Monday, February 27, 2006

Good Work!

As usual, ohlphotos.com and its burgeoning empire never fail to disappoint. Check out the ecclectic 'urbania' section - complete with witty captions and the like.

Note the SJG watermark on the originals!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Having Regard to Continuity

I don't believe I've ever put up two posts in one day, but today I couldn't resist.

My last address was filled with roommates of the literary sort. It was not uncommon to see Neil Postman or aged copies of the Walrus and Harpers strewn about. A stack of newspapers over two feet high teetered in our unused dining room and we all took particular pride in our individual well-stocked personal libraries. Well read and opinionated, it was thus not unnatural when a 'Worst Column of the Month' section emerged on the upper left portion of the fridge door.

While garnering odd looks from visitors and repairmen alike, we understood when Leah McLaren repeatedly appeared front and centre on the hallowed shrine - indeed she set the record. For four months straight, Ms. McLaren took top honours by alternately shocking, disgusting and nauseating us with her tiresome ramblings, faux-socialite attention-desperate bile and self-indulgent scenester antics. For our purposes it was pure gold in the liquid sense.

But we were not alone. Across the city, all sorts were outraged at her debasing camp, culminating in the witty and now regrettably defunct 'Dissecting Leah McLaren'.

For those of us who were saddened to see the demise of the dearly departed, it is admittedly redeeming to see Ryan Bigge pick up the torch. In response to Leah's breakout literary 'attempt' involving a desperate middle aged woman bent on becoming an uncompromising 'raging sperm bandit', Bigge lays out the facts via a recent book review in the rival Star:

"The Continuity Girl illuminates the limitations of my thesaurus. Uber-lousy? Fifth-rate? Super-bad? None of above. There exists no English word that adequately describes the not-so-goodness herein. Even the German word SaumassigeSchreibmaschiene, which roughly translates into "putrid garbage typewriter prose," fails to convey the stench of this slush pile."

See unedited version here.

Beautiful, simply beautiful. In tribute to the old fridge, I've cut it out and put it on the office bulletin board.

'Menacing Threats' and Other Assorted Bogeymen

Not even a month in, and our hip, outdoorsy Minister of Public Safety has firmly put National Identity Cards back on the table.

"We also want to be able to stop people who are a menace or a threat from getting in or getting out, so that's the overall goal"...

"Whether that's some kind of a biometric approach, an enhancement on a driver's licence — all of that needs to be explored, so we do want to see enhanced technological capacity in that area."

From the Party that introduced the term 'boondoggle' to the Canadian lexicon, behold yet another 21st century initiative focused on eliminating 'menace' and 'threat' - and all in the name of 'public safety'... whatever that means.

Here's another view of 'public safety' from the Federal Privacy Commissioner (pdf) circa 2003.

HT: Geist

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Tempests and Teapots

While enough has been said on the subject, I thought I'd toss up my favourite:


At the risk of having a jihad decreed on the Velvy, I must declare this latest fiasco to be the ultimate in double-speak. How a culture can tolerate state television broadcasting genocide, yet collectively stomp its feet over a series of cartoons in a paper with a circulation of 158,000 is beyond me. The Fresno, California Bee gets more readership for christ's sake.

In a society willing to embrace a religion as stern as Wahhabism, the Arabian Peninsula had better be ready to take a few knocks from a secular West. Europe after all has a culture which prides itself on its ability to constantly question its own values. Given that the Muslim faith is now a emerging force in that culture, its review is considered fair game. Just as French society severely mocked the Catholic church in the late 1700s, modern Western society is just as willing today to make light of the sort of institutionalized religious-based intolerance which is currently proliferating the Middle East.

In a simplistic sense, the Wahhabi's are the Mormons of the Muslim world, and Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab the Joseph Smith. "Behold thy Golden Plates!"












Regardless, if a faction is willing to dish it out (and the larger society endorses it through its silence), it better learn to take a little poking at its vehemence as well. Deal with it.