Ink & Paper

Friday, October 21, 2005

Weekend Wrap

Juan Cole, professor of History at the University of Michigan, makes an excellent comment on the burning and desecration of Taliban bodies in Afghanistan.

As well the UN released a report today on the assassination of Lebanon ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri:

The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri of Lebanon was a carefully planned terrorist act organized by Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services, according to a United Nations report made public this evening.

The report by the chief United Nations investigator, Detlev Mehlis, said, "The assassination of 14 February 2005 was carried out by a group with an extensive organization and considerable resources and capabilities."

The report said, "There is converging evidence pointing at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in this terrorist act."

Rumour now has it that the US is looking into scenarios that could see the "removal" (read: toppling) of the Syrian government. It is still up in the air, one would suspect, as it could further destabilize the Middle East. Six of one, half dozen of another.

Onward to everyone's favorite example of instability, Iraq, where "a defense lawyer in Saddam Hussein's mass murder trial who was kidnapped has been found dead, his body dumped near a Baghdad mosque, a top official in Iraq's lawyers' union said after talking to the man's family."

Lastly, UN emergency relief chief, Jan Egeland has stated that 'the shortfall in aid for victims of the South Asian quake has made the relief situation worse than after last December's tsunami. UN emergency relief chief, Jan Egeland, said the organisation had never seen such a "logistical nightmare". '

So what we see here is billions of dollars spent in the quagmire of Iraq, the end result being the inability to protect the people assigned to prosecute Hussien. Bravo.

And in a year (or so) of horrendous natural disasters, we have seen the good public finally shut down mentally when it comes to donating to help those in need. The public is tired of feeling guilty about all the suffering they have seen on TV and thus they have blocked it out, changed the channel. As a result, people have died.

One wonders what could have been done in the wake of all these natural disasters had the US and British military forces not been tapped out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Less bodies? I suspect so.

And thus ends another week where the sufferers suffered some more, and the prosperous worried about gasoline prices.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:03 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

I lied. See previous post.

I just realized that I didn't know shit about the real world from 1996-2004. These were the years I was in university/college, and while I certainly emerged smarter and more aware, both in the worldly and the scholastic sense, I didn't really understand what the world was like. I'm not sure that many university students do when they are 18-22 years old. Or in my case, 18-26.

Why these thoughts? I was watching a CBC (thank god it came back) documentary about college life, and it mostly featured 18-22 year olds who were in various stages of finding themselves. Some drank a lot, some didn't drink at all, some slept around, some had yet to smooch someone. All interspersed with the two attitudes prevalent but meaningless in the university cycle of life:

1. What am I going to do with my life?
2. This is exactly what I want in life (ps- Right Mom and Dad?)

You don't know much when you are in post secondary, or at least I didn't, about who you are going to be in 2-5 years time. But maybe I'll be saying that when I'm 33 and surprised how expensive it is to raise three young 'uns*. Who knows.

I do know that I don't miss the social life of university, the constant pressure to be cool with a group of people who you really don't know that well. I don't miss that. I miss the learning, the book smarts I picked up. But besides that, not too much. I certainly don't miss the uncertainty, which is what struck me most throughout this doc.

I don't really know where I am going with this. Perhaps this is wasted bits and bytes. Actually, it totally is.


*Dogs, not kids. Kids are gross and best enjoyed when you can give them back to your brother-in-law at the end of the day.

Just to reiterate, kids are gross. Babies look like prunes.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:03 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

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Taking the night off. See you on Saturday night, if not sooner.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:17 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

R. Kelly is a GOD!

I have been trying to drudge up mere words that can adequately describe the music force that is R. Kelly, the greatest R&B singer of all time, hands down. It is hard to capture his life force in a scant few paragraphs. Honestly, one only needs to listen to his new and groundbreaking album entitled "Trapped In the Closet" (TITC) to experience the orgasmic musical talent that is R. Kelly.

First thing you notice is that this new album is a concept album. No one in the history of music has ever done a concept album. No one. The fact that R. Kelly is the first artist to ever do a concept album thus makes this album a concept-concept album, as it is the first of the concept genre. What an innovator. God may have created the Earth, at least according to my friend Darwin, but God didn't create the concept-concept album. Thus, R. Kelly is better than God.

Turning to R. Kelly's life-affirming lyrics, it is easy to see why R. Kelly gives hope to the hopeless, dreams to the downtrodden. A sample:

I believe I can fly / I believe I can touch the sky / I think about it every night and day / spread my wings and fly away.

I honestly just felt my heart flutter, and I don' t think it was a heart attack. Honestly, even though I live in trailer park, have a boogly eye, and have 16 kids, after hearing R. Kelly's lyrics, I believe that I can indeed land a recording contract and be a millionaire. All I have to do is believe in myself.

But don't be fooled by R. Kelly's love and hopes lyrics. He has some serious street cred too. A sample:

I pull out my Beretta / he walks up to the closet / he comes up to the closet / now he's at the closet / now he's opening the closet...

Dude, he has a Beretta! That shit is bananas. B-A-N-A and some other letters. That is the kind of man R. Kelly can be, when he isn't spreading his love around to all his 18+ year old friends. Oh, he can pop a cap if need be.

Plus he rhymes 'closet' with 'closet', like 3 times. I was like, "No no, he ain't gonna bring that shit three times! Oh no! Oh man, he did, he brought the shit! I gotta change my underwear!"

This concept album is based around the Soap Opera, and man, does it does deliver. And what a connection to the common listener, whose lives are nothing but love and betrayal at the local movie theatre. R. Kelly brings his otherworldly skillz down to earth, into the hearts of loyal and true fans.

Now a lot of people claim that R. Kelly isn't legit enough. As if! He is getting so much play on such innovative radio stations like 91.7 The Bounce that his credibility is known far and wide, from young listeners to old. That is credibility. To those who only listen to 'independent radio', I think we all know that they are worse than puppy killers. That is my opinion, and thus is fact.

Lastly I want to point out the force that R. Kelly is when he hits the stage. I was watching an awards show where R. Kelly hit the stage. Most singers sing when they hit the stage. But not my man R. Kelly. For he isn't merely a singer, he is an artist, and as all great artists (Picasso, Ted Nugent, etc) do, R. Kelly innovated. He was not only using his ventriloquism skills to sing his own backup vocals, he was simultaneously delivering some poetic spoken word. What an American and thus, Canadian, hero.
Just listen to what another huge R. Kelly fan wrote on his blog:

"Yes, R Kelly can sing. Yes, he can write songs that are catchy to all demographics. There's nothing wrong with that. He's the most amazing artist ever. He's reshaping music and blazing a new path."

Yes, it is plain to everyone, even punk poser snobs, that R. Kelly is not only a musical force, but possibly the next coming of Jesus. You'd be an idiot to disagree.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:11 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Abdullah Almalki.

And you need to read this.

What happened to my country? Are we okay with the extradition and torture of citizens?

Interview with Almalki on The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, supposedly Wednesday morning, between 830-1000am Edmonton time. 740 AM radio.

I'm tuning in. Are you?

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:10 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Big Trade in Soccer Sunday!

As most of you know, I am a key player, a marquee force in the recreational Sunday soccer league that I play in. But even Gretzky got traded, and today I found out that I too was sent packing to another team. I don't know what my new team is called, only that they have this Ryan Heykants guy playing for them. Apparently he has an ego like you wouldn't believe, but has the skillz to back it up. I predict that we may lock horns over who is the alpha-male, the prime striker, on the team. But time will tell.

I had heard rumours that I may be traded, but you know how the sports writers are in this town. I was floored when my agent called me and told me to start packing. I thought to myself "Self, you are the franchise player. The Franchise, with a capital F. They won't trade you, they could never get market value."

But alas, it is true, and I must pack my bags and leave the only team I have ever known, ever played for. I gotta figure out how to ship my H2's across the country. I got to figure out where to get my next tattoo. I had roots with this team, including that guy who I always called Ricky, and Crazy Ken, whose pants are just too tight. Oh the memories!

Such is life. This is, after all, a business, not merely a sport. That is what Premiership Soccer is all about. The financial stakes are high, so I shouldn't be so surprised. But I'm hurt. I loved this town.

But now it is time for a fresh start, a new beginning with a new team. I know that I'll contribute quickly and hopefully will win the thousands of fans over. Yeah, I'm a little nervous about the first game that we play against my old team, as I am sure emotions will be running high. But the fans realize that this is a business and that players, even Franchise players, move around a lot during their careers.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 5:43 PM ~~ 8 bonsai trees

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Just a note that the CKUA Fall Fundraising Campaign gets underway this Friday at 600am. Do your part to keep independent radio alive and creative. Even a small donation, say $10, counts. As well, they have a tonne of cool prizes and gifts you can win just by donating ten measly dollars.

Click it. Do your part to get Leaving Juneau some airtime. It'll make you feel good.

CKUA Radio: 94.9FM in Edmonton, 93.7FM in Calgary, and around the world on

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:46 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

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There are those that claim that we are a civilized people, compassionate and loving. I say that we are so enamored with that view of ourselves that believing anything besides is an impossibility. We are, without questions, some of the stupidest people on the planet. That is the only explanation left that provides any insight into how truly malleable and corruptible we have become.

More from Matt Good

In other news, the teachers in BC have been "illegally" on strike since last Monday. They are protesting and asking for a 15 per cent wage increase and smaller class sizes. They are angry that the government pushed through legislation that unilaterally extended their collective agreement until June 2006.
The legislation that the BC government unilaterally (see: without any consultation) extended includes a 0% wage increase and fails to address the large and diverse classes that teachers have to contend with. Zero percent.

Most reputable companies will allow a 2-3% "cost of living" increase for salaried employees on a yearly basis. If not, it is rare that someone will go 2-3 years in a salaried position without some kind of pay increase.

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell urged thousands of striking teachers to return to work, saying they are in "flagrant contempt" of the courts.

The fact that the thousands of teachers currently on the picket line are breaking the law is not debatable. The law says they should not be on strike and yet they are. Ipso facto, they are breaking the law.

But there are laws that perhaps are made, if not to be broken, but to at least be subject to some form of bending, of pushing the limits. This is one of them. Don't come back at me and suggest that maybe murder is now open for debate. This isn't the sandbox.

I agree with the teachers on strike in BC right now. They are acting not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of unionized workers everywhere in BC. The basic tenet of a union is to advocate for their members. By unilaterally legislating the teachers back to work, the government of BC, Liberal in name only, has effectively served notice that the power of a collective group of people (in this case a union) is acceptable only when it serves the governments agenda.

Now this is in no way to suggest that unions are infallible, far from it. I have heard, and will hear, stories of lazy union workers who bitch and moan about everything. I have heard stories about 'lazy teachers' repeated over and over again, a false and undeserved reputation. Unions aren't perfect. But neither are governments.

The idea behind a union is to negotiate with the powers that be to find a balanced and mutually acceptable system of salaries and job security, among other things. Now while unions have a large, and occasionally deserved, stigma of greediness attached to them, they are an instrument to ensure that employees have a voice.

Is a 0% increase a fair deal for any employee? Teachers are educated professionals. They ought to be at least treated in a fair manner. If, after a marathon session of negotiations, the government can only offer a 2% increase, and can financially prove that to the teachers, then most teachers would accept the facts and the 2% increase. But to have the door slammed in your face before you even had a chance to come in and sit down at the negotiation table is not only the sign of a government bargaining in poor faith, it is also an affront to the professional teacher who deserves a yearly cost of living increase, much like every other professional deserves and receives.

People love to bash teachers. They are an easy whipping boy. Teachers traditionally do not have much of a voice, and since it is the government (and by association, the taxpayer) who foots the bill for education, teachers are often left in the unenviable position of arguing their case not only to the government, but to a frustrated public as well.

But the BC Liberals, who ought to be called the BC Conservatives/Social Credit party, are not playing fair. To unilaterally extend legislation that was due for renegotiation is underhanded and cowardly. In short, this law that has been forced down the teachers throats is an unfair one and must be re-examined and renegotiated so that a consensus, a compromise, can be reached to end this debacle.

Yes, the BC teachers federation is breaking this extension of the law. But the law is flawed and was extended without consultation and community support. Laws in Canada are meant to be formed for the benefit and widespread balance of all the citizens they affect. To have a law that attempts to stigmatize and degrade a professional organization such as the BCTF with the sole beneficiary being the BC government's bottom line is a law that does not serve the public.

I know some of my readers are fiercely anti-union, and I am okay with that. Live and let live right? But to ignore the fact that the BC Liberals are failing to play by a set of fair rules is nothing short of endorsing a totalitarian system of laws, a system that is implemented without consent of the populace and with the benefits only favoring the few. And that, last time I checked, wasn't a Canadian tradition.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 5:41 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

How to piss Jay off on a Sunday

You know what I hate? I hate it when football announcers go batshit insane when they see a quarterback throw a block for a running back or receiver.

Announcer 1: "You see, that is a key block thrown by the quarterback, out there laying it on the line for his teammate. Not often you see a quarterback willing to be a participant instead of merely a bystander. What a brave block that was."

Announcer 2: "Agreed. He didn't have to block on that play, but there he was choosing to take on a linebacker. What an American hero."

Give me a break. The quarterback is on the field isn't he? He has shoulder pads right? He has probably learned how to block in years past and last time I checked football was a team game. So the QB ought to be throwing blocks on every play, instead of meekly faking a bootleg and effectively giving his team a man disadvantage.

Freaking prima donnas. Throw a block. Football is about hitting people. And to the scant few announcers that read this blog, don't shit happypops every time a quarterback decides to get his jersey dirty. It isn't something to waste a replay on, or to even mention, unless it is a monster block. But if some prissy QB falls down in front of a defensive back, don't anoint him the next Jesus.

Maybe CBC was onto something when they broadcast football games without announcers....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:58 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

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