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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Finally, a story that ends well

The boys discovered this dog on Daniel's porch yesterday afternoon. Predictably, they were thrilled, and spent the entire afternoon playing with him.

He followed Michael home. When I got back from work, it was dark and the dog was curled up in front of our door.

Michael was in tears and wanted to adopt him. He did not have a collar, but he seemed like a very nice dog. Still, I was sure that he lived in the neighbourhood. It would be wrong to take him. Besides, Michael is allergic to dogs. Besides, we don't have room for a dog. Besides, I don't want a dog.

A few hours later, he was still on our porch. I started to feel really guilty, but was still hopeful that he would make his way home. We tied a note around his body with pantyhose: "My name is Michael. I love your dog. Please call and let me know he is safe." Then we sent a photo and a note to the SPCA's Lost and Found e-mail list.

The dog greeted us this morning. He was hungry. I felt incredibly guilty as he licked his lips pointedly.

I did not want to feed him. I wanted him to find his owner. As I walked away from the house, I told the dog to go home.

About half a dozen people on the SPCA list recognised the dog. His frantic owner called in tears at 9:30. His name is Hunter. They are new to Name of Town Withheld and he is not used to being in town. He ran away two days ago and she hadn't seen him since.

I told her I thought he was still on my porch and she could come by and pick him up.

Of course, he wasn't here. He had done what I'd told him to do, except that he hadn't gone home, he'd wandered off in a random direction. She started to search the neighbourhood. I felt guiltiest of all for not tying him up or putting him inside. Or calling the pound or bylaw. Or waiting at home to see if anyone would respond to my message.

She came by my office at noon with a photo. She was distraught and hugged me several times. I, being an emotional person, cried.

When Steve got home from work, there was a message on our answering machine from someone who'd seen our note in the pantyhose. This person lives across town and hadn't hung onto the dog, but had seen him in the area.

I called the owner and told her where to look. She called back in tears and said that she had the dog on her lap.

It's good that SOME things can end well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where is my beheading knife?

I don't usually do this, but I couldn't just sit there and read this garbage. I needed to take action, and I'm pretty sure that beheading is illegal.

I didn't even mark all of the errors. I had to stop because my marker started to dry out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

“Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land — boundary that we have with — Canada."

Reader-submitted question: Your head didn't explode while typing that???

Well, it turns out that I am not particularly good at impersonating Sarah Palin. I have silly rules about sentences. For example, they should have endings. Also, those endings should relate to the way the sentences began. Also, each sentence should relate to the whole in some way. It was hard enough to write run-on sentences that didn't say anything. I can't write run-on non-sentences that don't say anything.

Ms. Palin has an unfortunate tendency to speak in total gibberish, to answer a question about foreign policy by speaking about trade missions and then suddenly veering into God only knows what about Putin rearing his head into Alaskan airspace and then into sending goodness only knows what out to keep an eye on Russia. It is hard to watch. I am having trouble believing that she is actually a governor. Governors should be able to do TV interviews about national issues that relate to their states.

This gets into something that a few readers have been discussing: Ms. Palin's need for media training. I can't believe that she's never had this; it should have been one of the first things she did when elected at the state level and again when chosen as John McCain's running mate. Media training can be done in a few hours and teaches people to give news interviews, especially TV interviews. She's a former TV journalist. She must have botched the training terribly; this is the only explanation for the way they've been hiding her from the press.

Normal people do not speak in complete sentences. Ideas come out half-formed when you haven't thought about what you're going to say. When I was in journalism school, one of our professors told us about a politician who was furious with the local rag: he claimed the editors constantly misquoted him to make him look stupid. As payback, the paper's editors decided to leave all of his quotes exactly as they came out of his mouth. (Ha!) Media training helps people to avoid that sort of embarrassment.

Although journalists chafe at the idea of media training -- just another way to keep the public from learning the truth! -- it actually helps them to get better stories. A person who understands how interviews work will be more comfortable. A person who has thought about what he wants to say will explain his ideas more coherently. A person who has practised answers to follow-up questions will appear to have thought the issues through and made decisions based on facts instead of slogans. This is better for everyone. At this point, I want Katie Couric to be the vice-presidential nominee. I'm pretty sure she knows more about foreign policy than Ms. Palin does.

Ms. Palin's handlers should be fired. It looks like she had no idea what the questions would be. There's no excuse for that. I'm not saying that the interviewer should be providing a list of questions -- far from it -- but the campaign should have anticipated every single one of the questions Ms. Couric asked the other day. They should have done mock interviews with her so she would be able to think about what her responses would be.

Maybe they did this. In that case, SHE should be fired.

Only an idiot does an interview without preparing for it. This is the surest way to end up saying things like "I'll try to find some examples and I'll bring 'em to ya."

It's hard to watch, because I've seen so many governors excel in national interviews. I expect much more from governors and Canadian premiers. Our own premier routinely does national interviews and does very well. Like Ms. Palin, he is new to the job and comes from a small town. Even here in Name of Town Withheld, everyone calls him by his first name. Without a doubt, he would be completely over his head if suddenly tapped as deputy leader of one of our national parties, but I think he would do better than this in his interviews. Heck, *I* could do better than this.

I do have some sympathy for her. There's really no way out of these questions about her supposed experience in foreign policy except to laugh off the earlier interview as a bad case of nerves. Gaffes are normal and everyone makes them. The important thing is to understand that they were mistakes, not the standard for future answers. This point appears to have been lost on her handlers.

One of my friends has suggested that Ms. Palin memorised a bunch of answers and then forgot which questions they were supposed to go with. This may be the best explanation I've heard yet.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Show me where I have ever said that"

Reader-submitted question: Why try soooo hard to belittle Sarah Palin?

You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

Oh, it was?

Yes, that is something that I have said, or written, here on my blog on the Internet, that I write and that other people read also on their computers or on their personal, you know, reading devices. And that is something that I believe the American people also believe and I would hope that that would be the case, because as we all can agree, it is essential that people be allowed to, um, write on the Internet and be able to feel that they can actually say the things they believe and feel that freedom. Freedom of speech is so important to me and to John McCain. It is one of our biggest concerns and one of the things that really makes us different from our opponent. I have the readiness and the confidence to take on this challenge and ensure freedom for our country. I would never want people to, you know, think that they can't write on the Internet, and that is why I am out here working so hard to reach across the aisle. I have a long history of working with other people. That's the only way we get stuff done. Ultimately, what blogging does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to shore up our economy and ensure success in Iraq.

Now, I would not want you to think that I would, you know, say that anyone should be able to say ANYTHING on the Internet. That has to be considered also. I have been out there taking on the good old boys and working hard for the American people. And that is because we cannot have any hesitation at all when it comes to our freedoms. There are people out there. Bad people who would seek to destroy us and who have nucular weapons. They are not the good guys. They are the sort of people who with the terror and the hatred and want to destroy Israel, which is our friend and ally and I support them one hundred percent. And those people don't have the freedoms we have to write on the Internet. They hate us for our freedoms. And that is why John McCain and I feel so strongly about this.

But regardless of whether people should be writing on the Internet or should not be writing on the Internet, whether it is part of an overall trend of people writing more or writing less, and that may be what we are seeing, the fact remains that it is something that I have said. And let me be very clear about that.

Thanks for your question, and God bless America.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Big words for a one-eyed man

Reader-submitted: Most comic book fans loathe the Hoff's version of their favourite super spy. I confess I'm not sure I saw it when it came out. I might have watched 15 minutes and changed channels before hurting the TV set. But I figured this would be your cup of tea. The Hoff, an eye patch, spy action....

You're kidding.

This cinematic masterpiece is coming to DVD?

And I am living in the frickin' Arctic, far from the nearest Best Buy?

This cannot be happening. It cannot be happening.

I just rocked back and forth in the fetal position for fifteen minutes, and when I opened my eyes again, the news story was still there. Apparently it is true.

I am not sure how I am going to get through this alone. I definitely need to sign up for some sort of supportive counselling. Just knowing that David will be sweating through his shirts on some other woman's television fills me with a jealous rage. He should be breaching MY protocols and inciting ME to mutiny.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"It -- it -- it's funny that a comment like that was -- kind of made to -- cari -- mm -- I don't know, you know? Reporters!"

I think my brain just exploded.

Time cast a spell on you

Reader-submitted complaint: Glen is handsome, but not handsome enough to be in our family.

Not handsome enough to join this group?

(Hey, how did the Capitalist get out of being in this photo? Was there some sort of junior-high seminar on emerging markets? I don't remember the day this picture was taken. It's labelled Reunion '87, but this is clearly the early nineties.)

It's sort of funny, because I think that sometimes Glen looks a bit like someone else.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh, man

This is not happening. It's not happening.

Someone tell me this isn't real. Anyone?

I actually feel sick about this. It is like watching those inept 22-year-olds who show up at the office in May with their English degrees, convinced they can take over the CEO's job.

Bringing hope to Ottawa

A reader has just alerted me to these fan-tabulous T-shirts available for purchase here. She says that stupid Americans have been stopping her on the street, confused because they do not know that Canada has a prime minister.

I just have to figure out which one to get. Our current member of parliament is with the New Democratic Party:
I'm not really a New Democrat, though. Our last MP was a Liberal:
I confess that I like that one. It just looks right.

Although I fear reprisals from the Forces Of Evil for revealing this, I think that the most qualified candidate in this territory is the Conservative. And I like this one:
The Green Obama looks weird. I'm pretty sure I've seen an oil company's logo that looked like this:
And because this is Canada, even the separatists have their own Obama:

I ain't gonna miss you when you go

Reader-submitted: Please tell me you have the energy and interest to reply to this lovely story.

This is hilarious. PETA has asked a major ice-cream manufacturer to stop using cow's milk in its recipes. The group would like to replace it with human milk.

You see, cow's milk has been linked to lots of bad things, like allergies and obesity. How nice of PETA to have our health in mind!

But wait! There's more!

You see, the current system of getting cow's milk is cruel. They are forcefully impregnated. Violated! Don't you see? Forcing cows to produce 10 times as much milk as they normally would is just sick. Paying HUMANS to produce an even larger amount of milk, on the other hand, is totally normal. Much more normal than, say, cutting back on ice cream or switching to soy.

PETA disgusts me for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the fact that they have no shame about objectifying women through their advertising:

I've probably just lost about half of my readers to the anti-cruelty quiz.

No matter what the anti-sealing weirdos think, I am not in favour of cruelty to animals. However, I cannot get on board with any campaign that protests the shocking degradation of animals by degrading humans in a shocking way. When we all understand that PETA will do just about anything to get money out of our pockets, we will all be much better off.

Thanks for your question.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


You all know me. At least I think you do.

The people in my family look very similar, but I've always thought that I look most like the Philosopher King, seen here with the Blueberry Princess.

(No, I apparently do not have any photos of the Philosopher King in which he does not either look plastered or like the homeless guys who poke through your trash. You may read whatever you like into this.)

So I was more than a little startled this weekend when I discovered that I look even more like someone else.
This is my friend Glen. We have often joked that we feel a certain kinship (he calls me The Little Sister), but this is just weird. He actually looks more like my brother than any of my brothers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Congratulations, Sally

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back in a bit

I am going out of town to visit the Capitalist and some friends. See you Monday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help Wanted

Reader-submitted item: I hope you will investigate this video. If it's not a gag, it would make a great addition to your PETA file.


That's, uh...


I want to say that this has to be a joke, because it's so incredibly stupid. However, there is apparently an incredible number of people who are stupid, so this would appear to fit. It also matches my personal experience with weirdo environmentalists and freaky religious fundamentalists (they're really the same at their roots).

I am hesitant to say that it has to be real for those reasons, though. That drum looks like it could be made out of wood, which, the last time I checked, comes from trees. And the opening shot looks like a matte painting to me. Now, neither of these things mean that the footage is not real. They could just be hypocrites with a love for the visual arts, although I'm guessing they don't paint on paper.

Can anyone help here? Are you familiar with these people who apparently cry for trees but not for the human beings who are dying in wars and famines? Wikipedia has a page on them, but I have never heard of this group.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please keep my name out of this

Reader-submitted question: why won't people go on-the-record?

Uh, maybe because you tell them they don't have to?

Journalists are supposed to be above all of the backbiting and anonymous sniping that happens on the Internet, but apparently you guys aren't. You're so desperate for quotes that you're covering for any idiot who wants to say any stupid thing.

I usually think this is funny, but I'm laughing AT you, not with you. The best part is that some of you work for news organisations that insist on reporting the reason the person should be anonymous. These are usually hilarious. From today's Washington Post:

An announcement of the deal to buy all or part of those businesses will be announced as early as Tuesday afternoon, the person said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because a final agreement had yet to be reached. Someone needs to explain to me how granting this person anonymity changes the deal. Or why the reporter couldn't just hold the story a few hours until someone was willing to speak on the record.

"We seem to be at a dead end," said a senior official with the United Nations in a telephone briefing for journalists. The official discussed the International Atomic Energy Agency's report on the condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivities involved. I'm sure that doing it this way was MUCH more diplomatically sensitive.

The Hamas officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the clash was ongoing and its details had not been officially cleared for publication. I can't tell what this means. Is it code for "we don't actually know if this is true"?

Other diplomats, who demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to comment on the closed meeting's details, described the information as credible but unverified. This quote could be the definition of "credible but unverified".

Anonymous potshots are not in the public interest, but they will continue as long as you allow them to. Think of it this way: Wouldn't you love to be able to criticise people without taking any responsibility for the things you say? These explanations about why people have to be protected are ridiculous. They're obviously stuffed into stories to cover your own butt with your editor or to make yourself look like an awesome reporter. We are not impressed by anonymous sources. We think you're lazy.

I know that reporters tend to think that anyone who speaks off the record is a courageous soul and a Friend Of The Media. You guys have been duped. These people are using you for their own purposes. Even Deep Throat had motives that weren't as pure as you hoped.

If I don't know who's speaking, I have no way to evaluate his or her information. Your readers deserve much more than you're giving them.

Thanks for your question.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Apparently I'm an arm of the mainstream media

Reader-submitted question: Why are you so afraid of Sarah Palin?


Sorry, I have to catch my breath.


Afraid? Are you kidding me? You have to be on the wrong blog.

I'm not afraid of her. I think she's pathetic. A ludicrous pick. Seriously, this has to be a joke. The real choice for VP has to be someone qualified. Harriet Miers is probably waiting for all of this to settle down before she reveals herself.

I couldn't possibly be afraid of Ms. Palin. I don't know very much about her. I'm sure I actually agree with her on some issues. It's just awfully hard to figure out what those might be. She tells lies that anyone can disprove with a Google search. When she's not lying about her record, she's pretending to be tough and determined. It's a total joke. I can think of another American leader who's desperate to make everyone believe that decisions should be made without much thought because they are directed by God. Actually, the last time I checked, this was the same thing several other world leaders were claiming.

I don't think this question was actually directed at me. It couldn't reasonably be. I think it comes from the fact that Ms. Palin is getting a lot of attention in the media. This is because reporters are doing their jobs (well, some of them are). Nobody knows who she is, because she has exactly zero experience at the national level. None of us have ever heard of her. The only thing we know is that she consistently lies about her record and is the queen of pork. (Heh, lipstick on a pig! OK, that was probably inappropriate.)

It's the media's job to ask questions about her background and find out what she actually believes. She's making this more difficult by refusing to answer their questions. I have to admit that I find this really, really strange. It's certainly not John McCain's style, or at least it WASN'T his style as a senator. But she's getting the headlines because everyone else in this race has been scrutinised for years.

To a lesser extent, this is the reason Mr. Obama got headlines over Ms. Clinton. She's been on the national stage for 16 years; he's only been there for four. Clinton supporters complained about this, but the fact is that a year ago we all knew much more about her than we did about him.

Ms. Palin is going through the same thing right now. We don't know anything about her, so she's in the news. As time goes by, we'll learn more about her and the focus will shift back to Mr. McCain.

I'm going to turn this question around. YOU tell ME what you like about her. Which of her unstated policies do you like, and how did you figure them out? How is she different from the guy you want to throw out? What do you actually know about her that makes you support her?

Sure, I have a ton of respect for her personally as a mother, and in some ways she reminds me of myself. That's the entire problem. I want someone smarter and more experienced than myself in the White House. That's sort of how we all got into this mess, isn't it?


Reader-submitted question: Have you seen this?


I paused my Big Love DVD Saturday night (fundamentalist Mormon porn!) (not really) so I could watch the first half of SNL. I am not generally a fan of the show when athletes host, but I knew I wanted to watch the opening sketch and Weekend Update.

And yes, I've also seen this:

This is the sort of thing that shouldn't be left to late-night comedians. Actual reporters should be digging out these clips. Don't they remember doing these interviews in the first place?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How cavalier we used to be

Reader-submitted complaint: There's too much American politics on this blog.

OK. I'll address a pressing Canadian issue.

Not to criticise one of our treasured Canadian cultural artists on a treasured Canadian cultural program, but it sure seems like Jacob Hoggard doesn't have enough breath control to sing this song.

He's always been a gasper, but this is much more extreme than usual.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Things I learned from Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin (Part Two)

Earmarks are bad. They are an embarrassment. Except when they're in Ms. Palin's state or community. It's not bad to try to get money for your region! And not everybody in Alaska supported that bridge, anyway. It was much too expensive. Thank goodness the money didn't have to leave Alaska!

It's not flip-flopping when you pull your support for a project after you find out that you can't get federal funding for it. What good would it do to support it then? Just lie to the public: Say you killed the project and move on with the money.

Government spending should be done in the light of day, not behind closed doors. That's why lobbyists are very, very bad. Except when they're working for Wasilla. Then it's just reasonable to hire them instead of constantly flying to Washington to lobby Congress directly. (WTF?)

She does not have allegiances to lobbyists. Only the ones she paid.

Senator Obama has voted for tax increases or against tax cuts 94 times. I want to say something about this. A year or so ago, I watched a TV interview with my favourite American politician, John McCain. You may remember him as the person I wanted to be president. (That's how I choose to remember him, anyway.) He was railing against a television ad that was accusing some politician of voting against something. I don't remember the details, but what he said really stuck with me. He said that all of these attacks on politicians about voting records are suspect. He pointed out that bills in the Senate can have any number of unrelated things attached to them. So a vote for military spending can also be a vote for something that sounds ridiculous, like seaweed control. And a vote against a tax break can also be a vote against something nobody wants, like allowing untreated pedophiles to open daycares. He said that he could personally be accused of voting against any number of bills that would have done something he really wanted, but were also loaded down with pork. The point was that we should never make a voting decision based on a snappy quote about what the person had voted for or against. I think about that interview whenever I see an ad about a politician's voting record. I think about it a lot these days.

Not Photoshopped

Steve's balloons are always a big hit in Name of Town Withheld.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Checking facts

"Alaska is close to Russia."

Yes, that's true. Let's look at the map.

My northern readers are used to seeing maps like this, but my other readers probably aren't. Name of Town Withheld is in the red part on the left. Alaska's in blue, near the top. The yellow just to the right of it is part of Russia.

Moscow is the country's capital city. You can see it on this map. In the bottom right corner. It's in Europe.

If a person from Maine told me that he knows all about Ulukhaktok, NWT because he lives right next to Canada, I would laugh in his face. Actually, it looks like Maine might be closer to Moscow than Juneau is. Senator Collins is looking better all the time.

Things I learned from Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin (Part One)

Pit bulls with lipstick need to be shown deference. They should not be challenged on their statements. That's why they only give interviews to People Magazine.

It is totally sexist to expect women to be able to answer the same questions that would be posed to men. Also, women should be promoted to positions of authority even if they are not qualified. That'll really show those affirmative-action lefties.

The best way to prove your strength under fire is to only take part in highly scripted events.

Apparently there are extreme Islamic terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying America. Or something like that. It may have come up a few times.

Stopping to think about job offers would be proof that you do not care about the troops. It must be a lickety-split decision made in the blink of an eye. Even if it's a ridiculous idea.

She is TOTALLY ready to be president, even though she's not even ready for this interview. This isn't politics as usual! Americans don't WANT someone who's qualified!

We gotta keep an eye on Russia. And guess what? You can SEE Russia from Alaska!

Something called "nuke-you-lar" weapons are really dangerous. We can't second-guess our friends like Israel. This is clearly written in a briefing note somewhere, because she repeated it several times. I presume this means that nobody should second-guess her, either.

Cutting down on pollution is urgent. This point is best made while standing next to a gas pipeline and insisting on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Yeah, THIS is a great plan.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In the stillness of remembering what you had and what you lost

Reader-submitted complaint: I hate Stevie Nicks. Like, I can't stand her voice.


Even young Stevie?

Her voice has changed over the last 35 years. This clip is from 1977. If you listen to Rumours, this is the Stevie you'll hear.

It's almost as if she damaged her nose and/or throat with some sort of caustic chemical in the late '70s or early '80s. I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fun with Photoshop

Nah, I must be wrong. Name of Paper Withheld would never doctor a photo THIS badly. I mean, that would be embarrassing. How could they ever live it down? People would be sure to notice and wonder what else in the newspaper isn't real.

Therefore, this is clearly NOT a bad Photoshopping job. Forget I mentioned it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Interested in a review?"

Reader-submitted question: I have a proposition for you. I'll give you a pearl necklace if you blog about it.


I'm not sure this is that sort of blog.

Actually, I take that back. I'm pretty sure it's NOT that sort of blog. My dad reads this site.

I am not used to this level of directness from my readers.

Congratulations, Holly

Monday, September 08, 2008


Reader-submitted complaint: I know I am too late for your David Hasselhoff photo contest, but your writing is getting way too serious. You need to lighten up. Having said that, I know that it will only get worse with the Canadian election running at the same time as the American election. Here is a picture of my dog dressed as David Hasselhoff --- sorry, couldn’t find a hamburger or get him to sing in German. (And yes; I know that three hyphens should not be used in place of a period.)

This photo is AWESOME. Thanks for sending it.

Sorry for depressing all of you guys. I've been stressed, and it always shows on the blog.

I promise that the next thing I post will not be depressing. I received an unusual reader-submitted question this morning and have to figure out how to respond.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"It makes no sense whatsoever"

Reader-submitted question: This was on the front page?


And here's the syphilis headline my other reader mentioned:

I am willing to bet $100 that these two lovely people had no idea how their photo would be used. I suppose I should give Name of Paper Withheld credit for not using a photo of FIVE people. That's the only way this could have been worse.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Maybe I'll just lower my standards

Reader-submitted question: What happened to Name of Paper Withheld?

Nothing. They are still churning out their signature blend of bad grammar, uninformed opinions and sloppy reporting. (H/T to Glen.) They are simply incapable of getting better.

The headline on the front page yesterday was:

Library renos: "It sucks"

Hours cut, stacks for over six-weeks

Uh, what?

Can anyone tell me what the hell this is supposed to mean?

I'm picturing myself as an editor slaving late into the night. I have actually done this: it's not just something I've seen in movies. I'm working hard for the public interest, desperate to ensure that the citizens of Name of Town Withheld have all of the information they need to make good decisions about their lives. I'm running out of time -- the presses HAVE to start by a certain time, or the paper will not get out in the morning. A headline MUST be selected.

But what should be featured? Ah! The library renovations! Perfect: Name of Paper Withheld has been harping on the need for renovations for years. This will be yet another chance to criticise city council for being out of touch with society!

Hold on, I'm just getting word that the renovations are actually in response to complaints from the public. Hmmm. That won't do. The headline MUST be negative. I've got it: The renovations THEMSELVES suck! We'll put that in quotation marks so nobody can criticise us for being the ones to say it. And we'll make sure that when we set it up, the first half of the headline refers to the work in the plural form and the second half in the singular form. That will give us even MORE credibility.

Hmmm. That leaves some room down below. I need to put more words there. I'll just throw some words together randomly without worrying about whether they actually make sense.

It still needs something. Punctuation. I like punctuation. It makes me look smart.

What to do, what to do?

I'VE GOT IT! I'll throw a hyphen in!

But where to put it? Even these random words that don't make sense together don't seem to need a hyphen.

DAMMIT I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME FUCKETY FUCKETY FUCKETY FUCK WHO REALLY CARES! It's only the front page of the paper. Nobody sees that and makes judgments about the care we take with the rest of our work, right? Just shove a hyphen in anywhere.

Get this baby to press! Our work here is done!

Friday, September 05, 2008

What I learned from the RNC

Working for community organizations is a joke. The only thing to be respected is work in government.

When your opponent is not as qualified as the people he bested, strike back hard: Pick a running mate who is even LESS qualified. That will take the attention off your opponent.

If a person is not qualified to be president, the best speeches in the world will not make him qualified. I already believed this, but what I did not realise was that the best way to get this message across is in a good speech from an unqualified candidate.

Demand that the media report all about your child's personal life. No, not THAT child. The other child. You hatemongers. Some things are PERSONAL.

Experience is your best asset. It is the main qualification for higher office. Voters should never wonder who you are or what you will do. They should know you through your demonstrated commitment to public service at the highest level. Unless you don't have any. Then it's sexist to expect it of you. Repeat as needed.

When people become concerned about your age, distract them by making sure that if you die in office, the person who takes over will have none of the qualities your supporters valued so much in you. That will take the focus off your age.

Promise to take Washington back from your own party. This will make the crowd go wild.

Insist that the news media is biased against you. The best way to get this message across is probably through the news media. Ignore the fact that you've been courting the media for years and called them your "base".

The person who's worst at reading from the teleprompter is probably the best candidate.

Townie Bastard

This made me laugh.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Where are we going? Is it very far?

Reader-submitted complaint: It sure seems like you are living your life to an extremely depressing playlist. Do you listen to songs about anything other than divorce?

Yes. I also listen to songs about slavery and the Holocaust. You know, cheerful stuff.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Liveblogging the RNC

7:15 I actually like Romney.

7:25 Where do the Republicans get off suggesting that the media are McCain's enemies?

7:28 Romney just said that Obama on his first day would have less experience than Palin would after years if, God forbid, McCain died in office. Uh, duh. This was the guy I was just thinking I liked?

7:30 Changed my mind. Huckabee just said that the last few days have been tackier than backstage at a Madonna concert. I like Huckabee. He makes me laugh.

7:33 "Americans want less government." And the crowd goes wild.

7:36 "Sarah Palin got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States." Hmmm. That doesn't sound right to me.

7:42 "Thank you. God bless you folks." I like the word "folks". I use it as much as possible.

7:52 A talking head just called Huckabee "quality sirloin". HAHAHAHAHA.

7:54 Found one piece of the math problem above: Sarah Palin was elected mayor of Wasilla, Alaska in 1999 with 909 votes. Back in a moment. The talking heads are saying that my man John McCain is trying to "fortify the base".

7:58 Not to call Huckabee a liar, but Biden got 2,328 votes in Iowa before he dropped out. That's more than 909 votes. Huck, that's not cool. If you think your candidate has experience, say so and give some real examples. You don't have to lie.

8:03 RU-DY! RU-DY!

8:06 Actually, any of these old white guys would have been qualified to be veep.

8:07 I agree with Rudy. John McCain has been tested again and again and has passed the test. He is a true American hero. He IS the most experienced candidate.

8:10 Rudy, you were a mayor, and so was Ms. Palin. Yes, that's true.

8:12 "Obama's never had to lead people in crisis...he has never led anything. Nothing. Nada." I was about to agree, and then Rudy had to keep talking. I am totally on board with the whole "he's never been a top elected official" thing. It's a legitimate criticism. Spending a significant amount of time as the leader of a very large state (or city, in Mr. Giuliani's case) could give a person the experience he or she needs to be president. Obama does NOT have that experience. I'm not sure it's fair to say he's never led ANYTHING, though.

8:16 Poor Bristol Palin looks so nonplussed. Someone take the camera off her.

8:23 I think Rudy just called Obama a flip-flopper.

8:25 Rudy's saying that Wasilla isn't flashy or cosmopolitan enough for Obama. Now that's a low blow. I don't think Obama's ever said anything that even hinted at that.

8:30 RU-DY! RU-DY!

8:32 Steve says she looks like a naughty schoolteacher. I, of course, am offended by this sexist observation.

8:36 I really wish this was one of the introductory speeches. I would have been thrilled to see Sarah Palin as an up-and-comer.

8:39 She really does have a cute little girl.

8:41 I like the shout-out to families with special needs. They really do need a friend and advocate in the White House.

8:44 The little girl is licking her hand and fixing her baby brother's hair. Very cute. Meanwhile, Ms. Palin is saying that being a small-town mayor is sort of like being a community organizer, only with responsibilities. Not so cute. She says John McCain is the same man, no matter where he goes. I do believe that.

8:47 Apparently the media consider people unqualified if they are not part of the Washington elite. Ms. Palin says it, so it must be true. News flash, Ms. Palin: You are unqualified, and it has nothing to do with your experience in Washington. Please come back next time. I mean it. I'd love to see how you grow. In four years, you might be ready.

8:51 Did she really put the jet on eBay? I like that.


8:58 I love it. She's going to talk about lack of experience. Oh...wait. She's talking about someone who actually has more experience than she does. Carry on.

8:59 I think the RNC is against rights for prisoners. They're standing up and cheering her quip about reading people their rights. I need to know more. Which rights are they against?

9:07 "He would bring the special confidence of those who have seen evil and seen how evil is overcome."

9:08 They're applauding for a vet who was a POW with McCain. He's saluting them.

9:10 "Thank you and Allahu Akbar!" HAHAHAHAHA. Just joking.

9:12 It's him!

9:13 "Doncha think we made the right choice for vice president of the United States?" Sorry. I don't. I like you, though.


So what's this I hear about Obama being the most liberal American politician there is? I thought John Kerry was the most liberal American politician. I'm pretty sure that's what was said in 2004, when I didn't vote for Kerry.

You'd think Democrats would be smarter than to consistently nominate the most liberal person they could find, wouldn't you? I mean, it just doesn't make sense to purposely pick the most polarizing figure around. I'm no political strategist, but it seems to me that it would be better to pick someone who appeals to a broad cross-section of the electorate. Not someone who is going to turn people off from the entire party.

Those Democrats must really be idiots, eh?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hey! I'M qualified to be VP!

Foreign policy:

I am married to a foreign citizen, and my child is a foreign citizen. Also, I live closer to Russia than 99.99% of Americans. (I heard that qualified someone else to be the vice-presidential nominee.)


Coincidentally, I ALSO have a bachelor's degree in journalism, just like Ms. Palin! Mine's an honours degree, though. I think that might give me an edge.


I'm pretty white, but I live in a part of the world with eleven official languages. Also, I have gay friends, just like Ms. Palin.


I was against the "bridge to nowhere", too.

Energy policy:

I know a LOT about drilling in the Arctic, too.


I have over FIVE YEARS of experience in government at the level equivalent to the state level. That's about three times as much as Ms. Palin has.

I first served in my state legislature 22 years ago. OK, so I was eight and I was serving as an honorary page, but still, if we can say that someone "first ran for office in 1992" and it was the town council, I think this should count.

I wrote to Senator Snowe when I was in my early teens to ask what it was like to be a woman in politics. (She actually wrote back, and she sent me a glossy autographed photo.) My interest in higher office was clear at a young age.

Health care:

I get sick sometimes. So do my family members. I UNDERSTAND. I don't really need a platform, do I?

Personal attributes:

I am a U.S. citizen. It says so on my passport.

I have one child, so I CHOSE to have him. Remember that, everyone. In case you forget, I'm going to repeat it a few times, though. Speaking of choices, I am really proud when other people make choices that are the only ones I think they should be allowed to have in the first place.

I don't know ANY lobbyists, so clearly none of them are buying me off. I can't even get anyone to buy me lunch. And I'm definitely not from Washington.

Now, questioning my qualifications is demeaning to women. Put me on the ticket right now. And if you don't vote for me, it's because you're sexist. Actually, as I reread this, it appears that I am actually MORE qualified for the job than Ms. Palin is.

I have been waiting to elect John McCain president for eight years. This was not how I wanted it to be.

Dream, comfort, memory to spare

Reader-submitted question: Have you ever watched "The Last Waltz"? I think you would enjoy it.

I've received a few questions lately that are thinly disguised requests to post specific videos. It happens that I really enjoy Neil Young, so this works well for me. If I'm not totally mistaken, my dad had a few of his albums in the milk crates he brought from one rectory to another when I was a kid.

I had never heard of "The Last Waltz" until this reader brought it up, but I've now seen a lot of it on YouTube. I really like it.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Apparently that IS a wrinkled dog in his lap

I couldn't figure out why I was getting so many visits to this page.

Then I googled David Hasselhoff and discovered that this blog is the very first result. Even above The first search result is an image from this blog.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

Because I can't NOT write about abortion, apparently

Since I've already started to write about politics, am I the only one who is a bit annoyed that McCain aides have been careful to tell reporters that young Bristol Palin made the choice on her own to continue her pregnancy?

Isn't that pro-choice?

And isn't that one of the things they're AGAINST?

Sorry, but that's just hypocrisy. If you really think abortion's murder, you don't "choose" not to do it.

This is pro-choice language. It is not an affirmation of pro-life values. The message here is that Sarah Palin's daughter had a choice. STAY ON MESSAGE, PEOPLE.

For snow-covered mountain majesties

Reader-submitted: Northern Canadians might be interested in John McCain's Vice presidential pick: the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Yes, we are.

I discussed this with a friend of mine the other day, and it turned out that we agree, so I'll let her write about McCain's reasons for picking Palin. I promised I wouldn't write about that, so I'll confine myself to a few small details.

I am a registered Republican, but since I registered I have come to realise that I am actually a libertarian. There is no Libertarian Party (this would be an oxymoron), so my current registration will do. No point in going through the paperwork of changing it.

I like McCain. I wanted to vote for him in 2000, and I was really disappointed when that didn't happen. I LOVED it when he hosted Saturday Night Live (here's a clip from the Chris Matthews Show about it).

Experience at the national level is not a prerequisite for me. I still believe that spending years as the governor of a very populous state can give a person the experience he or she needs to be qualified to be president.

I think it would be great to have a woman at the highest level of government. However, I think it's sexist to assume that just any woman will do. I registered to vote in a state with a very qualified female Republican senator. I bet she would have been great.

I have often read news stories about life in Alaska and recognised similarities with life here. (This one is excellent: please click through and read it when you have ten minutes to spare.) Although we have many cultural and geographic ties to Alaska, northern Canadians tend to disagree with Alaskans on political matters. The issue that comes up most often is whether the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be opened to drilling: we tend to be opposed to it because of the ripple effects to our own environment.

I'm done now: click through and read this story. You won't regret it and you'll learn something about the north.