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April 30, 2006

'Bout time someone said it...

I've mentioned Raskolnikov's work over at Dust my Broom before, but in covering the cranking up of the leftist protest machine in the wake of the latest Mohawk prostests, he really outdoes himself. True, it's an easy target, but this is pure poetry:

The answers to Mohawk problems will not emerge magically from the ether as a result of scattered sign-waving across Canada, nor will they crawl, whole and ready-to-serve, from the gestures of nostalgic academics and Green Party rejects displaying solidarity during the afternoon rush by handing out leaflets from the median. (or, for that matter, blocking traffic on one of the busiest bridges in Canada over in BC)

These are vacant gestures, protest for the sake of protest, that baffling fetish of the rad left that I still cannot understand and still seems to carry an irresistable allure despite the overwhelming evidence of its failure and its overt descent into meaningless pantomime, as empty and banal as an exhausted Catholic still drudging to the altar every Sunday to perform spiritual calasthenics he no longer cares enough to ponder if he still believes in.

You can almost watch the ritual unfold: Inspiration hits; The obligatory IndyMedia klaxon wail goes up; the Xeroxed posters of Jim Prentice eating Mohawk toddlers, Bush bathing in Arab blood, or Cheney giving the Hitler salute while behind him Photoshopped Iranian seniors raise their hands to block out a mushroom cloud, hit the lightposts across town; the fidgity anticipation of a midday campus protest or Legislative rally climaxes and somewhere in Osborne Village a Peace Studies major leaves his body and the wandering ghost of Bakunin finds an ephemeral home, just long enough to put the Rage Against the Machine CD on repeat anyway; the protest organizer sips lemon tea and studies Girabaldi for inspiration as he mentally imagines preaching to a choir so slavishly devoted to his words all they can do is nod their heads in brainless agreement, a crowd of spineless sunflowers moving towards a central heat as if guided by wire……like a caveman who paints a victorious chase on the cave wall in anticipation of the hunt, he understands the metaphysics underlying our most base requirements; and at the site itself, one can sup the multifacted broth of outraged special interests on display, innocent of any incongruity — feminists at a rally for farmer’s rights, anarchists demanding more government funding for schools, Marxists at an Aboriginal Self-Government protest handing out Mao t-shirts and photocopied Chomsky articles between prayers and sweetgrass ceremonies.

Like good postmodernists, linear thought or logical relevancy is cast aside; protest qua protest supercedes any specifics or categories. It’s a free-for-all, or rather a free-to-gall, open to anyone with surplus outrage, excess cardboard and a box of magic markers. In Progville, everything is interpenetrating anyway: feminists can wax farm, Marxists share the drum, and anarchists can join our mini-government committee. "We are all relations" as an Aboriginal aphorism has never seen a better manifestation.

And sadly, Indians either agree with it, or ignore it. Like the Womyn Centre and Mohawk Gepettos pushing Doreen Silversmith out to sea on her ice floe, these anarchists and sundry protestors are simply exploiting Indians as a means to protest. They could care less what the topic at hand is, as long as they can gather and wave signs, fight over who gets to use the awesome bullhorn, and use animal-like threat gestures to scare the brainwashed masses into thinking they’re going to start hurling molotovs into Starbucks at any minute.

It’s classic Greek theatre, catharsis via mass gathering, choreographed tragedy, and, to add a modern touch, the slick paroxysms of a Doc Marten-shaman.

Apologies for the long quote, but this is good stuff and I didn't want to interrupt the flow. But there's more, please read the whole thing.

April 28, 2006

You can't shut down freedom of speech

Apparently there is a massive denial of service attack underway against many Hosting Matters blogs. The attacks originate in Saudi Arabia and have shut down many of my favourite blogs.

I have a suspicion that this is in retribution for the promotion of the dread Mohammed cartoons that so inexplicably excited some people a couple of months ago. Just in case it is, I have just one thing to say:


The second half of DITL VIII will be delayed until I figure out how much of my wife's hard earned cash must by handed over to Sucking Central and its equally grasping subsidiary in Quebec City. I must say that doing the taxes in Quebec is exciting because every second calculation on the federal form is calculated differently in Quebec. I think it's part of that distinct society thing.

Anyways. My wife's head will explode with stress if I don't finish this soon, so I'd better get back to work...

April 26, 2006

A Day in the Life, part VIII

Ugh. What a day. Now I remember why I haven't done one of these in such a long time. I've tried, but sometime between 10:00 and noon everything goes so screwy that I can no longer keep up with the notetaking. I just give up. But today, since I promised, I've managed to finish the day with a page of cryptic messages and a bunch of pictures from which I will now attempt to construct a complete narrative. It's 9:00 pm right now and I'm completely zonked. I've had a stiff Johnny Walker and am working on another in an attempt to prop me up, but it seems to be having the opposite effect. I never would of predicted that...

Anyway, welcome to the much-delayed 8th installment of my exciting Day in the Life series. People in the future will be able to download into their video goggles the 3D video version performed by the leading actors of the day, but you are forced to actually move your eyeballs to absorb this pathetic text version. I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about that. Even more primitive versions can be found here: part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI and part VII.

The two children mentioned in the following account are just a little older than three. Thus, a good portion of the day was spent dealing with certain bodily function issues. To prevent the embarrassment of these children in the future, I will not mention them. But trust me, they kept me busy, though they are much improved. As well, I am sorry to note, I tried to keep a count of how many times I dashed up and down the stairs but unfortunately lost count. I thought it would be an interesting statistic. But I estimate it to be somewhere around 55,000.

Okay. Let's get started...

6:15 I'm up before the alarm. Squeak climbs on me for a cuddle session, followed by Samba and then Max. From the window I can see that it looks like it'll be a nice day.

6:30 Mama heads for the shower while I continue providing cuddles.

6:40 The crazy time begins. Talia is still in bed, and I work to rouse her. Mama is downstairs making a delicious and nutritious breakfast and I work to get the kids dressed. What to wear? We manage to come to a decision. Max insists on wearing a second-hand sweat-jacket we picked up someplace, which I have just noticed is part of the Mary-Kate and Ashley collection. He'll never know. I ask him eight times to hang up his pajamas before he complies. Kids these days!

7:15 I realize we have no more bottled water. (Our tap water kind of sucks.) No water means no coffee which means a slow death. I rush off to the local depaneur to buy some before Mama heads to work. It's not quite as nice out as I though it was; it's cold and frosty.

7:30 I'm back. I've noticed all my neighbors have their garbage out, so I guess I should put out mine too. I'm such a mindless conformist.

When I get in I notice the kids haven't eaten much. But they are making loud cock-a-doodle-dooooo noises.

7:40 I put my coffee on and sit next to the kids for breakfast. Talia is still not eating, but Max is mostly done. I coax, persuade, threaten and plead with her and manage to get her to eat another three bites (by spooning them in myself).

7:45 Mama is off. I'm all alone here.

7:47 Kids start pleading to watch TV. Boy, do they know me. I refuse.

7:50 Fights begin over toys.

7:55 Fights escalate. Talia calls Max 'bad'. Max is devastated and whines at me, "Papa, Talia says I'm bad!"

8:00 I give in to the TV request so I can jot down some notes before I forget, and finally get to drink my coffee. I clean up after breakfast, browse a few blogs and news sites, and skim the paper. The kids are downstairs watching Arthur and Lunar Jim. This is the best part of my day.

I notice I didn't turn on the dishwasher last night. Great.

9:00 I go downstairs to see how things are going, and they beg for more TV. What to do? Take them upstairs and interact with them in a meaningful and educational play session against their wishes? Or let the slick professionals that create Sesame Street sink their hooks into their innocent and vulnerable minds? Surprisingly, it's not that difficult a decision.

9:45 I go down to tell them at 10:00 I will give them a snack of apple slices and Corn pops before we go shopping for groceries. Talia demands Corn pops and Cheerios. We argue; I say she needs fruit. She refuses. Tempers flare. Finally she agrees to apple slices and Corn pops and Cheerios. Groan.

As I'm cutting the apples, Talia tells me, "I'm hung-ery". And then she repeats herself another dozen times just in case I didn't understand. I get to use the well-worn parent's line, "You should have eaten your breakfast."

9:50 Max is bored with Elmo and comes up for his snack. He is perfectly satisfied and eats everything. Talia demands more. I get to use that line again. I give her more after I manage to force the 'p' word out of her mouth.

10:15 They eat slowly. Finally they finish and we go up to brush teeth and get some socks on them. I snap a very nice picture of me with Talia in the bathroom.

10:20 We start the process to go to Loblaws. I start to get them dressed to go outside, but I can't find Talia's runners. She finds them in a little hiding place. "I put my runners there for safe. No monsters can eat them", she explains.

10:30 We're on our way. Talia keeps up a steady patter the whole ride.

10:50 We enter Loblaws. They refuse to sit in the cart now and want to walk. I agree, but warn them that if they run off then back in the cart they go. And they are perfect. But they didn't do much walking.

And here I will have to stop. It's nearing 10:30 pm as I write this and I've really gotta get some sleep. I'll continue this absolutely mesmerizing tale tomorrow evening. I would do it tomorrow during the day, but I have that reserved to do our damn taxes. The ironic thing is that I will get some sleep tonight, but you readers won't. How will the rest of the day turn out? What will we eat for lunch? Who will we meet? What will we do? I'm so sorry to leave you hanging like this, but try to hold on for another twenty-four hours. See you then.

Now there's a metaphor!

I've always thought it was unnatural, perhaps even impossible, for governments to shrink in size rather than grow. As the money flows in, politicians and bureaucrats look for self-aggrandizing ways to spend it, which creates more little fiefdoms full of ambitious people looking to make their mark. And then one day someone looks at the figures and -- whoops! They need some more money! Then they raise taxes and the cycle continues. But of course it can't go on forever.

Maverick Finnish politician is an EU skeptic and provides the perfect visual metaphor for this process:

It may be good if the EU gets so big that it can no longer function -- it will be like a rat with its hypothalamus removed, who keeps eating until it explodes.

April 25, 2006

Waking up

The blog has been quiet lately. I haven't got a good excuse for it, I've just been lazy. But that will soon change! [Yeah, right...] No really! I've got my groove back! This time it's for real! And to prove it, I hereby commit myself to writing another Day in the Life based on my family's wacky adventures tomorrow. I haven't done one since last July, so I'm long overdue. Lots of cute pictures and clever commentary coming late tomorrow! Don't miss it.

If you can't wait that long, here's a shot of the kids pretending to pilot a freighter, taken at the Museum of Civilization last week. I instructed Talia to yell, "Scotty, we need more power!" into the telephone, and she was quite persuasive.

Shrug this off...

For the most part, the leaders of the world have shrugged off the thought of Iran getting the bomb. Sure, there's been talk of 'sanctions', and many of those leaders have expressed 'concern' -- or even 'grave concern' -- but nothing has or will be done. And for all the talk of the US planning an attack, given the current international diplomatic mood there's little chance that will happen unless Iran strikes first.

Perhaps you've been shrugging as well? I know I have; I have my own little problems to worry about. But it's a lot harder to shrug after reading this piece by Matthias Kuntzel on Iran's terrifying martyrdom cult and it's relationship with Iran's new megalomaniac leader. Who knows what will happen if he gets his hands on the means to kill millions.

If that isn't enough to give you nightmares, Mark Steyn also has a good analysis of recent Iranian history and what conclusions can be drawn from it. We are definitely living in interesting times.

April 14, 2006

Too much Manischewitz

Max and Talia sat through their first seder on Wednesday, and they were pretty good. It might have been easier if we used the abridged Haggadah, but we made it. But after dinner they went wild. I must remember to limit their wine intake next year.

April 08, 2006

What's happening

I'm slumped on the couch while the kids rot their brains watching TV downstairs. I'm looking at the dining room table at the debris left over from fifteen minutes of Play-doh playtime. I'll get around to cleaning it up in a little while. I'm listening to New Gold Dream by Simple Minds on the stereo. It was put in the disc changer at a time when I had to pick more family friendly music, and has hidden away there until now. I could now play music that everyone else finds annoying like the Orb or the Bomboras, but I'm to lazy to get up and change it. Besides, Max 'cleaned up' earlier and stacked a colossal pile of toys in front of my CD drawers. It would take a major archeological dig to find something else to listen to.

The kids are watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Mama would disapprove, but she's not here. They turned on the TV and there it was, and they made it clear that they would be very, very upset if I tried to foist Blue's Clues on them. Very, very upset is not something I want to deal with right now, so the turtles it is. I'm surprised that they like it though. It's done in the 'American anime' style and features many nasty monsters plotting devious things. Only a few months ago, Max was terrified by the dopey dragon on an episode of Dora we had, and would run upstairs when it appeared. But he says he's a big kid now, and I guess he is. I wish he would eat his meals without my having to spoon so much of them in myself.

Max's new big kid status arrived with him exhibiting the primal male trait -- a passion for violence. He announced to me yesterday that he is a 'monster killer' and that he had to kill the 'stripey monster'. Further questioning revealed that the stripey monster lived 'far, far away' and was black with big teeth. I asked how he was going to kill it and he replied, "I kill it with the vacoom keener. Suck it up: sssslrlruuuup!" I saw a flaw in his plan and mentioned that the cord to the vacuum wouldn't reach far, far away, and he spent a moment looking pensive.

"I'll use my hands. Punch it. Boom!"

Talia interrupted, "Punching isn't nice!" She didn't learn this from me; it must be the organic daycare's influence.

Max would have none of this wimpiness. "But it's a monster!!" he said with exasperation. I wished him good hunting.

Of course, Talia is the one who is really violent. Max may have a aggressive fantasy life, but Talia lives it. She pushes, scratches, bites, pokes, yells, and even punches. The target of her fury? Max, who doesn't take it very well, and immediately runs to the authority figure every time it occurs. Which to me seems to be about every five minutes. *Whew*

I've decided to try to get out of this nut house and am now engaged in a job hunt. It's not going too well yet, but something's bound to come along. I'm open to anything, just so long as it's less stressful that what I'm doing now. Like an air traffic controller or hostage negotiator. We've got spots reserved for them in a local Montessori school for the fall, and if I get something before that we'll find a non-subsidized daycare to take them until then.

In other news, we've bought a new car. Mama's red '94 Civic hatchback bought the dust recently, and we forced into the showrooms to find a replacement. Our choice? A '06 Civic sedan. What can we say? We're Honda people. We looked at Toyota, and found the Corolla too boring and the Matrix too expensive. We liked the Mazda 3 hatchback, but it was a little too pricey and had poor gas milage. As well, the Civic had far and away the best safety features. I'm not as interested in them, but as an emergency room doctor, my wife places a high value on them. We pick up the new car Monday.

Okay. I've updated the blog. Now I better get that Play-doh cleaned up and make lunch...