Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Great Divide

Last night, I did some translation for my son, whose knowledge of the French language is rather weak but who wanted to understand every single word of a French film on breakdancing. In that film, the hero's mother, who was looking for her son, has found the address of one of his friends, but the friend lives in «les banlieues», i.e. the suburbs, so she was a bit anxious. My son didn't understand why, so I started telling him about the recent incidents in the Paris suburbs, but he sounded dubious. It wasn't until later that I realized he had a North American understanding of «suburbs», as opposed to the European or South East Asian one.

I have always been living downtown and I cannot imagine living elsewhere but where the action is. I need my theatres, my international newspapers and magazines stores, my coffeeshops, my museums, my fancy designer clothing/kitchen gadgets/exotic flower boutiques, my trendy terraces/ethnic restaurants, etc.. But then, I have been molded culture-wise by the great cities of Europe: Paris, London, Geneva, etc.. And during my early youth, I was a resident of Saigon, the Pearl of the Orient, the centre and masterpiece of the French colonial heritage. I'm a city girl and damn proud of it. But in North America, you apparently have to be well-off or make a confortable living to live in the suburbs, while average or poor people have no choice but to live in the cities. When I first arrived in Montreal and took my first well-paid job, I was surprised to find out that most of my colleagues were living outside the city. They all bragged about the acres of land that surround their houses, and apparently it was somehow desirable to have so much lawn to mow or a huge swimming pool to clean and filter and keep the neighbours' kids away from. It is also a good thing to go grocery shopping once a week and buy tons of frozen stuff, instead of deciding like I do at the last minute what to have for supper and, every day or so, go buy fresh ingredients from the various neighbourhood specialized shops: butchers, greengrocers, etc.. I don't even have a freezer-chest, for crissake! The thing is, I'm too disorganized to live in the suburbs. Forgetful as I am, I can't just jump in the car and drive ten kilometres to the JumboMart everytime I run out of milk or croissants. I'm also a spur-of-the-moment type, so I cannot plan an expedition each time I feel like meeting a friend over a drink, checking the latest CD arrivals, watching the Santa Claus/St Patrick parade or going to the movies.

So to recap: in North America, rich people live in the suburbs, poor people live in ghettoes in the cities. In Europe and South East Asia, rich people live in the cities, lowlife live in ghettoes in the suburbs. Me, I live in downtown Montreal and I feel sorry for the people who are stuck in the suburbs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

FrankenFido: The horrible things we do to our best friends

Our creepiest genetic invention, the dog.
By William Saletan

Have you heard the latest news? We've decoded the DNA of dogs. Here's how the media-approved version of the story goes: We're showing our love for "man's best friend" by discovering and treating the genetic causes of his ailments. In return, we'll learn to treat the same ailments in ourselves.

It's a heartwarming story, but it's a fraud. The reason we targeted the dog genome for decoding is that it's useful for genetic research. The reason it's useful for genetic research is that dogs are neatly divided into breeds, each of which is plagued by specific diseases. And the reason dogs are divided into diseased breeds is that we made them that way. Dogs are the world's longest self-serving, ecologically reckless genetic experiment, perpetrated by the world's first genetically engineering species: us.

Dogs were just a loose category of wolves until around 15,000 years ago, when our ancestors tamed and began to manage them. We fed them, bred them, and spread them from continent to continent. While other wolf descendants died out, dogs grew into a new species. We invented the dog.

We didn't pick just any wolves for this project. We picked the ones that could help us and get along with us. Dogs are dumber than monkeys and other mammals in many ways, but they excel at one thing: interpreting human behavior. Three years ago, scientists tested this talent in wolves, adult dogs, puppies raised in households, and puppies raised in kennels. The wolves couldn't read humans well, but the puppies could—even the puppies raised in kennels. Through selection, we've hardwired human compatibility into dogs. We've made a species in our image.

But that wasn't enough. We had specific needs. We bred hunting dogs, herding dogs, sled dogs, and guard dogs. (We also tried a few unauthorized uses.) We turned reproductive separation and inbreeding into a science, multiplying and dividing the species into more than 400 breeds. The American Kennel Club sorts them into the Sporting Group, Working Group, Herding Group, Hound Group (whose ancestors were "used for hunting"), Terrier Group (whose ancestors "were bred to hunt and kill vermin"), and Toy Group. "The diminutive size and winsome expressions of Toy dogs illustrate the main function of this Group: to embody sheer delight," says the club's Web site. Every dog has his duty.

Each need, each breed, called for special traits. We bred collies for vigilance, Rottweilers for aggression, retrievers for obedience. In a span of decades, we bred ferocity into Dobermans and then, with equal deliberateness, bred it out. We treated dogs like guns. We designed and bought them for protection, then complained when they hurt us. When cities banned pit bulls, we bought Rottweilers. It was as easy as replacing an illegal assault weapon with a legal one.

Not all our designs were utilitarian. We made some breeds just for fun. Some, like the Pharaoh Hound, were thought to be ancient because they looked like dogs drawn on Egyptian tombs. But last year, when we checked their DNS, we found no evidence they were older than modern breeds. Apparently, breeders crafted them by mating dogs that looked like the drawings. Life imitated art.

In the course of engineering dogs to look, feel, and act as we wanted, we ruined millions of them. We gave them legs so short they couldn't run, noses so flat they couldn't breathe, tempers so hostile they couldn't function in society. Even our best intentions backfired. Nature invented sexual reproduction to diversify gene pools and dilute bad variants. By forcing dogs into incest (which we ban among humans, in part for biological reasons), we defied nature. We concentrated each bad gene in a breed, magnifying its damage: epilepsy for springer spaniels, diabetes for Samoyeds, bone cancer for Rottweilers. That's why the dog genome is so nifty: We can find disease genes just by comparing one breed's DNA to another's.

Well, too bad for the dogs. But three cheers for us and our experiment. "The dog genome is a wonderful playground for geneticists," exults the New York Times. "A treasure trove," says the San Francisco Chronicle. "A convenient laboratory," agrees Reuters.

Man's best friend, indeed.

Also see Mr. Saletan's article about Designer dogs made to order:

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Myth of the Polite Orientals

First thing first: Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, etc.. to all!!!

Now to the main theme: Are Orientals super rude or unbearably polite?

Incident no.1: I was at a McDonald counter, waiting for my order. Behind me was a Chinese man with his 7-8 year old daughter. She asked and he let her climb and sit on the counter. The McDonald girl didn't say anything and I tried to hide my annoyance. When my order finally arrived, before any of us could react, the little girl reached out, grabbed a few fries and popped them in her mouth. McDonald girl and I were frozen in shock, slack-jawed; the father had no reaction. Then McDonald girl said: «I'll get you some new fries». From that moment on, until I left with my order, the father did not say a word, in apology or otherwise, studiously avoiding my eyes; the little girl stayed on the counter.

Incident no.2: I was sitting in my parked car, waiting for my mother to finish her business at the video rental store. A car came and parked in the space in front of me. The driver was an Oriental woman, relatively young. As she backed up, she bumped into my car. The shock was rather strong, so I stepped out of my car to check the damage. She also stepped out, but just glanced at me and walked away. I yelled at her: «Hey! How about some apology?» She continued walking away.

Incident no.3: I was at the wedding of a Chinese friend. A group of young guys (Chinese - I heard them talking) were setting up the sound system. One of them pulled too hard on a cable and it went snapping like a whip and hit a guy sitting next to me in the face, leaving a red welt. Instead of apologizing, the asshole said: «Hey, good thing it didn't hit you in the crotch! Hahaha!». The victim laughed weakly and left the room.

Incidents no. 4, 5, 6...: I lost count of the times when I would arrive at a door at the same time as some Orientals and they would just stand there waiting for me to open the door so that they can walk through, or when I did open and hold the door for them and they would just walk through and never, never, ever say thank you, not once.

Incidents no. nth...: My son sometimes brings home a Chinese friend called Justin. Justin never says hello, meets my eyes or acknowledges my presence in any way, even if I greet him first. Once, as he was walking to the bathroom, I deliberately stood in the way, to force him to look at me: he didn't and just walked around me.

Tentative explanation:
It is well known that in the Oriental culture, politeness and good manners are extremely important, sometimes excessively so. So how to explain such rudeness, so commonly experienced by me and many other people I talked to, Orientals and non-Orientals? My tentative (and generous) explanation is that, in some of the cases I described, the culprits were so keenly embarrassed by their action that they cannot face up to it and, even though they just wanted to die on the spot, they had no choice but to act as if the act of rudeness did not happen, because of the unbearable loss of face. The people who walk through doors held opened by others without saying thank you are just rude, uncouth and badly educated.

As to Justin: Hey Justin, I know it's just shyness and awkwardness due to your youth and immaturity, but I'm not asking for a long conversation: a simple «Hi!» would do.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Music That Does Not Drive You Crazy

Borrowed from VisualGui (, «Santa Claus is Coming to Town» by Bill Evans:

Brian's Predictions

For the past few months, I've been coming daily to a site called Brian's Predictions, where I'm amazed to find records of verified acurate predictions on all kinds of topics:

Apparently, Brian has the capability of seeing the future in his dreams. He boasts of 93% accuracy and some of the proofs he provides are indeed fascinating. He also predicts winning lottery numbers all over the world. Two of his predictions that I'm particularly interested in are the announcements that President Bush will be impeached in 2006 and Governor Schwarzenegger will get and die of cancer in 11 months.

Go visit.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What advanced degree should I get?

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Another haiku about Emperor Bush

L'état c'est moi, 'kay?
Once you accept that, you fucks,
We'll all get along.

Haiku taken from The Rude Pundit:
Pictures stolen from Jesus' General:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Wizard of Oil, by Genius Dood Abides

The Wizard of Oil
by: dood abides
December 12, 2005 at 17:58:02 America/Los_Angeles (It had to be done. This is stupefying in its artistry and all-around brilliance. - promoted by Maryscott O'Connor)


Somewhere under the radar, way down low.
There's a land that I heard of once, where the oil still flows.
Somewhere under the radar, folks are screwed.
And the schemes that you dare to scheme really do come through.
One day I wrecked the family car, and daddy and my mummy Bar remind me,
Of my troubles taking acid drops, the night they had to call the cops,
And then they fined me.
Somewhere under the radar, I'll get high. Drink Rye under the radar,
Try, oh yes I'll still try
Why, why must I be dry?

Dubithy: Turdo, I have a feeling were not in Texas anymore! We must be under the radar!

Glanda: Are you my Bitch, or are you a bad Bitch?

Dubithy: Who, me! I -- I'm not a bitch at all. I'm Dubithy George, from Texas.

Glanda: Ooooo!

Dubithy: What was that?

Glanda: The Potemkins. They're laughing because I am a Bitch. I'm Glanda, the Bitch of the Corps.

Dubithy: You are! I guess you're pardoned! But I've never heard of a beautiful Bitch before. Oh. But - if you please, what are Potemkins?

Glanda: The little people who live in this land. It's Potemkinland, and you are their national hero... er... heroine, my dear. It's all right - you may all come out and worship her.

Mayor Delay: As Mayor of Potemkin City in the county of the Sugarland of Oil I'll fundraise for you most illegally.

Barrister Roberts: But we've got to verify it legally to see...

Mayor Delay: To see?

Barrister Roberts: If she...

Mayor Delay: If she?

Barrister Roberts: Is morally, ethically

Father Robertson: Spiritually, physically

Father Dobson: Positively, absolutely

All: Undeniably and reliably dead!

Coroner Frist: As senator I must aver I cursorily examined her. And it's not quite clear she's dead, she's really, mostly nearly dead.

Mayor Delay: Then this is a day of intervention for all the Potemkins and their dependents! The Bitch's switch won't be turned off so fast!

Potemkins: Off, On! The switch of dread!

Which old switch?

That wicked switch!

Off, On! The switch that makes you dead!

Wake up, you sleepy head!

Rub your eyes,

Get out of bed.

Wake up, before that switch of dread!

We're on the Geraldo show

Let go... let go...let go.

Oh no, that's not Christian thing,

To bring the swells out.

Off, on! This rodeo!

Sing it high,

Sing it low.

Let them know

The wicked switch is dead!

We represent, we represent, The Alibi League,

The Alibi League, The Alibi League,

And in the name of The Alibi League,

We’ll cover up for you in Potemkinland.

We represent, we represent, The Gatorade Guild,

The Gatorade Guild, The Gatorade Guild,

And in the name of The Gatorade Guild…

We drink a toast to you in Potemkinland.

Glanda: Aren't you forgetting the Ruby Ferragamos?

Wicked Bitch: The Ferragamos - yes... the Ferragamos! They're gone! The Ruby Ferragamos! What have you done with them? Give them back to me, or I'll...

Glanda: It's too late! There they are, and there they'll stay!

Dubithy: Oh!

Wicked Bitch: Give me back my Ferragamos! I'm the only one with feet that wide. They don't even look good on you! Give them back to me! Give them back!

Glanda: Keep tight inside of them - they must be very comfortable, or she wouldn't want them so badly!

Wicked Bitch: You stay out of this, Glanda, or I'll fix you as well!

Glanda: Promises, promises! You have no power here. Be gone, before somebody drops a charge on you, too.

Wicked Bitch: Very well - I'll bide my time - and as for you, my fine laddie, it's true, I can't attend to you here and now as I'd like, but just try to stay out of my way.... just try! I'll have you, my pootie, and your little dog, too!

Glanda: It's always best to threaten the ultimate ending - and all you do is follow the Yellow Cake Road.

Dubithy: Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow the Yellow Cake Road.

Potemkins: Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the Yellow Cake Road.

Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow the Yellow Cake Road. Follow the Yellow Cake Road.

You're off to steal the Business, The Wonderful Business of Oil!

You'll find it is a Whiz of a Biz! If ever a Biz there was!

If ever o ever a Biz there was, The Business of Oil is one because,

Because, because, because, because, because.

Because of the Wonderful Bling for us!

You're off to steal the Business, The Wonderful Business of Oil!

Dubithy: Follow the Yellow Cake Road? Follow the Yellow Cake...? Well, now which way do we go, Turdo?

Scarecrum: Pardon me. This is a very neo-con way.

Dubithy: Who said that?...... That's funny. Wasn't he pointing the other way?


Starecrum: While I shoot them all my glowers,

Reducin' standin' powers,

Rubbin' 'gainst the grain.

With the plots that I'm hatching,

They're are all busy armor patching,

'Cause I'm clinically insane.

It may look just like I piddle,

When troops resort to griddles

To double prisoner pain.

Dubithy: With your thoughts, I hope you're winkin'

Are you sure you've not been drinking' ?

Maybe snortin' some cocaine?

Starecrum: Oh, I can be so sly,

This notion I adore.

I can link up things we've never lunked before,

I'll never quit, the kink and gore.

I am not a big fat muffin,

Like the lyin, always bluffin'

And leaving undies stained.

Even the Right thinks I'm scary

‘Cause I'm such a dingleberry,

I'm just clinically insane!

Dubithy: Ohh! Wonderful! Why if our Jim Crows back in Texas could do that, the crows’d be scared to protest!

Starecrum: They would?

Dubithy: Yep!

Starecrum: Where’s Texas?

Dubithy: That’s where I tell folks I grew up, and I want to get back there so badly, I’m going all the way to the Emirate City to get the Wizard of Oil to help me.

Starecrum: Do you think if I went with you, this Wizard would respond to pain?

Dubithy: I couldn’t say. But even if he didn’t, I couldn’t be any worse off than I am now.

Starecrum: Yes, that’s true. Look, I could raise trouble, because I’m so Right Wing, and I could manage things because you stink. Won’t you take me with you?

Dubithy: Of course I will.

Starecrum: Hooray! We’re off to grill the Wizard!

Dubithy: Why it’s a man! A man made out of sin!

Starecrum: What?

Dubithy: Yup!

Oil Man: Foiled plan!

Dubithy: Did you say something?

Oil Man: Foiled plan!

Dubithy: He said foiled plan.

Oil Man: Meee, Meee, My- mmmmmy, my, my, my knees! I can walk again!

Dubithy: Well, you’re perfect now

Oil Man: Perfect? Oh, bang on my war drum if you think I’m perfect. Go ahead, bang on it! It’s silent. I’ve got to find a way to give it a start. It all follows.


Oil Man: When an old man’s droolin’ spittle

And loose around the middle,

And with a worn out heart.

It’s because they keep exhumin’,

To the point that I’m inhuman,

And I’m only made of parts.

On a bender, I go mental,

I’m less than continental,

Disregarding life and art,

I defend the broken arrows,

As a boy I shot at sparrows,

Now I’m only made of parts.

For a fee, I’d drain the sea,

To pump the oil below…

Dubithy: Wherefore art thou, Conoco?

Oil Man: An oily teat… light and sweet!

Just to stop the drills transocean, heresy, commotion,

I think I’d fall apart.

I say bung, I’m the skipper,

Are you shocked, a double dipper?

For a war I’ve got to start!

Dubithy: I don't like this forest! It's - it's unpolluted and clean!

Starecrum: Of course I could make it a lot darker if I had a lighter.

Dubithy: Do - do you suppose we'll meet any wild animals?

Oil Man: We might.

Starecrum: Animals that - that don't eat meat?

Oil Man: Some - but mostly liberals, and liars, and gays.

Dubithy: Liberals?

Starecrum: And liars?

Oil Man: And gays.

Dubithy: Oh! Liberals, and liars, and gays! Oh my!

All: Liberals, and liars, and gays! Oh my!...

Roverly Lyin: Put 'em up! Put 'em up! Which one of you's Frist? I'll tie you all in together if you want! I'll tie you in with his Paw out behind the shack. I'll tie you into branding on the tush. I'll lie to you with my eyes open. Oh - tryin' to give me the axe, eh? Leaking about me, eh? Why?

Oil Man: Here - here. You play in the ozone!

Roverly Lyin: Afraid, huh? How long can you stay alive off that respirator? Come on - Throw out some spite, you sniveling medical ward! Put up your armor, you state-sided bag of wind!

Starecrum: Wow! Now that's some personal lyin'!

Oil Man: Yes - you've been giving him lessons.

Starecrum: Well - what's wrong - haven't you been teaching him too?

Oil Man: Well - well - I hardly know him.

Roverly Lyin: Well, I'll get you, anyway, Pee-Wee.

Dubithy: Shame on you!

Roverly Lyin: What -- what did you do that for? I didn't bite it.

Dubithy: No, but you tried to. It's bad enough trying to pick up an old wind bag, but when you go around picking on my poor little...


Roverly Lyin: Yes it really makes me pissy,

The ass you have to kissy,

And the jerks whose whims you serve.

But I can show a scowl less, lie and then kowtow less,

With a lowly softball curve.

Half the time I’m never tryin’, I’m just dandy at the lyin’,

My fate I will preserve.

The truth would be scissored…

Oil Man: I’ll keep the grizzled vizard…

Starecrum: I’ll grill insurgent gizzards…

Dubithy: If the wizard has an oil field in reserve…

Starecrum: Then I’m sure to cause more pain…

Oil Man: Spare parts…

Dubithy: The Dome…

Roverly Lyin: Mince words…

All: We're off to steal the Business, The Wonderful Business of Oil!

You'll find it is a Whiz of a Biz! If ever a Biz there was!

If ever o ever a Biz there was, The Business of Oil is one because,

Because, because, because, because, because.

Because of the Wonderful Bling for us!

We're off to steal the Business, The Wonderful Business of Oil!

Dubithy: There's Emirate City! Oh, we're almost there at last! At last! It's beautiful, isn't it? Just like I knew it would be. He really must be a wonderful Wizard to live in a City like that! Oh - Oh - what's happening? What is it? I can't run anymore. I'm so.... sleepy. This weeding poppies is such hard work...

We're lost in the woods

We're lost in the dark

We're swallowed by night

If I Could Just Bring a Thesaurus

Roverly Lyin: If I could just bring a thesaurus, I'd be mean, I' d nuke, I' d dispense.

My legal tomes from the thesaurus, would be Latin, and rotten, and dense.

I'd demean everything, dig at flesh and run afoul.

Without proof, give me proof I'd coyly growl - proof!

I'd lick at their heels, all would freeze at my zeal.

And my mountainous scow would be artful somehow.

And the rumors I could fling - If I - If I - could bring!

These habits you should expect of me. The punks want my vasectomy.

Though they wail as I lash, I would continue to bash,

Gore every hireling!

If I - If I - could sling!

Just sling!

Hallmark of all I purvey Hall - ma - a - a - a - ark of all I purvey!


Dubithy: Your modesty! If you could sling, you wouldn't be afraid of anything?

Roverly Lyin: Nope! Nobody but thou!

Oil Man: Not even White Phosphorus?

Roverly Lyin: Just leaves more for us!

Dubithy: How about a lobotomy?

Roverly Lyin: I'd accuse the Doc of misogyny!

Dubithy: Supposin' you met a sycophant?

Roverly Lyin: I'd turn him into a press briefing plant!

Starecrum: What if they weren't all for us?

Roverly Lyin: I'd tell 'em that they stink, of course!

All Three: How?

Roverly Lyin: How?

Verbage! What puts the sting into the knave?

Verbage! What makes 'em gag on the past and waive?

Verbage! What makes the accelerant charge at dusk, make the pissy pissed and the fussy fuss?

What makes the anomalous bad guard a plus?

Verbage! What makes our finks from heaven thunder?

Verbage! What makes that lawn filled with crosses a blunder?

Verbage! What makes the have-nots not-so-hot? What stops the gapes at the homeless cots?

What have I got that they ain't got?

All Three: Verbage?

Roverly Lyin: Say that again about a million times!

Wizard: I am Oil, the great and powerful Oil knows why you have come. Step Forward, Oil Man!

Oil Man: Ohhhhh!

Wizard: You dare to come to sell spare parts, do you?

And you, Starecrum, have the gruntery to spread your pain! And you - Lyin!!

Well, the opalescent Oil has every intention of slanting your requests!

But first, you must bring me the aluminum tubing of the Wicked Bitch of the West.

Wicked Bitch: What a floppy little dog. And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to visit me with your manliness.

Dubithy: What are you going to do with my dog! Give it back to me!

Wicked Bitch: All in short time, my little pretty… all in a very short time.

Dubithy: Oh, please give me back my Turdo!

Wicked Bitch: Certainly - certainly - when you give me those ruby Ferragamos.

Dubithy: But Glanda told me not to.

Wicked Bitch: Very well! Throw that basket in the river and drown it!

Dubithy: No! No - no! Here - you can have your old Ferragamos - but give me back my Turdo.

Wicked Bitch: That's a good little girl. They're not even in season. Ahh! Ah!

Dubithy: I'm sorry. I didn't do it! Can I still have my Turdo?

Wicked Bitch: No! Fool, that I am! I should have remembered - those Ferragamos will never come off, as long as... you're on vacation.

Dubithy: Run, Turdo, run!

Wicked Bitch: Catch it you fool!

Dubithy: Run, Turdo, run! Run, Turdo, run! He went away! He went away!

Wicked Bitch: Ohhhh! Which is more than you will! Drat you and your droopy dog! You’ve been more trouble to me than you’re worth, one way and another… but you’ll soon be my lover now!

Oil Man: Look! There’s Turdo! Where’d he come from?

Starecrum: Why, don’t you see? The Witch took him away from Dubithy.

Oil Man: Oh!

Starecrum: Come on, fellows!

Roverly Lyin: What’s that? What’s that?

Starecrum: That’s the bunker of the Wicked Bitch. Dubithy’s in that awful place!

Oil Man: Oh, I hate to think of me not in there. We’ve got to get in! Who’s them? Who’s them?

Finkies: Petro… leeee… yum! Petrol…yum! Petro… leeee… yum! Petrol…yum!

Starecrum: I’ve got a scheme on how to get in there. And you’re going to leak it.

Roverly Lyin: All right. I’ll go in there for Dubithy… Wicked Bitch or no Wicked Bitch… leotards or no leotards… I’ll rip ‘em a

fart. Ohhhh! I may come out a liar but I’m going in there. There’s only one thing I want you fellas to do.

Starecrum and Oil Man: What’s that?

Roverly Lyin: Leak me out of it.

Finkies: Petro… leeee… yum! Petrol…yum! Petro… leeee… yum! Petrol…yum!

Wicked Bitch: Ha, ha, ha! Going so soon? I wouldn't hear of it. Why, the Republican party's just beginning.

Ha, ha, ha, eh, eh! Ring around ol' Rovey! A docket full of liars! Well, the last to go to prison will see the first three go

before her! And your manly little dog, too! How about a little Willey Pete, Starecrum? Huh?

Starecrum: No! No! No! No! Help! I'm burning! I'm burning! I'm burning!

Wicked Bitch: No, don't throw that cold cream! Ohhhhh! You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm molting! Molting!

Finkies: Hell! Aw Hell, Dubithy! The Wicked Bitch has fled!

Dubithy: You mean, you''re all happy about it?

Finkie Leader: Very happy - now she won't be able to hit us with her aluminum tubing....

Dubithy: The tubing! May we have it?

Finkie Leader: Please! And take it with you!

Dubithy: Oh - thank you so much! Now we can go back to the Wizard and tell him the Wicked Bitch has fled!

Wizard: Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universalus Commitmenteaum e pluralis sanitarium, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Sp.D.

Starecrum: Sp.D. ?

Wizard: Yeah - that... that's Dr. of Spookology!

Starecrum: The sum of the squared boots of any two sides of an insurgent triangle is equal to the squared boots of the remaining side. Oh joy, it's the rapture! I can cause real pain!

Wizard: Therefore - for monstrous.... conduct, extraordinary pallor, contemptuous knavery against wicked bitches, I award you the Double Cross. You are now a member of the legions of Medals of Freedom recipients!

Roverly Lyin: Oh - Oh - shucks, folks, I'm besmirchless!

Wizard: Well, you force me into a catalytic combustion. The only way to get Dubithy back to Texas is for me to take her there myself!

Dubithy: An oil well too? Could you? Oh - but are you a clever enough Wizard to manage it?

Wizard: Dub - you cut me to the quick! I'm an old dry well man myself... born and.... bred in the heart of the Arabian wasteland

Dubithy: But it wasn't a dream... it was a dusty country... and you ... and you... and you were there. But you wouldn't have really gone there, would you?

Mummy Lar: Oh, we hallucinate a lot of silly things when we've had too much to drink...

Dubithy: No, Mummy Lar... it wasn't the DT's... this was a real, truly filthy place. But I remember one of the bitches was pretty nice...but mostly it was miserable. But just the same, all I kept saying to everyone was, we're not leaving 'til we have a victory. and they kicked my ass out. Why doesn't anybody believe me anymore?


The Abominable Torturer

I used to think that the French and the Americans were the most chauvinistic, ethno-centric and self-delusional people in the world. Whenever we talked about the French, my friends and I would mockingly use the expression «le berceau de la civilisation» (craddle of civilization) instead of the simple name «France» and one of us would crow like a rooster because it's the French national symbol. Good times, good times.

Of course, it was easy then to make good-natured fun of the French, they were so ridiculous. But it's different with the «Amerloques»: these people are actually sincere in their self-delusion. They actually believe that their country is the only, the single one country in the whole wide world that is pure and sinless and full of good intentions. They stubbornly refuse to see that their national history is as full of blood and atrocities as that of every other country, they willingly swallow their own Koolaid, they hypnotize themselves into erasing from their collective mind all traces and records of invasions, genocides, rampages, massacres, etc. «That was before», they say, «Now we're civilized». Until they're caught doing what other countries do: they practice torture.

Ah yes. Torture. How bad, how awful, we only use it when necessary, blah blah blah. Most Americans don't know or choose to forget that in every country where the US have some interests to protect, they send in the CIA to teach the local goons the fine art of torture. In Vietnam for example, the notorious tiger cages were their signature legacy.

I recommend that you read Vladimir Bukovsky's article in today's Washington Post:

His article, called «Torture's Long Shadow» starts with this joke: One nasty morning Comrade Stalin discovered that his favorite pipe was missing. Naturally, he called in his henchman, Lavrenti Beria, and instructed him to find the pipe. A few hours later, Stalin found it in his desk and called off the search. "But, Comrade Stalin," stammered Beria, "five suspects have already confessed to stealing it."

To those who are naively thinking: «Well, I'm willing to accept the use of torture for the sake of the nation's security», let me inform them that they or someone they love migh very well be the next one arrested and tortured. And once they are, I'm willing to accept that they will assuredly confess to stealing Stalin's pipe, if that's what's requested of them.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sushi * But Were Afraid to Ask

Domo Arigato, Meiko chan!

UPDATE: It didn't occur to me to point this out, but apparently some people -- and we pity teh fools -- might think the video is a serious documentary. So let it be known: it's a frigging joke, people!!!

UPDATE [7 mARCH 2006] - The link doesn't seem to work anymore. If you click on it, it'll take you to the general Google Videos page, in which case you have to search for: «How to enjoy sushi» by Japan Culture Lab.

If it ain't broken

Three containers of medical equipment reportedly donated to China by the Mormon Church or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City in November were found to have contained stained bedding, used surgical clothes and expired medical equipment...Local quarantine inspectors discovered the contents after they were sent to charity organizations in Beijing, Hebei and Anhui provinces...Poor quality medical donations involving expired equipment, used surgical gloves, bandages and other items were also found in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province.

Same method as when smallpox-contaminated blankets were commonly used throughout the European settlers' advance to remove those pesky Indians from coveted territories?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Putting up the Christmas..uh..I mean, the Holiday lights

Hehehe... Music: Jingle Bells by Eminem [actually it's a parody by Bob Rivers]

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bah, Humbug!

There's no denying it: I' m getting old. I've become the dreaded old coot sitting on a rocking chair on his front porch, with a rifle on his lap, yelling at passing kids to get off his lawn.

The coming holiday season is weighing on me like a lead blanket: I wake up tired in the morning and go through the day in an exhausted daze. I am trying to avoid the stores as much as I can and to buy my presents online. But it's only the first week of the month and I'm already running out of money. Just the idea of buying a Christmas tree, decorating it, watering it every day, then dismantling it before vacuuming away all the fallen needles seems like an impossibly streneous enterprise, like climbing Mr Everest or sorting and filing away 10 years of past income tax returns. So no Christmas tree this year: instead, we're going to use the huge ficus tree that I had to drag in from the balcony in preparation of winter. As to the presents, I have a cunning plan: cash for everyone.

Now if I can only stay in bed with the doggie until the end of winter...