Monday, June 30, 2008

Why do cyclists fear drivers? Because drivers seem to regard cyclists as targets, not fellow human beings. What is it about driving a car that makes a person feel "special"? They may indeed be special, but only in the "retarded" sense. How did this idiot manage to run down four people at high noon? Not enough light? Couldn't have had the sun in his/her eyes after all. Will charges be laid? Call me cynical, but I wouldn't bet on it. If there were, however, I've got the punishment (assuming conviction, of course) - the person will have to ride a bicycle from Halifax to Vancouver, following the same route these folks were. That's all. Just ride the route. See how it feels to be a target for a change.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back in the 60s (gad) there were the "Rat Pack" movies and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World" - movies in which rich stars seemed determined to employ every friend who'd ever acted or not acted, just for the pure fun of it. Burt Reynolds did the same thing in the 70s with his "Cannonball Run" movies. Evidently, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are the 21st century's practitioners of this art.

I watched "Death Proof" (or is that "Deathproof"?) a couple of weeks ago, and just finished watching "Planet Terror". These movies got slammed pretty hard by critics, as I recall, when they came out. Frankly, I think the critics missed the point. Or the lack thereof. They're funny. They're fun. Yes, "Deathproof" makes virtually no sense, but who cares? Was no one paying attention to Zoe Bell? Or any of the other actors? And both films are packed with great stunts, many of them (especially in "Deathproof") done "for real" as opposed to CGI. And everyone's having such a darn good time thoughout.

So, if the critics put you off, remember, these films are goofs on the 50s exploitation movies - but much, much better. Go rent 'em and have a good time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What happens when current options run out, and alternative options have been ignored? The doors close, folks.

So, while politicians in North America prattle on about freeing their nations from dependence on foreign oil, little events like this become more and more likely. Will a lack of polar ice be bad? Nobody really knows. It'll definitely be a different world from the one human beings have known for most of their history.

And, of course, that's just a minor problem. What's going to happen as the price of a non-renewable resource that everything depends on goes higher and higher? Like that nice, fresh fruit in the middle of January? Like it enough to pay ten, twenty bucks for an orange? Unless you live in citrus country, you can kiss it good-bye. But, don't worry, it won't just be tropical fruit that gets more and more expensive. Got a garden in your backyard? Got a really, really big backyard? Or any backyard at all? Think you're going to be able to grow enough food for a year? Every year? I mean, you have noticed those large trucks full of food pulling into your local grocery store two or three times a day, right?

Like your iPod? Like it enough to pay even more than its already over-inflated price? There's a lot of plastic in them thar iPods, and plastic's an oil-based product. Now, count the plastic things in your home. In your car. In your office. On the street.

Life's about to get very, very interesting. "Interesting" isn't good.

Not that I'm a pessimist or anything.

On an "up" note, go see "Mongol". Heck of a good movie. Ignore the fact that it was shot on film (an oil-based product) and just enjoy it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Riding the Ghost Bus through the Downtown Eastside. The ghosts, of course, are the folks not on the bus.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, if only. "Sam, John, Clarence, Bobby, Tony - this way, please."

Yep, it's been a good week for the Surpremes (which means, of course, that it's been a bad week for Americans). First they let Exxon off the hook for gross negligence leading to immense environmental destruction, then they allow that it's a really good idea to allow anyone with the cash to buy any kind of weapon they want, and, finally, they feel that it's just not a good idea to allow an amendment that would prevent rich people from buying elections.

In other words, as if you didn't know already, money talks. Sometimes with the aid of weaponry, sometimes with the aid of "impartial" justices.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One thing you've got to give the U.S. Supreme Court, at least four of them are damn consistent. Call them "The Four Cretins of the Apocalypse": Sam Alito, Big Tony
Scalia, Cloddish Clarence Thomas and Jumpin' Johnny Roberts - you can count on them to vote for Big Money, Death and Planetary Pillaging. They love that stuff!

Yes, raping a child (or, let's face it, anyone) is heinous, reprehensible, despicable, etc. Does it merit state-sanctioned murder? Isn't murder illegal? Or is it only illegal when someone does it without the court's permission? I always get confused on this. Can Johnny Roberts bless my murdering someone and make it O.K.?

Sadly, Bary seems to be on the side of the "Kill the Bastards!" faction. Well, that'd kill my vote right away. You're in favour of state sanctioned murder, Bary? O.K. And my vote goes to........nobody, I guess (sure as hell couldn't vote for McBush). Lucky thing I'm Canadian, eh? I guess I'll have to keep my fingers crossed that actually eligible-to-vote Americans will point out to Bary that most of the civilized world regards capital punishment as morally repugnant. I've sent my email. How 'bout you?

Evidently, the Supremes can make environmental destruction on a massive scale O.K. "The skipper's a booze-hound? Come on, give the guy a break! It's a big job running a big ship. A guy's gotta have an outlet, right?" Evidently, 5 Supremes (the usual suspects plus David Souter on a bad day) certainly seem to agree.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Well, a good news/bad news/business-as-usual news kind of day. I'd ask which you'd like first, but...

We'll start with some of the business-as-usual news. At least, it's business as usual for the criminal conspiracy currently referred to as the "Bush administration". In every civilized country in the world, efforts are made to ensure that the judiciary is as apolitical as possible (an exception, recently, being my own - see yesterday's post). Not so in the Kingdom of the Shrub. Evidently, rational people need not apply.

And now, in the spirit of Faux News (fair and balanced, as long as you're a right-wing conservative god-fearing nitwit), some good news. At least, I hope it's good news. Given that it's coming out of Florida and is in relation to conservation, I'm a little leery. This is a state that declares an area a "nature preserve", then converts it to housing subdivisions, so, the notion that they seem to be doing something that's good for "nature"...well, it's just hard to accept at face value. But, what the heck, I'll just go all Pollyanna and believe they're actually doing right for a change. Go, Charlie!

Last, but not least, and not good, this little story from the McCain campaign. Yep, these are the kind of people I'd want running my country. "Yeah, we'd spike the numbers big-time if only some lunatic would blow up a couple thousand American citizens. Johnny'd be a shoo-in!" Gotta love Republicans. They're nothing if not consistent. Too bad their consistency is largely in the area of stupidity.

One more thing - I've added a new link over there in the sidebar. It's to "The Landscapist" (a.k.a. Mark Hobson). Some of his stuff is a tad cute - "picturing" instead of "photographing", for example - but he's a thoughtful guy and a damn good photographer, so his site is worth visiting. I especially love his entry for June 23rd. Couldn't have said it better myself. Nor with any less zeal.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

And, speaking of back alleys, our own Smirkin' Steve ("I Wanna Be Dumbya!") Harper's been at it again, this time getting hold of the tax returns of judges he doesn't like in order to intimidate them during salary negotiations. And personal tax returns became public when?

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Well, here's a sad story. I'm a big fan of Bary's, but he's got to drop the corn-based ethanol thing. First of all, it's no answer. It takes more energy to manufacture a gallon of ethanol than can be gotten back out of it. Where's the manufacturing energy going to come from? Coal? Secondly, in case folks hadn't noticed, corn is food for a lot of people. Are people supposed to go hungry so Americans can drive big, stupid cars? Right. That'll go a long way toward repairing America's image in the world.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another day with nothing particularly snarky to say. What's the world coming to?

Wait! How's this - the fate of this curtain pull is too good for Dumbya! Does that work for you? Works for me. And it's ever-so Texan, happy home of hangin'. I mean, come on - how many dead Americans is he responsible for so far? Multiply that figure by....20?....30?....50?....for the dead Iraqis. Case seems pretty clear to me.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Bookshelves. I need more bookshelves. Tough purchase on a bicycle.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lordy - I'm doing "Photography for Shut-ins"! While watching "Syriana", mind you.

Have I mentioned how much I love my 12-24? Fantastic lens.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wow. Just how many metaphors can be wrung from a photo of curtains?

Well, let's see. How about, curtains for Dumbya and his non-stop idiocy? In a bold move to end America's dependence on foreign oil, the Dimwit-in-Chief has called for more drilling. As if that's going to solve the problem. This guy is so sadly lame, it's hard to keep picking on him. Dumbya, the oil's going to run out. Drill your brains out (an impossible feat, for obvious reasons, I know) - the oil will run out. Let's hope Bary has a better idea. Like putting money into research on alternatives.

Or, do the curtains represent the veil some folks seem to be attempting to draw over Bary's campaign? Lord, save us from the image morons. Here's a nutty notion - Bary's gotten this far without this kind of nonsense. Let him run the way he wants to and trust that people will be smart enough to vote for him. They probably are. They're also smart enough to see through this kind of crap.

Or, maybe they're "curtains" in the gangster sense. Around here, there seems to be a surfeit of feet washing ashore minus the rest of the body. WTF? as the saying goes.

On a final, non-curtains-oriented note, if you need a laugh, go check out the summer issue of Atlantic Monthly. The cover asks, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?". Inside, they provide (inadvertently) the answer by publishing an article entitled (brace yourself), "What Rumsfeld Got Right.". Now, if that's not knee-slapping humour, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why is it that Republicans (you know - the "law and order" party?) are the first to toss American law overboard whenever it suits them? Dumbya really got the ball rolling in a big way - tapping Americans' phones, locking people up without charges or a right to a lawyer or a fair trial - and now his little buddy, John McBush, is voicing his support for those same crimes. All in the name of "fighting terror", of course. Too bad that the terror fighters are showing themselves to be terrorists as well. I wonder if there's any chance anyone will ever arrest them. And, will anyone in America still buy the notion that their rights need to be sacrificed in the name of - yes, you guessed it - NINE-ELEVEN! Surely, by now, that's taken on the same meaning that "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" did for Chicken Little (which, given most of those pinheads' service records - excepting McBush - is a pretty apt metaphor).

Meanwhile, over on the "environment" side, McBush tries to continue the Dumbya tradition while slapping on a coat of green paint. I love the phrase " the United States from its dependence on foreign oil". Right. It's the dependence on foreign oil that's the big problem. Not the fact that burning it in vast quantities has created an environmental emergency. Heck, no.

And you've got to love his solutions. Yep - let's go drilling all over America's remaining wilderness, and up and down its coasts (No hazard I can think of there. How 'bout you?). And, failing that, let's build more nuclear power plants! Nuclear waste? No more harmful than tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere (now that's brilliant thinking).

Surely no one's going to vote for this boob in November.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Ah, another sunny weekend. Of course, the one in this photo took place about a year ago, but....this weekend was sunny, too! The problem was, instead of wandering the streets looking for photos, I rode my bike across town to exercise my civic duty. Yep. it was time for the Party of my choice to choose its mayoral candidate for fall's civic election, so I went to mark my ballot for the guy I favour. The ride to the polling place was a piece of cake - all downhill. You know what that means for the homeward ride. Heck of a nice day for it, though.

And, a sad update. Yep, Kansas is at it again. The home of cretinous creationism, unintelligent design, and, well, the winner-take-all prize winners in the "World's Largest Concentration of Stupid" prize, not content with - in their Christian zeal - shooting a doctor practicing legal (that's L-E-G-A-L, which means the law says it's O.K., for those Kansans dropping by) abortion, now they're invoking a 19th century law right here in the 21st century, trying to stop the doc. Kansas - on the cutting edge. Fer shure.

Talk about a high embarrassment threshold! Wowee!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Call me crazy, but I don't think many people are going to be calling ahead for reservations at this fine hotel.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sigh. Nothing snarky to write about today. Oh, sure, I could have whined about how the Globe and Mail (Canada's "national" - they wish - newspaper) buried a story about our Health Minister caving in to the vendors of grass clippings (otherwise known as the "alternative health care" industry) on regulating them, but....what would have been the point? Stupid people are going to buy these things no matter what. Or, I could have snarked on about the Fabulous Four Fascists on the U.S. Supreme Court, but, they're there for life, right? So, why bother? Rights? Who needs 'em? I guess I'll just have to wait and see what Sunday brings.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A further elaboration on yesterday's post.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In case anyone needs another reason to vote Democrat next fall, there's this story. Followed by this one. Do you really want John McBush to be in a position to appoint one more cretin to the Supreme Court? The men held at Guantanamo are accused of crimes. They're not yet guilty of crimes. Determination of guilt is the job of the legal system, not the dimwit currently sitting in the White House. The "dimwit" comes and goes (though the current one hasn't gone nearly quickly enough), while the law sticks around. Do you really want an idiot putting a law in place that could later be used against you?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Colourful, eh? Now, the special thing in this post is Google's spellchecker. You see, if I log onto, I get a message pointing out that I'm shopping from Canada and suggesting that maybe I'd like to go to Amazon, obviously, can tell where I'm coming from. Apparently, Google can't, because when I type "colourful", which is how we Canuckleheads spell it, the spellchecker tells me I'm wrong. Which, obviously, I'm not. Wouldn't you think it would be pretty easy for the world's most powerful web presence to figure out where in the world I'm posting from and adjust accordingly? Evidently not. The spellchecker also flags spellchecker. Interesting.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When I tell my students that we human beings aren't all that bright, they laugh. They think I'm just being cranky. Now, frankly, that's exactly what I intend. Not that I'm wrong - we human beings aren't all that bright - but there's not a lot we can do about that, so why not have a laugh about it?

Think I'm wrong? Well, the first "gas crisis" hit in the late 1970s. In the U.S., poor old Jimmy Carter got crucified for suggesting that folks maybe ought to conserve gasoline, and start thinking about alternative energy sources. And now that oil really is running out? Hmmmm - how about the bright lights at the airlines, for example? Or, how about car makers (not to mention the people dumb enough to buy their big trucks and SUVs)?

Of course, the fact that everyone's known since oil's discovery that it was a limited commodity doesn't constitute a good reason to have expected maybe just a teensy bit of foresight.

Like I said, not too bright.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

I teach biology, so, of course, I know nothing about running a business, but, isn't there some rule about not letting the grass grow under your feet? Not to mention all over your front walk and up the walls?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Yeah, it's cold and rainy here, but there's flowers, O.K.?!?

Went to see "You Don't Mess with the Zohan". Rent it. Yep, there's funny bits - some of them hilarious - and lots of hummus jokes, and plenty of below-the-belt jokes, and some nice little political jokes (at the expense of both the Israelis and the Palestinians) but, well, the movie's too long. Some great stuff for the first 30 minutes or so, some fun stuff at the end, but...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I gather Hillary gave a rousing speech today, urging her backers to now get behind Barack. Good for her. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that those disappointed millions do, in fact, get behind their party's choice. Hills and Bary were never going to be more than the party's representative in the upcoming race. It's a win for the Democratic Party that counts, not a win for Hills or Bary. So, listen to the woman, O.K.?

And more good news - Al Franken will be the Democrat's candidate for senator from Minnesota. Go, Al, go!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

O.K., everybody getting sick of serendipity? I haven't had much chance to get out and take any new photographs lately, so I went looking through old files. I found this one. My thought was that it showed how crappy the weather is here in Vancouver just now. It's June, after all, and it's cold, gray, and rainy around here. The photo conveys that, right? And I was going to whine and snivel about how un-June-like the weather was. Well, after hitting "Upload", I figured I'd check to see just when I actually took the photo. Turns out it was June of last year. There goes the un-June-like complaint. Rats!

But (and here's where the serendipity comes in), I realized that it could perfectly express my thoughts on the McBush campaign - nothing ever changes. There's a Republican slime in the White House now, and another trying to get there. Dumbya thinks it's just fine to tap American citizens' phones. Funnily enough, so does McBush. Oh, sure, he's a bit conflicted about the legality, but as to the morality, well, he seems pretty fine with the idea. Yep, that's who I'd be votin' for - a guy who's happy enough to eavesdrop on his fellow citizens, but, well, heck, O.K., if the law says "Not good, John", well, he might not do it. Not that he'd actually believe it was wrong, but, well, the law says it's wrong. Yep, that's the kind of guy you want running a country.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

So, is Bary going to open the door to the vice-presidency for Hills? Wouldn't you love to be able to listen in on those discussions? Eeyikes. She pretty much tried to kill him during the campaign. And, she showed herself to be, um, less than, oh - ethical? - calling him "elitist" over remarks that, if anyone actually read them, were clearly not. And accusing Democrats who favoured Bary of doing so out of sexism (Hint to Hills - don't call the people you're trying to get to support you stupid.). On the other hand, half the Democrats in the States wanted her as their candidate. Picking her for VP would pretty much force those folks to vote for Bary. Kind of a conundrum, isn't it?

On the other hand, voting for McBush has just gotten harder, even for die-hard Republicans, I would think. After all, aren't these the people who hate government "interference" in any form? Are they really going to be enthused about a candidate who's keen on tapping their phones?

By the way, all credit to Maureen Dowd for the "McBush" moniker.

On the "bad news" front, looks like I'm going to have to close my secret Swiss bank account. Can't wait to see how this one plays out.

Last, but not least (at least, not if you're a photographer), there's this little item. Now, get out there and get snapping! If you don't, the terrorists will have won!

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Oh, it's a good news day. First of all, Hillary has finally gotten in touch with the real world. Welcome back to the planet, Hills.

Secondly, Kingsley Amis is back with wise words. Not bad for a guy who's been dead for the past 13 years. Marty's a good writer, but his dad was a good writer and funny. In a very stylish way. Sure, some of his stuff was bitter (can you age without getting bitter?), or sexist (know anybody born in 1922 who isn't?), or racist (see preceding) - who cares? He wasn't writing books on good behaviour. He was writing novels. Fiction. Funny fiction. Lighten up.

Thirdly, death to the food nazis. At least, the fitness food nazis. Eat what you want, folks. As long as it's real food in normal proportions. No miracle diets. No protein shakes. No carbo loading. Just eat, O.K.? Gees. Ever heard of evolution? (O.K., fundamentalist christian cretins excepted. For that matter, cretins of any religious preference. Dumb's dumb, right?)

Isn't life wonderful? At least once in a while?

I'm sure I'll be back to "bitter and twisted" by tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In my files, this picture is labelled, "Waiting". Which, as far as the Democrat's nomination for presidential candidate is concerned, is, mercifully, finally over. Now, all you possibly bitter Hillary supporters? Get over it! Do you really want John McBush running your country for the next four years? Have you seen the type of neo-Nazi christian cretin they want to run as VP?!? Get Bary into the White House, now! Please! Your neighbours are begging you. Hillary's young enough to try again later.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

O.K., first of all, there's somebody in (or near) Lincoln, Nebraska with too much time on their hands. 79 hits today, pretty much all from there. Weird. But, not to seem ungrateful, glad you came by! I hope you enjoyed the visit.

Meanwhile, over on the Right Wing Nut fringe, there's this story out of Louisiana. Riiiiight. I'm sure McBush will want to hook up with a Creationist lunatic for VP. Although, given McBush's current fear-mongering (a tried and true Republican tactic, after all - "The sky isn't falling - it's trying to kill you!"), who knows?

I'd pick on Harper, but he's even more hapless than McBush. "He's innocent, I tell ya!", "Oh. No. Wait. He's guilty. But, he's resigned." "Oh, the biker babe? A security threat? What?" I'm waiting for him to quote the world famous Sgt. Schultz: "I know nothing! No-thing!" Which, of course, wouldn't be all that far off the mark.

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

It's always dangerous to go out on a photography expedition with another person. The odds that you'll both want to photograph the same sorts of things aren't good. And so it was today. Oh, well. I got a nice walk out of it, anyway.

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