Third Edge of the Sword Best of 2009

Here it is, your chance to vote for the best blogpost of 2009. The vote appears at the top: underneath you can review the choices if you need help making your selection:


  1. A moderately non-scientific explanation of the infamous "racism study": why racism isn't a problem until some jew or nigger or paki cuts you off in traffic.
  2. Blog series:
    Corner Gas Countdown: Countdown of the Top Ten (and bottom ten) Corner Gas episodes, plus a wrapup post.
  3. Whyte Avenue dumb ass (hot ass coming soon, I promise): Edmonton Police crack down on noise on Whyte Avenue with no accepted standards.
  4. Blog series:
    2009 Edmonton Fringe: Stage a Revolution: Reviews of 16 fringe plays, site walkthrough video, and site rant.
  5. It's about time!: Two officers involved in Edmonton Police corruption finally get hauled before a disciplinary hearing
  6. Why Stephen Harper will still be the Prime Minister in 2013: an electoral analysis of why the NDP and Liberals are all bark and no bite.
  7. Who spoiled Toronto's miraculous ethnic transformation?: a 1996 article in National Geographic looks a lot different in hindsight.
  8. 2 parter:
    1. WhyCantYouMoveOn.org?: my preview to the A Conversation With George W. Bush event held in October.
    2. George W. Bush event review, Edmonton Alberta's Shaw Conference Centre, Tuesday October 20, 2009: my review of the show
  9. Support Local Business FAIL: why keeping Edmonton original is bad for consumers
  10. Liberal Doctors Tell Medical Lies: Dr. David Swann's astounding lack of medical knowledge
  11. "Democratic Renewal" comes with a free pair of jackboots: critiquing the DRP website's critique of Wildrose Alliance labour policies.


Best post of 2009

(this post is "sticky" until December 27, 2009. Scroll down for new content)

Here I am creating a collection of Third Edge of the Sword blogposts that contain my best work. The rules for these posts is that they have to contain a large amount of my own actual writing. Longer polemic posts will be afforded much more weight than shorter posts. After I am satisfied with a list of 12 or so posts, I will put a voting box up with the various posts and give readers a chance to vote.

For now, these are what I've come up with. I shall be adding to this list between now (December 22nd) and the 27th or so when I'm ready for the voting block:

As always, feel free to recommend more posts in the comments!


Merry Christmas

What better way to celebrate the holidays than by hearing German Christmas carols?


The saddest story I've ever read

The drillers will be trying to reach two crates of McKinlay and Co. whiskey that were shipped to the Antarctic by British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton as part of his abandoned 1909 expedition.

Whyte&Mackay, the drinks group that now owns McKinlay and Co., has asked for a sample of the 100-year-old scotch for a series of tests that could decide whether to relaunch the now-defunct Scotch.

Workers from New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust will use special drills to reach the crates, frozen in Antarctic ice under the Nimrod Expedition hut near Cape Royds.

Al Fastier, who will lead the expedition in January, said restoration workers found the crates of whiskey under the hut's floorboards in 2006. At the time, the crates and bottles were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged.
Disappointingly, when I read about 100 year old scotch I got all excited. However, because it hasn't spent 100 years aging in oak barrels its not really 100-year old scotch: its probably 8-year old scotch that's been sitting in a bottle for 100 years. It's neat that they are ressurecting an old recipie and all that jazz, but it is not "100 year old scotch" as anybody who's a connoisseur of malted beverages can tell you.

This is not the first time I've written about how people are confused about the aging of malt whiskeys versus the aging of wine. I somehow know that it won't be the last.

What about what the white man fears?

If you want your fair share of hilarious reading, pick up AHCC's hate crime report. Who is AHCC, you ask? Why, its the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee.

Oh, I used to be a part of them! It was fun for a while, but eventually we couldn't really come up with any original hate crimes, so I went freelance.

Er, not quite, Jimmy. They are a group led by Dr. Valerie Pruegger, who doesn't sound like a white person. She is white, as it so happens -- very few "anti racism" demonstrators and assorted freaks are members of visible minorities, mostly they are whites who feel ashamed that they look so dankable with the blonde hair and the smooth complexion, but she sure doesn't sound very white. We shall see.

First thing to know about this study is that its such inane and useless drivel that the PDF file has been protected against copying: in other words, I can't just cut and paste some of its assorted claptrap and idiocy. This is a classic defense mechanism when your report is so fundamentally flawed you don't want anybody able to easily forward via email your outrageous claims to be instantly discredited across the planet.

Second thing to know is that the hateful and overtly biases messages contained within this report have been paid for by you, the hapless Alberta taxpayer. Below is a little clip of who contributed to this "report". Feel free to write angry letters to their executive. (click the image to view it full size)

Then we can get into the meat and potatoes of this exercise. Remember to go to the top of this post to read the original yourself: its located at http://www.naarr.org/images/stories/pdf/AHCC%20Hate%20Crime%20Report_2009_FINAL%20br.pdf

Lets start on page 8, where we see 600 different wordings all saying basically the same thing. Note that Edmonton Police Services, who commits their own fair share of hate crimes against those in the city who pay their salaries, don't like using the word "crime" or "criminal" when discussing offenses they classify as 'hate crimes'. This should surprise no one, really: Third Edge of the Sword reported in November 2006 (a story you still exclusively can read here) that a dozen or so EPS officers (some of whom are sodomites themselves) spent an entire day trying to apprehend a man who was hanging anti-faggot posters around the Whyte Avenue area. Not, one may not, an actual criminal offense. For those wishing to keep score, on page 9 this racist committee decides they like EPS's definition best, and basically adopt it.

This is important, so follow along: "hate crimes" have been defined in such a way to include things which are not actual criminal acts. Do this to your lawyer, you're scot free. Do this to an asian and you're off to jail.

Page 11 is where this document pretty much dives off the deep end, never to recover. There's a little photocopy of a newspaper article entitled "Muslim leader praises cop action on hate". At 65.7% zoom it seems pretty innocent. Here's what we see when I blow it up to 150% to make it clearly readable: (click the image to view it full size)

That's right, your friend and mine Imam Syed Soharwardy! I've written about him here (I called him a pillow-biter). Ezra Levant has written about him extensively, if there's anything you should read its this recent bit about his anti-Jew efforts in Calgary. He's the poster boy for aryan doctor Valerie Pruegger! Seriously? Seriously?? This just keeps getting better and better.

Page 12 is another example of AHCC's need to keep people cutting and pasting their garbage: one of the bullet points where police find difficulty with hate crimes is: "the high burden of proof necessary to prove these charges in court". No shit. We also see that EPS has the only two hate crime prosecutions lately, which may be because they have a dozen personnel working on finding a guy putting up posters. Where were they when the "Rock Against Bush" ones were going up?

Page 15 is where this whole segment really jumps the shark. It goes onto page 49, and somebody else can really start picking apart the latter 2/3rds of this document. I'll do page 49, and then pages 16-48 can be the realm of somebody else. I have Christmas pies to bake in the morning.

I have done a full screencapture of Page 15 and highlighted a few of the flaws in this document for you to follow along. (click the image to view it full size)

Let's start at the top: its the line that motivated the title for this blogpost. Aboriginals, it says, "fear re-victimization by police and justice system". Lets briefly ignore the irony that this paper was partly assembled by EPS, which does its own actual victimization of natives (along with some 'racist emails' that don't actually matter in the grand scheme of things but would bug the piss out of AHCC and groups like it. What do white men fear? What do huge numbers of people in downtown Edmonton fear? Being assaulted by natives. Why do they fear this? Because natives seem to commit a lot of crimes! If AHCC was so colourblind as they claim, then they would note that non-natives make up some 95% of people in Alberta. Ergo, there are numerically a lot more people worried about getting mugged over change than worried that they may be "re-victimized" (whatever that means) when they whine to a cop that somebody called them a mean name.

This leads us to our next note, the big red box about 2/5ths the way down the graphic: basically it says that homeless should be another group 'protected' by hate crimes legislation. Yeah, that's the big worry of homeless people: not that they are without homes, or without jobs, or suffering addictions, but their feelings have been hurt when called an uncouth name by a person they came up begging for charity from.

Now, remember above when I said that despite looking like a member of the Hitler Youth, Dr. Valerie Pruegger sure doesn't sound white? Well, here it is: "In the 2006," she starts off a sentence. Oh come on! I've read emails from Nigerian bank scammers who have a more capable grasp of syntax than this Psychology prof!

Now what's the thing that happened "in the 2006"? Well that's our next underline: black persons represented almost half of police-reported incidents in Canada. My quick response would be...so? If black persons want to stop being so represented in discrimination in nightclubs, perhaps they should tackle and turn in these criminals in their own communities who keep causing shit in nightclubs! You know, the same criminals who are known to everybody in the community. Hmm, that sounds like work: much easier to just whine to Mia Dauvergne.

Now to the next line, the "neo-Nazi propoganda" of the Aryan Guard, and the huge throng of counter-demonstrators fighting back the notion that there can be a white pride. As kustom noted in the CalgaryStreetRides forum:

The Aryan guard no matter what their views are have a valid point if they want to have a white pride march then so be it, Calgary has a gay Pride march do we have anti homos come out and try to kick the shit out fags, not that I have seen.

In my point they should have just let them do their march and not interfere they weren't hurting anyone so in respects to the Aryan Guard it wasn't them who caused the trouble it was the anti protesters that came out.
Also contrast with our old buddy Syed, who remember was happily quoted in this same report. Again, take it away Ezra Levant:
The Muslim Council of Calgary and Syed Soharwardy teamed up earlier this year for a pro-terrorist rally in the heart of the Jewish community. Here is some of my coverage of it at the time; here's a picture of them flying the flag of the terrorist group, Hezbollah -- a group deemed a criminal organization in Canada.

You'll notice that, in addition to the terrorist flag, there is a swastika.

I've lived in Calgary Southwest for most of my life, and my parents and grandparents live there, too. None of us has ever seen swastikas in the neighbourhood until the Soharwardy/MCC protests. They didn't just wave swastika signs, they left anti-Semitic graffiti on a wall, too: (image)

To this day you can still see where that graffiti has been painted over.

Week after week the anti-Semites from the MCC and Soharwardy's group came back to the mall in the center of the Jewish neighbourhood. At first, they only waved the terrorist flag furtively. When they saw, though, that the police did nothing to stop them -- but rather accosted any pro-Israel counter-protesters -- the anti-Semites got bolder and bolder, to the point where they parked their cars in the Jewish Centre across the street -- on their way to a Jew-bashing rally! -- and spat on a rabbi passing by.

It was only when the owners of the mall got a restraining order against Soharwardy, the MCC and the other protesters, did the weekly festival of Jew-hatred retreat back into their holes -- oh, except the graffiti.
Yeah, its those damned Aryan Guard members. Damn them.

Okay, we're almost done. Lets just look at page 15 again, refresh your memory:

The bottom line is another curiosity: racial crimes are 'inspired' by anti-immigrant crimes. Hmmm, is it possible, just possible, that the next rendition of this document will be all up in arms about "anti-immigrant" sentiments? After all, why on earth should the residents of a nation-state hold a higher regard to the citizens of said nation state. What kind of goofball idiocy is this....?

With that, we draw page 15 to a close. It's been fun, its been a good run. These people are clearly idiots: they make these silly little powerpoint presentations and hope the rest of us just gloss over the details and don't understand the biases and bigotry and hatred they couch in the language of academia. Dr. Valerie Pruegger and her ilk may care about this crap, but you and me and the average working stiffs of this province are more concerned about being assaulted, being robbed, and being persecuted for cheering on Switzerland.

Okay, finally, here's a couple little bits from page 49: first, let's again see who's sponsoring this claptrap. You pay their salaries. Congrats, you've spent money on crap.

Secondly, you can see the 7-year-old mindset of these people: "we all look the same inside". So? We all look different outside. Why should one be discounted while the other isn't?

Thank you for enjoying our enjoyment of this document. It could be worse, right? It could accept as gospel the hate-filled ramblings of well known internet racist Ricard Warman, for example. That would make it just complete claptrap.

Oh, wait, sorry. Page 41:


I'll give them something to cry about!

If you click the above graphic, you can see clearly what I'm talking about here. Two weeks back during Edmonton's extreme cold snap, this article appeared in the Toronto SUN. Read carefully, its hilarious and sad all at the same time.

The headline blares "Think its cold in Toronto?" It then notes Edmonton's -46C (which wasn't in the city, and in the middle of the night, not that it matters much), as an example of how it could be even colder in Toronto and they should enjoy it.

I've circled the Toronto temperature. A low of.....





(drumroll probably wasn't necessary, since you could easily see it because I circled it...)


...a low of 0°C. That's right, the overnight low was gracing the freezing mark.

And people thought it was cold in Toronto? As Eric Cartman would say: oh man this is (censored) weak..


Still funny, even a decade later

About a month ago, this was the collection of news links at the bottom of an Edmonton SUN article.

C'mon, can you seriously read the bottom item and not instantly wonder how depraved the 42nd President of the United States can get?

"Democratic Renewal" comes with a free pair of jackboots

I've just finished reading probably one of the most offensive things you can find on the planet. I should enroll it in my contest below. Specificially its from Alvin Finkel about how the Wildrose Alliance's labour policies so massively offend the left-wing thugs who depend on union dues (taken, as we shall see below, against the will of some of its members) to support their coffers that no right-thinking individual with more than a pence to his name would ever sent their cash to.

But Premier Stelmach is certainly right in declaring that Wild Rose’s policy regarding teachers’ right to withhold their labour is “draconian.” It’s part of a draconian labour policy, and what follows is the verbatim labour platform included on their website.

  • allow individual workers the choice to determine their membership in labour organizations.
  • allow competition to the Workers Compensation Board.
  • extend to workers the democratic right to a secret ballot vote on labour organization certification under the Labour Code and ensure that the same rule apply for de-certification as for certification.
  • restore education as an essential service under the Labour Code ensuring that no childs right to an education is denied by school strikes or lockouts.
The first policy, which looks “democratic” at first blush, is an effort to revoke the Rand formula, which was devised by Justice Ivan Rand after World War 2 as the way to recognize that everyone in a unionized work place benefits from the collective agreement that the union negotiates and therefore no one should be able to get a free ride by not paying union dues. It also recognizes that if there is a union in place on a worksite that employers might put undue pressure on workers not to join if membership in the union is not compulsory.

In many Southern and Western United States states, “right to work” legislation of the kind supported by plank one in the Wild Rose labour platform has resulted in a complete collapse of unionization, with unsurprisingly devastating consequences for wages and working conditions. Unsurprisingly, while American and Canadian rates of unionization were similar in the 1960s before such legislation was introduced in the U.S.–no Canadian province has such legislation–, the American rate of unionization in 2008 was 12.6 per cent versus 29.4 per cent in Canada.
Oh no, not a "complete lapse of unionization"! If that happens to be the side effect of giving every single person in a company from the CEO to the janitor the exact same fundamental right to free associaton, then fine by me. It sounds like Alvin's big complaint is that this "democratization" comes with a big hit to his union buddies. That isn't and never should be the way to examine legislation. What should be looked at, and what I'm glad Wildrose is looking at, is who is currently at risk of being disenfranchised. Considerable numbers of workers I have formerly and currently work with would refuse utterly to join a union shop, and to present an ability for them to make a choice not to do so just because 2/3rds of their coworkers chose otherwise cannot be considered a bad thing. Unless, of course, your too concerned with union dues going to organizations that can then afford to pepper the airwaves with sob stories every time governments take the axe to departments.

Did he also oppose privatized liquor stores on the basis that the clerks on the government teet were being squeezed out of their cushy union jobs? I ask because such people were the only ones in the province opposed to retail liquor privatization.

Policy 2 above regarding the WCB reflects the Wild Rose’s view that governments can do nothing either efficiently or properly. Better then to privatize their functions. The WCB under the Tories is certainly a mess. Reflecting the Tories’ pro-business and anti-spending fetishes, it tries to prevent injured workers from getting what is supposed to be insurance rather than insuring that they are looked after. In many respects, it mimics how private insurance companies operate, placing corporate profit above the needs of the insured. Wild Rose wants to go the next logical step. Instead of making the WCB a provider of real insurance, and trying to limit necessary payouts by having tough and well-enforced workplace safety legislation, they have opted for simply gradually privatizing the WCB.
Now here we see that similarly, we have found the one person on this earth who thinks the current WCB environment is anything on this side of reason. I've written about WCB issues before, and what always strikes me is that its not privatized NOR is it government run. What happens instead is that any complaint you take to WCB is redirected to your MLA because its provincial legislation that gives carte blanche to WCB... but once you talk to your MLA you're assured that WCB is a totally independent agency outside the purview of government. Employees dislike WCB, employers dislike WCB... it seems the only people who enjoy the Workers Compensation Board are those who happen to cash a paycheque from them. This is not a matter simply helped by tweaking the rules a little in favour of one side of the other. The solution is to give everybody involved one of those grown-up choice. The employers choice of which injurer worker compensation company to go through is now another publicized perk, like which company administers the company supplied RRSP program.

And what about all those “accidents” that cause workers to end up on workers’ compensation? Accidents are in quotes because in almost every case, a so-called accident could be prevented if safety laws were adequate as well as adequately enforced. Well, their numbers will increase as will environmental disasters and dangers to the public of other kinds that might be prevented by proper law enforcement. Wild Rose promises to “cut red tape and the regulatory burden by 1/3.” The likely results are obvious: think Walkerton!
This is waxing poetically about how wonderful it is that some unionized bureaucrat who's never had a lick of practical business experience going around telling risk-taking entrepreneurs and highly trained managers how to dig a hole. There is however some maybe tiny possibility that this is completely unnecessary.

Policy number three above, dealing with secret ballots, has been demonstrated over time in the United States to give employers the ability to threaten workers with shutdowns, job cuts, and the like in order to keep out unions. In the U.S., the progressive wing of Democratic legislators, including President Obama, are committed to the Employee Free Choice Act, which has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, and which would allow unions the right to receive certification when they sign up a majority of potential members of a union local. Republican legislators, supporting the same reactionary business interests who oppose universal medical care insurance in their country, have lined up agains the EFCA, claiming that it is undemocratic. In Canada, right-wing business interests, and the Fraser Institute, one of the “think tanks” that business sponsors in an effort to disguise their own efforts to change public policy and public opinion, want the Canadian federal government and the provinces to imitate current American legislation that requires a secret vote no matter how many workers sign up to join a union. Wild Rose, funded by the big oil companies and the big oil companies alone, is part of this business lobby to destroy unions.
Wait, is this actually a complaint that the Wildrose Alliance isn't planning on setting up an Albertan version of the horribly drafted Employee "Free Choice" Act. Maybe next you can grumble how Danielle Smith isn't proposing to have a beefy Italian man stand next to you in the voting booth and ask "are you SURE?" if your pencil gravitates too far from the NDP name, its essentially the same policy. Now look who's in favour of it: Big Unions, in partnership with Big Government proponents like Finkel here who was to destroy businesses of all shapes and sizes.

But wait, there's more. It turns out that the Wildrose Alliance is daring to actually define administration as the act of administering something. Whoa, Nelly!
While Wild Rose claims that it will respect the principles of the Canada Health Act, including public administration, it has a narrow understanding of “administration.” For them, as for the Tories, public administration does not mean public delivery of health. Here are the code words for privatization of health delivery from the Wild Rose policy book: “provide health care funding that will follow the service to the health care provider and approved facility of choice.” So the rich will be able to get the same basic services from a private health care provider, and then supplement that service out of their own money. With what result for the publicly funded health care system? More code words: Wild Rose will “encourage and support innovations in the delivery of health care.”
"The rich"? Who, other than a dumbass college professor who hasn't heard that Marx's class warfare meme has been dumped on like one of the girls from 2 Girls 1 Cup, would bring up "the rich"? Should I care what "the rich" do or don't do with their health? Some of these rich are my friends. Do I want to watch them suffer?

As for "code words", since when has this been a coded phrase for private healthcare (not that, of course, it would be a bad thing!)? Is this also a code phrase? It says basically the exact same thing:
will improve heath care services while keeping costs down.
Guess where I got that? From the Alberta NDP's own healthcare platform. Maybe Brian Mason is actually going to fight for private healthcare. Maybe he's not such a moron after all...

And will Wild Rose deal with gaps in the current health care system and fund the costs associated with an aging population? No. Their fiscal policy is to “limit growth in spending to the rate of inflation and population growth in Alberta.” As we know, that is the Ed Stelmach policy as well. It ignores the fact that, as a recent Parkland Institute study has reiterated, Alberta’s supposed current $4.3 billion deficit could be erased in two seconds if Alberta taxed corporations and individuals at rates similar to what other provinces tax. Indeed, the province could be as much as $20 billion richer than it currently is while still having essentially a free enterprise economy if it properly taxed the energy companies, reintroduced progressive taxation to replace Ralph Klein’s flat tax that no other province has seen fit to emulate, and introduced a small sales tax.
Okay, we can say pretty quickly that this guy's degree isn't in anything remotely related to mathematics, or economics, or some sort of profession where you can learn what kind of bullshit this is. First things first, Alberta absolutely in no way shape or form underspends on anything, let alone on healthcare. Meanwhile, increasing spending on healthcare quite explicitly doesn't do anything. Those in the Alberta left who are so keen on "democratic renewal" should maybe try playing around in Excel for a while first. It can print some very pretty graphs for you while the adults handle facts.

And whats this shit about "the province could be much as $20 billion richer than it currently is while still having essentially a free enterprise economy if it properly taxed the energy companies, reintroduced progressive taxation to replace Ralph Klein’s flat tax that no other province has seen fit to emulate, and introduced a small sales tax"? Maybe "the province" defined as the Albeta Government could be $20 billion richer, though that itself is unlikely. The province as defined as the aggregate sum of the governments and companies and organizations and individuals that reside or operate within Alberta, on the other hand, certainly would not be $20 billion richer. For one, excepting government and those who would be unemployed without money from under the dome, Alberta would quite clearly be at least $20 billion poorer. This, of course, assumes that under this regressive scheme we will be blessed with the same amount of economic activity we already obtained. This, of course, is silly. Its a big planet, and people like Finkel are amazed to learn that if we do things that companies don't like, they don't invest in Alberta. I'm sure the unions and the universities and the other assorted assmunches who propose stuff like this would enjoy that prospect, but the people of Alberta certainly wouldn't.

Either labour gets very involved in Alberta politics, pursuing a DRP-like strategy, or it allows Alberta, already something of an anomaly among Canadian provinces, to become a full-out Alabama with no labour movement worth speaking of.
Well, if those are our options than lets go to the Alabama model. Of course, those aren't our options. We can do better than Alabama. We are Alberta. We can do Alberta, but even better. And that, as I've said many times before, would make Alberta into the best country in the world.

That's democratic renewal for you. Not more union thuggery.


Can you out-offensive me?

I had a lot of fun a little while ago with this youtube link.

Basically the story here is that the black guy is upset that the camera isn't following his black face, but is following his coworker's white face. There are a couple things of course that, like any good racial overreaction, sort of defeat the argument.

First off, at one point while the camera is tracking the white girl, he moves into frame and the camera instead focuses on him, ignoring her. It continues to not track him properly, but clearly it notices his face. Secondly, as several commenters noted, he's in a dark room with the contrasts set low: basic physics means that the sensors are going to have to be calibrated far more sensitively in order for it to follow his face: and there will be some false positives associated with it. That's not Hewlett-Packard's racism, that's just reality.

But since he's clearly getting so menstrated up over this whole ordeal, its only fair to comment on his video offensively. So far I have the following two additions to this oeuvre:

  1. Its all a giant misunderstanding, people. The camera doesn't follow faces, it only follows souls.
  2. (in response to another commenter that somebody should invent a camera that only follows black people):
    I think a lot of companies would pay big money for this technology. Jewelry stores come to mind.
  3. (well, all right, the accompanying photo)
  4. ...

Comments time, folks! It's up to you.

A Muslim with the strength of 30,000 men? That's like 3,000 Herculeses! Christendom is doomed!

Hmmm, do you think there's maybe a reason that comments are disabled? Oh, and it goes without saying that one man can generate between 1.2 to 2.5 horsepower over brief periods, depending on their own strength.

(h/t Tarek Fatah on Facebook)

The bit about breaking the coin reminds me oddly of this....

Plain White T's (T as in Trash)

2009's saddest departures

What with the 2009 top ten lists bandied about, here's Third Edge of the Sword's ten five saddest deaths of 2009. Brittany Murphy will not appear on this list.

H.M. Ted Kennedy
He doesn't deserve a picture. The other Ted Kennedy doesn't deserve one either.

5. Irving Kristol

Bill Kristol founded The Weekly Standard in...oh, sorry, wrong Kristol. Irving Kristol was the man who decided to not only push conservatism as a political philosophy but also an intellectual one... in fact, reasoning that the only intellectuals are conservative. You gotta admit he's onto something.

4. Roméo LeBlanc

I phoned Sonic 102.9 when they were talking about celebrity deaths "coming in threes" and wondering who would die next. I angrily reminded them that LeBlanc had died the day before, and he was more than a little important, even though he couldn't sing.

3. Ludovic Kennedy

Anybody who remembers Yes, Minister saw how this famed BBC announcer had a longevity that his peers never could. But did you know his father was a famed WWII merchant captain, and the younger Kennedy took to the seas and participated in the hunt for the Bismark? Ludo also wrote the book about the Lindbergh baby that became the movie Crime of the Century

2. Ricardo Montalban

From "Baby Its Cold Outside" to The Wrath of Khan, Ricardo did it all. I did a tribute when it happened, and Big Hollywood does a memorial to him as well.

1. The United States Constitution
Well, it did outlive George Burns...


Ding dong, the witch is dead

With the useless Copenhagen Conference ending with a nice watered down document that's all preamble and no clause, those of us concerned that the Harper government would sell the farm to get him a pat on the back from the New York Times had our fears waylaid.

As a result, the Alberta oilsands boom scheduled for 2nd quarter 2010 is still on pace, and I can show you one of the most beautiful sights that man can behold:

Get your Christmas carols right

What's with the bastardization of Christmas carols, anyways? The worst offender has to be "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

Modern day versions totally screw up the chorus. It is not supposed to do the "uptick" on the title line...

Saaaan -- ta Claus is Coming to Town
Saaaaan -- ta Claus is Coming to Town
Santa Claus is Coming to...toooown!

Likewise, "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" is about building a snowman and pretending it is Parson Brown (ie. a Protestant Minister). Despite a half century of re-jigging, the song is not about pretending your snowman is a circus clown.

A 1980s British government question

In the episode "The Official Visit" of Yes, Minister there is the following exchange between the Permanent Secretary of State for the Ministry for Administrative Affairs (Sir Humphrey) and the Permanent Secretary of State of the Foreign Office (Sir Frederick):

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Can you imagine her old man Millen doing a thing like that?

Sir "Jumbo" Frederick: Yes

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Yes, so can I, actually

Wikipedia is of no help, so I'm left wondering who this "her old man" could be a reference to. It's certainly not Prince Phillip.


What took you so long?

A Tiger Woods parody Christmas carol:

Las Vegas sign vandalism

LAS VEGAS -- The iconic Las Vegas sign has been vandalized for the second time this year.

At about 7:30 Friday morning, a barefoot man wearing a barrel and a Santa's hat threw red paint on the front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and black paint on the back of it, as FOX5 News was broadcasting live.

The man, Joe Pepitone, told FOX5 News he threw the paint at the sign as a form of protest. He was also one of the protesters in front of the Clark County courtroom during the O.J. Simpson heist trial.

Ironically, the FOX newscrew was filming a segment about a previous vandalism attempt on the sign. What makes this story a new level of awesome is that the man vandalising the sign is caught live on video confronting the reporter:

The most I've ever bothered to learn a woman's name

My buddy texted me an hour ago advising me to...

Check out the sunshine girl... Sha-WING!
So I did. Here are a couple of her pictures:

Sha-WING certainly seems to cover it. But then when I watched her video on the SUNshine girl site [caution: this link will not show this video after Christmas Day, 2009 -ed]. I noticed something a little... odd:

First is the writeup that appears under her photo in the paper:
SUNshine Girl Natalya is 22 years old and her hobbies include modelling and dancing. She hopes to become a social worker and her favourite way to spend a night is relaxing at home or at a nice restaurant. OK, you can go back to looking at her photo now. (Alex Ursoveic photo)
But then watch the video, which I paused at the right spot in this screencap, and you see the same girl is apparently named "Natasha".

So, er, what's up with that?


2010 Olympic Gold Medalist:

Cheryl Bernard has won the 2009 Roar of the Rings and will be going to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Free your head

The third best part of Resident Evil: Extinction

Bonus "since you asked" content: The best. And the second best.



This blog has turned 4 years old today.

Somebody buy me a cake?


2009 Roar of the Rings

With women's tennis over until March, its women's curling where the hot action is. No, really.

Anyways, here's my ranking of the 2009 Roar of the Rings women's qualifying teams, important if you want to decide which events to try and attend.

Team Jones:
Jennifer Jones is the biggest name in women's curling in Canada. She has her own website for pete's sake!. As happens a fair bit, Jones herself is the hottest woman on her rink, followed by "fifth" Jennifer Clark. Jill Officer is good but not great, Dawn Askin has a little bit of a Drew Barrymore look to her, and Cathy Clapton is pretty meh.
Hottest Player: B+
Overall Team: C+

Team Kleibrink:
My pick to actually win an Olympic medal in 2010, Shannon Kleibrink is one of the most competitive curling teams, dropping deadweight players as if they were Billy Beane. Shannon herself has a pretty sweet MILF look to her. It does feature some mediocre hotness in Chelsey Bell (ie. every easy-pickup first year University girl ever) and Amy Nixon. Bronwen Webster, on the other hand, is pretty damned sweet.
Hottest Player: A-
Overall Team: C+

Team Bernard:
Another team with their own domain, Calgary's Cheryl Bernard is always a sight to behold. She has a serious Michelle Pfeiffer vibe going, and makes you want to bite your knucles whenever she leans in low for a slow draw. Unfortunately Cheryl leads a pretty ordinary looking team: Cori Bartel and Carolyn Darbyshire are not exactly burning up the house, and Susan O'Connor is decidedly below par.
Hottest Player: A
Overall Team: D

Team Lawton:
Saskabush's Stefanie Lawton has been doing well the last few years, and watching them makes you awestruck how much the girls all look so similar: if you learned they were all cousins (insert random Saskatchewan joke here) it wouldn't really throw you. Second Sherri Singler [say that four times fast! -ed] is damned gorgeous in the same way Jolene Blalock is not, and her skip isn't too far behind. Lana Vey certainly isn't being kicked out of bed. Marliese Kasner can't compare to the top two for sure, but not all that bad of a dropoff.
Hottest Player: A-
Overall Team: B-

Team Webster:
Another Calgarian team (none from Edmonton this time), Crystal Webster has BJ lips like you would not believe. Second Sam Preston is another pretty hot cougarish blonde, but Lori Olson-Jones and Stephanie Malekoff both suffer from oddly shaped faces. Weird, huh?
Hottest Player: B+
Overall Team: C

Team Scott:
No, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts is not named after Kelly Scott. Its easy to be confused, though. Though good curlers, its a pretty ordinary group. Kelly Scott is a tiny little thing, but certainly not where your eye tends to. The hottest player on the team now that they've lost Renee Simons is new cutie Jacquie Armstrong. Sasha Carter and Jeanna Schraeder are both tall glasses of water that make a man crave gin.
Hottest Player: B
Overall Team: D-

Team McCarville:
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville is the new face at Roar of the Rings. Krista is certainly a cute little number running her team, and Tara George is a classical beauty that its a joy to see play. I'll skip over Lorraine Lang who seems to be on the team because she's the skip's great-grandmother and discuss one of the hottest players at the tournament: not only does Kari MacLean look absolutely drop-dead gorgeous but she also has an amazing ass... watching her sweep makes the heart swoon.
Hottest Player: A+
Overall Team: C+

Team Holland:
Amber Holland is looking a lot better than she once did, but she's not the reason to watch this team. Lead Heather Kalenchuk is a cute little thing, but make sure you're checking out the right Schneider if you want to ogle this team. Second Tammy is a far far far cry from Kim Schneider, wearing some nice black glasses in the Roar of the Rings opening day. She has the Sarah Palin look I so love that I worried I would have to go without Quebec's Team Laroche in the tournament.
Hottest Player: A+
Overall Team: B-

So there you have it. I might end up going to a game or two... stay tuned for possible live reports, updated with word on how they look in the dim light of a romantic dinner at an upscale restaurant...

Update, December 13th 10:57pm: We have a winner!

L'ecole Polytechnique

Twenty years ago, some guy in Montreal went crazy and shot some women.

There's really no more that needs to be said about this, unlike things like Fort Hood there's no greater lesson that can be learned from this incident, despite the work of hopolophobic gun-nuts like Wendy Culkier.

So, in honour of the anniversary of Gamil Gharbi's little escapade, I present two YouTube videos that aptly describe the proper way to react to this anniversary:


And probably a bad day to drive your little roadster

I went out for a walk for groceries today, and can honestly say that people seem to have insane amounts of trouble with winter driving.

This link should help.

Don't floor it! Rock back and forth, and have your front wheels straight if you stuck.

The two best pieces of advice though are either the bit in the title (yes, some idiot driving a BMW roadster was stuck on an open road this afternoon), and to consider if you even have to drive anywhere. Chances are, you do not.


97th Grey Cup thoughts

This is sort of a liveblog, but don't expect regular updates.

Normie Kwong is doing the coin flip. This is incredibly better than Michelle Jean being involved.

The trouble with Grey Cups selling out early is that team fans can't make the game. McMahon Stadium isn't nearly the sea of green that the areas of Calgary have been this weekend. There are good green pockets everywhere, but unlike a Toronto Grey Cup where you can buy 2/3rds of seats in the final week, the Wheatherders here had to pre-plan a little.

Cold Lake planes are doing flybys over McMahon. Its certainly nice-ish weather in Alberta. Here's my prediction now: the 98th Grey Cup in Edmonton is going to be snowy, cold, and extremely miserable: -20, that's my call. Book it.

I think I've figured out the ideal solution: After 13 overtimes, the score is still tied at 0-0. As the last Montreal player and Roughrider collapse into unconsciousness recovering a fumble, Normie Kwong scoops it up, runs into the endzone, and wins the Grey Cup on behalf of the province of Alberta.

Saskatchewan scored a field goal and now a TD. 10-0 Riders, and my 0-0 fantasy comes to a crashing halt.

Saskatchewan is winning 17-3 at the half. Blue Rodeo is playing their only hit. Hmmm, did organizers know the Stubble Bumpkins were going to be playing? The halftime act seems tailor-made for them. And there are lots of them in the stands. I smell a fix!

With fans from across the country, Saskatchewan is apparently following the Pittsburgh Steelers (c. 1977) model of community team building. On par to lose their fourth or fifth consecutive Grey Cup game, Montreal is apparently following the Boston Red Sox (c. 1986) model of community team building.

Wow, what an ending, eh? Saskatchewan leads with 21 seconds on the clock and Montreal possession: first pass is ruled incomplete, and the video replay refuses to overturn the ruling, so Montreal gets one last play, gains some yards, and tries to kick from about the 45 yard line as the clock runs to 0:00. It fails, and as the ball is being kicked 100 penalty flags fly: it turns out Saskatchewan had too many men on the field! Ten yard penalty, and Montreal scores (and wins) on the next play! Epic. Absolutely epic.

Can you put an entire province on suicide watch? All I know is whoever the 13th man was on the field will never be allowed into Saskatchewan again... its like those South American players who blow soccer matches. For his own safety he has to move.

Saskatchewan always talks about their 13th man. Well their 14th man totally screwed them up: they have to quit with the 14th man stuff.

Swiss cheese immigration

This CBC story seems strange:

Voters in Switzerland have approved a proposal to ban the construction of minarets on mosques, according to early results of a referendum.

Projections based on partial returns show support for the ban rose from only 37 per cent a week ago to 59 per cent in Sunday's voting, paving the way for a constitutional amendment.

The nationalist Swiss People's Party, the largest party in parliament, had pushed for the national vote after labelling the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam.
Has there been some sort of change to Swiss immigration policy in the last fifteen years? I seem to recall a classmate moving to Switzerland after graduating high school, and she was only able to immigrate because she had partial Swiss ancestry.

So how did all these derka derkas get in?

Hopefully Frogs won't choke on wheat

The 97th Grey Cup is taking place later today from Calgary, Alberta.

It has to be, by far, the worst Grey Cup lineup in a decade. Two decades. Perhaps three decades. [perhaps 9.7 decades? -ed]

The Montreal Surrendering Cheese Monkeys Alouettes are taking on the Saskatchewan Sister-kissers Roughriders. Every year I hope that neither team wins more than a couple token games (they do, after all, play each other), and this year karma has awarded me the dubious joy of watching the two of them face off for the biggest prize in football: the Grey Cup.

As we look at this game, I'm reminded of what I wrote two years ago when I previewed the 2007 Grey Cup:

Now true, my loyalties in all sports tend to lie out in the west (my favourite AL team is Seattle, my 3rd favourite NL team is the Dodgers, etc.) But in this case, I'm willing to make a massive exception. Why? Because like all Edmontonians, I know more than a few passionate Saskatchewan Roughrider fans. I'm sure all of you out in Blogland can say the same. The problem is, if Saskatchewan wins the Grey Cup, we're going to hear about it for years. Maybe decades...
Hey, remember when we won the Grey Cup back in 'ought-seven?
Those wheatlanders will remind us of their victory possibly for the rest of our natural lives -- or until the Riders win their 4th (yes, 4th) Grey Cup in a decade or two -- and I for one don't want to hear that.
Well the thought of watermelon-wearing NDP-voting Che loving and Bush bashing Saskatchewan fans celebrating two Grey Cups in three years, rather than three decades, is just too much to bear. So I'm about to do something that makes me feel almost as dirty as that time I stopped a piece of heavy equipment from crushing a sodomist. I am going to...hmm, now that I try this is hard to type....uh, do I have to? Excuse me, I'm hiding in a corner.

[Feynman and Coulter's Love Child is cheering for Montreal to win the Grey Cup. -ed]

Just even reading that makes mes want to take a shower, except I have a froggy bath poof (no, seriously, thats what you call it, I'm not making a faggot joke here...well, not originally) so obviously that will remind me too much of Montreal.

I decided a few months ago to go to the Bush show, and forego my Grey Cup plans. This seems now like the smartest decision I ever made. God this game today is going to be brutal.

Bonus Grey Cup coverage: Last year I previewed the 96th Grey Cup and I do a lot of good Montreal insulting in the followup review.


Support Local Business FAIL

All I wanted was a hamburger.

I had a craving for a hamburger. Like preggo chicks are with pickles, I was for a bloody burger. It shouldn't have been that hard.

As is my Christmas tradition, I did a little bit of shopping today at 20-year-old mogul Bianca Amor's Liquidation Supercentre. Since I was in the neighbourhood, I did some Princess Auto shopping as well. Now here's where things get interesting. If you Google "best burger edmonton" you are directed to this connect2edmonton forum. They will tell you, with photos, that Grandma D's BBQ Cookhouse has the best burgers in the city. Seeing how I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I'd give it a try.

It's gone.

Shanghai Grill BBQ House is now located at the address in question. So much for that idea. So instead I look to the next suggestion: The Garage Burger Bar, just south of Grant Mac. It's a bit of a drive, but I had the hankering. So I haul ass downtown, pull up in front, and give it a try.

Closed Sundays.

Okay, Metro next door is also said on the page to have good burgers. I don't even have to restart the truck.

Doesn't open 'til 6pm.

Okay, now I'm mad. We're constantly being admonished and implicitly threatened by groups such as Keep Edmonton Original to shop local, whining about how their left-wing capitalist-in-name-but-not-in-spirit members are so great for the community and so much better to support than big name chain places. Graham Hicks blamed himself for going to McDonalds for coffee rather than shopping local just a few days ago. Well I'm here to say good for you, Graham. I remain unconvinced that these businesses really deserve our local support. Here I am trying, on a Sunday afternoon mind you, to enjoy a burger and they are nowhere to be found. Do you want to know where I got my delicious juicy hamburger? Do you?

Wendy's. Wendy's on 104th ave behind Ceili's gave me three delicious hamburgers (okay, one was a chicken but who's counting) at 1:30pm on a Sunday afternoon. You know why? Because they had the novel idea of being open during precisely the time of the week that a person who isn't an unemployed artist or Arts Student would be available and interested in eating a goddamned hamburger.

If local business can't get this, then they deserve to go under. If I happen to read in the next year or two that the owner of Garage Burger Bar goes out of business, declares bankruptcy, and ends up a pauper in the street or (better yet) manning the till at that Wendy's I enjoyed a burger at...I do believe I shall laugh. Out loud. To his face.

Fat Franks on Whyte Avenue is probably the most inexplicable business in this regard. Quick, anybody, try to guess in the comments or something what, come June 2010, their hours will be? C'mon, guess. It's 23C on a Wednesday evening, 9:30pm... will they be open? They weren't in 2009. Tuesday at 5:30pm? Nope, not in 2009. How about midnight, during the bar rush on a Saturday? Oh, guess what, they were closed. Yet the night before they had been open when we left the bar at 2am.

If local business wants to survive, it has to follow the massive rule that the highly successful (and clearly, far superior) chain restaurants have mastered: you are our bitch; get on your knees, present your asses to us, and beg us to fuck you.

As long as they aren't willing to be open Sunday afternoons, my weekend burger cravings are going to be satisfied by a big chain restaurant with a head office in America. The CEO of such a company got my money today. Edmonton's local businesses just didn't seem to want it.


The tunafish sandwich commundrum

Okay, its time we as a society settled this once and for all.

When is a good time to use real mayonnaise, and when is a good time to use Miracle Whip?

This is probably the most important issue that Third Edge of the Sword has ever tackled, so let's get it right.

Some times, the extra tang of Miracle Whip is extremely important. Other times, that smooth egg-gy flavour of mayonnaise just hits the spot. I am currently trying to make tuna sandwiches, and I don't know which substance I should mix in... my instinct says Miracle Whip, but I don't remember.

So what foods are Miracle Whip best for, and which for mayonnaise. I will make the definitive list below. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments below, or send to my Twitter page.

Miracle WhipMayonnaise
Cold turkey sandwichChicken burger
Ham sandwich
Tuna new

Update, November 22 12:57pm: We have our answer on tuna sandwiches. Please feel free to suggest further additions in the comments.


A subject near and dear to my heart liver

As I just tweeted about, the flyer for Liquor Depot this weekend contains a grevious error. Here you can see the segment of the flyer that concerned me:

Now everybody follow along here: Jack Daniels is not bourbon. For one thing, bourbon is (almost exclusively) from Kentucky. Lynchburg is in Tennessee.

There are in fact strict(ish) regulations about all this:

  • Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.
  • Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
  • Bourbon must contain no caramel coloring (E-150)
  • Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak aging barrels.
  • Bourbon may not be introduced to the barrel at higher than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
  • Bourbon which meets the above requirements and has been aged for a minimum of two years, may (but is not required to) be called Straight Bourbon.
  • Bourbon aged for a period less than four years must be labeled with the duration of its aging.
  • If an age is stated on the label, it must be the age of the youngest whiskey in the bottle.

Jack Daniels, on the other hand, is made by filtering through charcoal into non-oak vats. It is not Bourbon.

Many of you may be dozing off at this point, and indeed several coworkers had a "who cares" attitude when from memory I started spouting off some of the fine details. I suppose its too much to expect a layperson to understand this. I do, however, hold a liquor store to higher standards.

Bonus Jack Daniels trivia: Moore County, where Lynchburg is located and where Jack Daniels is produced, is a dry county.

We want press coverage only when we want press coverage

Off the Record today is talking about the incident this past week where the Calgary Flames went apeshit because a reporter mentioned a major post-game screaming match that was overheard.

The players are basically arguing that as a matter of principle reporters should not be revealing things which happened behind closed doors. They also brought up the real-world motivation against it: players (like Jeremy Roenick admitted he's done) and teams denying reporters access.

There can be an argument for the latter case, though surely reporters are not unable to hammer the team in the media for the denials in the first place. There are a lot of ethical concerns about a situation where reporters are publishing things they overheard inside the locker room and being denied team/player access: however they are all ethical concerns for the sad sacks of shit in the league, not the journalist per se.

As for the principle on the reporters side, read this article's section on eavesdropping. The Flames have nothing. NOTHING!


Oktoberfest Videos

Okay, as you probably were unaware seeing how I never got around to blogging or twittering about it, I went to the 2009 Oktoberfest at the German Canadian Cultural Centre in early October. Here are some videos on it:

You know I've had a lot of videos posted lately. I'll try to provide some text comment for my poor readers (like me) on slower machines for a while.


Glenn Beck on Southpark

(h/t polijam)

Bonus Glenn Beck:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Should be slightly less boring than playing the actual game.


Safe Haven update

Edmonton's Somali community is bracing for more tears and heartache after the seventh shooting death of a young man from their homeland in 16 months.

The body of 21-year-old Abdulaziz Osman Isse was found Thursday behind a dumpster at a synagogue in an upscale west-end neighbourhood.

And like several of the previous victims, Isse had a history with police in Ontario.

Edmonton police said yesterday that they had no previous encounters with Isse, who had arrived here recently from eastern Canada.

But Toronto police spokesman Mark Rugash said Isse was known to them, although he couldn't provide any details.

Edmonton's gang and drug investigators are watching the case closely, but police spokeswoman Karen Carlson said yesterday that no connection to organized crime has been confirmed.

Isse's body was found at 8:45 a.m. by a staff member at Beth Israel Synagogue, 131 Wolf Willow Rd.
Anybody remember this story about Edmonton's Sudanese community turning our fair city into a nightmare of their own violence brought in from the disgusting third world basket case they came from? (and by this, of course, I mean Ontario, though Sudan is probably a bit rough too)

The SUN article goes on to list some of these "victims". Let me stress again that these aren't real victims. At best you can count them as workplace fatalities:
Here's a list of the previous victims.

- Mohamed Ali Ibrahim, 24, shot and killed outside the River Cree Resort and Casino on Aug. 24, 2008.

- Nasir Mohamed Said, 22, shot to death behind Balwin School on Sept. 16, 2008.

- Abas Akubar, 21, shot and found Oct. 31 in a park near 140 Avenue and 92 Street

- Daniel Asarfo-Adjei, 17, was shot dead in Fort McMurray on Nov. 9

- Abdul Kadir Mohamoud, 23, shot and left in a field in Grand Truck Park on Dec. 2, 2008

- Ahmed Mohammed Abdirahman, 21, was also killed Dec. 2 by a bullet in a parking lot near 148 Avenue and 88A Street

- Mohamad Farah Khalif, 20, was shot to death on April 26, 2009, in Hermitage Park.