Friday, November 30, 2007

Meet The New Antichrist

And that would be...ta da!

According to one disgruntled shareholder (who holds *ahem* one share) -- an ex-football player who led the play with his head a few too many times -- Microsoft is Goliath. And he wants to be David.

"'I don't care how big Microsoft is,' he said. 'They are nothing but a feather in the wind of God.'"

WHOA! HOLD it! Right there...yeah.

God farts feathers?

(Note: Call Zorpheous; we need art on this one.)

And the reason for this rather uneven battle (he -- "David" that is -- thinks he has the upper hand, by the way)? He's a little pissed off that Microsoft has the temerity to offer benefits packages that are available to gays. "David" doesn't like gays. He doesn't think they deserve to be treated like people.

"An advocate of a "biblical stance" against divorce and homosexuality, Mr Hutcherson, 55, is asking millions of evangelical activists, as well as Orthodox Jewish and other allies, to buy up Microsoft shares and demand a return to traditional values."

Now, doesn't that sound fine? A return to "traditional values," eh? I wonder how far back he'd like to travel...say...maybe a couple hundred years? Like, back to the days when people were of the opinion that he shouldn't be treated like people, either?

"He rejects comparisons between the black civil rights movement and calls for gay rights."

Of course he does. He's not gay. He is black. All the difference in the world, right?

I wonder if he knows Fred Phelps?

H/T: Slap Upside The Head

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meme Time

From Jean, who got it from Witchypoo, who got it from...oh, you know how to backtrack.

Anyhoo, the game is to answer the questions and pass it on.

(x) Been to Canada? And despite all my attempts to escape, I'm still there.

( ) Been to Mexico? Not yet. Coming up. Quizas.

(x) Been to Florida? It's been awhile, but yes.

(x) Been on a plane? Several. Some of them were even commercial. And I got where I was intending to go, despite all efforts to the contrary.

(x) Been lost? Sometimes on purpose. You have no idea how liberating it can be until you try it.

(x) Been on the opposite side of the country? Both politically and geographically.

(x) Swam in the ocean? As far as what I do in the water can be called "swimming," yes.

(x) Cried yourself to sleep? I, too, was once an infant. Yes, I was!

(x) Played cops and robbers? At times, with real cops and real robbers!

(x) Played with a Tonka Truck? Every chance I could get it away from my brother-in-law, who stole it from his daughter.

(x) Recently colored with crayons? I sometimes do other things with crayons (make colored candles with them! What were you thinking?), but I have used them to color with on occasion.

( ) Sang karaoke? Nyet. When ya got yer own band, ya don't need the pre-recorded stuff.

(x) Paid for a meal with only coins? In an automat, that's the only way you can get anything to eat.

(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? And loved every minute of it. Never mind, that's what.

(x) Made prank phone calls? Once upon a time...

(x) Caught a snowflake on your tongue? I'm really not sure. I mean, I tried a few times, but if you succeed, how can you tell? Duz a snoflayk has a flavr?

(x) Danced in the rain? Sure. I do excellent weather magick.

(x) Written a letter to Santa Claus? Yeah, well, about that...see, I was only a kid at the time, and I had really been counting on getting that pony, and I was so pissed about not getting it, and not even a courtesy note to say it had been back-ordered, or nothin', wasn't really hate mail...

(x) Been kissed under the mistletoe? And under the nose, and under...*ahem* Yes.

(x) Watched the sunrise with someone you care about? It's difficult not to watch the sunrise when you live in a place with a 24-hour swing that takes a year to accomplish.

(x) Blown bubbles? Not sure. Does she/he go by any other name?

(x) Made a bonfire on the beach? It was the only way I could figure out to cook the fish I caught.

(x) Crashed a party? Very likely. I lived through the Sixties, so I don't remember everything.

(x) Crashed a wedding? Oh, yeah. It was a Ukranian wedding -- you know those receptions can last for days? A friend of mine dragged me to one. I didn't want to go till I got there. Then I didn't want to leave.

( ) Crashed a funeral? Not a funeral person. I don't even plan on going to my own.

(x) Gone ice-skating? As I remember it, just previous to that was the last time my ankles ever made the proper connections between my feet and my shins. Now, I can feel them start to ache every time I see a woman wearing stiletto heels -- why do they do that to themselves?

1. Any nicknames? A few. Some of them are even acceptable in mixed company.

2. Mother's name? She always answered to "Mom."

3. Favorite drink? Preferably something liquid.

4. Any tattoos? Not yet. When they become easily removable, we'll talk, okay?

5. Body piercing? Yes. You get to guess where and how many.

6. How much do you love your job? Love is for mates, kittens, and chocolate. One does not love a job.

7. Favorite vacation spot? Pretty much any place away from home and my regular day-to-day life.

8. Ever been to Africa? No. You looking for company on your next trip? I'd love to visit Kenya.

9. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? Oh, probably. The Sixties, again.

10. Ever been on TV? Yes. Now you gonna ask what I was doing there?

11. Ever steal any traffic signs? Yes. From my younger brother, who had stolen them from the Highways Department. And in turn, someone stole them from me. My entire town probably fostered them at one time or another.

12. Ever been in a car accident? Not when I was driving, But I was in a couple of lulus as a passenger.

13. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? Have done. Not currently.

14. Favorite pie? Lemme see the menu...

15. Favorite Number? 1.6180339887

16. Favorite movie? That would depend entirely on my mood. All About Eve. Independence Day. Dirty Dancing. Beverly Hills Cop. Any of the hundreds of dollars' worth of movies that went missing when the Cavern got robbed back in July.

17. Favorite holiday? Almost everything except Christmas.

18. Favorite dessert? On top of pie? Ooooohhhh!

19. Favorite food? As in other than dessert and pie? Too much to choose from. Lemme see a menu.

20. Favorite day of the week? Tomorrow.

21. Favorite brand of body wash? I call it soap, and almost anything that's unscented will do.

22. Favorite toothpaste? Tea tree oil. Not tea-tree-oil-flavored toothpaste. The oil itself. One drop on a brush. Don't swallow.

23. Favorite smell? Lots of things as long as they're not chemically-loaded perfumes. I hate perfume. I don't care how much it costs.

24. What do you do to relax? Bang on things.

25. Do you have a message to your friends reading this? Those of my friends who are reading this are already getting the message.

26. How do you see yourself in 10 years? Pretty much the same way I do now -- I open my eyes in front of a mirror.

27. Furthest place you will send this message? Short of actually measuring the distance I could drop-kick it, I have no idea. Does distance count on the Internet?

28. Who will respond the fastest? The person who answers it first.

Tagging: Neil and JJ, with the hope that I am far enough away, or I've got enough of a head start, that I can outrun their revenge...


Zing the anonymous telemarketer who always seems to be able to find you at your most inopportune moment, whether it be in the middle of dinner, a movie, or your significant other. Tom Wabe shows you how. Remove all potables and comestibles from your immediate area, strap in, and hit the link:

Thanks, Candace!

Friday, November 23, 2007

More On The Taser Incident At YVR

In an effort to get as much information as possible, I did the links-upon-links game and found the Blue Line Forums -- a board for cops and related professions.

And besides finding out that they're not all cut from the same bolt of cloth any more than are the rest of us, on page 9 of the thread that deals with the incident at YVR, I found a couple of interesting items:

"by gafaicheng on Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:12 pm (about halfway down the page)

"First off: watch the footage in slow motion...


"...Here's some more new findings:
a polish translator watched the footage; she says the guy is yelling ' I'll smash this glass! Back off! I'll sue you!'"


But a little further down on that same page:

"by OPPAux on Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:24 pm

"'My impression, based on the film, is that the police officers' action or reaction was unsuitable to the circumstances,' Piotr Ogrodzinski said from his office in the Polish embassy in Ottawa.

"'My impression is Mr. Dziekanski was, yes, agitated, frustrated, distressed, desperately in search of help, assistance, but he was not aggressive. I don't have the impression he intended to fight anybody.'"

His impression? Does he not speak Polish? Did he not listen to the audio?

Now, on top of I gotta decide whether to believe that the cops were correct or not in their decision to use the taser, I also gotta decide which Polish-speaking interpreter-of-the-video is telling the truth and which one is stringing me a line of bullshit?


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Housing Crisis In Surrey

Betcha I can tell where this is going.

"The managers take any low-income tenant without screening them. Alarms go off regularly. Fire extinguishers are missing. There are holes in the roof. My refrigerator has been replaced three times.
"People shot off Roman candles in the hallways on Halloween. The lock on the main entry door is
frequently broken. Anybody could walk in," he said.
"It is infested with bugs. I spray the apartment every two weeks. Otherwise I'd get overrun.
"Nobody seems to be able to get hold of the property management company," he added.

No shit.

I live just down the street from this apartment complex. I can see its several buildings from my window. I can hear the numberous fire alarms, and I can testify that it has become a destination point for local emergency vehicles. At times, I'm pretty sure I hear gunshots. Once, someone set fire to a stolen truck in the parking lot and gutted the thing with the explosion.

And who owns the complex? These guys, that's who.

They also own a not-yet-in-existence high-rise condo complex at 15380 102A Avenue, Surrey. It has almost sold out, and it hasn't even been completed yet!

And yet another one at 10180 153rd Street. Again, almost sold out to new buyers and not even completely built.

Both those locations are literally withing spitting distance of the rental property known as Imperial Pines Estates at 10567 150 Street. There are a couple of other Onni-owned rental properties in Surrey, but they're a little further away.

Here's the thing: Onni rents mainly to those members of society that most rental property owners deem undesireable -- the single moms with low-paying jobs or maybe on welfare, the pensioners who could never afford their own homes and never knew they were expected to do so, the mentally handicapped who can function highly enough to live on their own and be responsible for themselves, and the physically handicapped who can also look after themselves and just need somewhere to live that's close to most of the amenities.

All these people have one thing in common: they don't have the resources to take Onni to court and force them to clean up their property.

So...where's this going? I knew you'd ask.

Condemned property status, that's where.

Onni is refusing to do more than absolutely legally necessary because they want the tenants to get fed up and move out. When most of them have gone, Onni will simply stop doing anything towards upkeep, and someone will step in and have the buildings condemned. The remaining tenants will all be evicted, the buildings will be torn down, and voila! yet another blank piece of real estate upon which to build yet another ticky-tacky fucking condo complex that only multi-millionaires can afford.

Oh, yeah...wanna know who owns Onni? I knew ya did! Don't they seem like a fun bunch? They also own Amacon and Pinnacle International.

UPDATE as of Thursday, 29 November:

Onni spokescritters are saying that the repairs have now been completed and everything is tickety-boo.

Time will tell if the residents agree. It would help a lot if the residents got a price break on their rent for the time when they didn't have any heat and hot water, as well as compensation for trying to do their own vermin control.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cop For A Minute

Just outa curiosity, I wonder if anyone out there has any thoughts about a way or ways cops could bring someone under control without hurting him or putting themselves in danger of injury.

The primary objective is to control one individual. He may be big or small. He may be weak or strong. He may be drunk, drugged, dusted, or perfectly sober. He may or may not have a weapon. He may be calm or violent. He may or may not speak or understand English. All this is completely unknown.

You're a cop. You need to have him under control and compliant, and you need to do it now.

You may not injure him while you accomplish your task. But you may not injure yourself, either. Or allow anyone else to be injured. Not even a scratch. If any of this happens, you lose.

You have 15 seconds to assess and react.


Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Perfectly Normal

Yes, it is.

There are some squeals from the general direction of the abstinence-only sty that telling kids the truth about sexuality will only encourage them to go climb on top of everything in sight and screw like mink.

They fail to take into account that kids are sexual beings, and that whether or not they know how to do it, they're gonna do it, regardless. Kids don't believe in abstinence-only. And they don't believe in missing out on anything. And they generally don't care what adults think. Especially adults who have already proven to be liars (think Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Stork, Cabbage Patch).

I'd much rather have my kids aware and accepting of the truth, so they can make their own informed decisions. This book -- illustrated clearly -- not only does not lie to them, but it doesn't lie to me about how to talk with them about it.

And yeah, some kids, like some adults, are gonna screw like mink. And whose business is it if they do? Not yours. Not mine. They'd be doing it even without all the best information possible. I'd much rather have them know all the facts they can get so they can stay safe from both pregnancy and disease. I sure as hell don't want them listening to that bastard in Africa who's telling his "flock" that condoms cause AIDS!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jumping On The Taser Bandwagon

And I have oh, so many questions.

This edited version of the video (check the sidebar of the page for the link; and yes, it's edited from the original, despite the fact that the little banner claims that it is unedited) gives a little bit of detail of the incident after the cops arrived.

When people -- most people -- claim that Robert Dziekanski was killed by the tasering, they're not paying attention. Check the clock and the audio background of this particular video. At 3:32, someone says that he's still fighting them off. Not dead...fighting them off. You can see, right up to the four-minute mark, that he's still breathing. There are a couple of the cops leaning on his body, and he's probably trying to get them off him so he can breath more easily. I know that's what I'd be doing. I'd also be trying to yell at them to back off and let me up. But he couldn't do that because he didn't speak English.

After the four-minute mark, there's a break in the video. And just before that, for several seconds, the visual field is obscured by a couple of security guards and a civilian. They made better doors than windows, and I could not see what went on through them. How does anyone else have that ability? Guesswork? Oh, goody...

If the electrical shock from the taser had killed him, he would not still be breathing a couple minutes after the fact. Electricity kills instantly, not by delayed reaction. But don't believe me, ask an electrician. I did.

The story on that link also says: "In the video, Dziekanski backs away from police and raises his arms, as if to capitulate to the officers." That's not what I saw. I saw him partially raise his hands and wave them off, then turn his back on them and walk away. Does that make a difference? I don't know. But at that moment, they could not see his body language well enough to discern his possible intentions.

I also saw them surround him, with his back to the glass. It's possible that they were trying to tell him to raise his hands and turn around prior to pat down. He didn't, of course, because he could not understand them. They had been told three times by one of the security guards that he spoke Russian. If they spoke to him in Russian, and if he could not understand it, he could not comply. If they took his non-compliance to be deliberate, they may have construed that as menacing.

It was at that point that the first taser went off. It made him stagger, but it did not put him on the ground. He tried to get away from it. Wouldn't you? But the whole point of the taser is to force compliance, and he wasn't complying with what he could not understand. So it looks like they did it again. And that put him on the ground. I don't know if he was shot a third time. I could hear a snap, but I could not see what caused it. It very well could have been a piece of hard plastic breaking.

Now, here's what's important: I'm not exhonerating the cops. I'm not making excuses. And I'm not blaming the victim. I'm asking questions. I don't understand what happened here any more than anyone else does. But I refuse to jump to conclusions without having all the facts just because everyone else is doing it, okay? I want to know a whole lot more before I grab a rope and march the cops off to the nearest tall tree. Or issue blindfolds and line them up against the nearest wall.

Robert Dziekanski's death is a tragedy. It should not have happened. I want to know why it did. And I'm not satisfied with the glib and easy answers that a lot of people seem to think adequate. I want clear and correct answers before we have yet another tragedy on our hands.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Soldier Died Today

If it rains tomorrow, as it usually does on Remembrance Day, I shall be thinking that the raindrops are the tribute of the skies to all the fallen men and women who served their countries in times of conflict. A tribute to those who served in uniform or mufti. To those who were on the front lines and to those who must needs stay at home because they were more needed there. Those who served on behalf of Canada, and those who served with her allies. All were warriors. And all are remembered.

As the last surviving veteran in my family, I stand in the present to represent the past and the future. I am Janus.

Will no one help to close my Gates?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

NOT A Photo Op!

Sigh. Talk about where-do-I-start? How about I just reprint the entire short item:

Stockwell Day makes appearance at downtown eastside stabbing
Nov, 08 2007 - 8:50 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - A man is undergoing surgery in hospital this hour after a vicious stabbing at the corner of Hastings and Abbott just before seven o'clock this morning.

However, what would usually be a routine incident for the VPD quickly turned into a political photo op.

Sadly, stabbings such as this happen all too frequently on the downtown eastside.

In this case, police don't have much to go on.

However, as officers conducted their investigation, they had a very high profile visitor show up.

Federal public safety minister, Stockwell Day just happened to be driving by and was not one to waste such a golden opportunity to be seen and heard.

"Vancouver police are as usual right on the scene doing a good job. It just shows that we need a number of things like our legislation to get through on violent crime. Officers on the street need all the resources we can give them."

So. Stock just happened to be driving by, eh? Wonder what he was doing there?

I was at first inclined to think maybe he was visiting InSite, so he could observe firsthand how well (or how badly, depending on your point of view) it operates, so he could report back to his handler. It's not too far from where the stabbing took place.

But waitaminit...Stock "just happened to be driving by" at seven o'clock in the morning. InSite does not open for another three hours, yet!

So who else inhabits that area of Vancouver at that hour? Oh, drug dealers, prostitutes of both sexes, cops, drug users, street people, fences... Anyone else?

And, as federal Safety Minister, you'd think he'd have enough sense not to wander around Gastown at that hour of the day/night. Or is he simply looking to be a first-person case-in-point example of the kind of thing you don't want to do when you don't know what you're doing?

Kinda makes me go, "Hmmmmmmm..."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Guest Post: Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas does not have his own blog. He needs one. He's a frequent commenter over at Garth's place, where he engages in some verbal thrust-and-parry with some of the other regulars. And he frequently comes up with some pithy bon mots that nail a subject firmly to the nearest wall.

He recently sent me a collection of quotable quotes. Some of them are original to him and others can be attributed to such philosophers as Frank Zappa, George Carlin, and Bill Maher. Whoever said them first, they are worth reading. And repeating.

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. The difference: there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen.

If the news only reported when politicians told the truth, it would be the only thing in the news – apart from Hell freezing over.

Would you trust someone who would never trust you? Then, why would you vote for them? Would you personally trust someone, with your money, who consistently gets it all wrong? Then, why would you vote for them?

When the government can’t do something that anyone in a rented rancher can do, such as raise marijuana for sale, what else can’t government do?

How dumb do you have to be to be President or Prime Minister? Is it worth it, being that dumb?

The people who do not vote, but still pay taxes, should be the ONLY ones who get to complain. After all, it’s not THEIR fault that Rain Man is running the show.

Anybody who displays political ambition at any level, to any degree, should be given one chance to become a productive member of society, such as a pimp, a drug dealer or a loan shark. Then, and only then, should they be allowed to settle for politics. After all, if you can’t sell sex, drugs or money, what good are you?

It is not power which corrupts, any more than money is the root of all evil. It is the lust for power which corrupts. Anyone who lusts for power is already corrupt, and should not be trusted with anything more complex to operate than a push mower.

What makes any government think it is entitled to your hard-earned money? What exactly did they do for it? What value did they provide in exchange? Just the fact that they did not throw you in jail makes them no better than anyone else running a protection racket on the street.

Save a tree. Plant a politician. Works for me.

People should not complain that politicians lie to them. It is, after all, part of the job description. The people have only themselves to blame for believing the liars.

Politicians are ample evidence that evolution does not always result in progress.

If you’re looking for an easy job, become a stockbroker, a weatherman or a politician. You can get it wrong ninety percent of the time, and nobody will have the heart to fire you. Unless they put you on YouTube. Then, all bets are off.

With all respect to Mr. Lincoln, it is, always has been, and always will be, government over the people, against the people and in spite of the people. Keep that in mind next time they come knocking on your door for your support.

Is it just me, or is it getting paranoid in here?

If you have money in your pocket the day before payday, and you owe somebody else money, that money in your pocket does not belong to you. It’s not a surplus until the debts are paid.

How do you spell politician? P-a-r-a-s-i-t-e.

Politicians have to be slimy. Going through life on your belly requires a fair amount of lubrication.

Thank you, Alex. Now, you really need your own blog.

Friday, November 02, 2007

"When In Rome..."

" as the Romans do."

I don't remember who said that, and it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that people pay attention to it.

Convicted murderer Ronald Allen Smith -- a Canadian on death row in a Montana prison -- has conveniently proclaimed himself to be "a compassionate man" in the hopes that the Canadian government will force Montana to send him home so he won't be executed. Too bad he wasn't so compassionate to the two men he admittedly tortured and killed.

This time, the answer might be no. I hope.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Who said that? Again, it does not matter. It's common practise for a criminal to claim that he "didn't know" that his actions were illegal. It's just as common to say, "Too bad, so sad, ya coulda known, ya shoulda known." In other words, do your research.

Murder is illegal in both Canada and the US. States, not the federal government, regulate crime down there, and they fix their own penalties. Some states have the death penalty. Montana is one of them. Just how did Smith figure he was going to get away with committing murder without paying the penalty for it?

Or did he figure, like a lot of others before him, that just because he's a Canadian citizen, the government of Canada will bail him out, slap his wrist, and after a suitable time spent sitting in the corner, let him go?

I don't want this guy back in Canada. He went to Montana and committed a crime for which the penalty is death. Let Montana have him.