Speak No Evil

Here’s a link to a July 28 article in the Toronto Star about an artist named Franke James (pictured) who allegedly had funds pulled for a European exhibition of her work by the Canadian government because of past criticism she’s levied against the Harper Conservatives and other political parties for their lack of action on the environmental portfolio.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?” a senior Canadian official was quoted as saying by Antonovic’s contacts in the Zagreb embassy. “Don’t you know this lady speaks against the Canadian government?”

Pick of the Day: Cinema Politica

Cinema Politica is a national organization that seeks to elevate the level of political engagement in our world through the presentation of thought-provoking documentaries. Tonight, Addicted to Plastic is screening at the University of Regina (Rm. 112 of the Classroom Building) at 7 p.m.

Directed by Ian Conacher, this 2008 film was shot in 12 countries on five continents, and examines the mixed legacy of plastic. Once regarded as a shining example of human technical ingenuity (a sentiment satirized in the 1967 movie The Graduate), plastic, because of its durability and petro-based origins, has turned out to have enormous enviromental consequences.

To give you a taste of what the film’s about, here’s the trailer.

Six In The Morning

1 THE GREATEST SELF-PORTRAITS EVER TAKEN Photographer David Slater left his camera unattended while on a shoot in Indonesia, only to discover that a crested black macaque had picked up his camera and started unwittingly taking photographs with it.

I’d post a picture of the macaque mugging for the camera, but as it turns out, our editor has “standards” and doesn’t like me putting up photos that are “copyrighted” by “a gigantic news agency”. But please, click for hilarity.

2 GORDON TOOTOOSIS DIED As reported earlier on the blog, actor Gordon Tootoosis is dead at 69. He was recently hospitalized with pneumonia.

3 MEANWHILE, WILLIAM AND KATE ARE STILL HERE Won’t they go? No, not until they’ve sampled all the fruits that our bountiful nation has to offer.

4 THIS THING Even if you’ve been actively ignoring the story of Casey Anthony, you might as well know that she has been found not guilty of murdering her two year-old daughter, even though she lied about the girl’s whereabouts for over a month to her friends and family. CBC has a pretty good summary of the whole messy affair, if you feel like delving into the lives of some pretty awful people.

5 ANOTHER REASON TO ENJOY OUR BEAUTIFUL URBAN LAKE If you were jogging or strolling around Wascana Park yesterday morning, perhaps you saw the police pull the body of a man in his late 70s from the lake? With any luck you avoided that sight.

6 REGINA INCREASING ITS MOSQUITO BUDGET Good, because there’s a freaking ton of them this year.

Six In The Morning: It’s Morning Somewhere Edition

DIANA THE REVENANT. Newsweek decided to spice up their cover by Photoshopping a digitally aged version of Diana Spencer next to Kate Middleton. Tina Brown defended the decision by explaining, “I am a ghoul from the planet Zoig who still has yet to learn your ways, O Earth We wanted to bring the memory of Diana alive in a vivid image that transcends time and reflects my piece.” Somehow they made her look more like a mummy than a woman in her fifties. My advice: put a cool damp cloth next to your bedside tonight. You’ll need it when the nightmares jolt you awake.

cover of newsweek with kate middleton and a photoshopped diana spencer

THE MENSTRUATING RACISTS. A recent study indicates that women’s racial biases may be influenced by their menstrual cycle. I have nothing witty to say about this, but the study confirms my belief that WOMEN ARE RACISTS.

CANADA POST EMPLOYEES ARE MAKING THEIR ROUNDS. Did you see them? I went for a walk this morning and personally witnessed two (2) mail deliverers. I said hello to both of them and may have even said “Yay, mail delivery!” I’m thinking of putting a cupcake in my mailbox for the postal guy. And maybe a small note to alert him to the presence of baked goods. Of course, the employees’ union is contesting the back-to-work legislation, but we’ll still be getting mail in the meantime. So be nice to your postal people. By the way, Tangerine is celebrating its first (1st) birthday (brthdy) today! Go on down and get a free cupcake.

GOOGLE GIVES GOODS ON GOVERNMENT. Google’s semi-annual transparency report has been released. The report charts data queries and takedown requests from governments around the world. Between July and December of 2010, Google received 38 queries for user data from the government of Canada and seven takedown requests of “defamatory” material. There’s not much data on the individual requests, but you can visit their site for a bit of detail and analysis.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND WAS RIGHT. Even the Oxford Writing and Style Guide has given up on the Oxford comma. It’s over, folks. Send your grammarians home and crack open the good liquor. They’ve plagued us long enough.

WE’VE GOT A JAMBOREE COMING, SO LET’S GET THIS PLACE CLEANED UP. Saskatchewan’s government, that collection of used car salesmen and backwoods evangelists, has put up $1.5 million in flood relief to help ensure that the Craven Country Jamboree can go as planned this summer. People have expressed their disappointment over the appearance that the government seems more willing to prop up a tourist attraction than help out homeowners and local businesses, but Brad Wall appeared to them in their dreams and explained that they weren’t Sugarland.

Six In The Morning: Six With A Bullet Edition

1. THE PROBLEM WITH GPS NAVIGATORS. A Canadian woman has been found in the Nevada mountains after surviving for seven weeks on snow, candy and trail mix. The couple ended up getting stranded after following their GPS navigator’s instructions for the shortest route to the town of Jackpot. Her husband has not yet been found.

2. SASKATCHEWAN GETS TOUCHY-FEELY WITH FLOOD VICTIMS. If you’re bummed out, depressed, stressed or existentially numbed by Saskatchewan’s Unexpected Moisture Surplus this year, the Ministry of Health is there for you. Emergency health management consultant Merv Tippe has been travelling to affected communities to provide “critical incident stress management” information. So far this has not involved identifying the most stressed-out people and forcing them to fight in gladiator matches for the entertainment of the community. But I’m pretty patient when it comes to these things.

3. MANITOBA GETS ALL THE BEST FLOOD VISITORS. Undoubtedly, a visit from Merv Tippe benefits a stressed-out Saskatchewan flood victim. But if you’re a damp Manitoban, you may just get a visit from Stephen Harper. Harper is visiting Manitoba to tour an area scheduled for controlled flooding, but who knows? Maybe he’ll take the time to visit with victims and comfort the afflicted. Imagine the joy that a visit from Harper will bring to a young child’s life! As long as he doesn’t have to, you know, touch anyone.

4. RENT INCREASE NOTICES AREN’T BUDGING. The Saskatchewan government has put the kibosh on increasing advance notice of rent increases from the current six months to a year. This seems like a reasonable decision to me. Of course, there’s still no recourse for tenants when their rents skyrocket by 60 per cent.

5. THIS IS HOW THEY FIND YOU NOW. Metropolitan London police have bought a piece of security software called Geotime, which is capable of tracking suspects’ moves through all the digital chaff they leave behind: cell towers, satellites, cameras, social networking. We already know that your snazzy new iPhone keeps track of your movements – it’s not surprising that police forces are starting to follow the trail of our clown-shoe sized footprints in the digital sawdust.

6. A CAUTIONARY TALE OF DEVELOPMENT. Prairie Dog contributor Emmet Matheson shared this here story of favela dwellers being kicked off their land in preparation for the Olympics and World Cup in Rio di Janeiro. A quick and excellent read.

Four In The Afternoon

1. TEXAS IS STILL ON FIRE. And not with disco or politics. Wildfires are burning in every quadrant of the Lone Star state. One wildfire has burning for over a week, but dry conditions and winds have defeated attempts to put it out.

2. GOD, WHY? People are still taking Donald Trump seriously as – well, anything, really. But I’m talking about his rumoured candidacy for the Oval Office. The Republican party’s chances for the 2012 elections are slim to none if people are interested in Trump as the leader of the free world. So why do I feel this uneasy rumbling in my gut?

3. LAST WEEK’S VAGUE ANNOUNCEMENT IS TODAY’S VAGUE PLAN. Mayor Fiacco unveiled a wide-ranging and intriguing plan to develop the 53 acres soon to be left vacant by CP Rail. There’s going to be a new corporation to handle the details, but it looks right now that the development plan will be at least 8 to 10 years (probably more, I’m betting), with a new ‘entertainment facility’ in place by 2015 (probably not, I’m betting). Folks! This will be interesting! And there’s even a video:

UPDATE: Studies have revealed that it’s really, really easy to sit back and mock the accomplishments of hard working people by posting videos of some guy throwing a rock into a hole. More on this story as it develops!

4. SPEAKING OF HOLES: BEWARE THE ‘BLACK HOLE’ OF HARPER NOT GETTING WHAT HE WANTS. According to Stephen Harper, the Man Whose Eyes Never Smile, a non-Harper majority will result in a ‘black hole’ of a coalition between the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc.

Personally, I think it will be more like the Dark Crystal. Except in this case the Skeskis won’t merge with the Mystics. They’ll just have to sit on the other side of the aisle and whine for the next five years.

In Other News, Saskatchewan’s Uranium Mining Industry Is Hiring PR Personnel By The Battalion

Nuclear reactors in Japan aren’t in good shape after the earthquake and tsunami (Al Jazeera). Godzilla should be on the scene in five, four, three ….

UPDATE: It turns out that the reactor type involved in the Japanese meltdown is also used in 23 other places in the United States, and they’ve had their share of problems, even before the earth moved. (Nuclear Information and Resource Service via Slog)

And here’s the reactor going boom … a little bit …

Pick of the Day: Waste Land

There’s a couple of art historical references in this joint UK/Brazil documentary. The first is contained in the title, which recalls the 1922 T.S. Eliot modernist poem The Waste Land. The second is in the poster, which riffs on Jaques-Louis David’s classic 1793 painting The Death of Marat which was executed during the turmoil of the French Revolution.

Those references are deliberate, and entirely appropriate, given that Waste Land documents a project by artist Vik Muniz who returned to his homeland of Brazil from his base in Brooklyn to photograph catadores who work at a giant garbage dump outside Rio de Janeiro where they salvage recyclable materials.

Lacking a comprehensive recycling plan of our own, there’s definitely a lesson in this film for Regina audiences. It screens at the RPL Theatre tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m. Here’s the trailer.

And if you’re in the mood for a doublebill, Restrepo is playing tonight at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Festival, it was made by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, and documents their experience being embedded with American troops in Afghanistan in 2007. Here’s the trailer.

Music to My Ears

When presented with a choice, like at the airport and the Dollar Store at Cornwall Centre, I always opt for the stairs over the escalator. It’s like a mini-stairmaster workout so it’s good for my health. Plus escalators are a huge energy drain to operate.

Here’s a great idea that engineers in Sweden came up with to entice more people to take the stairs at a subway station.

Stop! Don’t Flush That Toilet!

We received an announcement from the city today. Apparently, at 4 am this morning there was an electrical fault at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment facility causing it to shut down. That means your tap is right now drawing water off our reservoirs. The city has also turned on eight wells.

That should keep us going until the problem can be fixed but the city is asking that everybody try to avoid any discretionary water use. They advise us to not do laundry today, avoid the dishwasher and flush as little as possible.

They also point out that both the well and reservoir water is completely safe to drink.

Anyway, problem should be fixed by tomorrow.

Now, I’m feeling pretty guilty because we’ve gone the whole cloth diaper route and this new kid has totally won the Number One Pooper crown. In other words, our washing machine has been going constantly all day.

I think I’m going to have to ask Whitworth to not shower and only drink liquor for a couple days just to balance us out.

With that off my chest, I’m now going to attach the full text of the city’s water announcement after the jump because I imagine there are a few of you out there who’ll find it interesting….

Continue reading “Stop! Don’t Flush That Toilet!”

Pick of the Day: Force of Nature

Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, this film takes the form of a lecture in which the iconic environmentalist (and prairie dog columnist) David Suzuki sums up his life’s work and delivers one final warning that with our growing numbers and burgeoning technology humanity has become a force of nature capable of altering our environment on a global scale.

Force of Nature plays tonight and Friday night at the RPL Theatre at 7 and 9 p.m. both nights. Here’s the trailer.

Don Cherry’s Conservative Pals Shit On The Future

Breaking news: Canada opposes extending the Kyoto treaty — the treaty the Conservatives are openly ignoring (and, to be fair, the same treaty the Liberals quietly ignored during their time in power during the ’90s and the first half of the 2000s.) Fuck our future-generations fucking government. From the Toronto Star:

Steven Guilbeault of the Montreal-based environmental group Equiterre said from Cancun that extending the Kyoto agreement is crucial to countering climate change, especially since last year’s summit in Copenhagen drew limited results.

He said “it’s no surprise to anybody here” that Canada is opposed to Kyoto, though he said observers were caught off guard on Friday when Figueres told a news conference that Canada was opposed to extending the agreement.

For Guilbeault, the decision is another example of Canada’s lack of leadership on environmental issues.

“We used to be a nation that mattered internationally,” he said.

Now, he said, Canada’s position is, “basically, we’ll follow the U.S.”

By the way, if you’re wondering why no one’s been posting on the United Nations climate meetings in Cancun, it’s because Dechene — our climate change guy — is too angry about this to type straight. And you think I’m surly. I’m not a dad.

I suppose I should link to the Guardian’s story on this. I’m so goddamn sick of my country being the bad guys.

Drill, Bebe, Drill

The Obama administration will not be expanding offshore oil exploration into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast, and will instead extend the moratorium on exploration for in those areas for seven years until better standards are in place. Unfortunately, drilling in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska will, though only after new environmental regulations are met. (New York Times)

Not quite as harmless as putting cats in charge but better than nothing.

Shilling For Suzuki: The Sequel

A while back I mentioned the David Suzuki Foundation is hawking deadly T-shirts and other stuff in its gift shoppe. Christmas is coming up, but if you’re not the type to give gifts there’s always selfishness. In fact I ordered myself a shirt the day I wrote that post and today it arrived and it is great.

This holiday season, save the environment and shop Suzuki!

Dan Phillips Explains Exurbs…

… and waste in the building industry, apperceptive mass,  Apollonian versus Dionysian perspectives, the myth of the cost of labour, the Platonic model of the American dream house, Dr. Pepper, the divided self, why our shoes all match, Wildebeests, designer jeans, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the thrill of putting your CD rack where ever the hell you want because you can just move it again if you’ve made a mistake — all in this hilarious and inspiring 18 minute TED Talk. Really worth watching — you’ll never see Harbour Landing the same way again.