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Category Archives: Life

They shouldn’t have to


I work for a weekly newspaper.  I’m a graphic designer, and I often distance myself here on this blog from my work.  Because it’s proper to distance yourself from your work when attempting to discuss politics and world events.

Recently, we’ve witnessed terrible attacks in Paris that have claimed lives.  These attacks were organized by European nationals who allied themselves with Daesh (ISIL).  Other attacks have happened in Beirut, Nigeria, Pakistan and other countries.  But often, the media tends to ignore them because they aren’t in Europe or North America.  Many of the other attacks were carried out by agents of Daesh or Boko Haram (who famously kidnapped and sold over 200 teenage girls from a school).

In response to those attacks, many Muslim organizations have denounced the attacks.  Here in West Central Saskatchewan, there is a mosque not far from Unity (in another city, I’ll leave the name out because I don’t wish for them to be attacked by useless Internet trolls).  This mosque happens to be the home of a denomination of Islam that takes all of the very peace loving aspects of the Koran to heart.  It’s a small denomination, and in other parts of the world they are often the targets of terrorist activities (surprise! Muslims often suffer the most from Muslim extremists).

This mosque recently sent a letter to the editor to our newspaper, denouncing the attacks, offering prayers to the victims and citing that this is not something that Islam aspires to be.  It’s something that over the past 14 years since 9-11 we’ve heard from Muslim organizations across North America.

But they shouldn’t have to.  I feel as though they’ve been forced into doing this to appease the fear mongers and right wing bigots. Every time something like this happens, the right wing bigots turn up the hate and turn up the fear mongering and look toward the Muslim community in Canada and start snarling at it.  And like clockwork, the Muslim community denounces it.  On the one hand, yes, we should all be denouncing incredible attacks of violence and seeking to end this conflict by finding a peaceful solution and helping the affected countries build themselves up (not with occupying forces).  We, being non-Muslims, don’t denounce attacks like what happened to 9 parishioners who were gunned down in a church by a racist militant.  We don’t step up and denounce the shooting of random civilians in Noway.  We don’t denounce the attacks against women and people of colour by someone who writes a manifesto blaming feminists.

Okay, often we do, but we’re not expected to.

The language we use as non-Muslims to denounce a shooting incident is worded very differently than when a Muslim organization denounces an attack as what happened in Paris.  And what we say and when we say it is very different than when Muslims prepare for something similar.  And they shouldn’t have to.  We shouldn’t demand that a mosque in the middle of the Canadian Prairies immediately put out a press release denouncing these attacks.

It should be us, we non-Muslims, immediately turning around and saying we will protect our Muslim neighbours in Canada to ensure they do not fall victim to acts of violence, and that they do not fall victim to the charisma of a violent organization.  We will do that by ensuring their safety as we ensure all Canadians safety, by helping to grow a strong economy that will guarantee they have employment so they can raise their families, and to ensure they have the best access to educational and medical establishments as every other Canadian has.

It should be we as Canadians reaching out to Muslims to give them hope that we see them as our countrymen, as our neighbours and as our friends.  Because they are being affected by these terrible acts of violence just as badly as the rest of us are.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness

 

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Canada, Trudeau, and Syrian Refugees


It’s been an interesting if not harrowing week on the world stage.  One cannot ignore the attacks that happened in Paris and the subsequent reaction.  Especially toward refugees who are escaping the Middle East in fear for their lives.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that he thought it was realistic to help bring in 25,000 refugees into Canada.  But many are questioning this after the attacks.  One of the main concerns is whether or not terrorists will come along with those refugees.

Here’s some facts.

Authorities in France have discovered that the identities of those responsible are all European nationals.  Meaning, they already lived in different areas of Europe.  One might say “but why would Europeans do that” and the answer is simple.  Daesh (ISIL) is playing one side against the other.  They are hoping that incredible Islamaphobia will drive Muslims to the fold and commit acts of terror against the West because Daesh wants that.  They really want a holy war.  And we’re falling right into that, because Daesh is smart enough to know that they can play off of the fears of right wing Christian fundamentalists in the West.  All of the current talk going on in the United States right now about refugees, Daesh knew that was going to happen and counted on it to happen.

Since 9-11 over three quarters of a million immigrants have come to the United States and Canada.  The percentage of those who have committed terrorist attacks since then; Zero.  Not one immigrant of Middle Eastern origin has committed an act of terrorism since September 11, 2001.  Any and all attacks were from natural born Canadians and Americans.  And while there is evidence of one Middle Eastern American who did make an attack on an army base, he was born in the United States.  All other attacks that have happened since 9-11 on Canadian and American soil, and there have been hundreds, have all been committed by right wing Christian fundamentalists.  Many of those with white supremacist leanings.

Because refugees don’t want to come here.  They’d rather not be on the run.  They’d love to go back to their homes, but they can’t because Daesh is literally killing them.  Scenes like what happened in Germany, where thousands welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms strikes a blow to Daesh because they don’t want that seen.  They’d like nothing better than to see continued discrimination of Syrian refugees.  Because they hope that will drive them to Daesh.

As for the 25,000 refugees Canada will allow; we have 10 provinces and 3 territories.  Divided equally, that’s 1,923 people per region.  In Saskatchewan, there are five major cities (Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and Lloydminster), five secondary cities (North Battleford, Swift Current, Yorkton, Weyburn and Estavan), and several minor cities (such as Melfort, Humboldt, Melville and Kindersley).  Taking those cities into account, if you did the math that’s 137 people per city.

We need to welcome these people with open arms much in the way Germany did.  To send a message to Daesh that we aren’t going to fall into their trap.  That we aren’t going to help drive Syrians and Muslims to join Daesh and fulfill their wish of a holy war war which pits Muslims against the West.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness, Rants

 

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78 Days Later


Sure, this could be the title for a zombie movie, but this has a much different feel to it.

That was the length of this past Canadian election.

In the end, when the dust settled, Justin Trudeau and his liberals cruised to a majority.  They pushed hope instead of fear that Harper’s Conservatives were pushing at nearly every step.  The Conservative campaign was a dark side of Canadian politics, as candidates openly voiced their homophobic and Islamophobic platforms.  They tried to ignore the scandals, tried to circumvent the Supreme Court of Canada, and tried to use fear of the Other as a way to win the heart of Canadians.

But Canadians are not a hateful people.

In a best case scenario, Trudeau would still be Prime Minister, with Thomas Mulcair as Official Opposition.  The Conservatives voted into political oblivion.  That is a just punishment for attempting to bring about fear and hatred into the hearts of Canadians.

Globally under Harper and the Conservatives, Canada has fallen.  We no longer had the respect we had earned under other governments.  We were a laughing stock that muzzled scientists, that censored the media, that did not have compassion nor empathy for our fellow citizens of this planet.  Under the Conservatives, we would have become just another American State.

Now, we have hope, albeit a cautious one.  Now Trudeau has his work cut out for him, but we can help.  Voters of every political stripe have the right to reach out to our new Prime Minister with suggestions of how to better make Canada great again.  We were a great nation at one time.  For ten years, we lost sight of that.

But now we can rise to that level once again.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness

 

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Please stop using my religion


Hi there.  This is something that I need to say to all those who consider themselves Christian.  Like me, many believe in an afterlife, that there is a saviour in Jesus Christ and he did some pretty cool things while on this Earth.

Unlike me, many of the Christians I speak of (you know who the fuck you are) deny scientific evidence of the age of the world, of climate change (which is never made mention of in the Bible at all), and continue to use Christ and his teachings as a way to denounce same sex marriage (hint: he never actually does say anything about same sex marriage).

Back in the day when Charles Darwin wrote on his theories of evolution, the book didn’t originally sell that well.  Mostly because it confused a lot of people, not because it had some outrageous theories.  The Church of England, when people began checking it out again, actually came forward and said “hey, this book is actually pretty good, and really describes a way that God created man, we think it’s awesome”.  So, the Church of England was pretty cool with the concept that man evolved from a lesser species to become what he and she is today.  What they couldn’t fuckin’ understand is that nature isn’t just oblivious to feelings or anything, but it’s actually pretty fuckin’ cruel.  Because nature has an IDGAF attitude about, well, everything.

The Bible’s not a scientific document.  If anything, it’s closer to an historical document (that’s been heavily edited over the centuries and with books removed because the religious establishment found them icky… I want a director’s cut of the Bible, really).

For those right-wing, Christian fascists who celebrate recently award Bigot of Honour medal by some dumb, fucking Republican racist shit bag, please indicate one section in the teachings of Christ where he said same sex marriage (or gay and lesbian relationships) is bad.  I’ll wait.  No really.

Bet you can’t find one, because Christ never said that shit.  As a matter of fact, Christ actually blesses a same sex relationship because the commitment that both men have for each other.  Christ thought it was cool that these two guys were so committed and so in love, so He said “You guys are cool, I’m honoured that you have such love for each other”.

Oh, but there you are, Christian fascists, pointing to Leviticus.  All the while forgetting that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross meant that was the last sacrifice for any Christian, and that all the old laws were nullified that’s to His death and His resurrection three days later.  Here’s 2 Corinthians 3:14 mutherfuckers!

However, their minds were hardened, for to this day the same veil is still there when they read the old covenant. Only in union with the Messiah is that veil removed.

See that shit!  That’s saying that only those who follow Christ’s teachings will realize that the old laws were no longer needed.  Christ’s sacrifice freed the people from following the laws set down in Leviticus.

Let’s move on.

A lotta you right-wing Christian bigots are claiming that your spiritual laws should outweigh the laws set down by Congress (in the States, and Parliament in Canada and the UK), or by the Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, completely forgetting something in the Constitution (for the States at least).

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

But wait!  There’s more!

There are two clauses which deal with freedom of religion.

The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the “separation of church and state.” Some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of “blue laws” is not prohibited. The free exercise clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person’s practice of their religion.

This basically means the government can operate without having to worry about religious doctrine.  ‘Cause let’s face it, ya want religion in your government, then ask yourself which religion.  Catholic?  Anglican? Protestant?  Evangelical?  Presbyterian?  Apostolic?  Mormon?  Each denomination differs greatly from the other in many different ways.  It’s one reason why the Amish and some Mennonite colonies do not work for government institutions.  They also don’t push their religion on others (I’m lookin’ at you, Jehovah’s Witnesses).

The government even states that there is a separation of church and state.  Where religion will not interfere with the day to day running of the government.

Long post is long, but there’s a point to all of this.  And this is something directed at every right-wing Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist that’s out there.

STOP FUCKIN’ USING THE BIBLE LIKE YOU’D USE A BUFFET TABLE!  My religion doesn’t exist for your bigotry, so stop fuckin’ usin’ it like that!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Life, Opinion, randomness, Rants

 

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Almost No One Sided with #GamerGate: A Research Paper on the Internet’s Reaction to Last Year’s Mob | Superheroes in Racecars


Almost No One Sided with #GamerGate: A Research Paper on the Internet’s Reaction to Last Year’s Mob | Superheroes in Racecars.

Fully sourced information for a data review of one of the most misogynistic groups online?  Check.  A return on exactly what the rest of the Internet world thought of GamerGate? Check. Show that only Breitbart and the Escapist along with three writers had pro GamerGate stances?  Check.

End result: the rest of the world is aware of the fact GamerGate is a hate group.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Life, randomness

 

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Mother Teresa was actually horrible and Shai Lebouf’s “Just Do It” is pretty brilliant


Yeah, I could divide these up into two posts, but really neither is going to be long.  I guess I could have titled it Stuff and Things, but that’s a zombie dead horse that we just don’t need to keep beating on right now.

Also, you’re welcome for the Walking Dead Meme being brought back from the grave.  God I love puns sometimes.

Mother Teresa is actually kind of a horrible person.  Well, was, considering she’s as lively as one can be when they’re dead.  We all know Mother Teresa was the wonderful person who tried to help the poor and suffering.  But she was actually a person who really got off on other people’s suffering and used it to funnel money into her organization.  She managed to raise millions to “help” the poor and suffering when in fact a very small percentage actually went to providing for those who could not afford things like food or medicine.  Even the hospitals she helped create were less than substandard and in many cases people who went there for help found that they had a better chance of finding help in an empty rice field than in one of Mother Teresa’s “hospitals”.

And yet, she’s celebrated as a person who cared for the poor.  Truth is, she didn’t give a crap about the poor, as long as they could further her own PR work.  Sure, she raised money for a good cause, but she never used 100% percent of the money for the actual cause.  Even after you’d factor in administrative costs, of the money remaining, it was a small percentage that actually went to help people.

And by help, we really should say put them in a bed so they could die.  Don’t believe it?  Here’s some reading material for you.

Hemley Gonzalez: The Truth About Mother Teresa | Big Think

Mother Teresa Was A Crook And A Fraud – KnowledgeNuts

Criticism of Mother Teresa – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rolling in money, ruining lives – the truth about so-called …

The Hidden Truth of Mother Teresa – ShankhNaad

Let’s move on!

Shia Lebouf recorded a motivational video where he stood in front of a green screen and screamed at people to just do it.  Reach for your dreams.  Yesterday, you said you’d do it tomorrow.  This is possibly the most genius thing anyone has ever done.

Lebouf’s video has gone on to become a viral meme of it’s own, putting the black clad and screaming Lebouf in various situations; on people’s balconies, in movies like 2001 A Space Odyssey, in video games.  And all of it adding to the mythos of Lebouf trying to give motivation to whomever he happens to be screaming at.  There’s a longer video, which has him standing on his head for a while, but the best part is the motivation talk (or maybe yelling is a better point).  Hell, there’s even a TED talk where Lebouf is screaming at the Audience while there’s a larger than life version of him on a screen behind him.

I mean, really.  He’s standing in front of a green screen.  He had to know people were gonna use that as an opportunity to put him into strange and interesting situations.  His motivational speech has actually done quite well, and I really hope it lasts longer than the usual 15 minutes on the internet.

Shia, you’re a fucking genius.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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Progressive Movies: Aliens vs Predator


A while back, I talked about Fifth Element and how it actually passed the Bechdel Test.  And it passed it in laughable fashion.  Another movie did the same, but managed to not only pass that test, but the Racial Bechdel Test and even can be a candidate for the Mako Mori Test.

That movie was Aliens vs Predator.

First, lets take a trip down memory lane.

Aliens had become one of the most successful franchises around, and Predator did quite well in its opening with Arnold fighting an alien species who was hunting humans.  It did well enough to make a sequel, so in 1989, a movie was released starring Danny Glover in what had one of the most diverse casts, even by today’s standards.

IMG_1533But in that final scene was something that made fans stand up and take notice.  It was an easter egg, but it still asked the question of what if the Predators hunted Aliens.

There in the the trophy case was an alien skull.  It was the thing that began that question.  One which would become a reality in a series of comics published by Dark Horse.

Aliens_versus_Predator_-_comic_coverIn the first series, humans are caught between Predator Hunters and the Aliens.  The only survivor is a woman named Machiko Noguchi.  She fought of the Aliens with a Predator, Broken Tusk, who marked her with his clan’s symbol.  When the clan arrives again and finds Machiko, they accept her into their hunting clan.

Those comics continue, including Aliens vs Predator: War, a follow up to the original which sees Machiko betray her clan to aid the humans.

machikoOver the years there was always rumours, always questions whether there would be an AvP film.  Nothing was ever confirmed.  Until the early 2000s.

In 2004, fans got their wish.

Aliens vs Predator would hit screens, and tell a story that took place in Antarctica.  It would also introduce Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) as the CEO of the Weyland Corporation.  And Sanaa Lathan had the lead role.

Sanaa’s character is Lexa Woods, an environmentalist, mountain climber, glacial expert, and often times a guide.  She is hired on to lead an expedition into the frozen South Pole to find a heat bloom that appeared on satellite.

So how exactly is it that this movie is able to pass three tests?

Let’s take a look at the first test, the Bechdel test.  As I said with the Fifth Element, passing this test is laughably easy, and AvP is no different.  The highlight comes in a conversation between Lexa and one of the security officers of Weyland,

Rousseau herself doesn’t have a lot of lines in the movie, but there is a conversation between her and Woods.

044AvP.06

Alexa ‘Lex’ Woods: [Rousseau is loading a pistol] Seven seasons on the ice, and I’ve never seen a gun save someone’s life.

Adele Rousseau: I don’t plan on using it.

Alexa ‘Lex’ Woods: Then why bring it?

Adele Rousseau: Same principle as a condom. I’d rather have one and not need it, then need it and not have one.

Rousseay also comments to Lexa how she’s glad that she decided to stay with the team.  That’s the one and only conversation that happens in the movie between two women, and it’s actually more meaningful than the conversations between two women in Fifth Element.

I mentioned before that AvP also passes the Racial Bechdel Test.  For those not aware, Sanaa Lathan is black.  So is Colin Salmon who plays Maxwell Stafford in the film.  Stafford is basically Weyland’s right hand man.  He is Bishop’s assistant, he’s in charge of security, and he acts as body guard to Weyland.

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And there’s a few (or rather a couple) of scenes where Stafford and Woods talk that has nothing to do with or about a white person.

Alexa ‘Lex’ Woods: We’re gonna round up the rest of the team and get to the surface. Let’s move!

[Stafford and Verheiden open their cases and pull out machine guns]

Alexa ‘Lex’ Woods: What are you doing?

Maxwell Stafford: My job. Yours is over.

Alexa ‘Lex’ Woods: My job is over when everyone is back on the boat safely. And that gun doesn’t change anything.

[Stafford cocks his gun]

There’s actually a couple of other scenes where Woods and Stafford talk, the first being a phone conversation (which Woods finds out Stafford is at the top of a cliff face she is climbing when he calls her) where Stafford offers her the job.

Needless to say, Woods is the only survivor in the entire group.

Alien-vs-Predator

Which brings us to the last test.  The Mako Mori Test.

Woods is the last survivor.  She even comes up with an idea how to kill the queen when she comes racing after Woods and the last Predator.  Even that Predator eventually dies (who, it should be added, was also infected with an Alien chest buster), leaving Lexa the lone survivor of the expedition.  The story is about her, and how she survives in the cold of the South Pole, standing alongside a Predator who doesn’t speak the same language.

Lex has to make a lot of rash decisions, including killing Sebastian who has become infected with a chest buster.  Is she emotional and scared?  Sure, I defy anyone not to be when in a situation like that.  But she survives.

That was a movie in 2004, and it had more notches in its belt for diversity, for having women as lead characters, and women of colour as lead characters in an action film.  And it wasn’t a major blockbuster at the time.  It did well at the box office, but didn’t shatter records.  Well enough so the executives gave the green light for the horrid Aliens vs Predator Requiem.

But if a movie like that can have a woman, a woman of colour no less, and still have fans enjoy it, then everybody can shut the fuck up about the new Ghostbusters.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2015 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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