Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Doskoch links to this Salon article about Loose Change and other 9/11 conspiracy theories. It reveals what can happen when you get a little too paranoid:
Ironically, Hoffman levels the same charge of government complicity at Avery. Indeed, here's where the conspiracy theories grow even stranger: Hoffman argues that the 9/11 planners specifically engineered the attacks in a way that would lead some people to embrace flimsy 9/11 theories. Avery, Hoffman says, has fallen into the government's trap; the government wants people to say that an airplane didn't hit the Pentagon, because the claim makes 9/11 skeptics look silly.
The article points out that while the details may be seductive, when you pull back and look at the larger narrative Loose Change proposes, it's ridiculous.
Instead, if you're hankering a good yarn, check out the excellent 3-part BBC series The Power of Nightmares [episode 1, episode 2, episode 3 on Google video]. Starting with the Cold War, it tracks the rise, fall (episode 2 has a gripping cliffhanger ending) and rise of the radical Islamists and the US Neoconservatives and reveals how closely the fortunes of each have been tied together. The series makes the case that the terror threat has been exaggerated by politicans in order to gain power.
Watching both that series and Loose Change, it seems like the conspiracy theorists are part of the problem. Belief in a giant conspiracy created by an all-powerful enemy who is capable of such tactics as swapping airliners breeds fear and a feeling of helplessness and doesn't promote understanding. The Power of Nightmares, on the other hand, strips away the nonsense and reveals two groups of idealists with motives and tactics that are not beyond understanding, who use fear to forward their agendas.
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The Unfinished Poem
We are so close your eyes appear
To merge into a single sphere.
Which seems to make them twice as true
Twice as gentle, twice as blue.
I started to write this poem a long time ago. Like, you know, when you're really close to a chick, and you're thinking that maybe there might be a chance to bang, and she's so close that she looks like a cyclops? Sometimes shit like that inspires me to write poetry.
[post submitted by Paul]
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Doctor didn't see Team America, didn't realize that saying 9/11 x 1000 is more funny than scary [The Register]
Spacing Wire is celebrating its first birthday today. Also: get involved in the Deerheads project!
The former Liberal government was paying the copyright lobby to lobby for copyright reform. Sam Bulte remains unelected.
Tony Pierce & Moxie podcast together.
And finally, Zack had a country trip.
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This week it's my birthday
Kind of sad because I liked being 30 but also great because there will be cake. Chocolate cake. Made by my most excellent boydfriend (who cooks).
After my birthday I'm inviting a bunch of friends over for dinner. Not because of the birth anniversary but because I like hanging out with my friends. I want it to be soon because I've been out of town for work and I miss them, but I need to put it off a few days. Because of the cake. I'm not having people over til it's all gone, that way I don't have to share. Because it's my cake dammit. Being over 30 doesn't mean I can't act childish right?
(actually, I might make a second cake to share with my friends. that way we all win)
If you see me with crumbs on my face later this week you'll know why.
[post submitted by Shelley]
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Saturday, June 24, 2006
Shark Jump '06 Continues ...
EVA wrote a post:
After I quit my blog, I delved right into online social networking. I signed up for Myspace and added musicians I've met and/or love and some people I know (and the mayor). I signed up for Hyves.net and talked to people from Holland I haven't talked to in ten years. One girl, who I hadn't seen since we were in grade 5 and 6, is now teaching grade 5 and 6 at our old school. That's hilarious! I wouldn't have found this out through my blog!
Finally I overcame my many qualms and signed up for Lavalife. I hate that site! I am not like that! I am not pathetic! Actually I tried to sign up a few years ago, but my profile was rejected beause I was too cynical. What the hell, I was just being ME!! How can I be myself if I'm not allowed to be myself, huh? Explain that to me, Lavalife. I also think it's unrealistic: when do you ever meet people for the first time by pitching a monologue about how awesome you are? Now I'm in a better mood altogether, so I managed to write some positive crap about me.
I was still convinced that people on Lavalife are a bunch of sad losers and creepy guys, but on my first click I recognized one of the people in the profiles! Someone not creepy and not a sad loser! In the next few days I recognized some other non-losers. Maybe this isn't so bad. And I don't have to freaking MARRY these people, it's just a website.
Some people ARE scary, though. And weird... There are a LOT of men on Lavalife who are wearing a fancy suit or tux in their profile pic. To be more precise: their profile pic is a cropped photo from when they were the best man at a wedding or maybe it's at a prom, and the other people are cut out of the pic. What's up with that?? That's REALLY WEIRD, okay? I imagine these people out in the real world, at Second Cup or maybe in the supermarket, wearing their tuxedo with boutonniere and having a friend constantly slightly out of view right behind them. Do you always look like that???
I make fun of these people so I can tell myself that I'm only on Lavalife for life experience: Later I will say: "Back in oh-six, everyone was networking online, and even finding dates, and these guys had the weirdest profiles. Haha, those were the days!" Because in 2036 this will all be outdated, and now I can at least say I've been there...
And now, my comment:
Because of gay marriage, in 2036 we will all be married to animals. I'm planning on being wed to a creature that is a genetic mix of turtle and goat. Lavalife will have to expand its categories to include animal husbandry ... but remember, you don't have to MARRY those animals! You can have one of your clone avatars do it.
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I Jumped the Shark But the Shark Won
Okay, RoninKengo is the first official unlawful combatant to take on the challenge of the last post with this item:
Isn't this usually the point where a blog jumps the shark?
So that's his post and now it's my turn to leave a comment:
This blog jumped back in Jauary when it split in two in a misguided attempt to generate ad revenue. Whoops. I plan on destroying the second blog with nuclear weapons. But I think you can find much better examples of blogs jumping the shark.
Rocketboom is probably the best. It committed a spectacular jump with the Katrina Hurricane Victim Dramatization video. After failing to really consider the lessons of that moment of crisis (the video is not even directly linked on their archives page), the awareness of their own growing popularity slowly crushed the simple charm seen in the earlier episodes.
Rocketboom contributor, Chuck Olsen, did a pretty stellar job of jumping the shark with the blogumentary vs. blogumentary mess. And sticking with the 'Video Killed the Blog Star theme', after cultivating the persona of a bitter cynic over a long period of time, Alex Blagg threw it all away while wearing a bad shirt in this video. Apparently, he just wanted to be a hipster all along.
Closer to home, Warren's been jumping the shark in slow motion ever since he landed that columnist gig at the National Post. Taking pot shots at Zerby and the IANA to UWAT mess is one thing, but feigning love for the National Post -- the Post! -- that's completely unbelievable. Sure, people gotta eat and there's no reason to turn down a writing gig, but that's no excuse for this:
All of the morning papers look fabulous this morning, design wise. Beautiful packages. But the Post, once again, has the nicest look of all.
Now THAT's jumping the shark.
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Friday, June 23, 2006
U Rite It
Writing blogs is hard. You can help me this weekend by writing a blog post and leaving it in the comments. I will post each submission on its own and will leave my own comments to your posts. See? You will be the blogger and I will be the person leaving comments. Isn't that fun? Holy crap, it'll be the most fun ever ...
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Odds, Ends, Rendered Bone Matter Turned into JuJubes ...
I thought I had a lot to complain about until this morning when Dead Robot emailed this link to photos of a Dell laptop exploding during a conference. And it ain't a little bit of exploding, it's a lot of exploding. I'm praying that my machine doesn't explode. Please don't explode, machine. If you don't explode, I will give you one shiney loonie.
Merv was in town last weekend hangin' with the B-Girlz who are featured on the cover of today's Metro with Enza.
Alan has a new blog. If you read it he'll be forced to write stuff.
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Thursday, June 22, 2006
Space Age Foam
Do you think it's strange that the Brick Matress commercial advertises that its matresses use space age foam alongside a shot of the space shuttle when it was a piece of foam that broke off and caused the damage that destroyed the Columbia?
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My pledge to you is that I will never again leave pictures of burnt linguine up on my blog for a full week. You're welcome.
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Thursday, June 15, 2006
I don't have a sandwich picture for you today. Instead, why not enjoy this image of burned linguine? Here's a close up:
Do you feel like you're there, inside the linguine? Do you want to touch it, feel it? Do you want to ... love it?
Speaking of food, Greg has an excellent summary of the events leading up to the destruction of that urban farm in LA.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I LOVE the Movies You HATE!
Nadia hates The Matrix.
I love the Matrix (the original, not the crap sequels). The original Matrix works because it's the movie equivalent of one of those fall fair haunted house rides. The flick is packed with novelty and fun and ... and ... and ... how can you hate THE MATRIX? It's so good, even Keeeno Reeves can't ruin it.
Trawna hates Broadcast News.
How can you hate Broadcast News? I love everything about Broadcast News! I wish every single movie ever made was Broadcast News. Jennifer Anniston would still have a career if she'd starred in a remake of Broadcast News instead of that idiotic breakup movie. There's no such thing as the perfect movie, but Broadcast News surely tempted some god to smite it.
RoninKengo hates Fight Club.
I hated Alien3, but I really like Fight Club. Good, manic flick with lots of cool film crap (I especialy like the 'catalogue' shot in the apartment). Brad Pitt does a great job of playing Brad Pitt and looking at that flick now from the other side of 9/11 offers good, wholesome perspective.
SaskBoy hated Dazed & Confused.
I LOVE Dazed & Confused! It just rings so true. I grew up in a rural community and the rituals and bullying and hazing was so much a part of growing up there (in fact, a real small town can be worse ... nobody pooped in the mouth of a passed out teen or stole a body from the funeral home in Dazed & Confused). Matthew McConaughey's debut performance is especially outstanding in that so-close-to-reality-I'm-going-to-vomit kind of way.
So there you go, I LOVE THE MOVIES YOU HATE!
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The Bitter Pill
I've just been thinking about movies I've grown to hate more and more, over time. For me, two right off the top of my head are Star Trek: Generations and Garden State.
Generations bugs me more and more because it set the standard all the TNG movies would follow: crap. The plot hinges on a bunch of nebulous nonsense and when Cap't Kirk dies at the end, it seems like 82% PR stunt, 12% Brannon Braga's ego and 6% movie. I hate it.
I've grown to hate Garden State for similar reasons. It's a shallow movie with shallow characters who only seems motivated by the most obvious external concerns. And as much as I disliked the Star Wars prequels, it was Garden State that began my hate affair with Natalie Portman.
There, now I've worked myself up into a froth just from thinking about those flicks. Got any flicks that do this to you?
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Monday, June 12, 2006
"Back to school it's a bad situation
But what you want is an adult education ..."
Today's Star included an article on Karen's study of the dismal state of adult education in Canada:
For those with good jobs and comfortable incomes, learning opportunities are just a phone call or a computer click away. For those trapped in low-wage jobs, training is inaccessible and prohibitively expensive."
All too often, lifelong learning simply means those who are already highly educated are getting even more education and training - the exemplar par excellence of the rich getting richer," say Karen Myers and Patrice de Broucker in a paper published by Canadian Policy Research Networks.
Not only is this bad social policy, it is bad economic policy. At a time when other nations are investing heavily in the productivity of their workers, Canada is allowing millions of its citizens to languish in dead-end jobs - or no jobs.
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Saturday, June 10, 2006
The Hills Are Alive!
A designer emailed me the other day to show me how he'd used one of my pics (high res version here) he'd purchased from istock. You can see his poster and the original illustration above.
This is the first time I've seen one of my istock pics in use and the designer did a great job. istock was also mentioned in a recent WIRED article on crowdsourcing.
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Friday, June 09, 2006
World Cup is OK ...
But this is better! [ Cute Overload ]
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Thursday, June 08, 2006
I AM UNAFRAIDIAN
Kinsella is promoting wearenotafraid.ca, a response to terrorists in light of the recent arrests. It follows the British response to the London bombings but rings a little hollow in the Canadian context. Perhaps a more appropriate name would be helpful:
Now THAT'S a Canadian response, eh?
But Kinsella is involved and he's not one to shy away from confrontation, so maybe the name needs to be more direct:
This has the advantage of addressing the skewed gender roles advocated by the terrorists.
But what we really need to do is stand united as a nation! We have differences, but to face this threat, we need to put them aside. Therefore, this is the very best declaration for this movement:
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006
How was your 666 day? Mine was terrifying!
First, my toast caught on fire, filled the apartment with smoke and set off the fire alarms. Then, in the evening I got in the shower, looked up and there was an enormous wasp on the ceiling. So the day was just like The Omen, except with wasps. And toast. And Rick McGinnis.
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Monday, June 05, 2006
One to see, one to avoid:
SARSICAL, the musical about the SARS crisis in Toronto is a clever & fun musical. The cast, mostly Second City vets, were strong & sharp and the musical numbers are clever. We saw it on opening night last week. It runs at the Factory Theatre to June 18.
But stay away from Fame Becomes Me, Cheaplaff's mock autobiographical one man show. It strings together a bunch of lame skits supposedly parodying the hunger for gossip fueled by the tabloid gossip rags and the whole thing rests on Short's charm. If you like Short, you'll be able to sit through it, if you don't ...
The audience seemed to like it enough and the biggest laugh came when the black woman called Short a "motherfucker". There's also a number featuring Short as a baby in a nusery singing about how much he loves "titties". Yeah, it's that funny. If you're old and rich, check it out, otherwise give it a miss.
On last thing: While we were waiting for SARSICAL to begin, there was a crew from The National doing a story on the play and the reporter was Sandra Abma, who was my creative writing teacher in grade 13, so we got caught up a little 18 years later.
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Sunday, June 04, 2006
Bush Warfare (via Beatmixed) is a HUGE mash-up of anti-Bush protest songs:
BUSH WARFARE 2006 is militant cut'n paste soundklash, the bastard child of the war against piracy and the war against terror. In 80 minutes the mix samples more than 320 sources, most of them protests against the the new age of war and its most prominent leader.
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Saturday, June 03, 2006
An Inconvenient Plot Point
One day the professor of my first year natural science class announced that there was no scientific proof to support the theory of global warming. But that didn't stop Al Gore from making a movie about the subject 18 years later.
We saw An Inconvenient Truth at a packed matinee this afternoon and it's an excellent concert film. I love charts and graphs and Gore makes liberal use of them, though I took issue with the overused boiling frog analogy to describe inaction on the issue (except in Stephen Harper's case; he's pulling out of Kyoto just because he's obtuse).
A better analogy is what happened in the Star Trek TNG episode, Force of Nature. The Enterprise crew encounters a pair of radical scientists who claim the use of warp drive technology is tearing apart fabric of space-time around their home and one of the scientists commits suicide to prove the theory. It's decided that warp travel needs to be limited, but the plot point is quickly ignored and eventutal written out of the series because it's such a bummer. In reality, the issue has been ignored by people in much the same way although the consquences can't be as easily addressed by typing "and then they made a better warp drive that didn't wreck the galaxy."
The oil industry has responded to the doc the same way they always do, by casting doubt on the science: Carbon Dioxide, it's in you to give. And certainly there are many first year nat sci profs telling their students that the science behind climate change is dubious, melting glaciers be damned! But maybe what science tells us doesn't matter, maybe there's a higher power. I once had this conversation with a climate change skeptic:
RIGHT-WING SKEPTIC: There's no such thing as global warming!
BLAMB: Say that's true. But you also preach that the market will address changing circumstances in the world, right?
BLAMB: Insurance companies have been adjusting their rates to account for increasing claims resulting from weather damage. So the market is saying that the climate is changing, that damage from weather events is increasing. Even if there isn't actually global warming, if the market says that damage from weather events is getting worse and the climate is changing, doesn't that make it so?
That shut him up.
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Winners Don't Do Terrorism
Now ... is ... not ... the time .. to ... PANIC!!!
Drama, drama! I was laughing so hard when I read that reaction to the arrest of a suspected terrorist cell here in the GTA, the coffee was leaking out my nose. The title is especially rich: And so it begins. Indeed it does, Lord Vader. Shaidle offers a stark choice:
All the charming restaurants and colourful ethnic festivals (that "help the economy") and funky world music on earth are not worth the life of one baby mangled in a subway bombing.
What to choose? What to choose? One mangled baby or charming restaurants and colourful ethnic festivals? OMG, I CAN'T DECIDE!!! Wait, can we ditch the festivals and keep the restaurants for half a mangled baby? I like a vindaloo at lunch from time to time.
Obviously, there is cause to be concerned about terrorist attacks like the ones that occurred in London & Madrid and clearly some people are insulated from this reality. But the way to combat terrorism is by using tools we already have: democracy, rule of law and a just society ... not demonizing immigrants.
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Thursday, June 01, 2006
But I'm not quitting my blog.
I've seen lots of people announce that they're quitting their blogs recently, so I figured I should make a big toot about NOT quitting mine. Things are slow here at the moment because I've been pouring my creative energy into my istock portfolio; you can view new stuff on an almost daily basis in my gallery; it's a lot like a blog. I'm poor and finally the internet is paying a few bills ...
But quit my blog?
I'm not sure anyone really quits their blog, deep down. Look at Eva, she "quit" but sent us to four places she maintains; 1, 2, 3, 4. Or Sugarmama who quit and then appeared again a few months later under a different name. A few months ago people were writing about 'the death of blogs' but what's really happened is that there are so many forms of communication available online, "blogs" no longer stand out (depending how you define 'blog' ... a Flickr account is pretty much a blog, eh?).
As the Eagles sang, You can check out anytime you like, but then Kenny Rogers will cover your song. Or something like that. That Don Henly, he was quite a guy!
So instead of quitting my blog, I quit Bell. Bell has been leaching off me for years and the other day they called up to see if there was "anything they could do for me". I asked them if they could save me a few bucks and they said 'sure, let's look at your account'. Then they said, 'er, no, turns out there's nothing we can do for you'. That was the last straw and I switched. Idiots.
In fact, Bell screwed up my service a long time ago. When I moved to this apartment, they installed the wrong line so I only had phone access in a jack at the rear of my place. I called and asked to have it switched and they said that it would cost me $100 ... even though it was their screw-up to begin with. Now that I've switched, I have phone jacks working through the whole pad.
I've been a Bell customer for nearly twenty years (since I had my first phone service in university) and all they've done is load up on my $$$. These days I've been paying more for my phone than my internet and the internet is connected and working 24/7. Most of the phone calls I receive are from telemarketers ... so I'm paying more just to be annoyed.
How did it feel dumping Bell? It felt great! You should do it, if you can. I will probably never be a Bell customer again, I was just so sick of their feeling of entitlement to my cash. They had their chance and they blew it.
So long, suckers!
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