Friday, July 28, 2006

Human Rights in Slow Motion

Yesterday, on the way to work, I had one of those epiphanic moments. I don't know if this happens to you, but sometimes my mind zooms in on an urban vignette somewhere in the city, like a tight cinematic close-up. Often, the profound thoughts this sparks are lost in the subsequent hurricane of daily tasks. But sometimes, I remember.

Every day, I bike past the Chinese consulate in Toronto. And every day, some elderly Falun Gong practitioner stands in front of the cold gates, performing Tai Chi-like poses, in quiet, passive protest against China's brutal persecution of their group. In reality, these geriatric, turtle-like exercisers pose no threat to anyone. But the communist government in China is afraid of any kind of organized movement and thus (allegedly) kills, maims and tortures them.

Yesterday. the remarkable vision of that little old woman slowly stretching her muscles, bones and tendons, in a free country -- in plain view of her enemies -- with the somehow anachronistic white buds of iPod headphones sticking out from under her rain hat was not lost on me. A history of palpable violence and stern defiance lurked behind the seeming peacefulness of her wrinkled face. That little woman represented the best that Canada has to offer the world; the judicious power of a commitment to maintain human rights.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Calgary's Teeming Million

Run to the foothills! They're breeding! First untold riches. Then babies galore. What next...a majority government? Personally, I think the rise in population is a Liberal scheme: Aliens have been growing baby clones of Anne McLellan in test tubes in order to overwhelm the good 'ole boys in the next election.

Sweden, look out, cuz here comes the Dough family with little baby Kay-Dough in tow.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sweet F-All

Hi all. Just in case you are EFFING wondering what I'm up to: I'm EFFING busy!!! Life passes you by at times like these. If you are not rushing to work, you are rushing to play and then rushing to bed; waking up way too early, popping a handful of Advil, inhaling a jug full of espresso and then rushing off again. I saw a poster for one of those remote Buddhist week-long retreats on a street pole the other day with a picture of a beautiful meditation camp up North. I didn't have an extra 20 fucking seconds to write down the phone number.

Why couldn't I have just remained a lazy, irresponsible artist?


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Report: Welfare Schmelfare!

The National Council of Welfare will release a report today that is supposed to provide policy options for a long-term anti-poverty strategy. Unfortunately, it looks like this is yet another in a long line of redundant, useless social policy studies. The report actually says "Neither political nor economic nor social policy changes seemed to have any dramatic effects on income inequality. The statistics show no great strides forward over the post to (past two?) decades for the poorest of Canadians." Hmm. How much cash did they liquidate to come to that enlightening conclusion?

If I am reading this correctly, their advice to the government is that there is absolutely no tangible effect from any of our current poverty-targeted social, community-based or economic programs on improving people's lots. Out of the other sides of their mouths they are calling for government to strengthen its commitment to such programs. More puzzling is the government's response: "A spokesperson for federal Social Services Minister Diane Finley said the government values the council's work but feels it has initiatives already in place to address poverty..." (Toronto Star) Of course, it should be noted that the council is a citizen's advisory body (fancy name for stakeholder-based special interest group) to the HR minister, with no real power to change anything.

It's more than ironic that low and fixed-income Canadians can barely survive, but those who have the required level of education and funding can make a living writing about the static fate of being a low-income Canadian. I don't get it. This is all just more indication to me that academia exists in its own little make-believe world, designed for the logically-circular perpetuation of itself and that government has its head up its collective ass on what really matters: People.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What kind of person...

What kind of human being do you have to be to stand by and watch casually as a mob of teens beat and stab another kid until he is naked and bleeds to death and dies? A stupid, sheepish, cowardly fucking idiot. What is wrong with these humans? They make excuses: 'You have to live here to understand. This happens all the time. It didn't seem that bad'.

No one even bothered to call the police. That kid was someone's child. You don't live in a Third World nation. Blaming violence on the government, police or socio-economics is a cop out. Take responsibility for your own community for fuck's sake. It's a reflection of what you are. You own it and the blood is on your hands.

I'm really sick of this shit.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Missing Bush Dialogue

Media printed the following George W. Bush quotes yesterday, as overheard by a secret microphone over the weekend at a world leaders luncheon. Problem is, there was no transcription included for the other participants in the conversation. Therefore, in order to offer some context, K-Dough has provided the missing dialogue to help you better understand the exchange.

Here is the quote that appeared in the papers: "You eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country. Takes him eight hours to fly home. Not Coke, diet Coke. ... Russia's big and so is China. Yo, Blair! What're you doing? Are you leaving," Bush said.

Here is what the White House didn't want you to hear:

Putin: That hooker got me really drunk last night. Around midnight, I got the munchies and ate so many cold pierogies it took me 8 hours to put on my pants this morning!
Bush: You eight hours? Me too.
Putin: Uh George, your pants are on backwards buddy. And it looks like you had a little peney-leakage there on the front too... (laughter around the table).
Bush: Russia's a big country and you're a big country!
Putin: Um, ok buddy. You don't have to be a big baby about it.
Bush: (To a puzzled Tony Blair) Takes him eight hours to fly home!
Putin: To fly home? No, I said to "put on my pants". But speaking of "fly", yours is over your asshole right now (guffaws and chortles from other world leaders). But seriously George, I think you spilled your Coke on the front of your pants there bud.
Bush: Not Coke, diet Coke!
Putin: Whatever. Sorry, didn't mean to mention "coke". I know that's a bit of a sore spot for you...(laughter around the table- some leaders are actually crying).
Bush: Russia's big and so is China!
Putin: Christ, talking to this guy is like talking to a four year old. George, are you reciting geographical facts from your briefing notes again? What does geopolitical sphere of influence mean? Why don't you just ask your best friend Tony? Oops. Look, there he goes...
Bush: (Nervously yells across the room) Yo, Blair! What're you doing? Are you leaving?

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Friday, July 14, 2006

WARNING: GO Derailment

All GO Train service from Union Station has been suspended for rush hour and the rest of the night because of a derailment. Our precious city will soon be overtaken by wandering zombie suburbanites scavenging for fast food and video rental stores.

We need to organize. We need to get emergency carpools together to usher these lost sprawlers out of our secret kingdom for the weekend. If you see a displaced wanderer, do not approach them. If they offer you alcohol, decline. And for the love of god, if you do accept the alcohol do not mate with the suburban-dweller!

Oh my god, gotta run. That Canadian Tire couple has broken through security at my building... They have dangerous looking lawn tools and look pissed! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

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Mucho Caliente!!!

In keeping with my penchant for omni-cultural harmony and hot Spanish T&A (tequila and the Andes, you horned-up sex doggies!), I have to plug Telelatino's Salsa on St. Clair street festival which kicks off tonight. In 2005, the event's inaugural year, more than 200,000 people descended upon the couple of blocks that I am proud to call my hood.

There is something for everybody at this street party. There are several awesome latin bands playing on different street corners, as well as on the main stage, cultural vendors and a kids' play and stage area.

Most importantly though, there is plenty of booze, food and hot latino/latina eye candy. What more could you ask for in a cultural event? Come one, come all. Ride the red rocket or bring your red rocket. But whatever you do, haul that sweet ass of yours uptown to St. Clair and experience a little of what I get to love and covet everyday!

For info and directions check the link out HERE. Have a great weekend kiddies- I know I will!

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cheer Up Canada

A new "study" says Canada, if it were some monolithic, animated entity would be relatively unhappy compared to the other countries of the world. We scored 111th out of 178 countries on a feel-good scale. I, for one, have a problem with demographic studies like these. They look at key indicators in a very biased way. The way they structure the methodology simply prescribes the results. Why couldn't they construct a more realistic paradigm within which to rank countries? For instance, I'm sure we would be leaders in being miserable. We could blow the competition out of the water when it comes to mindless consumerism. Surely, we'd rank at the top of any selfish and ignorant scale.

The study said we would be a lot happier if we didn't leave such a giant ecological foot print. Why can't we just look on the bright side for a change? You know what they say about those with big feet, right? Christ, can't we just cheer up? What a bunch of pessimistic, cynical fucking assholes we've become. And why do we always have to swear so much?

Look, I can't type anymore! I feel the urgent need to go punch someone from a happy country in the neck. Anyone know where I can find a radiantly-smiling Vanuatuan?

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Soccer Balled!

Ok, now that I've expunged all that sensitive, feel-good World Cup crap from my brain it's back to the painfully bizarre. As you know, every joyous event has an underbelly of absurdity, and I'm about to tell y'all about it, yo. This one is fo' the fellas in da howse today.

You all know that classic male-targetted cartoon/slap stick comedy scenario: Coyote falls from cliff, lands with legs straddling fence? Or cowboy jumps from top of saloon and lands backwards nut-first on the horsey? Well, this actually happened the other day - Italy's V-Day- amidst the craziness on St. Clair.

On Sunday, as we waded through the mess of insane Italy fans on the sidewalk, a group of 15 year old boys went screaming past us, flags rippling. The straggler- a skinny olive-skinned lad with hair gelled to the max and wearing big baggy soccer shorts was running to catch up to his friends and whizzed by my arm -- almost on the edge of the curb. See the picture above?

In the flash of a second, about 4 feet in front of us, his head disappeared and his ass went straight up in the air - stopped dead at the sack by an unseen bike post!!! Instinctively, all 4 guys present in our group immediately clutched our tender packages in mimed sympathy and grunted out loud. Then we stood there gawking in beer-inspired smirking amazement, as Nads the Impaler peter-tottered on the top end of that bike post for what seemed to be about 20 seconds. Poor kid.

We saw him about 10 minutes later. He had caught up to his paisannos, and was huddled in a ball in a bank kiosk as his buddies howled. In the end though, I'm confident that he was comforted by the swollen pride he felt at Italy's cup win. At the very least, he had gained himself a nice big souvenir set of Azzurri balls.

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The View from Little Italy

It may be trite, but there is absolutely no option for me today but to write about Italy's World Cup win. You see, I live in Toronto's St. Clair West neighbourhood - the quintessential Little Italy. Yesterday, we had some Italian friends over from the burbs - Woodbridge, which is basically Little Italy north- to watch the game. Also, our neighbour CJ- who has deep roots in France- was there. My WASPy wife, me the Ukie, my rapidly-growing almost-2-year-old daughter and our friend Elana- an American-Canadian Jewish-Greek (long story) all ate prosciutto and Camembert, drank Dutch beer and broke bread while taking in the final showdown. After the winning goal, we ran out to the porch to hear the tidal wave of roars originating on the Corso Italia pour down St. Clair, through the neighbourhoods of Italians, Jamaicans, South Americans, Portuguese and everyone else under the sun. In minutes, the entire area erupted into a deafening din which sustained itself well into the night from that moment on.

We had to get out there, so we waded through the swarming masses of ecstatic Tri-Colore adorned revellers -- many of whom were likely not Italian either. The pure joy emanating from these hundreds of thousands was contagious. And the event was as conspicuous for its festivity as it it was for what didn't happen. There was no violence. No lawlessness. No injury.

But the day didn't end for us there. We then subwayed ourselves down to Queen's Park, because despite the celebrations in our hood, we couldn't miss checking out one of our favourite summer cultural festivals, AfroFest. Within minutes, we were enveloped by thousands who came to experience African music, food and culture. After a while we were drawn back to the happy insanity that continued to grow in our absence only a few stops away.

Even though I'm not Italian, I felt immense pride in my heart yesterday. I even felt sentimental. Some might ask "Why would you care? You're just a mange cake". To those I would say this: What happened in this city yesterday exemplified the best that Toronto has to offer. The beer buzz, the people and the warm blanket of an inclusive community all made me realize I would not want to be living anywhere else on this globe. It also made me think how happy I am to know that my daughter will have the rich, unique and priceless advantage of growing up in the most omni-cultural city on the face of the earth.

Viva Italia! Vive le Canada!

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Meeting of Great Minds

Harper: (Thinks to self: Oh-my-god. Am I actually standing next to him?) (To Bush) Great day for a game of golf sir. Um, might I say that I love your khakis. Nothing says Commander-in- Briefs like a stiff pair of khakis I always say. Oops! Did I say say briefs? Silly me, I meant briefs! Sorry chiefs. I...
Bush: Shut up, smile and stop bobbin' around like a goddamned billy goat Pete.
Harper: Steve sir. It's Steven. Steven Harper sir.
Bush: Never heard of him. Now listen up Pete, these bastards just want us to smile. Can you shut the fuck up and do that Pete?
Harper: Sure. I mean "Yes sir! Commander-in-Chief sir". (Whispering from side of mouth) What are you gonna do about that Kim Jong-Il guy sir? You gonna show 'em what's what? You gonna tear 'em up into little pieces of bulkoki?
Bush: Kim who? Sounds like a girl to me Pete.
Harper: Yeah, I know. (Nervously) Ha ha ha. Look, I don't really know how to say this but there is just one little thing I was supposed to mention. I know you don't have much time but could we possibly talk about, oh you know, that stupid softwood problem?
Bush: (Turns smiling to face Harper) Look asshole, I don't know what Laura said to your wife over there but I saw 'em snickerin'. Alls I got to say on that score is I'm seeing a dick doctor and he says in no time the little soldier 'll be standing at attention again, if you catch my drift. Then I'll give Laura and your wife something to snicker about I tell you, yessirree. Woo weeahhhhh doggy!
Harper: Oh gee, that's not what I...
Bush: Any how, shake and smile again cowboy. I gotta fly. Those fuckin' golf clubs ain't just gonna swing themselves is they?
Harper: Ok. Call me! (Whispers while biting lip gently and holding back tears): God, I love him.
K-Note: And if this didn't completely suffice your laughs quota today, check out this nutcase's blog, ironically titled Dr. Roy's Thoughts.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Droning On and On and On...

What's all this about Canada needing more drones in the military? I'm confused. Is that a proposal to send MPs into battle? Are they talking about embedding CBC teat-swilling slugs like Don Newman in Afghanistan? Or do they mean we should be sending autoworkers overseas? I just don't get it. Can anyone clarify this for me? Am I stoned? Do you know where I put my socks? Ha ha ha. Socks! I said socks. If you say socks a bunch of times it loses all meaning. I wonder if god wears socks. What do you think? What were we talking about?

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