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Monday, January 31, 2011

Olympic Shame

 My mother told me about something she heard that sounded so unbelievable, I thought it could not be true. A tale of Olympic sled dogs massacred by gunshot; something so wretched that I had to figure out what the heck she was talking about. As it turns out, my mum is telling the absolute truth. 

  WorkSafe BC ( The board that oversees worker's compensation claims in the province of British Columbia) received a claim on behalf of a man suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The man told a story of working for Outdoor Adventures Whistler where he was ordered to kill healthy Husky dogs shortly after the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympiad. He detailed a dog that had survived a gunshot to the face and was walking around "with it's eye hanging out". On another occasion, an animal struggled to get out of a mass grave. In all, over 100 perfectly fine dogs were executed in some manners so horrifying as to be unspeakable. 

  Graham Aldcroft of Outdoor Adventures stated that the company had financial control of Howling Dog. but distanced itself from the tour group they own in this statement "While we were aware of the relocation and euthanization of dogs at Howling Dog Tours, we were completely unaware of the details of the incident until reading the document Sunday," He noted that Outdoor Adventures took over control of Howling Dogs in May, after the reported dog cull, and said it's now company policy that animals needing to be put down are treated at a vet's office.

  The worker, who remains unidentified, had his WorkSafe application approved, and the RCMP and SPCA are investigating the slaughter in pursuit of animal cruelty complaints. 

  While there is nothing that will bring back these animals, it is always horrifying to hear of intelligent beings disposed of like trash. Dogs do not exist for our abuse; they aren't a product. They are curious, perceptive, and eager to please, which is why Huskies are the dog of choice. If you wouldn't go to a harness race, if greyhounding repulses you, so should commercial dog sledding. These are not Inuit who treat their dogs like family, but profiteers who see excess dogs as a nuisance. While the tour operators may have preferred to have seen the dogs adopted out, it was just more cost-effective to shoot and bury them than to feed them and transport them to good homes. 

  When people talked about the Olympic stains on Canada, they discussed the relocation of the homeless; they protested Aboriginal land rights being violated; they voiced the human victims of the Olympic ambitions of Vancouver and Whistler. But they forgot about the helpless victims that look a lot like your best friend. 

Deep-Fried Hatred Bites Back

  As I wrote earlier this month, fast food chain Chick-Fil-A supports a vast array of anti-gay and anti-choice Christianist organizations. This weekend, COO Dan Truett Cathy issued a press release stating their principles, including that they don't support political agendas. The last part is a lie, since Chick-Fil-A supports radical groups like focus On The Family. The press release is full of doublespeak and I'm sure you'll like to read it, so I've provided it for you thanks to PR Newswire

ATLANTAJan. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Recently, there have been some misleading stories about Chick-fil-A in the media and on the Internet.  As a result, I feel strongly about the need to clarify some things.    
In recent weeks, we have been accused of being anti-gay. We have no agenda against anyone.  At the heart and soul of our company, we are a family business that serves and values all people regardless of their beliefs or opinions.  We seek to treat everyone with honor, dignity and respect, and believe in the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.
We also believe in the need for civility in dialogue with others who may have different beliefs.  While my family and I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage, we love and respect anyone who disagrees.  
Chick-fil-A has a long history of trying to encourage and strengthen marriages and families, both within our Chick-fil-A system and with our customers. My father and our Founder/CEO, Truett Cathy, is a role model for the Cathy family and all those who have joined Chick-fil-A. His personal and business values have always reflected a belief in the importance of marriage and family.  We have seen these principles honored powerfully in Dad's marriage of more than 63 years to our mother Jeannette and those of his family, including my wife Rhonda and me in our 37 years of marriage.
At Chick-fil-A, we have a heart for helping marriages because we know marriage can be difficult at times.  Through the years, we have supported our Chick-fil-A staff and franchised Operators in their marriage journey, and since the formation of our family foundation, the WinShape Foundation, we have helped others as well. Primarily through WinShape, we have supported summer camps for girls and boys, 14 foster homes, more than $26 million in college scholarships and the development and operation of the WinShape Marriage Retreat Center.
Some recent coverage has incorrectly reported that we require potential franchisees to discuss their church involvement.  In addition, we do not require this in our franchisee selection process nor do we require a pledge to follow Christian values for the college scholarships we provide.
Chick-fil-A's Corporate Purpose is "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."  As a result, we will not champion any political agendas on marriage and family. This decision has been made, and we understand the importance of it.  At the same time, we will continue to offer resources to strengthen marriages and families. To do anything different would be inconsistent with our purpose and belief in Biblical principles. 
In summary, we are a dedicated family business committed to three core areas:
  • A 65-year history of operating the business according to Biblical principles.
  • A 65-year history of providing genuine hospitality for all people.
  • A 65-year history of serving families and communities without a political agenda.

Our commitment to these areas has never been more important in light of recent events.  Speaking of commitment, I want to thank our restaurant Operators and their more than 60,000 team members for their commitment to customer service.
We appreciate, value and have enjoyed serving all of our customers for many years.  We also appreciate this opportunity to clarify any confusion about our beliefs, and we thank everyone for supporting our restaurants and your love for the Chick-fil-A experiences.  It has and will continue to be our pleasure to serve you.
Dan T. Cathy
President and COO
Chick-fil-A, Inc.
  As you have read, Mr. Cathy states that he loves everyone but backpedals into the religion excuse. Educated folks know that religion is the only cop-out ever provided by folks that champion discriminatory causes. And while they may not require church involvement to be discussed on an application, franchisees are required to close Sundays, hand out religious materials, and do other things that Chick-Fil-A feels glorifies God. And franchisees know what they are signing up for, make no mistake. Chick-Fil-A is a religious group that sells chicken and just as they have a right to be such, folks like myself also have the right to point this fact out. And enough equality-minded individuals and groups have called out Chick-Fil-A that their pal Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association has now decided to play the victim. 

Somewhere, you know Sarah Palin is smiling 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

All-Snooze Game

The All-Star weekend is a big thing in sports- cities are busy with kids clamoring for autographs and related events that get fans involved. But fans don't really get the best bang for their buck.

  Pro sports is an arena where the best in the game entertain fans to be sure, but there is a desire to win. To show up and not try is about the worst thing one could do; even guys on last-place teams have pride. And that pride used to stretch to All Star games. The first 2 pro all-star games were in 1908 and 1933, with proceeds to benefit the families of fallen hockey stars. The other sports adopted such games soon after, and the proceeds often went to the families of players who either died young or suffered career-ending injuries. It was an honour to be chosen as the team to play the league champion, not an expectation. 

  And then something happened. With rising salaries, players just stopped caring as much. Division or Conference formats replaced the chance to play the champs. The All-Star game lost any sense of rivalry. And the benefit format changed- players were expected to play for money into league coffers instead of a good cause. And then leagues started inventing ways to get fans excited again.

  You had the slam dunk contests, slap shot contests, kicking skills, home run derbies, and more. Fans got back into the game. But then salaries rose again and players started realizing that they could lose a career by playing in the midseason show. So leagues instituted fan voting, figuring players would feel loved enough to play. In some sports this has worked, but in the NBA version, it's a joke. 

  The NHL has some interest in the skills contests, as evidenced by Zdeno Chara being the most popular guy on Twitter last night. And that's a good thing. Chara's a super guy who donates a ton of time and money to charities and truly loves his fanbase. As long as Zdeno Chara is in the league, he'll show up because he is an awkward guy born in a small town in a communist country and he feels blessed to get paid to play a game. The skills contests are way more fun than the game and the league knows it so they keep coming up with new ways to test the ability to amaze. 

But what if Zdeno Chara didn't show up for the hardest shot contest? Well, that's what happened to the NBA. The best players started becoming elitist self-involved douchebags who won't dunk unless they're getting a big payday. And I have no answer for egotism and apathy. The NBA All-Star game and skills contests are ridiculous. There is no pride, no effort, no fan love. Just entitlement. If you took the best bench players in the league and had them compete against the starters, the pine riders would win every time because of desire. Maybe that's a new format the NBA could explore because if guys like LeBron are happy getting owned by guys who are "less than"; if that doesn't inspire some sort of effort, the game is irretrievably broken and nothing will fix it. 

I miss this.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What #StopTheMeter Means To You

Internet downloading costs to rise
Uploaded by LocalNews-GrabNetworks. - News videos hot off the press.

Following a CRTC ruling that states Internet Service Providers can charge per bit, Canada's internet giants are starting to clock usage and charge accordingly. I happen to be in one of Shaw's test markets, which means that I have the choice of paying per byte or changing to another ISP. The problem: I live in Canada where there is little competition (Only 2 ISPs in my area) and companies are going to score a windfall from good people like me.


Shaw has developed a chart of usage limits and their penalties. Usage applies to any modem activity. If I go above 60GB a month, I'm nailed $2 per gig. This seams like a good chunk of bandwidth until you realize that a social media app like HootSuite or Tweetdeck can burn 8 GB by itself. Throw in usage fees for every video I produce with external aid, upload, view, download, and post to the blog and I'm going to hit 60GB easily. And the thing is I'm not a big gamer, I'm not a music thief, and I don't use Netflix. I have done nothing wrong but give Shaw years of faithful service. I've even written about how amazing their customer service is, because I am honest- they have very awesome people working for them.

 And the time could come, very soon, that I have to tell one of the friendly, hard-working folks at Shaw that I can no longer afford to blog about them or anyone else. And I'll have to switch to the oligopoly with the outsourced customer service that always hangs up. And the only reason will be dollars and cents, because I know that it costs 2 cents to deliver bandwidth you plan on charging me $2 for. As someone who has phone, internet and digital cable services with one company, I'm the kind of person service providers wish to keep. Should all companies jump on the bandwidth bandwagon, I'll have to shut this and my other websites down.

Moreover, this ruling could affect other countries. Giving a legal precedent to totally fleecing residential customers is not going unnoticed worldwide. Television companies hate streaming video content because they're afraid people will stop overpaying for their programming. Whether the content is streamed or downloaded legally or not doesn't matter. And the easiest way to punish people for going to Hulu or Netflix is to meter usage and then grotesquely overcharge all consumers. If you are an artist, this CRTC ruling could sink iTunes Canada, iTunes Movies, and Netflix in Canada. If you do internet business in Canada, you're looking at losing 20% of your sales.  

 Even if you aren't Canadian, aggressive internet monitoring should concern you. Now that you know what this hashtag means, please appeal to Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement to put an end to this unfair and anticompetitive precedent. 

Go here for more information or if the widget fails to load.

Just For Fun : The Fake Fake Butter Edition

  I live in a port area that is geographically closer to the U.S. than mainland Canada, and as such, come into contact with a lot of Engrish. While I try to buy local, a sure sign that we import a lot of things are the number of fantastic examples of mistranslation. Combine this with the fact that everyone likes to rip off famous brands and we wind up with products that make everyone laugh.

 My mum was out shopping and told me (whilst laughing) that she found some dandy fake fake butter she hadn't seen before. It's called I Can't Believe It's Almost Butter. I almost died. While I haven't tracked down this new funny knock-off yet, I'll be sure to post a photo when I find this new example of I can't believe it's not copyright infringement. 

  In the meantime, I'll give you my favourite knock-offs of the spread made infamous by Fabio's hair.

Vancouver, BC - Made extra-special by the spelling mistake.

Seattle, WA - I felt Yoda's presence in the Fred Meyer store.

It could be if it was contained elsewhere. - Washington

and you'd be horribly disappointed if you were in Dallas, Texas where this pound was sold.

Cheeky bastards shilling fake fake butter in London, UK

This example from London implies that folks are getting pissed off with the fake butter.

The War On Women's Voices

  Abortion is one of those so-called culture war issues with nearly everyone having an opinion on what should go on in the nation's uteruses. In opposition to abortion at any stage, the current GOP seeks to redefine rape so fewer victims will seek abortions. Those who have been drugged, suffer from serious mental handicaps, and adults raped by their spouses or family members could no longer be seen as victims, but whores and murderesses. 

  Blanket judgments are made about the reasons for abortion as if women who seek them are absolute morons. A woman who even seeks after-assault contraception can be refused because of the so-called moral code of the pharmacist. This comes as a shock to someone from a country where rape victims are offered a cocktail of preventative drugs before even leaving hospital. While the Prime Minister may be Conservative and have his own opinions, he has stated that his job is to govern and not enforce Biblical morality. This is probably a good thing, since in Judges 19 a man who dismembers a rape victim is held as a hero. 

  One thing common to both nations is protest. Just last week a large gathering of a so-called pro-life faction occurred in my town and I've witnessed protests at clinics up close and personal in various locales in the U.S. and Canada. Common to all is harassment of anyone who possesses a uterus by folks who hold placards of dismembered fetuses and Jesus. 

 The video you will see was taken by a very upset gentleman named Aaron. He has had the unpleasant task of taking his distraught wife in for a medically-necessary abortion. His wife is 16 weeks pregnant and the fetus has Sirenomelia, a condition in which legs are fused and internal organs are often absent. Only one person in human history has lived past age 10 and most are stillborn; the balance dying painfully within the coming days after birth. The gentleman here and his wife were subjected to chants about murdering their baby. Mr. Gouveia has had to console his wife, and in heartbreak and anger, confronted protesters while his wife was in surgery.

  People seek abortions for a variety of reasons, but I can assure you that I've never heard of someone dancing their way to a women's clinic. I also know people who have had abortions and contrary to what the fundies tell you, they can still have kids later on if they choose. An abortion, generally speaking, is a serious medical procedure for an extreme circumstance. Women deserve to have their judgment trusted and not be viewed simply as baby-machines, which is what these radicals do. It comes as no surprise that the most aggressive anti-choice activists are also members of the religious patriarchy movement. These groups view women the way their God does, as man's helpers; voices only heard when given permission.

  And the bible has an opinion on rape: that it is only a crime if the woman loudly resists. I'm willing to bet that this is the justification for the GOP's desire to change the definition of rape to forcible rape. It's not enough that a woman says she is raped- now she has to prove that she didn't submit because of being drugged or having a gun put to her head. And the world is watching where this goes, and doing so very nervously. For if women's voices are denied; their rights stripped in one of the World's greatest nations it can truly happen anywhere. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

#Jan25 : Youth Movement

Cries for Egyptian freedom are being heard around the world, and various world leaders have given their 2 cents. Some of the most perplexing comments have been made by Canadian and American politicians of late. Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed solidarity with the Egyptian people just before going into a meeting with an unelected Moroccan monarch. In the U.S., speech has been equally wishy-washy with Joe Biden proclaiming that Egyptian honcho Hosni Mubarak is not a dictator and Barack Obama playing both sides of the fence.

  Hosni Mubarak believes that might can topple dissent and is confused that young people no longer buy into his cult of personality. We in the West may have gotten along with Mubarak's regime, but it is far from a democratic governmental system. Some are trying to scare folks into not supporting the people, by bringing in images of Pakistan and Iran's military overthrows. The truth is that the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings are not the work of Islamic militants, but a youth that refuses to be enslaved. In Tunisia, Jews stood with the opposition and today Christians protected praying Muslims in Egypt.

  Young, strong, intelligent people who pursue freedom and equality do scare autocrats and monarchs. You can bet that Syria and Jordan are watching, petrified that their discriminatory and totalitarian governments could be next to fall. The West doesn't care whether or not any of these nations seek democracy, so long as the dictators are allies. It is actually to the benefit of the West for Arab League countries to continue to oppress the common man. Such actions make countries predictable and keep the global commodity prices low. But what is absent from all of the speeches by elites is fairness.

  It is unfair to think that the rights we have should not be the rights of every man. Stephen Harper started off in an Imperial Oil mailroom to become Prime Minister of one of the World's freest nations by age 46. His story is like that of so many others on a continent filled with the exceptional kids of immigrants, farmers, and barbers. And to state that the kids of other people shouldn't be allowed to dream just because you like their dictator smacks of callousness and elitism.

  We must support people who want the same things we take for granted; we must unambiguously lend our voices to a rising call for freedom. If it is the will of the people to remove each one of these despots, we should offer no refuge to fleeing absolutists. We, the free, must continue to demand emancipation of good global citizens and punishment of those who murder purely because of protest. We must demand that States Of Emergency for reasons of protest are no longer honoured because they cause arbitrary detentions and human rights abuses. In addition, we must appeal to US and Egyptian embassies to remind them that the usage of tear gas or ammunition provided via aid is a violation of the Leahy Law and other conventions on fair aid use.

Egyptian Embassies in the US

Annoying Acronym Of The Week

  Jersey Shore is an unlikely moneymaker, people tuning in to Snooki's train wreck weekly from all over the globe. I noticed the impact about a year ago when at a club. There were all of these very non-Italian little dweebs trying to act like Pauly D and the boys. And I made fun of them to their faces. I tried to be as kind as possible, but they looked absolutely ridiculous. 

  In addition to the signature dickweed look is a language. I'll admit that I'm not always in the loop. Some terms are lost on me and acronyms are at the top of any list. So, anywho I'veheard this one : GTL.  I've heard it in bars and seen it on the Twitter. So I figured it might stand for something kinda rad like Got The Life or Guidos, Titties, and Laserbeams. Seriously, I had no idea. So I asked because I have no problem swallowing my pride. It stands for *drumroll* Gym, Tan, Laundry. 

  Gym. Tan. Laundry. Three words that are so powerful they're abbreviated and chanted by college kids. Well, I can see that some Jersey dudes do love the gym- heck, I'm a fan of going there myself. We can also tell that the tanning happens more often than normal by the fact that Snooki looks like melanoma with feet. But, laundry? The only way that you do laundry on a daily basis is if you have young children. I'm pretty sure the Jersey dudes own more than 2 pairs of socks, or at least hope. What is so fabulous about washing the puke off your shirt? Maybe J-Woww sits on the Maytag during spin. 

  If your teenager starts buying Tide it's time to remove their TV privileges. This is not normal. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Democalypse Now

 The news sources that our technology has enabled us to access in an instant  is making revolution occurat the speed of tweet. Frustrated by stagnant economies that favour the wealthy, smart minds and troublemakers alike can band together in an instant. In the last year we've witnessed anti-government protests in Canada, one of the world's oldest civilizations become financially bankrupt, and the rise and fall of theocracies all over the planet.  It is going to be a very interesting year to be alive for politic watchers. Heck, it already has been so, and it's still January.

  This month Tunisian president Zine Ben Ali was sent running to Saudi Arabia as his government collapsed. due to civil unrest.Ben Ali acquired his position through an overthrow in 1987. The wealthy nation claimed that it was a modern democracy to allies, but in reality Ben Ali ran an autocratic regime  and used national coffers as a personal bank account. Global exposes of news censorship and politically-motivated incarcerations added fuel to a fire kindled by soaring youth unemployment. Civil unrest became so caustic that Ben Ali announced he was dissolving government and would not be seeking reelection. After protests called for his head, he fled to Saudi Arabia 2 weeks ago.
  Tunisia now has an interim government comprised of various parties and leaders that includes folks incarcerated by the previous regime. Canada has deported all members of Ben Ami's camp and their relatives in solidarity with protesters in Tunisia and Egypt.

  Cue to this week, when the rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt has been called into question.  Mubarak scored his cushy job 30 years ago after Anwar Sadat died. Sadat got his job after General Nasser died. Egypt is a modern nation in terms of creature comforts, but it's no beacon of African freedom. Egypt is democratic in name only, with Mubarak imprisoning opponents like Ayman Nour and basing laws on Islamic codes. Add in soaring inflation and government tolerance of violence against religious minorities, and you have fuel for a revolution. 

  Egypt has erupted in protests this week, drawing inspiration from Tunisia and support from people abroad via the internet. The state is showing their true dedication to iron rule, and is treating the unrest like a security issue. Mubarak believes that controlling critics and ignoring the populace will make dissent go away. After all, it's a tactic that has been successful for over 50 years. Mubarek and his allies have essentially eliminated political remedies giving the people no other option than to protest. 

  Naturally, Mubarak's regime believes they're winning; that their elimination of cellular communications and restrictions on internet usage will become tiresome for a people that have never known true democracy. But what if this backfires? What if the people see continued attacks on liberty as just that and unite against Mubarak? Entertain for yourself the idea that Mubarak and his sons are sent packing. People all over the world will start to get the idea that democracy is possible without major international intervention.

  2011 may become the year of the coronation of liberty. For if people in places like Tunisia and Egypt can discover the self-esteem required to force their own emancipation, anyone else can. It's rumoured that Yemen could oust Ali Abdullah Saleh and I'd love to see Qaddafi running from his smoldering tent. 

  We, as free people, need to keep our eyes fixed on the Arab World right now. Ousting an autocracy doesn't ensure democracy. As we've noticed in places like Iran and Pakistan, coups can be used to usher in theocratic regimes that oppress their populations with even more dangerous limitations. As much as we're happy that people are finally sticking up for themselves, we can only hope that the next ayatollah isn't in the making.  We must use the lessons learned to question our own leaders when they use force against protesters and base decisions on their religion. We must continue to be the change we wish to see and give power to those all over the world who are fighting for their right to exist. 


  Drug use is illegal, but occasionally it's still funny. Watch ABC News coverage of a potapult that heaves bales of weed across the southern US border. *note: ABC graphics dude can't spell. It must be the pot.*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cowardly Bastard Of The Year

Authoritarian abuse acts (fuck domestic violence. It implies a partner is a slave.) are an incredible problem. Spanning across every race and class, they make me want to knot the nuts of those who callously and selfishly abuse.

Now, household violence may reduce a victim's settlement because- get this- her previous abuse situations "toughened her up". 

According to the Courier-Mail

Diane Mangan, chief executive of the 24-hour helpline DV Connect, said the decision to reduce the payout because of the woman's predisposition to mental stress from previous domestic violence only served to "diminish" her traumatic experience.
"It's almost like saying the years that you have suffered at the hands of your husband don't count," she said.
The District Court in Brisbane was told that in 2006, the woman, 30, and her children were confronted by her husband, 36, who was wielding a knife.
A hostage situation developed and when police arrived, the couple's children were handed out of a window.
The husband then pushed his wife into a bedroom door, injuring her shoulder.

After later pleading guilty to deprivation of liberty and common assault charges, he was jailed for two years to be suspended after eight months.
His wife applied for criminal compensation and in a recent judgment was awarded $20,250.
Judge Richard Jones said unfortunately for the woman, the incident was one of a long history of domestic violence and that she had been "conditioned" to the violence by her husband.
He noted that the offences before him had pushed the woman over the edge.

Read more:

  Is anyone else a little pissed off at this precedent:? Does anyone else think that a man's previous criminal acts are not only not an absolution, but a pattern of dangerous behaviour? I'd make this bastard pay double. Fuck it, quadruple- double for the lady's suffering and double for fucking with the court. 

  Fuck you, cunt. Abuse a woman and use your prior cowardly actions as a defense. That's so punk God hasn't invented a part to be lopped off for a travesty this monumental. Fuck you. 

  And if anyone knows "Brisbane Woman", 30. Tell her. I'm sure we can come up with another $20, 000

The Song In My Head

  This song came on one of the weird channels that you get for free with Digital cable that cause you to type in run-on sentences.  Anywho, debate occured. My first reply was "The Animals". After 20 yells, I turned to Google.

  I won, and so do you.

WTBlue F*ck Of The Weak

   The head honchos of corporations are always looking to get the most work time out of each hour. I've worked 16 hours straight in order to satisfy a boss, but to still encounter scorn when asking for a raise.  All in all, it is the best employees who work hardest and smartest to the benefit of those slacking off, and when it comes to construction work, the hardest workers are women. 

  Companies really do try to combat slacking, but often times it is the ones who do their jobs best who pay the penalties. If you work on a desk, yo-yos may be caught with the latest in productivity software, but other infractions go unnoticed. I worked for years at a place where I was expected to forgo lunch breaks to compensate for elder, alcoholic coworkers. And some companies have gone so far as to police their lunch and coffee breaks. 

  Norway has the same issues as we do when it comes to laziness, but doesn't want their good workers penalized. As such, it has developed systems to ensure that all workers are earning their dollar. They have developed authoritarian standards to the point of requiring workers to punch out for restroom visits. One imagines that this could be an embarrassing bother if working through an intestinal issue. It has gotten to the point that two-thirds of managers require an employee to use their card to enter a rest facility. Roughly a third require a visitor sign-in log. 

  But the worst of all are companies that require menstruating women to wear red bracelets so they can use the loo when they wish. I am not joking. This is not in orthodox Jerusalem, but Oslo. Unions are justifiably complaining that marking women is a form of shame, and I dare agree. 

  Guys I've worked with know I work hard. They know that women have it tough enough as it is and if I say I'm getting a dude to cover, they aren't questioning. They're cool with not being totally filled in on the details and I'm comfy not wearing a fucking armband. I don't want to stereotype, but it's pretty clear that women are not in the majority of folks using rest stalls to care for -ahem- private needs best taken care of elsewhere. Red bands are a sign of embarrassment to women, and I certainly hope that North American companies do not adopt this draconian example of shaming women for their gender. 

  This is yet another reason why certain males are not born emotionally equipped to deal with uteruses.

Image courtesy of Vojinovic/AP

Who's On First?

  Professional sports teams have fought over the best talent since inception, and since the days of Si Griffis, the richest team often won. Enter the entry draft- a place where lousy teams still had a shot at scoring fine young bucks that could assist their club from the basement. But teams often had their own minor programs, like the one than sent Bobby Orr to Boston. It did take some time to catch on and rules had to be changed. Here are the first picks of the first drafts in their respective sports and what came of them.

Never dare to dream.

NFL - 1936 - Jay Berwanger - Philadelphia Eagles

  Traded to Chicago, Mr. Berwanger decided that pro football was not his game. Blessed with intellect that added to the game itself, he became a known sportswriter and car parts innovator. However, what is best known about this Heisman honoree is the scar bestown upon the face of bulky future president Gerald Ford's face. Jay Berwanger was a multi-talent; his 1936 decathlon record at the University of Chicago broken 5 years after his death. He was a humble man and passed away in 2002 at the age of 88.

Major League Baseball - 1965 - Rick Monday - Kansas City Athletics

 Tommy LaSorda, a scout for the LA Dodgers, wanted Rick Monday badly. He offered the high-school senior a whopping $20, 000 to go pro. He opted to go to college instead, winning accolades and the college World Series. All-in-all it was good. If Monday made the pros, he'd have a career; if not, he could go back and finish a degree. He went on to a 19 year pro career that included all-star selections and a real Mc
Coy World Series ring in 1981. In 1976, he was noted for stopping protesters from burning a flag as a visiting player at Dodgers Stadium to the applause of normally ornery fans.

  Now long retired, you can hear Mr. Monday providing a voice to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a club he won his ring with.

NHL - 1963 - Garry Monahan - Montreal Canadiens

  Early in the years of NHL drafts, most players were busts. A rare exception was 16 year old Garry Monahan. While he was no Ovechkin, he did have a formidable NHL career that began 4 years after his selection. With noted stints in Toronto and Vancouver, he provided size and work ethic. He became an early star in Japan until retirement at 35, after which he lent his colourful voice to Vancouver radio.

NBA - 1947 - Clifton McNeely - Pittsburgh Ironmen

  A 28 year old gent who had served with the Army Air during World War II, McNeely led the NCAA in scoring at Texas Wesleyan. Choosing to not go pro, he became as great of high school coach as one could be. This PE teacher scored 4 Texas State Championships and is enshrined in the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame. At 74, he served as an assistant coach on the Houston Cougars and passed away in 2003 at age 84.

High Times

  Bolivian Aboriginals staged a peaceful protest outside the United States Embassy in La Paz and other major cities in support of a proposed amendment to a UN drugs treaty, which bans traditional medicinal use of the coca plant. 

  The Bolivian government wants to modify the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to remove language that also bans chewing and other traditional sacramental purposes. The United States stands in opposition, noting that the cocaine is derived from the coca plant and it is a nation with a drugs abuse problem. The Convention originally stated that coca chewing would be phased out by 1989, but Native peoples continue to use the leaf in various medicines. 

  The Bolivian government is more modern than many governments, standing firmly with their indigenous peoples and claiming that not doing so would constitute discrimination. It should be noted that Bolivia is among the nations which support the rights of traditional peoples and the US does not. (see UN Convention on First Nations) 

  The US stated that tradition is no reason for exemption : "The position of the US government in not supporting the amendment is based on the importance of maintaining the integrity of the UN convention, which is an important tool in the fight against drug-trafficking," it said.

  The United States is the World's largest consumer of drug Cocaine as well as pharmaceutical and Bolivia ranks third in production globally. 

  Bolvian president Evo Morales, a rare indigenous head of state, is an advocate of coca for traditional purposes and a known strong opponent of drug use, which he affirms is separate. Should the U.S. and other nations not oppose the amendment, traditional peoples will be able to continue their peaceful rites, this time without fears of prosecution.

  I know that drug addictions are an issue, cocaine being a prime choice amongst the upper castes. However, denying good people their traditions simply because someone in a land far away has chemically altered their plant is morally wrong. The peaceful folk of the Andes obviously know better things to do with their plant than the white man does and violating their rights because of the name of a plant is an attack on liberty. It is an injustice to the integrity of good people to lump them in with drug abusers. Anyone who favours freedom should support unobstructed self-government. 

  They've been doing just fine without us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Your Lunch!

  Today, a class-action lawsuit was launched in Alabama against Taco Bell's parent company Yum Foods. The suit alleges that their ground meat product contains too little beef to be classified as ground beef. There are people shocked at the other ingredients, but not I, for I know that oats, soybeans, and yeast are common fillers that are not terribly bad for most people. In fact, I probably consume all 3 on a daily basis as they are good vegetarian nutrient sources.

  While thinking of fast food in general, I was taken back to one of the first videos I used on this blog and an interesting story. When I first moved to the Island, I was helping an older cousin move to a new apartment. This cousin is something of a notorious packrat whose canned goods have poisoned people, but I didn't know the extent at the time. So she offered me a Velveeta sandwich and I ate it. Afterwards, she told me that this so-called cheese was at least 6 years old; it hadn't even been refrigerated during the entire time. Naturally, I thought she was joking; that something that old would make one ill. But she wasn't..and I was absolutely fine the next day. The sandwich and the thought completely vanished from my mind until I recalled this video because of the lawsuit. This video does confirm what I discovered that fateful day 7 years ago : that processed food simply does not break down in a fashion consistent with the fresh fruit and veg we eat every day. 

  I remember in school the prof mentioned, to the laughter of us students, that processed American-style cheese was about as nutritionally sound as a garbage bag. Naturally, we were puzzled since the stuff was the filler for many of the sandwiches in our lunch sacks and the Kraft Corporation advertised it as having all the goodness of Calcium and what-have-you. But if you look at the ingredients lists for Plastic Cheese and the most common fast food items you may (need a chemist to) realize that these foods do have more in common with the plastic that packages them than to something at a farmers' market. We know about fat and sodium, so why do we keep feeding this to our kids? 
  This is an ingredient list for a fast-food item and I'd like you to guess what it might be: 

Soybean oil, pickle relish [diced pickles, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, calcium chloride, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate (preservative), spice extractives, polysorbate 80], distilled vinegar, water, egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, spices, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate (preservative), mustard bran, sugar, garlic powder, vegetable protein (hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat), caramel color, extractives of paprika, soy lecithin, turmeric (color), calcium disodium EDTA (protect flavor).

  This is the sauce for a Big Mac. As for the McNugget that McDo has been plugging in their healthier Happy Meal- it has 38 ingredients, most of which one cannot pronounce. We all know that this stuff is bad for us and our kids but it is cheap, convenient, and addictive. You shouldn't expect 100% dead cow when you're paying 39 cents for a taco. What freaks me out though is that this stuff doesn't decompose properly in your system and is filtered directly through your liver and kidneys Do Not Pass Go.

  And what to say for the environmental impact of such foodstuffs? I mean, we know that factory farming causes more ecological damage than anything else, but when you add in the chemical processing and fuels needed to manufacture these peculiar additives we must be talking about something more disastrous in more ways than anyone previously thought possible. And what about the leftovers, the unsold stock, the stuff that even the fat kid couldn't finish? As you'll see here, it simply does not biodegrade and same goes for the waste that simply slides through your system into the wastewater system. The point is that everything is connected.

  When we modify food in such ways that it becomes unrecognizable our bodies and the planet will cease to recognize it back.  When you need to eat on the go, consider packing a lunch. Because chances are, if it's fast it isn't food.

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Star Wars

  Have you ever dreamed of something that hasn't yet been developed? Dreams are the fuel not only for science fiction novels, but new technology. US Army Captain Jonathan Springer had a dream last year that his iPhone could help him on the battlefields of Afghanistan, and thanks to his hard work, it is becoming a reality.

  Tactical Nav, slated for release next month, helps soldiers map waypoints and convey the data to other troops. The incredibly accurate application, which cost Capt. Springer $26, 000 of his own money to develop, can also help direct artillery fire, call in helicopter support, and more. The app  may just give NATO the jump on nature, which has been favouring the Taliban. Think about it- all a soldier needs to do is photograph a target and merge it with the already built-in GPS and your ass is no longer grass.

  With technology like this, hopefully our kids can get out of there within the next decade without women losing all of their rights again.

You Know This Is Wrong

  Peter LaBarbera is the founder of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, a group dedicated to removing the rights of gays in North America. The single-minded group is so obsessed with curing homosexuality and denying gays the right to marry and raise families to the point that many have called Mr. LaBarbera's sexuality into question.  I have covered LaBarbera's paranoia about TSA searches, among other things, and today his name comes up again. 

  In a recent interview with former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, we are given a glimpse into the mind of the homophobe: 
LaBarbera: Chaps, you alluded to a story about an exorcism with a woman trapped in lesbianism. Tell us about that.
Klingenschmitt: Yes, well as a Navy Chaplain one of my first counseling assignments walked into my office and sat down with me was a young woman who had been raped. And it was tragic, I mean she was the victim of abuse and was going through a trial process where she was the witness against another sailor, they were both sailors, who was on her ship. But she said privately to me, "Chaplain, it was not consensual sex because I don't even like men, I'm a lesbian. So what should I do?"
And I wept with her and I cried with her and I asked her about her background; turns out she had been abused as a child by some men in her family and I said "let me ask you a question: all these men who abused you, where they full of the Devil or where they full of Jesus Christ?"
And she had to answer "well, of course they're full of the devil." I said that is proof right there, perhaps, that Jesus Christ himself can be the first man that you trust and I suggested we have a wedding ceremony and she got married to Jesus Christ as the first man she could ever trust.
She gave her life to Jesus. She welcomed the Holy Spirit. And I looked into her eyes as she began to weep and I said "you foul spirit of lesbianism, this woman has renounced you, come out of her in Jesus' name" and she began to wrestle with that and suddenly her eyes began to bug out and then she began to weep, and weep, and weep as the Holy Spirit forgave her sins.
She was baptized the next day and then she became one of the best evangelists in our church, started carrying around her Bible telling all of her friends about Jesus and she started dating boys. 

  What is noted here is the fact that neither man seems terribly concerned with the fact that the sailor has been raped by a coworker; in fact this detail is secondary to the chaplain's so-called victory over the homosexual orientation of the young woman. Fundamentalists like Mr. LaBarbera truly believe that if a rape victim's trauma causes them to be terrified enough to go into the closet, rape isn't such a bad thing at all. There is no talk about penalty for the offender because the ends justify the means. 
  So-called corrective rape is a crime, and a common one at that. I too was a victim of such an attack. The men boasted about how they had "fixed the dyke" and the shame was upon me instead of the violent perpetrators. I was also taken to an ex-Gay church meeting. In discussions with the other women it became very apparent that they discussed their "new" orientation a little too much, that they tried too hard. There was absolutely nothing authentic about their behaviours and I suspect this is true of most in the ex-gay movement. 
  Americans For Truth, Exodus, and all of the others do not care about the individual; they care about the Gay. For fundamentalists, it is a culture war, and in war the enemy is intentionally dehumanized. Peter LaBarbera and those like him do not see a human being, but an orientation , a moral disease akin to alcoholism. And people everyday focus far too much on sexual orientation. While I agree that it many be somewhat novel to have gay friends, the continuous attention given to one attribute is tiresome at best and dehumanizing at worst. 
  It is my hope that in the spiritual assessments of chaplains, those that believe exorcism cures anything will no longer be permitted to serve in the armed forces of any nation.

Here is more from the chaplain, who now claims that it is homophobes who are discriminated against.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Things That Confuse Me About Americans : The Ass Gasket

There are a number of things that the remainder of the world finds puzzling about America. Be it the flavourless chocolate, weird spellings of words, or the unusual absence of vehicles more than 5 years old, America really is different from other places. There is one thing that I notice in washrooms in America that makes me chuckle, and it is the toilet seat cover.

I assure you that nobody besides Americans understands the need to cover the seat in a layer of paper. What exactly is a layer of incredibly porous paper supposed to protect you from? Even if toilets weren't cleaner than water fountains, telephones, computers, doorhandles, taxicabs, and nearly everything else that exists the toilet seat cover wouldn't protect you from anything. According to The American Institute of Microbiology, nobody has ever acquired an STD from a toilet seat in the United States.  The only way your bum or legs would be dirty enough to spread disease would be if you absolutely lacked hygiene and enjoyed smearing poo on your glutes.  Plus, if the person previous to you peed on the seat, the cover will stick to your arse when you get up. 

Occasionally, an American tourist will notice the absence of seatcovers in Canadian loos and leave a telltale ring of carefully placed toilet sheets. Only Americans do this. They either sit on their makeshift ring of paranoia or squat, which results in someone screaming that they have a wet ass and alerting all that there is indeed an American in the pub. Toilet seat covers are the most obnoxious example of disposable culture and you probably won't find them in a country where people have actually owned their fedoras since the 70s

 Americans, do understand. We like you, but we don't comprehend why you are so petrified of disease and other people that you'll worry about someone else's assprint when your cholesterol is 340 and there are a million other things that will actually kill you. And we are not stupid enough to think you give out cowboy hats in the loo, although the joke is almost funny.

Thank you.

The Origin Of Terror

This afternoon in Moscow, at least one person blew himself up in their largest airport. While the story is developing, at least 35 human beings of all ages are dead and more than 150 are wounded. It's  the kind of mass-murder that horrifies all civilized societies, but something anti-terror squads in the world's largest nation are constantly battling. 

  You see, they have Chechnya. The small plot of land in the Caucasus is a source of annoyance for Moscow. It's a place that welcomes bride kidnappings, honour murders, and the killings of non-muslims. Formerly a multi-cultural patch of the Caucasus, Chechnya has now become a wasteland . The problem with Chechnya is that Moscow cannot control it without abusing the populace, and Russia's honchos are bewildered by the people that refuse to be ruled. The Chechens don't feel that they should have to tolerate anyone who is not Muslim and this invites wealthy Muslims to the party. 

  The Chechens want their own homeland, and terroristic malcontents like Usama bin Laden get a rush out of causing fear and panic. Fundamentalists sense the desperation of people and begin indoctrinating  already depressed young folks with hate. Taking the most eliminationist passages from the Qu'ran , people begin to believe that they now have worth. The afterlife is romanticized- a shamed rape victim becomes a virgin at the right hand of God, a socially-awkward man a celebrated hero waited on by angels and virgins. The suicide hero image is everywhere: on billboards, framed above the mantle, but most of all in programming aimed at children as young as 3. The psychopaths who arm the suicide killer have no interest in seeing positivity amongst people because folks who love their lives aren't as willing to die. 

  So the hopeless victim of fundamentalism blows him or herself up, taking a few hundred infidels in the blast. The little children in Grozny see the family of the bomber showered with gifts, maybe a house for the widow and livestock or a car for the parents. There are celebrations with fireworks and gunshots, the finest tobaccos and pastries, talk of the bounties of Heaven. And little Ashkat sees this and thinks to himself " if I am noble enough for God, I too will be chosen to be a martyr." 

What CAN You Do Today?

  Cancer is a disease that touches every family. Treatments can certainly be financially straining and physically exhausting. When fighting the disease, women with all varieties of cancer can become tremendously fatigued and home chores can be forgotten.

Enter Cleaning For A Reason, an uplifting group of cleaning partners that take care of the homes of women battling any type of cancer so they have one fewer worry. Serving all 50 states and most of Canada, this service rewards workers and recipients alike with more than just a maid, but a bond of friendship. I'm proud to support this cause because of the monumental good they do. And it's one you should support as well, and I'll tell you how in a few easy clicks.

First, search with Goodsearch and every time you cruise the web, this foundation scores donations. You can enter Cleaning For A Reason as the charity or- even better- download the toolbar and all searches earn money for this or any other worthwhile cause you choose. You search on the web anyways, why not help some awesome ladies at the same time? Go HERE to get started.

Secondly, to donate to the tax-exempt foundation or to review their financials, click HERE

Finally, if you know someone scrapping with this condition that could use the lift of a housekeeping visit or have any other queries, click the graphic below

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Man And His Car

  There is an internet rumour going around that this fantastic 1928 Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 was owned by one man "until his death last year" at the age of 102. Somehow, with the faulty math, the tale claims this fine looking gent owned his vehicle for 83 years.

  Part of this tale is indeed true. M. Allen  Swift was a real gentleman who owned this car. However, he is not the famed voice actor who died last year. (he was 86) This Allen Swift did receive the car as a gift from his father at age 25. It was manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts, where it can now be found in the local History museum. Mr. Swift owned his car until his death at 102 in 2005. He was recognized for his lengthy dedication to the brand by Rolls-Royce in 1994, a relationship that spanned some 77 years. The amazing part of the story not mentioned on the webs is that Mr. Swift actually purchased the Verizon building for the purpose of turning it into a museum and giving his prized ride a permanent home.