Friday, March 30, 2012

Running On Empty...

Willkommen, Alterna-Thinkers!

Rising gas prices are causing right-wing political wags and Fox News whackadoos to besiege the President in the hopes of undermining his support against an inevitable (and almost assuredly unpalatable) Republican rival.

I think this is hilarious.  Do these yahoos really believe that Obama gets up every morning and says, "Y'know, positive approval ratings are such a drag.  I bet if I jack up oil prices that would really piss people off!"

In the U.S., 76% of the price is determined by crude oil cost, with only 12% going to production and another 12% going to taxes.  If anything, we Canuckleheads have more to gripe about, since a whopping 30% of our total is soaked up by taxes with 52% determined by cost.

So why is the cost of crude oil climbing so high?  Simply put, only a finite amount of dinosaurs had the decency to croak in convenient places thus allowing us to retrieve their liquidy (not to mention incredibly valuable) carcases with ease.  And as if that's not bad enough, we've also foolishly sold emerging nations on the (North) American Dream, which involves having a car in every garage.  It's a classic case of dwindling supply and skyrocketing demand.    

A slew of factors are killing us here.  First off, we're pretty much picked all of the low-hanging fruit.  Up until the 1950's, the United States, not Saudi Arabia, was the world's leading producer of oil.  But we can't accurately refer to oil as "Texas Tea" anymore, since we've sucked the state completely dry. McCamey Texas, once the poster boy for oil production in all of those vintage newsreels, now looks like a ghost town.

The same goes for places like Baku, Azerbaijan and Maracaibo, Venezuela.  Once booming and prosperous hubs of activity, these places have since been reduced to graveyards for idle and abandoned oil derricks, piping, storage tanks and refineries.  The environmental ruin we've inflicted on places like this in our mindless pursuit of black gold is truly reprehensible.

So, what happens when all of the convenient sources of oil get tapped?   Well, we start drilling offshore...

 Or fine-tooth-combing tar sands...

Or we actually begin to humor the heightened insanity that is hydraulic fracturing or,  fracking for short.

And no, I'm not talking about what Starbuck did with Anders.   

In addition to kicking Mother Nature right in the recyclo-bin and threatening the health of our fellow human beings, the return on net assets for acquiring fuel this way is laughably poor.  Those added expenses are folded into gas prices, thus driving the costs up even more.

And what happens when certain places in the world won't let us push them aside and help ourselves to their oil?  Why, we destabilize their political structure and attempt to install leaders more predisposed to our point of view!

Problem is, this usually backfires on us...

Sometimes we get frustrated with subtlety.  Our latest parlour trick is to invade sovereign nations under false pretenses in order to get our greasy mitts on more of that sweet, sweet cheddar.

The sad thing is, we could have broken the automotive industry's addiction to oil ages ago.  Hell, here's Thomas Friggin' Edison posing with an electric car back in 1893...

Granted, these early prototypes didn't have the power and range of gas-powered cars but the capability has always been there.  Who knows how far the technology would have advanced if we'd just shown a modicum of foresight? 

Just to illustrate our innovative potential as human beings, a particularly efficient electric car was developed almost twenty years ago.  In 1990 the state of California passed the Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate which forced the major automotive manufacturers to come up with alternative electrical designs if they wanted to keep selling gas-powered cars.  In order to get around this, executives at Honda, Toyota, GM, Chrysler and Ford ordered their design teams to make a half-assed effort to come up with something, under the unspoken condition that their efforts would ultimately prove fruitless.

But, bless their rebellious hearts, the clever little monkeys at General Motors actually ended up developing the incredible EV1.  It looked sleek, ran quieter then Luke Skywalker's landspeeder and mechanics loved working on it because they didn't end up covered in grease.  Anxious to do their part for the environment, a slew of high profile buyers such as Tom Hanks, Peter Horton and Ed Begley Jr. leased them in droves.          

The EV1 offered eighty miles worth of highway driving at speeds up to seventy miles per hour and a fifty mile range in the city.  By April of 1998 there were well over three-hundred public chargers available for the vehicles in California.  Later iterations of the technology allowed drivers to charge the car's battery to eighty percent capacity in ten minutes.

And how much did it cost to charge the battery?

Absolutely nothing.  

So why aren't we all driving around in one of these miraculous vehicles?  Well, it all boils down to criminally irresponsible levels of corporate greed.

The powerful oil and gas industry became terrified that their monopoly on transportation fuel might be threatened.  The automotive overlords were also petrified that we'd switch to vehicles that had very little turnover and required hardly any maintenance or upkeep.  Powerful lobbyists for both groups started to Wormtongue the government and in 2002 the second Bush administration joined forces with the auto industry.  Together they went to court against the state of California and overturned the Zero-Emissions Vehicle mandate.

Not long after, GM re-possessed every single EV1 in the country, literally tearing the steering wheel out of the hands of drivers who'd fallen in love with them.  And what did GM do with these imperfect yet undeniably green vehicles?  They secretly took them out into the desert and crushed them into cubes.

Now listen folks, I'm not one to advocate government interference in business but until corporations stop acting out of pure avarice, I think that watchdogs are required.  Otherwise, they'll keep making decisions that are counterproductive to our evolution as human beings.  Every move they make will be myopic, unconscionable and motivated by how much filthy lucre they can wring out of the system before they die.  Clearly they don't give a crap about what kind of world they leave behind for future generations.    

Right now corporate lobbyists control our political figures like hand puppets.  We need a paradigm shift which sees corporate money and influence amputated from our political system.  Until that happens we'll continue to paint ourselves into a pretty bleak corner.

How bleak?  Put it this way: just consider how much of a pain in the arse it would be to try and commute back and forth to work if you couldn't afford to fill up your car or every service station in your vicinity suddenly went bone dry.  It's happened before, folks.   

And when it happens again, it's gonna be permanent.  Knowing that, you have to ask yourself how comfortable you'll be living in a world that shares its premise with The Road Warrior?            



Who Killed the Electric Car? from Julien Chaulieu on Vimeo.

EPIC RANT  Simple terms from Lewis Black  (NSFW!)

FAIL  If you drive a vehicle that looks like a space shuttle with the wings filed off, then you've forfeited any right whatsoever to bitch about gas prices.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Death In The Family

Greetings, Fellow Pall-Bearers.

I find myself in mourning over the tragic and sudden loss of a treasured friend.  Over the past seven years, we've been inseparable.  We've been through though good times and bad times, thick and thin.  We've collaborated on countless creative projects.  We've been as tight as Batman and Robin, Luke and R2-D2,  Hercules and Newt.

Okay, maybe strike that last one.     

But two weeks ago my buddy started acting really weird.  Sort of dull and shiftless, as if sedated by Rush Limbaugh-levels of Prozac.  I'd witnessed these symptoms before, but never to such a degree.  I immediately launched into a well-practiced routine of first-aid.  My emergency steps seemed to work and soon he was back up and acting like his old self again. 

But then, on Sunday March 12'th, my friend experienced a terrible relapse.  I dutifully ran through my resuscitory checklist but just as I was finishing up, something horrible happened.  My patient's face turned blue.  He began babbling some nonsense about an "unmountable boot volume".  And then, without further ado, my good friend of seven years expired right before my very eyes.

Yes, that's right, folks: my beloved laptop is dead.   

Y'know it's kind of amazing how much useless crap accumulates on your computer over the years: email replies from a year-and-a-half-ago, bulls#!t programs that you only used once, MSN Messenger.  Regardless of how diligent you are in clearing out the cobwebs, it still adds up.  Eventually it becomes the digital equivalent of the half-dozen bottles of suntan lotion that you refuse to throw out just because, technically, there's still a subatomic amount of suntan lotion in each bottle.

Constantly you keep thinking to yourself: 'Hmmmmm, maybe I shouldn't delete that.  After all, I never know when I'm gonna get a hankering for some Elf Bowling.'  Indeed, here's a terrible sense of anxiety and permanence about emptying that Recycle Bin.  It's just so      

I've kept computers since the heady days of the Commodore 64 and I've never, ever experienced this sort of catastrophic failure.  To dispense with any cutesy introductions, my laptop began to crawl just over two weeks ago.  I deleted all of my superfluous email, trashed a bunch of dust-covered programs, cleaned up the disc and then defragged it.  By the time I was finished I had about 23% free memory and things seemed to be clicking along just fine.  I knew I still had a lot of work to do, but at least it was a start.

But then, on the day which will now and forever be know as Black Sunday, my bestest buddy completely froze up.  This had happened before and sometimes the only remedy was to unplug it, pop the battery out, re-assemble everything and then boot back up.  This time, instead being rewarded with  that cheerily familiar Windows start-up chime I got this:

Suddenly it felt as if my entire lower body cavity had become a blender and someone had just put my innards on frappe.  I spent the next hour frantically trying to rectify the problem before giving up and going to bed.

The next day, I found plenty of encouraging guidance via the interwebs.  I tried restarting the thing with my Windows XP start-up disc.  No dice.  I ventured into the BIOS-sphere to specify start-up priority for the CD drive.  Nuttin'.   I tried to duck into the recovery console to do a check disc but I couldn't even bring up the option.

Last Wednesday I was hoping to get together with my board gaming peeps since they're all more compu-savvy then I am.  My attitude towards computers is the same as it is towards cars: I turn the key, the friggin' thing starts up and then it takes me where I wanna go.  There could be a host of bionic hamsters running on treadmills beneath that hood for all I know.

Unfortunately our meeting fell through.  Unwilling to wait another week, I promptly began shopping for a fairly reputable repair outfit.  As soon as I began to ask around only one name came up time and time again: Robotnik in Halifax's totally not historic Bayer's Lake district.

I dropped my dead baby off to them on the morning of St. Paddy's Day and then promptly spent the rest of the afternoon treating the entire downtown core of the city like it was the site of one big massive Irish wake.  After about around my fourth pint of Guinness I started to feel a twinge of drunken optimism.  After all, the guys at Robotnik seemed so nonplussed and casual about my predicament.

As such, I honestly expected two possible scenarios:

(1)  "Hi, Mr. Pretty!  We got your laptop up and running.  I suspect the hard drive's on its last legs, though, so you may want to back everything up immediately and start looking at a new computer."

(2)  "Hi, Mr. Pretty!  Your hard drive is toast but we were able to recover some / most / all of your data.  Feel free to swing by and pick up your flash drive and the corpse whenever it's convenient."

But never in a million nightmares did I ever expect to participate in the following bone-chilling conversation that occurred via phone early on the morning of Monday March 19'th (forever and henceforth known as Black Monday, BTW).

*ring, ring*

ME: (voice trembling in anticipation) He...hello?

ROBOTNIK DUDE: Yes, I was looking to speak to David Pretty.

ME: Yes, speaking.

ROBOTNIK DUDE:  Hi, David, it's __________ calling from Robotnik.  I had a chance to look at your laptop this morning and I'm running into some pretty serious issues.

ME:  (opening desk drawer to retrieve loaded revolver)  Um, okay.

ROBOTNIK DUDE:  Yeah, it looks like we're dealing with some bad RAM slots or a bad memory controller.  At face value I'd say that the entire motherboard needs to be replaced.  We're looking at about six-hundred dollars for parts plus our labor rate, which is twenty-five dollars an hour.  Honestly, you'd be better off just buying a new computer.

ME:  (spinning cylinder of gun)  Right, right.

ROBOTNIK DUDE: I also hooked your laptop up to our data recovery program, but your hard drive just keeps clicking and grinding.  So far it's only recovered about one percent of your files.  Now, although this might be beyond our capabilities here, there's a company in Ontario that can do hard core data retrieval jobs, but they usually charge about a thousand bucks.

ME: (resting barrel of gun to temple)  Uh...huh

ROBOTNIK DUDE:  So, yeah, I'll leave things hooked up here for a bit longer, honestly, it isn't looking too good.  Feel free to drop by any time to pick it up.  Since it's probably gonna be a lost cause, we're only going to charge you the twenty-five dollar assessment fee.

ME: (slowly squeezing trigger)  Yeah, I'd like to give you guys the rest of the day with it if that's okay.  I'll pick it up first thing tomorrow.  

 ROBOTNIK DUDE: No problem.  We'll see you then.

The hang-up click that followed was in perfect synch to the pistol's first hammer fall.  It's a darned good sight that I can't afford bullets right now.

I went out for a walk to clear my head, hoping that a miraculous eleventh hour phone message would be waiting for me by the time I got back.  Alas, this was not to be.

The next morning, while reclaiming the body at Robotnik, I quizzed the cashier about this mysterious Ontario-based company that the other dude had mentioned on the phone a day earlier.  Specifically I wanted to know what additional resources they had which Robotnik didn't posses and I also wanted to get ahold of them to see if I could get a quote done up.

The cashier (who ironically seemed to be wresting with his own crippling computer issues at the time) wasn't quite sure what I was asking about so he disappeared in the back for a bit.

"Yeah, these guys in Ontario physically extract the hard drive in a completely dust-free environment," he informed me upon re-emergence.  "If you're serious about getting a quote, we can do that up for you.  It used to be a lot more expensive, like five thousand bucks but now it's only about six-hundred to a thousand."

He walked over to the shelf and retrieved my dormant laptop, which was resting a clear plastic casket not unlike what airport security uses to house all of your belongings after they've stripped you nekkid and sodomized you with their +1 Wand of Terrorism Detection.

Then, with a mixture of curiosity and horror, I watched as the guy tried to bundle up the power cord and put it on top of the computer.  He kept winding it up so tightly that it unspooled and nearly fell of the counter every time he put it down.  After a third unsuccessfully attempt I felt as if someone was tea bagging the corpse of a loved one right before my eyes so I snatched it away from him.  Eventually he managed to strangle a receipt out of his equally inert computer and I was more then relieved to be on my way.

As I carried my computer out to the car like the mummified husk of Shmi Skywalker, I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of defeat.  Of course I'd backed things up in the past, but, like most people, I hadn't been doing it every day and I certainly wasn't doing it for every thing.  Even now, when I think about what I've lost I start to get a little weepy.  You really don't know the extent of the damage until you go to find something and realize: "Oh, yeah, that particular tidbit of information is now permanently encased within that metal and plastic brick."

And that's the curse of being a "writer", a title which I scarcely have the right to call myself.  When the average person's hard drive fails, often the most painful thing they lose is an illegally obtained season of Glee or Metallica's entire catalog.  But when a writer's computer suddenly dies, it virtually assures that something precious and unique (if not good) is gone forever and it's never coming back, at least not in  precisely the same way.

So, what do I think I've lost?   Well, how 'bout a slew of recent entries for a diary/board game journal that I've maintained since 2008?  How 'bout the first thirty pages of a screenplay?  How 'bout the first f#@%ing chapter of my second novel?

This event has certainly contributed to the growing feeling of despair that's been creeping over me of late.  It's days like this when I almost miss my old hamster-at-a-feed-bar job.  At least there I got a big chunk of kibble every two weeks and my creative works could never be lost, mainly because there was no pesky creativity to speak of.

EPIC:  Despite the mixed messages and occasional awkward moments, I still highly recommend Robotnik for computer issues in the Halifax area.   To continue the automotive analogy, there are tons of  uber-condescending places out there who will have no qualms about ripping off oblivious rubes such as myself.   These guys were nothing but helpful, sympathetic and informative.

"I GOTS ME THE EPIC BROKEN DOWN HARD DRIVE BLUES"  Man, this makes me feel a helluva lot better:          

FAIL:  If I ever see this kid on the street I'm gonna push him down and rip that crows wing of hair off'n his greazy little melon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Hello Fellow (Hopefully) Relatable Humans,

Due to my pathological aversion to the cold I usually get hideously sedentary every winter, resulting in my blood slowly turning into gravy over the course of five months.  With the temps routinely turning north of zero once again, I've been trying to walk as much as possible to try and stave off the chest pains which now seem to accompany every effort to open a jar of pasta sauce.

Unfortunately walking in my neighborhood kinda sucks since I only have three options:

(1) Walk through the ironically-named Fairview.  To be honest, Fairview has improved considerably as of late but pedestrians still routinely risk being turned into a speed bump at the corner of Titus and Dutch Village and/or witnessing the sort of domestic disturbance which necessitates a mandatory court appearance.

(2) Hoof along the Bedford Highway and get black lung from vehicle exhaust and spend what's supposed to be a leisurely and relaxing stroll picking gravel out of your hair and bugs out of your teeth.

(3)  Climb the Mount Doom-like edifice of Lacewood Drive.

I often go with this third option since, if I can achieve the apex, I'm treated to a veritable nirvana of urban blight.  After absorbing some caffeinated ambition and a dash of local color at Tim Horton's (courtesy of the "Sign of Evil Number Forty-Three"-spouting clientele) I can then enjoy a pleasant walk back home by cutting across the glorious flatlands of Dunbrack Street and then basking in the "it's-all-downhill-from-here" glory of Glenforest Drive.

The other day I was puffing my way up Lacewood, just minutes away from my final ascent.  I remember feeling supremely proud of myself since, thus far, I'd managed to resist the temptation to establish base camp half way up summit.  I was in the final stretch when a Honda Civic crested the top of the hill and went airborne for a second or two.  Instantly I assumed that "them Duke Boys" had been hit pretty badly by the economic downturn and had traded the General Lee in something more fuel- conscious.

The rice rocket slalomed down the serpentine twists of Lacewood Drive at an impossible rate, approaching a fellow mountain climber who was trudging head-down about four hundred yards in front of me.  Suddenly I heard a blood-curdling scream come from the car and the poor bastard walking in front of me flinched like a cat hit by a tazer.  He leapt off the sidewalk onto the grass, threw his back pack down and then glared after the speeding car.

Thus warned I steeled myself as the Honda Silly barreled down the hill towards me, it's half-dozen superfluous spoilers now keeping the vehicle glued to the track like an AFX Race Car.   As it drew closer I could see that it was packed with about six or seven J. Crew-clad, ball-cap wearing, date- rapist types who's idea of rebellion was trying to scare the fertilizer out of people already burdened by our then six-week-long Public Transit Strike.

As they approached, the car slowed down incrementally so that the leering, block-headed douche-bag in the passenger seat could lean out the window and do his best Ric Flair impersonation into my face.  Even knowing that it was coming, I still recoiled back a bit from his blatant display of rampant assholery.    

Besides wanting to find the closest rock and huff it through their rear window, I was just left wondering: why?  I would never do anything like that to some poor downtrodden f#@k trying to walk up an incline that blurs the distinction between steep hill and cliff face.    

But then it got me thinking, in the grand scheme of things, there's plenty of things my follow human beings habitually do that I find to be completely baffling.  Here are just a few things that make me indulge in some wanton head-scratchery...

(1) First off, I have no effin' clue how Canadians could ever find this more compelling and scandalous then this.

(2) I have no idea why someone would ever utter such naked hatred on the radio:

Furthermore, I can't rationalize why someone would be sponsored to spray such on-air invectives.  Regardless of how woefully antiquated Rush' rant seems to be, you know that there's an entire army  of dick-heads out there who think that their craziest, most fevered thoughts have somehow been legitimized just "'cuz I heard it on the radio."

Oh, and I also have no clue why someone would chose the music of Peter Gabriel, Rush and Rage Against the Machine to serve as a soundtrack for the proclamations of a drug-addled hate Nazi.  Oh, I know why, it's because they'd be left with nothing but the oeuvre of Tony Keith and Ted Nugent, which, frankly is a fate worst then death.

Speaking of...

(3) I have no clue why you'd risk dain bramage by listening to this shite:

When you could just as easily listen to this:

See what I did there?  See how one thing causes the spirit to soar while the other causes your brain cells to recoil like a hamster from an acetylene torch?

(4)  I have no idea why folks like to hate on gay people:

And I really can't wrap my head around Michelle's stance since her husband is so obviously sporting a case of "Methinks Thou Dost Protest Too Much"-itis:

(5)  I have no idea why you'd watch this movie:

When you can watch ANY OTHER MOVIE ON THE F#@KING PLANET.  Like this one for example:

(6)  I don't understand NASCAR.  Sorry, I just don't.  Maybe if I was a gear-head or lived below the Mason-Dixon line, I'd be more predisposed to it.  But as it stand right now, I just can't see the appeal of corporately-shellacked cars driving around and around in circle for four hours.

I also can't rationalize NASCAR's inexplicable popularity here in Canada, kinda like how I fail to understand hockey's popularity in places without naturally occurring ice.

OooOoooo, wait.  Bad example.

Anyway, as close as I can tell, there's only really one reason to watch NASCAR.  And if George Carlin is right, well then, that's just a tad ghoulish, dontcha think?

(7)  I also have no idea why someone would willingly subject their ears to this:

When infinitely more superior options exist:

Hey, didja notice how one of those had a soul and the other kinda sounded like the musical equivalent of someone under hypnosis?  Hmmmm, interesting.  Very interesting.

(8) And I really struggle to wrap my head around this one:

Or this, as a corollary:

Basically I can summarize my confusion thusly: I don't understand how people can be so convinced that they're right about something and so convinced that everyone else is wrong.

(9)  I have no clue why someone would listen to this shite for "pleasure":

When you have pop artists out there who are still willing to display a modicum of wit and an ear for composition...

(10)  And I don't understand why everyone is so hot and horny to engage in another ruinous war:

Well, everyone except maybe good ole' Ron "Media Cellophane" Paul:

Seriously, can someone please explain this stuff to me!?!  Me am very confused...

EPIC   Face it, frat boys, there's only one dude on the planet who can say "WOOOOOO!!!!" and get away with it in style...

FAIL  Seriously, WTF!?!   (NSFW, BTW)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lemme Check...Yep, Still Evil!

Salutations, Sentinels of Solidarity.

Y'know, I really didn't intend to write something political this week, but, frankly, the duplicitous exploits of our beloved Prime Minister really demands a follow-up blast of vitriol.

Just prior to the last federal election, I tried to warn my fellow citizens about the dangers of a Harper majority.  Some might characterize my efforts as failed but I would respectfully disagree.  In fact, a whopping sixty-one percent of Canadians agreed with me and opted for a choice other then Harper.

Unfortunately this also split the vote to the point where our broken political system let l'il Stevie completely off of his leash.  Over the course of the last eleven months, he's gleefully bombed the beautiful and unique face of our country with a red, white and blue neo-con spray-can.

I wish I could say that we asked for this, but honestly...we didn't ask for this.  

Before I proceed to catalog some of Harper's more charming recent initiatives, I want to state two things for the record:

(1) I've voted Conservative in the past, but it was Progressive Conservative. I would never in million years vote for Harper's band of political thugs since they aren't, nor have they ever been, Progressive Conservative.  I hate to break it to you, folks, but the yahoos currently in charge of our government are just a bunch of re-constituted Alliance/Reform wing-nuts with their serial numbers scratched off.    

(2) I'm doing this, not because I'm some sort of crusading liberal on an agenda, but because I'm worried about what our country is morphing into.  The bad thing about living for over forty years is that time and perspective gives you a bird's eye view on incremental change.  It's alleged that Harper once told a conservative Washington think tank that "You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it."  I was more then willing to write this off as a miss-quote but as the months tick by, I'm beginning to think that this was actually a legitimate boast.    

Frankly, that scares the living bejesus out of me since Canada is already starting to look like a Pod Person from Invasion of the Election Snatchers.  What's even scarier is that we're not even half-way through this horror movie yet.

Here are just a few terrifying things that Harper has overseen or proposed during the first year of his political honeymoon:

(1)  I'm In Yer Internetz, Creepin' Yer Webmalez 

The incredibly invasive "Lawful Access" internet spy bill was hastily re-christened the "Protecting Children Against Internet Predators Act", presumably to fool over-worked and distracted soccer moms into thinking that the bill has nothing to do with a Conservative fetish for peeking up our virtual skirts.

And, yes, I think it's despicable that a Liberal party researcher hacked into the personal records of Vic Toews and Tweeted a slew of his personal details all over the internet.  But a large part of me is also thinking: Hey, Vic, how 'bout a little sauce for your goose?

Oh, and for everyone out there who doesn't think that the government would have any vested interest in your innocuous email and browsing history consider that Harper was the dude who banned a young woman from one of his political rallies just because of a photo with her and then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on Facebook.

As I've said time and time before, kids, if the Kool-Aid tastes funny, don't friggin' drink it.

(2) On Today's Complimentary Brunch Menu: Egg On Our Face   Remember back in the day when the word "Conservative" actually applied to fiscal responsibility?  No?  Yeah, neither do I.

In October of 2011 Harper dropped $112,000.00 worth of taxpayer money on a three-day Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development seminar.  This also included a $22,000.00 "Hospitality Tab" for six of the delegates, which I can only imagine translated into pillow mints and free cable pron.

One of the topics for discussion: how to optimize major cuts to government spending.  Which, to me, is kinda like digging a trench for cover from machine gun fire and then diverting a piranha-filled Amazon tributary through it.

P.S. This ridiculous price tag doesn't include the exorbitant fee that the government also paid for consulting firm Deloitte Inc to come up with a Powerpoint presentation explaining step-by-step on how to implement these cuts.

And then there's this glossed-over l'il number concerning $50 million dollars in questionable G8 spending which broke just prior to the election...

Honestly, it's as if Harper's throwing constant scandals at us in the hope that we become desensitized and just don't give a shit anymore.  

(3) Sighence Iz Fer Nurds  A scientist discovers a virus that's annihilating British Columbia's precious sockeye salmon stocks.  Another atmospheric expert discovers a massive gap in the ozone layer right above the Arctic.  Both of them are told to keep their big-word sayin' mouths shut by Harper's Conservatives who apparently don't want you to hear about any bad news that happens during their BLISS THROUGH IGNORANCE watch.

Not to mention that Harper appointed Gary Goodyear, a guy that doesn't even believe in evolution, as Canada's Minister of Science.

As Mark Critch (as Rex Murphy) stated succinctly on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, "Having a creationist science minister is like having Gandhi as our Minister of Defense." 

Sweet Jezum Crow.

He also remains frustratingly myopic when it comes to the subject of medical marijuana usage.

(4) Why Feed A Pit Bull that Wants Us Dead?  News broke last Fall that Conservative MP's had begun to circulate a petition asking that the funding be cut for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  I certainly understand why Harper would consider the CBC to be a thorn in his side since it's one of the last reasonably impartial major news outlets to broadcast stories like this:


Frankly, if the CBC ever gets privatized, we'd better get used to seeing shameful Pearl Harbor-style ambush interviews on Canadian television, like this particularly nauseating example courtesy of "Fox News North"-wannabe Sun T.V.:

(5) "Circumvent The Public Trust, Deceive The Innocent, Defy The Electorate Law"(Best Read in Creepy Robocop Voice)

Elections Canada is currently investigating a slew of complaints about fraudulent calls made to voters in Guelph Ontario during the 2011 campaign.  When the story broke, similar complaints began to surface all across the country.  It wasn't long before the Conservative Party lost it's first sacrificial lamb when junior staffer Mike Sona resigned under a cloud of secrecy.

The most amount of voter complaints in any one previous election has been around fourteen hundred.  This past election has accumulated thirty-one thousand at last count.  We don't know the exact details of the entire story but what we do know is that the Tories procured the location of every voting station in Canada just prior to the election.  They also contacted voters and told them how to get there, despite a warning from Elections Canada that they were wading into murky ethical waters.       

To make matters worse, there's clear evidence that the Conservative Party made significant payments to RackNine Inc. (the company that performed the so-called robo-calls), but didn't declare these expenses to Elections Canada, as required by law.  In a move equivalent to a ninja throwing a smoke grenade, the Tories then attempted to throw the allegations back at the Liberals, but their accusation quickly proved baseless.

Now, as North Americans we get to be all high and mighty about the sanctity of our democracy based on how scrupulous our election process is.  Ergo, if there's even one conclusive example of Harper and company trying to win this last election via subterfuge, we really have to insist that he step aside and face the music.

In doing this blog I've come across at least four other things that royally ticked me off, but, honestly, why go on?  Every day on Facebook I see people get pissed off about how Jason left Melissa for Molly on The Bachelor or that Shannon used Hardy's toothbrush to clean a toilet on Big Brother.

Why can't we summon just a modicum of this rage and indignation when it comes to something that actually has an impact on our own reality?  Something that's clearly an assault on our lives and freedoms and the future we leave for our kids?

Seriously, it's time that we put away partisan politics.  No more Liberals.  No more Conservatives.  It's time that we join a new political trend: Commonsenseism .

It's time to get mad, folks.  It's time to put an end to complacency. 

EPIC:   For those among you who have no memory of Harper's origins, here's a fantastic site with all of his  greatest misses

EPIC RANT:  Sean Devlin, founder of, drops some science at a Vancouver rally against voter suppression.  He nicely embodies the righteous indignation that we should all be feeling right about now...

FAIL:  IMHO, Harper's worst offense is still the jackboot trampling of civil rights of peaceful protestors during the G-20 Summit in 2010.  Honestly, does anyone out there recognize their own country in this clip?  I sure as hell don't.