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    Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Looter Mayhem In New Orleans

    Stardate 4484.2

    It's well documented all over the news about the Hurricane, the death and the destruction. In times like this, mankind has a tendency to overcome their differences and help out where they can and how they can. It is a terrible tragedy that we all hope never hits home, but the fact of the matter is, it does. Thee are now feared to be hundreds of lives lost, and thousands of people with no homes because of the hurricane. No food, clothes or shelter.

    Some individuals seem to think that disasters like this are prime time for crime. It's suddenly open season on looting. Now I am not one for capital punishment and this is a good reason why. Some of the people in the disaster areas have to loot to stay alive. They need food, water, maybe clothing. Some other people are stealing beer, chips and jewelry and one of these types reportedly just shot a cop in the process. I would be inclined to suggest that they could be shot but then the problem arises where a person must have food and dry clothing and they get shot while the booze thief gets away....

    I can't believe that some humans lower themselves to the level of looting booze and jewelry at a time when others could seriously use their help. Thankfully, they will pay in the long run.

    May the looting thieves who capitalize on disaster and human misfortune lie rotting from a hideous, suffering death... It's more than they deserve.

    For the rest of us, here are a couple of places to donate:

    The Salvation Army

    Red Cross

    There are other charities as well, just Google around.

    Using the Media - Bad Form For Protesters?

    Stardate 4483.6

    Recently, I have seen a lot of nasty posts about how Cindy Sheehan has been "selling out" to the media because of the press pictures, and the press conferences and interviews. This photo is one of the ones that the Right is up in arms about, calling her a phony and everything else... because the press release shot is cropped to show her and the other person only.

    Well gee, the media is the biggest loudspeaker out there in the US for the Bush regime. Turn on FOX and you will see. So why is it okay for the Right to use the media, and not a peace-loving mother? Not only that, but the photos and the articles are supposed to be about Cindy and her mission, NOT the cameras, booms and the rest of that crap. So obviously they are cropped up. I will not forget the pic of the Iraqis joyfully tearing down the statue of Hussein... in fact, there was only a handful of closely guarded and surrounded Iraqis doing this. Outside of the photo, there was a beautiful ring of soldiers protecting the propoganda shoot. I can only imagien what would happen with all the wedding pictures, grad pictures and studio portraits if suddenly they left the background and the studio in the picture... WOW! Cry foul! All of hese situations are staged for some form of media.

    Last I heard, when you have a cause or a movement, or want to make a statement to the public, you *want* to get the press involved. So if you don't think she has the right to do the same as everyone else, think about it before bitching and calling names.

    Cussing in Class...

    Stardate 4482.6

    MSN - A school in Wellingborough, England, is allowing students to swear in class, and specifically AT teachers... but only up to 5 times a class. Yeah. That's how you teach respect to kids. Let them tell their teachers to F-off every 15 minutes...


    Tuesday, August 30, 2005

    Feelin' Groovy...

    Stardate 4479.5

    According to Yahoo, Art Garfunkel was recently pulled over in upstate New York for failing to come to a complete stop at a sign. As the officer approached his vehicle, he got a whiff of that devil weed and found one (1) joint in Art's ashtray. So again, Art is charged with possession, but this time, he had one (1) joint and not the six grams like he was busted with in January 2004...

    Pretty stupid laws if you ask me. One joint and lets decide how much it costs to process that charge... Oh forget it.

    I'm A Canadian So Why Should I Care?

    Stardate 4477.9

    I am Canadian. I am very proud to be Canadian in fact. I take a keen interest in the things happening in the world around me and I like to think I am open enough to understand that there is much more to the planet than just my own country. Of special interest is the history unfolding in the US right now. I think what is happening there affects a lot of people on our planet, and since I am right next door, I believe it is important to be one of the voices in the dark. After all, if nobody in Poland said anythig about Germany in the late 30's... well, okay. It was too late there, and nobody believed them anyhow...

    Some folks don't agree however. I have had several comments from people indicating this...

    "Hmm - now what can a liberal Canadian possibly know about right and wrong? About good and evil? About honor and country?
    Go back to paying your ultra high taxes for all your social programs and thank the USA for being your babysitters!"
    This is a very recent comment from someone in Oregon, on a blog I wrote about why finding Osama Bin Ladin was Bush's Main Objective in 2001 and why he doesn't care anymore... Now the thing I find very interesting is that this person assumes that liberals and Canadians, or even more specifically, Liberal Canadians, know nothing about right and wrong! Or good and evil! Or honor and country! So only conservatives and non-Canadians actually know these things? We were on the beaches at Juno. We have helped in many conflicts. Forever however, we have been the "strategic pawn" of the US, what with our sprawling borders, open to the Soviets and China... Why bother following your country into an unjustified invasion? We made the RIGHT choice. And you talk of Honor. Bah. That's as silly as saying Republican Christians are going to heaven and Democrat Christians are going to burn... Oh wait.

    The second part is almost numbing in its stupidity. The paultry sum of money I pay every month for Health Care pales by comparison to the fortune spent in the US on private Medicare and, OUCH, if you don't have any and break a leg! Oh, and if I can't pay it? Don't worry, the cost is covered. Education is one of our top priorities (that's edication y'all). We actually do believe that all kids should have schooling, and with government subsidized student loans, secondary education isn't too far behind. Perhaps our Welfare program needs some overhaul, but it is only some that abuse the system. It isn't the system itself that is bad... and as for babysitters... well that is simply infantile. I am scared about what is going to happen to OUR country because of the Administrations choices and direction in the US.

    So in the end, this person thinks that wanton invasion of muslim countries to exploit their natural resources and "capitalize" the peoples is good, right, and honorable? Wow. This is shocking coming from a hard-line right winger. And when I asked for his viewpoint, or a response to what my blog was about, I got nothing in return.

    "The fact that your canadian means you have no say about American politics lets all thank God for that."
    This kind Texan wrote this on a blog I did with some funny Bush quotes and a serious Douglas Adams quote. Admittedly, our last Prime Minister was not a linguist either, but it was because of a stroke, not genetics. It took me ages to understand why he kept raving on about "Elk Care"... However, this statement shows that this person wants no-one "butting in" on his own country's affairs. Of course, that is EXACTLY what the US is doing all over the planet, in the Middle East specifically, but of course, since their is no OIL in Africa where intervention is really needed, the motives are poor. My menial intervention is only here to point these things out. Again, I am concerned because of what can happen to OUR country. It already has with ludicrous treatment of the ONE MAD COW and the ensuing damage to Alberta's Beef Industry, but the Softwood lumber fiasco and NAFTA have been going on for eternity now. Talk about HONOR again... How about honoring that agreement? Of course I take an interest in US politics. Do I have "no say"? Well I am saying a hell of a lot right now aren't I?

    "Since when did the US need a reason to go fuck up the middle east. I thought thats what your friend michael moore is always bitching about."
    This amazingly intelligent comment was from the same Texan on a blog I wrote about Iran's lack of Nukes, and how the US will justify invading them... The first part is of course, classic. To me, it personifies someone who really does have no clue. Most of the woes and bitterness towards the US from many parts of the world is because of unwanted intervention in far off lands. The whole Iraq paradox is simple. If they hadn't invaded the country to begin with, the soldiers would not be getting killed by the resistance terrorists now. Of course, now, the US forces will stay in the country, to complete the job and honor the dead soldiers there... There's that word again. How about honoring them by pulling out and saving lives!!!

    The second is simply assumption with no thought. On my blog, there is NO mention of Michael Moore save his comment. Maybe this Texan read my Bio and saw that one of my favorite authors was in fact, Michael Moorcock. Well "hello" this is a different person... I have never seen his movie (though I would like to, I think) and I have browsed his website once very briefly. Once. But he is my friend. Why? Because I am a loonie lefty? Or because I was blogging about opposing an illegal war? Wait a minute... maybe protesting against the government's policies make a person a leftie, or a liberal or some other silly label simply because a righty or a blue elephant (there's some awesome symbology for you) or some other silly label has the power? What do you think happened to people in Germany who spoke out against the Nazis? THIS ISN'T NAZI GERMANY. Yet.

    It seems to me that many right wingers do not want to face the facts. Every time I propose a debate or pose a question, the answer is either unrelated, a verbal assault, or some feeble attempt to knock down my character to better themselves. I am not saying this is always the case, but it is the norm. I have seen this in comments on many other blogs... I have seen hatred towards fellow Americans from Americans that should be punishable as Hate Crime (look up Ann Coulter's book "How to talk to a liberal, if you must" which to me, is inciting disdain and prejudice. I mean, really, why not at least *try* to answer a question straight? Why beat around the bush? Bring up something utterly unrelated? Instead of yapping on about something I already know is wrong (like tieing 9-11 to Iraq) how about proposing a real answer? Why call a person names or belittle their thoughts?

    Because you either don't have any cards in your hand, or you are simply a blind sheep... fed through a FOX propoganda feeding tube with no self-thinking mechanism... So if you can't answer the question, or take part in a thoughtful debate, shut the hell up. I don't need a person repeating the lies and stupidity of their Chimp-like President to me.

    The fact that I am Canadian means I can view what is happening in the world from outside the little US menagerie. I can make my own judgements and decide what I think is right. I just wish more people opened their minds... or wore tinfoil hats... or stopped thinking about themselves, and began worrying more about MANKIND.

    I will always fight for Peace. That doesn't make me a traitor, a terrorist or a loonie lefty. There is no room on MY planet for warmongers... no matter their color, creed or religion.

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Musical Creation - "Jubilation"

    Stardate 4473.7

    I have now completed my 6th piece for the "Moodswings" album as seen in the left sidebar. It is a cheesy uptempo song with an almost disco-like feel... but perhaps some cheesy jubilation is what we all need nowadays!

    Jubilation (3:44)

    It was written and recorded by me using Guitar Pro software, and tweaked with Cool Edit Pro.

    All instrument tracks written by Zaphod.

    Osama Bin Hidin and George Doesn't Care...

    Stardate 4473.3

    I was merrily browsing through a few of my links, and I came across some quotes while reading Osama: Wanted Dead or Alive? on The Martian Anthropologist.

    Remember September 11th, 2001? I do. In fact, I have written about it, exposing some of my fears, thoughts and stages of emotion as that day, and future events unfolded... Well the attacks on the US that day were the impetous for the monumental "War on Terror" that began with the invasion of Afghanistan, and later became perverted and distorted into the War on Iraq (or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" as some call it to make an illegal war actually sounds nice).

    The quotes from The Martian's site are simple and quite clear in their meaning.

    "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." - George W. Bush (September 13, 2001)

    "I don't know where he is and I really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." - George W. Bush (March 13, 2003)
    I am starting to think that the President himself has become so deluded with his lies and lack of clear thinking that he has forgotten what the "War on Terror" was to begin with. It has become a "War to Obtain Oil" now, and it is quite clear that whatever glimmer of noble intentions were originally there, have become so transparent that they may as well be forgotten.

    Shame on him. Double shame on the people who continue to throw their hats in his ring, without stopping to think about what is really going on.

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    It Was..... Fun.

    Stardate 4470.0

    It's all over. The season is finished. No more diving catches. No more hits in the gap. No more sliding into second. No more bad hops. Another year of fun ball winds down, and though we didn't win the battle at the tournament today, it was still a ton of fun!

    Okay, the dirt.... First game was a tight one. If we lost, we played again right after. After a good rally at the end, we still lost by 2 runs. Felt pretty bad about that, but since we played right away, there wasn't much time to spare. The next game was key.... a loss leaves us packing up and going home, but a win would mean a 3rd game nearly right after the second one.

    Since this was it, I really wanted to win that second game. Get one last game before shuttting down for the season. But some good hitting, and maybe some bad throwing, and we ended up down by a lot. To add insult to injury, I had to slide into 2nd and luckily, I was safe, and th epinch runner I needed came around to score... Unluckily, I hurt the same knee again... Oh well. I was back in after an inning sitting off.

    It was still a blast, and thanks to Hoosier Daddy for coming and watching a little :D

    The Heat Is on

    Stardate 4468.1

    Today is gonna be a scorcher... It is early yet, but our game starts in just over an hour. Apparently, if we lose, we play again, right afterwards. By then, it's going to be at least 28 degrees out, and quite warm to be sure! Of course, I don't plan on losing :)

    My knee is killing me. I suspect there might be something with the collateral ligaments, but I am going to wrap the crap out of it before starting.

    Saturday, August 27, 2005

    One Down, Two or Three To Go

    Stardate 4464.1

    Well one game down. A win, 13-12. Albeit against a weaker team, but still, they came right back at us at the end. Up by one run, two runners on, two outs, and the flyball to me ended it. I already jammed my knee sliding for a grounder in the gap. Made the play, but it hurt like a bastich. Oh well, like I said, it's the last ball of the year, so it's "all or F-all" as far as I'm concerned :D

    Now we play at 11:00 tomorrow and maybe 12:30 after that. Looks to be a 2 or 3 game day :( Better bring the Tenser and Ibuprofin...

    Lovely Day For A Match...

    Stardate 4463.4

    It's a beautiful blue sunny day outside. 18 degrees already, and it is only 11 am. I thought it was a long weekend for some reason, but after finding out it is actually next weekend, and battling off the dissapointment, I decided to embrace this weekend for what it really is. IT is our Slo-Pitch league year-end tournament. Now I don't suggest our team is very good, but I say, it is jolly good fun going out and playing hard... In fact, last year, we came in 3rd or something in a massive 4 games in one day tourney. This one is spread out over two days at least, and promises to be a great time.

    It is always such a long haul until next year when the season is over. Too bad because I really enjoy playing and every chance I can, this will be my highlight reel playing for sure (since there is no more ball afterwards). First game is in just over an hour, so I gotta go for now.

    Cheers! And hopefully we kick some butt :D I am rather excited...

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters and 30 Ton Mega Elephants

    Stardate 4457.9

    Today is busy. Not just a normal busy, but a somewhat busier busy. We are having a largish open house type thing at the office today, to celebrate our Huge Grand Opening (last October actually) and there will be pigs roasting, music playing and drinks flowing. It all sounds pretty good, and in fact, I will be touching on the bit about drinks flowing soon enough. Because of this somewhat busier busyness today, I may post something else later but then again, I may not. So I thought I would skip out on the droll world of politics and the ever deepening gloom surrounding most of the planet's news, and devote this morning to the greatest drink in existence, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

    I will let The Guide take it away:

    Here's what the Encyclopedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based life forms.

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

    It says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.

    The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards.

    The Guide even tells you how you can mix one yourself.

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sells rather better than the Encyclopedia Galactica.

    Of course, The Guide also leaves you with one of the wisest statements in history, also created by Zaphod Beeblebrox...

    "Never drink more than two Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters unless you are a 30 ton mega-elephant with bronchial pneumonia..."

    Obviously, these words are extremely important, and should be adhered to strictly. We can begin to craft our own Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, though they will obviously not be quite as smashing as if they had been mixed by Zaphod himself... Some of the ingredients are hard to come by, but with tools such as Ebay at our disposal, how difficult can it be?

    1. Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.
    2. Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.
    3. Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
    4. Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it.
    5. Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qalactin Hypermint extract.
    6. Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger.
    7. Sprinkle Zamphuor.
    8. Add an olive.
    9. Drink . . . but . . . very carefully . . .

    Now keep in mind that nobody can be held responsible for your actions but yourself. If you are foolish enough to consume more than two of these drinks, you are suddenly somebody else's problem and should under no circumstances be allowed further drinks. That is the irony of it all.

    I'll let the phony Zaphod (he has only one head in case nobody noticed...) serve up the last drink, while I make my way towards cleaning my office for our busyness and such. Enjoy :)

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Poll - Intelligent Design vs Evolution

    Stardate 4454.0

    My new poll (on the main page sidebar) asks the question about where your beliefs lie in this ongoing debate.

    • Intelligent Design - In a nutshell, some Force like God or Hyper Intelligent Space Entities created everything. The arguement is that human DNA is far too complex to develop naturally.
    • Evolution - Man evolved from monkeys. Over billions of years, matter changed and eventually microbes were developed that grew into fish, bugs and people.
    • The Flying Spaghetti Monster - He creates everything with his Noodly Appendage.
    • Classic Adam and Eve - Adam was created by God, and Eve from Adam's rib. Once tempted by the Apple, they had a *lot* of kids... and they all had kids, and that is where we came from. This would explain the size of Prince Charles' ears...
    • Dunno - Some people have no idea, or simply don't care, so instead of leaving them out (like they should just not read the poll to begin with then) I feel they must be included...

    Those are the options. It is an interesting debate. I believe there is a slight mix of Evolution and Intelligent Design. Scientifically, things must adapt and evolve over time, or perish. However, something, some... thing, must have initiated the process at some point. Wait, what am I saying? Garrrrrr! The multiverse was created by His Noodlyness!

    The Word On My Template Is In

    Stardate 4453.6

    Well, after 20 votes (a huge pool I know), it would seem that 60% of folks like my new layout "Black Stunt Ship". This makes me happy since I spent soooo long designing it and working out the bugs :)

    There are a few hiccups from time to time loading, but I think all in all, it is quite slick. Apparently, a few jealous people don't like my mad skills hackery with html, or they just don't like the glowy green writing... Either way, I am happy with it, the majority of folks seem to be happy and I take this as an encouraging pat on the back! I see one poor bugger is still on dial-up. All I can say is... Sucks to be you MUAHAHAHA! Just kidding :D

    Thanks folks :)

    Be sure to check out the next poll... Maybe of a more serious nature.

    Deterrance vs. Avoidance

    Stardate 4452.8

    "We will win" the war on terrorism. By staying in Iraq, as long as it takes, and taking the war to the terrorists. Well, your in the wrong country to begin with George. All you have done is create a bunch of "terrorists" by occupying their country. All you are doing by staying there, is providing targets for the bad guys over there, instead of at home. In fact, why not let the "terrorists" blow the crap out of someone else's country! That's what you are doing. Great job.

    Deterrance is bad news. It never works. Deterrance creates more tension than it solves, and the odds of mistakes happening increase every day. Look at how bad the nuclear arms race was (and is becoming again) thanks to deterrance. How many times were we on the brink of holocaust? One itchy finger, or perhaps a technical glitch and, boom.

    Now the troops and occupation is a deterrance. This stops terrorists from attacking US soil. However, if the troops are gone, do they seriously think that the Iraqi resistance is going to jump on rafts, paddle across the ocean and "take the war to the US"? I think not. The bad news is the more troops that are sent to Iraq, and the Middle East, the more troops will die. The problem is not being solved but compounded.

    Maybe they should hang their heads in shame... and pull out now. Why not? They screwed up from the start. They invaded with false pretense, occupied a country to stabilize and restore it's economy and security and failed, and had no plan set to leave the country in any number of situations. They lost, and they are continuing to lose. Every "terrorist" killed will only create two more.

    But then they never think about WHY these people want to blow them up. Do they care? Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes I really think they don't. How to avoid it? That is a very tough thought now. Maybe it's too late, but they can most certainly avoid inflaming the situation. Stay out of Iran. Back off greedy Oil interests and above all, STOP forcing Western ideology and religion on people around the world. Fact is, some people don't want to live like Americans.

    *** UPDATED ***

    Wow, I just found this excellent piece by an Intelligence expert...

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Heavy Metal Created By The Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Stardate 4448.7

    I was amazed to find out that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is actually a great fan of metal music. Indeed, his noodly appendage reached out and touched my guitar to bless my music...
    Somehow, I find it ironic that I was playing "Master of Puppets" by Metallica when he appeared before me.

    Now a task has been bequeathed upon me by his noodliness, so I must endeavour to write an epic 14 minute song based on the correct methodology of cooking pasta humanely and the proper etiquette to be used when eating noodly food using only a teaspoon. All of this to a driving power metal beat.

    He seems to have a thing for stringed instruments, perhaps stemming from the fact that he created electric guitar strings partly in his own image...

    We can see by comparing these two images, that of the pasta noodles here, and the two close-ups of various electric guitar strings, that The Flying Spaghetti Monster, in his noodly greatness, did in fact create electric guitar strings in his own image. This shows his greatness and admiration for not only electric guitar, but metal music in general.

    Notice how He subtly shapes the strings after each noodle with meticulous detail. This is the painstaking efforts He takes when creating anything. In fact, some metal bands have even written their own songs to noodlism.

    If you can, be sure to check out "Kraf Dinner" by Annihilator on their Never, Neverland album. It is an ode to the struggling musician and how they are sustained through the Will of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Cupboard's bare, I'm so hungry
    Life ain't fair, gimme some money
    Macaroni maniac, a cheddar cheese heart attack
    I love, I love, I love, I Love:KRAF DINNER
    Boiling water, I can't wait
    It's getting hotter, it feels so great
    Macaroni maniac, a cheddar cheese heart attack
    Repeat Chorus
    Well that was fun, but now that I'm all done
    Now sedate, I think I'll buy a crate
    Macaroni maniac, a cheddar cheese heart attack
    Repeat Chorus
    Kraf Dinner
    Kraf Dinner
    My Dinner
    I want it now

    Protesting Weakens US

    Stardate 4447.7

    George keeps on saying it... All of these protests are weakening the image of the Mighty US. It is endangering the troops, and most definately does *not* represent the views of a majority of families.

    Why does protesting do this? Lets analize this. The protests are weakening the image of the US because if they bring their boys home right now, then the terrorists win. Lets look deeper at that. The "terrorists" (I will call them all that since most people will understand that way) just want us out of their damn country. It's not losing. The US has already done that. Now it is a matter of pride... As Newsfare points out, the only reason they are still fighting is to stand up for what the dead soldiers died for (whatever that is).

    Endangering the troops? I think they are in enough danger right now. "Staying the Course" is killing more soldiers every day, than before the day when the war was "Won and done with". The longer they stay there, the more danger they are in. Don't get me wrong. Everyone gasps when there is news of soldiers dying... Well wake up. That's their job. That's what war and conflict is all about. If the US wants to be the big bully, their boys are gonna pay for it, not George. I support the action of all the troops in peace keeping efforts, and I truly despair for the soldiers caught over there now, without a clear mission or idea why they are even there. So how does leaving endanger the troops? Of course, immediate withdrawl of troops NOW would be tactically terrible, and highly unlikely. The country already ravaged by the invasion and occupation would likely crumble into civil war and disarray... Oh wait, that may be coming anyhow, even with all of the bountiful help given by the US. But they must eventually move out. The sooner the better, in my opinion.

    And the last point... the majority of families don't agree? Wake up George. Your popularity is slipping down like a slicked up pig on a waterslide. Check out this mighty poll (we know how accurate these things are... Looks like you are right as usual George... no pun intended. A policy based on Peace and Diplomacy rather than military aggression and greed? Hmmm.

    So I say, protest this. If you are a thinking person, protest the war. Protest the next war. Protest a government that bullies, cheats and lies it's way across the world. After all, that is what FREEDOM OF SPEECH is about. So really, Protesting only weakens the US Administration.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Taking Control of the Softwood Lumber Issue...

    Stardate 4443.7

    CTV - Canada considers trade tariffs on U.S. exports

    Recently, NAFTA ruled in favor of Canada's side on the softwood lumber issue. The US however, has taken matters into their own hands and refused to accept this ruling. Now, the Federal government is considering putting tariffs on U.S. exports in retaliation... This could of course, bloom into a massive cross-border trade war, but then maybe this is what we need. But then how long can we go on being the "underdog" in our trade relationship that is supposed to be fair and free?

    U.S. Customs has collected $5 billion in duties since May 2002, when American trade officials concluded Canadian softwood imports were subsidized. Canada has claimed victory in numerous NAFTA and WTO appeals but the United States has shown no inclination to lift the duties and return the money.
    I think it's time for payback. Either we invade the U.S. with military force, and a lot of beer, or we start hittign back with tariffs. Maybe we ought to turn the water off for a while...

    Killing For Jesus

    Stardate 4443.0

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross." --Sinclair Lewis (1935) (From The Bulldog Manifesto)
    According to Jesus, Assassination is cheaper than war. This news comes at a time when our kids already look up to National leaders, and see warmongers, liars, greed and corruption. So now, high profile "religious" folk, or perhaps EXTREME CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS are going to go around saying that murder is A-Okay! I was never one for those loudmouthed Televangalist shows... To me, it was all about the show, and the personality, rather than the faith and religion. Again, Capitalism at it's finest... But now.

    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a “terrific danger” to the United States.
    Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on “The 700 Club” it was the United States’ duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a “launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.”
    Hypocrites! I can't believe this! Muslim extremism? Communist infiltration? How about Paranoia and television ratings?

    “We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” Robertson said.
    How come this arse isn't in the White House? He would fit right in. If the government and it's Religious backers begins to condone assassination and murder of foreigners (they already decide who should lead foreign countries) how long before they decide whether it's okay to assassinate or eliminate their own citizens? Malcontents? Opposition?

    At any rate, I don't think anybody should could take this guy seriously. After all, Christians are good guys. In fact, somewhere, there is a quaint idea that says somethign similar to "Thou shall not kill"...

    Reporting Live... From A Massive Weed Bust

    Stardate 4442.5

    My friend, let's call him Phil to maintain a certain level of ananominimity, sent me this video clip which I thought was quite funny... Click the image.

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Alberta... Proud to Live Here

    Stardate 4439.0

    There are a lot of reasons I don't like living in Alberta. Most of these are not actually anything to do with Alberta, rather they are things relatively beyond my control, such as the frigid winter weather and months of crummy snow, Ralph Klein, the Edmonton Oilers... or the Daines Country Music Picnic...

    But I digress. I love the countryside. Within a few hours you can be driving in many different landscapes, from rolling wheat fields in the south, to pine covered foothills in the north. From the majesty and raw might of the Rocky Mountains to the flat lands in the east. We boast some of the most scenic National Parks in the country, and if you get a chance to see the Badlands, it is well worth it. The Royal Tyrrell Museum near Drumheller is a host of information on Dinosaurs, and there are many other awesome museums in both Calgary, Edmonton, and scattered throughout the Province.

    There is just something about camping in Alberta. I like the Provincial campgrounds the most, as they are well maintained and supplied, and for a reasonable price, you get an actual treed spot, mostly concealed from your neighbours and the prying eyes of a plethora of squirrels... The smells of cookfires... Beef. Mmmm. Alberta beef is without a doubt, the BEST in the world. And when it is barbequed, there is nothing quite like it. The people are nearly always friendly, and it is great fun enjoying the lakes and rivers all over the province.

    If you want to play softball, well Alberta has some of the biggest Slo-Pitch communities out there. Curling, hockey, golf. It is all here. This is the sort of place that folks come to from all over the world, for holidays or business alike!

    This year marks our Centennial, and I am sure that soon, celebrations will be in full force. September 1st is the big day, and I will be watching to see if there is anything awesome to report on. So come and check us out. Before it gets cold again :D

    Staying the Course

    Stardate 4437.8

    "Staying the course" in Iraq. This is all I hear George say.

    What does that mean? Okay, for the Admin it likely means, "we are up shit creek without a paddle so this is our plan...". Well it's kind of sketchy at best. Basically, they are going to continue to occupy Iraq for an indefinate period of time (okay, they SAY 4 more years...). Until it stabilizes and they can protect and govern themselves? I think that will be a very long time indeed, as long as the occupation continues. It's almost a Catch 22. If you pull out now, you suffer heinous embarrasment in the eyes of the world, and admit defeat to the "Axis of Evil" as they are so quaintly named. If you stay, the resistance will only intensify, leaving the country in even greater chaos for Bob knows how long.

    Either way, you lose.

    What does it mean to me? A phrase designed to cover up the fact that they are in way over their heads. They have no plan to finish the job, get out and leave the people in peace. They don't have the manpower to continue and strengthen the military presence there. They are FUBAR. It is a lame attempt to justify the fact that civilians and US troops are still dying every day.

    It's a feeble excuse.

    What does it mean to soldiers? Perhaps they are already confused? I read reports that guys there don't even know why they are there. Some (maybe many) don't want to be there. No doubt. If you don't see why you are there, and your buddies keep getting blown up, why would you want to be there? They obviously need more men there (though they are running alarmingly thin), as might always solved everything right?


    What does it mean to Iraqis? Well who knows. Unemployment is killer. There is sporadic power at best, unless you are fortunate enough to live in the US occupied Green Zone, where they even have air conditioning and backup generators 24/7. It would be great to work in the oilfield, but then the best jobs are all being done by contractors padding the pocket of, well, we all know who. So maybe it means that there will be more soldiers around for an indefinate period of time. Maybe it means that the chance of getting blown up on the way to school by a bomb is even greater. Maybe it means they could be free just like us...

    Maybe they don't want to be.

    So what does it REALLY mean to the US admin? Well on one side, it is a group of good ol' boys trying to convince themselves they do no wrong, and that everything will be fine at some undefined point in the future. The fact that they won't admit they fucked up is disturbing to say the least, but to continue to treat the US public, and the rest of the world as if they were half-wits by reiterating the usual pigswill about Al-Qaeda, and WMDs, and 9-11 and protecting the US, and "Staying the course" is numbing. Protests are growing in strength and number every day. Even Republicans are speaking out against this war as a "mistake".

    They have few options. This *is* Vietnam of the 21st century.

    "Staying the course" could mean, "let's hang on until the next election, then it's somebody else's problem"...

    Well tell that to the parents, wives, husbands, sons, daughters and friends of the soldiers and civilians that WILL die in the next 4 years of staying the course.

    Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Tiriel d'Arc - New Painted Miniature

    Stardate 4430.6

    I have finally finished a miniature after several months of non-interest and being way too busy. This is Tiriel from Hasslefree Miniatures. She stands around 28mm.

    I have painted her using metallics and ink washes to achieve a tarnished armor look. The base is sculpted from greenstuff and painted like rock. You can see more pictures of her on My Site. I will be auctioning her on Ebay tomorrow :)

    *** UPDATED ***

    She is up for auction on Ebay NOW!

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Thousands of Cars and a Million Guitars...

    Stardate 4424.3

    Thousands of Cars and a Million Guitars
    Screaming with power in the air...
    We've found the place where the decibals race
    This army of Rock will be there...

    Got the tickets for Priest. Sadly, I had to go out in the field on a job (only happens like 3 times a year) so I didn't get killer seats, but really, ANY seats are awesome!

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Honestly, WHY Did the US Invade Iraq?

    Stardate 4419.6

    As questioned emphatically by The Martian Anthropologist, and as I mention in my personal statement on politics, a good question to ask is *why* the US invaded Iraq. The logical choice would be "to free the oppressed people of Iraq"... but then we can see that half of Africa is under the rule of dictators and really oppressive regimes. We have almost definitive proof now that it has nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks, or Osama bin Ladin, and it is hard to justify invading and occupying a country just to depose the leader (whom was an ally at one point, and then was not at another...) at the incredible cost of life we have seen.

    So when the right-wing hardliners drudge up their dirt on activists opposing this war, and call them traitors, and almost any other name imagineable, why can't they answer the ONE question that everyone already knows the answer to? Any answers?

    *** UPDATED ***
    I posted my answer in the comments... what about everyone else?

    Support Cindy Sheehan - Say NO to War

    Stardate 4417.7
    The results are in from my recent poll regarding Cindy Sheehan's vigil. It would seem that pretty much 2 out of 3 people support her efforts for one reason or another, and a small handful either don't care, or don't actually read or watch any news or blogs...

    I find it funny that the media campaign to smear her character is so intense, yet to me, it seems like a losing battle. Almost like the big bully calling names because he knows he is losing his friends. The latest efforts to tie in her divorce ar epretty low I must say, especially when you consider that they have been separated long before this vigil, and that the number of marriages ending in divorce nowadays is a *gasp* whopping 38% in the US.

    I understand now that my support lies with the fact that she is single-handedly spearheading an anti-war campaign for a war that was immoral and based on a whole ton of crap. Frankly, I know many people have lost sons, daughters and brothers and sisters, and fathers and mothers... I believe that has little to do with this now. It is about acting against the war, and making the administration accountable. It is about preventing another identical conflict in the next country over... For people to actually start "Support the war" efforts means they are supporting a President and an administration that lies to them or covers up the truth and their own mistakes with no remorse.

    Don't get me wrong. I fully support all troops from all nations that have been thrust into this and other conflicts. For the most part, they have no choice, but to do what they are told. The loss of human life in this war is amazing, and most likely covered up completely by the media. With over 100,000 Iraqi CIVILIANS dead, and 2000 US soldiers, not to mention many other nations' people, is it something that you could jump up and say "I support this War! I support George W. Bush!"?

    Not me.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    The Worst Movie Ever... Period.

    Stardate 4515.6

    The worst movie I have ever seen period, has got to be Ankle Biters (2002). Now don't get me wrong, it is an unfair judgement on this movie because I only watched the first 8 minutes (including the opening credits...). Currently on IMDB, it is rated at 1.4 out of 10. I was alarmed to see the actual mean score was 2.6 however. If you break these numbers down by checking the votes, you will notice an alarming trend. Out of 125 votes, 91 are a 1. The next biggest group is 16 votes for 10 and frankly, I have to diregard those votes as either total joke votes, or votes coming from an extremely drunken monkey. So in reality, it would be rated at the 1.4 out of 10 shown by the weighted vote. Now, I will recount the events of the evening that I watched 8 minutes of this movie...

    I sat down on the couch with my wife, to watch a scary movie together. I hadn't seen the packaging in the rental shop, but judging from the name and the scant information on the side of the plastic case, I had a bad feeling about the movie. Honestly, I can't remember if there were previews or not, as it has been several years, and I have tried to erase this memory from my brain. I imagine I had slipped out for some "air" or perhaps to get some munchies before the movie started. Well at any rate, the movie started. It looked as though someone was walking around with a blurry camera at first, and then it cleared up a bit (or my eyes adjusted by staring into the wall beyond the television) but the shaky camera man was still guilty. Then these guys were on some train tracks. I wasn't sure what was going on and since the movie had just begun, I thought it would sort of explain as it was going. Then there were some pecks, I mean midgets, er short folks... looked like a biker sorta gangster get up or something. I remember saying to my wife that we were gonna be in for a special treat with this movie... The short folks er midgets, might have had guns but it didn't matter since they were like Vampires! So we had a movie about midget, biker, gangster vampires that grunted a lot, and some other dudes that apparently were in for a rough time... I can't remember if there was a cool fight or not because I was laughing really hard. And it didn't really matter anyhow.
    At this point, I turned to my wife and honestly asked "are you going to be mad if I don't stay and watch this movie?" Her reply was "no."
    There were some other guys with guns fighting now, and then the midget, biker, gangster vampires who grunted a lot, killed them and it cut to an old house scene. Nothing fancy, just a typical alley, scummy house scene. Did I mention that these were undoubtedly the worst actors i have ever seen? It was like a guy was filming the movie with his home camera, and all his stoned buddies were acting in it (I didn't say acting did I?), and they were making up the story and script as they were shooting... Anyhow, the midget, biker, gangster vampires who grunted a lot knocked on the door and this dumb guy who forgot his lines stood there... The midget, biker, gangster vampires who grunted a lot simply grunted and growled at him then killed him (I think because I got up and left after saying somethng pathetic like "sorry honey, I really wanted to watch a movie with you but this is terrible...").
    The best part was that after she chuckled and said it was okay for me to leave, she lasted about another 3 minutes before she turned it all off and left as well.

    No offence to any of the actors, writers or workers inthis movie... nothing personal. Okay wait, you all suck for making us waste $5 on a New Release...

    Unbiased News vs Political Agenda Reporting

    Stardate 4413.6

    For years I have watched either Canada AM on CTV or the CTV Newsnet channel before going to work. I have always enjoyed watching these shows, and I find that the reporters and more specifically, the hosts, lay international news out in such a fashion as to make you feel as though you are getting two things specifically:
    • The correct and unbiased story...
    • A sense that the host actually cares about what they are reporting...

    When Valeri Pringle, Marci Ien, Ravi Baichwal, Dan Matheson or Seamus O'Regan are interviewing someone in a disaster area, or a location in conflict, they instill real emotion and concern, not just for the person they are talking to, but for everyone there. There is no smearing, no name-calling or assumptions, and most noticeably, they do not put words in the mouth of the person they are interviewing.When they are reporting on current events, or news from around the globe, they do so to lay the facts on the table. There are no political backings or motivations involved... It is news from a Canadian "outside" standpoint.

    Lately, due to having no television at home now, I have been watching a lot of stuff on the internet, specifically FOX and CNN. These guys (I will name nobody because any self-thinking person can figure it out for themselves) are almost blatant in their mode of propaganda delivery. Either they belittle or smear the person they are interviewing or talking about, or they talk over them, in order to make the person panic and say what they do not want to say. The motives behind their reporting, simply put, do neither of the two things that CTV news does. Just the opposite. They have an agenda to adhere to, and the honest and unbiased reporting of news and events is plain. In fact, watching some of these people in action literally makes me sick to my stomach. I often wonder if they cloned Goebbels to direct their programming... These same jerks would rather reduce their "reporting" to name calling and finger pointing, and drudge digging like you would expect from a two bit television talk show. It is pathetic and sad that so many people watch this crap every day, and eat it up like Fenway park hot dogs...

    The point of true journalism is to report facts with commentary. When the commentary takes precedence over the facts, then there is something inherently wrong. When political agenda distorts the facts or the presentation of the facts, then there is something terribly wrong. Suddenly, there is no accountability.

    If you want to watch *real* news with feeling and honesty, please, for the sake of all humanity, watch CTV news.

    Turmoil Over Governor-General To Be's Past

    Stardate 4413.0

    CTV - Harper calls on MArtin to clear the air on Jean

    Seems like quite the debate now about the Governor-General designate Michaelle Jean... Apparently, Mr. Harper is terrified about the idea that she may have been involved in a documentary with well-known Quebec separatists made by her husband about 12 years ago...

    Of course, Paul Martin insists she and her husband are both great Canadians and she is deserving of the post.

    "(Jean and her husband Daniel Lafond) both chose to be citizens of Canada, to come here and to adopt our country as their own," Scott Reid, chief spokesman for the prime minister said.
    Strangely, however, she has said nothing regarding this matter, except that appearing on television or issuing an official statement regardign these accusations would not be "astute". In her new posting as of September 27th, Jean would become Canada's de facto head of state as well as the Commander-in-chief of the Canadian military.

    Personally, I would have gone with William Shatner as the new Governor General... :) There's a guy who knows how to lead, and... oh wait. He's an actor. Guess that doesn't stop anyone anymore though, does it :D

    I think she had best get the word out now, before this situation becomes too inflamed...

    *** UPDATED ***

    Ask and you shall receive. This is just in from Inkless Wells on


    August 17, 2005

    By Michaëlle JeanGovernor General Designate

    I am deeply touched and wish to thank all those who have so warmly greeted the news of my recent nomination to the office of Governor General of Canada. Others have questioned my attachment to Canada and that of my husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond.
    I want to tell you unequivocally that both he and I are proud to be Canadians and that we have the greatest respect for the institutions of our country. We are fully committed to Canada. I would not have accepted this position otherwise.
    We are equally proud of the attachment to Quebec that we have always shown beyond any partisan considerations. Let me be clear: we have never belonged to a political party or the separatist movement.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Intelligent Design Revisited... Sorta

    Stardate 4412.5

    Thanks to Jeff from the Anthill for this link.

    The Onion - Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New "Intelligent Falling Theory"
    "Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
    Heh... I urge you to read this article. Humor like this is needed now more than ever :)

    Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977)

    Stardate 4409.4

    Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977)

    Today is the 28th anniversary of the passing of the King of Rock'n'Roll. I grew up listening to a lot of Elvis, and my first album ever was "Elvis is Back" which was his first recording after returning from serving in Germany. After listening to this over and over I gradually developed a keen taste and collected dozens of his albums. I was 7 when he died, but still, his passing had affected me as it did so many others. His music goes on strong, even today, and listening to a few of his more passionate songs like "If I Can Dream" could really help people today in the world of conflict we live in.

    Elvis was born on January 8th, 1935 and passed away on August 16th, 1977. In his career, he recorded literally hundreds of albums and singles, starred in 33 successful films and performed many shows all over the world. It is estimated that he has sold over 1 billion albums worldwide.

    No Nukes? How Are They Gonna Justify Invading Iran Now?

    Stardate 4408.0

    In light of recent tensions between Iran and several fronts, I think it is interesting that there may again be little fact in the accusations being lobbed around. European nations are attempting a dialogue approach to Iran and their nuclear program, and the US as usual, is flapping it's fist at them with threats of military force if they don't shut down. On that thought, maybe it's time they grew up and followed Europe's lead...

    Now way back when... there were UN weapons inspectors in Iraq and they were really finding a whole ton of nothing, when the US "suggested" they leave immediately before they were even done. Of course we now know there were no WMDs, or a secret super hi-tech nuke building factory but this time, the inspectors are doing their job much faster!

    UK Independent - UN nuclear watchdog rebuts claims that Iran is trying to make A-bomb...
    So now what? In my opinion, an invasion if Iran is already in the books for Georgeco... so I guess they will have to make up something again. Of course, I certainly hope the IAEA is correct.

    If I was the US, I would be far more worried about Saudi Arabia (who was much more likely behind the Al Qaeda attacks of 9-11) and Pakistan (who just launched their first missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload)...

    "Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams
    I think this goes for almost everyone these days...

    Disrespecting the Dead

    Stardate 4407.5

    Disagreeing with someone's views and beliefs is one thing, but this is totally uncalled for...

    Late Monday, a pickup truck tore through rows of white crosses that stretched about two-tenths of a mile along the side of the road at the Crawford camp. The crosses bore the names of fallen U.S. soldiers. No one was hurt.

    From an MSN article... Wonder if it was our shotgun wielding yahoo...

    Just to add to this, these soldiers died to supposedly protect the freedoms of Americans (even shotgun wielding Texans) so where does this new tactic come from? If I was a right winger, I would give up on bashing the left on this issue. Based on religion and politics, they simply have no legs to stand on in my opinion...

    *** UPDATED ***

    Apparently, it was a 59 year old named Larry Northern. He has been charged with Vandalism.

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    Black Stunt Ship A-Go-Go

    Stardate 4405.6

    Alright! I hereby release my own template design "Black Stunt Ship" to the world. It should work now in IE as well as Firefox. The name is inspired heavily by Hotblack Desiato's rock band "Disaster Area" and the black stunt ship they use to dive into the sun at the height of their show.

    Special thanks to Media Girl for checking the new code in several browsers unavailable to myself!

    If there are ANY problems viewing this page now (apart from the slight load time) let me know.

    Modern Popular Thinking

    Stardate 4404.8

    "Part of his brain told him that he knew perfectly well what he was looking at and what the shapes represented while another quite sensibly refused to countenance the idea and abdicated responsibility for any further thinking in that direction." - Douglas Adams

    Redneck Rampage Crawford Style

    Stardate 4404.0

    CTV - CRAWFORD, Texas — Undaunted by counter rallies and even a neighbour's gunshot blasts into the air, a woman whose son died in Iraq said she will continue her anti-war demonstration near President George W. Bush's ranch for three more weeks.

    Her camp along the road to Bush's ranch now numbers more than a hundred, with countless others stopping in to lend support. Even Viggo Mortensen stayed to show his support and disdain for the war. It is amazing how many people are supporting her, and how other television "personalities" wanted to have their own anti-vigil and lasted for a whopping half an hour... Wow! I bet that showed those rascally protesters eh Mike?

    On Sunday, as about 60 in Sheehan's group held a religious service, Bush neighbour Larry Mattlage fired his shotgun twice into the air. Sheriff's deputies and Secret Service agents rushed to his house but did not arrest him.
    "I ain't threatening nobody, and I ain't pointing a gun at nobody,'' Mattlage said. "This is Texas.''
    Mattlage said he was initially sympathetic toward the demonstrators, but that they have blocked roads in the area and caused traffic problems.
    He said he fired his gun in preparation for the dove-hunting season, but when asked if he had another motive, he replied: "Figure it out for yourself.''

    You know what? This guy is an idiot. They are demonstrating peacefully, for peace, and he has to go blowing shots off like some sort of Quick Draw McGraw cowboy... This is extremely disrespectful, and I gotta say, for a guy who is in the spotlight, he sure didn't set up a good image of himself. Dove hunting? Some may say that is ironic, but I say it is simply moronic. Traffic problems? Gimme a break. Yeah it's Texas alright... So that makes it okay to be an asshole. I guess only Texans (and about half of Albertans) would think he "dint mean no harm"... Maybe he just wants to be on tv too.

    So what is the next step? Well, Cindy has invited George to a prayer vigil on Friday at noon, to pray for the troops. Since he has nothing "official" on his schedule he really ought to do the right thing and show up. Well, maybe he has more pesky brush to clear from his land...

    Remember, I think that obviously, this is no longer about the loss of her son. That is history. Now it is about accountability. Who cares who is backing her? The fact of the matter is that she has 10 times the balls of everyone else for actually standing up to this Administration and doing something about it. And remember, speaking out against a policy or something you don't agree with is just fine, unless you live in a Fascist regime...

    Don't forget about the poll on Cindy's vigil... It is more about opposing the war than anything else.

    Sunday, August 14, 2005

    The Angel Gabriel for President

    Stardate 4402.5

    "Two mice... fell in a bucket of cream..."

    It would seem that Mr. Walken is running for office.

    Heck why not. If he has a solid campaign platform... and Arnie can be Governor... and Jesse Ventura :P

    I *do* hope his web designer alters the colors on his site a bit. The red is far to contrasting against the blue without a white outline or something... :D

    New Layout... New Theme

    Stardate 4400.0

    After spending a *lot* of time today, I have decided I like the new layout and theme. I built the left hand sidebar with my sketchy html skills and a lot of trial and error :) It will still get some tweaks, but I think it is pretty much done!

    Any complaints? How's that color scheme?

    The base picture for the banner was originally a piece called "Glowing Planet" from Digital Blasphemy.

    *** UPDATED ***

    Apparently, there are some issues with the Entries overlapping the sidebar in Firefox browsers. Garrr.... For now? Tough noogies I guess. I will be looking into it though :)

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Opposing a War, Not America

    Stardate 4388.0

    Why does the media insist on vilifying a mother opposing a war? I hear things like "she hates America" and "she is aiding the terrorists"... Media announcers actually have the gall to suggest that her dead son Casey (killed in this "war") would not approve of her actions... Like they have ever met him, or know his thoughts (rather a preposterous thought when you *think* about it eh? How can they even suggest such a thing? Because he was "being all that he could be"? A lot of young people join the armed forces because of their friends. A lot are simply young and don't expect to *ever* see action, let alone get killed. What a joke.

    This is turning into a pile of steaming filth. I am glad some people will peacefully demonstrate for what they believe in, and not be swayed by loud-mouthed bullying media personalities who in reality have no grasp of the truth, put words in the mouths of others and simply spew meaningless rhetoric to smear true heroic actions.

    Go vote in the new poll on the sidebar.

    Oh, and before anyone starts spewing BS about "the letter" from Casey's family pleading Cindy to stop... READ THIS.

    Mars Orbiter Launched!!!

    Stardate 4387.7

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A spacecraft blasted off Friday into a golden early morning sky, beginning a mission to Mars to gather more data on the Red Planet than all combined previous missions.

    The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter lifted off on an Atlas V rocket on a seven-month journey to Mars. The booster rocket shut down and dropped off into the Atlantic Ocean minutes into the launch. Seconds later, the second-stage rocket engine ignited.

    "Surveying for the deepest insights into the mysterious evolution of Mars!" NASA commentator George Diller said after liftoff. The launch came just three days after space shuttle Discovery completed its mission.

    Circling the planet for at least four years, the orbiter is to provide unparalleled information on Mars' weather, climate and geology, which could aid possible future human exploration of the Red Planet.

    This mission is costing about $720 Million and will consist of two major parts. The first phase, or couple of years of it's mission will be used to enhance the data NASA has regarding the polar ice caps, and the possible history of a very wet planet. The planet may indeed have been able to support life at one point and this data is essential for deciding whether human outposts are feasable (you betcha...). The orbiter will also be equipped with the largest telescopic camera ever sent to another planet (not really a big bragging point all things considered) which will aid in deciding the location of future Mars rover style missions.

    The second phase of the mission will happen after the two rover missions in 2007 and 2 years later. The orbiter will act as a communications bridge between the rovers and earth.

    In light of this successful launch, I will reveal the poll I had recently on the sidebar. The data is leanign heavily towards either more immediate missions or as soon as possible for NASA. There is one erroneous vote in the first category due to user error (me)... Looks like most folks support more exploration at any rate. I had read somewhere last night that another Shuttle mission in September was unlikely (apparently, the Atlantis is due for a shakedown). Watch and see I guess :)

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Angel of Anticipation

    Stardate 4385.0

    Judas Priest

    October 21st, Calgary Alberta

    Only a week until tickets go on sale. Not sure who is opening for them, but then I am really going to see Priest so it doesn't much matter...

    If you want a sample of their latest album, check out Hellrider... This is a medium quality file but still quite large. I recommend the album to anyone who has been a fan of their music or metal.

    *** UPDATED ***

    Looks like it will be ANTHRAX playign with them! Sweetness. And for those of you fromTexas, Anthrax played their first gig in a small saloon in Texas... all they could do at first was stand on stage and laugh.

    Quotes on Presidency...

    Stardate 4383.7

    "When you're out there campaigning and talking to people, remind them what we have been through as a country. We've been through a recession -- that means we're going backwards." George W. Bush - Aug. 18, 2004

    "I think it's very important for the American President to mean what he says. That's why I understand that the enemy could misread what I say. That's why I try to be as clearly I can." George W. Bush - Sept. 23, 2004

    Quotes taken from

    "Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." Douglas Adams

    I think I gotta go with what the great visionary Douglas Adams said...

    Mom Will Make Bush Pay

    Stardate 4382.9

    This just goes to show what an ignorant and callous bastich George W. can be.

    Sheehan: "He (The honorable President of hte United States of America) wouldn't look at the pictures of [my son] Casey. He didn't even know Casey's name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, 'So who are we honoring here?' He didn't even know Casey's name. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn't even call him 'him' or 'he.' He called him 'your loved one.' Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party."
    Of course it goes on from there. Another mother as indicated in the article above, Dolores Kesterson, also lost her only child in this war that she doesn't believe in. She appeared in an interview with Bill O'Reilly... At one point in this interview which was supposed to be a "anti-Cindy Sheehan" interview and turned 180 degrees from that, Bill asked the Delores to choose between Michael Moore and President Bush in an attempt to pressure her into conceding his viewpoint. Her response (roughly)?

    "Well, I don't really know everything that Michael Moore stands for, but I know he hasn't caused anybody to be killed for no good reason..."
    God bless her soul. Eventually people in the United States and around the world are all going to realise what a self-centered and insensitive buffoon they have leading their country. This guy has no interest in any of the people he has killed, and continues to flaunt his power with impunity. Eventually, all of the mothers who have lost their children in a phony war will stand up and say "ENOUGH". As usual, Crooks and Liars has the video and some insight into this. So Sheehan is the pawn of extreme left wing elements... and so are all the other folks that oppose this war I guess. Well I have a news flash... Bill O'Reilly is a pawn of extreme right wing elements.

    *** Addendum ***

    If you have any thoughts about the interview, why not share them with Bill...

    *** End Addendum ***

    Take solace however, in the fact that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    "Violence" in Hockey...

    Stardate 4380.6

    I just want to be clear on several points here. First of all, one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy hockey is the hitting and fighting. You simply cannot have a good game without the physical contact. Fighting was traditionally a good crowd raiser... the two heavy weights come out at the same time, and have a bout. Or perhaps the goalie was hit, or the star player... so the tough guy would take care of it. It kept guys like Gretzky and Lafleur playing and off the injury list. Tempers flare, and two guys could go at it. Now they have the instigator rule, where the guy starting a fight risks gettign the game and even fines... So what has this done?

    Well to start the list off, lets go with goalies getting hit. You think any goalie in the the 70's or 80's would have gotten hit without the guy getting killed by a ham-fisted tough guy like Chris Nilan? Well maybe Billy Smith could take matters into his own hands, but everyone else had the protector. Nowadays, goalies come out more aggressively, but are realistically open market for hits. Andy Moog retired after being run over too many times in the playoffs... while at the opposite end, any time a guy blew on Hasek's jersey, they got an interference call (okay I am a Montreal fan but still). There are far less goalies in the league, so I think they need those protectors back. If Roman Turek got run over, you can bet that Chris Simon would love to pummel the offender if there was no instigator rule... It is good for the game, and good for the fans.

    How many star players have been cheap-shotted or taken down by a dirty hit? Guys like Saku Koivu, Mike Modano, Paul Kariya... the list is endless. Half the time now, nobody even blinks if your star player is roughed up or knocked down. You think that a guy wiping Gretzky out would have lived past the next shift that Semenko was on the ice at the same time? I think not. Fans like the fighting and hits, but they also want to see these few actual superstars play. Again, why risk the match penalty, fines and suspensions? Your average guy makes so much money now, that there are few pure "role-players" left in the league. If the fighters fought, and the stars played, and the best goalies weren't hurt all the time, we would have a hell of an exciting sport to watch and play, and they could stop changing rules...

    As it stands now, a guy can't touch another player without fear of getting a boarding, charging, roughing or hitting from behind call (maybe even a high stick if the ref is on glue). The hitting from behind rule had great intentions, but now all a player has to do is turn away from a guy along the boards, and BAM! 2 minutes for hitting from behind. Maybe he could get hurt, but it doesn't stop it from happening ALL the time. Some guys don't want to fight because they don't want to get the game... fair enough. I blame the instigator rule for that too.

    In my previous post, i mentioned the McSorley/Brashear incident. Donald mocked Marty all night, and refused to fight him. That's when Marty blew his cool, and I say, watching that game live, I was sickened by the stickwork. Without an instigator rule, would Donald have fought him? Who knows. Maybe his hand was buggeredfrom the last fight he had...

    Equipment has been a factor as well I think. New gear protects much better, so perhaps a guy may feel a little invulnerable out there. Some players use fancy gear that simply doesn't protect htem like the old stuff... How many times have we seen Don Cherry rant about the low-cuff gloves that the stickhandlers liek to use? How many of those players have had broken wrists, or hands? Possibly, this is part of the problem. A guy may hit harder, or stick a guy, not meaning to injure, just to hurt (sounds silly but I think it is a valid point) him.

    Back to Bertuzzi. The guy never meant to cause the damage he did to Steve Moore. That I can almost guarantee. But the fact of the matter is, it was a cheap shot. Whether it is the rules, the way the game went, better equipment, it doesn't matter. Bertuzzi was humiliated (in an 8-2 game) and likely pissed off enough to lose it. We all know what happened. Guilt is guilt, and now he is back to play. Steve Moore will likely never play again. Bettman, in what *could* be called a money grab, has decided that Bertuzzi "has suffered enough" and done his time. Frankly, I have to disagree there. Bettman says Bertuzzi missed 17 months of hockey, but the fact is, there was NO season last year. In reality, Bertuzzi barely missed any hockey at all, when you consider how much Steve Moore will miss. The loss of pay (roughly $500,000) is peanuts to a guy that makes over $5 MILLION a year. How much is Steve Moore going to make in his career? Seriously? Bertuzzi should still be sitting. And maybe paying a few bills on the side too.

    My point here is that there is violence in hockey. It is by nature a violent sport. It has to be, with the amount of contact and the sheer intensity of play. But the line must be drawn. Either players are taking liberties now, or the rules have altered the face of the game. A good fight or a big open ice hit is one thing, but sticking a guy in the face, or sucker punching him from behind is another...

    Canadian Government to Cut Thousands of Jobs?

    Stardate 4378.0

    CTV - Government officials are planning a major shakeup of the federal public service that could see thousands of job cuts and produce savings of up to $4 billion a year.
    The Globe and Mail reports that a two-year study led by the Treasury Board has found at least 41,000 of the government's 290,000 employees are working in jobs that could be cut if the work was transferred to a single new agency using fewer staff.
    The new department is tentatively being called the Shared Services Organization.
    Such jobs could include human resources, financial services, computer support and managing office supplies.
    Wow. Who would have thought that government agencies are not efficient? Especially Federal Government agencies... Of course, the paper chase that always goes on in almost any department is absolutely mindnumbing, and trying to get almost anythign done with due expedition is nearly impossible. Try getting work approved with the Transportation Department... Heh.

    But the point of this shake-up is to save money. They estimate over $11 BILLION in 5 years. And much of these savings comes from every Office having their own people in charge of office supplies and tech support. In our modern world, tech support is important, but you would think that the Federal government could possibly implement a very slick system or at least train their staff a little better on the equipment they already use. I am all for the cuts. Too many folks have those nice cushy positions and it costs people like you and me tax dollars that could be better spent on schooling or health care.

    Iran Re-opening Nuclear Facilities

    Stardate 4377.7

    U.N. inspectors removed the final seals from equipment at a uranium conversion plant in central Iran on Wednesday, paving the way for Iran to fully open the facility despite European and U.S. calls for it to maintain a suspension.
    The International Atomic Energy Agency has finished installing surveillance equipment at the processing facility to monitor what exactly they are doing there. They really want Iran to voluntarily stop the uranium conversion and enrichment project but they can't force them to. They can however report them to the UN Security Council, but that seemed unlikely.

    Conversion is a process that precedes enrichment. Highly enriched uranium can be used to make weapons, while uranium enriched to a lower degree is used to produce energy.

    It seems to me that Iran's capabilities are probably very slight at the moment. Being able to enrich low grade uranium would be an asset to any country wishing to explore alternate fuel sources and for energy, but maybe they are too far from producing high grade uranium.

    Washington suspects Tehran of having a clandestine nuclear weapons program, and President Bush said Tuesday he was “deeply suspicious” about Iran’s intentions.

    Of course they are deeply suspicious. They are deeply suspicious of almost everyone now, especially Nations that may somehow feebly challenge their power. The latest claim is that advanced weapons found in southern Iraq "definately" came from Iran, according to Rumsfeld, so it is no wonder they have ahuge hard-on for Iran. They are already guilty of producing WMDs, enriching uranium, handing weapons over to Iraqi resistance for use against US occupiers and not being "Good Ol' Boys"...

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Cindy Sheehan vs. George W. Bush

    Stardate 4373.8

    This is so important I can't believe I missed it.

    Cindy Sheehan's son Casey, was killed in Baghdad on April 4th, 2004. He was fighting for something that at the time may have seemed to be cut and dry, but now we know was not so.

    Now, Cindy wants to ask George W. about the Downing Street Memos, which the mainstream media failed to report on. These documents prove that George W. Bush and Tony Blair had plans to go to war long before any information or investigation about WMDs came out... She wants all the US troops to come home, before nay more lives are lost to a pack of lies.

    Cindy wants to ask George W. why her son died, and for what cause he was truly fighting for. She is currently camped outside George's Crawford Texas ranch, and faces harrassment from all number of agencies regarding the protest. In fact, her and her small group were forced to walk in the ditch as they approached tha ranch, and now, with the threat of arrest, they have been forced to move their tents into the ditch which is habitated by nasty fire ants.

    Maybe Cindy's own words on the Daily KOS should tell more of this story...

    Remember, according to some numbers, over 100,000 civilians have died in the conflict in Iraq. Over 1,800 US troops have died there. Almost 200 non-US troops have died there. When will this horrendous loss of humanity end? I remember reading something a while ago titled "Why did my son have to die?" but the link eludes me. I believe it was her story. How many other people have the same story as this?

    If my son or daughter was killed in action, doing a duty that they are taught from day one is the *right* thing to do, but suddenly exposed as lies, I would be furious.

    "The families of the fallen can rest assured that your loved ones died for a noble cause." - George W. Bush
    What righteous cause?

    It would also seem that if she and her friends are not gone by thursday (the day that Rice and Rumsfeld arrive at the Ranch) they will be arrested as a "threat to National Security"...

    *** Updated ***

    Upon further research, the arrest news is highly overblown and pure speculation from an overzealous person. Here is some info on this... It is still a possibility however.

    Bertuzzi's Back

    Stardate 4373.0

    CTV - NHL reinstates Bertuzzi after long suspension

    The National Hockey League has reinstated Todd Bertuzzi, 17 months after he brutally attacked Steve Moore saying the Vancouver Canuck forward has suffered enough.
    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Bertuzzi is "immediately eligible" to play hockey.

    Back in march of 2004, with Colorado ahead of Vancouver 8-2 in a one-sided game, Bertuzzi went after Steve Moore in retaliation for a hit on Markus Naslund. He punched Moore in the head from behind, then tackled him, smashing his head into the ice from on top. Steve Moore suffered a broken neck and may never play again. Bertuzzi was suspended and has lost over $500,000 in wages (he will make $5.2 million this year). In a tear filled press conference, Todd had apologized to Steve Moore, the league and most importantly, the fans. This was similar to an older case where Marty McSorley had smacked Donald Brashear in the temple with his stick for refusing to fight him. The difficulty with this case was that apart from the desire to fight Moore, I still don't think Bertuzzi meant to hurt him the way he did. Of course, it is still inexcuseable and had to be punished accordingly. Violence of this nature has no place whatsoever in this game.

    I couldn't imagine being either player in this situation, but now, Steve Moore's lawyer is saying that both he, and his client are very dissapointed in the decision to allow Bertuzzi to play this year. They feel the punishment was far too lax, considering Moore most likely will not play again. Personally? I think he shoul dnot play until Moore plays or is deemed fit to play by a neutral third party doctor.

    It's a shame. I like Todd's style, aggressiveness and skill. Violent attacks withstanding, I wish more NHL players showed his heart, grit and desire to play and win. Hopefully, he can turn this all around and put it behind him. Best wishes to Steve Moore as well of course.

    Welcome Home Travellers...

    Stardate 4372.5

    NASA - The Discovery has safely landed in California at Edwards Air Force Base at 6:11:22 am MST. Congrats on a super mission and a successful return!

    As it were, there were several landing windows today at various bases, ranging from Kennedy to California. Most landings have indeed occured at Kennedy Space Center, as it costs a heckof a lot of money and risks damage to the orbiter if it needs to be piggy-backed on a modified747 back to Kennedy. Looks like they will need to do this this time, but I say take the landing when you can get it!

    The crew spent 14 days in space, travelling over 5.8 million miles. Part of this mission was to experiment with new methods of checkign and repairing the shuttle in Space and carried out numerous space-walks to such an end. They also resupplied the International Space Station which, I imagine, was running a little short of Starbucks...

    But what now? We can speculate all we want about the future of the Shuttle fleet and the state of Space Exploration, but simply put, it *must* continue. This was really a token test flight in my opinion. NASA fell off the bike, and after a lot of research, testing and soul-searching, had to get back on. Well, I would have to say it worked, despite the odd glitches with equipment and gap filler. So why consider scrapping the program? The media has blown every small issue way out of proportion I think, even to the point that a piece of gap filler a few centimeters long garnered more news coverage than the safe landing and return of the brave astronauts.

    I have created a new poll on the sidebar regarding people's views on this... Should NASA keep on going, now that they are back on the bike? Should they hold off until a new craft is developed? Is Star Trek just geeky kids stuff? Take the time to pick an answer!!!

    We have only recently discovered a new body in our solar system. With the number of planets and moons they have, it is time to consider more in depth exploration. Who knows what resources can be found on any number of Jupiter's moons?

    Or perhaps even... *gasp* life!

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Feedburner... Feeds... Argh.

    Stardate 4368.8

    Well I still do not profess to fully understand all of the news feeds, readers, aggregators, this that, and a dash of the other, but I got to thinking that after all these months, I still show zip for readers on my feedburner chicklet. Well, after much searchign around, I think I solved the problem. Anyone subscribing previously with the MyMSN or MyYahoo chicklets were not actually getting the feedburner feed. So I had to change both of those to reflect the proper URL.

    Feedburner Feed

    I think everything is fine now. This public service announcement was brought to you by no-name brand Chicken and Vegetable flavored Oriental Noodles...

    Thanks to Crooks and Liars

    Stardate 4368.0

    Thanks to the greatness of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the awesome ultra-uber cool guys over at Crooks and Liars featured my story on their front page, garnering me almost 3000 hits on sunday :D Woot! It is by HIS will that this has happened. HE has touched my blog with his noodly appendage and left it's mark for all to see :P Oh, and thanks to Deane (painter extraordinaire) for pointing me at the story in the first place :)

    I have been given the chance to advance the teachings of the FSM like no other! Indeed, good times are on the horizon and I will be awarded forthwith! Look to the pasta, not the future my friends!

    Personally, I ate Spaghetti all weekend :P

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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