Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Ok, time for a sports break here at Oi! Thump!. Not long ago, Mr. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club (Est. 1883) hit the 700th Home Run of his illustrious career. And then, what has sadly become inevitable in such situations occurred...

Dispute over a Bonds home run arises again
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants fan who caught Barry Bonds' 700th homer is being sued by another man who says he was the rightful owner of the prized ball, which he maintains was stolen from him during a mad scramble.

According to a restraining order to be filed in state court Tuesday, Timothy Murphy said Steve Williams stole the historic blast from him during a melee in the left-center bleachers at SBC Park on Sept. 17.

There is a solution for this sort of thing, you know. And here it is - the The Official Oi! Thump! Guide to Resolving Disputes Over Historic Baseballs:

1. If any one of the disputants is under 13 years of age, that person shall be awarded the baseball. In addition, if any of the disputants are under 13 years of age, any disputants over the age of 25 will be charged with assault.

2. If two or more of the disputants are under 13 years of age, the ball will be awarded to them jointly.

3. If any of the disputants are over the age of 40, they shall automatically be disqualified from any stake in the ball. And they shall be mocked.

4. Any disputant who uses any equipment other than a standard-issue baseball glove to attempt to catch the ball will be disqualified from any stake in the ball.

5. If there are no disputants under 13 years of age, the remaining disputants between the ages of 13 and 39 (inc.) shall be made to write an essay on the history and significance of baseball. The length of said essay will depend on the writer's age as follows: 13-19 y.o. = 2500 words, 20-29 y.o. = 5000 words, 30-39 y.o. = 10,000 words. The essays will be judged by a panel of baseball writers, and the winner will be given custody of the ball.

See, not too difficult...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Es geht gut...

Just came out of a German exam (my first actual, for-marks, thing since I got back on this crazy ship), and I must say I'll be very disappointed if I didn't kick its ass. Think I managed to keep my noun genders separate though. Not too much else going on, and Link's column from Friday was dead boring (Chretien was bad, etc. etc.). On the plus side, it appears that there's going to be a Mark Lisac book out soon (maybe already out - it's on the Fall 2004 list at Newest Press). For those of you who don't know, Lisac's probably been the best columnist on matters Albertan that I can remember, so I look forward to him puttting the boots to the whole concept of "Western alienation."

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Latest quit smoking attempt is now one day old...

Haven't been about much in the past week, mostly because being a grad student is rather hard work (and all of you who like bleating on about "ivory towers" and "getting out into the real world" can go fuck yourselves), but also because I've been sicker than eight dogs. The next person to use this keyboard is probably doomed...

Anyway, here's Link's exciting take on the big scandal we're calling "Ralph's Night Out." For those of you who've been away, our dear premier skipped out on a vital health care conference with the other premiers to go, wait for it, to a casino... Yeah, he's going to get elected again too. Anyway, here's Link...

Waiting for a parade

Ralph misses key opportunity to fend off Ottawa's intrusions
By LINK BYFIELD -- Calgary Sun

Hey, how about that ol' Ralph, sneaking off to a casino instead of suffering through long days of pompous televised health policy wind-baggery this week in Ottawa.

Ralph played hooky, and I bet most people back here laughed. He looked like a kid skipping out on chores to go play. There's something charming about it.

And so on and so forth. You just know, too, that if some other premier had done that, Link would have cummed himself in righteous indignation, and the shear pomposity of the columns he wrote in response would have threatened all life on Earth. But when Darling Ralph steps out of line, it's written off as having "something charming" about it." Ladies and gentlemen, there's nothing charming about a lazy useless fuck-up being repeatedly placed in positions of authority and just as repeatedly disgracing and embarassing the people he's supposed to represent.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Ah, a day spent watching one of my favourite columnists ever tear Sean Hannity a new one is a day well spent. Not that I spent all day doing that, just the last little bit of it. I also fixed my last post, so you can now see exactly what's my text and what's Link's.

Friday, September 10, 2004

I'm a grad student, and here's a pic..."

Yes, it's true, I have re-entered the groves of academe officially, and now have an office, which I share with a mysterious person whom I've never met. He seems to be some sort of Canadian historian. Anyhoo, in the world outside the ivory towers, things continue as normal, which means essentially that Link Byfield keeps writing shit.

No respect
By LINK BYFIELD -- Calgary Sun

Hmmm, a Byfield column entitled "No Respect." Arrrrh, there be whinin' on the horizon mateys!

I don't know Bob Foulkes and he doesn't know me. But for some reason he seems to think he does. Foulkes wrote a piece in another Calgary paper yesterday diagnosing me as basically paranoid. He didn't name me specifically.

Ok, so Mr. Foulkes specifically didn't call you paranoid, but you think he did. Doesn't that make you, um, paranoid?

He said it about all Albertans who advocate greater use of provincial rights.

Paranoia reflected onto a group is still paranoia, Link.

He imagines we are motivated by "frustration, resentment and fear," among other mental defects.

Ok, so Mr. Foulkes has a talent for stating the obvious. Not a crime, last time I checked.

Unlike Bob, I won't try to psychoanalyse the whole 60%-plus of Albertans who want more provincial autonomy and less federal government. After all, there are two million of us. But he's wrong about me, and the many I happen to know. We disagree with the centralist federal policies of the past 40 years because they've been such a huge flop.

Yeah, "a huge flop" as shown by the fact that Canada (Alberta in particular, of course) is now an economic wasteland, where innocent Albertans are deprived of health care and pensions, and the only sound is the hideous laughter of Eastern commissars reveling in their mastery (see Oi Thump! passim). Oh wait, that's not true.

He has no more reason or right to call us "resentful" and "fearful" than I would to call him a "spineless Ottawa suck-up," which I won't do.

Oh Link, you sly dog, you.

Political debate in this country would go a whole lot better if everyone would stick to the issues and stop getting personal.

We regret to inform you that the entire staff of Oi Thump! died of immediate actue irony poisoning after reading the above sentence.

I'm sure Bob's a well-motivated guy. He just happens to be wrong.

Foulkes rejects the idea of Alberta running its own provincial replacements to the Canada Pension Plan, the RCMP and federal collection of provincial taxes -- three things Albertans have the constitutional right to run for themselves the way Quebec does. He says those of us who promote these things want to "isolate Alberta" and "turn our backs on Canada."

Well, duh.

This is false. We don't.

That is false. You do.

Take the pension plan. Alberta has a unilateral right to opt into its own separate pension plan with three years' notice to the federal government. After negotiations with Ottawa, a seamless transition would occur. Pensioners would not even notice the difference.

But why do it, asks Foulkes.

Because (a) Albertans would get the same benefits as they do from the CPP at significantly less cost, and (b) Alberta's departure would force CPP premiums up in the remaining provinces, creating a national furor.

Yup, it's worth doing because it'll fuck up the neighbours! Great. I mean, what does Link Byfield have against working people in Saskatchewan or New Brunswick that he wants to their CPP premiums go up? Is this guy a fucking creep, or what?

The truth is that an Alberta pension plan would be only slightly less of a rip-off to young Albertans than the Canada Pension Plan, which is a boondoggle that should never have been started.

And what does he have against young people in Alberta, that he wants to seem them ripped off?

Alberta has been pointing this out for years. But what can we do about it?

Better public pension systems are available.

In more adaptive nations, such as Chile, citizens are now required to bank 10% of their personal income in private retirement funds.

They choose between competing, regulated private plans, and the money remains theirs, not the government's. Although anyone can still claim pension benefits from the government as an alternative, most people do better in the private system.

So it's, um, sort of like Canada then, where you can get a government pension, or invest your money yourself? What was your point here, Link?

But here we bump up against the modern Canadian dilemma, much like medicare, employment insurance and fiscal equalization.

To start the CPP, Ottawa first invaded a provincial jurisdiction by making promises it couldn't possibly keep. To pay for it, the feds vigorously siphon billions upon billions out of Ontario and Alberta. Receiving provinces cheer from the sidelines, and Ottawa refuses to fix the program.

Oh, that's why he doesn't like Saskatchewan and New Brunswick! Because he's a moron who seems to have conveniently forgotten that folks in Ontario and Alberta get pensions too!

So what should Albertans do?

Bob Foulkes says, "The solution is to work harder to bring those fellers down east around to our point of view." We should "continue our outspoken participation in the affairs of the nation (which) enriched the federation."

Well put, Bob. Sounds like Bob, at least, is definitely against "isolating Alberta" and "turning our backs on Canada." What, Link is your response to this seemingly reasonable statement?

This is bafflegab.

Why am I not surprised.

Canada is more centralized today than it was in 1993, when the Reform party first showed up en masse in Parliament. The federal government is more corrupt, more bereft of ideas, and more stubbornly hostile to the West.

Link, did you just blame the Reform party for the centralization of Canada? Did you mean to do that? Are you going to find part of a tractor in your bed tonight?

The only "enriching" the feds want from Alberta is the $12 billion they take out each year in taxes and don't send back in spending. They want our money, not our enriching point of view.

Eastern commissars, etc.

People such as Bob have to decide whether they want Eastern Canada to like us or to respect us. If it's respect, we must start exercising our rights.

No, we just have to stop being complete morons, because Easterners already do like us. You first, Link.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Week 1 of unemployment going just fine, thank you...

And now there's this non-story...

Cops file complaint

Rank-and-file cops want the Edmonton Police Commission chairman punished or fired for making "unprofessional" public statements about officers, says the president of Edmonton's police union. Staff Sgt. Peter Ratcliff confirmed yesterday he has written to Mayor Bill Smith on behalf of 1,200 Edmonton Police Association members, arguing commission chairman Martin Ignasiak has lost his objectivity "and that he either needs to be disciplined in some way or removed."

OK kiddies, let's review. The appalling statements made by Ignasiak were basically to the effect that high-speed chases are dangerous and we have too many of them (see Oi! Thump!s passim) and that he didn't think police used their tasers too much. Oh the horror. The problem here, of course, is the same problem it's been for the last several years, and that is that the EPS absolutely refuses to accept any criticism on any issue from any person. And this will be the problem (and it's a problem for the decent rank-and-file police officers as well) until we fucking well get a civilian oversight committee together to custodiat the custodies, as it were. Of course, any suggestion that that might be the way to go provokes screams of bloody murder from the police brass. Sigh. Anyway, my favouritest quote from the Edmonton Sun article is this one:

The critical comments have created a "very dangerous and confrontational atmosphere" for officers responding to calls, [Staff Sgt. Peter] Ratcliff argued.

From a police force whose most recently departed chief was infamous for the confrontational attitude he urged his officers to adopt, that's just pathetic.