Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 7

I need to address one more statement that my friend James made. He suggests that I, in particular, am attempting to smear Ford's reputation. Pray tell, why would I want to smear Ford's reputation???

I fully support Rob Ford's policies and proposals for rebuilding Toronto's infrastructure. I fully support his attempt to reign in spending and lower taxes. I have NEVER, EVER opposed his political position.

But it is very clear that he is a public embarrassment. He keeps shooting himself in the foot, and his supporters keep expecting Ford to be given a pass. Let's be perfectly clear: I do NOT believe in blind loyalty. For all the good that Ford does, he also needs to earn our respect. It is not enough that he is a good policy wonk.

A comparison with Stephen Harper is in order. Harper is also a good policy wonk, but he has never personally bothered me. So Harper does earn my respect. I can't really fault the man.

But it is, oh, so easy to fault Rob Ford.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 6

http://www.cp24.com/news/doug-ford-denies-drug-allegations-against-him-1.1296615

John Stackhouse, Editor-In-Chief of the Globe, is interviewed about the Ford family story. Honestly, he sounds MUCH more reasonable and convincing than does Doug Ford. And Stackhouse is not nearly as smooth and slick as Doug is. I have to believe Stackhouse.

It is unfortunate that the Globe's sources want to remain unnamed because of their fear of the Fords' powerful influence. But this is not new in journalism. Historically, people in power have always scared their enemies into silence, but that has not prevented journalists from reporting on important stories. News organizations have to rely on journalistic integrity to gain the trust of the public. I have no reason to doubt Stackhouse or the Globe and Mail.

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 5

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/05/25/toronto-denial-doug-ford.html

I just watched Doug Ford's interview on CBC News. It is soooo exasperating! Doug is doing this elaborate song and dance (just as I expected) and basically evading all of Asha Tomlinson's questions. Watch for yourself and you be the judge.

He just won't give a straight answer. His responses are full of diversions and innuendoes and he goes off on wild tangents. In particular, he repeatedly says that journalism today has gone into the gutter. He accuses the Globe and Mail of fraudulent reporting. So I did a bit of investigating of my own...

There is no record of the Globe ever having been sued (successfully or unsuccessfully) for fraudulent reporting or violating journalistic integrity. Perhaps my Google search is faulty–it wouldn't be the first time. If any of you can show me that the Globe has, in fact, engaged in fraudulent reporting, please, please, inform me. I'd like to know whether Doug Ford is correct about the Globe or simply blowing hot air. Thanks.

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 4

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/community/editors-letter/editors-letter-why-we-published-the-ford-family-story/article12152740/
This weekend,  The Globe and Mail is publishing an extensive examination of the Toronto Ford family’s decades-old connection to illicit drugs We are doing so with utmost caution, journalistic rigour and legal scrutiny – ultimately believing that Torontonians and, more broadly, Canadians need to understand the background of the most politically powerful family in the country’s biggest city. 
Mr. McArthur, one of the country’s most respected investigative reporters, began work on this project in late 2011, in an attempt to detail the history of the Fords. Although Rob Ford had been well-documented as a councillor and mayor, little existed on the public record about his older brother Doug, who has emerged as a force in the mayor’s office and across the city. 
We have approached Rob and Doug Ford several times to speak to the allegations. A senior Globe editor visited Doug Ford, privately, to explain the purpose of our research. Doug Ford rebuffed our entreaties, and aggressively threatened legal action. [My emphasis.]
Doug Ford's public response this afternoon to the Globe story is pathetic. Of course, a news organization should and must conduct investigative journalism:  that's their frickin' job! Why should it be hands off for the Ford family?? Especially in light of recent events, it behooves all of us to further understand the story behind the story, the background of this powerful family.

It is all the more timely given the insipid response of Rob Ford to the crack cocaine allegations. On the highly dubious advice of his legal counsel, and against the advice of his Chief of Staff, Rob Ford chose to remain oddly silent on the story, failing to get out in front of it and perform damage control. Then finally he did release a (carefully crafted) statement and it was reminiscent of Bill Clinton's song and dance with the public–a terrible PR failure. This just made everybody more curious. With this latest Globe story, we now have a better understanding of what's going on.

All the telltale signs are here. They may be "circumstantial" but they paint a fairly reliable picture of the truth. We don't really need the video anymore. The same can be said for Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky story 15 years ago. Did we not all "know" the truth back then even before Clinton finally 'fessed up? I sure did.

So how can there be any doubt about Rob Ford today? Unless you are blindly loyal to him. Unless you are partisan to the extreme. Unless you were also one of the fools who believed Bill Clinton in 1998. Unless you are terribly delusional. Unless you are really, really dense. This is soooo obvious, folks!! Really. I can't believe I even have to write all this. It's a sad commentary on Rob Ford supporters...

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 3

This is one of the FUNNIEST reader comments I have ever read:
He doesn't need to see the video to comment. He knows or has reason to suspect whether or not the video is authentic. If he is certain that he has never smoked crack with drug dealers, then he can categorically deny that it is him in the video without ever seeing the video. Saying the accusations are "ridiculous" is NOT denying the authenticity of the video. It IS ridiculous to think a that the mayor of our nation's largest city would be so stupid as to hangout with drug dealers and smoke crack. There are only a few reasons why his legal counsel would advise him to refrain from immediately denying and dispelling the accusations.
  1. He is not certain if the video is fake or not because he has smoked crack so many times and with so many different drug dealers that he can't be sure if one such occasion could have been caught on video.
  2. The video is authentic but he was working undercover with the TPS at the time trying to "smoke out" crime.
  3. He knows the video is fake because when he smokes crack he only ever uses a brillo pad.
  4. ... ?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 2

Rob Ford had better pray the video never gets out. I think this is what Ford and his idiot brother are hoping against hope for–that they can delay making a statement until they have absolutely no choice, until the video is released and forensically verified. Until then, Ford is counting on a miracle to pull his fat ass out of the fire that he himself created.

It's been 5 days since Gawker lost contact. Maybe the crack dealer was only temporarily detained. Ford is rolling around his bed in the middle of the night dreaming that the dealer has gone for good. If only. Please, God, make it happen. Please! I'll do anything. I'll be Grand Marshal in the next Gay Pride Parade. I'll stop eating burgers and fries and pizzas and guzzling beer. I'll stop grabbing women's asses. I won't read and drive anymore. Just do this one little solid for me, pleeeease...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ah, Rob Ford, Rob Ford, Rob Ford... Part 1

Rob Ford's behaviour is completely inexplicable, unless he has something to hide. Why is he not vigorously defending himself?? If there were no merit to the veracity of the video or the crack cocaine accusation, I'd be screaming my defence from the top of the highest mountain.

It seems to me that he has fired his Chief of Staff because he refuses to follow any of his advice. (Presumably, his Chief of Staff has given him some very sound advice.)

My gut tells me that Ford is guilty and he's hoping the whole thing will blow over if he simply shuts the fuck up. It ain't gonna work.

What astonishes me to no end is how stupid Ford is. He's the Mayor of Toronto under the constant scrutiny of the public and the press. And yet, he takes the risk of smoking crack! This goes beyond horribly bad judgment. This goes beyond monumental stupidity. It speaks to a highly defective personality and an EF5 level of arrogance and narcissism.

The situation is so bad that we haven't even heard from my friend James. I'm guessing that even James has given up recycling his usual defence (ie, the left-leaning press and city council are out to get him). This latest event is simply "a bridge too far", one too many in a long line of scandals and controversies that has plagued the Mayor's tenure. James has had enough. I don't blame him.

It baffles me that anyone would defend Ford in the first place. I knew he was a buffoon from the first moment I laid eyes on him...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

I love this garage rock version of one of my very favourite songs:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Living on the Knife Edge of Reality

I'm feeling rather euphoric these days. Part of the reason has to do with the new condo -- I'm getting very excited -- but in general something else is going on, as well...

I feel much more at peace now than at any other time in my life. I look at other people, and especially women, differently. I accept them for their flaws and I try to understand how they feel, how they view the world.

No longer driven by libido (mine has been dialed down a lot), I take a much more leisurely attitude towards women and how I interact with them. I may or may not feel the desire to bone them, but I no longer care enough to obsess about it. Beautiful women are all around me, just as exotic sports cars (ie, "panty-droppers") are. It's enough that I can dream about them, I don't need to possess them. I just take it all in stride.

I recognize that I may not be very good in relationships, and that's fine. I am what I am. I can only do the best with what I've got (or what God gave me, if you're religiously inclined). If a woman is not going to be my romantic partner, perhaps she can be my friend. And for the first time in my life, I am perfectly okay with that.

I have nothing to regret about my life. It's a very good life. I am physically healthy. I am mentally sharp and alert (thanks to multivitamins and Omega-3). I am feeling good (exemplified here). I can loosen my coin purse without feeling guilt or remorse.

And while I've not won awards and accolades, while I've not reached the pinnacle of success in the eyes of others, I feel very good about my achievements. It was not a wasted life -- I learned a lot, and I continue to learn. I have many skills and talents. I've acquired wisdom, much more than I realize, I'm sure.

Even my mortality I am learning to take in stride. At the age of 57, I can see the end coming -- 20 years to dementia is a mere blip in time -- but I feel more philosophical about life. I can't live forever, but I can live now. Fear of the end is my only enemy, and fear can only be dispelled through living well.

And I am living well, despite what others may believe. For far too long, I've measured my life against others, and this is a toxic position to take. The only thing that matters is how I feel about my life. I am doing what I enjoy -- it may not impress you, but I don't need to impress you (another first for me).

To achieve this state of being, I've learned to live on the knife edge of reality. What do I mean by that?

Somehow, I've managed to find myself existing contemporaneously in both "reality" and "fantasy". The two are interchangeable. The life that I could've had with Mary is as "real" as the life I have now. "Experience" is no longer confined to my perception of reality.

It's as if my imagination can take on a life of its own once seeded with a bit of reality. The life that I could've had with her is now a part of who I am.

It is a precarious balance, but oddly enough, I find myself solidly on good footing. My Silver Beast is my Maserati. The women with whom I might've been can be my friends. My new home will be a wonderful refuge (tied to my plasma TV), but I imagine trekking around the globe with nothing more than my credit card. These are all equivalent "realities".

Possibilities are realities. The only reality that counts is the one that you feel the closest affinity to. And I feel affinity to many of them...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Movie Review: Sucker Punch


We couldn't be further apart...

Rotten Tomatoes give Sucker Punch a dismal 20% rating. However, I think it's one of the Best Movies of the Year.

Today was also my first introduction to Ultra AVX (Audio Video Experience), the rival to IMAX that has just arrived in Canada. Naturally, you pay more for Ultra AVX, $3 more. It's not quite as expensive as IMAX, but I can tell you that, as a Cheap Bastard, I won't be paying for Ultra AVX very often.

The screen is almost as big as IMAX -- wider but not as tall. The Ultra AVX theatre has only reserved seating -- wide, rocker seating. Incredibly comfortable. I selected seat F17, which was just about ideal, although I did have to crane my neck a little bit. To avoid that, you'd have to sit further back, but then the screen wouldn't fill your vision as much.

(Note: Because of reserved seating, I advise you to get to the theatre early. Today, it didn't matter because the theatre was 90% empty.)

As soon as the commercials started playing, I knew I was in for a remarkable cinematic experience. The picture was crisp and sharp and highly detailed. The sound was thunderous, but the bass was tight, not sloppy. The sound stage was excellent. And these were just the ads!

The story is about a young girl -- let's call her Baby Doll -- who is institutionalized in an insane asylum. She has a plan to escape, but she needs the help of her fellow inmates: Sweet Pea, Rocket, Blondie, and Amber. In order to get through her dark experience in the asylum, Baby Doll also has to escape from her mind into fantasy. It is in this fantasy realm that director Zack Synder, who brought you 300 and Watchmen, treats us to spectacular and stunning visuals, the likes of which I have not seen before.

The film reminds me of Inception, with delusions within a delusion. And these delusions are truly wonderful. Great action and fight sequences. Very imaginative art direction. And the girl soldiers are sexy as hell. (You can bet I'll be going to bed tonight with Baby Doll on my mind...)

Zack Snyder's next film is Superman: Man of Steel (2012), and based on his three successes (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) I can hardly wait!

In conclusion, Ultra AVX is terrific. I'd say it's as good as IMAX. But because of the cost, I'd reserve Ultra AVX for special movies, movies that promise spectacular visuals and sound.

Sucker Punch is a fabulous movie. I will definitely get the Blu-ray disk when it comes out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Review: I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil is a profile of evil incarnate. This statement doesn't do it justice. The film is a gruesome depiction of the worst excesses of the human mind...

Speaking of worst excesses, I Saw the Devil is the latest from Korea that pulls no punches when it comes to painting horrific images. It's the kind of movie that only Korean filmmakers excel at -- the visual vomit makes Hollywood's most demented creation look like a Saturday morning cartoon.

There was one scene that almost made me throw up, a first for me. And I've seen a LOT of disgusting horror films.

American = Derivative. Japanese = Anime. Korean = Cinematic Depravity.

The story revolves around a school bus driver named Kyung-chul. He's a sexual sadist and a serial killer and a cannibal. At the beginning of the film, he targets the daughter of a retired police chief and fiancée of an elite secret agent name Soo-hyun. In the scene that I referred to above, Kyung-chul takes a meat cleaver and chops her up into pieces like you would find in a butcher shop.

When Soo-hyun (who looks an awful lot like Daniel Dae Kim from Lost and Hawaii Five-O) identifies the killer, he takes his revenge to an epic scale. Who is the monster in the film?

At 2:24 long, this film contains a number of profound plot twists. It's very engaging.

By the way, Min-sik Choi, who plays Kyung-chul, also played the villain in Oldboy and Lady Vengeance, two films that I enjoyed. I'm just guessing, but I think he needs to expand his repertoire before he becomes stereotyped.

Major Thumbs Up. Highly recommended. But I strongly advise you to steel yourself before entering the movie theatre...


And just a minor point: Why am I not having nightmares? What is wrong with me??

Monday, February 14, 2011

Another Valentine's Day Message

This video shows a memorable performance from David Boreanaz in Bones. His character, Seeley Booth, has his heart ripped from his chest and soundly stomped. He exquisitely reveals his anguish and anger over having his proposal to Hannah (Katheryn Winnick) rejected. Love really sucks.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alone

On the eve of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd offer up some thoughts...

What a wretched holiday, celebrating love and pair bonding and procreation when one in three marriages ends in divorce and their family life is irrevocably shattered.

On last evening's Bones, Seeley Booth proposes to Hannah but she turns him down (she's not the "marrying kind"). Profoundly heartbroken and despondent, Booth becomes very cynical and down on the entire female gender. He has now been rejected by three women to whom he gave his heart and soul. (The first gave him a son.)

One sympathizes.

On Dr. Phil, a 35-year-old woman has been preparing an elaborate wedding in anticipation of meeting her soulmate by the Valentine's Day 2011 deadline. (She recently gave up and donated her wedding to a deserving couple.) Like most women, she sought joy and bliss in "marriage" but what she really wanted was a grand wedding.

Talk of soulmates and marital bliss always makes me puke. It's a fantasy that is constantly promulgated in our society, and Valentine's Day is the pinnacle of this manipulative tradition.

Don't accuse me of being a cynic or a pessimist. I am merely offering my observations of the real world. There is nothing wrong with being alone. Indeed, it should be glorified. It is only our annoying genetic predisposition that causes us to fight loneliness. Learn to embrace solitude. Own it. Build a cathedral to it.

In the final analysis, it is all simply a state of mind. And the mind, as we all know, is infinitely malleable...


"I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."
Henry David Thoreau

"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone."
Orson Welles

"A man can be himself only so long as he is alone."
Arthur Schopenhauer

"All of our unhappiness comes from our inability to be alone."
Jean de la Bruyere

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 is the 60th Anniversary

I am leaving soon, and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly.

The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all, or no one is secure.

Now, this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression.

The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression, we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first sign of violence, they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is, we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war. Free to pursue more... profitable enterprises.

Now, we do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works. I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.



The original release date was September 28, 1951. I plan to throw a party on that day (it's a Wednesday).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

If Mary could sing...

This song has a really nice beat:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Logical Song

My favourite song of all time:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blue Valentine

I love a film that takes you to the edge of melancholy and depression...

It's very sad but it's so beautiful.

It will keep you thinking - and feeling - about the possibilities for long-term love for days after you've left the cinema.

Wretched and beautiful, devastating and passionate, Blue Valentine evokes every inch of its title's dichotomy.

Emotionally raw, heartbreakingly beautiful and superbly acted.

Pulls no punches in terms of its heavy subject matter and boasts wonderful performances from stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

Exquisitely painful to watch.

Assuming one can use the word "enjoy" for what might be the greatest feel-bad movie of the year, I enjoyed BLUE VALENTINE a lot.


After reading these reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, I almost feel like slitting my own wrists...

I can hardly wait to see the movie.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movie Review: Client-9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

I was anxious to see this film, as I've been fascinated with Eliot Spitzer ever since the sex scandal broke. The film is very good.

It was astonishing to follow this man's political career. He could easily have been the first Jewish President of the United States. His fall from grace was heart-rending.

Spitzer made many high-power enemies during his crusade against Wall Street and the New York legislature. But he was honest enough to say that he didn't blame his enemies for ganging up on him. This mess, he brought upon himself.

The most memorable comment in the film came from one of his former employees. To paraphrase, all he did was have sex in a hotel room. That's it. And for that, he was crucified.

Ironically, Bill Clinton remained extremely popular, even after a woman sucked his cock in the Oval Office. But Spitzer has not been able to shake *his* scandal. (Although, he *does* have an excellent program on CNN called "Parker/Spitzer".)

I have grown to like and admire Eliot Spitzer. Sure, he betrayed his wife. But, cripes, it was only sex!! One of the most natural of human urges and needs. Otherwise, he's a very smart man, a very determined man, who fought against the worst excesses of Wall Street.

I highly recommend this film.

WikiLeaks

The whole world seems to be focussed on shutting down WikiLeaks and persecuting Julian Assange. I'm going to give you my two cents' worth, and you're not going to like it...

I think we should leave Assange alone. He did nothing "wrong". Even though I disagree with what he did, I support his right to do it. After all, we live in the digital age where information can be disseminated around the globe at the speed of light. We need to understand and appreciate this.

All information is fair game, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. This applies to ALL platforms on the Web, including Facebook, Twitter, Craig's List, WikiLeaks, and the like.

If you care about your privacy, about your confidentiality, then take the necessary steps to safeguard your information. This applies to you and me. And this applies to the United States of America.

The United States foolishly made their information accessible by nearly a million people. Did they really think they could prevent information from leaking?

And once the information was leaked, why should anybody in the digital universe assume any responsibility to keep that information private? In the digital age, all information is fair game. When it comes to privacy, the responsibility ultimately rests with YOU, the information's owner. Don't look to anyone else as a scapegoat. Don't try to censor the Web. Don't try to bully the Web into digital decency and morality.

The Internet is amoral and agnostic, as it should be. There is no right or wrong on the Internet. There is no cultural context, esp. given that countries as disparate as Iran, China, and Japan are connected. There is only information, and freedom of information. There is only communication, and freedom of communication. And anybody who tries to keep a lid on all of this is himself in the wrong. (I'm look at you, China and USA.)

The Internet has value because it is free and open. Anybody can post anything he wants, including child porn, terrorist propaganda, classified information, snuff films, etc. We don't have to like it, but we have to respect the freedom and openness of the Web.