A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman Is American

I had the opportunity to see the new Superman movie, Superman Returns on Tuesday night. Although I expected it to take the series on a radical turn to the dramatic a la Batman Begins, it was actually quite a pleasant mix of the dramatic and the comical. Now, before I go any further into my Ebert impression (no one wants that), let me get to my point.

One thing that stuck out like a sore thumb in this movie was when Perry White utters the line, "Does he still stand for Truth, Justice - "

You can fill in the rest. Anyone who's ever had a childhood can. Superman stands for "the American Way." Only that's not what Perry White says next. The full quote is "Does he still stand for Truth, Justice, and all that stuff?" The change was so significantly jarring to me that it took me a while to get back into the movie. Not only was the line made incredibly weaker by the addition of the lamer "and all that stuff," but it raised a question for me - does Superman still stand for the American way?

An article in the Hollywood Reporter expounds on this:

...In the latest film incarnation, scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris sought to downplay Superman's long-standing patriot act. With one brief line uttered by actor Frank Langella, the caped superhero's mission transformed from "truth, justice and the American way" to "truth, justice and all that stuff."

"The world has changed. The world is a different place," Pennsylvania native Harris says. "The truth is he's an alien. He was sent from another planet. He has landed on the planet Earth, and he is here for everybody. He's an international superhero."

In fact, Dougherty and Harris never even considered including "the American way" in their screenplay...They penned their first draft together and intentionally omitted what they considered to be a loaded and antiquated expression.

..."So, you play the movie in a foreign country, and you say, 'What does he stand for? -- truth, justice and the American way.' I think a lot of people's opinions of what the American way means outside of this country are different from what the line actually means (in Superman lore) because they are not the same anymore," Harris says. "And (using that line) would taint the meaning of what he is saying."

No, it wouldn't. Harris and Dougherty had a wonderful opportunity here to be cultural ambassadors of their nation - after all, Superman is the iconic American identity. During the 40's, along with Captain America and others, Superman fought the Nazis on the comic pages and gave America a sense of why it was over in Europe fighting; a sense of what they were striving as a nation to protect. Superman is America, and is how it views itself - idealistic and striving to promote what is right in the world. Harris and Dougherty had an opportunity to use Superman as an ambassador to the rest of the world, to show them what America stands for. But they blew it.

Yes, "the American way" doesn't mean what it did in the 40's. But it still lives on, typified by Rockwell's Four Freedoms, for all Americans. There are few nations upon this earth that hold the rights of the individual sacred above all, and America is surely the most prominent of all among this group. Sure, America has pushed it's weight around to get what it wants from time to time. But it has also done wonderful things: it came to Europe's aid during the Second World War. It's also the most charitable nation on the earth when it comes to foreign aid - just ask the survivors of the great Southeast Asian Tsunami in December of 2004. And it has protected some of the world's weaker nations from aggressors.

Superman is how America views itself - blessed with great fortune and power, and the desire to use them for good. That's the American way. It's just a shame that Harris and Dougherty didn't see it that way.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Note to Warren Kinsella

It was I who sent you that e-mail commiserating about your garage break-in, not the Guy from the Jawa Report. It just so happens that my name is listed as "Rusty Shackleford" (King of the Hill Joke) on the "name" section of that e-mail account. I've just remembered that the Jawa Report also has a Rusty Shackleford on the Staff, so it wasn't him who sent you the e-mail - it was me. This clarification brought to you by the Department of What a Coincidence.

-UPDATE1- Oh, and for the record - having been the victim of several thefts and one attempted burglary (we caught the guy in the act thanks to an alert neighbor), I can say this quite honestly: one of the lowest forms of life is a thief.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Evening Link Round-Up

A few things you might be interested in checking out:

Harper Says Most Journalists are 'left-of-centre':
"When we first started doing this and were doing this, the majority of journalists loved it," he says. "But of course, the problem was that we were getting our message out and a small number of ideologues didn't like that. So they've now basically forbidden all of their colleagues to ask questions, which I think is a fascinating use of press freedom when a small number of journalists can tell others they can't ask questions at a press conference. But that's the position of the left-wing ideologues who are apparently running the show."
Canadians fear getting stuck with fake bills:
Just ask WK (June 26).
Ward Churchill's Career is Going the Way of the Dodo:
Churchill claims a 'Kangaroo Court' is responsible for his dismissal. I reccommend he ask OSU Mansfield librarian Scott Savage what a real kangaroo court looks like.
Tony Snow, on the New York Times and its 'disgraceful' behaviour:
Over the weekend, Vice President Cheney stated that The New York Times' scoop (shared with the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal) on bank records surveillance offended him. A leading Republican called for a criminal probe. President Bush today termed it "disgraceful.
Rempelia Prime:
For no other reason than I'm so glad you're back (and with a swanky looking new site to boot!).
I swear this post has nothing to do with me being lazy. Really.

Hard to Believe...Well, Sort Of.

You know, I usually avoid discussing US Politics on this blog, but this begs for it. Weren't these the same people who were out to nail Karl Rove over the Plame tempest in a teapot? Because it's awfully hypocritical of the New York Times to blow the cover on a secret program that helps to apprehend dangerous terrorists when they were so adamant that Rove was a criminal for supposedly exposing Valerie Plame. You know, because it was a secret.

But who has time to be concerned about that when a Pulitzer Prize is at stake?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I Am Really Getting Tired

...Of people referring to the NDP as principled. Several blogs I've read over the past few days have claimed that the NDP is a principled party, whereas the Liberals are not. As ideologically rigid as the NDP is, do not for one second make the mistake of forgetting that the NDP is a political party like any other. It can wheel and deal with the best of them when it suits their needs. Some of my fellow bloggers seem to have forgotten a certain budget last spring...

- EDIT - : And Just so we nip this in the bud before I start getting nasty comments, sure: the NDP has principles. The Tories have principles. Hell, I'm sure even the Liberals have principles, even if they don't know what they are. But politics, being what it is, is a world of shifting priorities and principles. There is no innocent Golden Party in Canadian Politics. The Liberals have Adscam (for starters), The NDP have their little budget maneuver last May, and the Tories have David Emerson. The only principle shared by all three parties is that of political expediency.

Rate Harper on CTV.CA

CTV.ca Asks its visitors to rate Stephen Harper's Performance in his first session as PrimeMinister of Canada. Let's tell them how we feel! Get on over and vote!

On a side note, even though it's unofficial, he seems to be doing well! (55% rate him as an above average PM at the time this was posted.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Some Essential Uncommon Truths

As any able Conservative would attempt to do, I work to put myself through University. Although part of my work experience has previously involved a very enjoyable stint working as a constituency assistant for an unnamed member of parliament, a larger portion has involved working in a low paying service industry job. While always grateful for the work and for the opportunity to finance my education loan-free, anyone who's worked in a "McJob," so to speak, knows the hassles involved. You know - the kind of things that make you think "I'm not getting paid enough for this crap."

It was during one of those moments during work today that I had an inspiration. Below are a list of my service industry pet peeves, followed by suggestions that we can all follow to help out that downtrodden underdog, the common working man. These are some essential uncommon truths:
  • Try to avoid making a mess. This can be hard to do sometimes - accidents do happen. But if you're at a restaurant, try to make as little a mess as possible. Remember, long after you've left and forgotten about it, some poor human has to pick up your dirty napkins and garbage. It's gross. Also, try to keep your food off of the floor. Seriously. You'd think this concept was a given, but apparently some people haven't heard yet. This also applies to other stores - put back any books or clothes you've taken off the rack, etc.
  • Put your garbage in the trash. Were you raised in a barn? No one likes picking up garbage, and I'm not getting paid twenty bucks an hour to do it like some municipal workers around here are. There's a reason that many trash cans have "Thank You" written on them - it's not to thank me, I'm already getting paid (barely). Pick up your trash.
  • Be respectful and pleasant. No one's asking you to be Mr. or Mrs. Sunshine when you don't feel like it, but a simple honest "please," "thank you," or "You're welcome," goes a long way towards making your server/sales assistant/etc. have a much nicer day. Pleasant people get better service. It's a simple but easy concept.
  • Please don't be obnoxious and shrill if something gets screwed up. If the prices are too high, ask to speak to the head manager. Don't scream for half an hour straight at the person serving you about how it's absolutely ridiculous that Product A is a dime more expensive this week than it was last week. I highly doubt the person you're yelling at has any control over it. Don't be a jerk. Sometime's the nicer you are, the easier it is to fix something that's gone wrong.
  • If there's a line a mile long behind you and you're still figurng out what it is the hell you need/want, move aside and let the next person go ahead of you. Waiting in line himming and hawing stresses out your server because he/she is busy enough as it is and knows there are other people behind you waiting to be served. Also, the people behind you have to wait even longer to get served. Who wants someone like that in front of them?
  • Try to make your needs clear and concise. If you're ordering food, speak clearly and wait for your server to get your order down correctly. If you're going a mile a minute placing your order, it's going to be wrong - you don't want that, and neither does your server. This way, you can avoid changing an order after it's been filled/paid for and save time.
  • If at all possible, don't ask stupid questions. Use your common sense.
  • If you're ordering something, try not to say "I want that that thing with the brownies in it." I'm not psychic, I don't know what the hell you're talking about.
  • Don't complain about stupid things. For the love of God, don't bother your server/cashier/etc. with some stupid nonsense that you and only you in the world care about. If there's a small 'fuzzy' on the shirt you're buying, what do you expect the cashier to do? Pull out a tailor kit? Honestly.
These are a few things that come to my mind. The people serving you are human beings - they aren't born and raised at the corporate head office and stuffed away in the back of the store at the end of the night for use the next day. Working is what they do for money - it's not who they are. Yes, we've all had crappy service before from people who were lazy and shiftless - but by and large, these people are the exception. Be nice to the people providing you with a service.

In the end? When in doubt, follow the golden rule. Do unto others. Plain and simple.

Do you have any additions or pet peeves you think should be added to this list? Share your advice or stories from working in the service industry in the comments, and I'll add them to the list. - Danté

  • Don't talk on your cell phone while someone is trying to serve you. It's rude, rude, RUDE. If someone calls you while you're at the cash, fine, answer after excusing yourself, but for heaven's sake, don't go up to the cash register when you're mid-conversation.
  • Don't flick your credit card at the cashier. That should be common sense. It isn't. (I can't believe I missed this one - completely agree. -Danté)
Xavier R. Dubé of Keep Right adds his own pearls of wisdom:

  • If you KNOW the store is closing in five minutes, but it is technically still open, even if you think you have the time to buy what you need, please, PLEASE, refrain from going, or plan to come back earlier on the next day. You know, the cashier that has to close the place past 11 PM has already counted his cash register and done his inventory at that time, and he has a personal life besides working in the convenience store. After 8 hours straight, he's kinda eager to get home so cut him some slack, will you?... IF YOU FAIL TO DO THAT AND THE CASHIER TELLS YOU THE STORE IS CLOSED, NEVER, AND I REPEAT, NEVER EVER ARGUE WITH HIM ABOUT THE TIME. (EVEN IF IT'S STILL 2 MINUTES EARLY! ALL THE WATCHES IN THE WORLD ARE NOT TIMED EXACTLY THE SAME, YOU KNOW...)
  • If there's a line of people waiting behind you at the cash register, please REFRAIN from taking forever to choosing, comparing, validating and yes, buying some truely insignificant, asinine, time consuming and unessential items such as INSTANT LOTTERY TICKETS as they are in no way a necessity to your everyday life, even if you are foolishly convinced of the opposite.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More On NL Auditor General Story

Apparently Intergovernmental Affairs Minister John Ottenheimer will be taking over Byrne's Portfolio as this matter goes under investigation.

John Ottenheimer

Breaking News: Auditor General Audit Prompts Cabinet Minister Resignation

- UPDATE2 - Apparently Intergovernmental Affairs Minister John Ottenheimer will be looking after Byrne's portfolio in the interim period.

- UPDATE
1 - From the CBC:
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams announced Wednesday evening that Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne has stepped aside because of a review by the auditor general's office.

Williams said he requested Byrne's resignation after Auditor-General John Noseworthy expressed concern over financial records involving the provincial legislature.

Williams did not spell out the nature of the audit or the investigation, but said the office is reviewing a matter that involves other members of the house of assembly. He did not elaborate, but said the number of MHAs involved is in the "single digits."

Williams told reporters Wednesday evening that Byrne relinquished his cabinet responsibilities that morning.

Williams said the investigation has involved the Commission of Internal Economy, which regulates the legislature.
Something is going on. More to come.

-----
This just in:

Premier Danny Williams has requested the resignation of one of his Cabinet ministers following an audit by the Auditor General.

Williams says the resignation was requested after the Auditor General expressed concern to the Speaker of the House of Assembly over financial issues.

Ed Byrne, who was serving as minister of natural resources, will step aside as a minister of the Crown effective immediately.

Byrne was leader of the PC Party in the election of 1999 when he lost to Brian Tobin and was a high-ranking minister under Williams. (VOCM)

This is big news. It's not just Byrne - apparently the people involved are from all parties in the House of Assembly, though the numbers are apparently in the single digits. More to follow as the story develops.

Ed Byrne

Monday, June 19, 2006

Order in the Court!

I caught CTV today during Stockwell Day's press conference on the abolishment of the long gun section of the Gun Registry. Day spoke, and then John Williamson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said a few words. After this, Minister Day opened the floor to questions.

Anyhow, apparently the press didn't want to follow proper protocol, and Day said (I'm paraphrasing) "I thought we were going to follow the rules here." In response to this, a reporter attempted to shout Day down by yelling loudly "No more rules!" several times.

The PPG - Always the model for class.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This Just In

Garth Turner is nuts. Okay, so it's not exactly breaking news, but the Halton MP now claims Street Racing is more dangerous than Terrorism.

You'll understand why it seems a little odd for Mr. Turner to make such statements, in light of the fact that, had these 'alleged' (remember, despite the evidence - innocent until proven guilty) terrorists had their way, he might very well have been murdered by them.

In a sense he may have a point - whether you're killed by a terrorist or a street racer, you are still going to be quite dead - but Turner knows that's not what he meant. What Turner did mean to do was to shoot from the hip. The problem with shooting from the hip, however, is that sometimes your aim is off - and you pay for it. But who knows, Turner seems to revel in controversy - it does boost his ego and his reputation as a "maverick MP." It is not, however, winning him any friends.

In the end, the fact that some of our lawmakers are making light of a deadly terrorist threat is more than a little unsettling.

H/t to Neale

Best of The Blogs

BBS has alerted me to the fact that I was included in the "Best of the Blogs" feature in Friday's Toronto Sun. Neat. Not bad for what was started as a simple hobby.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Swear To God, I Couldn't Make This Up If I Tried

Oh, isn't it funny what a simple search can turn up.

A Short Thought On Communism

To those naïve modern-day adherents of communism, clinging to the hope that one day the yoke of your parents the capitalist oppressor will be broken, I say this:

Believing communism can still work after all the death it's caused is like banging your head off a brick wall every ten minutes in the hopes that it won't hurt if you try it just one more time.

Seriously. Is this getting through to you, here?

Debate?


What Debate?


That Laguna beach sure looks interesting, though.
Vote over at CTV

Saturday, June 10, 2006

MP: Herd Maritimers To Alberta?

Seriously - I don't really think they need encouraging. There's a reason Fort McMurray is called "Newfoundland's second largest city."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hunted Down


A beauty of a screen cap from CNN.com. Does anyone else think that someone at CNN is gloating today?

Doesn't It Feel Good

To say, "screw you, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," and know that somewhere, somehow, he can hear you say it?

For those of you who've been under a rock this morning, Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is quite dead. They got him. The man who brutally murdered Nick Berg, Eugene Armstrong and countless others indiscriminately has been brought to his final justice.

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I rarely talk about my religious beliefs, but if you believe in God you can take comfort in the fact that Zarqawi is standing before him today in the full horror of the realization that God does not call for murder or bloodshed, but peace and love. As the saying goes - you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Moving on from that, it would seem that Zarqawi was betrayed by someone or someones close to him - signs that the leadership of the insurgency is weakening? In any event, someone is $25 million richer today, and that someone sold Zarqawi out.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blogging Tories Site of the Week!

Thanks to the indomitable BBS for the honour!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Note to Aly Hindy

Aly Hindy, an imam at a Toronto mosque, said he knew most of the accused and believed they were not involved in terrorism-related activities.

"But the problem is these days when a Muslim commits fraud, it becomes terrorism. When he commits stealing it becomes terrorism," he told reporters outside the courtroom. (CBC) ....




Terrorist attack? What terrorist attack?
This reality check brought to you by Uncommon Truths.


- Update - : So, is Mr. Hindy confirming that he hangs out with alleged terrorists?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Damn It

Well, it seems like all the Newfoundlanders are doing it - so I guess I have to. Sigh...
  • Love Song - The Cure
  • Love This Town - Joel Plaskett
  • Airport Song - Guster
  • The Other Side - The Watchmen
  • No Longer Mine - The Watchmen
  • Candy Shop - 50 cent
You know, I've just realized that none of these songs are mine - they belong to other members of the family. Hmmm.

Youth for Volpe Back Up

I have deleted http://www.youthforvolpe.blogspot.com - but don't fret, I haven't received any legal threats. I'm happy to say that it appears the official(?) Youth for Volpe site is back up, this time presumably under a non-Canadian jurisdiction and out of Volpe's 'mephistolean' reach. See it here!

- Update - : What the hell, for good measure - and to stick it to Volpe - I've reposted the site.

Friday, June 02, 2006

youthforvolpe.blogspot.com

In the interests of freedom of speech and of free access to information, I have registered and created youthforvolpe.blogspot.com, where you can see the "Youth For Volpe" website in it's fullness. I'm still tinkering with the coding in order to make it appear as it did originally, but you can see it here.

- UPDATE - : I'm more or less done tinkering now. The other mirror site that I was aware of for this spoof (http://www.youthforvolpe.no-libs.com) was a little out of alignment - so I fixed it up a little bit to make it look more like the original. It's not the exact same, but it's close enough for me. Please take note, of course, that I did not originally create this site! Someone else did. I'm merely reposting it for academic purposes only, whatever that means.

- UPDATE2 - : BBS has kindly provided a listing of those who have mirrored the site. Go to!