Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Blue Black Friday . . . .

I don't want to be Scrooge here (well, maybe I do) but personally, I think this is a positive development. People just don't need all the crap they buy!

Per Reuters this afternoon:

Shoppers spent less over Black Friday weekend
Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:53pm EST | By Nicole Maestri

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Consumers spent significantly less at the start of the holiday season this weekend, dimming hopes for a retail comeback that would help propel the economy early in 2010.

While shoppers turned out in force as early as Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, many said they had zeroed in on highly discounted items, would buy only what they needed and would walk out of a store if they did not find a good deal.


Consumers said they will have spent nearly 8 percent less on average, or about $343 per person, over the weekend that includes Thanksgiving, Black Friday and runs through Sunday, according to the NRF.


Shoppers interviewed across the country by Reuters over the weekend said they were lured by bargains, but would stick to pared-down budgets.

"If they don't have rebates and sales before Christmas, I don't think people are going to go back shopping after Black Friday," said Joel Wincowski, a higher education consultant shopping at a Best Buy store in Plattsburgh, New York. He bought an Xbox 360 game console for $299.

"We're going to cut back on everybody, even the kids."

As "drf" has advocated for years:

"Simplify your life" . . . .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Chris and Stephen Show . . . .

Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry fire shots across the bow at the catholic church.

These are two clips from the BBC's Intelligence Squared presentation of "The catholic church is a Force for Good." Hitchens is up first followed by Ann Widdecombe - a recent convert to catholocism - and Fry finishes up.

bennie and the jerks: 0

Our side: 1 . . . .


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cougar, Hell . . . .

Tuesday humour . . . .

H/T "The Olde Goat"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For . . . .

It appears members of the GLBT community in Texas will be enjoying a bit of schadenfreude in the near future.

You're gonna love this one, gang, via McClatchy today:

Texas' gay marriage ban may have banned all marriages
Dave Montgomery | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
| November 18, 2009

AUSTIN — Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

"This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively "eliminates marriage in Texas," including common-law marriages.

She calls it a "massive mistake" and blames the current attorney general, Republican Greg Abbott, for allowing the language to become part of the Texas Constitution. Radnofsky called on Abbott to acknowledge the wording as an error and consider an apology. She also said that another constitutional amendment may be necessary to reverse the problem.


Radnofsky, the Democratic nominee in the Senate race against Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2006, said she voted against the amendment but didn’t realize the legal implications until she began poring over the Texas Constitution to prepare for the attorney general’s race. She said she holds Abbott and his office responsible for not catching an "error of massive proportions."

"Whoever vetted the language in B must have been asleep at the wheel," she said.

Was I right?

Do you love it?

Thought you would . . . .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Help! It's Here Now ! ! ! !

If you think the influence of the US christian right "wrong" is creeping north across the 49th, there's now proof.

On a trip to the US southland last summer I was not surprised to see this ad on television down there. Unfortunately, it is now here.

Two, count 'em two ads for the item within the past hour on "ahem," "choke," "gasp" CTV.

It appears harper is winning, ya'll . . . .

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Joya to the World . . . .

Since my friend was singing in the pre-show choir for Malalai Joya's Vancouver book tour kick-off, I walked up the hill to her performance this evening.

I had previously heard Ms. Joya on a PBS program in the US, but to hear her story live in person was very moving. It is something I would recommend to anyone that has the opportunity to attend one of her appearances on this tour.

Be advised that neither bush, harper nor obama are positively portrayed. The woman knows where the real element of change for her country lies: Within it's people.

In response to a question from and Afghani-Canadian woman in the audience:

"What will happen to Afghanistan if all the foreign troops leave?"
"The Afghani people will work it out. Slowly, they will begin to see that democracy and equal rights for all people, genders, religions is the thing to do. It won't be easy. It won't be fast. But it will happen. Having foreign troops there only more firmly entrenches the Taliban and the war lords in power. Make them leave, and the situation will slowly begin to change."

I'm thinking the military/industrial/congressional complex would not like her answer . . . .

The Lady Alison has the details of the tour . . . .

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gay Eternity . . . .

The Guardian UK today reveals:

Censored gay sex scenes in From Here to Eternity revealed

Daughter of author James Jones discloses details of cuts insisted upon by the novel's original publisher

* Alison Flood | *, Friday 13 November 2009

It is one of the most
celebrated images in cinema, an icon of heterosexual romance: Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kissing as the waves crash over them in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity. But behind the Hollywood gloss is a tale of censorship and repression, with the author of the award-winning novel on which the film was based forced to remove scenes of gay sex from the manuscript before publication.

Kaylie Jones, a novelist in her own right, says her father, James Jones, was told by his publisher Scribner to eliminate both expletives and homosexual scenes in From Here to Eternity, which was based on his own experiences in Hawaii in the army on the eve of the Pearl Harbour bombing.

The original manuscript of From Here to Eternity went into "great detail" about the kinds of sexual favours soldiers like Private Angelo Maggio, played in the film by Frank Sinatra, would provide to rich gay men for money, Kaylie Jones revealed in an article written for US news website the Daily Beast.

"'I don't like to be blowed [by a man]'," the novel's hero Private Robert E Lee Prewitt tells Maggio in a section cut from the novel. "Angelo shrugged," writes James Jones. "'Oh, all right. I admit it's nothing like a woman. But it's something. Besides, old Hal treats me swell. He's always good for a touch when I'm broke. Five bucks. Ten bucks. Comes in handy the middle of the month ... Only reason I let Hal blow me is because I got a good thing there. If I turned him down I'd blow it sky high. And I want to hang onto that income, buddy.'"


James Jones, she wrote, "believed that homosexuality was as old as mankind itself, and that Achilles, the bravest and most venerated fighter ever described, was gay, and to take a younger lover under your wing was a common practice among the soldiers of the time". "He also believed also that homosexuality was a natural condition of men in close quarters, and that it in no way affected a soldier's capabilities on the battlefield. What would have amazed him is that the discussion still continues to this day, cloaked in the same hypocrisy and silence as it was 60 years ago," she wrote. The US military's current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy allows gay men and lesbians to serve only if they keep quiet about their sexuality. President Obama has previously announced his intention to revoke the rule, but for the moment it remains in force.

It's time for Eternity to be Here, Mr. President.

Let the women and men in the US military "ask" and "tell" . . . .

H/T Penelope ;-)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Grannies Flee to Canada . . . .

As published today at The Borowitz Report:

Fox News Reports: Millions of Grannies Flee U.S. as Death Panels Loom

Glenn Beck: "Run For Your Lives"

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)
- With the establishment of government-mandated death panels just days away, grandmothers began fleeing the United States in record numbers today, reports Fox News.

"I am never one to yell ‘Fire' in a crowded theater," said Fox News host Glenn Beck. "But run for your lives!"

Across the country, slow-moving caravans of 1980s-era Cadillacs with turn signals blinking were making the torturous journey to the Canadian border, their back seats laden with cats, knitting projects, and bottles of Ensure.

Fox News may have set off the mass exodus by warning grannies that if they did not flee quickly enough they would face government-mandated organ harvesting.

Elsewhere, anti-healthcare protesters objected to the language of the House bill, saying there were too many polysyllabic words.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid . . . .

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Quarrelling Queens . . . .

Today's Toronto Star has the in-depth account of beauty queens in Great Britain duking it out:

Beauty queen busted for bar brawl with rival
November 07, 2009
| Toronto Star

You might expect pageant queens to demonstrate their talent, beauty and poise, but Miss England has added fisticuffs to her resumé. Rachel Christie, 21, has relinquished her crown after being arrested on suspicion of punching Miss Manchester, 24-year-old Sara Beverly Jones, at a nightclub.


The dispute arose when the two beauty queens encountered each other at a bar on Monday.

The BBC reported Jones was allegedly punched in the face after an argument said to be about a TV personality from the Gladiators program, which airs in the U.K.

It is believed that Jones is an ex-girlfriend of TV gladiator Tornado, whose real name is David McIntosh.

Christie, McIntosh's current girlfriend, has been released on bail until January 2010.

Someone might want to throw that gladiator into the lion's den . . . .

Thursday, November 05, 2009

2 Years . . . .

Two years ago today Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Services issued our Permanent Resident visas.

Wow, sure doesn't seem like it's been that long. After the two-year wait to get the visas, we were pretty damn excited when they finally came in.

"Yay" for us and for Canada!

We're glad to be here . . . .

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cross Out in Italy . . . .

Today's BBC notes the Italians are a bit miffed at the European Court of Human Rights:

Italy school crucifixes 'barred'
BBC News |
Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the use of crucifixes in classrooms in Italy.

It said the practice violated the right of parents to educate their children as they saw fit, and ran counter to the child's right to freedom of religion.

The case was brought by an Italian mother, Soile Lautsi, who wants to give her children a secular education.

The Vatican said it was shocked by the ruling, calling it "wrong and myopic" to exclude the crucifix from education.

The ruling has sparked anger in the largely Catholic country, with one politician calling the move "shameful".

The Strasbourg court found that: "The compulsory display of a symbol of a given confession in premises used by the public authorities... restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions."

It also restricted the "right of children to believe or not to believe", the seven judges ruling on the case said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency


Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi said the European court had no right intervening in such a profoundly Italian matter, the Associated Press reported.

"It seems as if the court wanted to ignore the role of Christianity in forming Europe's identity, which was and remains essential."

He told Italian TV: "The crucifix has always been a sign of God's love, unity and hospitality to all humanity.

"It is unpleasant that it is considered a sign of division, exclusion or a restriction of freedom."


The government says it will appeal against the decision.

Well, at least little Jewish and Muslim kiddies won't have to stare at "the sign of God's love, unity and hospitality" represented by a guy dying nailed to a couple of boards all day.

Good grief . . . .

H/T Penny

Good Move, Guys . . . .