Thursday, January 31, 2008

The week of Dying Hardly

We just finished watching all 4 'Die Hard' movies this week. We never saw them when they came out, and I'm not a big action movie fan anyway, but my sister said they were good, so we rented them and watched them. Very enjoyable, though not the sort of movie I'd watch more than once.

In order of preference, I'd rank them #1, #3, #2 and #4. The first one really was the best - Alan Rickman, was a terrific villain, and who cares if his German accent migrated around a bit? I also liked the way the whole story was forced into a small space; it all took place inside or just outside one office building, from which no one, hero or villain, could easily escape. It was like one of those Agatha Christie mysteries where everyone is trapped together in a country house. None of the subsequent movies used that premise, and I think they suffered from it. #2 probably came the closest, with most of the action focussed on the airport, but then it burst out into chases through the countryside on snowmobiles, and a relocation to the mastermind's headquarters at a church, and I found it lost intensity the more it got scattered around. The other two went even further, sprawling all over the place in a sort of treasure hunt-style chase. In fact, I couldn't even really follow where everyone was in #4 - Woodlawn? In a transport truck? Virginia? Baltimore? Who knows.

It was interesting to see how the movies changed over the 20 years since the first one was made. In the first two, the "authority figures" were ignorant, obstructive fools. In the last two, they were serious, well-meaning types who wanted to help, but just couldn't keep up with John McClane in savvy and toughness. I noticed the movies seemed to get "whiter" with the years, especially as regards the villains. In the first one, the criminals were a sort of interracial "dream team" - Europeans, an Asian, a black American - and most of them were quite individual. Movie #2, also had some ethnic diversity in the bad guys - a very Aryan-looking mastermind, but there was a Castro-style strongman and a black American military guy to keep things diverse.

By movie #3, there was only one black character, supporting the hero, and the villains were starting to look extremely Teutonic, despite a few thuggish Russians. And in movie #4, the blacks have all but vanished. The villain is a baby-faced preppie, and McClane is supported by a pasty computer geek. Heck, #4 takes place is Washington, D.C., and you barely notice the blacks, even in the crowd scenes.

It's not something I normally obsess about, it's just that it struck me as odd. The first movie was made in pre-politically correct 1987, and had a lot of ethnic diversity. As time went on, the roles for blacks dwindled, when I'd have expected them to stay the same or increase. Why? And the villains became whiter and whiter, to the point where in movie #3, we're seeing some sort of secret army of East Germans, poised to take over a country somewhere. Talk about far-fetched! I wonder if the pressures of political correctness left movie-makers so afraid of saying something BAD about ethnic minorities, they responded by simply airbrushing them out of the fictional worlds being portrayed. Safer that way. And of course, the fictional dangers became more and more remote from the dangers people are facing in the real world. Countries ARE being taken over by secret armies, funded by criminal activities; they're just not armies of blond Europeans.

The one thing that turned me off the last movie was the excessive use of CGI. I know that dvd sales are a big factor in movie profits now - so why do the filmmakers insist on using so much CGI that looks crappy on a small TV? The jet chase became ludicrous after a while. The pilot is so skilled he can dart in and out of freeway structures, but he somehow can't manage to hit the cab of a giant transport truck? Come on. And it would just look DIFFERENT if a real human body fell on the wing of a jet - there's something wrong with the way computers do that. The old-fashioned way of doing stunts with real explosions and stuntmen just LOOKED better, which I why I prefer the first movie. Even with greenscreen effects, there's something about real bodies that can convince you in a way a computer effect can't.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Appeasing the barbarians

A little over a week ago, Episcopalians and Anglicans were all agog at a piece of grovelling liberal agit-prop enacted in St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles. Gary L'Hommedieu wrote an interesting piece on the wider implications of the modern liberal urge to pre-emptively abase oneself to placate hostile outsiders. He calls it "appeasement", but gives more thought to the idea than the usual quickie Neville Chamberlain "I have here a piece of paper" capsule definition people usually settle for. Appeasement is not ONLY cowardice, as it is often thought to be. There is a lot more going on psychologically in a person who resorts to appeasing.
Christians in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles have demonstrated a new gospel: in a word, Appeasement. This word has far more meaning than the Neville Chamberlain-like denial of an impending military threat -- though it incorporates that as well. Appeasement is the psychology of those who wish to retain a privileged or "safe" position in a waning status quo. They would like time to stand still, and they desperately hope it will, while they crucify their gods, sell out their children's futures, and otherwise minimize their losses.
That's the first aspect of appeasement that's often overlooked - its tendency to sacrifice OTHER people in order to save oneself. Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler didn't consist of handing him pieces of British territory. He tried to buy safety by diverting the threat onto other people - the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Poles. The same thing is happening with our "Human Rights Commissions" and their never-ending quest to end hatred in Canada. The "threats" to human rights that are being so ostentatiously hunted down and vanquished are not the most dangerous or even the most obvious ones. As Sir Ezra the Brave points out, they wage "their battles against powerless kooks and eccentrics who don't actually pose a threat to anyone."
I was writing about a Vancouver imam who didn't just lace his weekly sermons with "hate speech"; he went further, calling for violent action -- the killing of infidels. At least one of his congregants seems to have taken his message to heart:
Like Keegstra, Kathrada called Jews names -- "we are dealing with a people ... the brothers of the monkeys and the swine ... whose treachery is well known." Calling Jews brothers of monkeys and swine sounds like a schoolyard taunt more than high argument, but his point was clear. And just in case it wasn't, Kathrada made it clearer still: His sermons repeatedly called for the killing of Jews.

Poor old Keegstra. All he ever did was call the Jews power-hungry money-grubbers, and he was convicted of a crime. Kathrada whips up his congregants into a Jew-baiting frenzy -- and tells them to go and actually kill someone -- and he remains free.
L'Hommedieu has an interesting explanation of this two-sided approach to threatening behaviour:
Appeasement means pleasing the right people, those who represent some threat, and deliberately offending others who pose no threat and can be counted on not to retaliate. It is self-protection, pure and simple, and it is anything but courageous. In an activist mode Appeasement is passive-aggressive, manipulative, and deceptive. It sets up symbolic confrontations in such a way that my group appears vindicated in comparison with some other group, usually my neighbors or former associates or fellow church members on the other side of the aisle. None of these are an actual threat to me, but the vandals at the gates of my consciousness might be persuaded that they are. If I can bait these unsavory outsiders with my charged rhetoric, they might attack those other people and leave me alone.

Appeasers believe they can assuage the vandals by contemptuously tossing them trinkets.
Surely that is what is happening in Canada, where "hate speech" from Muslim fanatics is sedulously ignored, while that of hapless, isolated misfits is ostentatiously persecuted. The "enlightened" persecutors are engaged in a double pretense: they are posing as brave warriors for truth and decency, even though their little staged showtrials put them at no risk whatsoever. And they are also glancing toward the gang of big ugly brutes who are getting close enough to really worry them, to see if they can be bought off with the prospect of devouring a scrawny tethered goat. Meanwhile, the fat, declawed cats of the Left will slink back to their cozy cushions and well-filled food bowls, happy to be left in possession of their luxuries.
The "vandals" are those our consciences tell us we have wronged, who would have every reason to be angry and who now upset our consciences. Maybe we have wronged them. If so we need to repent. But appeasers do not repent. That would mean giving up what has accrued to them through the very systemic injustices they so loudly decry -- money, power, position, historical pre-eminence. Instead they "apologize" and say nice things, usually in a condescending tone which they themselves never notice. They point the finger at anyone two inches to the right of themselves on the political spectrum and imagine that others will take the bait -- will assume that those on the right are really the ones to blame and are somehow different from those on the left, even though both share the same disproportionately large piece of pie. Appeasers don't believe the "little people" are smart enough to know pure symbolism when they see it, and they believe they can be bought.
I've always noticed that the human rights whores who are so determined to right the wrongs of the downtrodden, never envision having to change anything in their own lives to do so. It's essential to their survival that they can claim to be without sin, because their whole life is driven by this maxim: Someone has to pay, and it's not gonna be me! So when the Muslims, or the homosexuals, or the Native Indians, or (your disgruntled minority here) come around complaining and expecting action, it's not Kinsella or Warman who is going to have to stop wearing nice suits, or go on welfare, or collect food at the Food Bank. No way. That's what the HRC racket is all about - trawling the land for disposable misfits to hand over to the disgruntled, so that they can satisfy their need for ritual humiliation and vengeance on someone else. There's no other option for the fat, smooth eunuchs of the Left, because it's no longer possible in this country to say to an aggrieved minority, "Wipe yer nose, bub."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"I'd like a heavier set of shackles, jailer, please"

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Wotsisname, isn't happy with England's laws against free speech; he wants tougher ones. The mediocre cleric said that the current blasphemy laws weren't working, and should be scrapped.
But whatever replaces it should “send a signal” about what was acceptable.

This should be done by “stigmatising and punishing extreme behaviours” that have the effect of silencing argument.
Whoa, there, buttercup! As we in Canada are finding out, the whole point of controversial language is to PROVOKE argument. Indeed, that's what the state is simply terrified of - where more and more topics are simply not discussable, the risk of someone starting an argument must be rubbed out with punishment, all the way up to imprisonment. The only people "silencing argument" in this country are the human rights whores and their big-walleted johns on the HRCs.
The Archbishop, delivering the James Callaghan Memorial Lecture in London this afternoon, said it should not just be a few forms of extreme behaviour that were deemed unacceptable, leaving everything else as fair game.

“The legal provision should keep before our eyes the general risks of debasing public controversy by thoughtless and, even if unintentionally, cruel styles of speaking and acting,” he said.
I guess Monty Python was prophetic: the archbishop thinks that Doug Piranha's use of sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire qualify as torture.

(Hat tip: MCJ)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Seeking information

Dean might be going on a business trip to Durham, England, and I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the town that he should keep in mind. Is it safe? Is it in one of Bishop Nazir-Ali's "no-go" zones? I recall that it has a famous cathedral that would be worth visiting, but I worry about a stranger just accidentally wandering into dangerous situations.

You know, this would NEVER have occurred to me even 5 years ago. Then, the response would be "A trip to England? Wow!" Now, the whole idea of travelling to Europe is like travelling to the Middle East. I'd feel safer if Dean were going back to India.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Freedom of speech - an American concept?

Quick: Who said this?
"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value. "
No, it's not a line from The Great Dictator! (There, the actual line was "Frei sprechen SCHTUNK!") It was said by Canadian Human Rights Commission officer Mr. Dean Stacey. And it was uttered during the showtrial "Warman vs. Lemire" (hmmm, Warman...where have I heard THAT name before?)

Well, it goes to show how poorly Canadians know their own history. Ezra Levant was right, when he said that
We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada.
These are our 'ancient and inalienable freedoms', held by us before there even WAS an America. In the course of some reading today, I came across a poem by Tennyson:
You ask me, why, tho' ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist,
And languish for the purple seas.

It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land, where girt with friends or foes
A man may speak the thing he will,

A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent;

Where faction seldom gathers head,
But, by degrees to fullness wrought,
The strength of some diffusive thought
Hath time and space to work and spread.

Should banded unions persecute
Opinions, and induce a time
When single thought is civil crime,
And individual freedom mute,

Tho' power should make from land to land
The name of Britain trebly great --
Tho' every channel of the State
Should fill and choke with warm sand --

Yet waft me from the harbor-mouth,
Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky,
And I will see before I die
The palms and temples of the South.

Priestesses in the mist

The 'Citizen' doesn't have room for any stories about state interference with free speech, because they have to save room for things like this: 'The lost history of women as priests'.

According to the ever-so-daring-and-up-to-date theology professor Gary Macy from Santa Clara University in (where else?) California, there have always been women priests in the Catholic Church. We just sort of, er...misplaced them some time back in the 12th century. And now,
"The memory of ordained women has been nearly erased and, where it survived, it was dismissed as illusion or worse, delusion," he says in The Hidden History of Women's Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West, published in November by Oxford University Press. "This is a history that has been deliberately forgotten, intentionally marginalized and not infrequently, creatively explained away."
Ah, yes. The lost loveliness of the female Camelot, fading away into the mist of legend. I can't wait for the documentary, which, like this book, will be heralded as audacious and new by those who didn't catch its out-of-town tryout oh, about a generation ago.

"Anything you can consecrate / I can consecrate better! / I can consecrate anything / Better than you!" It's like 'The Fantasticks' - the "Women CAN TOO Be Priests!' show just runs and runs.

Macy depends upon the short attention span of the modern Western ignoramus for plausibility for his far-fetched fantasy. People just assume that since it happened a long time ago, naturally nobody can really know anything. But considering how obsessively the Catholic Church collected and saved documents, it requires "Da Vinci Code"-level suspension of disbelief to argue that there's been such a thorough coverup that NOTHING, ANYWHERE can be found to prove his thesis, outside some hoary old Pope Joan legends.

But I'm a Catholic, so I'm naturally suspicious. How can I mistrust "The scholar, who is an active Catholic"? Gee, not even a "devout Catholic"? Every time I've read a new "groundbreaking" thesis by one of these discontented crackpots, they're ALWAYS described as "devout". (It's never said who awards these designations, by the way - I always assume they're self-styled.)
The more women were vilified, the more church leaders hated and feared them. "It may be just that once you stop marrying and you're running the church, you just don't have enough contact with women.

"You can make them into the enemy. If you're married, you just can't do that. You see your wife every day, you see your daughters."
"Two legs bad! Four legs (in a bed) good!"
Mr. Macy believes women should be ordained to the Catholic priesthood, and acknowledges this view has coloured his book. "How could it not?"

For now, he plans to go back to his usual area, studying the medieval history of the eucharist. In the meantime, he hopes his book sparks a discussion on female priests today.
Because God knows, nobody, anywhere has ever dared to utter a peep on the subject before now!

The cone of silence

Still no news articles in the Canadian MSM about the Human Rights Commission attack on free speech. Nothing on Ezra Levant, even though the video of his appearance before the Alberta Inquisition HRC has been seen around the world, and even the foreigners are starting to notice what's going on up here. As someone has said, it's as if the Cone of Silence has descended upon Canada.

I suspect it's because of this:
Federal Liberal caucus chairman Anthony Rota says "we haven't picked a time to overthrow the government," but the official Opposition is ready for an election campaign, if and when the time is right to defeat the minority Conservatives after Parliament resumes next week.
The media are holding their breath and staying very silent about this, because they don't want the messy legacy of Trudeaupian "human rights" legislation to rile up the electorate, and remind them again of why they hate the Liberals.

But the Conservatives are just as silent, so they must also be afraid of offending the ethnic ghetto vote if an election is imminent. So the whole thing has become radioactive.

Papers, please

Another story, in yesterday's 'Citizen', illustrating how little dignity we citizens have before the bossy-boots flunkies of the State.

Arthur Milner was caught by a "National Capitol Commission officer" (what's that? Is that like a real policeman?) temporarily letting his dog off its leash to take a leak in the shrubbery. When he didn't display the proper attitude of cringing servility, the state enforcer upped the ante:
He said that he would let me off with a warning. I found that funny, though he wasn't smiling. I thanked him and started on my way. He said he needed to see some identification. I will try to recreate the dialogue:

Officer: I need to see some ID.

Me: I'm sorry?

Officer: I need to see identification.

Me: I thought I was getting a warning.

Officer: It's so I can make a record of it, in case you're caught again.

Me: I'll tell you my name and address.

Officer: How will I know if you're lying?

Me: You'll have to trust me.

Officer: You have to show me ID. I have the powers of a police officer.

Me: Having to show ID for having a puppy off leash feels too much like a police state.

Officer: It's the law. You have to.
When Milner left the officer, he was followed to his car. Milner wondered to himself, "Was it a bit of an exaggeration to describe as police-state-like his demand that I show ID?" No, I don't think that's an exaggeration. What if he didn't have any ID on him? I never take a wallet with me when I'm going for a walk - if Milner were a resident of the Golden Triangle, he might well have just left his house for a little walk along the canal. What would the officer do then? Arrest him for being without "papers"? We are required to carry our driver's licenses when we're operating a car, but Milner was outside on foot.

Now, here comes the clincher:
In mid-August, I received by mail a notice that I had been found guilty of an offence - "Possess Liquor" - and that the "Place of Offence" was "Rideau Ottawa."
So the officer was so careful, he demanded Milner's ID, but he was too careless to get the charge right!

Now, I know people are going to say, "Yes, but he WAS breaking the law by having his dog off the leash. So he was obliged to cooperate with an investigation." But the officer had told him he was giving him a warning - in effect, dismissing him. As far as Milner was concerned, there WAS no "investigation". The officer then changed his mind, and decided to punish him anyway, but he never told Milner that, so Milner was correct in thinking that the officer was going beyond what was justified.

The problem is, that the officer was a coward. He knew that he'd told the man he was giving him a warning, and then he changed his mind. He could have said, "You know what, smart guy? I'm going to give you a ticket after all!" But that would make him look like a jerk. So he decided he'd just pretend he'd never given the warning.

Everyone has heard the term "Mission creep". Well, what we have here is "Asshole creep". It's not the state of being both a creep and an asshole, though that might be true too, for all I know. Nor is it what your dog will do on the carpet if you don't keep up with the deworming medicine. No, it is the condition of "creeping assholery" which afflicts far too many little people who can't resist pushing other people around if they can possibly get away with it.

The judge in Milner's case was unsympathetic:
To say his worship had no sympathy would be an understatement. He refused to see a roughly contemporaneous photograph of George ("Big dog, little dog, makes no difference.") He didn't care about the time I'd wasted because of the incorrectly numbered ticket. And he was unimpressed by my reluctance to produce ID. He did not acknowledge in the slightest that there might be an issue of privacy; nor did it not strike him as absurd that I was required to show ID for walking an unleashed fuzzy puppy. In fact, he said (as I remember it): "You will get along better in life if you're more co-operative. You wasted the time of four RCMP officers. You're lucky you weren't charged with obstruction of justice."

"You will get along better in life if you're more co-operative." Isn't that pretty much the motto of all authoritarian regimes? It never occurred to the judge to wonder if Mr. Milner really wants to be in the place you'll "get along" to by grovelling every time you happen to catch the eye of a state employee. "I'm surprised you weren't charged with obstruction of justice." Me too. Actually, I'm surprised Mr. Milner wasn't tasered, and George too, just to teach them a lesson.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Irate letter

Dean got this in an email at work - I don't know if it really IS a genuine letter to the Passport Office, but honestly, there's no reason why it couldn't be!

Dear Mr. Minister,

I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this.

How is it that Radio Shack has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a t.v. cable from them back in 1997, and yet, the Federal Government is still asking me where I was born and on what date.

For Christ sakes, do you guys do this by hand?

My birth date you have on my social insurance card, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30 years. It is on my health insurance card, my driver's license, on the last eight goddamn passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the planes over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms that are done at election times.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my mother's name is Maryanne, my father's name is Robert and I'd be absolutely astounded if that ever changed between now and when I die!!!!!!

SHIT!

I apologize, Mr. Minister. I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you an' me, I've had enough of this bullshit! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my fuckin' address. What is going on? You have a gang of Neanderthals assholes workin' there!

Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to dig up Yasser Arafat, for shit sakes. I just want to go and park my ass on a sandy beach.

And would someone please tell me, why would you give a shit whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a chicken or a goat, believe you me, I'd sure
as hell not want to tell anyone!

Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the city and get another fuckin' copy of my birth certificate, to the tune of $60 !!!

Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day??

Nooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe make sense. You'd rather have us running all over the fuckin' place like chickens with our heads cut off, then find some asshole to confirm that it's really
me on the goddamn picture - you know, the one where we're not allowed to smile?!

(fuckin' morons)

Hey, you know why we can't smile? We're totally pissed off!

Signed - An Irate fucking Canadian Citizen.

P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture and getting someone to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in this country since 1776 when one of my forefathers took up arms against the
Americans. I have served in the military for something over 30 years and have had security clearances up the yingyang.

I was aide de camp to the lieutenant governor of our province for ten years and I have been doing volunteer work for the RCMP for about five years.

However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am - you know, someone like my doctor WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED IN COMMUNIST fucking CHINA!!!


Hamilton, Ontario Canada

(Hat tip also: Motley.com)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Aging well on television

In the course of a post on Canadian television, Kathy Shaidle writes
Seinfeld was actually criticized regularly for being "anti-Semitic" -- or, more precisely, for "making Jews look bad"/being "bad for the Jews". (I just finished editing a book on this subject, as a matter of fact.) I could never sit through a single episode, the characters were so unattractive (although Jerry and co. were cuddly Disney characters compared to the creeps on Curb Your Enthusiasm.)

I wouldn't go quite so far in denigration of 'Seinfeld' myself. There were a number of episodes I enjoyed, and they deserve credit for being politically incorrect and funny at the same time. The episode about the Cigar Store Indian carving is a particularly fond memory - just Jerry arriving unexpected at Elaine's apartment with it still under wraps (it was a surprise present) and greeting her assembled girlfriends: "Hello...Winona." You get a delightful feeling of dread at what is about to happen.

The way 'Seinfeld' has dated now, though, might have something to do with 9/11. I know that after that, I just couldn't stand to watch it anymore. Maybe a "show about nothing" just wasn't very interesting anymore, once our lives became so preoccupied with "something". I found the themes, the lines, the preoccupations of the characters just intolerably shallow. Sure, they were MEANT to be shallow. But I guess to everything there is a season; a time to be shallow and a time to be serious, and shallowness just stopped being entertaining for me.

It's interesting to look at old TV shows and see how they've dated. Some wear quite well: I'm still watching my dvds of 'Dr. Katz' and it's surprising that they've held up so well, since they're built around stand-up comedy routines, and those are often very ephemeral and reflective of their current time. I think the show still holds up because the Dr. Katz character himself hasn't dated - whatever his patients are talking about, he's the same impassive "receiver", and his reactions are normal and relatable for the viewer. I find that the center of the show has moved from the patients to Dr. Katz and his son; maybe it was always there, but when the show was new, I found I was more interested in the patients. Now they're the secondary characters.

But if you want to see something that's dated BADLY, watch "All In The Family". Oh my God. Talk about something you can't watch an entire episode of; I was passing through the channels the other day, and came across an episode, and I couldn't stand 5 minutes! I couldn't believe the utter HAMMINESS of Carroll O'Connor's performance. Ham, ham, ham. And to think, silent movie actors have to carry the rap of "over-acting" to compensate for the lack of sound. What would be Norman Lear's excuse? The long, long pauses between lines. The gesticulating. The facial contortions. The squalling delivery. "Broad" is not sufficient to describe this style of performance; "horizonless" would be more accurate. Yes, indeed, as far as aesthetics go, the 70s were the UGLIEST decade of the 20th century.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I knew it

Ezra Levant spills the beans on what triggered the complaint by Sayed Sowarhardy to the HRC and brought us all the sight of a free citizen forced to explain his deviant thinking thinking to the State.
The first time I met the complainant, the radical Muslim imam Syed Soharwardy, was when I debated him on CBC radio, nearly two years ago. The subject was the Danish cartoons.

As a part-time pundit, I do debates like that every week, but Soharwardy doesn't, and he wasn't used to being challenged so vigorously. I went about the rest of my day as usual; Soharwardy went to the police to ask them to arrest me.

They laughed him out of the police station, but the human rights commission welcomed him, and has chased me for two years now, using tax dollars and government bureaucrats.
Sowarhardy had his ass kicked before the whole world by a Jew. This is a case of (dum-dum-dum-dummmmmmm) JEWMILIATION! And of course, it must be avenged! (I'll take the opportunity to put here the one dirty joke I've ever written:
Q: Why don't Muslims go to Israeli steam baths?
A: Because they're the only ones who aren't JEWMUNGOUS!)
Ezra obligingly provides a scan of Sowarhardy's shakily scrawled complaint, but he neglects to inform you that this is, in fact, the second draft. The first one stated that as a result of his encounter with Mr. Levant, Sowarhardy's penis melted away, due to Zionist witchcraft. Some Osgoode Hall law students managed to persuade him to delete that section.

And now, we will close our broadcasting day with a poem by Chesterton, who in 1913 foresaw our present controversies:
A Song of Cosmopolitan Courage

I am so swift to seize affronts,
My spirit is so high,
Whoever has insulted me
Some foreigner must die.

I brought a libel action,
For The Times had called me "thief",
Against a paper in Bordeaux,
A paper called Le Juif

The Nation called me "cannibal"
I could not let it pass--
I got a retraction
From a journal in Alsace.

And when The Morning Post raked up
Some murders I'd devised,
A Polish organ of finance
At once apologised.

I know the charges varied much;
At times, I am afraid,
The Frankfurt Frank withdrew a charge
The Outlook had not made.

And what the true injustice
Of the Standard's words had been,
Was not correctly altered
In the Young Turk's Magazine.

I know it sounds confusing--
But as Mr. Lammle said,
The anger of a gentleman
Is boiling in my head.

A real scandal

I agree with Mark Steyn: it's about time the Justice Minister launched an investigation into the case of Richard Warman.

Richard Warman is a former employee of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, and we also knowthis:
Who has availed themselves of the "human rights" protected by Section XIII? In its entire history, over half of all cases have been brought by a sole "complainant," one Richard Warman. Indeed, Mr. Warman has been a plaintiff on every single Section XIII case before the federal "human rights" star chamber since 2002 — and he's won every one.
Section XIII is the "hate speech" section of the HRC's little empire. As Americans may not know (or believe), in these kangaroo courts, the plaintiff's costs are all borne by the government; the accused has to pay for his defence out of his own pocket. And if the HRC finds the accused guilty, they can levy fines against them, to the benefit of the plaintiff. Oh, did I say "if"? Sorry, I meant when. The HRC has a 100% conviction rate.

This looks SO crooked and SO bad, it's time for the Justice Department to start an investigation. I'd like to know a bit more about Richard Warman. Specifically, if he has any income besides the proceeds of these star-chamber trials? Does he actually work for a living? Or does he just wait until his bank balance is getting a little low, and then steer a pigeon towards his old buddies on the HRC for plucking? Considering his reputation as Never-Lose Warman, how many complaints may have been quietly settled in private between Richard Warman and his targets? Pay attention, Americans - this is what it would look like if you permanently handed a courtroom over to Al Sharpton.

And I'd like some investigation of his former colleagues, too. Why are they so obliging towards Richard Warman? Are there any kickbacks going on here? Audit them, too. If a lawyer became a judge, and then people began noticing that every case brought before him by his old law firm resulted in victory for his former colleagues, wouldn't there be a teeny bit of an uproar? What if a man left his job in Public Works, and started a company which happened to win EVERY contract it bid on - wouldn't that be sufficient to raise suspicions? Heck, I'll bet there'd be a Parliamentary inquiry in place within a week.

The final thing that takes away the benefit of the doubt from Richard Warman is this unbelievably foul experiment in entrapment. (Warning, inflammatory racist language!) Warman posted racist hate speech on a notorious pro-Nazi blog, then used HIS OWN POST as an excuse for lodging a complaint against the blog. And of course, his buddies on the HRC abetted him.

This is the kind of corrupt fakery I'd expect from Zimbabwe, not from a supposedly decent country like Canada. It's time to pull the plug on these human rights frauds once and for all.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

UPDATE: On Good Samaritan case in Manitoba

Sanity prevails. The judge in the case of Dallas Pruden-Wilson and Terrence Sinclair, convicted of beating and killing Adam Lecours, has rejected their spurious argument that it was the woman who witnessed the crime and called 911 who was responsible for the death of Lecours, not them. They will be sentenced tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Christmas nostalgia

My sister and I were talking the other day about the old Christmas decorations we had when we were kids. A few of them have survived, and she puts them on her tree every year. She mentioned that she still had the angel for the top of the tree, and described it as a sort of saccharine-looking doll. I vaguely remembered that, but I told her that there was an EARLIER angel for the top of the tree, that was very 1950s - a cardboard printed picture of an angel, rising out of a cloud of white fluff of some kind. She couldn't remember it, so I said I'd go on eBay and see if I could find a picture to jog her memory.

Unfortunately, MY memory is not that good, so I forgot to look it up. She beat me to the punch by being the first to send a picture of the later tree ornament:
Well, as soon as I saw the picture, I remembered it. I'd never felt very strongly about this angel - it seemed a bit twee, something out of the Holly Hobby era in style.

But the picture did spur me on to go on the search for the earlier angel, and it didn't take long before I found it:

Now THIS is an ANGEL! As with the other one, just seeing the picture triggered memories. Specifically, memories of how my mother terrified me with dire tales of what would happen to me if I touched it. No, not a spanking. She made great hay out of the fact that the cloud the angel was floating on was made of spun glass, and told me that this was the same stuff they used to insulate houses. It was so dangerous, if I touched it, the fibres could penetrate the skin on my fingers and work their way into my body. Furthermore, they would then migrate through my system to my lungs and KILL ME!!!

Now that I'm grown up (and I hadn't thought of that story since the angel disappeared from our Christmas tree in the late 60s) I can recognize that that tale drew heavily on horror stories about asbestos, mixed in with scares about pink insulation that were going around at that time, too. But of course, I believed every word!

David Warren on Kafka's Canada

David Warren has a very good article today on the continuing destruction of our freedoms by such "liberal" weapons as the Human Rights Commissions.

I'm glad to see that he mentions Danton - I've been thinking about Danton for a few weeks too, and trying to devise a blog entry dealing with him. It's easier now that someone else has taken the lead.
"La révolution dévore ses enfants," observed Georges Danton, the great French revolutionary, when he himself fell victim to the Revolutionary Terror. “The revolution eats its own children.”

Danton was a special case -- not in getting himself beheaded, which people did by the countless thousands in revolutionary France, but for the way he went down. What made him special was the component of his character that was not fanatic, but capable of moderation, and genuine reason. That was how he fell out with Robespierre, and the “extremer extremists.”

And let's not forget his famous words in his own defence after he himself had been arrested and brought before the Tribunal:
'It was a day like this I had the Revolutionary Tribunal set up, but I ask pardon for it from God and man; it was never meant to be the scourge of mankind. It was to avoid a repetition of the September massacres.'

A common refrain among revolutionaries. Our own Alan Borovoy, as yet in happier circumstances, laments
“During the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create (human rights) commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech.”

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ezra Levant and the Torturer's Horse

Our Canadian show trials are going on in a very Canadian style: soft-spoken, calm, quiet, shabby-genteel in a faded grey way with modern vinyl chairs and a bad painting on the wall. Ezra Levant, the publisher of the late Western Standard, has been summoned before the government to explain himself for publishing some cartoons that caught the eye of a guy who's an Offended Muslim for a living.

As Levant says, "I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock. She had done it dozens of times before, and will do it dozens of times again. In a way, that's more terrifying." Mrs. Shirlene McGovern, the apparatchik in charge of this stage of Levant's case, is not at all a frightening or sinister character. This is what Germany looked like in the late 1930s: an evil system stocked at all levels by ordinary, respectable, earnest citizens who were so compromised and corrupted by their involvement they could no longer see the bars on their cage. This is normalized degeneracy, soft and familiar.

As Auden wrote in 1938
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully
along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

This is Canada today, the way it was Europe in 1938. Our world is ending, one bureaucratic drip at a time, and the one thing everyone is sure of is that we're all terribly busy. Too busy to stop anything, too busy to notice, too busy to bother getting our emotions riled up.

Ms McGovern is not someone it's easy to hate and say, "THERE'S the villain!" She's the torturer's horse, doing what she's been hired to do, carrying the little load that's been assigned to her. She's as incapable of thinking outside her checklist of approved sentiments as the horse is of voluntarily changing direction and taking the torturer away from his victim. She's not the torturer herself, but she's the beast of burden that willingly carries him to his job of degrading and breaking human beings.

As Levant says, "She had done it dozens of times before, and will do it dozens of times again." Fascist states, totalitarian states, authoritarian states - they all run on people like this. Lots of them. It's when I see how unremarkable this whole exercise is that I realize how much of our freedom is gone and in such a short time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Uhh, did I hear a decision coming out?

Newsflash: The new Anglican bishop of Ottawa, John Chapman is going to make a decision on same-sex marriages "soon" - i.e., within seven months. That's when the Lambeth Conference is taking place, coincidentally, and seems to be the point at which time runs out for any more stalling. Either because all the bills will come due then when Anglican Communion collapses, or because after that, the truth will be SO plain, all the lying and coy pretending will pay no further dividends.
"I'm really hoping that, when we have an opportunity to look each other in the eye that, somehow we will find a way through so that more traditional-minded dioceses can live together with a more liberal-minded diocese under the same roof," he said.
Typical Canadian - always at least one investment cycle behind the U.S. Unfortunately for Chapman, we've already heard this "Gaze deep into my eyes" schtick before, and better, with practised brazenness from Mrs. Schori and Gene Robinson. So it's pretty stale by now, and everyone has had several years to see the wonderful results of all these bottled scorpion fights.

I feel the same way about Chapman's chin-rubbing act as I do about voters who say they "haven't made up their mind" who to vote for when they're interviewed standing in line at the polling station on Election Day. Basically, I don't believe him. He's trying to con people into thinking that he's weighing the issues, when what he's doing is sniffing around the marketplace, hunting for a deal that will get him what he wants at the best possible price. Lambeth isn't a place for finding the truth - it's a clerical Stock Exchange, where horsetrading and hard deals are driven.

The second half of the article deals with what Chris Johnson so aptly terms The Worst Thing Ever To Happen In The History Of Christianity - the migration of conservative Anglicans to less hostile climes. Archbishop Hiltz really can't get over his outrage that Archbishop Venables is wandering over ground Fred has already peed on. The article throws in a little strange, but ominous-sounding data on the Southern Cone:
Archbishop Gregory Venables is head of the Southern Cone area of the Anglican church, which has just 27,000 Anglicans amidst 70 million people in an area with six countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay) spread across five million square kilometres. Archbishop Venables has been turning his eyes to North America, and in November, he appointed two bishops in Canada to oversee a conservative breakaway Anglican faction.
I don't know just what the point of this is - a suggestion that Venables is trying to scrounge warm bodies to get his province up to a respectable size? Is it in danger of being closed, like an Ontario parish, if it doesn't get its weekly numbers up? "The argument from bigness" as Chesterton put it, is not one that the Anglican or Episcopal churches in North America are likely to win, even if it weren't simply being crude.

You can sense the baffled fury that the Archbishop of Canterbury isn't riding to the rescue on this one.
Nevertheless, Archdeacon Feheley's ire over the South American intrusion was apparent.

"It's a sacred trust that goes back centuries, respecting territories."
Yeah, we know the drill: Blah, blah, ancient customs, blah blah blah Council of Nicea, blah blah tradition-encrusted...you're a regular Church of the House of Usher, aren't you, mate?

And then the interview gets positively Screwtapian:
It's confusing to people. For one to say, 'I am 100-per-cent right and you are 100-per-cent wrong, and we'll come in and take over so your people will get it right,' that's just. ..."
At which point, the Archdeacon took the form of a large centipede, and had to dictate the rest of the interview to Assistant Under-Secretary Toadpipe.
Bishop Chapman said he had heard rumours of some Ottawa parishes leaving to join parallel church structures, but so far nobody has actually done it.

"I have yet to receive any hard data. I wonder, now that things are happening, if it's more fun talking about it than acting on it."
Well, we know what your type thinks is fun, Bishop - can't wait to see the postcards this July.

'The Envy of the World'™

For decades, Canadians have believed that the rest of the world is wildly envious of our socialized medical system. If this is true, it's just a reflection on how long it takes for the truth to percolate through delusion. To people who know anything about our dirty hospitals, our half-day waits in Emergency rooms, our lack of doctors, our sclerotic bureaucracy, Canada's system is an example of what to stay away from. Now the CMJ is advocating reducing the number of years we train our doctors, to combat the doctor shortage that comes of underpaying them and trapping them in a control economy.
Canada's top medical journal is raising the prospect that the country's medical students could spend less time in school to save time and money and help reduce a shortage of doctors.
My immediate feeling was "Uh-oh". It's not like we've got a pristine system running at 110% efficiency, and can afford to relax. Stories like this, as well as the SARS outbreak in Toronto's hospitals give all the signs of a frayed and overstretched system. So now we're going to push into the community doctors with LESS training?

I asked a friend in the US her opinion, since she's now interning and has almost completed the whole, lengthy process of becoming an MD. Naturally, she was much more eloquent and incisive than I could be, so I'm just going to post her email here:
The problem with trimming down medical school is that you'll basically end up with doctors who function at the physician-assistant level, and then there's no point to calling them "doctors." The major difference between physicians and mid-levels (PAs, nurse practictioners) is the amount of education devoted to understanding details of physiology and pathology. Mid-levels are taught to provide care in an algorithmic manner that doesn't necessarily require understanding of the disease process. This is very effective for common and minor complaints, and these people can be very helpful in seeing large numbers of patients. The problem comes when you have more complicated issues. I feel pretty strongly that even the 4-year medical education provides the minimum framework for understanding medicine. Considering that most specialists have 4 years of medical school, 3-4 years of residency, and 3-4 years of fellowship before they start to master one organ system, I think it would do the public a disservice to deploy groups of minimally-trained physicians. It's also important to remember that medicine is getting more and more complicated as our scientific knowledge expands. Most older physicians will say that when they went to med school, many of their courses had half (or less) the amount of material that they do today (the most dramatic examples would be pharmacology, immunology, and genetics). People grumble about there being too many specialists, but I think we are headed in a direction of needing those specialists as people live longer with more difficult medical issues.

It's also important to remember that part of medical-school training involves research--how to go about designing studies, analyzing data, and publishing findings. I'm sure a lot of people feel this could be cut, but even doctors who don't intend to do research need to know how to understand medical journals and publish their interesting clinical cases. As far as I know, PA/ARNP schools include very little of this training, and I don't see a good way to squeeze it into a condensed medical school curriculum.

This idea of shortened medical education has been proposed in the US too, and it has been shot down for the reasons I mentioned above. I think it would be more reasonable to try to train additional mid-levels to relieve some of the burden on the system. They are perfectly well qualified to deal with general medical issues with a supervising physician as a back-up. Trying to fast-track medical school would create more problems in the long-run as the competence level of doctors declined.

One thing I noticed about this story is that neither article - from the CMJ or from the Ottawa Citizen - included a single quote from a doctor opposed to reducing doctor's training. They feel it is enough to say that "nobody's complained", but I doubt that the average person even knows how many years of training his or her doctor has had, or how much is normal.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bathrooms, contd.

Yesterday I went back to the store to pick out colours, fixtures, taps, etc. One thing we're going to get is drains put in the middle of the floor of each bathroom. Honestly, I don't know why that's not a standard feature in ALL bathrooms. We have it in the laundry room, it seems to me just common sense to have an "emergency" drain wherever you have water. Of course, we always have to worry about James blocking up the shower drain just for fun, so we need it more than most, but anyone can have a water disaster in a bathroom. Pipes can break, toilets can overflow - Dean knows someone who had the water shut off in his neighbourhood for a few hours, and went out, not realizing that the taps in his bathroom had been left full on. While he was out, the water came back on, and by the time he got home, the whole bathroom was flooded - made the ceiling fall in the room below!

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my copy of the estimate with me when I came home, so I told Dean to just call and have them fax or email him a copy today, so he could see everything itemized. When the email came through, at first he didn't realize what it was. This is what it looked like:
From: jeffrey@xxxxxxxx.com
Sent: January 9, 2008 9:58 AM
To: Dean
Subject: house reno

Dean here is what me and your wife did on tuesday tks jeffrey
And it was followed by an attachment entitled with my name! It took Dean a few moments to realize that this was in fact a reply to his inquiry, and not just some particularly insulting form of spam!

More NFB shorts

Another old favourite is The Cat Came Back, based on an old Canadian folk song. I also like "The Log-Driver's Waltz" - I don't think that's quite as old a song, but I remember hearing it many years ago on the radio.

One short that I can't find online is "Hot Stuff", a terribly funny story about the history of man's use (and abuse) of fire. It starts off in caveman times, as the gods send the gift of fire to a freezing caveman. He carries the new invention to the cave to show his wife and starts to get a bit frisky (I think he calls her "Eve"), while she complains non-stop that she doesn't like it, it's too hot, and STOP IT! I'VE GOT TO GO WASH THE ROCKS! Then we see the great panorama of history as a torch-carrying representative of humanity passes through all the past ages, and fire changes, becoming tamed and controlled, used in engines, generators, electrical plants and finally...we come to the present day. And the representative of humanity is a grouchy couch potato watching TV, yelling at his wife not to call him Poopsie and he's MISSING HIS PROGRAM! Meanwhile the electrical circuits in the house are becoming more and more overloaded, and finally, disaster ensues.

As the world is engulfed in flame, the narrator intones "The gods were angry...again." And in a voiceover, one of the disgruntled gods reflects on this bad experiment: "Next time, we give the fire to the WOMAN!"

Monday, January 07, 2008

A bit of Canadiana

I've always disliked the Canadian obsession with creating "government agencies" to deal with everything, but the one that I have a weakness for is the National Film Board. Sure, they produce crap like all government agencies, but they also do put out some good animation, like the following:
I was surprised to see a date of 1991 on this little short - I thought I'd seen it when I was young, but I guess it's just that I'd heard the song years earlier. Anyway, this fits easily into the category of "Canadian classic" - a nice glimpse of a country that's rapidly disappearing.

Sigh of relief

The holidays ended today! Correction: the kids' holidays ended today. My holiday begins the moment they go back to school. Except for a few Thomas-James battles, when they went a little nuts from cabin fever, it wasn't a bad 2 weeks.

We're in a thaw right now, which is producing non-stop fog outside, along with reducing the height of the snow mountains around the driveway. This won't last, of course, but it's always tempting when this January warm spell arrives, to think that THIS year is going to be different, and we won't have to face -25C temperatures again. I was in the hardware store today, and just for a break, I drifted through the greenhouse section, to look at some nice green plants and African violets. They have the SEEDS out already! I didn't buy any, but I gave serious thought to a package of Chinese long bean seeds as well as some sweet peas. The first seed catalogues have already arrived, and I'm daydreaming about what to plant this spring.

To keep us busy until spring arrives, we've embarked upon bathroom renovations. We're going to get both bathrooms completely stripped and replaced with new fixtures and flooring - instead of a replacing the ancient (avocado green) bathtub with a new one, we've decided to go for one of these beautiful giant tub-sized shower enclosures with a built-in bench and glass doors - almost a Roman look to it. We figured that nobody in the house really goes for BATHS anymore, we all prefer showers, so why install something we're not really going to use? Anyway, I have to go back tomorrow to start picking out floor tiles and fixture colours - this will be fun. At least, until all the hammering and installing starts (later in February).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Book 'em

Coming to an Episcopal church near you:.
CAIRO: Farid Mesbaah, male belly dancer, hopped on a car in the Shobra District of Cairo and strutted his stuff.

He clanged metal castanets, magically converted his hips into pistons and twirled his head around like a centrifuge. The crowd seated at tables lining a dirt alley clapped rhythmically. Young men in jeans jumped up to wiggle along.

Mesbaah was performing at the opening of the Old-Time Moon Café, a gig that, along with weddings, birthdays, nightclubs and circumcisions, is typical for belly dancers.
Better hurry, Rowan - July is their busy month!