Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Liberalis erectus

Could the American democrats actually have located their backbone?

Their plan to push through legislation to end the Iraqi occupation, despite the unlikelihood of the bill passing, seems to suggest 'yes.'

The bill proposes to:
  • Start withdrawing most troops from Iraq on October 1 of this year.
  • Complete full troop withdrawal within 180 days of that start date, except for counterterrorism and training forces.
  • Require the Iraqi government to meet specific benchmarks that show they can stand on their own two feet.
  • Funnel money that was supposed to fund the ongoing war machine to medical funding for troops, support for U.S. farmers, and other non-Iraq issues.

The thing is, once the bill passes through the Senate and the House, apparently Bush can still veto it (something similar to Canada's infamous Notwithstanding Clause, it seems)--and of course he plans to.

Some experts don't think the legislation has a hope in hell of being passed, but what it will do is force Team Bush's leaden hand. It will force them to come up with some kind of alternate withdrawal plan, and then hopefully our neighbour to the south can start its long recovery from this collective nightmare.

Here's the funniest line in the whole piece: "Republicans accused Democrats of overstepping their constitutional authority and micromanaging the war." Pot...meet kettle.

Also humourous:

"Mr. Bush made it clear again on Monday that he would use the second veto of his tenure to kill the legislation, which would set a goal of having most American combat forces out of Iraq within six months of Oct. 1.

"An artificial timetable of withdrawal would say to an enemy, ‘Just wait them out,’ ” he said. “It would say to the Iraqis, ‘Don’t do hard things necessary to achieve our objectives,’ and it would be discouraging for our troops.”

Ah, the unnamed looming "enemy"...the "we've got to set an example for the poor hapless Iraqis" verbage...the "concern for the troops" spin...seems we've heard it all before, no? At the very least, maybe this move by the Democrats will force Bush's speech writers to come up with some more interesting material.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

An odd burning sensation...

What is this strange burning sensation in my arms and legs? I vaguely remember it...What was it called again...?

Oh yes! Heat! Sun! Ha ha! I had forgotten how the big ball of fire, it warms us.

Feel its warmth. Bask in its warmth. Bow to the big ball of fire.

Happy weekend everyone...

Woo hoo!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Only love can break your heart...especially with headphones

Ah, Neil. You are so wise.

I don't have much to say today, except to wonder yet again at how intensely headphones can change the way you hear music.

I finally started loading all of my CDs into iTunes this weekend and have been listening and re-listening obsessively to After the Goldrush. It's like I'm hearing it for the first time...again. I'm *this close* to officially pronouncing it my favourite album of all time.

But then again, there's Post (featuring the track "My Headphones," not incidentally) and Medulla and Axis: Bold as Love and Worldwide Underground and Funeral and Let's Get Out of This Country and Slanted & Enchanted and Watery, Domestic and Smells Like Teen Spirit and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and, well yes, Tapestry, and so many more perfect albums out there. So I'll have to hold off on the hyperbole for a tick.

Miss World is another one. I remember listening to it for about two weeks straight when it came out, not a word of a lie, for at least 6 hours a day and always on my way to, throughout, and on my way home from art class...again, on headphones.

Yes only love can break your heart Try to be sure right from the start Only love can break your heart What if your world should fall apart

Have a capital day, chaps.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The place to be in 2026

Yet another reason I'd love to be in California at the moment (several inches of fresh snowfall here is reason #1): the "Open House: Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living" exhibit at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. When cool young architecture minds turn themselves to the problem of adapting human spaces to a planet in chaos, really cool graphics ensue.

The photo on this post is from the Seoul Commune 2026 project, by Mass Studies, an architecture group from Korea. There's a PDF that gives details about their project here. I know nothing about architecture, except that I'm really fascinated by it and especially by architects who try to make buildings look like organic structures--Gaudi's buildings in Spain are another example. It's also cool when architects try to find ways to live that are sustainable and actually help rather than hurt the Earth, which is what many of the Open House projects seem to be about. Also, I really really want to live in one of those schmooshie green towers.

Anyhow, good for a little diversion on a Friday afternoon.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Maybe they just wanted to wish them a happy period...

Here in Canada, the civil service--or as we call it, the "public" service (notably removing the word "civil" from the equation)--is the country's largest employer by far.

Because so many Canadians work for the government, with so much shared experience, the public service is logically the brunt of a LOT of Canadian humour. There has historically been, for example, much reference to, ahem....er...time wastage. And, uh, bureaucratic paper-pushing. And the occasional twenty billion dollars that goes missing. That kind of thing.

But one thing we can't accuse our government of is taking the "l" out of "public."

If you're a public servant reading this, just be glad you don't work for the Indian pubic service, (yes that was on purpose) which is now demanding that its female employees provide details of their menstrual cycles, including the date of their last menstrual period (in true bureaucratic fashion, they even have an acronym for it: LMP. *busts ovaries laughing*). It's all part of their annual civil service physical. Again, weird.

The thing is, nobody in the Indian government seems sure why there's such an intense new focus on Auntie Rosie's visits. Like the womb itself, the whole event is shrouded in mystery.

Read more here.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's pronounced Ah-nah

I promise--my dreams won't become a running theme here. But I did have to share one more. (This is what happens when I blog after just waking up.)

I'm in New York, only it's also Nashville, but the point is I'm visiting the world's best dessert shop. They specialize in squares--cream-filled, chocolate covered, candy-sprinkled...you name it. Which, incidentally, is kind of a cool concept for a bakery because you only have to ice the tops of the product--imagine the cost-savings....

Anyhow, as always, I'm shopping. I buy two large shopping-bags full of delicious confections. Then I have to step out for a moment to look for a missing goat on a dark railroad, and when I come back in to the shop, one of my bags is gone! Someone has walked off with my $200 bag of sweets! I'm irate, I scream and stomp, but the staff only glances mildly my way. Which is when I realize that they are were-people. So I tone it down, grab my remaining bag, and mosey.

I'm supposed to go to the opera that night, so I've got to get back to my room and change. You can see where this is going: in dreams, the more you need to get somewhere, the less likely you are to get there. At least, that's how my dreams go.

I'm on the Mount Everest-sized escalator that leads into the hotel, going down and away from the hotel for some reason, and lying down. But I'm wearing some really cool shoes. And who should pass me on the next escalator over but Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour. She stares at my shoes. "Great shoes," she states blandly, smiles for a milisecond, and continues on her way with Andre Leon Talley in tow.

I'm ecstatic! Anna Wintour liked my shoes! And it looks like she's headed for the same opera as me--the one I now have little chance of getting to on time. I've got to get to my room and pick out another pair of fabulous shoes to wear tonight.

Next scene: I've found an elevator. As with all elevators in my dreams, it goes sideways. There's a man in a suit, a crying hispanic single mom, and a mopey housekeeping employee. My room is on the 11th floor--which, isn't it weird that I can remember that? I've heard you can't process numbers or letters in dreams. But of course the elevator is only on floor -68. When the door opens, the mopey housekeeping employee runs off with my last bag of sweets. I find myself in hot pursuit of her in a car on the road below, then remember I'm late for the opera.

Next scene: I've found an elevator. It goes sideways. There's a man in a suit, a crying hispanic single mom, and...

I woke up feeling very frustrated.

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Monday, April 02, 2007


Here is what I remember from my dream last night:

I'm at some event inside a massive building that's a cross between a hotel and a shopping centre; I have to erect a tent to shower in.

As I'm setting up the tent poles, I notice a bunch of junk lying around the mall--boxes, those big under-the-bed bags you store your winter clothes in, etc.

I walk over to one that looks like it's full of cool old clothes (I'm a vintage clothing freak), and in a way it is. Only the clothes are still being worn by the exceptionally well-preserved corpses of their original owners. That's right: a nicely arranged row of 19th-century corpses is lying fully dressed in one of those under-the-bed clothing storage bags.

I run around frantically, trying to find a manager. I finally find one. (They're even hard to find in dreams for Pete's sake.) Impatiently, she tells me I'll have to take it "downstairs." I try to argue--can't she see I'm trying to put up my shower tent? Why should I have to take the corpses down? She's having none of it.

I grab the corner of the bag and heave, following behind her as she leads me to a doorway. Slowly, she creaks the door open. I look in on a stairwell that leads into a dark grimey dungeon-like basement filled with discarded junk. She points over to a far corner full of other bags of corpses. "Just go throw them on there."

I stand there, expecting her to help me down the stairs with the bag, but she says "I'm not going down there."

"Well at least hold the door open for me," I reply. She nods. I heave the bag down the stairs, make my way through all the junk and toss the bag on its pile. I glance for a moment at the bag's occupants. Their clothes are really cool...

...I'm wracked by shudders. I get a cold tingly back-of-the-neck feeling that I haven't got much time to get out of there before these folks re-animate. Just as I turn to make my way back to the stairs, the horrible manager person turns off the light and closes the door. I'll kill her, I think, as I blindly run for the stairwell...

I'm no dream interpreter, but bags of neatly stored, well-dressed corpses can't be good. And don't stairwells down into dark basements represent a descent into the unconscious self or some such crap?

I'm pretty sure that part of it has to do with a recently discovered phobia I have for certain antique hats and furniture. Once in a while I'll come across an item online or in an antique shop and it'll just give me the ultimate creeps, for no esthetic or other apparent reason--and here's the thing: I can't stop thinking about these items' dead owners. My revulsion is sometimes so strong that I can barely bring myself to touch or continue looking at the item--and it's always a hat or a piece of furniture.

The other quality they all have in common is they're always from the 19th Century.

Weird, no?

Er, just thought I'd share...

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