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The assorted meanderings, rantings, and pontifications of... us!

Topics may include, but will not be limited to: feminism, hockey, atheism, shoes, politics, fat acceptance, fitness, skepticism, dancing, introversion/HSP issues, and anything else that happens to be on my mind.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A smallish incident of minor hypocrisy

In 1991, Delwin Vriend, a lab instructor at The King's University College , got fired for being gay. The court case that followed is old news.

A popular pub with King's College students today is the Newcastle, which is a very fine establishment if you like your beer cold and your wings hot, or are a slave to the juicy, juicy burger. Students living in rez at King's make their way to the Newcastle by walking along 90 Ave, and it seems they do it often enough and in great enough numbers that Thursdays are Student Night. If you see a group of college-age kids walking along 90 Ave after dark, chances are good that if they're headed east, they're headed to rez from the Newcastle, and if they're headed west, they're headed for the Newcastle from rez. Smart kids - I doubt the burgers they can get in rez are anything close. *drool*

So the other night the Oilers got their asses handed to them by the Coyotes. It was ugly and I wanted to cry. Shortly after the game was over, Sardeth and I were driving along 90 Ave when we saw two young men, one in a Blackhawks jersey and one in an Avalanche jersey, headed east. They were carrying an armload of skull patio lights that used to decorate the best Hallowe'en yard along that stretch of road. They were bigger than us, and something about their body language made me automatically lock the car door. Sardeth was kicking himself for not having confronted them, but my gut says it could have been ugly and I'm glad he didn't.

The compromise was that he stopped by campus security at King's and let them know what was up. The response: a sigh, a shrug, and "Yea, they were probably ours. We'll keep our eyes open."

So, if you're a Christian college:
Being gay: evil, wrong, can get you fired unless the Supreme Court intervenes
Being a vandal and a thief: a sigh and a shrug

nuff said

Friday, October 28, 2005

The US Government - Corrupt and Loving it.

Turn back the clock one administration. Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the scandal the uproar the end of the free world in other words if you followed the press in the United States. The Republicans would not, in their obstructionist ways, let the issue die. The House of Representatives voted to impeach for Clinton for his apocalyptic transgression.

Take the current yahoo in the White House. George W. Bush. After stealing the election in 2000, he went and gutted the tax system for “his base”, putting in further jeopardy the enfeebled social programs of the US. He lied about 9/11, the WMD, he lied about Iraq. The current scandal should be easy as pie to sweep under the rug. Bush took his county to war on information he knew was false. He is currently responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens…(bringing democracy) with more coming. Bush is fostering more hatred against the US for his unilateral, illegal war at the expense of the American people. He has taken the world a step closer to anarchy and lawlessness. But he hasn’t diddled a office intern, so impeachment is off the radar. A big hearty thanks to the American lapdog press for striving for journalistic integrity and keeping this government honest.

The irony of this tale of two presidents is overwhelming.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

This Province Pisses me off

Guest Post by tr1c14's partner Sardeth
Alberta’s government (see Kleptocracy) has energy wealth gushing from every greedy pockmarked pore. Let us see what the grand ‘Alberta Advantage’ has done for us. Do we have superior infrastructure? Do we have five dollar a day Day-care or even viable Senior Citizen Care? Do we have any sort of plan for the future for what to do with our very temporary energy windfall?

The answer to the questions above, of course, is a big merry fucking “No”. The farce we call a government around here is pulling the plans for Alberta’s future straight out of Ralph Klein’s asshole. This shit is not good. The 400-dollar prosperity bonus is about as sensible as skates for a donkey, not to mention a waste of public dollars that might actually do some good if allocated with a whiff of sense.

Our government is naturally inclined to key policy decisions behind closed doors with little or no public debate. Government committees are almost always staffed exclusively by the government's own ministers. It is a rare and joyous occasion when an opposition member gets to sit on one of the minor boards, usually deciding such important provincial issues as what carols to sing at Christmas or the décor for the flipping staff bake-off. No debate, no oversight, no democracy in other words. The fucktards that get their shit all hot and bothered over the federal liberals had better do a 180 and look at the stinking pot of corruption here in the land of big oil, bigger cowboy hats and strangely enough a shit-for-brains electorate.

Imagine a cow. Imagine a cow stunned 20 times with a taser. Imagine the flatulence that issues from said cow during the stunning process. That flatulence is the apathetic, ignorant mass of a body politic that we have running and living in this province.

The scandal here at home is just mind-boggling. Some of the big ones first. Energy Deregulation, the miracle of the Free Market brought to us by the Alberta Conservative Retards in Power for Perpetuity party. ACRPP for short. Our formerly public energy sector was doing quite nicely, providing a Western-world necessity: power available for a reasonable rate. Our nice public utility was actually making a modest profit.

“Ohhh….but the market will make things better, competition will bring low prices for everyone” said the ACRPP. (The market FYI is craptacular at a whole bevy of products, but especially public services) The ACRPP in their unquestioned brilliance (see the vital air of democracy from above) decide to sell off our public utility to Direct Energy. Yes, that is right folks, the same bunglers that took the people of London England for a merry ride while hornswaggling them for billions of dollars. “Ohhhh..”says ACRPP, “that wouldn’t happen here…they have cleaned up their act, they are the very model of corporate goodwill… and happy smiles for all.”

7 Billion dollars later, Alberta now lives in a quasi-regulated free market abyss that is royally dry humping the citizens of the province. We have a Energy and Utilities board to watch over the corporations though, staffed by experts from the industry and, you guessed it, members of the government. These bastards are pulling our guts out through our assholes and we have the audacity to rant and rave about the Federal government of Canada losing a couple of million dollars. (120 million-ish but beside 7 billion a mere drop in the bucket.) Some of the wizards in the ministry of energy just graduated with advanced degrees in selling the people of Alberta down the river.

Let us not forget about the oil royalties that we letting slip through our grasp. The royalties we take from the oil-sands is in the area of 1%. Hugo Chavez manages 40 – 50% royalty rate for his oil. And here is the kicker, he maintains a low domestic price for his people for the refined products of oil. Thanks to Brian Mulroney and his cavalcade of conservative clownage we signed NAFTA, which prohibits us from selling oil domestically at a cheaper price than what we export it for. We are currently embroiled in a trade dispute with the US over softwood lumber, and surprise they are acting unilaterally (*gasp*) and not respecting a NAFTA panel ruling in Canada’s favour. Our Prime Minister, showing signs of a backbone, is attempting to gain a little leverage by threatening the US with countervailing energy sanctions. Hoooo..the storm that raised here in Oil-town! When Ralph Klein isn’t actively pulling fecal laced policy from his own posterior he’s on a fucking safari trying to find his missing olfactory organ in the chummy anal-cavity of Big Oil. Hence we get dire warnings about keeping our biggest trading partner happy and how we should negotiate a settlement… even with the little fact that we won the damn NAFTA case.

Our behaviour as Albertans is reprehensible. Its late and I’m all ranted out.

I’m still pissed off, but feeling much better.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Naked Grandfathers in Saskatchewan

From an article by Darren Bernhardt in the Saskatoon StarPheonix October 22:
Everybody knows everyone else in small-town Saskatchewan. But the level of intimacy has a new meaning in Eston, where a number of men, many well into their harvest years, have posed in the buff for a calendar.

There's the mayor on his riding mower. And there's Keith Richardson holding his fishing rod and sitting au naturel at
the water's edge.

"By God, I'm 76, I've got nothing left to hide," Richardson replied.

The calendar is the brainchild of town councilor Al Heron, whose 97-year-old father-in-law required treatment from the local health centre's refurbished 20-year-old electrolysis machine, which often broke down. Neither the province nor the health region were willing to buy a new one, so they had to come up with something....

The picture of Richardson is charming. He's sitting there wearing nothing but his fishing hat and a smile (and some sunscreen, I would hope!). He has the kind of old-man body I see when I go swimming on Saturday morning, with some bits saggy, some bits skinny, some bits muscular, and the story of his life written in the wrinkles on his face, if I only knew how to read them. From just looking at him, I think I like him.

If there were some way of getting a calendar other than calling the Eston town office long-distance (assuming they'll take orders over the phone) I think I would probably buy one. I like the idea of not-perfect, non-airbrushed bodies portrayed positively and artistically. Even better, I like how the personality seems to just shine out. These aren't pictures of bodies to be consumed, they're pictures of people to marvel at and wonder what they're like.

Of course not everybody likes it:
"I feel it's a tacky thing and I won't look at it," said resident Tammy Gardiner, calling it a double-standard. "If my 17-year-old daughter did this, there would be a lot of angry people. So how is this okay?"

The local school principal is presently trying to establish a dress code, she added.

"It's not setting a good example for the young people when their grandpa takes off his clothes like this."

Gardiner is partially right, there is some kind of double standard going on here, but I'm not sure she is seeing the same double standard(s) I'm seeing. I personally think it's great that grandpa is taking off his clothes. Maybe if bodies were something people were used to seeing and appreciating in all their variations, and they were just another fact of life, the high school wouldn't be struggling with a dress code. Why dress to titillate when really, it's just a body and everybody has one? (Assuming from the commenter's tone that the problem has to do with kids, particularly girls, coming to school in revealing clothing.)

I think the real, nasty double standard comes in when you ask why there are only grandpas, and no grandmas, in the calendar. I see two different double standards, and while they seem to contradict one another, I think they both have some truth to them.

The lack of grandmas could be due to the differing emphasis we as a culture put on youth=beauty for women vs men, and further to that, beauty=value as a human being. Pictures of old women, genuine and vibrant and, worst of all, unashamed, could rock that boat a lot more than many people might be comfortable with.

Or it could have to do with the power dynamic involved in posing naked. The pinup "girl" (never "woman"!) is functioning more as an airbrushed commodity than a real human being. When old men, the traditional power-brokers of society, put themselves into this position, they essentially turn the power structure on its head. It's a modernized, carefully-controlled, Saturnalia for a cause, not much different from auctioning off a chance to pie a professor for the food bank*. Saturnalia doesn't work when the people submitting to the status-reversal don't have the status to be reversed in the first place.
*I would argue that in this case, the professor being a woman was eclipsed by her being a member of the faculty, and the audience for the (consensual) pie-ing being her students.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Procrastinating in fine form!

I've been wanting to have a blog for a while, but despite setting this one up over a week ago now, I have yet to write anything.

It's not for want of ideas. Here are some of the things I want to write about:
  • An article by Hugo Schwyzer about anti-feminist women that was actually the catalyst for me wanting to start blogging. What he was saying rang true to me on a lot of levels. But I thought if I was going to go on some kind of disjointed ramble of self-exploration, I may as well make my own space for it rather than take up his space.

  • A lecture I went to by Thomas Homer-Dixon - first I have to read his book, The Ingenuity Gap, but my partner is refusing to lend me any more books until I finish at least one of the ones I've already borrowed. Which means I'll have to finish either Moby Dick, A People's History, or some crazy-ass book about the neurophysiology of mathematics that gives me a headache every time I try to read the introduction, instead of pulp science-fiction.

  • A case of God Being a Dick that the Evangelical Atheist hasn't written about yet. I'm kindof peeved with ~I am~, because the realization that God is a dick was one of my first steps toward atheism, and here I thought I had some kind of original insight, and then I find out somebody has written a whole 16-part (and counting) series about it and I'm not original at all! I might be able to weasel out of this one by mentioning this case of dickishness to ~I am~ and then he'll write about it better than I ever could.

  • The teacher's strike in BC

  • An article I read about Eston, Saskatchewan, where a bunch of old (70ish) men posed naked for a fundraising calendar

  • Another article from today's paper about some dumbass doctor who thinks doctors should be recording their patients' waist measurements if their patients are overweight

  • Homage to the bloggers who inspired me to try my hand at this, because they're all wonderful and deserve to have wonderful things said about them

So that's plenty to write about right there. Now I just have to get off my butt and do it.