Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Blog Quebecois has a nice reply to Barbra Steisand's memo to Senator John McCain.

John McCain has served this country. No one in this election is denying him that. But his selection of Governor Palin has demonstrated that he is willing to put his desperation to win this election above the welfare of the American people. As someone who has spent over 40 years advocating on behalf of women both politically and philanthropically, as someone who was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and as someone who cares deeply about the health and welfare of all women, hear me Senator McCain: "This calculated, cynical ploy to pull away a small percentage of Hillary's women voters from Barack Obama will not work. We are not that stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Dear Barbra,

As your new writing coach, may I offer some advice?

Contrary to popular opinion, decorating your sentences with excessive punctuation does not convey -- some might say it even detracts from -- the cogency of your argument!!!

Furthermore, the intensity of your feelings is best communicated by proper attention to word selection and cadence!!!!! Ending your, um, essay with nineteen (19) exclamation marks (I counted them) just makes you look . . . stupid!!!!!!!

On the positive side, at least she avoided writing all in caps, which is a popular technique for people of her age. If you have a theory, please use the comment form below.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lost time at Reno Depot

Wal-Mart is still the worst big-store weekend shopping experience yet devised. But Reno-Depot took a giant leap forward (or backward) in my book of stores that piss me off.

I had to buy a door. Thinking of the details make will make me shake with anger, so I'll summarize: I bounced around the store from one person to another to order a pick a door, pay for a door and cut a door.

I experienced lost time--three hours of it--and might as well have been probed by aliens and had my clothes put on backwards.

But the afternoon wasn't without its laughs. A yellow front door panel announced to the world (inappropriately, I thought) that it was HIV (positive, I guess). See photo.

Then there was an animatronic machete-wielding Jason, right in time for impressing your neighbours, if you live in a place where such an item is the object of desire.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I hate people who are 'tired of elections'

At IGA supermarket last week, I was forced to wait for several minutes in the six items or fewer line because Patron 1 at the front decided to contest the price of her five items. Patron 1 saw the lineup but wasn't dissuaded. After all hope was lost, she left. But the damage was done. People were fuming.

Next up: Patron 2, who asked for four kinds of cigarettes and rolling paper (!), which is difficult to find if you are not a smoker. The cashier was not a smoker. What's worse, the cigarettes are hidden away forcing the cashier to open and close most of the drawers in her attempt to find. Even though Patron 2 experienced the unholy wait caused by Patron 1, she, too, didn't much care.

The only thing I hate more than the behaviour of these two patrons are the people who are now complaining that they are tired of federal elections and don't want one again. What the hell is wrong with people?

I'm not sure what makes these hyper-sensitive people 'tired of elections'. It's not like they have to undergo chemotherapy. It's not like they have to travel the country and shake hands with countless people. They don't even have to read the party platforms or watch the news.

All they have to do is wait until election day, go to a neighbourhood school or hockey arena, wait in line for about 20 minutes, and move a pencil a few inches while applying moderate pressure with their fingers. They even get to leave work early.

I think these people are 'tired of elections' in the same way as they are 'tired of their hair style' or are 'tired of the shows on tv'. It's not a real 'tiredness' like a single-mom waking up at 6am for 18 years to take the bus to the factory in order to make enough to send her child to university. It's a fake 'tiredness'.

If you are tired of democratic elections, clearly life (including life in Canada) is too much for you to handle. Courage, mofo. Courage.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Air conditioned bus service suspended because this is Quebec and things here suck

Il y a en effet une passion mâle et légitime pour l’égalité qui excite les hommes à vouloir être forts et estimés. Cette passion tend à élever les petits au rang des grands ; mais il se rencontre aussi dans le cœur humain un goût dépravé pour l’égalité, qui porte les faibles à vouloir attirer les forts à leur niveau et qui réduit les hommes à préférer l’égalité dans la servitude à l’inégalité dans la liberté.

- Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique,
Nolla (éd.), Paris, Vrin, 1990, p. 44.

The Quebec intelligentsia is made up of university professors, union leaders, and goateed Che-t-shirt-wearing university students. They dominate the province as did Premier Maurice Duplessis and the Catholic Church in the 1940s and 1950s.

These folks love equality more than they love anything else. So Quebec spends more on social problems than anywhere else in North America. And it taxes its residents more too.

When an alternate view is presented, it is immediately shelved. For instance, former Premier Bouchard and some non-conformists suggested in October 2005 that maybe we need to rethink our far left model. He said that Quebecers work less than Ontarians. They wrote "Pour un Québec lucide." It was denounced by the usual suspects.

So strong is the equality-before-liberty ideology that the usual suspects are criticizing a plan to bring air conditioning to a few public transit buses. These are new buses on new routes to bring office workers long distances. In one case, the buses will bring Bell employees to their new campus on Nuns' Island.

Instead of praising the fact that Montreal will be joining the twentieth century by introducing air conditioning on city buses--a feature that will likely spread when the transit authority sees how popular it is--labour leader Stéphane Lachance is upset that it will create a "two-tier" system.

C'est pas possible.

Transport minister suspends 'two-tier' commuter bus routes
Local transit authority to run Vaudreuil line
AMY LUFT, The Gazette
Published: 13 hours ago

Two new express bus routes, one scheduled to begin tomorrow, have been suspended.

The service, set to offer luxury coaches to commuters from Vaudreuil and Longueuil, has been called off after complaints that the Metropolitan Transit Agency did not respect Quebec transport ministry procedures, transit minister Julie Boulet said Friday.

The price of fares, Boulet said, had not yet been approved by the Montreal Metropolitain Community, a public group overseeing regional issues such as transit.
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The announcement came after the MTA awarded a five-year, $2.8 million contract to a private company, Transdev Limocar, to offer bus service on the new lines.

The routes, which were set to start tomorrow in Vaudreuil and Sept. 15 in Longueuil, came under scrutiny last week by critics who said the new fleet of luxury buses created a two-tier system.

The new coach buses would include air conditioning, toilets and wireless Internet access.

The suggested fares for the Vaudreuil to Côte Vertu line are $4.75 per trip or $95.50 a month, while the Longueuil to Nuns' Island route was suggested at $5.25 per trip or $74 per month.

"We need to be vigilant and fight to maintain a public service which is accessible, efficient and most of all fair," said Stéphane Lachance of the Canadian Union of Public Employees' transport workers' division.

Lachance said last week that the new coach-style buses are unfair for taxpayers.

"On the one hand, the MTA is taking its revenues from (fees for) drivers' licences and tax on gasoline and, on the other hand, it's subsidizing a privately run, high-class service that's not available to everyone."

A no-frills service will be offered beginning tomorrow on the Vaudreuil line by the Conseil intermunicipal de transport La Presqu'Île, which provides local transit for the Vaudreuil area.

Can you spot which of these men is
Stéphane Lachance of the Canadian Union of Public Employees?