jon stewart

jon stewart is a funny man, but he's also a patriot. that's how he comes across. he makes wise cracks and jokes and bad presidential impersonations, but at the end of the day, he is a man who genuinely cares for his country.

bill moyers did a recent interview with jon, discussing everything from his role as a news provider / social commentator, to the violence at virginia tech and how that type of carnage is a daily aspect of life in iraq, to the role of the media and how cowed the media had appeared to be in the face of the bush administration and the war.

the most interesting part for me was the section where jon talks about the disconnect between the message and the reality of the iraq war. george bush says that the war on terror, specifically the iraq war, is the fight for the american way of life, that if iraq is lost, then so too goes the beginnings of freedom and american life. jon questions why, if it is the fight of their lives, does the president only want to send in a ten percent increase in troops? he suggests that the president would probably like to send in 400,000 troops, but they don't exist, and the only way to get those numbers would be to install the draft and that's when people will wake up and fight back against the administration. so the only recourse for the administration is to keep the american people relatively fearful, but not so fearful that the american people take a break from their busy, daily lives to really examine what the government is doing.

jon is absolutely right. there is a disconnect, and this touches upon the larger reality of how important is this war on terror? during the second world war, citizens were asked to really sacrifice. to buy war bonds, to hand in luxury goods so the soldiers can have silk for their parachutes and the weapons they needed. a plane was made every hour. the whole country was geared to the war. the war on terror, however, doesn't effect the average person on any real level. it effects the troops, the families and friends of the troops, but most citizens are able to go about their daily lives without even so much as a hiccup.

this is something i'd been wrestling with for a while now with regards to canada's role in the war on terror, and how in afghanistan we've been fighting to keep the terrorists at bay, but back at home, it hasn't really effected me one bit. my biggest worry is passing a financial exam, not whether we lose in afghanistan, let alone the war on terror (which, by the way, you cannot win through the military. it can only be won through the police, intelligence, and government policies). i would go so far as to say that while i understand the sacrifice our troops are making, hard as i try, i can't relate to any of it. war is not what i was taught to believe it to be. the purest experience of war that i and most canadians have witnessed is through the movies, which has its pros and cons.

any rate, that discussion is a post in and of itself, and for another time. what the bill moyers interview shows is that jon stewart cares. strip away the labels, and what you get is a citizen that truly and deeply cares about his country. he's motivated by a social conscience, not greed or power, which is why he is more of a patriot than george bush can ever be.

here is the first few minutes of the interview. it's definitely worth checking out. watch the entire show here on the pbs website.


don't believe everything you read.

i've been thinking more of late with regards to what people tend to choose to believe. and i say choose because that's exactly it; it's a choice. people tend to pick and choose political beliefs, scientific beliefs, and religious beliefs to name a few.

for example, i pick and choose aspects of both left and right wing political thought to develop my more centralist views (typical canuck). there are some things that make me conservative on certain issues, while more liberal on others. it's just the way my mind works.

the religious stuff, however, is very interesting to me, most notably because i have a pretty straightforward view of religion: it's a joke. but that's my belief. what is really interesting to me is how particular some people can be with regards to their religious beliefs. some people think islam, as an example, is an inherently violent religion, while others like to emphasise the more benign aspects of it. the very book that osama bin laden quotes to go to war can be used to talk about peace and prosperity. with regards to the bible, you have situations where people will pick a certain passage and pass it off as the "bible truth," yet in the same breath, they will quote a different passage and say it's not to be taken literally.

this video clip from an old episode of the west wing sort of explains my point quite nicely i think. i suppose one has every right to pick and choose religious beliefs the way one picks and chooses scientific beliefs, but don't tell me it's the god's honest truth above all else, cause it's not. it's just not.



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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

um... i think my head may explode.


down in disturbia

down in the valley is a peculiar movie. it's a quietly disturbing film about a delusional man who believes he's a cowboy, that starts a relationship with a bored but rebellious teenage girl. i never heard of this movie until i saw the trailer for it online and to be honest, i'm not surprised i missed the movie's release.

it's an interesting movie for sure, and it moves in slow gradations, building on scene after scene until the plot comes to a slow boil about two-thirds the way through, to slowly limp to its finish. it's definitely not for mass audiences, because it's not a thriller nor is it a love story. it's more of a character portrait the way taxi driver is, and like that film, down in the valley's climax doesn't really make it worthwhile to sit through the film a second time. the film actually pays homage to taxi driver's infamous "are you talking to me?" scene, but this makes sense once you find out how much of a film buff the guy is.

it is, however, interesting in terms of how it portrays this urban cowboy. at first, you don't really know what to make of him, because he comes across as a naive guy. but you slowly get a broader picture of him as you start to learn about his fascination with guns, cowboy movies and basically playing cowboys and indians in his living room... by himself. what i really liked about this film is that two-thirds the way through, the plot effectively sets aside the love interest in favor of showing the relationship he kindles with the girl's younger brother.

another movie i've come across is disturbia (which is a horrible title for a movie). i sort of wandered into this movie not expecting anything, and was pleasantly surprised. i thought it would be your typical silly thriller, but it turned out to be quite entertaining.

the plot involves a kid who is sentenced to house arrest after punching his spanish teacher. he has slowly wandered down a troubled path ever since the death of his father. he spends his days playing video games, making twinkie mountains, and spying on neighbors. his boredom leads him to get pretty involved in the lives of his neighbors through his binoculars. one such neighbor is the girl next door, who's brought in as the resident hottie. as the days progress, he starts to think one of his neighbors is a serial killer, and he jokingly starts to investigate him, only to become a serious target.

the film is interesting in that the first hour, you barely notice that it's a thriller. it's basically about developing the protagonist as a flesh and blood, three dimensional person. normally thrillers don't take time to do such things, because they're usually more involved with playing out the formula than anything else. what you get is a movie where this teenager is actually quite bright, funny, troubled, curious, horny... basically a complex kid like most teenagers. by the time the movie starts getting into the thriller formula, it's basically already an hour into the movie, which i thought was brilliant.

there are some actual scary moments in the film, but i suppose it would have had more effect on me if it weren't for the three girls sitting behind me whose shrieks and giggles were a precursor to the scares. still, i was entertained, and the writing was actually pretty good. even the goofy asian sidekick didn't annoy me like i thought he would.


heaping spoonful of shit

the conservative government in canada is claiming that in order to meet the kyoto protocols, they would have to manufacture a recession. they claim that it would result in the doubling of natural gas costs, electricity would rise 50%, gasoline would cost over $1.60 a litre, and 275,000 canadians would lose their jobs.

now, to be fair, there has been fear-mongering on both sides of the global warming debate, but the the difference is that global warming is a real and present danger. whereas the conservative number crunching seems manufactured. it reaks of greed and desperation and i'm calling bull shit on this one.

they're influencing the numbers by omitting all the benefits of a shift in business and political thought. they're omitting how many new jobs will be created by new industries, how the trend is to go towards green economics and how beneficial it would be for canada to be ahead of the curve, at the forefront of new and innovative technologies, not to mention all the benefits of real conservation if the government actually had the balls to enforce anything.

this whole scam reaks in a really bad way. the conservatives are not serious about global warming. what they fail to understand is that we'll eventually pay, both economically and environmentally; the longer we wait, the more we'll have to pay. it may hurt in the short run, but we'll be better off for it.

the conservative government is actually trying to get canadians to swallow this shit. and i'm not talking a little bit; i'm talking about heaping spoonfuls of it. open up and say "aaaahhhhhh...." mmm... you taste that? that tangy taste there was the corn you had last night, mixed in with your intelligence and common sense. eat it.



get your fat ass off the couch

get ready to kiss your ass goodbye. at least, if you're a realist, that's what it's going to come down to. i'm not talking about the glass being half full or even half empty. i'm talking about how once you drink what's left in the glass... there's no more.

global warming is something that i've been rambling about for a while now and will most likely not cease. after all, it is such a well of inspiration... at leat until the gamma rays scorch the earth and turn every single human being into burnt toast. spring break in december? why not? it's hot out and the girls wear less. it's a win, win situation, yes?

sure, i may be using hyperbole, but global warming is a serious threat. but is it so serious that only the government can stop it? the following is a clip from last friday's bill maher. i have to say that i do agree with maher when it comes to the government. only the government will be able to fix this and that will only happen when the people force them to. it's all about the power of the people. now, if only we can get our fat asses off the couch.



geraldo rivera and bill o'reilly are arguing about something. what are they arguing about? who cares. somebody should give those two some nerf bats. fox news... fair and balanced.


entourage: a lifestyle is a terrible thing to waste

entourage is back, and it couldn't have been at a better time. well, actually, they could have given it to us six months ago, but that's a minor complaint now that the premier of the second half of the third season is happening on april 8th at 10 pm.

for those of you who have been living under a rock, entourage is about four friends making their lives in hollywood, dealing with expensive clothes, expensive women, and fame. the first half of season 3 ended six months ago on a cliff hanger, with super agent ari gold being fired. then the show went into hiatus with the intent of airing right after the sopranos, which is in its final season. the reason for doing this was presumably to give entourage a boost in ratings and viewership, and since the sopranos is the last of hbo's flagship shows to sail off into the horizon, hbo is sort of hurting for material. the channel once applauded for original television is now suffering a bit of a lull. in order to return to glory, hbo will have to start taking more chances again, really push the envelope, considering regular networks like nbc are already doing it with shows like heroes, which, by the way, is the second best show on tv.

the good news is that entourage is better than ever. and according to the advanced previews, it looks like they've kept the show just as amazing as ever, full of beautiful girls, witty writing, and still no real responsibility, the show is every guy's wet dream. despite it being very much a guy's show, i've yet to come across a woman who doesn't love it also.

fame. it's more fun with your friends.

season 3 sneak preview:

season 3 backstage footage of vince's birthday: