One-hundred and twenty-five posts this August. A new monthly record, demolishing March's mark of 108 posts. Not bad! That brings us to 791 since we launched this thing last year. Also not bad. Keep it up, dog bloggers--the literally hundreds of people who visit this site appreciate your hard work.
Seems a strange decision. The weather is finally decent enough so that outdoor swimming almost seems an attractive idea. You'd think maybe the city would want to end off the summer with a loved-by-many, outdoor facility open right through the holiday weekend.
I sent the organization an e-mail explaining that we don’t trade editorial coverage for advertising. But in a subsequent e-mail to our publisher, this person repeated their demand: "We will be pleased to submit an ad for the issue if there is going to be an article about [our organization].” In other words, this person won’t advertise in prairie dog unless we write about his/her event. Which one might be inclined to call “extortion.”
Long story short, I’m not commissioning an article because we don’t publish a “you grease my back, I’ll rub yours” magazine and I resent the suggestion that we do.
And I assume there won’t be an ad either. But hey, maybe I’ll be surprised.
Advertising is one thing. Stealth advertorials are another. Stealth advertorials are bad business because readers can tell the difference between advertising and editorial content and if they feel you’re trying to fool them with an ad disguised as an article, well, you’ve probably lost a reader.
Hey businesses, want an advertorial? No problem! Buy a decent-size ad from a friendly p-dog sales rep and put a bunch of words in it about your product/event. It will have to be labeled "advertisement" so our readers don’t confuse it with actual content, and it’ll have to use a different design template than our articles — but aside from that, pretty much anything goes.
Editorial and advertising need to remain separate. If you’re mixing them you’re not publishing a newspaper, you’re publishing a catalogue.
Tuesday, September 1
Finance and Administration Committee (12:15 pm): To help facilitate public access to six new, multi-use arenas on the Evraz Place property, Finance Committee is being asked for $288,635 to support street improvements. The money represents the amount the city received from Evraz from a land purchase and was earmarked for this purpose. Meanwhile, the communications department is asking for approval to seek out an advertising "agency of record" so that it can better coordinate marketing efforts for the city. The committee is also looking at an adjustment to the accounting of fleet revenues and expenditures, and a report on changes to the Administration Bylaw.
Wednesday, September 2
Board of Police Commissioners (9 am): At present, it would seem they still have the July 21 report on the Regina Police Service website. I'll try to keep an eye out to see if it gets updated. I suspect that this week they'll be looking at year-to-year crime stats for June and July so it'll be interesting to see if the "property crime down, people crime up" trend continues. Here's hoping that's a no.
Paratransit Advisory Board (5:30 pm): Reviewing service improvement initiatives, service hours for July through September, and the May - June 2009 ridership statistics.
Thursday, September 3
Mayor's Task Force on Access (5:30 pm): Looking at a report from the provincial government covering items in the budget that impact people with disabilities.
Full reports and agendas can be downloaded, this week and every week, from the city's website.
2 THIS GOOD NEWS IS REALLY BAD NEWS Canada's economy is growing again. Why is it growing? Because of oil drilling and real estate. (Globe And Mail) Real estate sales growth isn't inherently a bad thing, I'm thinking, but it's very, very worrying that our economy's success hinges on extracting resources that are wrecking the planet's climate.This is what's called "mortgaging your future."
3 DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON'T Making hybrid cars requires rare elements that our planet doesn't have a limitless supply of. Uh oh. (Reuters/Toronto Star)
4 PIGS: OKAY TO EAT, NOT OKAY FOR SURGERY PRACTICE The University of Saskatchewan is the target of a complaint by a doctor organization concerned about the ethical treatment of animals. (StarPhoenix)
5 AFGHAN STUDENT TO ATTEND REGINA SCHOOL AFTER ALL Here's a nice story. Kudos to everyone who made this happen. Does anyone have any doubt this girl will enrich her classroom at least as much as she is enriched? (CBC)
6 UNDERWEAR: IT KNOWS ALL What men's underwear tells us about economic recovery. (Washington Post)
Nope, says a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And he's supposedly got the math to prove it.
In what I assume is a deliberate attempt to make my head hurt, MIT physicist Lorenzo Maccone has attempted to solve the problem of the arrow of time.
The arrow of time, if I understand it right (fingers crossed here), describes a contradiction between events at the microscopic level, which (theoretically?) occur in the same way whether time is moving forwards or backwards, and events at the macroscopic level which occur in a different way depending on the flow of time.
For example, the tree falls when we're moving to the future. It doesn't fall if we're moving to the past--it lifts itself back up. Imagine a film of a tree falling, running in reverse. Like that.
Most importantly, the tree doesn't un-fall in the future.
Or does it? Maccone's math apparently suggests it often does. We just don't remember it because of our quantum entanglement with the system of time moving forward.
Maccone says events like a coffee cup heating up instead of cooling or a pane of glass un-shattering do happen, but our memory is erased by necessity. So says his math.
Hence my throbbing temples.
There's a Guardian story on this here. And the Wikipedia entry on Time's Arrow is here. Read 'em and you'll know as much as I do. Probably more--I don't need quantum disentanglement to not-remember insanely weird and complicated physics theories.
But actually, the only reason I'm posting this is for purposes of atheist propaganda.
My understanding, probably similar to yours, is that physicists conceive of the word in bizarro, science-fictionesque ways. I'm not the slightest bit able to understanding their ideas. But I do have respect for them. From what I understand of history, science, and technology, physics seems to have a good track record at bringing us dependable knowledge of the universe we live in. Physicists study time, gravity and the elegant dance of microscopic particles. And while physicists argue about their theories and conclusions, they have an established framework for hashing out their disagreements.
Most importantly, if they can't prove something they call it a theory and they welcome challenges to it. 'Coz that's how stuff gets figured out.
Compare this to religion. Multiple Millennia have passed and there's still no agreement on the nature of god, his motives, how his power works or what he wants. Just lots of argument and fear and hatred and killing in his name. And when something isn't understood? Apparently we're not even supposed to try to figure it out. "God works in mysterious ways."
Physics maps the universe and tries to understand/explain our place in it. It brings forward tentative answers and adjusts its ideas as new facts emerge. I find it meaningful and beautiful. Religion says personal belief is more important than knowledge and tunes out argument. It uses politics, wealth and bullying to get its way. It celebrates that which is crass and ignorant.
Physics is the smart, weird kid who enriches a classroom. I like that kid.
Religion is the out-of-control child throwing books at teachers and biting other students.
I wish I knew how to help.
About three months ago, CTV Regina was part of a CTV campaign (CTV) urging the public to write into the CRTC to force cable companies to implement carriage fees. In the end, it would mean that your cable bill would probably rise by about $10 a month, because the cost of carriage fees -- the charge the networks would charge the cable companies to carry the stations would be passed to the consumer, you and me. Of course, CTV and Global don't see it that way. Carriage fees have to be implemented in order to save local TV. So they say.
Well, what's the state of local TV now? How much can local TV stations respond to local events? Let's take the recent tornado strikes north of Toronto as an example.
In the midst of a horrific local storm, with Tornadoes touching down all over the city, local TV failed in the most profound way possible to inform its citizens. If you ask "what am I paying for?" then based on yesterday, the clear answer is nothing. Nothing at all.
Or The Legion of Decency, a blogger who lives in the middle of what became Tornado Alley …
In the centralized model of Canadian local TV I'd predicted months ago but never thought might ever personally affect me, the two million people who live just beyond the Greater Toronto Area had no television service addressing the imminent threat they all faced.
Instead, I was treated to the same pre-packaged news segments, the same smiling meat puppets and the same banal "Sparky, what the heck's happened to my Blue Jays?" banter.
By now, the weather site on my computer was giving me moving satellite maps and Doppler radar showing the second, much larger wall of storms approaching fast and a couple of my friends were Tweeting blocked roads and that the Twister in Newmarket had hit a children's riding competition at the Canadian Equestrian Centre.
However dedicated local TV reporters are (and they are), whatever they say and do doesn't matter. The local newsroom – and the local station – isn't calling the shots any more. The local stations are nothing but money makers for the conglomerates who own them, and the carriage fees that will soon be added to your cable bill are more of a revenue stream to head office than an economic lifeline to people who actually serve your community.
Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass' shop was responsible for the bizarro stop-motion animated series The New Adventures Of Pinocchio, based on Carlo Collodi's famous fictional puppet. I used to watch it all the time as a kid--if I remember it was on right after another weird Rankin/Bass show, Tales Of The Wizard Of Oz.
But that's a cartoon for another day. Here's a yootubed clip from the New Adventures Of Pinocchio:
Zachary Zombie, by the way, was voiced by Canadian actor Paul Kligman who was also the voice of J. Jonah Jameson in the classic '60s Spider-Man cartoon. Kligman apparently went to college in Winnipeg, the city all cartoon newspapermen come from.
Anyway, In addition to ghouls and witches the show also had scary invisible ogres, leprechauns, talking trains and a friendly Loch Ness Monster. Here's another clip, with Rankin/Bass spins on several of the characters from the book including Geppetto, Cricket, and Cat and Fox.
About two years ago, I trashed Rob Zombie's Halloween remake in prairie dog. The film was almost a frame by frame copy of the original by John Carpenter. This, despite Zombie's efforts to give Michael Myers severe Oedipal issues.
In Halloween II, Zombie finally makes the story it's own. Even though some serious gore makes its way into the film, the movie is beautifully shot, gritty and poetic at the same time. The director ventures in some areas barely touched by similar serial killer flicks, such as the effect in the survivors psyche of the killing spree. Also interesting--the violence the murderous Myers shows against the victims. It sounds obvious, but when you observe the swift slaughters of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger, Myers seems particularly merciless.
Halloween II has problems. Malcolm McDowell's Dr. Loomis is too much of a caricature. For vintage Zombie, rent the excellent and proudly counterculture "The Devil's Rejects." And under no circumstance dismiss White Zombie frontman's as a filmmaker. The guy is a natural.
Was never a big fan of Oasis' over-rated, whiny and pompous "grunge Beatles" sound but I guess some people are and it is for those I offer a sympathetic, "yep, this is a shame" on this, the moment of a world-famous band's possible end.
Would a nice song help? Here, have an Oasis song. (Yootube).
The Leader Post is reporting on a Regina Qu'Appelle Health region warning about bats. Apparently, the Health Region has received a higher than normal number of reports of bats in houses -- three in the last month!
Seriously? Three? Three bats in houses warrants a health warning?
The reason cited for all the hand wringing is the fear of people somehow contracting rabies from this terrifying, trifoil bat plague.
I've always been a little suspicious of this "bats give you rabies" story so I called up Dr Mark Brigham from the University of Regina's biology department. He's an expert on bats. I asked him if we should be worried about catching rabies from bats.
"No," he says. "Absolutely not. Because the likelihood of a bat having rabies is very low. And 99 per cent of the time, if it does [have rabies], it'll crawl into a corner and die."
"The only way to get rabies [from a bat] is to be bitten. And usually, bats get dumb rabies, not aggressive rabies. So they won't go out of their way to bite people."
He says this annual "bats with rabies" scare is all courtesy of the Old Yeller myth, referring to the Disney film in which a young boy has to shoot his beloved dog because it's rabid and aggressive.
"I hate Walt Disney," says Brigham.
He points to the claim in the Health Region warning that bat bites are small enough that you could get one while sleeping and not know it. Brigham says this is impossible. No adult could sleep through a bat bite.
He notes that the only way to get bitten by a bat is to try to pick one up. So, don't do that and you're safe.
Now, let's say you do -- foolishly -- choose to pick up a bat, and it happens to be one of the few to be infected with rabies, and it bites you, you're still not guaranteed to contract the disease.
And even if you do, he notes that one of the best vaccinations against a virus that medical science has to offer is the one to combat rabies. So getting bitten by a rabid bat is no death sentence. You just get five needles over a number of months and you'll be fine.
As to the question of how many people have died from rabid bats, Brigham says, "To the best of my knowledge, in North America over all of recorded time, so a couple hundred years, maybe 20 to 40 at the maximum. And in Canada, you could easily count them on one hand."
The reason there's an uptick in the number of bat sightings this time of year, says Brigham, is because young bats are just learning to fly and tend to wind up places they'd rather not be. Like our houses.
And, I'd like to add, if we're getting more reports of young bats getting into houses, it's probably a good sign because it means there might be more young bats than usual. And bats are awesome. Bats eat mosquitoes! (Now, mosquitoes. There's a creature that's earned some hate.)
[UPDATE: Double checked the "bats eat mosquitoes" thing with Mark Brigham... Apparently wikipedia lied. (How about that.) Bats in Saskatchewan don't usually eat mosquitoes because they're are too small (mosquitoes are, I mean) and they don't fly around so much. Bats usually eat beetles, moths, midges and caddis flies, etc. And, well, those are all -- moths especially -- pretty disgusting. So I stand by my "bats are awesome" statement.]
So, in short: It's the time year when bats are about. But bats are good and there's no reason to be afraid of them.
Cover photo by Carey Shaw. Model: Billy.
The new prairie dog is out and it's pretty good. This is the last issue we're publishing in an internationally-recognized summer month in 2009--next time a new paper comes out, it will be September. Which is great for those of us who like autumn, perhaps somewhat less great for people who wanted to have a summer this year (hey, you got a few weeks here and there, quit complaining.) Speaking of fall, as I look out my window and soak in my glamorous view of the Scarth Street pedestrian mall, I see that we have a few trees with leaves beginning to turn. You probably don't want to hear that. Oh well. Even prairie dog's mighty purple editor cannot stop the march of the seasons. Anyway, this issue:
LATE SUMMER READING GUIDE Cover model Billy the Bunny stands in for Lewis Carol's well-known white rabbit, who was famously late for an important date. The feature covers six or seven books that, while not particularly new, should make a nice, end-of-the-season read.
WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE UNIONS? No doubt there are a lot of reasons ranging from the "okay fair enough I can see that" variety to the "dude, are you psycho?" category of ideological rationalizations. Anyway, various prairie dogs weigh in with a Labour Day look at union-bashing.
BYE-BYE PLAINS HOTEL The Regina landmark is facing a showdown with the wrecking ball. Some people are sad. Some people are glad. Will this be good? Or will it be bad? LaRose reports.
First five readers to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with “BASTERDS” in the title will get them. We’ll have them ready for pick-up tomorrow morning and they're good for as long as the movie plays in Regina. Winners will be notified by e-mail.
Now go, ya basterds!
Inglourious Basterds Trailer - Click here for funny video clips
Word on the street is the highly-anticipated, much-delayed, Downtown Neighbourhood Plan will be going before the Regina Planning Commission on September 18 and then before Council on September 21. (You can look back at some Dog Blog coverage of the plan and its delays here and here.)
The plan will be going forward at the same time as the proposal to replace the Plains Hotel with a hotel/condo highrise -- presumably as a showcase for what the plan can achieve.
More details as we hear 'em.
The full comic is here, and there's some sharp commentary too. (Comic Mix)
2 CAR INSURANCE PROBABLY GOING UP If you have a car, I guess you'd care about this. (StarPhoenix)
3 CANADIAN RESEARCH HELPED CIA TORTURERS "REASSURE QUEASY BUREACRATS Yeah, well, ugh. (Globe and Mail) Here's a thought: every single person involved in the U.S. torture regime brought in by Bush and Cheney should be arrested and prosecuted. Starting with Bush and Cheney.
4 FIXING FACEBOOK Social media giant says it will comply with Canada's privacy laws. (Toronto Star)
5 BUT NOT TO CANADA The National Hockey League has filed a bid to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. The NHL's bent over backwards to keep the former Jets in Arizona, but if their bid is accepted by a judge and things don't work out, they would look at moving the team. (Toronto Star)
6 IT'S SUN-POSSIBLE An exoplanet (a planet outside of our solar system) has a crazy orbit and should have been fried by its star. But it hasn't. Oh, the mysteries of the universe! (LA Times)
UPDATE: Whitworth points out that though a couple of the plants may be droopy at the moment, he has done an excellent job of keeping them hydrated for the last half-decade, so there. Also, Being There is a terrific movie.
1. TED KENNEDY RIP: Sad news I just read about.... Yeah.... I've been in a media vacuum today. (New York Times)
2. ALTA IN HOCK FOR $7 BILLION: Thanks to natural gas prices plummeting by half this year, the days of rosy surpluses are past.... for a time, anyway. (CBC)
3. UK CONSIDERS TAXING SOCIALLY USELESS BANKS: In an effort to curb the culture of mega bonuses for executives within their financial sector, the head financial regulator in the UK is publicly contemplating a tax on many of their banks, calling them "socially useless." Hear, hear. Let's hope that kind of moxie is catching. (Guardian)
4. HARPER STACKS SENATE SOME MORE: A couple more Tory faithful are expected to be sent to the senate this week. Remember, Harper's not a hypocrite, he's a realist. (Globe and Mail)
5. WATER SHORTAGES IN IRAQ: The Euphrates is drying up, leaving millions without electricity and drinking water. (Guardian)
6. LIFE IS BETTER WHEN YOU SKIM WHEN YOU READ: There is no reason to read this story from the Guardian, unless education criticisms from the UK's conservative party interest you. I post on it only because the short headline on the Guardian webpage was: "Tories want education divide – Balls" and if that hyphen had been a comma, that'd be the funniest thing I'd read all day. Incidentally, while "Balls" is a pretty unfortunate last name to be saddled with, I once worked with a guy whose last name was "Bagges". His first name was Harold. No fooling. (Guardian)
-A Taking Woodstock screenplay. by James Schamus, foreword by Ang Lee
-Taking Woodstock soundtrack
-Woodstock 40th anniversary 2-disc set (music!)
-And bubbles! Yes I said bubbles!
Sorry no free passes for this one--but you get bubbles!
Just send an e-mail to email@example.com with "Woodstock" in the subject line by 5 p.m. tommorrow Thursday, Aug. 27th.
You can check out the trailer for the movie through this link. Or, just click on the video below. It's got Demetri Martin in it and it's supposed to be pretty good. Opens Friday.
1 CALL OF THE WILD Our family just got back from a week's camping vacation. Let's put it this way: CBC Radio Two is a Godsend. (cbc.ca)
2 WHO’S ON TOP? Public opinion polls seem to be all over the place – some saying the Cons are far ahead of the Liberals, while another suggests that the Cons and Liberals are an a deadlock. (CalgaryGrit) IMHO, it's probably the latter. The mainstream media – especially CTV and Canwest Global – are pretty much in the tank for the Cons because of the carriage fees issue (Google) – if that doesn't go through, those media outlets won't get $300 million extra in cash and an election may upset that applecart. As well, there are two other issues – in Saskatchewan (especially rural Saskatchewan) and Alberta the Cons's popularity has skewered national public opinion polls the same way the Liberals' popularity in Quebec skewered national public opinion polls during the Trudeau years. These recent polls don't factor into the equation the Kenyan refugee screwup, which will implode any Cons support in the 416/905 areas where there are many immigrants. My bet is this … a minority government for Prime Minister Michael Ignatieff, this November, or if he doesn't pull the plug and run an election he's going to be Stephane Dion reincarnated.
3 YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY Still want Saskatchewan to be the next Alberta? (Calgary Herald) Ron Gantefoer does. Or maybe he wants to be the next Devine Comedy (Regina Leader Post)
4 I HEAR THERE WAS SOME BIG CONCERT? I didn't make it to the AC/DC concert at Taylor Field last night. But if Bon Scott (photo of a memorial plaque in his birthplace courtesy Wikipedia) were still alive, I would have gone, and taken another former resident of Kirriemuir, Scotland, with me – my mom. Her father was the blacksmith in town: the Scotts were the bakers. The family, with a little wee Bon, emigrated to western Australia in the mid 1950s: Mom moved to Weyburn to work in the general hospital around the same time. Bon was a bagpiper in a marching band in western Australia in the 1960s: my grandfather – who died about 15 years before I was born – was a noted piper. Of course, mom still thinks J.M. Barrie is still the greatest son of Kirriemuir. But in Bon's and Mom's honour, and thanks to YouTube, I give you four views of, arguably, one of the greatest songs in the history of Rock and Roll – It's A Long Way To the Top (If You Want To Rock and Roll): a promo film done on the streets of Melbourne, Australia in 1976, another take filmed at the same time in Melbourne's City Square (not used), and an appearance on an Aussie TV show in which only blonde girls can dance, apparently. And one more, taken from the bootleg of a concert in Sydney in 1977.
5 HE'S AN AUTHORITY ... He's David Vitter. He's an American Republican Senator from Louisiana. He's a holy rolller. He likes having sex with prostitutes, especially while he's wearing adult diapers. (AlterNet) And he wants to destroy Canada's health care system. I got nothin.' (Scott's DiaTribes).
6 HOCKEY NIGHT IN .... NAHHH About 20 years ago, so one story went, the Montreal Canadiens front office decided to go after the Expos' popularity by badmouthing their operations in the media. They must be doing the same thing today with the Als, because otherwise this story – that the Habs can't use The Big Owe for a New Year's Day game because the Als' season stretches too long and they don't have time to prepare the facility for hockey – seems to have a certain scent of bull. (PuckDaddy)
Nightwatching has a really neat premise. It suggests that when Rembrandt did his famous painting of prominent Amsterdam militia members The Night Watch in 1642, he inserted several visual clues that accused them of murdering a fellow militia member a few months prior to the portrait being painted. Kind of like Emile Zola's J'Accuse in France 250 or so years later, but in the form of a grand painting.
At 134 minutes, I found Nightwatching a bit long. The visuals are certainly stunning. Bone up on your Rembrandt catalogue before you go and you're sure to recognize several famous tableaux as they distill from live-action scenes. Greenaway, through his characters, also does a reasonable job of discussing the symbolism inherent in the style of representational painting that was in fashion then.
The film shouldn't be mistaken for a documentary. It is highly stylized, and in certain sections feels more like a stage play that's been filmed than an actual movie. But there are many graphic reminders of the brutality of life in the 15th century. Not to mention numerous F-bombs -- most dropped courtesy of Rembrandt. Overall, definitely worth a look. Here's the trailer. (YouTube)
There is a bit of nudity, so be warned.
Give Ignatieff the floor in the House of Commons and the NDP a shred of charisma to go with their (secretly) populist policy platform, and Harper will slink back under his bridge. Just wait and see.
Then again maybe my smart guy is wrong and we're all dooooooomed.
2 CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO CIA UNDER BUSH? I'm not holding my breath but I guess the Guardian's writer thinks it's going to happen.
3 PALESTINIAN PARTS FOR PROFIT A Swedish newspaper makes the shattering claim that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians for their organs. Israel's finance minister unhelpfully says this is "anti-Semitic blood libel". Well no, actually, it's a claim that there's some heinous organized crime going on. Right thing to do: launch an investigation. Wrong thing to do: give a crazy person rant about "blood libel". (CNN)
4 STICKING TO HIS GUNS Colin Thatcher still says he didn't kill his wife. Thatcher is currently on parole after a jury convicted him of killing his wife. (CBC)
5 FUGITIVE MURDER SUSPECT FOUND DEAD Ryan Jenkins, a former reality-TV person who was accused of killing his ex-wife and packing her dismembered body in a suitcase, has apparently hanged himself in a hotel. Creepy is an understatement. (Globe And Mail)
6 GOD THINKS LOVE IS GOOD AND SO DO LUTHERANS Hey, how about we end on a happy note: American churches open the door to married/partnered gay clergy. (New York Times) Lutherans, Dog Blog salutes you.
Saw it. Loved it. The film has problems and will definitely not be to everyone's taste. But if you liked the first trailer, you should like the movie. It's the same--witty, crude, offensive and schlocky--but longer and gorier. Truth in advertising for the win.
Speaking of long, I think it's something like two and a half hours. I could've handled four. And I think everyone I saw Inglorious Basterds with felt the same. The consensus complaint was, "I wanted more Nazi killin'!"
One friend said this will be a great movie to watch in a living room with copious amounts of beer. Yup.
Far from a great film but a blast to watch with pals on a Friday night. We'll have a full review by Jorge in next Thursday's paper.
Being the early 1990's, the market was full of speculators out to make a quick buck and the company quickly became as big as - well - the Big Two. And natural they all tried to cash in as much as possible, thus in 1994 WildC.A.T.S. became an animated Saturday morning cartoon on CBS. It only lasted 13 episodes. Recently somebody lent me the complete series on DVD and I have to say it has the worst (best?) theme song ever written for a cartoon.
Remember - they're heroes, not zeroes.
One warning, since we've been posting about drugs all day: whatever you do, do NOT watch this video while smoking pot. Because while it's kind of amusing straight, it would be LETHALLY HILARIOUS to watch stoned.
So DO NOT walk away from your computer right now, roll a fat one, and come back and puff away to this reel of dumb-cat comedy, eight or nine times in a row. That WOULD NOT BE SAFE. You might LAUGH YOURSELF INTO A COMA.
I care about the well being of Dog Blog readers. I don't want you hurt because something was too funny when you were stoned.
ON MONDAY, there were media reports all over the place whooping about a discovery by the American Chemical Society that paper money in up to 90 per cent of big U.S. cities is contaminated with cocaine.
The claim sounds like an urban legend but apparently it's true. But what does it mean?
On the New Scientist magazine blog Short Sharp Science, reporter Ewen Callaway points out that coked-up bills didn't neccessarily get that way by being rolled into snort tubes. For example, the bills could have easily picked up traces of coke just from spending time in an ATM with other bills that had come into contact with the illegal narcotic.
The important thing is, New Yorkers don't have to worry about most of the bills in their wallets having been inserted into someone's gross nostril quite yet.
THEN, ON WEDNESDAY, the Guardian had a great article about a cocaine "bar" in Bolivia. It's not legal but apparently all the right officials have been properly bribed so it seems to be flourishing. I recommend the article--in addition to being a good piece about a crazy place, there's a good bit of ranting about the war on drugs. Check it out; it'll help you kill 10 minutes of your pre-weekend work afternoon.
Looks like a big win for campaigners protesting the much maligned "NAFTA Plus" project. And considering this could never have happened under the U.S. administration in place a year ago, it's also a refreshing sign that the new boss is not the same as the old boss.
2 IRAN'S GOVERNMENT SUCKS SLIGHTLY LESS THAN USUAL Country behaves like a good global neighbour by letting nuclear inspectors in. (The Guardian)
3 ABANDONED CANADIAN SUES CANADA She's a Canadian citizen who was marooned in Kenya and jailed for a week and, and this is the key problem, our government sat on its hands. Here's rooting for a big settlement. (Toronto Star)
4 BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T BEEN BAD ENOUGH ALREADY The Conservatives want a majority government. Good luck with that. (Globe And Mail)
5 A PLACE TO FIT IN Founded five years ago in Edmonton, a four-day summer camp for teenage gays, lesbians and transexuals is setting up in Saskatoon. Good stuff. Sexual identity doesn't start when you get to college and high school is enough of a nightmare when you're straight so it's definitely a step in a civilized direction to have something like this for queer teens. (StarPhoenix)
6 OBAMA IS FAILING Support for the U.S. president is dropping. Gee, I wonder why. Maybe because Barack Obama is starting to look like an out-of-touch, spineless coward more concerned about pleasing his (insane) political enemies than working for his supporters? (Washington Post) Like seriously, Sarah Palin actually says he's plotting to set up "death panels" for disabled children and he doesn't rip the crazy, lying bitch a new asshole and point out that's actually the way it works now? (Salon) Radical anarchists show up at his public events armed to the teeth and he doesn't shit-can their asses to Guantanamo? (YouTube) What a sissy douche Obama is becoming. Of course sane Americans are disappointed.
The Province and the Alberta Medical Association are now trying to hammer out a deal on compensation for doctors who'd volunteer in the case of a renewed and widespread swine flu (H1N1) pandemic here, said Alberta Health spokesman John Tuckwell, who insisted the proposed pay scale is still "premature."
In a letter to doctors, the association lists a series of rates that could be paid if the province was scrambling to deal with a major flu outbreak this fall. The top rate quoted for doctors who volunteer to be part of the flu-fighting team would be $518.45 an hour.
Full article here.
I am reluctant to question the motives of Canada's valued doctors. When they say they want to reform Canada's health care system by lobbying for more private sector delivery, I'm not going to immediately call them a pack of greedy, manipulative jackels using a manufactured health care crisis to extort higher profits from Canada's publicly-funded system.
No, I'll respectfully listen to what they have to say.
But $500/hour? That's insane. Tons of Canadians working full time barely make $500 a week. And I sincerely doubt there are many "volunteers" making that kind of coin. (Do Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan even earn that kind of money?)
I know there's a strong culture of compassion for patients among Canada's doctors. And I know a lot of doctors support Canada's public system and are concerned about some of the directions suggested for it (Doctors for Medicare).
I'm just worried there's also a growing culture of "I want my second yacht".
SASK HIV RATES SKYROCKETING AMONG FIRST NATIONS Not a new story (this was reported on extensively a few months back) but still critically important. (CJME)
AFGHANISTAN ELECTION COUNT BEGINS Votes are being counted. (Guardian)
ANONYMOUS SMEARERS, BEWARE A maligned model forces Google to reveal the identity of the blogger who cyber-bashed her. (Globe And Mail)
ALIENS? OR JUST SOME ASS-HAT? A mutilated cow found on a farm north of Saskatoon might not be the victim of animal predators. (CBC)
HEADLINE OF THE DAY! "Flight to Ottawa delayed by drunken fracas". (CBC)
- P3 is looking at infill on the entire block where the library currently sits ie the empty lot west of Knox Met, the parking lot south of the Masonic Temple, and the pocket park west of the library. No negotiations have taken place to acquire the properties, but it seems likely that the expanded facility will occupy more than just the existing library lot.
- Harvard Developments is in charge of finding possible public and private partners to become part of a new complex. Youck said Harvard had received favourable responses from a number of parties, but that no committments had yet been made. Retail stores, a condo tower and rental housing are some of the possibilities being explored, but integral to any mixed use complex that might emerge is the idea of it being a cultural hub.
- most of the drawings incorporated the existing library, but in conversation Youck said that it was still possible that it could be demolished and an entirely new library built. One person at the open house proposed building a condo tower on the site, then using the revenue garnered from the sale of a prime piece of real estate overlooking Victoria Park to build a new library elsewhere. But I think there's a firm commitment that the library will remain at its current site.
- for people paranoid about parking in the downtown, Youck said that if a large-scale complex was built, underground parking could be incorporated.
- with a municipal election scheduled for Oct. 28, it's likely that nothing much will happen until after a new mayor and council are in place, but further opportunities for public input will occur down the road once more details are fleshed out.
Barney Frank for the win. Finally a politician acknowledges you can't argue with crazy people. Here's a short news piece on this exchange, which happened yesterday in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)
Tiger Brewer, aiming to be the world's youngest wing walker, stood on top of his grandfather's plane as it climbed to an altitude of 1,000 feet (300 metres) during the stunt at an airfield near Cirencester in southwest England.
The name of the dad is pretty good though. (Thanks to Alex Whyte for the link.)
2. NOT SHOCKING Taser International is filing a lawsuit against the Braidwood Inquiry findings. (rabble.ca)
3. POTTY MOUTHED PMO In advance of PM Harper's trip to the Arctic, the PMO sent out a press release in which it repeatedly misspelled "Iqaluit" with an extra "u". The extra vowel makes a big difference as "Iqualuit" means "a person with an unwiped bum". Ha! Ha! He said "Iqualuit". (Globe and Mail)
4. A LITTLE LATE FOR AN APOLOGY A campaign in the UK is calling for the British government to apologize to Alan Turing. Turing was a genius computer scientist and mathematician. He was also gay. And he was prosecuted by the British government for being gay then chemically castrated to cure his gayness. As a result, Turing committed suicide in 1954. (Manchester Evening News, Pharyngula)
5. FOOD SPECULATORS IMPERIL MILLIONS The head of the International Food Policy Research Institute is saying that speculation in the world food market leads to malnutrition and starvation worldwide. (Guardian)
6. SO WRONG, IN SO MANY WAYS They're casting children to appear in a live-action film version of the Smurfs. (Cinema Blend)
So, instead of this being a spontaneous event where a lone asshole shows up with a gun to intimidate people who disagree with him it's an organized, calculated show of force by an organized group of armed right-wingers and fringe media creeps. Phew! A group of heavily-armed, self-absorbed egomaniacs with axes to grind and a following is so much better than one loon with a machine gun. I feel so much better about America's prospects for the future now.
The gunman's name is supposedly "Chris B.". In the interview he attacks the public option in health care by saying, and I quote, ""We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote." (I wonder how he feels about gay marriage.)
Naturally, this guy also says taxation is theft--one of my favourite psycho anarchist right-wing talking points.
Here's the charming little video where he says many pleasant things.
Of course this is all insane garbage. No one is talking about taking his "right" to private healthcare insurance away. But most Americans want a public system. They voted for it. They should get it.
These gun-toting maniacs really need their own country. Ideally on Mars. In the meantime, where, exactly, is the FBI? Yeah, yeah I know, probably spying on some neighbourhood anti-poverty organization somewhere. Snort.
Here's the Guardian's take on the whole thing, by the way.
The RPL will host a "Central Library development drop-in session" tomorrow. According to my information, the RPL will "share our progress to date on the Central Library Development and discuss the ideas that will create this new Regina landmark."
The drop-in will occur at the Central Library branch in downtown Regina and be located on the second floor in an easy-to-spot locale. According to the person I spoke with, the drop-in will be operational during library hours. I recommend going between one and five if you can, since those were the times I first heard so that's probably when they will be serving delicious confections. (I am speculating on this detail. I do not have confirmation that there will be confections.)
Sounds like something people should be following. You should go if you can.
See you tomorrow perhaps!
When cryptic posters portraying President Obama as the Joker from "Batman" began popping up around Los Angeles and other cities, the question many asked was, Who is behind the image? Was it an ultra-conservative grassroots group or a disgruntled street artist going against the grain? Nope, it turns out, just a 20-year-old college student from Chicago. Bored during his winter school break, Firas Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software. Alkhateeb had been tinkering with the program to improve the looks of photos he had taken on his clunky Kodak camera. The Joker project was his grandest undertaking yet. Using a tutorial he'd found online about how to "Jokerize" portraits, he downloaded the October 23 Time Magazine cover of Obama and began digitally painting over it. Four or five hours later, he happily had his product.
Full, very interesting story here.
The pictures, of course, have been used by right-wingnuts to attack Obama as a socialist. The artist's critism of the President, however, is that there "wasn't much substance to him".
UPDATE FROM WHITWORTH, 2:20 P.M. : I have a call out to the Library and will report back on what this thing is before the end of the day. Is it innocent? Is it sinister? We'll soon find out!
WHITWORTH UPDATE: 2:24 P.M. Amazing what can be cleared up with a phone call. There's no conspiracy, it's an open-to-the-public drop-in. I am told we were definitely sent a media notice (which I can't find). I'll post more details when I have them officially, which will be later this afternoon.
2 HEALTHCARE FOR EVERY AMERICAN IS UN-AMERICAN Hillary and Bill couldn't get it done and now Obama's floundering in their footsteps. The White House is taking about being open to other ideas--much to the delight, I'm sure, of paramilitary lunatics, traitor Democrats, the entire Republican Party and Fox News bullies. Oh, and the special-interest for-profit medical system. But if you skip the headlines and read the actual stories, it ain't over yet. Washington Post)
3 TRASH TROUBLE Regina's dumpster situation is dire. (CBC)
4 AFGHANISTAN'S DUBIOUS DEMOCRACY Corruption, threats and bombs, bombs, bombs rattle nerves leading up to elections. (Guardian)
5 THE WAR ON AGING Researchers are fiddling with drugs that may extend lifespan. I don't think our planet could handle us sticking around any longer than we do but that's a problem for another day. (New York Times)
6 CONSTITUTION SAYS EXECUTING INNOCENT PEOPLE OKAY: AMERICAN SUPREME COURT JUDGE Yeesh. (firedoglake) Oh, and speaking of dick judges... double yeesh. (Telegraph) Judges only work 9-5 but state-sponsored murder is okay anytime I guess.
photo swiped from Daily Kos.
Holy crap. From Talking Points Memo:
About 12 people were carrying guns, including at least one semi-automatic assault rifle, outside a building where President Obama was speaking today. No one was arrested outside the VFW National Convention in Phoenix, according to the Associated Press, where hundreds of people demonstrated both for and against health care reform. There are no reports that the 12 were part of an organized group. The man spotted carrying the assault rifle and a pistol, who gave his name only as "Chris", was asked why he was armed. "Because I can do it," he said. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms."
So was the scary gun guy arrested by Homeland Security? Ha ha ha, of course not.
Two police officers kept close by. Carrying guns, including the AR-15 assault rifle, is legal under Arizona law. "If we need to intervene, we will intervene at that time," said Detective J. Oliver.
Full article here. (TPM)
Two points of my own.
One: what would've happened to any anti-war activist who showed up at a Bush or Cheney event with a weapon like that a year ago? Exactly. (Thanks Blaine.) Funny how America has different standards for peaceful liberal protestors than it does for armed conservatives. Where is this "liberal bias in the media" the Fox News pundits are always wailing about, again? This guy isn't even in a free speech cage.
Two: This man is clearly threatening political violence. He's intimidating health care supporters with the implicit promise of mass murder should they not back down.
Meet the face (well, the back of the head) of the anti-healthcare movement. They're fucking brownshirts, but better armed than those Nazis ever dreamed of. Next step: smashing windows, beating and killing political opponents, assassinating politicians, riots, misery etc. Welcome to real, honest to god fascism, America. At least it's not a white-only party.
The politicians always say you aren't supposed to negotiate with terrorists? Well, so be it, I say. This thug is a terrorist. He can't get his way through peaceful conversation. He can't get his way through democracy because his views (which I promise you are insane) don't have majority support.
He can only get his way if he frightens people into silence with his (legal!!!) assault rifle.
Most Americans want public health care (CBS.) The Democrats have to stop trying to build consensus with Republican saboteurs, they have to stop trying to appease the lunatics and they have to force this thing through. It's what Americans want. If the conservative lunatic fringe explodes into violence, I'm sorry but, well...they're going to anyway, sooner or later. Right? Deal with it now.
You can't stop working for a better world because the nuts have guns and are holding everyone hostage. Health care now, America.