Thursday, July 31, 2008

I know - we've been here before. Kind of like the cretins running the McBush campaign. Are people really still paying attention to the colour of someone's skin?!? Or is the McBush campaign just as dumb as it seems? As devoid of actual intellectual input? As seriously lacking in ideas that might actually make people's lives better? That might pull America out of the deep, deep shit-hole it's in thanks to eight years of this kind of thinking? These people are the creepiest of the creepy, the dumbest of the dumb, the worst that humanity has to offer.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good to see that John McBush (thanks again, Maureen) is sticking with the good old Republican playbook of slagging the opponent while offering absolutely no ideas of his own. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking most Americans would be asking, "John, tell us what you're going to do about fixing the record-setting deficit that your President has run up while your party's been in control of the government?". Or, "John, what do you plan to do about getting your country out of an unjustifiable, unwinnable war that your President, with the cooperation of your party, started?" Or, to be more concise, "What's your plan, Johnny?" The answer, of course, is that McBush doesn't have a plan. He's a Republican.

And things are looking down in China as the Olympics get closer and closer. What a surprise! A police state is censoring news! Hokey smokey! What next? Mass arrests? Maybe they're saving that for the opening ceremony's big parade.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wow! What a perfect day. Gave my last lecture for the term today, which means a period of relative calm (as I mentioned the other day). At the same time, I have to admit that it's a tad weird to celebrate another 4 months of my life being over. Oh, well.

Other things contributing to the perfection of this day? Well, first there's this. Anytime a genocidal thug gets sent to meet judgement, well, it just has to warm the cockles of one's heart, right? And, in a similar, though less murderous vein, any time another Republican "law and order" creep can get busted for...ummm....breaking the law? Well, that's just soooooooooo happy-making. If only we could look forward to similar fates for Dumbya and Dickhead. Even better if they could suffer the same fate as Ratovan, but, well....

On another matter altogether (but certainly no less vital), who the hell decided all those year ago to cancel "Sports Night"? Just curious.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a cynic (like you hadn't noticed), so you can imagine how depressing it was to find this article. People being honest?!? People treating each other fairly? And like responsible adults? With respect?!? It can't be!

Thank heaven this story was also on the front page of the Globe's web edition. When you're truly stupid, hire PR flacks to try to convince folks you're not. And, definitely use taxpayer money to make your case. Yep, that's a brilliant way to show your intelligence.

And, speaking of intelligence (and the lack thereof), there's this story.

And, what would cynics do without the regular-as-clockwork stories of people who, peeved that the world doesn't seem to care enough about their opinions, decide to exercise their constitutional right to go on out and buy a big ol' hunk o' weaponry and kill a bunch of innocent folks?

Is it any wonder that Randy Newman's "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)" is one of my favourites?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Went to see "Brideshead Revisited" today. Good movie. Had to be - it was based on the Evelyn Waugh novel of the same name and that's a darn fine book. Set in the years between WWI and WWII, it's full of British upper class weirdness, satirised as only Waugh could do it.

An interesting aside - there was only one movie preview and it didn't feature any CGI, guns, explosions, muscles, naked women, nor was it a sequel, or a remake of a 60s television show, an elaboration of a video game......the standard ingredients of a Hollywood "blockbuster". Why? Because the crowd (the theatre, though small, was full) was composed mainly of people my age (far too old) and, given that everyone there was there to see a movie based on an Evelyn Waugh novel, literate. Not the crowd Hollywood panders to.

And, on the "good news" side of things (for a change), this just in....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Guilty by Suspicion". If you have never seen it (it's old), go get it. Sooooo darn applicable to the world today.

And, from the "Depressing Rationalisations for Illiteracy" front, there's this article. If you're a parent, and you think the fact that your child is "reading" on the Net is a good thing, pull your head out of your ass and get a firmer grip on reality. Trust me, as a teacher I can tell you that your children are growing up to be illiterate, inarticulate, and generally incapable of constructing a grammatically-correct sentence. Don't even think about the concept of paragraphs.

Now, you may not believe this, but both the movie and the small rant about idiots who can't be bothered to learn to read, spell or write properly, are intimately connected. Both have to do with social responsibility. Yeah, yeah, I know - an outmoded notion. But, there are still a few nuts who think it's a good thing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Yeah, yeah - I gotta get out more. But! That's about to start happening. At least for a couple of weeks. Yes, ladies and gentlemen (note my optimism in using the plural form), End O' Term is upon us! And not a moment too soon, let me tell you.

Teaching is a lot of fun, but it's also like doing two or three shows a day in front of a dead audience. Especially tough when the "shows" are bright and early in the morning. Funnily enough, 22 year olds aren't really at their most enthusiastic at that time of day. At least, not when they're in a classroom. Which means, of course, that I've got to be energetic, enthusiastic and generally pumped. Whether I feel like it or not. Given that each class is 2 or 3 hours long, that can get a tad tiring after a while. So, two or three weeks to recuperate before the next "season" is swell by me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wow. The two greatest (as in "biggest", not "best-est") communist states in the world have become such paragons of parody lately. First, Vlad the Impaler converts Russia to a massive mob (as in "gangster") state, then China.....well......China's just completely lost its little mind. Or are they training to be fire fighters? It's just all soooooo confusing!

Now, it wouldn't be so bad if Vlad would just show the teeniest bit of subtlety, but, nooooooo......"We're flat out criminals, and damned proud of it!" I mean, come on, Vlad. I know Dumbya's endorsed you (hey - there's money to be made, after all), but, well, least pretend for crying out loud!

Oh, well - back here on planet Earth, you might want to re-watch "The Matador". Two good reasons. First, it's a lot of fun. Second, the cinematography is, pardon the expression, fucking brilliant. The colour juxtapositions are just amazing. And this is coming from a guy who is colour blind! I can only imagine (enviously) what it must look like to someone with full-on colour vision.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And China takes another great leap forward. "Yeah, yeah - I know yer kid's dead. Shut up and take the twenty bucks, will ya?"

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So, earlier today I fired up a quick post, just so I could be sure to get this up, just in case the Times's web version buried it later in the day. Sure makes you long for the "good old days", doesn't it? Watching the current crop of politicians grovel to religious nitwits is very depressing. Kind of makes you think, "Gee, nice guys, but not too bright". Well, except for McBush, that is. Definitely not a nice guy. Nor, for that matter, all that bright.

Wouldn't you just about give your left lung for a politician who'd stand up and say, "God? God? What are you - totally insane? There's no such thing. Maybe you'd like me to endorse Santa Claus, too? Now get out of my way, pinhead, I've got real people to talk to". O.K. - I can dream, can't I?

Meanwhile, I'm obviously slow to the party. If you haven't heard of Pizzicato Five, get on out there and find one of their CDs (or download 'em). Too swell for words. I gotta tell ya - I love my local library! Wander in, browse the CD racks....hmmmm....this looks interesting. Take it home and play it. Crappy? Take it back. Like it? Keen - go buy a copy. The only drawback is the rapid outward flow of cash to CDs. Ah, well.

And, now that I'm on a "music" theme, you might consider whipping out to pick up "This Is Your Brain on Music" (the link's just so you can check out the reviews). It's pretty nifty. I've got zero musical vocabulary or sophistication. A friend of mine once said I had "eclectic" taste in music. I think he was just saying, politely, that I have no taste in music, but I could be wrong. Anyway, for those of us who fall into the hideous, "I may not know music, but I know what I like," category, this is a swell book. Lots of neurobiological stuff, too, for the biologists in the class. Anyway, I'm enjoying it so far.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 21, 2008

O.K., so I, like roughly half the planet, went to see the new Batman movie this weekend. And, what do you know? the hype was right. Darn fine movie. If Heath Ledger hadn't been such a fan of self-medication, he'd have been able to name any figure he wanted to to do the sequel that would have been inevitable after his performance. His Joker was, let's face it, not just the best thing in the movie, it was what kept you in your seat, made you forget how long the movie actually was, and could easily pull you back for a second viewing.

Poor old Christian Bale, on the other hand, was set dressing. Which wasn't his fault, mind you. Face it, once you're in full Batman gear, nobody can see your face. Kind of tough to do much character portrayal when all you are is a jutting jaw and a black rubber suit. Anybody could be under that thing. Get a decent voice actor to dub the lines and no one would ever know.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Urban renewal comes to Chinatown.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm not sure the price could be low enough to get anyone to shop here. Looking at the place doesn't exactly fill a person with confidence, does it?

Meanwhile, at least a couple of the "Cases of the Free-Floating Feet" here in B.C. seem closer to resolution. Which is kind of nice to know. I mean, do other places have random feet washing ashore? And, come to think of it, is this phenomenon somehow a product of the continuing search for the perfect running shoe? After all, if Nike hadn't invented their "Air" line of shoes (subsequently imitated by other manufacturers), wouldn't all these feet have just sunk quietly to the bottom of the sea?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My kinda neighbourhood. These people know colour.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nope. Not my home and not my bike. Looks nice though, doesn't it? Peaceful? Even a tad quaint? It's a great neighbourhood - colourful (wait till tomorrow), vibrant, evidently filled with creative people. Unfortunately, it's also a neighbourhood with a break-in rate that's astronomical. Kinda close to the not-so-nice Downtown Eastside. Too close, really.

But, the point of the photo (at least for now, and, again, by sheer coincidence) is the bike. Friends of mine (you know who you are) are now living deep in the heart of New York City. Talk about vibrant and full of creative people! Zowee! Their car got towed today. Retrieving it cost waaaaayyyy too much money. But, then again, owning a car costs way too much money. Why do people buy these things? I'm riding the same bicycle I bought in 1986. It was pretty pricey at that time - about $1,500.00. A couple of weeks ago I had it serviced. Cost me $200.00. Over the 22 years that I've owned it, that brings the grand total I've spent to maintain it to...ummmmm.....$400.00? Which means it's cost me......holey moley!.....$18.00 a year to own. I ride it to work every day - summer, fall, winter, spring. Sun, rain, snow. I ride it to go grocery shopping. I ride it to go visit friends. I ride it for fun. Tell me again. Why do people buy cars?

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Possibly, printing money would have been a good idea for these folks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Agh! We're struggling here, folks. I wandered around downtown for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon and got bupkes, nada, zippo. Talk about uninspired. Eeyikes! It'll pass, right?

The really bad thing about hitting a dry patch is I always get the urge to buy a new bit of equipment. Maybe if I had a Canon G9, for instance, for unobtrusive street shots (let's face it, a DSLR with either of the zooms I most frequently use isn't subtle). Or some new flash equipment like an umbrella and light stand....oh, yeah - I could do some cool portraits! Or, maybe a 50/1.8 for that real shallow depth of field effect! Yes, it's the "Let's not let the terrorists win" strategy. Got a problem? Go shopping! Gees.

And, speaking of not being able to get out of a rut, is it just my imagination or is the "Shuffle" function on both Windows Media Player and iTunes repetitive? I've got zillions of songs on both my home computer and my computer at work, and both of these players seem to gravitate towards the same 50 or so songs. Random? I don't think so.

Whine, snivel, whine, snivel. Thank grapes for wine.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

O.K., one more positive review of "Hellboy 2" isn't going to change anything, but, go see it (if you haven't already). Why? 'Cause it's lots of fun. What other movie is going to portray the Spawn of Satan (albiet, for the good) and his best friend, the Fishman, getting sloppy drunk together and singing along with Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You" 'cause they're both having "girl trouble"? For that alone this movie's worth seeing. On top of that, Guillermo del Toro has a fantastic imagination for surreal creatures (we all remember "Pan's Labyrinth", right?), and knows how to take this particular genre (I have no idea what to call it, though) seriously while still having adult fun with it. Perlman's funny (and fierce). Tambor is funny (and, well, sorta pitiful - as his character's supposed to be), Selma Blair, while she doesn't get much to work with nevertheless works well with what she's given. As does everyone else.

Above all, though, it's just plain old fun.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Can you imagine the reaction of the ghosts of the Orangemen who built this place? Not a group noted for tolerance. I'm sure that's what that crow is thinking.

Friday, July 11, 2008

And speaking of Chinatown, just in case you missed the update to yesterday's post - here's a good reason to cancel your up-coming trip to China. Unless you favour governments of the thuggish, for the thuggish.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Uh-oh. Time to hit the streets again.

And, just in case anyone was actually thinking of attending the Olympics in China, here's one more reason to rethink that plan.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nothing more pitiful than the sight of seagulls trapped in a shoe shop.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

So, here's an interesting little bit of news. Buff up those photos, folks.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Nothing particular to snark about today, but, let's face it, a photo of a gas meter with its back to the wall carries political connotations, doesn't it? Of course it does!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

And this concludes "Bike Week" here at Shaggy Dog Pix. This guy won the men's "Real Good Riders" class race. Well, "won" is actually a tad weak. He obliterated the competition. He was the only rider in his lap. He'd passed everyone else in the race. I suspect he could have passed them all twice, but didn't want to seem like a show-off.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Some corners are tougher than others. Trust me.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Yeah, O.K., it's "Bike Race Week" here at Shaggy Dog Pix. Sue me.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Man, I'm not sure I'm a fan of being prescient, but, what did I say yesterday? That it wouldn't surprise me if Obama suddenly seemed less than eager to end the war in Iraq? And... Funnily enough, on this point I'm in agreement with him. The first place I ever saw a sign saying, "If you break it, you've bought it", was in a store in the States. Well, kids, you broke it and you've darn well bought it. You let Dumbya stampede you into a stupid (and, just for emphasis, let me repeat that - STUPID) war and now you're stuck with the moral obligation to re-stabilize what was once a stable (albeit corrupt, dictatorial) country. Yep. You can't go blowing a country to smithereens just because the corrupt dictator you put in power in the first place is no longer cooperative. America (and, therefore, Americans) owe it to the people of Iraq to stay there until the country is safe again. Will that happen anytime soon? Not on your life. Does that mean more Americans will die there? You betcha. Is that the Iraqis' fault? Not really. America fucked up (thanks to the Meatball-in-Chief and his henchmen) big time. And America is morally obligated to put things right. Sad, but true.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

These women finished in first and second place, as you see them, in the Category 4 women's bicycle race Tuesday. This is relatively early in the race. By the time it was over, the woman in front was pretty much a lap ahead of her pursuer. Which means she had also totally annihilated the rest of the field (what was left of it after the first lap crash, that is). Just a tad fit.

But, how depressing for the woman in second place. She had hopes, right? (Can you hear it coming?) Absolutely. Just like we all did for Obama. And, just like Ms. Second-place, those hopes have been pretty much dashed. Let's see - Bush: favours death penalty. Barack? Favours death penalty. Bush - favours increasing involvement of religion in government. Barack? Favours increasing involvement of religion in government (memo to Bary: a Founding Principle of democracy - separation of church and state. In case you'd forgotten). Bush - favours wire-tapping Americans' phones. Barack? Favours wire-tapping Americans' phones. I swear, if there's a story in the news tomorrow that says that Bary's decided the Iraq war is O.K. by him, I won't be surprised. Talk about a neck-snapping total turn-around!

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I've filed this photo under the title "lap 1, turn 1". Yep, titling serendipity has struck again, folks. Obama's surely only on lap one and already he's crashed. First he comes out in favour of capital punishment, now he's come out in favour of expanding the role of religion in government. Well, sure, why not? It's worked so well in Iran, Iraq, and Israel. And, hey - Georgie likes it, right? I mean, he started it after all. So, why not replace Dumb George with Baffling Bary?

Is it too late to put in a call to Hillary? "Kidding! Hills! Babe! We were kidding. You're the nominee - honest!"

Oh, and, just in case you give some thought to sending Bary an email expressing your concerns on these matters, don't bother. I sent him one (remember?) regarding capital punishment and all it's gotten me is a pile of spampaign ads asking me to send Bary money. And, yes, I did mention in my email that I'm Canadian and therefore ineligible to vote in the U.S.

Which reminds me - Happy Canada Day, my fellow Canuckleheads!

Labels: , , ,