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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Well, I was expecting at least one or two more replies in an effort to get the prize cookie. Alas, I guess my readership is even smaller than I imagined. Without further ado....

And the winner is...

Andrea, for Gangs of New Wars.

Andrea, write me at with your mailing address to redeem your prize. I'll have your cookie ready to be sent in the mail (ziplocked to seal in the freshness and everything).

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 5:24 a.m.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

Just when I think the world is hopeless... I find hope, and I smile.

I just came across this article about the real Batman and Robin. It makes me glad to know that some people try to make the world a better place... in their own particular...

Idiom, sir?


Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 8:10 p.m.


Monday, April 19, 2004

Stuck Between Iraq and A Hard Place

There's nothing like humour to help ease the tension of a terrible situation. Thus, I propose a game for the readers of my blog (I mean all of you -- yes, even the ones that never bother commenting... I know who you are!).

The game is quite simple. We each take turns trying to come up with a name or three for Bush's "Global Peace Operations Initiative." Preferably funny. Whoever comes up with the best name by next Monday gets a kudos and possibly a cookie. Just post your suggestions in the comments section of the blog.

I'll start with some examples (none of which count, since they were grabbed from various articles on the web):

-The Coalition of the Coerced
-Stormtroopers of the Empire
-Murder, Inc.
-The Legions of Mordor

Remember, this game needs participation to work. You might even get a cookie for your efforts -- a whole cookie!

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 6:25 p.m.


Fine, Then! I'll Just Make My Own U.N.!

(Sorry... More political commentary...)

According to an article in the Washington Post, El Presidente Bush is trying to form his very own international council and peace-keeping force.

Which means that, sadly, the parody-newspaper the Onion was awfully close to the mark. When the Onion's articles begin to bleed into the realm of prophecy, you know the situation is dire; their joke has become reality. I guess that just ups the ante, doesn't it?

In the mean-time, you can sign the on-line petition to impeach Bush. You don't have to be American to sign, and I imagine they need all the signatures they can get. It may not help in the long-run, but at least it's something, and it certainly can't hurt.

Sometimes it's hard to be religious when certain people aren't incinerated by lightning.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 6:11 p.m.


Saturday, April 17, 2004

A Laugh a Minute

Some of you have probably heard about Bush's little WMD joke... Well, someone by the name of Jason Woliner decided to put together a little film that puts that joke in the proper context.

You can find the movie here. It's about 3.5 megs, and you'll need Apple Quicktime.

A warning, though: Some of the images are a little disturbing. But then, so is Bush...

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 12:59 a.m.


Friday, April 16, 2004

Too Much In Th' Sun

My web page appears to be back up again, so I'll put up the link to my Hamlet play.

(As a side note, whenever one of my friends called me or dropped by while I was working on it, they'd inevitably ask me what I was up to. And I'd inevitably respond, "Writing a Hamlet play." To which they'd inevitably reply, "Dude... I think somebody's already written it."

Which would cause me to bring out the punchline... "Aw, no, not that Shakespeare guy again! He's always ripping off my best ideas. What about King Lear?"

"Sorry, dude."

"I'll Get You, William Shakespeare!"

Well, it was funny at the time.)

Anyway, I'm fairly pleased with the way it turned out. Obviously, Stoppard was a huge influence -- I'm told it's a little Wydle-ish at times, too, and that it bears similarities to Sartre's "No Exit." Having never read any Sartre, I'm not sure why, but I'll take their word for it.

That's all for now -- see you all on the other side of exams.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 3:02 p.m.


Thursday, April 15, 2004

I feel better now...

...somewhat. At least, it was good to express all the views in my previous post. Of course, I realize that I wasn't convincing anyone of anything -- judging by what I know of the people who read my blog most often, I was "preaching to the choir" -- and it's certainly not all I have to say on the subject... But it's good to get it off my chest nevertheless.

I was going to post a link to my Hamlet creative extension, a play I call Hamlet: Last Call. Alas, something's wrong with my UNB page due to no fault of my own (what? The UNBSJ Tech Team screwed something up? Never!) and I have no idea what went wrong much less how to fix it, so it will have to wait for next time.

My apologies for the meandering, link-heavy last post. It's been building for a while.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 7:38 p.m.


This may be my last blog post until after exams are all over, so I'll try to make it a good one...

SNAFU... Without the N.

As you may or may not know, SNAFU is an acronym born from the First World War. It stands for "Situation Normal -- All Fucked Up." Well, things are becoming increasingly less normal, but certainly no less fucked up.

Of course, I'm speaking about the goings on in the Middle East, as well as the goings-on south of the border, both of which are connected. Why do such things interest me? Well, as a writer at El Universal put it, "The internal politics of powerful countries is global politics. We have to learn that. Whether we like it or not, what happens in the United States is fundamental for Mexico." So, too, is what happens there fundamental for us in Canada.

First of all, I want to point to an article written by Jo Wilding of She's a reporter who recently wrote an article from inside Fallujah during the ceasefire:

We stop, turn off the siren, keep the blue light flashing, wait, eyes on the silhouettes of men in US marine uniforms on the corners of the buildings. Several shots come. We duck, get as low as possible and I can see tiny red lights whipping past the window, past my head. Some, it’s hard to tell, are hitting the ambulance. I start singing. What else do you do when someone’s shooting at you? A tyre bursts with an enormous noise and a jerk of the vehicle.

I am outraged. We are trying to get to a woman who is giving birth without any medical attention, without electricity, in a city under siege, in a clearly marked ambulance, and you are shooting at us. How dare you?

How dare you?

I draw attention to this article because, frankly, I think the entire world should pay attention to it. This is the side of the story that Fox News, CNN, and even our Canadian news programs and the otherwise progressive BBC don't want you to hear. But more on that later. (I used to have a link to the same article with accompanying photographs -- including one of an iraqi ambulance with what is quite obviously sniper bullet-holes through the windshield, at an angle that makes it obvious whoever shot was aiming for the driver's chest from a high angle, but unfortunately I lost it.)

If after reading the article you don't feel the least bit of outrage, then there's something seriously wrong with you.

The world outside has been changing. Prez'nit Bush and his dark master (some argue Cheney, I'd argue Rumsfeld, but one isn't really any better than the other) have enacted this change and are showing the world that justice doesn't matter -- if you have power, you can define justice. Truth doesn't matter, either -- just keep saying the same things over and over and it becomes truth. They violate international law in order to enforce a UN resolution that the UN didn't want enforced (at least, not in the way the US wanted it enforced). And now Bush has even given Israel a blank cheque to cause as much suffering against the Palestinian people in achieving "a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute."

The always-insightful Billmon of Billmon's Whiskey Bar comments on the situation like so:

I was in a car crash once, when I was much younger, and the sensation I have now is the same one I had in the moment before impact, as I watched that telephone poll hurtling towards my windshield. It was an odd, detached moment -- like watching someone die in a movie -- and my last thought was something like "oh well."

Physics saved my life that day -- the truck I was driving was heavy enough, and moving fast enough, to break that telephone poll like a toothpick. I walked away with a broken nose and a slight concussion. But I'll always remember that moment of helpless resignation, when I realized there was nothing I could do to stop the crash.

It doesn't look like this crash can stopped, either. I guess that's one of the essential elements of tragedy -- the disaster can be seen but not avoided. Maybe it's the same feeling that John O'Neill had as he ran back into the South Tower that day, knowing what he had feared most had come to pass. I don't know. When the next major attack hits America, and the pressure to retaliate with genocidal force becomes impossible for our rotten political system to resist, maybe then I'll know.

Much of the world -- particularly those in the Middle East -- already understands that Bush and whoever pulls his strings are very, very evil men. The really terrifying thing is that he doesn't see himself as evil -- he sees himself as a "good guy," and since the cowboy movies he loves so much has good guys only doing good things, anything he does therefore has to be good. Even if he's utilizing the same tactics that the bad guys do. On the other hand, when the bad guys do things those things are bad because, well, they're bad guys. (I'd be very interested in hearing what Kohlberg -- who designed the stage theory of ethics in Psychology -- would have to say about Bush's ethical reasoning. It strikes me, personally, as being incredibly infantile.)

Other parts of the world, though, remain in ignorance about the evils of this man and his government. This is because they maintain a choke-hold on the media around the world -- most of which simply go about repeating Pentagon releases verbatim and calling it news, without even so much as bothering to check with other sources. The media's become lazy -- but then, so has most of the world... I don't know if the same outrage that was felt over Vietnam is even possible now. For me, it's not too hard to imagine that having one's neighbourhood bombed and living in fear of an occupying nation would be a terrible experience, but there are others out there who just don't seem to get it!

Again, I'll repeat, Bush is evil. Today, he and his government is the single biggest threat to the good of the world at large.

But don't take my word for it. It's all there in his recent press conference. Watch that, or read the transcript. Or, if you don't have time to read the transcript or the bandwidth to watch the original, just go read the condensed and translated version. Believe me, you won't have missed anything -- in fact, if anything, the translated version is even more comprehensible than the original. (If you do watch, though, keep an eye open for the way his eyes light up and his hung-over ountenance disappears as soon as the world "oil" is mentioned.)

He's repeating the same lies he did before the war (notably the connection between bin Laden and Saddam -- of course, this isn't exactly , therefore they must be connected somehow). Bush has flushed decades of vital precedent down the window in waging his war of aggression, and he's so far proved that it doesn't matter because he's running the world's most powerful country and, as everyone knows, might makes right. The world is sitting by idly and being lied to, all so that Bush's special interest groups (notably the richest half-a-percent of America's population) can get richer. His soldiers are committing war crimes every single day and the world mostly turns a blind eye.

Again, though, this isn't entirely the world's fault, since the media for the most part just goes about parotting the US government's releases as fact. If one wants to reach the truth, one has to dig pretty hard, or else have a memory that spans more than a few years (an increasingly rare trait nowadays, unfortunately.)

Where Does Canada Fit In, Specifically?

This is what really pisses me off. Kudos to us for staying out of this Iraq mess, sure. But the fact remains that every time I open the paper (be it the Telegraph Journal, the Globe and Mail, or the National Post), like a moth to the flame I'm drawn to the Opinions and the World News sections, where without fail I'll find some reporter or some Canadian citizen talking about how cowardly Canada is for not "helping Iraqi's against insurgents" or about how wonderful a job Bush's tin soldiers are doing "way over there" (I'm convinced that most of these people would do particularly badly at any attempts to map the area they're talking about.) They believe all Bush's BUllSHit simply because he keeps saying the same things over and over again. Bush wants the golden goose, the entire world locked up in his pocket and much of Canada is clueless.

Why is Canada so clueless?

See, that's what I've been trying to figure out. At least FOX (fair and balanced my skinny white ass) and CNN have the excuse that they need to remain in the Republicans' pockets to remain viable news networks. FOX in particular was borne (at least on this side of Australia) from special relationships with the Republicans, so it's just doing some return-backscratching. But Canadian media outlets don't have that excuse. There is ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON why our own media should be just towing the popular line like that -- particularly when the truth is found somewhere else. The failure of the media is one of the prime reasons why the American system has failed so horribly in this instance. Our own media shouldn't be making the same mistake; we should be informed of world events so that we can put pressure on our own politicians to put pressure (or at least more than token resistance) on the US government until some policy changes are made.

Frankly, I won't be happy until there's a sane person in charge of the world's only superpower, Iraq is free of any occupying force and allowed to determine its own path in its political evolution, and the Palestinians are given a fair shake by Israel (which will no doubt require some genuine political pressure from the rest of the world). But if we can get it to a point where U.S. Marines are no longer shooting at unarmed women and children, that will be a start.

The world is entering a very dangerous stage -- one that's even spilling over into our backyard. We'd be fools, as a people and as a nation, to just sit back and wait until November and hope that the Americans get it right this time around.

Then again, I suppose we could all just buy the t-shirts and hope that being members of the America LITE nation will be enough.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 6:55 p.m.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004

US Troops Face Their Most Dangerous Enemy Yet...

...the Pentagon. See article here.

I'll be glad when the US policy is no longer determined by a group of madmen (and women), and instead goes back to its old corrupt, greedy, self-serving state.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 12:55 p.m.


Sunday, April 04, 2004

Ratboy See, Ratboy Do

Following Zhengshu's lead (see the link to his blog to the right), I figured I'd provide my summer reading queu for the terminally curious who read my blog. That's right, all one of you.

-Feng Shui (I've owned it since last summer, but never did get around to reading it cover to cover)

-Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
-The Complete Nonsense and Other Verse by Edward Lear
-Lewis Carroll Looking-Glass Letters by Thomas Hinde
-The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll
-Phantasmagoria by Lewis Carroll
-The Penguin Book of Nonsense Verse (by now, I'm sure you're noticing a pattern...)
-The Rat by Gunter Grass

-The Complete Canadian Home Business Guide to Taxes
-Canadian Small Business Kit for Dummies

The nonsense verse stuff has to do with my intended Thesis next year. Invisible Monsters is my token bit of pleasure fiction -- I've only read one other Palahniuk novel (Fight Club), so I figured I'd pick up another one and see if I can legitimately call myself a fan afterward. I've already read Grass's "The Rat" before, but I want to give it another go since it's a rather thick text. The Reference books take priority, though, since I intend to use them to help me get my summer venture up and running.

Of course, for me, this is a pretty ambitious list. I expect I may fall quite short of my goal. Frankly, I'll be lucky if I get through half of these, but we'll see.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 12:58 a.m.


Thursday, April 01, 2004

So, About That War Coverage...

A Reporter Apologizes for Coverage of Iraq in a column in the Free Lance-Star.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 5:45 p.m.


Comrade Strangelove...

I feel almost unworthy pointing out something that Neil Gaiman pointed out in his own blog, but I found this so interesting I just couldn't help myself.

A chilling trip through Chernobyl.

Go there and read it. You'll be glad you did.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 4:57 p.m.


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English 3621: Makin, Astell, and Wollstonecraft ...
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