Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Now that's more like it

For a while there I felt a bit dizzy, looked liked the Canadiens might finally be getting competitive, a strange and foreign feeling. But then they reassure their fan base with one of their traditional trading day performances, sending a great goalie away for next to nothing and failing miserably in their attempts to do anything else. What, they couldn't lure Denis Savard out of retirement?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Will someone please wipe that stupid smirk off Jon Stewart's face?

I haven't blogged for a while cuz the nice folks in the ol roll have it all covered, but that is just something I had to get off my chest.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Please watch this movie!

I watched this on PBS tonight and was blown away. Hilarious, adorable, tragic, depressing, and hopeful all at once. Plus, some American election parallels as both dirty tricks and crying are involved. I couldn't find any info on when or whether it'll be on tv again or available in stores, but here's part one on youtube, the rest is up there, too:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's a close one, today, folks

It's really a toss-up as to what was the dumbest, most offensive sentence in this morning's Montreal Gazette.

Reading the opinion section, I was certain this was going to be the winner:

"The modern [Quebec] independence movement was born in Montreal's bilingual francophone intellectual community, inspired by hearing Martin Luther King and Gandhi speak about freedom, justice and liberty" - Georges Boulanger, "Pauline Marois and her problem with English," B7

Because, you know: MLK, Gandhi, Levesque.

But then I read this bizarre statement in the book review section, and was no longer so sure:

"I'd like to think of this as high praise and not offence: I don't think it's a book a woman could have written." - Kirk LaPointe, in a review of Charles Brock's Beautiful Children, I9.

What on earth is that supposed to mean??? In the reviewer's defense, he also praises Don DeLillo, the single worst author in human history, so he can't really be taken all that seriously, he probably doesn't even know how to read and is just one of those illiterate guys artfully bluffing their way through life. Come to think of it, that could make a pretty good story - the illiterate book reviewer. Not all that implausible, either.

Faced with no choice but to open this rag every morning, I sometimes wish I couldn't read!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Where round some mould'ring tow'r pale sharia creeps...

A kerfuffle this past week. A Harvard student was unexpectedly denied entrance to the Harvard gym. The ensuing email: "Hey has anybody else been turned away from the QRAC recently because they instituted women's only hours on monday from 3-5 (also tu. and thurs. 8-10 AM)? Today I was forced to wait outside in the cold until 5 to get in because they wouldn't let me use 1 of the 10+ open machines.The policy seems sexist and discriminatory to me as there are no equivalent men only hours. Anyone know who I should get into contact with to complain about this new policy?" The debate barely got started before the Harvard Athletic Department released its official statement on the matter. In full: "These hours have been put in place for equality reasons. Whether it is for overall comfort or religious purposes we wanted to offer an opportunity for women to work out without the presence of men."

Left at that, this probably would have become yet another in a long line of arguments about what equality means, between people calling themselves feminists and other people also calling themselves feminists, and going nowhere. But it wasn't left at that. No sirree. Because, turns out, the Harvard Athletic Department's official statement was full of shit.

The real story came out shortly thereafter, in an email from a member of the Harvard Islamic Society. Her explanation: "Harvard Islamic Society, the student group on campus which I am very involved with petitioned for the women only hours (I think the hours are offered no more than once or twice a week). The reason for that is many hijabis (muslim women who wear the headscarf) really wanted to have an opportunity to work out in an environment where they did not have to wear the headpiece or the really long baggy sweats to cover up all parts of their body (as many of you may know, it is rather difficult and unpleasant). Our organization has been talking to the athletic department for a while now and finally, this year they let us do it. Interestingly, the interest was not only coming from the muslim women, but later on some jewish and christian women joined in. The purpose of institutions of those hours was not at all to offend/discriminate against men, but rather give an opportunity to women with certain strict religious obligations to work out in a more comfortable environment. "

So, yeah, wonderful. A great big thanks to the Jewish and Christian women who collaborated.

If only they would have extended this to the classroom as well. I can't tell you the number of mornings I would have loved to have been barred from attending my compsci lecture. "I'm sorry, Prof Roberts, but I just can't enter this room and impose my degraded Western values upon the other students. I'll be in the gym -um, I mean, the student lounge - no, wait, not from nine to eleven, damn - okay, just going back to my room, I'll copy Fatima's notes later."

It is a real shame, though, that working out while covered like Dracula at the beach can be "difficult and unpleasant." I wonder, how could a woman doing the stairmaster in a burlap sack feel more comfortable? A hard one, I know. I'll leave it up to Islamic scholars to figure out, though my guess is that the answer probably involves stones.

Discarding the Elderly in Quebec

A friend's grandmother, in her early nineties, suffered a sudden illness and had to be rushed to the hospital last week. The staff blatantly neglected her and basically let her die. The doctor wasn't even ashamed. He told the lady's daughter outright that he wasn't going to waste his time on the old and infirm. You know, because a doctor has sworn to dedicate his life to healing the young and healthy. I don't have the family's permission to name the hospital or doctor, but this is just such a disgrace, such an evil, that I had to say something. I have to admit, though, I'm not surprised - once a society has lost its respect for life, it is bound to become a culture of death.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


I'll be gone for about a week. Have fun with the blogroll!