Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cat on a Soft Box Roof

I had the weirdest dream last night. I don't remember much of it, but I remember I was down in the finished basement of some suburban home. One room was kind of set aside for ping pong and that kind of stuff, and in there, one of cats, who had in the dream recently begun making herself almost passably understood in English, had begun unfolding the big boxes used for moving and was building a kind of fort with the unfolded boxes for walls. She wanted us (me, her, and my other cat) to play inside it; a big round area inside the ping-pong room. My mother was in the dream and she couldn't see how amazing it all was... she thought it was just messy nonsense. Well, that's my mom for you. :)

It was really strange. It was surprising how persuasive it was. I woke up feeling really disappointed when I realized it was, of course, absurd... and that I wouldn't be able to converse with my cat in reality. I hate when I get sucked in by dreams that deeply.

Lead a Horticulture: Attacking Iran


Long shot by camera placed up in audience showing two men seated
on swivel chairs with a small table between them.

Tonight's guest is U.S. State
Department representative Chuck
Galeforce. And now here's your host,
Fabian Fricative.

Cut to stage-level view of Fricative, who is playing with a pencil
à la David Letterman.

Good evening, and welcome to LEAD A
HORTICULTURE. Tonight's guest—

I just said that.

Oh, sorry. So, Mr. Galeforce,
you're here tonight to tell us your
department's views on relations
with Iran.

Cut to wider view showing both men.

Yeah, we're probably going to bomb

...That's it?

Pretty much, yeah.

Don't you think some attempt at
diplomacy ought to be tried first.

Tried it; didn't work.

When? When was it tried?

Mr. Fricative, you and every other
intelligent viewer knows that the
US has been trying for generations
to engage Iran in a dialog. And
we've been rebuffed every time.

Well, actually, we don't know
that. Iran has been diplomatically
isolated by the United States for
thirty years, and every indication
is the US refuses to sit down and
discuss matters with Iran unless Iran
agrees in advance to accede to the
US positions on those matters.

Well, yeah, of course. We're not
going to enter into discussions
with people who aren't going to

But don't discussions imply at
least the possibility of compromise
on both sides?

Man, what planet are you living on?

One I hope not to see incinerated
out from under us all in the next
few years. But be that as it
may... what actually are the issues the
US has with Iran?

Weapons of mass destruction.


That we're the only ones allowed to
have them.

Allowed? By...?

Us! Who else?

So your position is to insist that
Iran is building nuclear weapons,
despite the fact that it has opened
its processes up to international inspection,
despite the fact that it has the
right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty to non-military use of
nuclear technology...?

That's all gobbledy-gook. Do you
want to see a mushroom cloud over
New York, or London?

Or Tehran?

That's different.

Mr. Galeforce, I think most people
remain unconvinced that Iran is out
to build nuclear weapons. But
given that its neighbour Israel is
permitted, if I may use the word,
to maintain something like 200 of
them itself, and given that the
United States has now repeatedly
suggested it may exercise
preemptive use of nuclear weapons
against Iran, could anyone blame them
if they did have such plans?

You're obsessing. I've responded
to this.

Fine. What other issues do you
have with Iran?

Democracy. There's a democratic
deficit in Iran. The place is run
by evil men who don't even let
women vote.

They do, in fact. Women do vote in

No, they don't.

Yes, I'm afraid they do. On the
other hand, our erstwhile ally,
Saudi Arabia--

Leave Saudi Arabia out of this.
This isn't about Saudi Arabia.

But if we're claiming a "democratic
deficit" is an impetus to attack a
sovereign nation--

It always comes down to picking on
Saudi Arabia, doesn't it? Why are
you people so anti-Semitic?

Excuse me?

Look, does it really matter? We've
determined that Iran is evil, and
that's that.

It's just that I think most people
expect some sort of cogent,
compelling reason when they're
being asked to commit their
country, their economy, and the
lives of their young people to war.

A reason? Look, we're the United
States; we don't-- okay, fine.

GALEFORCE leans forward and looks directly into the camera.
Kids, Iran killed Santa. They shot
a missile at him and blew him right
out of the sky. And Rudolph, too.
Because Iran is bad, there'll never
be any Christmas ever again,

GALEFORCE sits back.
There, you happy now?

Ecstatic. I'd like to thank Chuck
Galeforce for coming on the show
tonight. Next week's guest will be
Iggy Jinglebells, the elf in charge
of maintaining Santa's "Naughty and
Nice List". Be here next week and
see who's really got the goods.
Good night, and good luck.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Subprime Response

Subprime Response
US Federal Reserve meets crisis by injecting eight trillion tons of bullshit into US economy

WASHED-UP-INGTON — The deepening subprime lending crisis, up till now characterized by US President George W. Bush as "a great opportunity to build hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place", has finally been recognized by saner members of his administration for the unfolding economic disaster that the rest of humanity knows it to be. As a result, the United States Federal Reserve Board has decided to take action in the form of issuing eight trillion tons of bullshit for domestic and foreign consumption.

Assistant Secretary to the Treasury Willy Schitcha held a press conference this morning, at which he spun the administration's latest presentations. "Okay, get a load of this one," he said. "Foreclosure: a wonderful chance for your children to get to know their grandparents! Hmm? Related to that, we have: Nostalgic? Move back into your parents' basement!"

Schitcha's presentation represents a sea-change in federal policy. Up until now, the policy has been to deny that the US, and potentially the rest of the world, is heading into a recession, or worse, as a result of American banks lending trillions of bucks to people without two cents to rub together, backed by lunatics in Europe and Asia who supposedly knew something about how money actually works, but turn out not to have. The inevitable defaults seem to have caught everyone by surprise (for "everyone" read: greedy, stupid financiers with more money than brains). Now that the trend has become undeniably clear to anyone who isn't brain-dead (and even to Republican voters as well), the administration is attempting to persuade the public that the downturn is a positive thing.

"Obviously we don't want to do anything about the economy itself," Schitcha said following his presentation. "I mean, nobody's actually done anything about the economy since, oh, the Eisenhower Administration. Attempting to remedy problems in the economy almost always ends up costing rich people some of their money; and let's be honest... in a plutocracy like ours, that just isn't going to happen. ...Except, you know, to the handful of banking VPs we'll ultimately hang this on who'll wind up spending a few months in Club Fed. We have to throw the public a bone so they don't draw real blood, after all."

When Schitcha's remarks were repeated to the president, he advised potential defendants who might be incarcerated to "not pay the $50 to get out of jail... just roll doubles, it's cheaper."

Feds reject handgun ban

Feds reject handgun ban
Tory insanity to continue to govern policy

Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day has rejected a call from Toronto mayor David Miller for a total ban on handguns in Canada, as well as a similar request from Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley.

When reached for comment in Ottawa, departmental spokesperson Beverley Pickles tied the minister’s stand to his previous calls for habeas corpus to be suspended in some circumstances, as it now frequently is in the United States. “Well, when some miscreant blows you and your whole family away with an illegal handgun, don’t you want us to be able to do something about it without all kinds of constitutional rights getting in the way? Honestly, there’s no pleasing you people.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Old Finch Avenue Bailey Bridge

Last Friday was Good Friday. It was a holiday. I was kind of at loose ends so I decided to go on GoogleMaps and browse around and set myself an interesting photographic assignment for the day.

I settled on a place I hadn’t been before (at least, I don’t remember having been before): the Bailey bridge that carries Old Finch Avenue across the Rouge River. I actually had to cross it before I could shoot it. It’s a single-lane span and there was a light just before it that controlled access to it. I had to wait for a bit before I could cross.

There’s a lot for parking in just the other side of the river. I parked there; the lot was wet and muddy. It’s been a very snowy winter here and it still shows. I followed a short path down to the river to shoot the bridge from below. I was surprised just how busy the bridge is. I’d say cars went across it about once a minute on average.

The wonders of a bridge

IR Bridge over the Rouge

One lane Finch Ave. bridge over the Rouge River

IR One lane Old Finch Ave. bridge over the Rouge

When I’d been looking around on GoogleMaps, I’d also noticed another span further downstream. I wanted to see if I could get a look at it. Doing so involved easing down some rather treacherous stone stairs and following a snowy, shoe-filling trail as far down the river as I could get, which was, as it turned out, as far as I needed to go to glimpse the bridge. I was between the water and the cliffside; I couldn’t go any further. In warmer weather, it would have been no obstacle. I would have forded the river and made my way to the bridge. Not in weather like this, of course. But I really do intend to go back this spring or summer and do just that. Stay tuned. :)

Stairs in winter

A bend in the Rouge

Heading home, I had to cross the bridge again going the other way. I happened to glimpse a raccoon using the bridge to cross. He wandered to the side and tucked himself under the bridge as I approached. I really wish I'd been manning a camera... such a wonderful opportunity squandered.

Sadness from joy

I must have had bad dreams last night but I don't remember them. This morning I find myself in a strange state of pre-mourning, if you understand what a mean. A sense of impending loss that isn't even based on anything except the knowledge that, if I live long enough, people I care about will pass from my life. In particular, the feeling is focused around my Dad and one of my cats, Bonnie. My Dad's in his mid-60s and he's smoking again, though I don't think quite as much as he used to. Bonnie will be turning 10 this summer — at least according to the paperwork I have on her — and while she seems to be in really good health, I remember that my last cat passed away at only 13. That doesn't mean Bonnie will, but it's still a number that seems terribly, terribly near.

I wish it were possible for me to live in the moment and just enjoy what I have, but I can't. It's hard even to fully enjoy the time I spend with others because I know it's finite. You might say that would make it all the more special, and it does. But always, there's the knowledge it will be painfully taken from me one day, irrevocably. There is always the sense of mourning.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good heart or stupid head?

I was thinking kind of crazy on the way home today. For the last couple of nights, I've had occasion to stop at a local supermarket, and both times a poster on the bulletin board by the exit caught my eye. It told the tale of a seven-year-old tortie cat -- I think her name was Becky but I'm not sure -- who had to be given up by her family because someone had developed an allergy. The poster made it sound very dire; she was in desperate need of a new home...

It's been kind of haunting me.

I have two cats. One is, in fact, a tortie, and she's the love of my life. Maybe that sounds kind of pathetic, but that's how it it. She, too, once had a home and lost it (as did my other cat). So the thought of this other cat losing her home... and who knows what else... it was heartbreaking. So on the way home, I decided to stop in and get the number. At least find out if "Becky" had a new home yet. Though I knew, deep down, if I called and no one had taken her yet, morally I was essentially committing myself. My big worry was how my own tortie, Bonnie, would react. I didn't want to hurt her. But she adapted well and quickly when Max joined us.

When I got there, the poster was taken down. I can only take this to mean that someone has spoken up for "Becky". Hardhships... the family losing her, her losing her family. But at least someone new to love and care for her. And I feel a little better knowing that I was ready to step up to the plate and do what had to be done.

Good luck, little one, in your new home.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jack and the Witch -- Little Devil


This came to me in email today from a friend utterly amazed that Alberta has, yet again, elected a Tory majority government...

Maybe local politics in Alberta go a long way to explaining the current crop of Conservatives in Ottawa. They can't help but govern as a majority, invincible and all powerful. I'm particularly seething that Harper has the nerve after running all those personel attack ads on Stephan Dion (for no reason, no election campaign), then threatens to sue the Liberal Party for catching them out on an old scandal. This is government by intimidation. We can crush you, but you daren't resist us. Only thirty or forty years of experience provincially can explain such arrogance.