those who retired 5 years ago or more. You gave them these rights, pay for them - these were your ideals. They're mine too, but realistically, we can't afford them, so they kind of have to be on the backburner for now. But boomers - most of whom have divorced and re-married, making 4 parents for 1 or 2 kids - should not - cannot - expect the math to work out for them in this scenario.

Maybe when they die - the sheer number of them no longer a problem to the rest of us - we can afford to realistically re-instate their dreams in the system. When you can support it well enough, it truly is a wonderful system: education should be available to everyone from every walk of life in every field; health care is as basic a need as food and lodging; the poor must be provided the means to survive humanely; the elderly have to be taken care of for all the hard work they've put in to make this country work; public transit can be an efficient way to get around in crowded cities that would reduce pollution and help people get along.

But where some had dreams, they lacked the vision to make them sustainable, and instead of looking for solutions to make it work, they're just trying to milk it for all its worth in the meantime.

And on the side of that, you ahve what we have right now: a minority government full of individualistic thieves looking out only for their best immediate interest, not just at the expense of everyone else, but also of their own future.

Minority governments; while - in theory - they should lead to greater compromise and common sense prevailing, in fact it's usually the opposite that happens: common-sense laws are put in the backburner and repealed so as to not ''scare voters away'' and the dumbest shit goes in unopposed, because if the population isn't stirred up against something, no need to get their attention, 'cause they might find something else they don't like that your side is promoting. Better just do everything in the dark.

In that respect, mostly because of greed, humans are quite possibly the lowest form of life on the planet. Take greed away and we might be incredible creatures. Might.

The problem with the way Canada works these days is exactly this: 3 of the 4 parties that are part of this minority government claim to act for the good of the people, but instead they let the ''party in power'', which 3/4 of the country didn't vote for, govern as if they were Kings - unopposed. And they have backroom deals where they agree to let one Law pass in exchange for another, but when it's time to pass something that makes sense - say extending Employment Insurance to those in need who don't qualify for welfare - that gets shot down because the minority parties are afraid that if stand up for their beliefs, they might scare Conservative voters away. The same Conservative voters that wouldn't vote for them, that make up 10% of the country - and is currently running it.

That's why bills like #C-428 pass: so an MP can get re-elected and stay with her tax-free $125K for 4 more years desecrating the hard work she, herself, and her parents have made and let our own elderly people live below the poverty line (officially at $15,00 a year, but it's almost impossible to make ends meet nowadays under $20K unless you're in a fixed-revenue housing community).

I have nothing against providing other people with the benefits we have invented for ourselves, everyone on the planet should have the right to Human Decency. The problem lies with the fact that we don't even give our own citizens half of what we give others. And we can afford neither. And not only that, once the boomers are done, we'll even stop giving it to our own.

They should invent wars that only people aged 48-60 are allowed to partake in, and we should volunteer the biggest fucking army. And we should institute a draft for males in that age range who have made more than $200K a year for more than 3 years in their lives, and give someone else a shot at their job while they're gone.

And we should institute a law in parliament: revert all laws back to 0, and have mandatory retirement from politics for every politician who comes up with 5 laws. Then, only the really important shit would get done. Women's and Gay and racial rights would be a given - same laws and rules for everyone, we're all equal from the get-go. And if we must, give a free pass to the 2 obvious ones: 1. don't kill; 2. don't steal. Anything else - start counting, fuckers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Video Of The (Past) Week: Buck 65

There are many origin stories about Richard Terfry's stage name Buck 65, the two most common being either that he was touring as Buick 65, which was also the car he was driving around in, but one venue made a spelling mistake on their marquee and it stuck; the other one (and the one on his Wikipedia page) has him explaining:
I was born with the name Ricardo Terfry. Where I come from, it's common when a boy is named after his father, for the father to refer to the son as 'Buck'. I don't know where that comes from or when it started. It might be a 'out-in-the-country' thing. Growing up I knew lots of sons who were referred to as 'Buck'. Sometimes even if they weren't juniors. So the joke became, I was one of 65 (a number picked randomly) 'Bucks' in my town.
In any event, it is what it is: a name that lends itself to interesting background stories.

More interesting is that he keeps pumping out better and better material each time he releases something. I chose this song, Wicked & Weird, off his 2003 major label debut Talkin' Honky Blues - the reason is simple: it's the first track I ever heard from him, and it's so good it's still in my Ipod. But my favourite record of his is his 2007 output Situation, which made my top-5 that year; a truly groundbreaking, entertaining, and sublime piece of work where all tracks are created equal and none is more of a hit than another. Still, from the opening verse, his take on the American dream is a gloomy-yet-refreshing one:
Driving with a yellow dog, I-95
He's got a smile on his face and big shiny eyes
Up at a decent hour, I never ate yet
Got a little Johnny Cash in the old tape deck
Nothing in the trunk but some base ball gloves,
A pair of jumper cables and a set of golf clubs
Blanket on the back seat - we're in rough shape
Sunroof held on with a bit of duck tape
Looking for a gas station, better make a list
Fill'er up with regular, I need to take a piss
Sexy girl air freshener, snacks and a pinwheel
Top up the fluids, clean the bugs off the windshield
Not a care in the world, not a how, and a why
No destination, not a cloud in the sky
Back on the road not a moment too soon
Dish ran away with some other spoon
I have gone back and listened to his past work; most of it is fresh, subtle and intelligent, but most of it is geared towards underground hip hop mixed with characters Tom Waits could have made up, whereas since 2003, he's expanded his register and incorporated dozens more influences in his work, and it's like he keeps adding new ones.

And try, just for fun, to say the words to the chorus really fast, five times in a row:
Wicked and weird, I'm a road hog with an old dog
Singing slow songs, trying to hold on
Wicked and weird, I'm a rat-fish
Trying to practice doing back flips on your mattress
Just... great.

Full YouTube link here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Johnny Depp Accompanies Eddie Vedder

It happened at the Voices For Justice Rally, last Saturday, September 4th, to benefit the West Memphis 3.

If you don't know who the West Memphis 3 are, you're better off searching for information online, there's a wealth of it available, but, real quickly, it's these 3 teems who were convicted of the murder of three children over a decade ago - without any kind of evidence whatsoever apart from the fact that they were the only three in their small town who dressed in black and had Metallica t-shirts.

And the kids didn't have enough money to hire good enough lawyers, so they lost. One got Life, one got Life plus 40 years, and one got sentenced to death row. Way to go, Arkansas.

In 2007, DNA evidence was uncovered pitting one of the victims' stepfather at the scene of the crime - and none of the WM3.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

There's A Douche, Douche, Douche Hangin' 'Round The Back Door: Mark Spector Views Quebecers As Morally Corrupt

One thing that surprises me when a (or in this case many) racist comments towards Quebecers are published in an English Canada magazine or website is the lack of subtlety. Not only are the ''Frenchies'' the only people it's alright to be bashing, it's more often than not done in a way that it implies fact, like ''these sub-humans are terrible people, what, you didn't know? Here's yet another example why''; if you'd talk like that of Mexicans, Blacks, Jews - all hell would likely break loose. But the ''fucking frogs''? That's a-ok.

Case in point: this morning's Sportsnet column by Mark Spector. So he's against government funding for a proposed new arena in Québec City that could, perhaps, eventually, be used to lure in an NHL team, but would first and foremost be used in an Olympic bid and as a live concert venue.

His (actual, decent) arguments:
So what if arenas in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver were all privately built, with no handouts from the Feds? Who cares if in Edmonton, where two years of local haggling has included every scheme except looking to Ottawa or provincial coffers for the lion’s share of the costs?
Ok. Except Winnipeg got some of the feds' money for their arena's renovations. And Calgary's arena, conveniently is left out. Why? Because its actual name is the 'Olympic Saddledome', as it was built to host the 1988 Winter Games. Just like the feds spent over $5-billion in Vancouver infrastructures for their 2010 Games. Which is exactly what Québec wants for 2022 - Olympics.

And what about all the other pro sports stadiums paid for by the government? Montréal's Olympic Stadium? BC Place's roof? The proposed new Hamilton Stadium - or the Hamilton Copps Coliseum, formerly the Civic Center.

Where Spector, who shares a last name with alleged killer Phil Spector, goes a tad awry is when he tries to hypnotize us with fake math:

If the Mayor of Quebec figures that tacit level of commitment is solid enough to wager all those taxpayer’s dollars, than who are we to argue? Other than, of course, the Rest of Canada, whose hard-earned money, through copious transfer payments to the needy La Belle Province would make up both the provincial and federal input.
But we’ll ask you: If no one in Quebec cares where the money comes from, why should we? They’re getting the tax dollars from the Rest of Canada anyhow — who are we to say what they should spend it on?
Ok, Champ. Here's how it really works: Québec and Ontario, at this point, make up for between 45-50% of the country's population, with Ontario being the richest province. Chances are we're also the two provinces giving up the most in federal income taxes, no? Yes. Québec provides 20-25% of federal income taxes.

But that's not it: Québec is, in fact, a distinct society. It spends more and saves less. And guess what that means? In federal GST sales taxes, we're #1, with a whopping 30% of the country's GST revenues coming from this province. Sure, some Ontarians account for it when they cross the border after 1AM to drink here, but mainly, we like to spend our cash. And when we do, we fill up the coffins in Ottawa.

So... one of the provinces who ends up paying for the others the most is... needy? Makes no sense. Unless...

Ah yes. The bigotry:
It is too easy though, for an Albertan to paint the picture of a province that seems always to have it's [sic] hand out; a people who look at the way things are done across the rest of Canada and appear to say to themselves, “Why should we have to pay also?”  (...)
Of course, that is the mantra of a province that has become the Florida of Canada.
In the United States, a disproportionate amount of mail scammers, telephone fraudsters, real estate schemes and all-around con artists reside in Florida. In Canada, whenever there is a Shawinigate, a sponsorship scandal, accusations of a crooked judge-naming process, or a good old-fashioned political sex scandal a la Julie Couillard, it seems it is brought to us by our Quebecois friends.
Ok, wow. First off, let's decipher the apples from the nectarines, and the oranges from the ice cream: Canada's leader in mail/phone scams is Montréal, whose team built its arena with its own cash, not QC. And Montréal's pretty much the reason why Québec is still a province and not its own country, so be nice.

Shawinigate: when former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien helped a hotel/motel/auberge get federal funds for its renovations... which seems less bad than all the Western MPs in current PM Stephen Harper's cabinet, who have each had billions invested in their own 'hoods in Saskachewan and Alberta for brand-spanking new projects. That's today. And the past 5 years. And some of them are couples, and they own businesses together that pay no taxes anywhere. Helena Guergis, anyone?

Sponsorship scandal: at the time (the '95 referendum of Québec sovereignty), most of the ROC was pleading with the feds to massively invest in the ''No'' campaign to stop the province from seceding. And the feds did just that. Had they not, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

The judge-naming controversy is provincial, sure, but it's also on-going, which means it hasn't concluded yet. But the way all of Canadian politics seem to work, I wouldn't be surprised if here was but the first of 10 or 13 province/territory investigations. Party fund-raisers have way too much power over who gets appointed where - and Harper's feds are yet again a prime example, with dozens of partial senators named by Harper's money-man - who included himself, and former illiterate NHL coach Jacques Demers.

And calling the Couillard thing a sex scandal? Really? She's a hot chick who likes to fuck men who have power. She dated an MP, he was stupid enough to leave confidential documents at her home. I fail to see how this is a Lewinsky-gate or a pedophilia ring or how it compromised national security, seeing as the only thing Bernier did as an MP was bring Twinkies to the troops in the Middle East.

Myself, usually, when I see inequalities in the Québec/Canada divide, I see Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, not being brought back from whence he is tortured by U.S. military.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wyclef Jean Disses Sean Penn And Pras

At the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York last Saturday, Wyclef Jean didn't have kind words for Sean Penn or Pras, his former Fugees cohort:
If I was president….I got a message for Sean Penn, maybe he ain’t see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine. I got a message for Praswell, even though you don’t want to support me, I got love for you, even though you only kicked eight bars for the Fugees.

Mark David Chapman Denied Parole

Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon, was denied parole for the sixth time today.

I have to wonder: he has already been in jail for the better part of 30 years (the 'anniversary' will be in December). Had he killed someone less famous - just a passer-by, say - would he not have served just 5 or 10?

His actual sentence was ''20 years to life''.

Quotes from the article:

The last time Chapman was up for parole, in 2008, the New York State Division of Parole issued a release saying his request was denied 'due to concern for the public safety and welfare'.

Texan-born Chapman has his own prison cell but spends most of his day working on housekeeping and in the library, the officials said.
For the past 20 years he has been allowed conjugal visits with his wife, Gloria.
The visits are part of a state program called 'family reunion' that allows inmates to spend up to 44 hours at a time with family members in a special setting.
Inmates must meet certain criteria to receive the privilege.
Chapman has not had an infraction since 1994, said Erik Kriss, spokesman for the Department of Corrections said last month.
'He goes about his business, doing his prison job and without any fanfare,' Kriss said.
Doesn't seem like the most dangerous man to me. Especially in the U.S. in this day and age, where, should he be released, his face would be on every single lamp post of whichever town he'd decide to settle in, and someone would probably be watching him 24/7 - possibly someone crazier than he is.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mama Grizzly Gets Her Claws Out

So Vanity Fair wrote a scathing article on Sarah Palin using mostly anonymous sources... and Mama Grizzly fights back!

“I hear there is some pretty ugly stuff right now. Those who are impotent and limp and gutless and they go on their anonymous — sources that are anonymous — and impotent, limp and gutless reporters take anonymous sources and cite them as being factual references. It just slays me because it is just absolutely clear what the state of yellow journalism is today that they would take these anonymous sources as fact. When a story is filled with those, we know it’s bogus.”
 Impotent, limp-dicked writers, apparently, are the only ones who write unsubstantiated news reports... she should know, since she's a regular correspondent on Fox News. Which is weird considering all the hot babes working there. Video evidence here.

Then again, most male anchors there are well over the age of retirement; maybe Viagra can't do miracles for everybody.

The complete speech is here.

On the other hand, the VF journalist, Michael Joseph Gross, claims the ''worst isn't even in there''. Now I want more.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Joys Of Co-Habiting

It's amazing the things I'd forgotten about Being A Social Human Being in the few months I was living alone - how you can (and probably should) eat a steak by cutting up bits of it with a knife before sticking it in your mouth; or how roommates can fucking stink up the place with their dirty dishes.

I came home from work a half hour ago with the place stinking like a mass grave - and no one home. Turns out it's the food he'd made with his girlfriend a week ago that was stinking up the sink - and attracting a hundred fruit flies or so.

Myself, I eat restaurant food, so the only thing I dirty are utensils; chances are I won't think about dishes for a long while, simply because I don't use them (although technically they're all mine). But fuck - I had to wash those fuckers because I couldn't bear the stench.

And, of course, as luck would have it - the worst one was the non-stick pan underneath the whole pile, covered in a slimy white substance I couldn't identify and reeking of morning breath - had that person eaten human shit before going to bed.

There is no way I could afford living on my own in this apartment again, and my roomie is a dear friend, but goddamn things like that make me long for the depressing days of living alone.