god is not great

atheism has started to come out in the media as of late. with the relentless preaching and attacks against science (darwin in particular) in schools and the media, with the constant mixing of politics and religion to call for war and vengeance, atheism has had to come out, sort of speak, and remind people of the importance of science and logic and reason.

christopher hitchens, author of god is not great: how religion poisons everything, is one of those at the forefront of the counterattack against magic and fairies and any other such loss of reason. the following is a question and answer session he participated in at a release for his book:


al gore

al gore lost the presidential election six years ago, and america has not been the same since. more specifically, the office of the president has never seemed more dictatorial and short sighted as it does today. it's nice to think of all the things that could have been had gore won the 2000 election. the truth is, he lost, and he had only himself to blame. he was coming off of one of the most prosperous times in american history, a time when domestically and internationally america was still respected. it was his election to lose. and he did that. gore lost his home state of tennessee, which he represented for so many years in congress. if he had won tennessee, florida and all the chads in that woe begotten state, win or lose, would not have mattered.

but that's the past. this is the present, and people have been clamouring for months now for gore to join the presidential race. many believe that if he does, he can not only win the democratic nomination, but the office of the president itself. if there was any time for gore to come back, it's now. he's coming off the popularity of the inconvenient truth. he was right about global warming, he was ahead of the curve on the iraq war - the guy looks like a forward thinking genius.

and look at this competition: as much as i'd like to have faith in people, i don't know whether americans are ready yet to elect its first black or female president, especially when one is hampered with inexperience and the other is, well, hilary clinton. and with regards to the republicans, the competition is even sillier. john mccain has lost all credibility on account of being crazy, rudy giuliani is basically running on what kind of a bold leader he was after 9/11, when he was pretty much a non-entity before then, and mitt romney is basically a joke. that guy doesn't know the truth from his own asshole, because it seems the truth is whatever he says at any particular time. the only republican with any decency is ron paul, who won't win because he has no money and he says truthful but hurtful things that piss people off, like suggesting that perhaps america should look within itself to find what it is that people hate so much about it.

the conditions for him to win are there. people are frustrated and angry about the war, about the current president, about all the corruption and incompetence of their government, and now they're pissed at the democrats, who last week lived up to what they've feared all along by giving into george bush's war funding: they're a bunch of pussies. it's time for someone who has integrity, credibility, intelligence and the foresight to take america and, let's face it, the world into a new direction, because whichever way the world's only superpower leans, the rest of the world leans that way too whether intentional or not. there also a lot of support out there, with several grassroots campaigns that aim at "drafting" al gore for the presidency.

but al gore will not run. he's a movie star now, and basically, he's found his calling: fighting global warming. plus, i think he's a little afraid. and who wouldn't be? no one wants to fail at the same thing twice, especially when the second time around seems just as likely as the first time that he should win. like a man burned one too many times at the poker table, he opts to take the safe move and build his legacy around the greening of the world, as opposed to two failed presidential bids. still, if he did ever run and win, it would not only be a second chance for him, but one for america also. sort of a do-over of the last six years, if you will. how poetic would that be? how very american would that be? to right the wrongs that happened in 2000... you can't write a better plot than that.



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don't believe the hype. the war on terror is as real as a three dollar bill. it's a ruse. it's a slogan designated to keep your eye off the ball. instead it's meant to keep you looking over your shoulder in fear. forget health care, forget the economy, forget the fact that the mastermind of 9/11 has yet to be caught. forget afghanistan and tax breaks for the rich and the fact that virtual sycophantic monkeys run important levels of bureaucracy and government, bent on keeping the status quo no matter what the cost. forget the erosion of education and scientific thought as the magical and delusional gain strength. forget habeas corpus, or the lack there of. forget that torture is as american as apple pie.

the war on terror will never be "won" because 1) you don't ever win a war. because even if you think you've won, you really haven't. this is an age old paradigm that humans have long been unable to shake; it's just not that black and white. 2) this "war" isn't against another army, it's not against "evil doers." it's primarily against oneself, and secondarily against a small militant group of fundamentalist that frankly cannot be bombed into submission.

what do i mean by this? i mean that the united states government is using all the wrong tools in fighting this "war." i'm not saying i have any answers, all i'm saying is that it seems pretty clear that the superior military might of the american army with over 400 billion dollars a year in funding just isn't working. not against these so-called "terrorists" who are masters of asymmetrical warfare. war is in their blood. just like the war on drugs, the powers that be are using the wrong tools to fight the problem. in the case of the war on drugs, having made it a criminal matter instead of a health care issue is the primary problem. locking up drug users and their dealers isn't working. legalizing certain drugs and making it about health care and treatment is the way to go.

with the war on terror, you can't use a military to bomb an enemy when there is no major enemy. say what you want, but al qaeda does not threaten western society. far from it. it seems to me that this has less to do with the military, and more to do with law enforcement and policing. integrated intelligence gathering through the use of local law enforcement in various countries seems more effective, such as breaking up terror cells, etc. is there a place for the military in this so-called war? sure. through the use of special forces, small, well placed tactical strikes, and good intelligence. cluster bombing a nation won't get the terrorists. it'll only create more. it will only end up radicalizing people who, previous to the bombs blowing up their children, were quite moderate in their politics and beliefs.

the other part to this phony war is policy. you won't change people's minds until you're out of their back yards and you quit meddling in their affairs. this means that what american foreign policy has been in the last sixty years has to change course. instead of leaving military bases and waging wars to secure oil, try research into alternative fuels and conservation. humans have a nasty habit of not being satisfied, of not wanting to restrict themselves in any way. but the truth is, limits have to be made, conservation must be done. it'll save your lungs as much as it will save your soldiers. it's much harder to look inward, to figure out why it is people tend to hate you, to try to fix those problems within yourself. it's much easier to simply say that they're jealous and they're evil and... just who are they anyway? and it's easier to stonewall than it is to open up, to engage, to exchange ideas.

we've tried the sword. we've taken that path as far as it will go. now let's try the pen.

here is the latest real time with bill maher, condensed, for your viewing pleasure. many of the ideas i've touched upon are discussed here. what we have is a discussion on the war on terror, a surprisingly thoughtful actor, a democratic party full of pussies, and a true republican who's not afraid to tell it like it is. this is a really good episode.

bird shits on leader of the free world

mother nature weighs in on geo-politics:


hitchens vs falwell

jerry falwell is dead. now you're probably one of two people in the world: either the kind that prays for falwell's safe passage into the gates of heaven, or the other kind, that has no problems kicking him when he's down.

i am of the latter type. i have no problems kicking falwell when he's down, because let's face it, he kicked everyone that didn't believe what he believed when they were down. this is the man who spent every waking moment of his life stealing the money of believers under the guise of religion and faith. this is the man who contributed to the misery of millions of people's lives, basically those that did not follow him or contribute to him. this is the man who said that the 9/11 attacks happened because of pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and the a.c.l.u.

his "legacy," if there is such a thing, is not to be celebrated. in fact, it is to be dismantled and deconstructed for what it is: a thievery corporation.

christopher hitchens, author of the book, god is not great: how religions poisons everything, certainly sees falwell for who he was. hitchens holds no punches:

and on a lighter note, here's bill maher's take on the dearly departed:



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i'm the type of person that can enjoy a quiet art-house flick just as much as a big-budget popcorn one. to me, art is art, and just because it's a studio movie, doesn't mean that there isn't as much artistic merit as an indie film.

that being said, i must admit, that the only movie i am looking forward to this year is the transformers movie. yes, michael bay, the director, is a hack and yes, it looks like it has a paper-thin plot based on a cartoon that was created to advertise for a toy line, but really, all that is secondary to what is really important: giant. fucking. robots.

not all art has to be a commentary on society or social ills. to me, art is true when it accomplishes the goal it set out to do, and in this case, it's not to educate on shakespeare, but it's more to do with huge explosions and robot on robot fighting. you can see the artistry at work, in the cgi animation, in the robot designs... and if you don't think that's art, then you need to re-evaluate your definitions for "art."

art doesn't have to pander to the pretentious artsy elite in order for it to be considered great art. in fact, i'd say it's the opposite: any art that is inclusive and broad enough for the masses to enjoy, is great art. after all, you want your art to reach and touch as many people as possible. i mean, c'mon, why can't a movie just be about a boy and his car trying to get laid in the middle of an intergalactic robot war? i'll tell you right now that star wars and e.t. effected more lives than brokeback mountain.

i know my point seems a bit silly, but popcorn art, if done right, can be really effective. i mean, i've seen the mona lisa, and if you've seen the real thing, you'll know it's not a big deal. (the mona lisa looks better on a post card).

there is a new trailer out, and this one really does make the inner fan-boy in me just explode. let's go down the list: explosions? check. hot girl who looks perpetually sweaty? check. robot vs robot mayhem and destruction? check. this movie looks loud and kinetic and fun, which is what you want from a summer blockbuster. forget peter parker and his lame black suit. (spiderman 3 was a snooze. i'd love to have those two hours of my life back).

the first trailer is the domestic one, the second is the international one. each trailer has slightly different scenes which equals more robot fighting, which is a plus any way you score it.

domestic trailer:

international trailer:


big fish in an even bigger pond

"the god of the old testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

- richard dawkins, the god delusion.

richard dawkins is the author of what is turning out to be an atheist's very own "bible" of sorts, the god delusion. it is a well place, tactical shot across the bow of the ship called religion. dawkins, a proponent of evolution, science and reason over spells, fairies and lemming-like behaviour, is a very confrontational figure. primarily because he comes across as an insulting, arrogant elitist to those followers of religion that are caught in his cross-hairs. to other, more... sensible people, he's a reasonable, scientific man who tells the truth as he sees it.

who is worse? the person who draws back the curtain and shows you the wizard of oz for what or who it is, or the person who lets you go on believing without a care in the world? sure the latter is more consoling, but consolation doesn't necessarily make it true, as dawkins himself says.

the follow are two separate canadian interviews dawkins did over the last little while. the first is by george stroumboulopoulos on the hour. the second is a longer, more detailed one by tv ontario, the agenda with steve paikin. whether you agree with dawkins or disagree with him, you have to admit, that insults sound much better when hurled by an englishman.


the reformed reform party

so i haven't been talking too much about canadian politics lately because, well, it's a snooze. there are way more sparks flying in american politics these days so my attention has been diverted elsewhere. perhaps if stephen harper started institutionalizing torture like his american counterpart, it would worth writing about.
however, i did come across an amusing article from the globe and mail that indicates some discontent with various conservative supporters in regards to the centralist decisions harper has been making over the last little while. it appears many of them were quite excited that harper won because it would mean they would get a bigger voice in ottawa. or so they thought. now, harper - gasp! - is behaving like the prime minister of canada, forced to make decisions to accommodate the whole of canada, not just western canada. who'd a thunk it?
at any rate, there is talk of possibly resurrecting the former reform party of canada. if you don't remember, the reform party was a western-centric party, borne out of the supposed "western alienation." well, if they want to bring the reform party back, i'm all for it. that way they can syphon out all the intolerant, homophobic, racist, bigoted elements that remain in the conservative party as a result of the merger years ago with the reform and the old progress conservative party. maybe then the conservative party can be the way it used to be, conservative, yet progressive, with all the selfish caveman elements marginalized in a separate party, that was, and always will be, unfit to rule for a nation based on tolerance and multiculturalism. by doing away with the more extreme, fringe elements, the conservative party may be able to restore some faith in the party and gain some respect from non-conservatives.
as a side note, i never bought the whole western alienation slant. i've always thought of it as nothing but selfish leanings by various backwards-thinking westerners. yes, ottawa has screwed over the west in the past, but it's not like the west is the only part of canada that has received the short end of the stick before. canada is about unity and taking care of your fellow citizens, and sometimes that means sharing your oil profits and other natural resources, and generally making sacrifices for the good of the nation.


the full santorum

a lot of ranting and raving as of late in the news world: about the iraq war, ronald reagan, evolution, d.c. sexcapades and paris hilton going to jail. and on bill maher's show, it's no different. save for maybe it being a little more entertaining thanks to comedian garry shandling. genius, that guy. somebody give him another show!

anyway, last week's episode of real time with bill maher was a pretty good sum up of some of the major discussions spreading around in the news currently. i just have one question: does
fristing hurt?


write what you know: die yuppie scum

they say to write what you know. and there's a reason why they say that.

this is all about my current writing career, or lack-there-of. i had been working on a book called giants for the better part of two years. but somewhere along the way, i began to struggle with it, never really getting a good grasp of the material since probably around june or july of last year. it was supposed to be my big political opus, but it didn't turn out that way.

so i gave up on it. well, i started revisiting it due to a series of circumstances that are a little too boring to really get into here, but long-story-short, two days ago i started revisiting the material, to see if i can't breathe some life into it. then the unthinkable happened: i lost it. by lost, i mean, saved over, and by it, i mean the novel. all of it. i'm still not quite sure how it happened, but i saved over the file, thus losing all that is giants. i mean, i have a few bits and pieces here and there, but for the most part, it is gone. kaput. done.

so what does this mean? well, if this were last year, i'd have tossed my computer across the room and then lit it on fire. but it's not last year, it's this year, and while i've lost writing in the past, i've never lost a whole novel, and in this case, i laughed about it. it was so stupid, really. i mean, struggling with that novel for so long, to build myself up to start writing again, only to lose it in what amounts to a brain fart on my part, is just laughable.

but i think i may have done it on purpose. at least subconsciously. that book really wasn't very close to what i know and who i was, and that's where the whole write what you know comes in. losing giants gave me a clean slate, as well a feeling that a burden has been lifted off my shoulders: giants was my albatross. it had come to represent everything that was so wrong with last year. i'm glad that it's gone.

so write what you know. repeat that mantra. because it's the truth. to this date, desert sessions is still my favorite of all the novels i've attempted, and that's because a good chunk of what i wrote was so personal and it was what i knew. yes, there was exaggeration, yes there was some made up parts, but it happened to me, or it happened to someone i knew. simple as that. all in all, it was probably equal part truth, and equal parts fiction.

so i start over again. and i focus a little more. and i'm writing what i know, which is basically yuppies, politics, and road trips. the goal this time is to go more personal, to mine what is essentially my life and the lives of those around me, which could be a bad thing for my friends, but hey, most of them can't stand to read my shit, so what they don't know won't kill them, right?

specifically, i've started to focus on two or three close friends (and not-so-friends) of mine, because their personalities are so larger than life at times. to give you an example, i'm talking about a border-line racist ice queen who rarely thinks before she speaks, and a misogynistic, not-quite-as-smooth-as-he-thinks-he-is yuppie-scum player who says things like, "she was walking like john wayne after i was done with her..." i guarantee that one of my friends will eventually come up to me and demand, "is this suppose to be me?" it happens with every book.

now i haven't written a word yet and already the plot outline and character sketches ring true. it'll be interest to see where this all goes. i'm not expecting anything; just writing, because that's all someone like me can do. to not write is not an option.



the black rebel motorcycle club put out their best album in 2005 called howl. i thought it was a brilliant departure from their previous two albums, a great leap in the evolution of the band. the album was bluesy and folksy and emotional.

now they've released baby 81 and it's more of a return to their previous stuff, which is a bit of a let down for me. i was hoping they would continue on with their folk sound, but i suppose it was not meant to be. however, there are still some good tracks on the new album.

and here's some brmc from their last album. a live radio performance that shows just how different the music was on howl.