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Tuesday, Feb 09th

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The Living Dead

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Like in the United States, it's federal election campaign season up here in Canada. This time around the campaign will drag on for … 78 days. The average length of the past 10 campaigns prior to 2015 was 45.8 days. The standard is 37 days.

How do Canadians feel about a protracted 78 day campaign? Bob Brown, interviewed in The Calgary Herald, called the move “ridiculous,” but one that wouldn’t benefit any of the three parties in the long run. “I don’t see how issues can be dealt with any greater in three months than they can in 30 days. There are only so many issues. What do you accomplish by running that discussion out over three months?

Well … the answer is pretty easy to figure out. Money. The Conservative Party of Canada has more cash than the Liberal and the New Democratic Party. The longer the campaign, the more cash the Conservatives can throw into TV commercials. And since they're Conservative commercials … they're filled with innuendo, ad hominem attacks, and flat out lies. The Conservative Party of Canada … aka the Tories … differs from USA Conservatives in that they are not howling at the moon crazy. For sure they are Creepy Capitalists who don't mind flirting with Fascism but they keep the flat out drooling lunatics away from cameras and microphones.

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Life, Death, and Spark-Tending

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My new coffee mug's art on the side is a thing of retro-futuristic beauty -- part steampunk, part Bradbury, maybe.  There is an art deco scene of a mad scientist's lab, including a robot and assorted glowing objects and tools and scattered projects -- shelves filled with curious and intriguing things.

Above that widescreen-band of art, above:  "Certifiable Mad Genius."  Below the art, in a smaller font:  "I have a death ray, and I know how to use it."

  • (There is nothing to define just what "MAD" may be - it could mean angry.  It might mean mentally disturbed.  It could be the acronym for Mutual Assured Destruction.  It could mean all three.)

The mug is good as a standalone item.  The mug also makes me think of a cartoon I have pinned on a battered cork board.  It's an old, yellowing, dog-earred clipping, from a New Yorker magazine, as I remember, a cartoon by Charles Addams -- yes, that Charles Addams.  The setting is in an office building, in a patent attorney's office, in perhaps the 1890s.  Out the window, we see other buildings -- enough to realize the office is on the third floor, say.

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The Bombs of August : In Remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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On Monday, August 6, 1945, after six months of intense firebombing of 67 other Japanese cities, the United States  dropped a nuclear weapon nicknamed "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima , Japan.  This attack was followed on August 9 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over the Japanese city of Nagasaki. To date, these are the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.

In Remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

When the bombs were dropped I was very happy. The war would be over now, they said, and I was very happy. The boys would be coming home very soon they said, and I was very happy. We showed ‘em, they said, and I was very happy. They told us that the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been destroyed, and I was very happy. But in August of 1945 I was only ten years old, and I was very, very happy.

The crew of the B-29 was so young and heroic, and in the photo they also looked very happy.  For some reason, I clearly remember the name of the pilot, Paul Tibbets. Of course I remember the name of the plane, the Enola Gay.  And oh yes, I remember the name of the bomb.  It was called Little Boy. That made me smile.

I was so proud to be an American that day because we had done something so remarkable. They said we were the first. We were Americans. We were powerful.  But they didn’t say that Little Boy had killed 66,000 people with its huge fireball that fateful day in August. They didn’t say that Hiroshima was not a military target, but a city filled with men and women and children and animals who had no idea they were about to die so horribly.  When you’re ten, they don’t always tell you everything.

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Eyes, Oys, and Ayes

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Lies are marketing's best friends, just as Desire is the single best pal consumption ever had.  Combine Lies and Desire, along with a hurried, staggering set of lunges and lurches to pick up any dangling or loose minutes or seconds in the evaporating days of our lives, and you've got a toxic cocktail -- one we call American Life.

We are about to have more American Life on Thursday, during a gathering not of eagles, but of turkeys, vultures, and turkey vultures.  (It used to be a dog-eat-dog world in politics.  Now, it is about rabid dogs biting one another, and themselves, and chewing their feet, chasing their tails, then springing out into the audience in search of unguarded jugulars.)

Yes, the Toxic Ten will be on Faux News, the four-letter channel, and they will be marketed to us like soap suds and light beer and 30-day steak pads, and eternal tire straighteners, and every other useless and tasteless invention from The Department of Citizenry and Voter Maintenance, Heavy-Duty Consuming Division.

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Creative Cursing -- This Taste Bud's For You

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Sometimes, when I remember, and when I am trying to be polite (despite being mightily peeved at something or other), I will exclaim "Bolshoi!" instead of shouting the name of the food that comes out of bulls, after the bulls are all done with it.

It's a few semi-tasteful steps removed from the more obvious "Oh, bullcrap!"  Plus, I'd like to think that this small effort on my part helps the people around me keep some calming distance between that particular nitrogen-fixer and their own finer sensibilities.

Which is to say, my silly, sly substitution hopes to introduce some room to maneuver and to squeeze in an ability to have sidesteps kept handy for the squeamish.  For some people, keeping bull manure far apart from sensitive olfactory equipment, is a must. It's an aural-oral sort of thing.

No matter how organic people say they are, for example, I've discovered very few of them really want to contemplate bull manure while they are just starting to tuck into their beefsteak entrees.

Go figure.

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Not T-Rex.

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Rump for presidentOK, I know I'm all done here, but I was just passing through, and I have a visual I simply have to share with you.

It's a tale of all the ugly Presidential ducklings fielded by the GOP -- one of them, anyway.  (There's not enough space for all their many misadventures, as the GOP has so darned many handbaskets, and duckings, all headed straight to Hell, and none of those ducks are all in a row.)

Anyway:  It was a recent photograph in the hopefully-terminal coverage of that quack, The Donald.  His picture was taken with him behind a podium of some sort, up on a dais.  The photographer was apparently below, aiming the lens upward, in order to have gotten that shot.

It was a great Mussolini-style snap:  The Great Man, elevated, looking sternly flippant, as if overfilled with a combination of helium and laughing gas -- or injected with too much whipped cream, maybe, before they could cut the nozzle -- with his Powerful Jowls of Thoroughly Agitated Princely Patience in motion, demonstrating his severe strength of character yet again, keeping those wobbling jowls attached to his neck and face, and not having them depart on their own volition... if not actually released on their own recognizance.

The best part?  The best part of the picture was the framing of the shot.

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Oz Plus One Equals Pi

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Here we go again:  I freely admit I have backtracked, softening my previous, hard-line pledge to ignore the current rerun of clowns-n-circuses at the media's sleazy carny show.  Yet, here I am again, enjoying the bread-n-circuses spectacle of hyperbolic GOP candidates already frothing at the lip-line, competing in a Presidential election still a far cry -- although a much nearer, full-blown panic -- down the road.

The thing is:  This is a lot like exploring a fingertip with tweezers, tracking a wily, elusive splinter you'd swear was actively avoiding you.  It's like getting all the sun-baked duct-tape residue off a glass-fronted storm door.  It's like chasing cancer around your body with glowing Mad Scientist Rays and Big Pharma's Top 100 Greatest Hits:  These things are all theoretically possible -- even technically possible --just be ready for some DEFCON-2-level pains in the patootie, the temples, and elsewhere.

So, here I go again:  Hello, my name is Alex, and I am a recovering political innocent...

(To be clear:  Far as I can see, there has been no change since yesterday.  This is still Oz, there is still no peeking behind the curtain allowed, we are all still in the same handbasket, and the GOP candidates on the yellow brick road are still scrambling around, trying in vain to rustle up some brains, some heart, and some courage.  We join a portion of our show already in progress...)

* * * * *

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