Friday, 21 November 2008

New Maliciousness at York University Strike

Please help Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903.

CUPE 3903 is currently in the second week of a strike and have been sideswiped by some 'unknown' cybersquatter who has registered the URL and pointing it towards the University's own web site.

While they pursue their complaint with the Canadian Internet Registration Authority [CIRA], they're attempting to improve the ranking of their provisional website on Google so that people searching for information about the York University strike find their side of the situation and not just the Administration's ducktalk or websites belonging to anti-strike student groups.

Until they can get their URL back, they are attempting to enhance search engine rankings for their new page by using inbound links. The more websites that link to the better . . . and even more than quantity of links are quality. If they can get popular sites to link the new page, the more Google will promote their new page! [As V.I. Lenin once said, there is a certain quality in quantity.]

Please put a link to the real CUPE 3903 site [] on your website or blog using "York University strike information" as the link text.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The strongest oak must fall/ The sweet things in life/ To you were just loaned.

Given the current situation, I've been cheering myself up recently by reading about the Great Depression. Like us,they had self-serving idiots in power but, for the most part, everybody survived (until WWII came along and 'fixed' the economic downturn and population pressures). Two books that I especially found myself drawn to were Studs Terkel's Hard Times and James Grey's The Winter Years. Different styles and different countries but both straightforward and though provoking reads.

Terkel leads off his chapter on the high life with this classic written by Lew Brown in 1931 which is as relevant now as then.

'Life is just a bowl of cherries,
Don't take it too serious,
Life's too mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can't take your dough when you go-go-go,
So keep repeating it's just the berries.
The strongest oak must fall.
The sweet things in life,
To you were just loaned,
So how can you lose what you've never owned.
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.'

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Why did Stevenson Lose His Bid for the Presidency?

"In America, anybody may become president, and I suppose it's just one of the risks you take." - Adlai Stevenson

Nobody likes a smartass. They'd rather vote for somebody dumber than them. Hell, I work for somebody dumber than me and I wouldn't vote for them unless I could pick their execution method. Why in God's name would you want somebody lower than you on the Great Chain of IQ deciding anything important?? The Stupids should be left to what they do best (like sweeping floors or plunging toilets) and not running for the highest (and second highest) office in the land.

Picturing McCain and Palin in office is like some kind of nightmarish version of Dumb and Dumber come to life.

Good for Jonathan, Bad for the Devil

According to the CBC website, "In honour of Halloween, Jonathan Goldstein has a conversation with . . . the Devil."

I wonder who's going to get the worse end of this conversation??

My prediction is that the Prince of Darkness will probably be sitting in the corner hacking away at his wrists with a razor blade after about ten minutes of Goldstein's self-consciously clever banter.

Well, maybe fifteen minutes, tops.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


George Carlin: Education and the Owners of America 4:41

Man, I really found myself getting all verklempt when I watched this on YouTube.

George hits the nail on the head and he hits it really damn hard. Things are really going to Hell in a colostomy bag right about now and the public is too stupid or apathetic to do anything about it. But it's not just normal stupidity that keeps them down, it's stupidity that is actually built into the system to keep people from questioning why everything is so screwed up. Nothing like the fact that the captains of business are driving the economy like a bunch of drunken teenagers with a stolen vehicle to keep the public distracted from the bigger picture. And then there are those military conflicts that the US keeps getting into... (And now Palin wants to get into a scrap with Russia. Jesus H. Christ, pick one fight at a time ... and try to stick to small countries that can't fight back. Like Iraq. Wait, lets try that again. Like Iran. Or Russia. Maybe the US should finally give into their imperialist instincts and invade Canada again. The last effort didn't go so well but I'm sure some downsized Wall Street spin doctor could rationalize it to the rest of the world.)

The facts that Carlin presents are structured like stand up comedy but you can't do much but chuckle nervously because you know that they're all too true. As George said, "They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street." Our benevolent employers, who established retirement plans for their employees have suddenly decided to unpack them and take back their contributions. It's only slightly less appalling than Wal-Marts abuse of the dead peasant laws in the US of A to profit from their employees dieing.

What would George Carlin do? More importantly, what would he have to say about last weeks bail out of Wall Street? Bush and his cronies have really put the biscuit wheels on the gravy train one last time. Most presidents make some attempt to leave a legacy but Bush just appears to be trying to milk the American public one last time before the ride him our on a rail.

The legacy of the Bush administration is going to be one of jobbery and ineptitude writ large. And if things go really wrong America will see even more maverick economics courtesy of John McCain. I was looking at a textbook on white collar crime today and happened to notice that McCain played a supporting role in the Charles Keating S & L deregulation scandal in the 1980s. McCain didn't care about the American workers any more twenty-five years ago than he does today.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Right on the Verge of Blasphemy. Wait ... I Guess it is Blasphemous after All.

Dr. Seuss Bible [2:29]

'The one you can worship by taking a snooze.'

You definitely can tell who your friends are by who censors you. The Kids in the Hall were/are so damn cool...especially their take on how Dr. Suess would describe the life of Christ.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton, SNL Style

'Barack Obama' and 'Hillary Clinton' summarize the circular firing squad that the Democratic party has degenerated into over the past months in a pseudo-advertisement [1:18]

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Those Damn Funny Apes at The Onion!

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters [2:24]

I hate to say it, but this video sums up the current state of electoral politics in North America all too well. Democracy, as it is practiced here, has little meaning because no major changes are going to be implemented by the government that don't going to screw the citizenry over.

Like when Adlai Stevenson was running for the presidency in 1956 and a supporter observed that he had the vote of every thinking man in America. Stevenson thanked them and then unwisely quipped that he still needed the majority of votes to win.

Contemporary elections are like a high school popularity contest staged in hell. Each candidate attempts to outsmart the others without actually saying anything.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

I'm Too Lazy to Think, But Monty Python is Still Hilarious.

And now, a bunch of random Monty Python quotes.

Why, you may ask.

Because they're funny, of course.

‘They should attack the lower classes, first with bombs and rockets to destroy their homes, and then when they run helpless into the street, mow them down with machine guns. And then, of course, release the vultures. I know these views aren’t popular, but I have never thought of popularity.’
- Stockbroker [John Cleese]

‘Are you nervous? Irritable? Depressed? Tired of life? Keep it up!’
- Enterprising undertaker [Terry Jones]

‘We must never forget that, if there was not one thing that was not on top of another thing, our society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men gathered together for no good reason.’
- President, Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things [Graham Chapman]

‘Never kill a customer.’
- Head Waiter [Michael Palin] to the cook

‘One day you’ll realize there’s more to life than culture! There’s dirt, and smoke, and good honest sweat!’
- Ken [Eric Idle] to his playwright/father

‘Kids were different then. They didn’t have their heads filled with all this Cartesian Dualism…’
- April Simnel [Michael Palin], neighbour of the Piranha Brothers

‘Using this diagram of a tooth to represent any small country, we can see how international communism works, by eroding away from the inside. When one country or tooth falls victim to international communism, the others soon follow. In dentistry, this is known as the Domino Theory.’
- Uncle Sam [animated]

‘I don’t think any of our contestants this evening have succeeded in encapsulating the intricacies of Proust’s masterwork, so I’m going to award the first prize this evening to the girl with the biggest tits.’
- Arthur Me [Terry Jones]

‘If that idea of yours isn’t worth a pound, I’d like to know what is. The only trouble is, you gave me the idea before I’d given you the pound, and that’s not good business!’
- Merchant Banker [John Cleese]

Monday, 5 May 2008 harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice.

'I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; - but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - AND I WILL BE HEARD.'

The preceding words were penned by William Lloyd Garrison, the 'Golden Trumpet of Abolition', in the 1 January 1831 debut issue of The Liberator. The Liberator ran for 35 years [until the end of the American Civil War in, as you already know, 1865], mobilizing the disparate forces of the anti-slavery movement across the northern states.

On 3 December 1964, Mario Savio, arguably the most noteworthy of the spokespersons for the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, observed that:

'There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!'

Then I go look at my all-too-humble little blog where I discuss what I had for breakfast and I get really damn depressed.

Intro to Lord of War [3:23]

Well, what can I possibly say about Nicolas Cage that hasn't already been said? He destroyed two films last year [Ghost Rider and the utterly abysmal remake of The Wicker Man] but every once in a while he puts his name on a good film.

This is the introduction to one of them.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

May Day!

It's that time of the year again! It's May Day!!

Knowing full well that workers in other countries don't even enjoy the luxury of celebrating this day, I wandered down to the the local May Day parade/march/spectacle to watch events unfold. A strangely diverse number of groups came together to celebrate. Some of it was predictable, by-the-numbers street theatre but the anarchist marching band was a real improvement over previous musical efforts.

I might as well give in and celebrate the seductive allure of the REAL working class holiday [as opposed to so-called Labour Day, which sold out to the miltary-industrial complex ages ago] and add a few of the classic hymns of the European proletariat to my blog.


The Internationale
Eugene Pottier and Pierre Degeyter [1871]

Arise ye pris’ners of starvation
Arise ye wretched of the earth.
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world’s in birth.
No more tradition’s chains shall bind us,
Arise ye slaves no more in thrall.
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been naught, we shall be all.

‘Tis the final conflict
let each stand in their place
The Internationale shall be the human race.
‘Tis the final conflict
let each stand in their place
The Internationale shall be the human race.

The law oppresses us and tricks us,
The wage slave system drains our blood,
The rich are free from obligations,
The poor the laws delude.
Too long we’ve languished in subjugation,
Equality has other laws;
‘No rights,’ says she, ‘without their duties.
No claims on equals without cause.’

Behold them seated in their glory,
The kings of mine and rail and soil.
What have you read in all their story,
but how they plundered toil.
Fruits of the workers' toil are buried
in strongholds of the idle few;
In working for our restitution
We claim our rightful due.


Solidarity Forever
Ralph Chaplin [1915]

When the union’s inspiration through the worker’s blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
For the union makes us strong.

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite,
Who would lash us into serfdom and would crush us with his might?
Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

It is we who ploughed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroads laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
But the union makes us strong.

All the world that’s owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone.
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong.

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled earned to earn,
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
That the union makes us strong.

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of armies, magnified a thousand-fold.
We can bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong.

We’re the women of the union in
the forefront of the fight,
We know of women’s issues, we
know of women’s rights,
We’re prepared to fight for freedom,
we’re prepared to stand our ground,
Women make the union makes the union strong.


Or, as the late Abbie Hoffman observed in his 1982 book Soon to be a Major Motion Picture:

'Morality seems to enter the picture only when individuals interact with each other. It's universally wrong to steal from your neighbor but once you get beyond the one-to-one level and pit the individual against the multinational conglomerate, the federal bureaucracy, the modern plantation agro-business, or the utility company, it becomes strictly a value judgment to decide who exactly is stealing from whom. One person's crime is another person's profit. Capitalism is a license to steal; the government simply regulates who steals and how much.'

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead. Wait, Make That Charlton Heston has Finally Kicked the Bucket.

According to Reuters, Hollywood legend and neocon icon Charlton Heston is dead at age 84.

If God is, as all good Republicans appear to believe, a 70-year old white Republican male from Iowa, they ought to get along just fine. I imagine Chas has a few words of advice for the big guy on where He went wrong ['First, hit that fat fuck Michael Moore with a lightning bolt and take out that Obama fellow ...']

At least this gives gun-control advocates to finally pry Heston's flintlock rifle from his 'cold, dead hands.' Or maybe the feds can use eminent domain to claim Heston's personal armory and send it where they need more firepower like Iraq. Or those attitudinal French. Or, now that I think about it, maybe even Canada.

Monday, 31 March 2008

I Feel Like I Just Got Second Prize in the 'Francis-Grady's-Not-Such-A-Bad-Bastard' Award

Hell's Bells.

I've just come from my union local's Annual General Meeting where I was elected president for the coming year.

As things turned out, my competition was unable to stand for election because he is a member but not a member in good standing. [He is indeed a member, which means that he has worked for the employer over the past twelve months but being a member in good standing means that he has actually perfomed productive labour in the past four months.] If a member with standing runs for office unopposed the Board can appoint them. If a member in good standing runs, however, they automatically lose.

While technicalities such as these seem trivial, he was assuming that he would automatically be appointed by the outgoing board because no-one in their right mind would dare to challenge him.

Conveniently, I have been so sleep deprived over the past month that I am no longer operating in my right mind.

This led to much angry recrimination after the meeting that the by-laws are outdated and obviously irrelevant because he didn't win. As I've known him in a professional capacity for the past eighteen months, I must say that his hissy simultaneously made me feel bad for him but also glad that I ran against such a poor loser that he would go and whine to our union rep after the meeting.

I only ran after a great deal of thought but was still prepared to lose if the vox populi went against me.

Hell, beyond is impromptu rant to the union rep, he also had the nerve to snub me before and after the meeting.

Actually, I suppose this was a fairly painless introduction to hardball union politics because it could have been way, way worse.

My only concern is that he is going to be a real pain in the ass over the next couple of months. Only time will tell, but hopefully he will get distracted by his job and family and quit busting my balls for being an dirty rotten, evil, Machiavellian son-of-a-bitch.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Not for Everyone, for Madmen Only.

I normally avoid CNN because ... because ... well, because CNN is to journalism what ordure is to nutritious food. Watching CNN is like going to an all-you-can-eat feast hosted the hugely-litigious purveyor of fast food with the Scottish name. But occasionally even CNN does something worthy of note.

On Wednesday night, former Republican presidential candidate [and Harold Stassen stand-in] Bob Dole defended current White House hopeful John McCain on the Larry King show. While admitting that McClain indeed had a temper, Dole thoughtfully added that the Arizona senator 'can control it.'

Voting is a challenge at the best of times but knowing that you're potentially voting for someone would have their anger management coach appointed to the federal bureaucracy should give even the most die hard Republican pause for reflection ... but it is unlikely to.

Looking at what the American government has already done over the past eight years with a pseudo-soldier at the helm, I don't even want to know what they would attempt with a former P.O.W. with anger management issues in the driver's seat.

And, on a lighter note, I'm posting a clipping from the L.A. Times, that respected academic publication. Not sure of the exact providence of it, but I believe that it is two or three years old. Despite that, even the potential for the U.S. Army to opt out of the Geneva Convention is troubling.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

China Banned! What's Up Next for Worker's Paradise?

Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society [part of the Harvard Law School] kept tabs on the websites that the Chinese authorities were keeping tabs on between August 2002 and November 2003.

The individual sites that were targeted can be found at Inaccessible Sites Tested by Users of the Real-Time Testing System along with a few observations as to why these sites have been censored in the first place. While some might be obvious, others less so. [Issues of aesthetics or good taste aside, why would they bother to censor granny porn sites??]

A recent article in The Atlantic observed that China's 'Golden Shield Project' [as the Internet firewall is known] allows for government authorities to monitor all Internet traffic going in or out of the country in a way that would be impossible in other nations thanks to a series of 'choke-points' created by the layout of China's phone service. A consequence of this technological bottle-neck has been China has been able to block videos on the Tibetan protest movement posted on YouTube while being unable to completely stop the flow of information related to Tibet from moving into and out of China, thanks in part to bloggers and others using spam tactics to bypass Chinese filters.

With the upcoming Olympics and the ongoing issues in Tibet, censorship can only get worse ... both in China and over here.

Despite all this, it is still [allegedly] possible to get outside news into the Worker's Paradise through a number of Transwiki: Bypassing the Great Firewall of China.

Anyhow, this might provide me with my big chance to get my own blog blocked by the Chinese authorities by passing on the following message from Play Fair 2008:

'Play Fair 2008 is an international campaign taking place in the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games to push for respect for workers’ rights in the global sporting goods industry.'

'Play Fair 2008 is organized by The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the International Textile, Garment and Leather Worker’s Federation (ITGLWF). The campaign is also supported by a diverse coalition of organizations worldwide.'

'We believe that sportswear and athletic footwear companies, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Olympics Committees, as well as national governments must take steps to eliminate the exploitation and abuse of workers in the global sporting goods industry.'

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

I suppose I shouldn't encourage people to leave my blog but Free Rice is totally addictive in a nerdy, social justice-y kind of way.

You pick the right definition for a word and the sponsors give 20 grains of rice per successful pick to the UN World Food Program. Like everything else in life, everything counts in large amounts. [I've just quoted Depeche Mode. I feel ill.]

Since you insist on bathing in the warming glow of your monitor, you might as well help somebody else out while building your vocabulary up at the same time.

But first, please feel free to look around my all-too humble excuse for a blog.

Also, please note that none of this refers to Nitroglycol, who is already a little too smart for his own damn good.

Just a Touch Pissed-Off, I Suppose.

This coming Tuesday [March 25th] marks the 97th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City. In the worst loss of human life during a single incident [until 9/11, of course], 148 of the women who worked in the sweatshop were given the odious choice of either burning to death or jumping the nine floors to the ground.

The owners of the sweatshop [as I discovered in a highly educational book on litigation] escaped both the fire itself [by sneaking out before the fire got too bad] and justice [by paying the worker's families paltry sums of cash, political connections, and hiring the best trial lawyer that blood money could buy].

... and, 97 years later, exactly what have we learned?

When you ask people about organizing their workplace, they act as if the role of the manager is to protect them from the big, bad union.

Hell, most employers would probably harvest your organs for beer money if they could find a way to keep you working sans your viscera.

But now the stakes are greater and the world is a whole lot smaller and so the fight continues.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

I'll have to follow up on these predictions from
as to the fallout of Super Tuesday.

'But there are three points that I think will likely emerge as the night goes on:

1. McCain will not lock this up tonight. He'll have to go on to win Virginia and likely all the way to Texas, but if the exit polls hold, he has to hope that Huckabee - who's played his wingman for about the past three weeks - continues to play nice and is content to coast to being the Last Action Hero's Veep.

2. Romney continues to perform horribly in the South, despite having a ton of endorsements and a very good campaign organization. The South is still the most personality-driven political arena in America, and there are some things that not even money and machines can overcome. I don't think he's going to get enough momentum out of the West to change that in the coming primaries.

3. I respect Dr. Dobson more than a lot of other folks, but the idea of releasing a statement that he'll stay home and won't vote in a McCain-Clinton election this late in the game indicates to me that he isn't all that enthused about throwing support to Huckabee or Romney. Had Dobson announced this a week ago, he would've had a definite impact today, and moved a few key points to whoever he wished. But by waiting and making this a non-factor, I think it's a sign that as much as he dislikes McCain, Dobson is resigned to the fact that he's the likeliest nominee.

My prescription for getting through the night: I recommend strong bourbon and a large dose of Michael Barone and Karl Rove.'

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Intelligence of the Voting Public

Once again, here we are.

Call it what you will ... Super Tuesday, Super Duper Tuesday, Giga Tuesday, Tsunami Tuesday or the Tuesday of Destiny.

When the greatest total number of states hold their primary elections to elect their delegates to the national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated.

It's pucker-time for the wanna-be alpha males across the United States.

Of course, if things go wrong they'll have to settle for less, much as they've been doing for the past 232 years.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Supersizing Gone Wild!

Damned if I know what to say about this.

This video demonstrates a young man's attempts to eat a burger composed of the equivalent of 8 McDonald's Quarter Pounders - a DOUBLE POUNDER! This video clip is essentially porno for carniviores.

Maybe they should consider giving inmates on Death Row in the U.S. a diet of these babies until all their appeals are worn out. They would die full, happy and very, very quickly.

Super Bowl Madness, Revised


All over Oceania this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big Brother for the new, happy victory of the Giants over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us.

Super Bowl Madness

Good news about the Super Bowl. Apparently somebody won.

Surrounded by Humanoids

The other day, while I was killing time at a junk store, I found an object made of two three-inch nails bent around each other - kind of like a metal pretzel. Assuming that they must represent some form of puzzle, I began attempting to separate them [thereby proving my superiority over the humanoids surrounding me] when it suddenly dawned on me that no solution may actually exist for this problem ... what I was holding may well represent the obscure cast-off remainder of some unknown industrial manufacturing process. The only reason for the hope of a solution was the projection of my own need for a solution into the situation. On that thought, I put my new 'toy' down and continued on with my perusing through the other 'pre-enjoyed' objects.

This is, at a microscale, what I constantly fear is happening across the planet right now. We, as a species, always assume that we will eventually figure out the solution to the big problems because problems, by there very nature, must have solutions. [I believe that James Lovelock's observed that Gaia, the planet as a whole, will continue to survive but H. sapiens, on the other hand, cannot automatically assume their that continued survival is guaranteed under the current system.]


Well, I can't take the credit for any of these but I liked them enough to post them. They are all the work of Robert 'Banksy' Banks, the British graffiti/graphic artist and bon vivant. Banks has a number of samples of his work, both indoor and outdoor, at his site as well as a bit of info on himself.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Well, the world is still a wretched hive of scum and villainy and blogging is even less cool now than it was when I stopped posting, so I guess that I'll start this thing up again.