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Saturday, May 21, 2005

My first caption contest!



I post, you snark. I want to see originality, people!

Onward, Christian soldiers...

With the recent leak of the Downing Street Memo, let us take a moment to recap and review the last three years of non-stop aggression towards Iraq, shall we?

The memo, dated in July 2002, reports on Bush's feelings toward Iraq:

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."


The UN was merely an obstacle in Georgie's plans, and in early March reports began emerging that delegations not on board with voting for the war were being spied upon, and even threatened.
"(the memo) also comes amid increasingly threatening noises from the US towards undecided countries on the Security Council who have been warned of the unpleasant economic consequences of standing up to the US."
As for the economic consequences mentioned, does anyone remember "Freedom Fries"? It feels like it was only yesterday, doesn't it?

"I am not an Administration puppet!"

Figuring out that Colin Powell was the only administration official not resoundingly hated by the world, Bush sent him to pitch the case to go to war. (Although I routinely do not consider the world's only super-power invading an oil-rich third-world country "war" by normal definitions.)

"What you will see is an accumulation of facts and disturbing patterns of behavior. The facts on Iraqis' behavior--Iraq's behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort--no effort--to disarm as required by the international community. Indeed, the facts and Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction. "
Hang on there, for a minute! If it was "bad" for Iraq to conceal their WMD-making efforts, then North Korea must have thought that it was good to advertise their efforts. Oh, right...that makes sense. Never mind.

(speaking of puppets...)

"I'm so ronery..."

So, rather than invade a country that actually had WMDs, posed and made threats to the US and had dictator that actually wanted to piss people off, Bush continued on his merry way to Baghdad.

I'll skip the whole "shock and awe" thing--the short time that it took to actually decimate whatever infrastructure was left in the country was reported heavily at the time. I'll even leave out any comments I may still have over the "Mission Accomplished" fiasco.

What was at once stunning to behold, and more than overdue, was the sudden end to the social myopia towards the war, after the "MA" crud. You have to hand it to our boy George--he never once tried to re-build any trust in his motives or actions. He...umm...started name-calling, and there was a bit of...shenanigans...all in good fun! When that didn't work at getting people to stop paying attention to the man behind the curtain, well... there was always threats to homeland security to advertise, right?

Faced with mounting pressure about the economy, and the abject failure of the war, Bush was desperate for a "get". Shortly after his Thansgiving miracle visit to the boys at the front...



(The turkey was plastic...and so was the bird! HAHAHAHA!!!)

...came news of Saddam's capture. Wow, now the mission was accomplished, right? The boys will be home for Christmas.

Er...not as such.

Eighteen months later, they're still there. Thousands more are dead. No WMDs have been found, and the Abomination's administration no longer expects to find any. Because there never was any. Powell was right--those WMD-making efforts were really concealed. Iraqi bastards--you even tricked poor Colin Powell!

That all being said, of course the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, France, Canada and any one else who didn't think at the time that this whole debacle was a good idea--they've all been apologized to, right? (sounds of crickets chirping)

My hopes are that:

(a) the loss of life in Iraq ends soon, and peace in both countries is restored.
(b) that no country ever again will presume to have the right to invade another country
(c) that all of those responsible for lying their way to war, pay for their crimes
(d) that this sorry mess is never, ever, ever, repeated again.

Currently, I have no tangible evidence that any of those things will come to pass.
Hope springs eternal.

Saddam's tighty whiteys, Laura grows a pair, the death of musical theatre, etc.

In the history of images that we could have done without, Saddam's fugly photo must rank near the top, no? Is it possible to show the man any decency? I know what you must be thinking--he's the "Butcher of Baghdad", after all. You know what though--his country has been invaded and ravaged, his family and friends have been murdered, he's been held without trial for eighteen months and counting--can he at least be allowed to dress without cameras taking pictures of him? Not just for his sake, either. Just asking.

A Stepford wife no more, Laura Bush finally steps out into the limelight. Of course, this recent spree of photo op events would have nothing to do with King George the Lesser's sagging approval numbers, right?

Apprentice-The Musical? STFU!!! End of Days, surely. Was this in Nostradamus' predications at all? Collectively, society must do everything in our power and purview to stop feeding Donald Trump's enormous ego.

Man, dating and mass consumerism just took a big leap into synergy with this one, folks! Why didn't anyone think of this before now? If it works out well for Holt Renfrew and their clientele, I predict that Wal-Mart will set something up for their single-overweight-mom/redneck-whiskeyshakes-bachelor demographic too, faster than you can say "clean-up in aisle four--PRONTO!"

(Dear Wal-Mart fans that I've just offended--suck it! As if you blog, anyway.)

Tom and Katie--we're so happy for you both, really. Will you go away now, if we all stop caring? Please?

In a close battle with all of the other news items battling for the weird story of the week (Tom in love with another woman, Belinda choosing Paul over Peter, people actually caring who won on The Apprentice, the implosion of Koran-gate, realizing that Cher is only 59) the five-legged cow has got to be the winner!

rack 'em, stack 'em and shallac 'em, boys! We're done here!

stupid stupid stupid me

My counter went away, my links disappeared, still can't figure out how to post a stupid picture. Do you think Drudge has an editor?

Friday, May 20, 2005

everybody's got an opinion

I overheard a curious conversation on the bus this morning. Two twelve year-old - looking boys were discussing the music industry. Without naming any names, they trashed a bunch of current artists for being untalented. "All you need to become famous these days," one of them told the other, "is good looks and money for plastic surgery. Like a boob job or something." "Like Jessica Simpson?" the other asked. "That's who I was thinking about."

True Love 1, Child Rape Laws 0 --Awwwwwww...

With all of those heart-wrenching Hollywood break-ups lately, one wonders if true love can ever catch a break. Now, along comes the happy-yet-awkwardly-so nuptials of "Mary Kay Letourneau and her former sixth-grade student".

Now, I don't want to get all judge-ish--why start now, right?--but how in the name of all that is holy, can this marriage be considered okay, yet two gays or two lesbians wanting to get hitched would destroy the institution?

I had crushes on some of my grade-school teachers too, but damn!

...just saying...

Oh, Lighten Up!

Can this please be the last word in the "decency debate"?

excerpt:

Breeding needn't amount to priggishness. On the contrary, a gentleman knows that good old-fashioned manners will likely increase his social engagements, once word gets out that he is not one to splooge and tell. But I beg the reader, for the sake of tradition and all that is decent, to remember that a true gentleman does not ever, under any circumstances, go ass to mouth.
Words to live by, gents! Have a safe and fun long weekend, fellow Canucks!
PS: CSI rocked the house last night, no?

Dustbowl Days, Revisited

...or, Andy finally shows his Commie-lovin' ways!
"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."
--John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath"
From Andijan to Kinshasa, and parts in between and everywhere else, people just seem to be angst-y lately. Iraqis are sick and tired of having their country occupied by Americans. A majority of the blue states and parts of the red states feel the same way. Power seems to have completely disconnected those who have it, from those who do not. "Man of the People" leaders get lynched by the press, or by their opponents-- far too quickly; often with no good reason. (Where was I going with this??? Beats me!)
Anyway, North Americans used to have a really strong social network. It wasn't universally applied, by any means. Health care and social benefits always differed in scope and content between Canada and the US.
That being said, government used to look out for the little people, the ones most at risk in society. Society veered away from the poorhouse, and sought to protect the needy, with an eye to lifting them out of their troubles. A bad turn of luck shouldn't punish. Bankruptcy laws are being twisted now to squeeze the last bit of blood out of the stones. Pension plans are being sold off to protect the rich directors of corporations, with no thought at all to the recipients. Medicine is now big business, with more concern paid to profit than towards patients.
Do we need to stop electing millionaires? It might help--it would be a good start.
As for the rest...? Perhaps I'm getting old. I used to have all of the answers. I was mad at everything, and anyone in power. The anger has faded with time--in me at least. I know others are chomping at the bit to change things--make them better--to bring the world back to a natural harmony.
It was that harmony that Steinbeck wrote about so gracefully in "The Grapes of Wrath", and how the connection between man and his land had been broken by the Depression. Chapter 25, the source of the quote at the top, is one of the final non-Joad essays in the novel, that still reads like a Marxist-style call to arms for the people. On further inspection though, it is really a caution to those in power to wake up to what they are doing. Steinbeck notes that the links of man to nature had been broken, and that both suffered as a result. The novel ends before conditions improved--from the rise of the unions, the efforts of FDR to improve the social structure of the US, and WWII creating a massive job-hire program.
The land of hope and dreams seems to be drying up, once again. I only hope that it doesn't require another flow of blood before things get better.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

funcentral's Texas Hold 'Em tourney!

Where: My Place
When: Saturday May 28, 6:00 pm
Who: You'll be getting an invite
BYOB?: Yes
Food?: Provided
$$$: $40
Rules: No crying. No running with scissors. No horseplay. No Celine Dion songs.

Too tired to write...

In honour of "Revenge of the Sith" opening up, and because I'm just too tuckered to come up with a fresh topic, I present you with a link to one of my favourite blogs going--and he's Canadian, too!

What I was afraid of!

Celebrity Death Watch -- R.I.P. the Riddler!

Sign of the Apocalypse #5 ?

Non-mental notes:

  • I need to remember to buy a BBQ grill brush--the grill's getting kinda skanky looking
  • Do unto others as they deserve to be done to
  • call Mom
  • pay off Future Shop. It's only $63. Why can't I remember to do this?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

stop--hey, what's that sound?

Moment of Zen, folks. Just reflect on the perfection that is the Bard's wordplay.
Everyone needs a time-out now and then.
Okay, I'm back.
Thank you, ABC--for a fifth season of Alias. It certainly looked bleak for a moment, but you really came through for the fans, for Jen, for JJ. Way to show loyalty, ABC!
The...uh...placing it up against Survivor and OC thing? You're killing me, guys. Old Yeller was shown more mercy. Thanks. For nothing.
I'm sulking now, but Lena's back tonight! It would be sooooo cool if she had some on-air tme with her "sisters", Isabella Rosellini and Sonia Braga. Gads, who were their parents, anyway?
Regular post tomorrow--ROTS on Thursday night, maybe!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Powerful Sting of Karma

--or How Belinda Sunk the Great Ship "Martin Must Go!"

This one's going to be a bit lost on people not following Canadian federal politics. Americans, remember when Jim Jeffords was the news highlight of Spring 2001? This is sort of the same thing. It has the potential of sparing the Liberals from losing a non-confidence vote, and sparing the country from going through another election for a while. In case you're keeping score, Liberals have 151, to the Conservatives' 152, with 3 wildcard independents and the speaker of the Speaker in case of a tie. Survivor never had this much tension, folks.

The question of the day, even in my office, was "Why?", followed closely by, "What about Peter?" Coming up third was "Could Stephen Harper be any more of a sulk?" Personal leadership ambitions? Golly, the type that led the Reform/Alliance/whatevers to merge with the Tories? Or the type of leadership ambition that leads to an alliance with seperatists? Seems to me that anyone who makes deals so easily might have leadership ambitions of their own. Or--and this is just a sidebar--they could just be politicians, you big baby!

It all makes perfect sense. The man is a bloody power fiend, and wasn't going to listen to any reason--certainly not from a dame. Everyone noted when she agreed to run for the Conservative leadership in 2004 that she was a political novice, so the whole leadership ambition thing is a mute point. She's bloody rich, so the MP pension probably didn't factor in. Peter MacKay? Meh, it's their business, right--if it's meant to be, yadda...but it would've been killer for the two of them to cross the floor together.

She has less to lose and more to gain by this move. Stronach knows this, I'm sure. She could have been a valuable voice for Harper in the as-yet-to-be conquered fallow fields of Ontario votes. Now, she's a frickin' Minister! Way to keep it together! Plus, it was good for the Canadian dollar! Love! Power! Money! The trifecta, for sure.

No matter how the vote turns out this week, or in the next election, Harper looses face (again!!!) as a leader of any former PC-ers. The honeymoon is probably over now, Steve-O. But you'll always have Europe. --Sigh--

After 12 years in opposition, these two sad sacks and their parties must be wondering what else can they do to bring about the end of Liberal reign. Here's a hint from someone who would never vote for either of you--stand for something more than carving up the country and keeping deals made between the Liberals and the provinces. Just a thought.

Death By Information Overload

Before I begin, a confession--I didn't think of the subject of this blog on my own. Read SFGate.com writer Mark Morford's column on the topic first--he did all of the homework. He's also a better writer than I am, and he (presumably) gets paid well to do so. I'm just glad that there's finally scientific research proving what I've always suspected--that e-mail is a force of evil, not good. As for the suggestion that its better for you to be stoned than being electronically connected to everyone who wants to tell us something--well, I had always hoped that it was the case...

Like most office workers today, I spend my days in front of a computer screen, with my Microsoft Outlook on at all times. I've disabled the notification screen that would pop up notifying me of new mail arriving, but I am still a hopeless slave to it. When adjourning from meetings, e-mail is the first thing that I check in on. I take pride in the number of accumulated e-mails after a prolonged absence from work. I pause to reflect upon exactly what message will be communicated should I reply too quickly--bored, attentive, under-utilized, alert, etc. . I debate the effectiveness and potential rudeness of e-mailing my cubicle neighbour.

Combine my constant e-availability with the dinosaur-era telephone, and the people brave enough to actually come to speak to me in person, and there is no question as to why I'm totally drained at the end of the day. I am not alone. You are with me, front and centre--I know this.

However, home is no longer the respite that it once was. Even if you don't answer each and every phone call (praise Call Display and Call Answer!), there's still home e-mail to check, spouses to talk with, children (not here--but this is a broadly-cast column--I write for the masses!) to interact with, and possibly, news to watch. Curse them, for not removing the damnable news-scrolls at the bottom of or screens, once 9/11 passed us. More to say about that in a future column, but how effective is the transmission of either the oral or text messages on CNN, when we are only paying up to 50% attention to either, at any one time? Thanks to technology, some of us can now use the picture-in-picture option of watching two television shows at once. It just gets better...with TiVo, or PVR (in Canada), we can pre-record shows on a hard-drive console, for future viewing.

At this point, I will pause to entertain the notion that no one person needs to be bombarded by all of this. Luddites and the Amish probably don't feel the dramatic strain of emotional resources just described. There are those who can go from day to day without checking e-mail even once, or not turning on the TV, or checking their blog for comments (because they have no blog--sacrilege!!) . I will admit that it's a matter of priorities. If you don't believe me, just watch the dramatic posturing when someone tells you that they don't have time to watch TV. There's smug; there's Barbara Bush, after one of her kids has been assailed by the uppity left; there's reformed smokers; and then there's the don't-watch-television people. Watch--their heads usually go up in the air slightly.

I'm not here to say that I'm a victim of technology. I've embraced most new forms of communication freely and with enthusiasm--I'm currently listening to downloaded MP.3 files, on my computer, while writing a blog-post--and will admit to enjoying most of them. I still don't feel the 24-7-365 need for a cell phone, and a PDA (not Public Display of Affection--the other type!) is just out of the question. There needs to be downtime.

Between work expectations, and home-life choices, there is also the ride home. Ahh. Car-phones, radio, GPS, DVD players--is road rage a result of bad driving, or not being able to watch Kill Bill vol. 2 while in line at drive-thru?

No wonder conversation is a lost art. The apparent irony of that last statement and where it's appearing is not lost on me, I promise. However, the toll on a body as a result of the daily eye/ear/brain assault going on is far from negligible. Stop reading this blog, go hug your loved one, and close your eyes for a moment. You owe yourself that much.

When you're done, come back to this blog, and leave a comment. I won't read it right away--I'll probably be surfing for future topics.

Be better to yourselves and others,

andy

PS: Didn't 24 just friggin' rock last night? How has Chloe gone this far in her career without someone slapping her? She has the greatest lines. I'm pretty sure that Tony bites it next week, otherwise why the reunion with Michelle right at the end? I think that the Prez offers Jack up to China. Kudos to William Devane, for flinching only a second when his on-screen son revealed that he had gay sex with a terrorist. Way to keep it together, Mr. Secretary. For a moment, I kinda thought that he was still going to go through with his interrogation of Richard, then he seemed to back down. Should Mandy have her own series? She'd be a great sub for Jennifer Garner on Alias until she gives birth to the Affleck-abomination.

--end o' rant--

Monday, May 16, 2005

John Bolton--Prince of Darkness?

With other things on my mind, I'm a bit out of the loop on the whole Bolton thing. I understand that the Dems don't like him, and I just figured that it had something to do with his way-obvious use of hair dye products for men. But after finding this link, and reviewing the Senate committee hearing highlights, all I have to say is YIKES.

Bolton has long dismissed the legitimacy of the United Nations--a multilateral organization that the United States played a key role in creating--not as a pet organization but as a international organization dedicated to collective security. A longtime activist with the Federalist Society, Bolton has used this right-wing association of lawyers, judges, and legal experts as a forum to lash out against the United Nations. In a 1994 speech at the liberal World Federalist Association, Bolton declared that there is no such thing as the United Nations. To underscore his point, Bolton said. If the UN secretary building in New York lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.

Sorry, what job is it that your seeking again--oh, I see...not exactly sticking with the traditional "ambassador"-ish stances, then, are we? Oh, and he used to swing, too!

Of course, his ties to the Florida 2000 campaign puts everything into perspective. If the Bushes excel at anything, rewarding friends ranks near the top. Then, there's his ties to the Project for the New American Century. Everyone knows how right they were about Iraq.

Look, I'll be honest--as a Canadian, I occupy an interesting yet impotent vantage on all of this. It isn't my country, and the argument can be made that Bolton and Delay and Bush have little impact on my daily life, aside from providing headline fodder for these blogs. However, every single time Bush actively or passively pulls a "gotcha" move like nominating someone who is vocally against the U.N. as an ambassador, I fear that it impresses upon others (Mr. Harper!) that they can do it too. Former (yay!!!) Ontario premier Mike Harris appointed a high school drop-out as Minister of Education, and a former car salesman as Minister of Transportation. This goes beyond funny or ironic. It is a sick joke, and we're the victims. Crickey, was Pat Buchanan unavailable for Ambassador to Canada?

I know that politicians have been rewarding their friends and family since we left the caves, but can we at least pause to reflect on the qualifications of an appointee? Is it too much to ask?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Orgasm Day Now!--Sign The Petition!

I'd like to teach the world to sing...in perfect harmony

Orgasm Day for everyone! Don't let the Brazilians keep this one to themselves! Vote early (but not too early!), vote often (again, and again, and again, and again)--just vote!

funcentral music--right this minute!

In no particular order:

  1. "Revolverlution", Public Enemy
  2. "Child In Time", Deep Purple
  3. "Radio Free Europe", REM
  4. "Feel So Different", Sinead O'Connor -- I miss the bald you!
  5. "Wind Cries Mary", Jamie Cullum
  6. "River Deep, Mountain High", Ike and Tina Turner --Phil Spector at his genius best!!! Tina, too!
  7. "Five Years", David Bowie
  8. "Blue Spanish Eyes", Elvis Presley --muy caliente!
  9. "Guantanamera", Celia Cruz --umm, ditto!!!
  10. "Dying Breed", Allison Moorer--why isn't she more popular? Tragedy!
  11. "Walls Come Tumbling Down", The Style Council
  12. "A Love Bizarre", Prince & Sheila E. --amazing horns, circa Parade!
  13. "Mr. Brightside", The Killers -- the return of synth-pop?
  14. "How Deep Is Your Love?", The Bee Gees
  15. "Mr. Sandman", Emmylou Harris with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt
  16. "Please Please Please (Let Me Get What I Want)", The Smiths
  17. "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Tori Amos --ostensibly darker than the original, just as beautiful
  18. "This Time It's For Real", Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

As random as Real Player ever gets, I suppose. I download, it picks.

The Canadian government is currently in shambles. Stephen Harper seems hellbent on calling an election, even if he's not guaranteed a win himself. Is that supposed to indicate that he has honourable intentions? I miss the Chretien majorities. Ahh...good times! With the hyped-up assault that has been the recent gay-marriage debate, and the relentless liberal-bashing, I'm wondering if the Canada-US border has finally been erased.

We went garden browsing yesterday in the rain--gave my wife carte blanche to pick and choose what she wants in the back yard. This is an area that I absolutely know nothing about. I agreed to just pay, and help plant. It was this neat place off of Bank Street, near South Keys. It had a much better selection than Canadian Tire. \

Anyone want to start a Canadian government Dead Pool? Vote on the exact hour of the precise day that the writ is dropped, and win a prize!

There's nothing more soothing to me in this world than kissing my lady's hand, and hearing the inevitable giggle that follows. Just thought that I'd throw that in. Letting my "human side" show more often.

Real post should be up tomorrow!


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