Monday, 30 May 2011

This Post is Totally Unfocused

I totally know what's happening in the middle east. Here's a hint: It rhymes with mothing. 

In his address to a joint session of the US Congress Benjamin Netanyahu made his case for peace in the middle east. I know this because during his 46 minute speech (video) the word "peace" was uttered 51 times. It makes me wonder if people are gullible enough that they can just hear the word enough times that it makes them feel like the speaker is committed to the idea.

I will not pretend here, nor anywhere else, to be an expert on all the complications of the middle east. There's one thing that appears to be abundantly obvious to me though: We are not anywhere close to peace in the middle east.

I know this because along with his 51 utterances of the word peace, the Israeli Prime Minister also said:

  • So it's therefore vital -- absolutely vital -- that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized, and it's vital -- absolutely vital -- that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River.
  • Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace; they're necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels, because in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners  today will be there tomorrow. And my friends, when I say tomorrow, I don't mean some distant time in the future; I mean tomorrow.
  • So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate. Make peace with the Jewish state

Just so we're clear: There will be peace so long as the Palestinians have no weapons or military, are negotiating as a fractured unit, and at the end of the day it doesn't matter cause we know they're going to break the pact anyway. Yeah Ben - I believe that... about as much as I believe the war on drugs is about end. 

Wearing this is totally gay - unless you're supporting gays. 

I wore a pink shirt for the vast majority of the day. I felt both very hot, and very gay. I don't know if it's because wearing things this fabulous make me feel hot - or because sometimes I write/say things like "wearing things this fabulous" -- but I felt gay as fuck. Now, obviously I'm not since I haven't engaged in any homosexual activity nor had the inclination. Just as obvious is that there's nothing wrong with LGBT folks.

I gotta say though, I'd hate to actually be gay - because the looks you get from these obviously conservative, obviously ignorant, obviously asshole country folk around here is enough of a piss off when you're straight. If I felt like they were judging me for something that's actually true... damn it - I might just kill a honkey.

Anyway - those last two paragraphs can be summarized with "No matter where you go - you'll meet retards"

The Wire is totally awesome. 

I'm done the first season of The Wire - and I have no clue why it took me so long to start watching this show. There's about 20 characters running here and they're all so impressively defined. I feel like I know each and every one of these guys (and girls). Really one of the best combinations of writing and acting I've seen in a long long time. If you have not watched it - do so. Now.

There has totally got to be a twitter bonus for Jays players

So here I am, minding my own business on twitter and two jays players start calling Jose Bautista a #clown. I would like to think that these the Jays are just twitter lovers (along with Morrow), but we have to know better than that. I would venture at least half of those men have some kind of social outreach clause - or some way of getting kickbacks for having some form of an online presence. Ricky and Jose just got new deals too - so it would not be that unlikely.

Either way - John Danks is a jack ass. You do not get to call another player a clown when you are 0-8.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Letters to my Consoles

Dear XBOX,

I know, I said some things. Horrible things. I swore I'd never love you again, that I'd never take you back, that you'd never have a place in my life for as long as I lived. I swore I'd never make the same mistakes again. I proclaimed that I had found someone new, exciting, and most of all - reliable. They weren't so high maintenance, always making me buy things for them. They had certain unique qualities (Little Big Planet, MLB The Show) that you just didn't have.

XBOX, I'm here to tell you I was wrong... sort of.

I'm glad you're back in my life. I'm glad that we got to spend last night together - and I think we might have a bright future. See - while I was off with that sleazebag, I forgot about all of your qualities. Remember that time that Geometry Wars 2 ruined my relationship because I wouldn't go to bed instead of staying up trying to get the high score on pacifism? Sure, she'll say we broke up because I cheated on her - but we all know it was the game. How about that time I got back from vacation and we played GTA IV for hours and hours... I never did live up to my commitment to you to get all 1000 achievement points with that game - we should try doing that again. Remember that moment when we hit 10,000 achievement points? Bobby Paycheque told me it'd never happen - I sure showed him.

Yes, we sure did have good times, but you've improved yourself since I've been gone. I can buy TONS of full length games in a flash! There's a bunch of avatar games where there were none before. There's so much I feel like I haven't done with this system yet that I look forward to doing now (like finishing my second play through of Mass Effect 2).

Yes, XBOX - I forgive you. We can be together again. Sure, I'm going to have to drop some coin on getting gold back, but you'll make it worth while - right? Right.

I Love You... you should know that you if you hurt me again I'll probably beat the living shit out of you though.




Dear PS3,

WHAT THE FUCK!? You lied to me. Over and over and over again you've lied to me! "It's just going to be a day or two" is it now? "By the end of the week you can play Black Ops again" REALLLLLY?

You're a lying bitch, you know that? When we started out you said "Hey, buy me - you won't have to pay to play with your friends" but now that we've been together for a while you say, "You can't play with your friends - don't blame me - you just can't. No idea when you can again. I'll make it up to you - just trust me - I will. I have no details as to how -- but I will". You're a lying bitch. How am I supposed to trust you? This whole time you've been giving me this sub par experience and I've been fine with it.

Let me get one thing in your head - I will come back to you, but I'll be using you. I'll have my fun with you then throw you to the side for my XBOX - because you haven't earned my love. When I have a choice between you or XBOX, you're not winning. Deal with it.

You've acted like a bitch, so now I'm going to treat you like the little bitch that you are.

Please don't kill yourself though. I've already gone through that with XBOX too many times.



Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pre-Results Election Thoughts

I was writing this blog before the election results started rolling in. Blogger automatically saves so I found it as a draft today. It suddenly ends because my friend insisted we leave and get Subway - and while i intended to come back and finish it, results had started rolling in so blogging was the last thing on my mind.

This election has been extraordinary. There has literally never been such a shift in in popular vote as existed in this election and I realized something - it feels no different than any other election I've experienced since 2006: Terrifying. It looks although we're heading toward another Conservative minority. Hypothetically, it's possible that the Liberals and NDP will have enough votes to create a government through combination. I consider it just as likely that the late NDP surge will split the left and give the Conservative's some extra seats.

I can't help but be disappointed (generally) by people's lack of understanding in how our voting system works and/or unwillingness to be realistic about how they vote. We're all raised with certain ideals - and in a large part this influences how we vote. We're also raised not to lie - to be responsible with money - to be kind to people... well most people are at least. These are all good things to live by - but there are times in our lives where we can assess a situation reasonably and understand that there are exceptions to those rules.

Voting is no different. The left (Green, Liberal, NDP) all pretty much agrees that the course the country is on with Stephen Harper in charge is the wrong one. When it comes to voting though - these groups can't seem to reach a common ground. For example - in riding's that have been historically Con/Lib or Con/NDP - there are voters who steadfastly refuse to vote for the other left party.

I can not at all understand how a group of people can so steadfastly refuse to come half way for the sense of realism. It is absolutely your RIGHT to do what you wish with your vote. Anyone who ever disputes that is out of their mind. You can make bad choices though. You can make uninformed choices.

Just as you can make a poor choice in purchasing a product - you can make a poor choice in who to vote for. Is it a matter of opinion? Of course. However - when you claim to support the NDP, in a riding that will absolutely go either Liberal or Conservative - and vote NDP... in my opinion that's a horrific choice. One party has an ideology not so far from yours - and the other has a polar opposite ideology. Because their ideology is not EXACTLY the same - or because you don't like the leader (voting for policy is so out of fashion) - the decision that you can't vote for them is reckless. Deciding who you vote for on this micro level has macro effects. The choices made today by millions of Canadians across the country have a very serious impact on millions of Canadians for the next (potentially) four years. To just toss your vote in for the sake of some moral superiority or to make a meaningless and unknown statement about intolerance for the other choices is your right - but shortsighted.

This country - regardless of your political stance - has serious issues in front of it. Making these decisions at the ballot box should be made with equal seriousness. Frankly - those voting for NDP in a region like I described above because they like "Jack" or don't like "Iggy" - clearly don't take their decision seriously. You're unwillingness to support a middle ground could cause a person with views completely opposite of yours representing you, instead of someone who partially agrees with you.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


I'm going to start by sharing some of my favorite quotes from today:

"Don't know why everyone is so steamed about the election" 
"Hehehe! But look how good the NDP did!!!" 
"I don't care - they're all gonna fuck us in the ass anyways" 
"There's no way I could vote for that Ignatieff guy!" 

I'm not about to start making the "our democracy is broken" argument - because there is no perfect system (although there are certainly more perfect ones). I don't feel like our democracy is broken - and I also don't think the world is about to end. I'm absolutely concerned about the way that this country is about to be reshaped - but I'll come to that some other time. 
Right now, what worries me more is the appearance of an unplugged electorate. I have a hard time believing that this election was decided by policy. I have an even harder time believing that the election was decided by facts.

I find it more likely that this election was decided by an unengaged and uneducated electorate - and I also don't think this is new for this election, I think it's probably true of every election. I think the fact that this is the third election in five years made it increasingly easy for us as voters to only marginally (if that) take note of the issues or facts. 

This is the part where I feel the obligation to note that your vote is your right. The fact that we can choose to vote in any direction for whatever reason we like is absolutely our right. There are no thought police - in fact we have the freedom to say and do (mostly) whatever we please. 

With that part out of the way
When are people going to start acting like their duty as citizens isn't just to show up and vote on election day - but instead to have something of an understanding of what you're voting for and de facto what you're voting against? I think we can all agree that the person who ends up running this government has a very important job, and has to deal with a lot of very important issues. If we're deciding who's going to hold this job, shouldn't we take some time to learn about these issues and look at the options and then take a look at who has the best solutions to them? Also: If you're not willing to do that - to take 20 minutes of your time to figure that out - shouldn't you just stay home? 

Now I know that I just did something there that's a cardinal sin in the western world. "Voting is your duty - your right - people in China and Syria and Egypt have been dying for this right damn it - how dare you suggest people stay home and NOT VOTE!?!?!?"  

Those people halfway across the world fighting for democratic rights aren't doing so out of blissful ignorance or because they "just don't like the guy". It's usually because they've been marginalized and shut out by a tyrant concentrating wealth and power to a small segment of the country.* 

There are plenty of centre left voters that flipped to the NDP last night. I'd venture that a whole lot of them did so because of the leader and not nearly identical policy. Some of them might have done so because Jack's campaign had a large focus on health care. As one of my friends said to me, "I'm voting NDP because he's going to do something for nurses and my Mom's a nurse." and another, "My Mom is asking what they're going to do for people who have [illness]...". Health care is a provincial jurisdiction though. With the exception of the amount of money that the Government hands out - there's nothing they will do that has any impact on health care employees or specific strategies towards any illness. 

I want to be clear about one thing: My suggestion is not that people stay home and not vote because they don't know these things... my suggestion is that it's time for people to take their citizenship seriously. If I voted for a female candidate because I thought she was hot - I'd certainly raise some eyebrows. However not voting for someone cause you "just don't like them" is perfectly acceptable. "They're all going to fuck us in the ass anyways" -- well, maybe. They'll do it differently though. Depending on the perspective you might be asked to clinch through it. It might last an hour - or it might last 4 1/2 years. You might just be into it too. So at least be aware of the kind of ass fucking you're about to receive.

I understand that this goes directly against my general stance to be realistic instead of idealistic. The most common response to a suggestion like this is, "I don't have the time" or "I just don't care enough". If either of those are true, then yes - I'm suggesting you should stay home. 

The truth is, barring some kind of catastrophe people aren't about to start taking things more seriously. If your world's not flipped upside down - then the status quo is oftentimes acceptable. Sheeple will be sheeple, and votes will be cast for the sole purpose of not wanting to cast another vote for 4 years. Citizenship can be frustrating that way. 

So anyone who has a problem with the result of last night needs not to look at the system, or the parties, or the horrific campaign management by the Liberal party -- no. Instead look to your friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. It was us - the citizens of this country with no time or use for serious citizenship who elected this government. In four years we'll be faced with a slightly different decision - an election coming out of any majority government is inherently a referendum on the job done by that government. However, one thing is certain:

We'll be told many stories then by many different people. Our ability or inability to seek out the truth - to take seriously our democratic duty - will more than likely dictate the result of that election and therefore the very serious issues that our government deals with every day. 

*Canadians can come back and read this sentence in four years again and think about starting their own riot.

Monday, 2 May 2011

It's Very Late

What does it mean?

The people have spoken. Very similarly to 1993 and 1997 a party is going to lead us for the next four years without any checks or balance. We know there won't be 12 seats to flip - so the Conservatives have the stable majority that they've been seeking.

I'm extremely curious to see the polling data over the coming days that outlines who moved where and when and why. I think just from looking at the numbers there were three different big jumps.
  1.  Bloc to NDP 
  2.  Liberal to Conservative
  3.  Liberal to NDP
The truth is, knowing what happened doesn't help us any if we don't know why.
  • Did the Bloc vote move NDP because they decided that their interests are best served by being a strong partner in Canada - or because they were tired of the Bloc being ineffective and gaining separatist demands?
  • Did centre Liberals get scared by the oncoming NDP wave and flip conservative for fear of the NDP - or did Conservatives effectly target and convince certain voters (yes, some of which are from visible minorities) that Conservative values most closely align with theirs? 
  • Did left leaning Liberals not feel represented by their party anymore and flip NDP - or were personality voters just not happy with Harper, out on Iggy, and went Jack.
"Why?" -- That is the important part because the "why" tells what should be next.
  • If the NDP are the new voice of Quebec, Liberal strongholds are getting picked off, and Liberals have lost touch with the left - isn't it time for a merge and an emergence of a (mostly) two party system? 
  • If the Bloc voters are just fed up, Liberal centrists fear the NDP, and personality voters went Layton - then we just wait for Harper to govern from the right now that he can - and everything swings back Liberal next time so long as they select someone people don't hate... right? 
Probably not. Most likely, it's a combination of all those things... which makes the water awfully muddy. So much will depend on who the Liberals select to lead them - and how Quebec plays out in the next four years. Anything is possible, but centre-left leaning voters need to have a good long think about combining these two parties because the split was in serious play today.

Do we really want to have this same result in four years? As of right now, about 60% of the nation is unhappy and by keeping things the way they are - we risk being no further ahead in four years time. People aren't going to get together on their own and vote strategically within their region. There needs to be a clear choice for the centre-left, and right now there's only a choice for the centre, and a choice for the left. We're probably heading into four years of governing from the right - and this country will never go all the way far left (NDP = Reform/Alliance just on the other side) so lets create another majority option. A party that centre voters still feel represented by but holds true to liberal ideals with social issues, workers rights, but champions education and health care. A party that finds the right way to care for seniors. However, a party that is not completely beholden to unions, and makes having balanced budgets a priority without hiking taxes on middle and low income individuals/business.

The top priority of this new party: Proportional representation.

Then when our parties re-fracture - we can have the government that we vote for.

Harpers Speech

Should include:
  • A clear mandate to keep doing the same good things they've done on the economy. 
  • Tough on crime. 
  • Lower taxes
  • From east to west
  • Faithful to our friends and commitments
  • Health Care 
  • An acknowledgement of A) Talking to other leaders and B) Working for every Canadian
  • Arctic Sovereignty
  • "Strong" Military  

Sunday, 1 May 2011

April Blue Jays Wrap Up

If someone told me at the beginning of April that the Blue Jays would be 1 game under 500 when the month ended - I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised. The surprise comes in how we got there. For example: 
  • If that same person told me that Travis Snider and Brett Cecil would be in the minor leagues and that they'd be remaking the mistake of having a power prospect DH - I wouldn't believe them. 
  • If someone told me the team would be third in the majors in walks, I might have believed them... but if they told me that Jose Bautista would have 30 of those walks since no one will pitch to him and his 9 Home Runs... I probably wouldn't have believed that. 
  • If someone told me that the Jays would be third in Stolen Bases - I wouldn't believe them (I call that Cito scarring) -- if they told me it would happen with Rajai Davis playing 9 games in the month, I wouldn't believe them. 
So yes - the Jays are surprising so far - but the results are not. Unless the pitchers decide to stop walking people (2nd most walks issued) - the results won't be much different.

Lets remember though - this is the year to figure out if Litsch, Cecil, Hill, Lind, or Snider really are part of the plan. So if the team finishes 10 games under 500, it's not a big deal - so long as AA has a better idea of what's a mirage, and what is not.