Monday, April 19, 2004

Missed the UK Subs show this weekend. Fuck.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Well, didn't see this one coming...

Tearful MP's career on hold after pocketing jewelry
Last Updated Thu, 15 Apr 2004 14:53:25

BURNABY, B.C. - New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson stunned supporters Thursday by saying he needs to take medical leave after admitting he took a ring without paying for it.

Too bad. Of course, the Reformed Conservative Alliance Party will be on him like flies on shit, because, after all, taking stuff without paying for it is what conservatives are all about! Actually, I lie. They'll just make vague comments insinuating a connection between Robinson's theft and Robinson's sexual orientation, and then react with wounded indignation when anybody calls them on it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Oh, my poor neglected little blog - an entire week without a posting. Right, ahem, where was I...

Well, I was going to go on about misogyny in sports journalism, but we're really really busy at work this week (getting caught up with the post-inventory backlog), so it's going to be a lean week for blogging. Stay tuned though, I may chuck some things up if I feel moved to. One brief note: I've started the shopping for my little trip (weird to think that I'll be back in Italy in 10 days) - exciting stuff, I know, but it's got my heart fluttering a bit.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Hey Look! Misogynist Wankers!

"Misogynist" is one of those eye-roll words - you know the ones that produce instant exasperation in listeners who immediately assume that you are going to go off on some horrible anti-male rant drawn straight from the early 1990s. Well, that's too bad, because I'm going to toss that word about here, and in particular I'm going to toss it at a few people who IMHO deserve it. To begin with ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dave Sim...

The Onion A.V. Club's Interview with Dave Sim

I admit to having really enjoyed Cerebus when I was in high school; a friend of mine had trade paperback editions of the early issues, and I found them really geniunely funny. I collected the new issues for awhile, eventually stopping at about issue 106 due to lack of funds rather than any problems with the content or art. I always new (and who, reading Cerebus, coud not know?) that Dave Sim was probably a fairly odd guy, but it was only when reading the numerous articles that have sprouted up as the series nears its end that I realized what a nut-job he is. This guy has a visceral, physical, hatred of women, and like so many of his ilk, he's married (heh) it to an all-out martyrdom complex. The fact that he has an ego roughly the size of the moon doesn't increase his likeability any (As I said, I was fond of Cerebus, but when, in the interview above, Sim compared it to Crime and Punishment, the only reason I didn't blow coffee out my nose was because I didn't have any coffee). Nor does the fact that, again in the interview linked above, Sim starts out by being a shitstick towards the (female) interviewer on the very first question. She doesn't let him get away with it, which is encouraging. Anyway, the result of all this has been a certain sadness, but also a great deal of relief that I didn't waste more of my time and money on him. And, of course, extreme rage, as I tend to experience when I come across people who discriminate against women... More later.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Hey, we've got a theme...

Vampire bats kill 13 people in Brazil
Saturday, April 3, 2004 Posted: 1:05 PM EST (1805 GMT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) -- Rabies-carrying vampire bats killed at least 13 people in a remote Amazon town in Brazil's northern state of Para last month, authorities said on Friday.

Expecting a story about werewolves soon...

'Mummy' causing Siberian 'quakes

RESIDENTS of Russia's Altai region say that a 2500-year-old mummy that was dug up 11 years ago is causing earthquakes in this corner of Siberia where shamans are common, and have demanded that it be reburied.

"We must calm people down and bury the Altai Princess," which is being studied by researchers at an institute 600 kilometres away, said Aulkhan Jatkambayev, the administration chief in the area where the mummy was discovered.

After chuckling a wee bit about this particular story, I realized that it does actually touch on a serious archaeological issue - the proper treatment of human remains. Archaeologists have to be aware of local sentiment concerning such finds, and must be willing to accomodate such sentiment. I remember a dig I was on where we found a large pre-Roman chamber tomb, with bodies, and quickly handed the excavation of it over to local archaeologists. It was no big deal, actually, but in some areas, particularly in the new world, archaeologists have not shown proper respect to indigenous human remains, and have alienated the local populations as a result. Anyway, I don't know whether the archaeologists from Novosibirsk were guilty of that in the story above, but they do now have an issue on their hands, and it's one they'll have to deal with if they wish to keep digging in the Altai mountains.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Interesting UK Subs tour date...

[April] 16 - New City Likwid Lounge, Edmonton. Canada (also with: Slaveco + Billy & The Lost Boys)

Ye gods - those guys are still alive? Anyway, not very many more details can be found, well, I was going to give you link to the New City website, but there's nothing there about the show yet. Just thinking though, with UK Subs about, and the Distillers coming in May, and a pretty kick-ass local scene going on all the time, it's going to be a pretty banner spring around here.
Well now, this is interesting...

Flight Not Fight

By Joy Lanzendorfer, AlterNet
April 2, 2004

Joanna Harmon is considering whether to leave the United States for Canada. Nik and Nancy Phelps practically have visas in hand to set up business in Belgium. Joan Magit and her husband are eyeing Vancouver. Amy Gertz moved to the United States from Canada two and a half years ago – she's now moving back.

The article basically goes on to discuss that phenomenon of Americans immigrating to Canada out of despair over the situation south of the border these days. These people are, of course, mostly progressives (Michael Moriarty notwithstanding), and are generally coming here out of a desire for a political climate more suited to them. And, while they'll find one, I would issue a small warning...

I don't think Canada is really the progressive paradise they think it is. Sure, it's all relative, and Canada is far more left-wing, both in political structure and ideology, than America. However, consider if you will that the next election will be contested largely between two right-of-centre parties, neither of which are dying for a chance to introduce really progressive policies. In the case of Liberals, that's because of a desire to appeal to centrist voters, and keep people from fleeing to the Conservatives. In the case of the Conservatives, it's because they pretty much hate everybody (sad, although predictable, that the Alliance folks got control of that party - the old Progressive Conservatives might actually have positioned the party to the left of the Liberals). Progressive voters are pretty much left with the choice of voting Liberal (lesser of two evils, etc.), going NDP (nice choice, no chance of winning), or going with a "fringe" party like the Greens (straight up - that's who I'll likely be voting for next time out). None of those choices are really going to lead to an increase in progressive politics in Canada.

However, that said, it's an interesting article, and an interesting phenomenon, and an influx of progressive-minded Americans can only help us lefties up here. It's interesting to note (as the article does), that the last great influx of left-leaning Americans into Canada was during the Vietnam draft years. And here I was writing about the draft just a few days ago! Wow, Oi! Thump! gets topical...
Well, it looks like I'm going to have to start picking up on my Dutch a wee bit. I bought my ticket for Italy yesterday, and part of the trip over is going to be an 8-hour layover in Amsterdam. Oh well, it'll be a country I've never been to before, and I've always sort of wanted to go to Holland. Maybe next trip I'll be able to see parts of it that aren't airports. The flight over is going to be a long one, basically taking 27 hours to go from Edmonton to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Rome, and the bad bit is that I hit Rome late at night. I'm mulling over either booking a hotel (expensive), or simply camping in Termini station until the first train to Florence leaves the next morning (dangerous). Staying in the airport is also a possibility, and I've actually done that before, although I don't know what the security arrangements are now.

I'm actually more nervous than excited about this trip right now, although I'm sure that will change as the date approaches and things start to fall into place.