Thursday, October 30, 2008

Just So You Know...

Never, ever buy a cleaning product called "EasyOff: BAM"

It claims to do quite a number on greasy, baked-on foods.

Word to the wise: The only thing that EasyOff BAM does easily is sear your flesh off of your bones. My stove is still gross, and half of my hand was rinsed down the drain. On the bright side, it did smell like a Citrus Breeze. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Heartland

I think that, by this point, it should be fairly clear where my sympathies and endorsements lie in terms of the US presidential election. Nonetheless, I saw something the other day that I feel justifies a more explicit declaration.

So, I was wasting much time on YouTube the other night (as I'm prone to do. It's a problem), and I stumbled across a video of a recent Sarah Palin rally in Ohio...or of those flat states that probably smell like manure in the spring. In any event, the clip was of a guy with a mic asking people, in very basic terms, "Why do you support Sarah Palin?" and "Why do you support McCain and Palin above Obama?" I recognize that these are angled questions, that they were looking to draw certain responses out of those interviewed. Regardless of this biased questioning, though, the responses proved to be much more sinister than I'd ever imagined. What I heard were things like "If Obama wins, the blacks will take over. I'm afraid he and his wife could be hiding a hatred of white folks," "Sarah will bring the righteousness of God to the White House," "Obama treats white people like scum, like trash." Be aware that I omitted much more hurtful descriptions.  

And this is middle America? This is what Palin has called "Real" America? I'm not sure why I'm so surprised. It's not like I'm unfamiliar with the racist, bigot, ultra-Conservative country bumpkin stereotype. In fact, one of them has been running the US for the past eight years (oops?). But I think finally hearing it, finally seeing it in its most pure and unadulterated form crystallized for me, the vicious hate and polarization that saturates the American experience. More than Sarah Palin's ignorance of foreign policy, more than her stunning inability to put together a coherent sentence, more than her generalized idiocy, her pursuit of this vote is what makes me so vehemently opposed to her and McCain. Instead of fighting hate, instead of refusing to involve racist and religious fanaticism in the public and civic discourse, they actively seek its promotion. These hate-filled, ignorant clods are actually DESIRABLE VOTERS! Palin and McCain pander to, appease and stroke the egos of these people in hopes of winning their support.

Something is fundamentally fucking wrong with this picture. Racism, fanaticism and hatred have no place in local communities, let alone federal government. I may just be nuts, but isn't the US currently trapped in a quagmire war in Iraq, trying to get rid of precisely this type of governance (up for debate, I know)? How is a fanatically Muslim theocrat who campaigns on the ostracism and killing of "infidels" any different from a fanatically Christian theocrat who campaigns by pandering to racism, hate and violence? Easy answer: They're not. 

If this demographic is, as Palin said, "Real" America, or "Pro" American, then I say screw the "Real"American vote. Regardless of how strong, deeply entrenched or insoluble these feelings of hatred are, they are not real, they are not valid, and reinforcing them through institutionalizing them in government does nothing but spread the myth that irrational, violent, polarized hate is acceptable in any form. 

So I close by saying:


Sunday, October 19, 2008


More proof that Canada is awesome: 

So, Jill Barber's new album, Chances just came out and if you check out one album I tell you to on this entire blog, please for the love of all things good and holy make it this one. It's a short 9-song affair, but probably the most instantly lovable album I've heard in at least a year. It's a "throwback album" in some sense- drawing most of its influence and aesthetics from the 1950s love song. HOWEVER, let it be known that this is not a superficial stylistic choice on Barber's part. This isn't her answer to Christina Aguilera's Back to Basics. If you're familiar with Barber's work, you'll listen to this album and instantly know that she's finally come into her strongest niche. She's been chipping away over the course of her last three releases to get to a place where her spirit, her voice and her songwriting meet up in perfect sync. And this is it, and it fits like a glove. Beautiful, charming, simple songs. They're damn near perfect. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just Sayin...

I write many papers, take many notes, and have many conversations on my computer. Despite an absolute over saturation of word processing, the fact that Microsoft Word and Mac Messenger still underline the Canadian spellings of behaviour and colour has not become any less irritating. 

If I specify my language preference as English (Canada), then I don't like being told I'm wrong all the time. 

Fix that shit, Microsoft and Mac. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Open Letter

To those who will listen,

Tomorrow could mark a turning point in Canadian history. Tomorrow we will vote to determine who will lead our country through one of the most tumultuous and uncertain periods since the Great Depression. We will are balancing on the brink of economic disaster, local, regional and global social tensions have exploded, our cities are crumbling and our agriculture is failing. We are living on the edge. Of what, we’re not so certain. But we’re on the edge of something significant.

When you vote tomorrow (and you should vote. Apathy is no longer an option), consider the values that you hold close. Don’t fall prey to polarizing politics, don’t buy into strategic voting campaigns, don’t be bullied into voting one way or another, and don’t be afraid to develop your own political persona. We all have specific values and morals and ethical frameworks that differentiate us from those around us, even if only in very subtle ways. Vote according to these principles. If you believe the financial crisis will be best solved by an open market, vote for the party that promotes an open market. If you believe that regulation is the way to go, vote for a party that promotes regulation.

We are constantly told to be informed, and to make educated/informed/logical/strategic decisions. So to inform ourselves, we run to the media, parents, teachers, authority figures of any variety in the hopes that we make the “informed” (read, correct) decision. What we fatally regret to consider, though, are our own feelings, ethics and persuasions. If your research has “informed” you that particular party promotes an open market, and you have been informed that this is good, but something inside you says otherwise, don’t ignore that tension. You know your own beliefs and wishes for society better than any person, newscast or website. Trust that voice of dissent within you. The nation only exists because we allow it to. Canada is nothing but an abstraction made valid through a shared mythology. This mythology is rooted in the individual spirits, hopes and beliefs of Canadian citizens. It is our wishes that construct our notion of “Canada,” so don’t ignore them. Your beliefs are the building blocks of the complete abstraction of the nation. So respect them, listen to them, and vote according to them.

I’m sitting in an airport right now. All around me ideologies are flowing into and around each other- the newspaper the guy next to me is reading, the broadcast on the TV in the bar across the terminal, the kid listening to his iPod, the girl hunched over her binder- every single one a different embodiment of a shared fantasy, every single one a different social entity with different priorities. You are one of this distinctive multitude. Tomorrow, when you’re in the voting booth, remember who you are, remember that you are as much a part of the political, social, ethical and philosophical discourse of Canadian identity as any official authority.

Please vote, please do so according to your convictions, regardless of what they may be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I know!

I suck at being up-to-date! And there's so much to write about- Sarah Palin just got her passport last year and thinks people and dinosaurs used to be bros. The fact that I only have time to write about the symbolic representations of children in late 19th century Feminist fiction makes me more bummed out than you know. 

Please forgive/bear with me. I have a long weekend coming up, so I'll REALLY try to get something to you crazy kids by Tuesday.

Apologies all around! 

In the mean time, enjoy something else that I didn't do:

Meallat's YouTube Channel