Friday December 20, 2002
As I'm sure you all know, I'm a bit of an information junkie. I spend a lot of time surfing news sites and even lurking through political newsboards. An interesting board is called "Babble," and is run by the leftist webmag, Rabble.ca (the people who published the 2nd version of my Kashmir article). This isn't necessarily a plug for the website, but their board posters tend to be among the more literate and witty that I've found. Here are a couple of samples:
While we're talking about quotes, I like this one from Joy Press of The Village Voice:
"'p.c.' was always just a caricature, a stick used by the right wing to batter the left with its own kindness."
Here is a great article listing the achievments of Iraqi civilization. It's about bloody time someone published such a list! Mark Steyn can kiss my stinky ass.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies in DC is, in my opinion, essentially a Republican thinktank. With that in mind, they still provide some excellent and memorable quotes. I like this one from Anthony Cordesman. He's talking about the current penchant for "intellectuals" to salivate over the rebuilding of Iraq:
"Iraq cannot be treated as an intellectual playground for political scientists or ideologues, and must not be treated as if its people were a collection of white rats that could be pushed through a democratic maze by a bunch of benevolent US soldiers and NGOs."
As many of you know, Robert Fisk is one of my "heroes." (I don't have heroes, but there are courageous people whom I admire; Fisk is one of them.) His words these days are increasingly melancholy. Seems he's being beaten down by an increasingly retarded world. This is an excellent Fisk article about the current shocking trend of journalists becoming willing and overt tools of statist purpose.
On a somewhat similar note, William Pfaff writes in this article about the subtle effect of journalistic nomenclature on political purpose. Specifically, he demands that Western media and politicians cease depicting all of Islam as the enemy. Also a very timely article, though somewhat sloppily written.
I have my problems with Joseph Sobran. But he comes through with this quote:
"Who imagined, when [the USA's] army was bogged down in Vietnam, that it would go on to wage war (or “keep peace”), not long afterward, from Lebanon to Panama to Iraq to Serbia to Afghanistan and back to Iraq? Does anyone care to place a bet on where it will make future enemies?"
Let's end the political segment of today's bulletin with this eternally quotable snippet from John Kenneth Galbraith. It explains so much about the world:
I'm off to Toronto tonight, so this space might not be updated for another couple of weeks. You might want to check out my latest non-wrestling article. This one is about the life of Salman Rushdie. As always, my most recent columns and features can be found on my comment page. And please do take the time to visit my other website, the very exciting and erudite "magazine," The Podium.
Monday December 16, 2002
"How unfashionable it is to champion the poor, who, if it weren't for their guest appearances on television during tornado season describing how their trailer parks have been decimated, could be a figment of the imagination dreamt up by communists. Or Canadians." -Bruce LaBruce
As promised, my photos from Malaysia are now posted! Click on"photos" on the menu to the left, and select "Malaysia." (Well, duhh.)
Saw the new Star Trek movie this weekend. How very very disappointing. Why? Why? Why do they insist on writing mediocre crap and wrapping $20 million worth of special effects around it? Can't they spend an extra hundred or two and write a better story?
My latest thing is downloading episodes of my favourite TV shows and watching them on my computer. The beauty of this format is that I get to avoid commercials in their entirety, and watch sequential shows in proper order. This only works for high calibre shows, like Stargate-SG1, though.
I've got nothing else to say today. I'll leave you with a quote from my favourite sex therapist, a woman with a rare, powerful and occasionally subtle kind of wisdom:
"Besides, if having sex in exchange for something is the definition of prostitution, there's a lot more whores in the world than are currently advertising." -Sasha
Friday December 13, 2002
"...in every democracy in the world, including ours: the slow slide toward authoritarianism. Democracy has always had a short life span." -Charley Reese
In many ways, Charley Reese is a crotchety addled old geezer with a knee-jerk Coulterian anti-liberal reflex. But on the topic of US foreign policy and on the histories of governments in general, he is often untouchable. Here's another quote from Mr. Reese:
"[Netanyahu and Sharon] foolishly believe that they can annihilate the Palestinians with brute force. This policy, and our unquestioning support for it, is what fuels hatred for the United States in the Arab world. Like it or not, that's the truth."
As always, I turn to Brother Margolis to be courageous enough to put world events into context. He's always worth a read, if only for his cantankerous style. This article is about the Bush junta's policy of "divide and conquer."
Speaking of everyone's favourite unelected President, there are increasingly more stories of Americans arrested or detained for dissension. Mind you, some of these cases are almost justified. This story is of a teenager forced to remove a T-shirt which showed a target on The Shrub's forehead. Hey, I thought Bush was pro-gun and pro-marksmanship?
And how about this story about a man imprisoned for making a "burning bush" comment in casual conversation? You know what these two stories have in common? Brainwashed tattletales who think "patriotism" means reporting all forms of dissent, even ones which clearly weren't meant as viable threats to the President.
Enough politics for today. Guess what I discovered? My book, Sweet Like Saltwater, is being taught in an Asian American course at Columbia University. The course's entire reading list can be found here. Cool.
Okay, I've been a lazy bum. I have uploaded all my photos from Malaysia, but have yet to organize and edit them. So you'll have to wait a couple of more days before you'll be seeing them here. Maybe by Sunday?
Sunday December 8, 2002
Okay, I'm back from Malaysia and still jet-lagged, so I've not a great deal to write about just yet. My latest wrestling column, penned from Borneo, is available here.
Stay tuned for pics and more articles soon...
Tuesday November 19, 2002
Quite the telling quote, no? Sometimes those overwrought Founding Fathers sound downright prescient. In no particular order, here are some thoughts:
I'm off to Malaysia on Thursday. I'll be visiting some HIV/AIDS and development agencies while there, though I am ostensibly on vacation. You'll all get a full report. While Canada has issued a warning to all its citizens travelling abroad, I wish to re-iterate that the biggest dangers to modern travellers, even in this age of terrorism, are unclean water and traffic. Having said that, as always, I maintain a file containing a final message to my family, in the event of my untimely demise. The file is encrypted, so don't bother poking around unless I really have met my maker.
I hope I'll have time to update the Bulletin before I leave. In case I don't.... see you in a couple of weeks!
Friday November 15, 2002
The above quote can be applied to oh so many things.
War with Iraq seems even more imminent. But why? Is it just oil? In this article, Brother Margolis talks about empire building in Mesopotamia, and the next target of US military might: Iran.
Did I tell you I saw Salman Rushdie speak at the National Press Club? Some days later, I also saw Leonard Nimoy at the same venue. I wanted to get them confused and ask Salman, "Mr. Rushdie, in episode #6, why did you wait so long before blasting through the Tholian web?" But I chickened out. While Rushdie was inspiring, Nimoy was vapid. One of the great joys of growing older is replacing your shallow role models of youth with great thinkers and doers: Rushdie for Nimoy.
Tonight I went to the book fair of the National Press Club. Unlike similar events in Canada, this one brings out power brokers and media heavyweights, and juxtaposes them with celebrity frivolity and general vapidness. It's an odd scene. We have Christopher Hitchens, George Will, Katherine Harris, Lisa Beamer, Tom Lehrer and Chris Matthews.... and Robert Guillaume... all hawking their books as if they were selling kebabs at a Cairo souk. It was a very telling reduction of power and influence to their threadbare commercial core. One author was even pushing pamphlets about her book at people lined up at the coat check! Very sad.
I'm off to Malaysia next week. Hopefully there won't be a travel advisory before then!
Friday November 8, 2002
Well, Canada has started down the road of stupidity, with the opening of a private hospital. A silly person once demanded to know what the harm was in letting someone who could afford it get their own privately-funded care. The lesson was learned the hard way in Britain, where a similar two-tiered approach was taken. Despite appeals to the better side of human nature, history has shown that when the middle and upper classes are allowed to deny their emotional investment in public welfare, their financial investment is next to wane. Canada's public health care system would quickly denude, as did England's state-run health and education systems when the same tack was taken.
The article linked above has a nice passionate quote from a health economist. But due to typical poor wording by the slovenly National Post writing staff (with the exception of my good friend Neil, of course), I'm not sure what side the economist is on!
Well, the Democrats screwed up their election bid and lost both Congress and the Senate to the War Party. Whatever. I'm sick of these people and their endless rhetoric --on both sides!
Apparently that bow-tied weasel Jonah Goldberg is about to declare in his right-wing Enquirer, The National Review, that Canada is no longer a serious country, essentially because Canada doesn't agree with every detail of US foreign policy. It was suggested that I consider this good fodder for a future op-ed. But I refuse to acknowlege Mr. Goldberg in any capacity, except here on my loser website. He's like the rest of us: looking for publicity, except he's a bigger dumb-ass than most.
Here's an unsurprising bit of news. Apparently young people are more likely than older people to support war. The article suggests it's because young people have been fed a diet of sanitized war and black-and-white political issues. They're buying the force-fed Republican view of a dichotomous world of Good vs. Evil. Odd how even professional wrestling has chosen to depict its 2-dimensional characters in shades of grey.
I don't believe for a second that so-called "young people" are uniformly stupid. Everytime I've addressed a school or university, I've been pleasantly surprised by how complex and plastic the mind of youth really is. However, I do believe that among stupid people, youth are overrepresented. Stupid people suck. Charley Reese puts it in context:
Amen, brother. With all the election hooplah, the typically vapid and temporal press have dropped Iraq from their front pages. Let's get back to it for a second...
"Iraq is 'the tactical pivot,' as a recent presentation at the Pentagon put it, for re-mapping the Middle East on Israeli-American interests. Destabilization of other 'despotic regimes' will follow, according to plan... So the plan to attack Iraq was plotted six years ago by pro-Israelis who now hold key positions in the Pentagon." -Fedwa Wazwaz, St Paul Pioneer Press
This article describes how Iraqi ex-pats and British and US oil firms are already planning how best to divvy up Iraq's oil assets once the imperial expansion is concluded.
Now, when I quote these people, I do not mean to imply that I support or agree with all of their paranoid ramblings. But a lot of it does make sense.
"...those who decide on American policy and those whose job it is to sell that policy to the American people and the world no longer feel a need to camouflage their intentions, to dress up their empire in more respectable clothes. American Empire and imperial ambition are currently respectable enough. They need no ideological cover. And that may turn out to be the longest lasting legacy of September 11."
With the idea of empire in mind, many otherwise unrelated foreign policy decisions seem to blend into a complete philosophy. (This is not to imply a conspiracy, you knuckleheads poised to write me hate mail, only a mindset which may or may not be overtly realized.) Stephen Peter Rosen of Harvard Magazine had this to say about the empire:
"...we are an indirect empire, to be sure, but an empire nonetheless. If this is correct, our goal is not combating a rival, but maintaining our imperial position, and maintaining imperial order."
On a completely unrelated note, remember that book of Indian folktales I was writing? Well I was recently contacted by someone putting on a play in New Hampshire based upon one of the tales. (Not upon my version, though.) She wanted some clarification on setting and history. Quite cool. A summary of the production, Wisdom For Sale, is here.
Remember, if you agree/disagree with anything I've written here or elsewhere, you are invited to submit your own take --in op-ed format-- for publication in The Podium.
Tuesday November 5, 2002
I'm getting fat again. I blame the weather. It's too cold to run. Or at least that's what I tell myself as I hit the snooze button and retreat under my warm covers.
The DC postal system continues to piss me the @#!$ off. I am now officially missing over $2000 in cheques from various clients, all of which were mailed months ago. Several submissions to publishers and agents have also gone astray. You know why US postal workers occasionally go nuts and kill people? It's because they're incompetent boobs!
The good news comes as a result of some bad news. Due to US immigration constantly harrassing foreigners of swarthy appearance and Muslim background, regardless of what passport they hold (shameful, shameful behaviour), Canada's greatest current novelist, Rohinton Mistry, has cancelled his US book tour. As a result, the Ottawa Citizen is rushing a shortened version of my racial profiling article to press this morning. It's the article that just won't die.
So go buy a copy and send it to my parents. They'll be so proud.
Tuesday October 28, 2002
Okay, let me get this straight. Iraq might be gathering resources to one day possibly construct a fabled "weapon of mass destruction", so Dubbya is rushing headlong into war with Saddam. North Korea openly admits to having a nuclear weapons program and our clueless leader decides that..... negotiation and diplomacy are the appropriate paths.
So what's the real difference between the two countries? Say it with me, boys and girls: OIL. That and North Korea is the fourth biggest military power in the world and bullies like Bush and Rumsfeld can't just push it around.
The logic of Emperor George II continues to baffle. Let's see... he's seeking a UN Security Council resolution to fight Saddam, but if the Security Council doesn't give it to him, he'll go it alone and declare the UN to be "irrelevant." Oh yes, and why is he going to war with Saddam again? Because Saddam violated UN Security Council resolutions. Email me your flow charts, students.
As always, Brother Margolis gives the issue the appropriate treatment here.
No new personal news to report. This website has just changed URL forwarding services, however. Our previous provider, Namesecure, are a bunch of incompetent chimps who can't spell "customer service." So we've moved to Redirection.Net at a fraction of the price!
Hey, I'm looking for a palmtop word processor. If anyone has one to sell me (cheap), lemme know.
Friday October 25, 2002
As a follow-up to my last bulletin post, this article discusses the logical rationale behind an American empire, namely the Pax Americana.
And here is an interesting and humourous look at Washington's "chickenhawks", those annoying war-mongering fools who ironically know nothing about war.
Joseph Sobran has always been an interesting writer, though I certainly don't support all of his opinions. In this article, he critizes the fundaments of war. It's worth a look.
While I'm quoting people, why not Woody Harrelson? I really hate it when entertainers take political stances (John Malkovich, I'm looking at you). But at least Woody backs up his words with actions. Unlike Malkovich, Woody doesn't make death threats and not take the time to elucidate his position. Here is a fun little article by Woody. Sure, the stance is backed by a sort of high-school level analysis, but at least he's trying.
Jimmy Carter finally won the Nobel Peace prize this year. No other surviving American President has even come close to his record of good works. However, it's important to remember than no one rises to his position without having wrestled and slept with the basest members of our civilization. Here is a list of Jimmy's failings. Never let it be said that my website is a pulpit for partisan politics! (Cool, alliteration.)
Here's some more good news. Canadian author Yann Martel won this year's Booker Prize for literature!
As I love to do, I'm going to end today's bulletin with a quote from champion of no-bullsh!t op-ed writing, Eric Margolis:
Amen, Brother Margolis. Amen.
Monday October 21, 2002
Got a lot of stuff to report today. First off, my article on the Beltway sniper was published this past Saturday in The Ottawa Citizen. That paper will also publish a shortened version of my racial profiling article.I want to remind everyone that my newest short story appears in the current issue of Pagitica magazine. Also, my book (Sweet Like Saltwater) is being auctioned off in the regular fundraising drive of CKLN radio. If you've got some money you need to spend, go bid on it!
Check this out. It's a list of names for the new dumb-ass war against Iraq. Usually personal blogs are unabashedly fascist. It's nice to come across one or two that aren't. Speaking of the fascists, this piece of sh!t will make you want to vomit.
You know, when Sep/11 happened last year, a friend asked me what I thought it meant. I answered that the event would see either the solidification (i.e., unmasking) of the true American world empire, or it would signal the final obliteration of that extant empire. At the time, I suspected the latter, though recent international events suggest the former. It now seems that I was not alone in my original assessment. This article summarizes well the position that the US empire actually fell with the end of the Vietnam war.
On a mostly unrelated note, it seems that there was talk in Canada of starting a "United States day." Can you believe that? We Canadians really suck sometimes. What kind of loser country has a national day set aside for a foreign country? What with so many worthy domestic causes and triumphs gone unmarked. How about a Native Peoples day, or an Insulin day or a day commemorating Standard Time, the telephone or a host of other great Canadian accomplishments no one wants to remember? Of course, starting a "Canada day" has never and will never appear on any American public poll. This article gives the notion the treatment it deserves.
One last thing: my latest wrestling column is here. As usual, the wrestling columns get me a lot of hate mail. Yep, often wrestling fans deserve each other.
Tuesday October 15, 2002
My poor parents. I moved to Washington, DC, just days after terrorists dropped an airplane into the Pentagon. Then the "Maryland sniper" goes on the prowl, with many of his shootings occurring in the neighbourhoods around my office. And now, less than a week before my brother and his wife enjoy their honeymoon on the island of Bali, terrorists blow up a car bomb there, killing over 100 people. I guess there really isn't a safe place to be anymore.
Speaking of unsafeness and general weirdness, listen to this story. About 20 years ago, I was looking for unusual names to incorporate into my short stories, so took to mining my siblings'old highschool yearbooks. I came upon a singular name, "Aaron Dookie," which I thought was unique and memorable. I immediately used a version of that name in one of my short stories, and that story was eventually incorporated into my book, Sweet Like Saltwater. Though the years passed, the name Aaron Dookie, randomly picked from a dusty yearbook, never wandered from the back of my mind.
Last week, I read that Aaron Dookie had committed a murder-suicide. Yes, it's the same fellow.
On a completely different note, I want to talk about something that needs to be addressed. A few days ago, someone implied to me that since I am working in the USA, handsomely enjoying its fruits, I should be more circumspect in my criticism of its government. As you can imagine, the result was a shouting match on the streets of DC, 'cause this is not a sentiment I accept in any way, shape or fashion.
Let me say this: who do I need to be, and where do I need to work, before I am to be permitted to criticize this government? Is the price of stating my opinions to be indigence? Must I either quit my job or return to Canada before I can ethically voice my oppositions to the policies of George W. Bush? Is that really what "free speech" is supposed to mean in this country?
It was pointed out to me that when you live as a guest in a foreign country, it's good manners not to "insult" your host nation. But living in the USA is not like living in any other nation, like Namibia or Lichtenstein or even Canada. This nation is the world power. Its actions, even domestically, appreciably affect every human being on the planet. It is therefore reasonable for every person, regardless of nationality, profession and location, to harbour and voice an opinion on American policies. Heck, nationality has never stopped Americans from voicing opinions on the policies and lifestyles of other countries!
And no, in the verbiage of one individual, it is not "ironic" to be involved in US industry while criticizing US policy. Firstly, in this globalized era, no matter where I live and where I work, I am in some way involved in US industry; it's not ironic, it's unavoidable. Secondly, lifestyle is necessarily divorced from administration: criticizing the policies of the US government does not necessarily equate to criticizing the American people or the American way of life. Yes, everything is linked, but not so inextricably that elements cannot be discussed in isolation. To imply otherwise is to deny discoursive authority to all but a handful of privileged individuals.
Those who attempt to limit the "qualifications" for dissent actually limit the expanse of freedoms and rights for everyone. Don't put up with it. I sure don't.
On a similar topic, check out this article.
Tuesday October 8, 2002
Well I've had an interesting couple of days:
That's a lot of stuff for one bulletin update, don't you think? Stay tuned, I'll be posting a lot of new photos soon....
There's a good article by Joseph Sobran, about President Bush's betray of the US constitution, here. And here is a story about yet another public servant branded "traitor" for his courageous anti-war, anti-empire stance.
Wednesday October 2, 2002
I'm back from deepest darkest Canadia. They let me back in, complete with a new work visa, so I'm relatively free of deportation for another year, assuming my political opinions don't attract the wrong attention.
That's all I have today. stay tuned!
Wednesday September 25, 2002
And we're off!
War fever grips this country and its ridiculous government. So much so, that hairjobs like Paula Zahn can besmirch the patriotism of a true hero like Scott Ritter. Read this. It's you and the other talking heads who've drunk the kool-aid, Paula, not Mr. Ritter. Ilana Mercer, who is usually a dumb-ass over at WorldNetDaily.com, at least got this one right:
The war mongers continue to push toward Iraq, and the American and British public, with their heads up their asses, continue to drink the red-white-and-blue kool-aid. As always, Brother Margolis brings a poignant tongue to the table:
We swim in a culture of idiocy that now infects our highest offices. The old adage, "those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it," is tangibly applicable to our current state. I don't need to make the obvious goose-stepping allusions to let you know where I'm going with this. Dennis Rahkonen of CommonDreams.org puts it this way:
Speaking of crypto-fascists, it's been a while since I've bashed Ann Coulter. Instead, I will let Dan Savage have the honours:
Enough ranting for today. I'm off to Toronto to get a new work visa. There's a non-trivial probability of getting deported. That would suck. On the plus side, though, it would mean I can belly-ache about the American government with even more gusto.
By the way, the site that hosts my wrestling column, 411Wrestling.Com, is now ranked as the 7,468th most visited site on the Web, accordng to Alexa.Com. That is very impressive. For comparisons, check out these rankings:
There you have it. Wrestling is almost as popular as political news, and is certainly more popular than some of the top alternative news sites. Don't know whether to cry or rejoice.
Thursday September 19, 2003
Think about it.
Hey, if you're Canadian check out this link and look under "unclaimed balances." You might have money owing to you!
While we're talking about Canada, I am pleased that Globe and Mail columnist John McLachlan Gray has taken to task our country's cadre of parroting Bush sycophants:
"Clearly, there exist editors working for Canadian publications who will not be satisfied until Canadians are more pro-American than the Americans; and sadly, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper are right in there."
I wrote to Mr. Gray to express my appreciation for his bold writing. His response:
"Thanks for taking the trouble to write. Usually when people send e-mail it's because they're mad at me."
I know what that's like, brother. I don't use the word "bold" lightly. (Heh heh... bold... lightly... heh heh.) In these weird times, the public is sinking to new levels of ignorance and cowardice. Courage these days amounts to stating the facts, as unpopular as they might be. I like this quote from Heather Wokusch:
"Who really is the biggest DICK? The 'leader' getting away with duping the public into war, or the public allowing the leader to get away with it?"
Still not convinced that the world (and parts of the USA in particular) is full of dumb-asses? Read this.
And in what will no doubt be the most underreported story of 2002, this link describes how the Bush administration was planning on attacking Iraq well before terrorists gave him something resembling an excuse. I wonder what would happen if Saddam not only let weapons inspectors back in, but abdicated and allowed local democratic processes to return... on the condition that no foreign oil interests would be allowed access to Iraqi oil reserves. How creative would the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice junta have to be to justify their war then? Trust me, they'd find a way.
On that note, I'm glad that a man as great and brave as Robert Fisk writes in sync with my own thoughts:
Master Fisk puts his finger on the infuriating arrogance and simplemindedness of the warmongers. It is a disgrace to modern Western civilization that men like Donald Rumsfeld have acquired so much power:
Another consistently courageous writer, Tom Turnipseed of Commondreams.Org, has this to say:
I'll end this spiel with a final quote from the mighty Robert Fisk, who reminds us all why those in the media (even us lame underpaid freelancers) must continue to rant:
On a personal note, do check out my newest EBay auctions:
Monday September 16, 2002
I always get a kick out of this site.
This weekend I did the 34 mile BikeDC bicycle ride through some of the more scenic (and some of the less scenic) parts of downtown DC. Some parts were so rough, I thought we'd have to duck a rainfall of bullets. But we all lived, though my quads have seen better days.
I also saw the comedy concert film, Notorious C.H.O. Pretty funny, if you ignore the fairly banal preachy bits. I bring it up because Margaret Cho mirrored an observation I've made on many occasions: there's a strong concordance between Star Trek geeks, Renaissance fair geeks and geeks who go to bondage clubs. I have my own theories about why this is, but I won't expound on them here.
This past week, Canadian Prime Minister (and my pen pal) Jean Chretien made many of us proud by finally criticizing Western decadence and alluding to its role in our current state of global insecurity. Of course, the usual yahoos made the expected spurious logical leaps about how the P.M.'s comments are tantamount to supporting arguments of moral equivalence. But, for sheer entertainment value, I like this quote from Chris Sand of the Center for Strategic and International Studies:
Why do I quote so much? Well, I'm not the first to sense an increasing unwillingness of traditional mainstream media to question the actions of the American government. Indeed, the media here seem intent on doing all they can to further federal agendas. When I see an opinion in print that mirrors my own, or that authoritatively contradicts the position of the loudest voices, I must record it. Many will scoff at my worry over what I see as the gradual degradation of free speech, but freedoms are historically taken from us in slow inconspicuous increments. Consider this insightful quote from Mark Hertsgaard of the London Guardian:
I expect matters to get much worse before they even pretend to get better.
Wednesday September 11, 2002
Anything I say today will just get me into trouble. So on to the quotes!
That be all, people.
Monday September 9, 2002
We have a new article up at The Podium. It's a review by Rolf Kanjilal of a book about the comedy phenomenon called Second City. Do check it out. Podium writers are not paid, but rather exert a great deal of effort producing very high quality articles simply for the satisfaction of being read. So have a read, and do consider sending Mr. Kanjilal some feedback.
Speaking of feedback, I'm still sorting through the reams of responses from my last wrestling column. And speaking of columns, my latest political column is scheduled to be published in next month's issue of California's esteemed India Currents Magazine.
To receive my new columns directly by email, please subscribe to my mailing list. This is not a scam. You will receive no offers for sex secrets or land in Nigeria.
I'm making gradual changes to this site. Do let me know if this is a good thing. Particularly, let me know if anyone actually looks at the video page. The latest change is to the links page, wherein I've added some more detail about my martial arts history.
It's been two months since I've started to use a statistics service to track this site's visitors. Here's what I've learned about which pages are accessed the most:
Similarly, here are the top three pages visited at The Podium:
I don't exactly know yet what this information does for me, but give me time. And now the quotes!
Thursday September 5, 2002
Have you read this site's disclaimer yet? Is this what we've come to?
The big news today is that The Podium is back up and running, after a great deal of online distress. Why the difficulties? Well, my second-level country-specific domain name is apparently quite a problem for the automated services of my registrar, Internic.ca, so it took much much effort to renew my ownership of the domain name and change the DNS entries for redirection. Blah Blah Blah. Bottom line is that the domain name podium.on.ca is mine for another two years, and after being dumped (without warning) by my original forwarding service (Namesecure.com, the bastards), I have a new cheaper redirection service, Redirection.Net. Hallelujah.
Also, my latest wrestling column is available. This one got a sh*tload of reader feedback!
While I'm bashing service providers, let's not forget my local cable provider, Starpower. Remember, these were the people who were continually screwing me over when I first moved here. Well, this time they disconnected all my services (phone, cable, Internet) when the neighbour moved out. Their chimp dispatcher wrote down the wrong address. A common problem easily fixed, right? Wrong. They ended up having no record of my ever having subscribed to their services, even though they still bill me. Idiots. Several phone hours later, everything is fixed, but of course I don't get compensated for their idiocy. Deregulation is not a panacaea, my friends
I'll save the political quotes for next time. Today you get a quote from my dear friend Natalia Aguiar. You see, her friend Cheryl had visited my website and had commented that since I've recently cut my long hair, the main photo is false advertising. Natalia responded to her with this email:
Tuesday August 27, 2002
The Podium is still down. This means you won't be able to access any of my archived articles, including those linked from the comment page and the resume page. As always, you can access those files indirectly by clicking here.
If all goes well, the original links will be operational again by the end of this week. In the mean time, please do sign up for my mailing list. It's the best way to get the most recent articles and announcements.
Now for the quotes:
Here are some excerpts from a great article at Antiwar.com by Christopher Montgomery on that ass columnist Mark Steyn:
Thursday August 22, 2002
Well, my dumbass URL forwarding service provider, Namesecure.Com, has decided to stop supporting country-specific domains. What this means is that The Podium --home to brilliant writing and the archival space for all my columns and reviews-- is temporarily homeless, due to its ".on.ca" domain suffix.
Notice on the left menu, there's now a mailing list option. Do click it.
A full bulletin update will be written once I fix the URL forwarding mess.
Friday August 16, 2002
Oh, man, I got rolfed last night. Very very cool.
The new version has been heavily edited, and I fear some of the nuances of my argument have been lost. This is in no way a criticism of the editor. After all, I signed off on the new version, so the responsibility is mine. Much of the reader feedback has been negative, due I think to some of the language in the new version. Oh well.
My latest wrestling column has resulted in absolutely zero reader mail! This is the first time this has happened to me! My fellow wrestling geeks, come back to me!
In other news, my birthday week was great! Andrew has pics posted already over at his website. Have a look quickly, 'cause he updates that page quite frequently.
And now the quotes:
Monday August 12, 2002
It's August 12th --my 35th birthday! It's a birthday shared by Rosa Aguiar, the best damned hair stylist in Toronto, and the late Jon Donald, a fascinating spooky man. This is, I believe, the only year when I will be exactly one half the age of my beloved father. I could do the math and confirm that, but I don't wanna. I used to think Napoleon shared my birthday, but he, alas, was born August 15, so I cannot lay claim to having evolved my Napolean Complex from a fortuitous astronomical conformation.
Speaking of astronomy, the Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight, as it does every year on my birthday.
On August 12 in 1898, the Spanish-American war ended. Today is also the birthday of Cecil B. DeMille, Cantinflas (that fey actor in Around the World in 80 Days), John Derek (from The Ten Commandments and Bo Derek fame), and tanned actor George Hamilton.
On the date and year of my birth, the following songs topped the charts: The Doors' "Light My Fire", the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", The Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe."
On August 12, 1961, East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall. In 1877, Edison invented the phonograph on this day. And in 1981, IBM released the world's first 16-bit personal computer.
Oh yes, as I'm sure you're all aware, yesterday was Hulk Hogan's birthday.
Now, Astrocenter pegs my horoscope for this special day as this:
I will end today's special birthday edition by wishing for world peace, happiness for all peoples and a lasting cure for chronic heartburn. Instead of a political quote, today you get a classic promo from the Macho Man Randy Savage (at the height of his lunacy):
Thursday August 8, 2002
I'm feeling in a curmudgeonly mood, so I'm going to list some things I really hate about other people's emails:
Hey, this is fun! Let's not stop... Let's list some things I dislike about the way people speak:
Whew! That felt good.
This weekend, my buddies Andrew and John are coming to visit. Why, you ask? Well, my friend, it's my 35th birthday on Monday! And, just like every other year, the evening of the day of my birth will see a spectacular meteor shower
So I took an online IQ Test, just to see if I'm the genius my PR people (i.e., my parents) keep claiming. Well, I barely made the genius cut. But I suspect the test is actually a scam and the score is random. Try it yourself. In an effort to undermine my newly minted genius status, I've been reading some crapfest books. Well, that's not fair: the books aren't crap, they just appeal to a larger demographic thus, by the assinine conventions of a classist society, are deemed anti-intellectual. I speak of Pure Dynamite by the greatest professional wrestler of the modern era, the Dynamite Kid. Also, I've been reading the two Uplift Trilogies, by David Brin. The latter truly are excellent rollicking science-fiction books, perfect for summer reading. And while we're on an entertainment fix, I've also been ordering a lot of movies from Half.Com: Okay, enough film talk. I leave you with the quotes! "Americans are also adroit at demanding love and loyalty from the rest of the world ('you're either with us or . . .'), but it tends to be mainly Canadians who get sucked into trying to provide them." -Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail "Americans are adroit at engineering pissing matches about patriotism." -Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail "The American public is sleep-walking toward a war
with Iraq that it has been told is inevitable, and
most of the U.S. mass media have sent their brains on
holiday for the summer." -Gwynn Dyer, The Toronto Star "We're going to become guilty, in my judgment, of
being the greatest threat to the peace of the world.
It's an ugly reality, and we Americans don't like to
face up to it." -Senator Wayne Morse (1968) "Tell people something they know already and they will
thank you for it. Tell them something new and they
will hate you for it." -George Monbiot "A Defense Department advisory panel, headed by
Richard Perle, has declared the world to be 'an
immediate threat to American security' and has called
for the United States to undertake an immediate
preemptive strike against it." -Richard Cummings, LewRockwell.com "The moral bankruptcy here ought to astound all who
confront it, but then, the United States government
abandoned the moral high ground a long time ago."
-Ryan McMaken, LewRockwell.com "The United States government has no right to force
Pax Americana on the rest of us, or to unilaterally
determine the fate of the world." -Tadatoshi Akiba,
mayor of Hiroshima "I believe that Iraq does not pose a threat to the US
worthy of war. This conclusion is shared by many
senior military officers." -Scott Ritter, former UN
chief weapons inspector
So I took an online IQ Test, just to see if I'm the genius my PR people (i.e., my parents) keep claiming. Well, I barely made the genius cut. But I suspect the test is actually a scam and the score is random. Try it yourself.
In an effort to undermine my newly minted genius status, I've been reading some crapfest books. Well, that's not fair: the books aren't crap, they just appeal to a larger demographic thus, by the assinine conventions of a classist society, are deemed anti-intellectual. I speak of Pure Dynamite by the greatest professional wrestler of the modern era, the Dynamite Kid. Also, I've been reading the two Uplift Trilogies, by David Brin. The latter truly are excellent rollicking science-fiction books, perfect for summer reading.
And while we're on an entertainment fix, I've also been ordering a lot of movies from Half.Com:
Okay, enough film talk. I leave you with the quotes!
"Americans are also adroit at demanding love and loyalty from the rest of the world ('you're either with us or . . .'), but it tends to be mainly Canadians who get sucked into trying to provide them." -Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail
"Americans are adroit at engineering pissing matches about patriotism." -Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail
"The American public is sleep-walking toward a war with Iraq that it has been told is inevitable, and most of the U.S. mass media have sent their brains on holiday for the summer." -Gwynn Dyer, The Toronto Star
"We're going to become guilty, in my judgment, of being the greatest threat to the peace of the world. It's an ugly reality, and we Americans don't like to face up to it." -Senator Wayne Morse (1968)
"Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it." -George Monbiot
"A Defense Department advisory panel, headed by Richard Perle, has declared the world to be 'an immediate threat to American security' and has called for the United States to undertake an immediate preemptive strike against it." -Richard Cummings, LewRockwell.com
"The moral bankruptcy here ought to astound all who confront it, but then, the United States government abandoned the moral high ground a long time ago." -Ryan McMaken, LewRockwell.com
"The United States government has no right to force Pax Americana on the rest of us, or to unilaterally determine the fate of the world." -Tadatoshi Akiba, mayor of Hiroshima
"I believe that Iraq does not pose a threat to the US worthy of war. This conclusion is shared by many senior military officers." -Scott Ritter, former UN chief weapons inspector
Friday August 2, 2002
Gotta keep this short. I'm late for "work" and must still clean my apartment before my weekend houseguest arrives!
Next weekend is my birthday, so send me stuff!
The new web statistics software installed on this site appears to be working well. Not enough data yet to determine my most popular pages, though. However, current trends point to this page, the Sweet Like Saltwater page and the resume page being the most frequently visited.
Have you heard of this novel called Twelve, written by a 17-year old named Nick McDonnell? It's all the rave in the US fiction publishing industry. Here's the funny thing: famous names like Gertrude Stein and Hunter S. Thompson rave about it and its teenage author. Independent reviewers, however, bluntly say that it reads like it were written by a 17-year old. Why the discrepancy? Well, it seems McDonnell's father is the editor of Sports Illustrated; both Stein and Thompson are friends of his parents; and his own publisher is his godfather. How do you spell nepotism?
Is this sour grapes from me? Maybe. As one who has slogged it out for years in the lit-mag trenches to hone his skills and earn some respect from the industry, it bites to hear of some privileged kid --yes, Daddy is footing his bill to Yale, too-- who decides he wants to be a novelist, and can just call up a family friend to make it happen. I guess I wouldn't mind so much if the thing were truly brilliant. But by all objective accounts, it isn't.
Okay. Must run. I leave you with the quotes!
Monday July 29, 2002
Man, am I getting fat. I've gained 5 pounds in the past 3 weeks, and I just ate a whole bag of potato chips! (Now, for some people, that's not a big deal, but I'm the guy who measures every teaspoon of fat that goes in his mouth!) For the sake of sanity, I'm attributing the weight gain to muscle mass, and don't you dare disagree!
I have a new wrestling column over at 411wrestling.com, so do have a look. And I'm still waiting for Alyson Hannigan to reply to my marriage proposals, so no progress on that front. (I'm kidding! I'm a kidder!)
For all those people who keep asking me late-breaking epidemiology questions I know nothing about, do check this site out before bothering me. Cool?
Okay, gotta run. You may note a new icon at the bottom of some of my pages. I'm testing a new web statistics service called Webstat. I'll let you know how it goes. And now to the quotes:
Thursday July 25, 2002
Back from a great long weekend in New York City, and man is my apartment a mess!
Friday July 19, 2002
I'm off to New York this weekend to do some family stuff. It's always a bit hair-raising when the entire Deonandan gene pool travels in the same vehicle, but what are you gonna do?
No breaking news, except to say that my Kashmir article has just been picked up by the Canadian left-wing website, rabble.ca, and will appear there sometime next week (with some Canadianized revisions). As always, all versions of all my articles are archived at The Podium.
Speaking of The Podium, there's a new article there by a new writer, a fellow named Michael Ashley. So do have a look, and feel free to respond to Michael directly or to The Podium via an article of your own.
I leave you with a quote:
Monday July 15, 2002
The mythic squash battles are back on, with ever consistent results.
No other big news to plug today. I'll be attending the NCHS data user's conference for the rest of this week, if you're looking for me in downtown DC. Fun? Wow!
As always, I leave you with some quotes:
Tuesday July 9, 2002
I'm back! Visa woes have been cleared up. Yayyy!
New photos have been posted from my trips earlier this year to Monticello, Harper's Ferry and Gettysburg. Also, my feature essay on media coverage of the Kashmiri conflict is now the cover story of this month's issue of India Currents Magazine.
Wednesday July 3, 2002
I'm off to Toronto later today. Yes, I'm trying not to be in DC for the 4th of July ---for obvious reasons.
Dig this... this article is a good little summary of the modern nation of Guyana. Why do I include it? Because there's a whole paragraph about me! Okay, it's more about how I'm more Canadian than Guyanese, but I still get a whole paragraph!
Mind you, they got some facts wrong. I didn't win the Guyana Prize in 2001, but rather the "Guyana Prize for Best First Work" in 2000. Seemingly small detail, but I don't want to be stealing anyone else's thunder. (The 2000 winner of the true Guyana Prize was David Dabydeen, while no prize was awarded in 2001.)
My pre-recorded interview on CKLN radio aired yesterday. I didn't hear it, of course, but no one called to register their disgust or disappointment, so I'm assuming it went well. I'll try to get a digital version and set it up for download or streaming from this site.
My photos from Bermuda and California are now posted, so do have a look!
And now some more quotes:
Saturday June 29, 2002
Speaking of California, I must thank my old highschool buddy and former roommate John Roxburgh for giving me a temporary home last weekend in his fancy house in San Francisco. John is now impressively the Vice Consul & Trade Commissioner at the Canadian consulate in SF. I'm trying to suck up here so he gets me a good biotech job one day.
I'd also like to thank Sonia Arrison for taking time out of her very busy schedule to show me about. By the way, according to this guy and this guy, Sonia is now officially a Libertarian "policy babe." Just don't become another Ann Coulter, Sonia.
My battles with the US State Department and the INS continue. Apparently no one can give me a straight answer about why the INS officials in Bermuda gave me a hard time. I guess in the history of NAFTA, no Canadian working in the USA has ever before visited Bermuda! So I'm off to Toronto next week to sort it out. Geez.
To reflect my current mood, here are some closing quotes:
Tuesday June 25, 2002
I'm back from California. Pics from there and Bermuda will be posted any day now, so do visit often to check. God knows I need the hits!
Speaking of needing hits, Andrew Currie's website has his take on my scooter accident in Bermuda, and his pics are posted!
I couldn't resist this quote:
Damn you, esoteric poets!
Tuesday June 18, 2002
Well, I'm back from Bermuda. How was it, you ask? Let's see.... due to a scooter accident, I was rendered bruised and unconscious and came to with Andrew Currie's finger in my mouth. (He was checking to see if I'd swallowed my tongue, ya pervs.) Many X-rays and a CAT scan later, I was declared in perfect health.... but $2000 poorer due to Bermudian health care costs!
Being a dude who believes in being insured up to the hoo-ha, I'll probably get my $$ back. But the doctors insisted that my bruises and cuts be kept out of the sunlight and out of the water. No sun and water? Why the heck was I in Bermuda?
So I made it to the airport for my flight back to the USA, whereupon I was told by INS officials that my US work visa was now invalid because I attempted to re-entry the country from a non-NAFTA nation. @#!$! I must now re-apply at the Canadian border. Oh yay.
I made it back to my apartment in DC, where I decided to work off the stress by going for a nice long run. In my absence, the building dudes had fiddled with my lock, re-setting the safety and auto-lock mechanisms. Sure enough, the door locked behind me, so I was unable to re-enter my home after my run. Two hours and $25 later, I am back inside and seething.
So, after all this, would I go back to Bermuda? In a second, baby! Photos to come soon. And I'm off to California in the morning.
Friday June 14 2002
If I get swallowed by the Devil's Triangle, my last words (solely for my family) are here.
Sadly, I must also say goodbye to Neil Hrab, who is leaving DC to be a travel writer in Iran. He will be missed.
I'm go-ing to Ber-mu-da, I'm go-ing to Ber-mu-da, I'm go-ing to Ber-mu-da...
Monday June 10, 2002
Went to Monticello, VA, this weekend to see the home of Thomas Jefferson. It was pretty cool. The best part was the endless pointless trivia.... Jefferson was exactly 6'2" tall, while his bed was 6'2.5" long... who gives a f@ck?
Saw the Tyson-Lewis fight at a party attended largely by journalists and right-leaning young people, including at least one White House employee. What is it with conservatives under 25? Why must they be so unforgivingly sanctimonious and vicious? Everyone was booing Tyson, but a few were doing so not because Tyson's a jerk or a rapist, but because he's a communist (riiight) and a Muslim (double riiiight). Their vitriol made me an instant Tyson fan.
The same night, we attended mod/Britpop night at a club called The Black Cat. The music was excellent and the women delectable. So much good music restored my faith in the youth of America, or at least in those who don't work for the White House.
On the ride home, we saw something really interesting. At 2:30 AM, on Constitution Avenue (the part of town where you find the monuments), a car was careening at full tilt, weaving through traffic.... dragging a man along the side! The man was crouched by the driver's side, as if he were on a skateboard, but there was no board! Skid marks on the road were formed from the residue of his scorching running shoes.
We followed the car around a corner, where a police car had seemingly stopped it. But the dragged man was casually sauntering away from the scene. I didn't check to see if his shoes were smoking.
How do you spell "fleeing a bust any way you can"?
By the way, I wrote an op-ed concerning my take on the biased coverage of the Kashmir conflict in US newspapers. I'm still finding a home for it, but you can read it here.
Wednesday June 5, 2002
Geez, man, my Bermuda plans fell through today. No worries, I'm off to Palm Springs next week, then to San Francisco, and I'm working on a cheap flight to Malaysia for the Fall. Let's just hope that Asia is stil intact come November.
On that note, isn't it telling that, as millions are poised to die in a nuclear confrontation in South Asia, American newspapers still feature Chandra Levy on their front pages? And a White House spokesperson's initial reaction to the Indo-Pakistani tensions was concern over how it affected the Taliban-squashing in Afghanistan.
Today, for the first time since the last war, India and Pakistan exchanged artillery fire across the line of control. A million troops are amassed for battle, each brimming with fraternal hatred. Yet today's Washington Post headline concerned the endless kafuffle in Israel. I'm going to say it --are you ready?-- there's an element of racism here. Hundreds of dead Indians and Pakistanis, and potentially twelve million more vapourised, don't seem to matter as much as the handful in Israel, tragic as those events are. Americans' concern for the South Asian conflict, one that Emperor Bush himself helped exacerbate with his hamfisted meddling in local politics and his juvenile geopolitical stances, is limited to how it affects Pakistan's patrolling of the Afghan border. You just know that on a certain level, Western leaders (and citizens) are thinking, "Well, there are more than a billion of them people, so they can afford to lose a few million here or there."
Congratulations to Neil Klar and Laura Beth Falter for their sparkling wedding last week, where I was the Best Man (and they don't come any better.)
Wanna try something neat? Click here to see this page in "Redneck Dialect."
Sunday May 26, 2002
I saw Attack of the Clones again, not because it's that good, but rather because there's nothing else out there remotely interesting. More interestingly, I got to see it in an old-fashioned theatre in scenic Gettysburg, PA, with my friends Neil and Matt. Yes, we were doing the tourist thing, visiting famous local Civil War sites. This really is a lovely part of the country.
One interesting observation is the tendency for history to recall certain villainous individuals in heroic terms, depending on whether their causes proved triumphant. One such case is that of John Brown, whose disastrous raid on the federal armoury in Harper's Ferry (ostensibly to kickstart the abolitionist movement) is remembered in loving, patriotic tones. One cannot help but wonder if, by today's paranoid standards, John Brown should not instead be remembered as a terrorist in the mold of Osama and Arafat.
It's something to think about.
My latest wrestling column is posted at 411wrestling.com. In this one, I confess my desperate (but innocent) love for Alyson Hannigan (who plays Willow on Buffy The Vampire Slayer). It seems that the huge 411 audience agrees with me, since this article has garnered the most feedback of any of my submissions so far.
Speaking of desperate love, Ed "The Hitman" Wong and his beloved wife Meiling have produced a beautiful daughter named Madelaine. Of course, we at Deonandan.com wish the new family all the advantages and joys in the world, and silently recognize the end of the fabled and storied squash battles. Sigh.
Wednesday May 22, 2002
Okay, let's talk about some light and fluffy stuff.
First off, I failed in my bid to get a ticket to the ritzy White House correspondents' dinner a couple of weeks back, but some friends attended. The bastards got to meet Ozzy Osbourne, Harrison Ford, Donald Rumsfeld and scores of other names worthy of dropping. I'll see if I can abscond with some photos to be posted here presently.
Yes, I saw Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. I loved it! There were some genuine stand-up-and-cheer scenes, which is all one requires from a Star Wars movie. As usual, brief reviews of this movie and others (including Spiderman) are available at The Podium.
As enjoyable as Star Wars was, it paled in comparison to the season finale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which is perhaps the finest current television drama. Yes, the ending was predictable, but in a good way. Sometimes good stories should end in precisely the ways one expects them to end.
The series finale of The X-Files, on the other hand, was neither predictable nor enjoyable. Big pile of steaming crap.
And now the segue from the light and fluffy stuff to the dour and serious stuff.... Following in the steps of John Malkovich, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel has weighed in with a very biased take on the Middle East conflict. How tragic it is when such valuable moral capital gets compromised and squandered. Brandon Keim disassembles Wiesel's veneer of objectivity here.
As usual, here are some respectable current events quotes:
Wednesday May 15, 2002
I don't know much about Galloway, except that he has vocally expressed support for the Palestinian Authority. However, I do know a great deal about Robert Fisk. In my opinion, Fisk is the most courageous and fair-handed of Western correspondents in the Middle East. On more than one occasion, I have found needed solace in Fisk's wisdom, bravery, poignancy and razor-sharp analysis.
Fisk responds to Malkovich's unexplored declaration here.
In addition to this being yet another obvious case of strong unexamined American support for one Middle Eastern perspective, this is also just one more example of "entertainment credential" giving someone an undeserved platform. Has Mr. Malkovich done his own research in the region? Like Fisk, has John Malkovich logged countless weeks, months and years in refugee camps, being shot at, being beaten up by mobs while examining disputed scenarios in first person? How has Malkovich demonstrated his knowledge of the facts, and how has he convinced us of his passionate commitment to this particular political adventure? Clearly, he has not.
And yet Malkovich feels justified in calling for the death of someone whose sole crime is the danger-filled investigation of such situations.
Maybe Malkovich feels justified because he once played a soldier in a movie. After all, by American political standards, that qualifies him for the Presidency.
Monday May 13, 2002
How's this for the story of my life? My interview on CKLN radio, which was supposed to be broadcast on May 7, was cancelled because of technical failures. This was after I'd alerted everyone in the world to tune in, of course. Well, it looks like they'll try again on July 2nd.
You may recall that I'm supposed to be an expert in the epidemiological aspects of assisted reproduction. Well, it seems the Canadian government has finally got off its ass and has established the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada. Of course, I'm in a different country now, so this in no way improves my career prospects. #@$!&
My career prospects took a turn for the better recently, though. I now have a very small role to play in a very big AIDS intervention project in Guyana, run by the Canadian Society for International Health. Maybe this will be my path back into do-gooding.
Meanwhile, it seems my name is known to the good folks at the Encyclopaedia Britannica. How cool is that?
On a completely different note.... Apparently, some people are confused about the purposes of this website. One visitor even thought that I was a professional comedian trying to solicit gigs online! For the record, I may be funny looking, and my career is a joke, but I ain't no comic.
Here's a good quote:
Well I guess that's something.
April 29, 2002
What a dull life I lead. This was one of the loveliest weekends in some time in DC, and I spent it camped in front of my TV with remote controls in both fists. The local PBS affiliate shows complete Dr. Who serials every Saturday night! Man, I'm such a dork.
I made the mistake of visiting the website of my old high school. From there, I followed links to some old acquaintances. These individuals owned their own multimillion dollar companies, and one even sailed a boat around the world while on a scientific expedition.
Why do I mention this? Because, as a result, I feel even more boring and inadequate. Ecch. So if you feel the urge to email me and tell me how wonderful I am, don't let me stop you.
In other news, I sold another article to The Ottawa Citizen. That newspaper has one of the best freelance policies I've yet encountered! Ain't nothin' like newspapers that respect their writers.
Speaking of pics, I've finally posted some new ones over here. These include the long-awaited "goombahs from the midwest" series, as well as some miscellaneous images from Toronto and DC.
No new wrestling column yet. Guess I'm being lazy. Patience, Grasshoppa, patience...
April 22, 2002
As one of my readers commented, I'm on the road to becoming "King of the Net Dorks." Believe it or not, he meant it as a compliment. He was referring to my latest wrestling column.
I spent this weekend at a party at the Canadian embassy (for Canadian university alumni), followed by an even better event on a rooftop overlooking the FBI building. It was populated by Smithsonian scientists. It's one of the better things about living in DC: the high concentration of really interesting people. Anyway, it was a rare opportunity for me to mouth off about my left-leaning politics --a rare thing in this very conservative town.
So now I have to switch tracks and write a very pro-business article for a client. Oh, I'm such a whore.
April 14, 2002
And my recent interview on Toronto's CKLN radio will be broadcast on May 7. You can listen to it online.
I have a new favourite news columnist: The Globe and Mail's Rick Salutin.
Meanwhile, final edits to my new novel are almost complete. Many thanks to Linda Morra, Adam Stevens, Sneh Aurora, Julia Lenardon and Justine Whelan for providing invaluable feedback during the novel's intermediate stages.
That's all for now. Keep reading The Podium!
April 10, 2002
Just got back from Ottawa where I spoke to an undergraduate English class at the U of O. These students were keen, bright, well informed and a genuine pleasure to be around. My faith in the youth of today has been restored. (Yes, I'm an old man.)
I've finally crossed that line between geek and dork. As you know, I am a proud fan of that mutant brand of entertainment we call "professional wrestling." Well, as of today I am a weekly columnist for one of the biggest pro wrestling websites in the world, 411wrestling.com. I will, of course, let the world know when my first column comes out.
As is my wont, I leave you with some quotes:
April 3, 2002
Just got back from New York City. Since September 11, it seems the city is a tad more subdued. Obviously there are fewer tourists about. But people also seem generally more pleasant, and the city as a whole was a lot more fun to visit!
My flight took us over Ground Zero. From the air, it's an erie and awesome sight: a gigantic illuminated barren square, seemingly the size of all of Central Park! On the ground, the site is less erie, but no less impressive. While all the rubble has been cleared away, there are still the jagged remains of disembowled buildings on the site's periphery. Of course, the $2 million memorial light show, powerful enough to be seen on the moon, marks the spot. The lights look silly from afar, but close up they are quite powerful.
My eldest sister, a professor of political science, was also in New York, leading a delegation of undergrad students to the yearly "model UN." They were tossed out of the UN building, however, when the real Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the present upheaval in Israel.
On that note, I'll leave you with an unusual link. Interested in hearing the other side of this madness? This is a news service out of Jerusalem, with a decidedly pro-Palestinian bias: the Palestine Independent Media.
My article in The Ottawa Citizen can now be read here. I'm off to Ottawa to speak to an undergrad English class. Wish me luck!
March 23, 2002
Some random thoughts:
Okay, I'm off to New York next weekend, then to Ottawa the weekend after. Why Ottawa, you ask? Well I'll be addressing an undergraduate English class at the University of Ottawa ...on the topic of the works of Deonandan, of course!
March 14, 2002
You know, I'm getting really tired of people saying to me, "You know professional wrestling is fake, don't you?" Grrrrr.
For once and for all, let me say, yes! I know it's "fake." Why is that supposed to affect whether or not one enjoys it? When you watch Star Trek, they're not really flying around in space, you know that right? And when you watch a performance of Hamlet, you do realize that the actor isn't really the Prince of Denmark, right? Are Star Trek and Hamlet fake? Does that affect how much you enjoy them? Sheesh.
March 11, 2002
I've got a new column up at Dooney's Cafe. Yes, we kissed and made up. As always, my columns are archived at The Podium. From now on, recent columns will also be available on my local commentary page.
I just came from the DC zoo. While watching the sea lions, I heard off to my left a grown man making sea lion noises. And off to my right was a 3 year old boy making gargling noises. It was a weird and intriguing symphony of the absurdly disgusting. It has encouraged me to acquire a portable recording device, so that in the future I might share such experiences with you, faithful reader.
You know what's cool? I can track the sales of my book, Sweet Like Saltwater, in international venues! In France and Germany, it's selling for 20 Euros, and 22 Euros in Belgium. Of course, after delivery costs, it's more like 50 Euros. On the other hand, it sells for mere pennies in American used bookstores. Boo sniff.
On the topic of that particular book, I finally got some sales figures from my publisher. It seems there have been 339 sales from July/1999 to June/2001. I know that sounds poor, but I've been told it's actually quite a respectable figure for a small press book like mine.
Hey, remember that letter to the Prime Minister of Canada I wrote late last year? I forgot to report that the PM's office wrote back! Of course, it was pretty much a form letter, but at least it was signed... by the PM's staff member responsible for getting rid of nosy letter-writing citizens. If you're interested, here is the letter.
As always, I end this segment with a quote:
March 4, 2002
Saw the most interesting thing on the subway the other day: a man who was paralyzed on his left side changed his clothes! No, it wasn't titillating, perverts. He changed his shirt, shoes and socks and put on a tie, all with one hand.... and on the subway! Fortunately, he didn't change his pants. I see the most fascinating things on the subway, like the time I witnessed an honest-to-goodness case of the blind leading the blind, as described in the Dec. 20, 1999, edition of my Bulletin. Speaking of weird and/or inappropriate subway activities, such things appear to be an epidemic here in DC.
In other news, I just purchased a new TV, after my old set went on the fritz this morning. For an hour there I actually contemplated not replacing it, and joining the elite set of TV abstainers. Then I snapped to my senses, remembering the hot copy of Rushmore in my hands.
Time for some more quotes, some from sources I usually disavow, but which are occasionally, and surprisingly, showing some reasonableness. Sorry for the vomitous colour scheme.
Feb 24, 2002
Well, now, I've never been one for "supporting my local sports team" 'cause, after all, when has my local sports team ever supported me? But I must admit to some guilty satisfaction after the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team kicked some gold medal American ass today, for no better reason that it helps to quiet the nauseating US jingoism that surrounds me. Ahhh, sweet sweet silence. (Yayy Canada.)
Feb 20, 2002
The whole "goombas from the midwest" collection will soon be posted in my photos section, along with some more selections by Salem and her gay Dad. So check back often! I need the hits!
Feb 11, 2002
Matt Vadum points out to me that I've been a bit irresponsible in characterizing the Confederacy as "racist." Perhaps he's right...perhaps. That's as close as I get to admitting I'm wrong on my website.
That steely-eyed bastion of free speech, The Podium, has been updated with some new material, so do have a look.
This weekend, I and my visiting friend Sean found an undeveloped roll of film lying in the dirt in front of the Smithsonian Institution (which is near to the Capitol building and the White House). I'm having it developed as we speak. Maybe it's just pics of fat tourists from Ohio.... or maybe it's photographic evidence of Gary Conditt strangling Chandra Levy! Stay tuned, loyal readers... And if you don't hear from me again, it means I'm hiding in suburban Arlington, trying to reach Gene Hackman on the phone...
I leave you with these important links. Want to submit an op-ed to a real newspaper (as opposed to the websites of variable quality who usually publish my crap)? Try these:
And if you get more success than me.... screw you, ungrateful swine! Kidding...I'm a kidder....
Feb 5, 2002
Let's start with the fun and happy stuff. The last couple of Monday nights, I've been playing trivia at Fado Irish Pub here in DC. There have been some great team names, including Axis of Weevils and The Nation of Quizzlam. Sadly, our team (Zen and the Art of Deep Throating) did not rise to the top of the heap, though we are making solid strides forward.
One of my old book reviews (this one of Eric Margolis's War At The Top of the World) has been reproduced on the Dooney's Cafe website. For several reasons which I shan't detail here, I don't think I'll be contributing any further material to that particular website.
Here are some more interesting links... The Meme Pool is a frequently updated list of links, ostensibly organized to celebrate memetic idea propagation, though I doubt the designers fully understand what that's supposed to mean.... Star Trek's Wil Wheaton has his own site, complete with everything except a bold declaration of his burgeoning homosexuality... Creepysites.com is a list of interesting web-based fictional journeys, for lack of a better description... This I don't know what to do with, The Southern Party is a revival of the racist Confederacy, but much of their foreign policy is in tune with my own! I am so confused...
After more thoroughly perusing his articles, I wish to retract my support for Chris Mooney. Seems he's just another precocious spoiled kid with more opinions than experiences.
And now the nasty stuff. Daily, I am more convinced that the present US Presidency is leading the world toward annihilation. This moralistic "good vs. evil" rhetoric, combined with a casual flouting of law, zero respect for the opinions of dissenters, and a terrifyingly simplistic world view ("axis of evil"?!!) are worrying enough. But when combined with the largest military build-up in 20 years, and with what the Boston Globe's Jim Carroll calls, "the puerile thrill of power, rampant moralism, and supreme arrogance", it amounts to a powderkeg watched over by drunken frat boys.
In a democracy, this should not be as great an issue as it is. The majority of reasonable voices always pulls extreme views more toward the middle. But this administration has gradually and convincingly quashed the acceptability of such controlling discourse, and has instead forcefully created a gelatinous worldview which meshes patriotism, war and corporate branding. Look at these anti-democratic quotes from high-ranked Bush lackies:
As Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times put it, "The president is drunk with the popularity that his war on terrorism has brought, and those sober Democrats and Republicans, who know better, are afraid to wrestle him for the keys to the budget before he drives off a cliff. "
Jan 29, 2002
Today's entry is about lunacy and antidotes to lunacy.
Jan 25, 2002
It's been an interesting few days. First off, I have a new column at Dooney's Cafe. This one is sure to piss off my new American friends. Also, I recently returned from Toronto where I did a book reading/signing and a radio interview with CKLN. The interview will be broadcast in April, and will then be reproduced on this site.
I hope to have some big news for you in about 3 months. I don't want to jinx myself, so I'll keep it under wraps until then. That's all for now. Bye bye.
Jan 16, 2002
I continue to be amazed that the best news, and certainly the most balanced social commentary, is to be found online, and not via traditional sources, such as newspapers and television. ZMag is another excellent site for alternative world views. And here is a fine article on the racist definitions of "terrorism."
One more thing. The Podium now has a mobile edition! If you own a PDA and are an AvantGo subscriber (it's free, join!), simply select the "Create Channel" option and enter the following URL: http://users.starpower.net/iworm/podium/mobile.html. Set the "link depth" to 2, and preferably set the maximum storage to 200K, though 100K works in a pinch.
Jan 12, 2002
Some random musings:
New photos have been posted. Do have a look, and I'll talk to you soon (and see you in Toronto next week).
Jan 4, 2002
Just a reminder: I'll be doing a book reading and signing at Toronto's Central Reference Library on the evening of Jan. 21, so come if you're in town! The link to the event is here. Also, CKLN radio station will be interviewing me at some point in the near future. Watch this space for details!
As you may have noticed, I've developed a recent interest in web-based news venues. I trust them more than traditional print media, and they sure make better reading. Here's a list of the more interesting ones:
Jan 1, 2002
Welcome to 2002. As is my tradition, I shall commit this first entry of the year to listing the things that were most influential in my life in 2001. Please do keep in mind that I am fall-flat-on-my-face monkey drunk as I write this.
I know everyone wants to talk about Sep 11 as one of the most important things in history, but let's get a grip. While tragic, those events will not bear the historical relevance of, say, Pearl Harbour. I think a more apt comparator is the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. But these days, whose memory goes back 23 years?
What are the most important things to Ray in 2001? Gentlemen, the envelope please...
I've just come back from the black tie gala of the National Press Club in DC. What a waste of time and money! It was like paying to attend the wedding of someone you don't know, minus all the good-looking young single people. The only pluses were the company of my good friends Matt and Neil. It is also very telling that someone actually mistook me for one of the wait staff! Racist classist bastard.
As my drunkenness clears, I'm sure I'll regret writing all this emotional stuff. But while I've lost some important things this year, I'm thankful for some very valuable things that have remained in my life, most notably the love and support of my perfect family.
If you haven't read my Dec 31, 2001, entry, do check out the archives.