September 2008

Monthly Archive

Found poetry

Posted by on 26 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Current Events, Food and Wine, Russia, Travel


Update: More here


As Putin rears his head

and comes into the airspace of the United States of America,

where do they go?

It’s Alaska.

It’s just right over the border.

It is from Alaska

that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation,

Russia,

because they are right there,

they are right next to our state.

The chocolate and the cluelessness

Posted by on 26 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Current Events

Couple arrested for carrying raw chocolate

“We have a lot of exotic stuff,” she said.

They had also packed some raw, organic chocolate – made of unrefined, unprocessed cacao, maca root, hemp seeds and goji berries.

“At first the (customs officials) said, ‘Oh, you guys are just holistic.’ Then the dogs came.”

The animals went nuts over the chocolate. A rapid drug test was done, which returned a false positive result for hashish. (Emphasis mine)

Isn’t it completely obvious that anything with significant hemp oil content is a) going to attract the drug dogs and b) going to test positive if you test for hash?

I’m not sure who’s less clueful here, the chocolate-importing couple, the customs folks or the reporter. Are reporters so squeaky clean these days that they’re not familiar with the origin of hash? Hrmph. Bet they don’t have hip flasks either. Get offa my lawn, kid.

And now, a word from our spammers

Posted by on 24 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Current Events, Humour, Stuff

SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

DEAR AMERICAN:

I NEED TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AN URGENT SECRET BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE.

I AM MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. MY COUNTRY HAS HAD CRISIS THAT HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR LARGE TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF 800 BILLION DOLLARS US. IF YOU WOULD ASSIST ME IN THIS TRANSFER, IT WOULD BE MOST PROFITABLE TO YOU.

I AM WORKING WITH MR. PHIL GRAM, LOBBYIST FOR UBS, WHO WILL BE MY REPLACEMENT AS MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY IN JANUARY. AS A SENATOR, YOU MAY KNOW HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE AMERICAN BANKING DEREGULATION MOVEMENT IN THE 1990S. THIS TRANSACTIN IS 100% SAFE.

THIS IS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY. WE NEED A BLANK CHECK. WE NEED THE FUNDS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE CANNOT DIRECTLY TRANSFER THESE FUNDS IN THE NAMES OF OUR CLOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY UNDER SURVEILLANCE. MY FAMILY LAWYER ADVISED ME THAT I SHOULD LOOK FOR A RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERSON WHO WILL ACT AS A NEXT OF KIN SO THE FUNDS CAN BE TRANSFERRED.

PLEASE REPLY WITH ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, IRA AND COLLEGE FUND ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO WALLSTREETBAILOUT@TREASURY.GOV SO THAT WE MAY TRANSFER YOUR COMMISSION FOR THIS TRANSACTION. AFTER I RECEIVE THAT INFORMATION, I WILL RESPOND WITH DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT SAFEGUARDS THAT WILL BE USED TO PROTECT THE FUNDS.

YOURS FAITHFULLY MINISTER OF TREASURY PAULSON

(H/t The Big Picture)

Ben Kerr

Posted by on 24 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: People News

This is old news but I just re-discovered it while cleaning out my RSS — Ben Kerr gets a laneway:

On Sunday May 25, at 1 pm, the City of Toronto and the Chatham West Residents’ Association will name a local laneway that runs parallel to Danforth and Chatham, east of Jones Avenue. Kerr lived on Jones Avenue for 25 years.

Mayoral elections are just not the same without Ben (RIP).

A is for Aisle

Posted by on 23 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Humour, Music and Arts, Small people

A good new kids’ album for those interested who haven’t run across it - Snacktime by Barenaked Ladies.  Tested on a recent long car trip with success.  Worth getting just for the alphabet song, which starts with “A is for Aisle” and goes downhill from there.  The kids may not get it but they’ll want to know why you’re laughing.

http://www.bnlmusic.com/snacktime/

Big whoop

Posted by on 22 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Books

…is among the words new to the OED this month.

A colourful and ironic expression of dismissiveness in the face of the unimpressive or ordinary, this North American colloquialism reverses the expectations one might have on first meeting the term, of unnecessary hyperbole and excessive celebration.

How I love the OED.

From the WSJ, not about Wall Street

Posted by on 22 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Books, Stuff

From the back page of the WSJ last week, buried under all the financial meltdown news, a thoughtful and evocative piece, if sad in the context, which has been reproduced in a few other places:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178211966454607.html

From the office of the Fearless Leader

Posted by on 21 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Current Events, Humour

Full credit where credit is due — hackers and spammers sometimes do good work. An e-mail sent to a PMO media distribution list, purporting to come from we’re-better-off-with Harper:

from Stephen Harper to ALLNEWS_E@lserv.pmo-cpm.gc.ca
date Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 3:34 PM
subject Why you shouldn’t fear me

Hi The Average Canadian,

Stephen Harper wanted to tell you…

My name is Stephen Harper. I am an ALBERTAN, here me roar! My goal is to make Canada America’s 51st state and destroy health care that all Canadians cherish by infusing my propaganda with hard core ad hominem attacks. Please vote for me, because if you do, I promise you’ll be able to vote for McCain 2012!

We are a tar sands level party, not a grass roots party. We consider anything with the word \”Green\” offensive, except for the almighty American dollar, which we hope to be able to implement in the coming months! We shall first have to make sure that American and Canadian jelly beans have the same standards, and then we shall proceed.

I hope everyone has a great weekend,

Take care,

Stephen \”I can lead you to Hell but not back\” Harper

If you agree click here.

The message linked to the moronic willyoubetricked.ca site. The answer to that question, by the way, is apparently yes.

(H/t to Inside the Queensway)

It’s the shorts!

Posted by on 18 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Business

Oh yeah, this is sure to restore confidence in British financial stocks (emphasis added):

Britain bans short-selling of financial stocks

By Steve Goldstein
Last update: 1:52 p.m. EDT Sept. 18, 2008
LONDON (MarketWatch) — Britain’s Financial Services Authority on Thursday banned short-selling of financial stocks and prohibited any increase in new bearish positions in the sector. Also, disclosure will be required on all positions of more than 0.25% of a stock. The regulator said it may extend the bank to other sectors. The ban is due to remain in force until Jan. 16, but it will be reviewed in 30 days. “While we still regard short-selling as a legitimate investment technique in normal market conditions, the current extreme circumstances have given rise to disorderly markets. As a result, we have taken this decisive action, after careful consideration, to protect the fundamental integrity and quality of markets and to guard against further instability in the financial sector,” said Hector Sants, chief executive of the FSA.

Especially with news like this:

UK borrowing soars to £28.2bn

UK public finances deteriorated further in August as the public sector net borrowing requirement for the five months since April rose to £28.2bn, roughly 70 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Sharp rise in UK jobless claimants

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by more than 32,500 to more than 900,000 last month, the seventh monthly rise and the biggest increase for almost 16 years.

Here’s chart of the FTSE 100 index over the last year:

The Oracle of Ottawa

Posted by on 15 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Business

“My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now.”

You have to wonder just why Stephen Harper would feel compelled to offer these thoughts today.

I mean, I understand this comment, also from today: “The Canadian economy’s fundamentals are solid.” That’s just the same kind of bland, bald-faced lie as “the Canadian food safety regime is admired by the world,” or “the Green Shift will raise your taxes.” But why put yourself on the record with this kind of statement, in a quickly-changing environment of unknown risks and externalities?

Let’s review Canadian economic indicators. Job numbers are softening and layoffs continue to be announced daily. Housing prices are going down. The trade surplus has tumbled. Commodity prices, as measured by the CRB index, are down 25% since July 1st, the fastest drop of that magnitude in 40 years. Labour productivity, always lagging the U.S., has had the longest streak of quarterly declines since 1980. Optimistic outlooks for Canadian GDP growth in 2008 sees it topping out at 0.8% — the second-slowest growth in the G8.

Is Stephen Harper just five steps ahead of us all? Does he have laser-sharp vision, seeing in sharp relief all the intricacies of the worldwide economy the rest of us miss? All hail the Oracle of Ottawa.

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