28 May 2008

Save the Lapins!

I've been reading with considerable distress the City of Kelowna's plan to cull the rabbit population that has established itself at the base of Dilworth Mountain. When we were visiting last year it was a very neat sight to see all those little bunnies hopping around, enjoying the sun, and generally not causing any trouble. Rabbits are great animals, they're fun pets (I've never owned one personally but I know a couple people who have), easy to maintain, and generally all things nice.
The plan to cull them, as described in a letter on Castanet today, sounds awfully cruel. The idea of injecting them with dry ice or gassing them stupid is pretty disgusting and I can't fathom anybody who has ever owned a pet wanting to see such a terrible thing happen to their little loved one. I'm really happy to see that there is a large movement in Kelowna to save the rabbits, and if our visit to Kelowna was a month earlier you could count on us being there for the peaceful protest on May 31st. I hope that any remaining Kelowna readers will show up to support the bunnies.

24 May 2008

Cup Finals Prediction

Wings in 6, but it'll be a helluva fight.

Oh yeah, Tasha & I are going to see the Habs on Sept. 22nd here, and those very same Wings on the 25th, against the Bruins. Yay!

22 May 2008

Canada and the UNSC

Today's online Globe and Mail features an essay from former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Robert Fowler, on the subject of Canada's intention to seek a seat on the UN Security Council beginning in 2010. It is an impassioned plea for the government to retain its candidacy; apparently, Mr. Fowler argues, it "suggests the government has no confidence in its own foreign policy" should the Harper administration decide that pursuing a seat on the UNSC is not worth the effort. Is it, however, a case of no confidence in its conduct or that of the UN itself? I would argue for the latter. What major task has the UN Security Council been able to perform in the past five years that fits within the Canadian interest? Very little. I would suggest to Mr. Fowler that Canada seek to achieve its international agenda through other forums that are more conducive to its values and interests, as the UN has long ceased to fulfill that function.

11 May 2008

Metallica's Mission: Take Your Money

I've been a Metallica fan for a long time now, just a bit longer than NIN. I've seen them 5 times, in three different provinces and one U.S. state, in the span of just over a year. I was a member of their fan club for 5 years.

Today, I shake my head in disgust.

After working on their newest album since late 2005, prompting no shortage of jokes and comparisons to one Axl Rose, they're announcing their brand new plan to distribute the album and generate some excitement. After listening to Lars say that they've been keeping an eye on what Trent and Radiohead have been doing, I had some hope for something very interesting and forward-looking.

Instead, I see that they're still firmly rooted in the corporate world of the music industry and bound to their corporate masters at Warner.

Work on the album is supposedly done--or will be soon--yet the album will not be out until September, leaving a nice 4-month build-up and promotional campaign spearheaded by the new Mission: Metallica website. To little surprise, they're going to charge you quite a fair amount for the privelige of looking at this website. For a little historical context, in the months leading up to the release of St. Anger, Metallica had a website called Jump In The Studio, featuring videos, photos, and commentary on the band's progress. They even threw in the odd listen to some new material. It was all free. Now...

$25 will get you access to the website and a 320kps download of the album when it comes out, 4 months now.
$35 will get you that plus the CD, 5 months from now (they're notorious for using the cheapest shipping methods possible).
$99 will get you that plus a 5LP vinyl set (international buyers beware!).

Now, I realize that Trent didn't give us a months-long campaign of insights and babbling for Ghosts I-IV or The Slip, but seriously, $25?! And you don't even get the option of a lossless download. I am so utterly disappointed in this concept. I didn't renew my fan club membership this year because, for my $60, I wasn't getting the access to the band and the recording process that I felt should have been provided for that premium. Now they're asking people to pony up even more cash to look at stuff that will be on YouTube within hours.

I'd like to think that this is something Warner is imposing on them. I'd like to think that they feel some guilt over bending over loyal fans who have stuck with them for many lean years.

But I don't.

What I think this is is a cold cash grab to recoup costs because it's taken them nearly 3 years to put together this album.

And that sickens me.

08 May 2008

What a Great Country

I'm glad that I live in a country where there is nothing more important happening than who the Minister of Foreign Affairs dated a few years ago. Apparently it's an issue of "fundamental democracy," according to Ralph Goodale. I have paid scant attention to the day-to-day political goings-on in this country in the past couple months, and seeing what I saw today helps me to realize that I'm clearly not missing very much. This is leadership? This is what is considered relevant? The "security issue" is about as thin a piece of ice I've seen the politicians of this country ever skate on as a major issue. This will surely pass within a day, and none will be better off for this bout of foolishness.

03 May 2008

The Early Obituary

I can't believe it ended like this. Too soon. But, we had a great season, with a ton of great memories. Carey's first win over Pittsburgh, THE COMEBACK, the emergence of the Kostitsyns and Plekanec and Markov and Komisarek, the maturation of Josh Gorges, so many highlight goals from Kovalev, Chris Higgins becoming a leader on this team, the rise of Carey Price to #1 and the shocking departure of the popular Cristobal Huet. I saw the team twice this season--first a pre-season game in Halifax and then the last game of the regular season against the Leafs--and I will not forget the good times. This team has helped bring my girlfriend and I even closer together, as we've spent a lot of time watching games together and collecting cards of our favourite players.
I'll let other people do the finger pointing. If, in the passion of seeing their beloved team lose, they feel the best way to let our their frustration is to blame Price or Carbo or Gainey or (inexplicably) Ryder or Saku or Kovalev or Youppi! or the usher in Section 326, that's their prerogative. I won't be participating in any of that. I have a lot of confidence and optimism regarding the future of the Montreal Canadiens. Next year, the young core of this team will be a year older and have some playoff experience under their belts, and they'll be that much better for it. The guys coming up from Hamilton will be challenging for spots. Who knows who we'll add from the free agent market.
Now and forever, Go Habs Go, and thank you for the major building blocks that were laid this season towards future success.

01 May 2008

Quote of the Day

There's a lot of talk in the media about the government's intention to scale back the funding it delivers to Canadian films. The Conservatives, being conservative, are naturally opposed to excessive violence, pornographic imagery, and other types of films that Canadians love to make and get paid by the government to make. The filmmaking industry is screaming censorship, an absurd charge when you consider that the Tories aren't talking about banning these movies; rather, they're talking about not funding them. If the films are such great ideas, surely these rich people can look to their rich friends to raise the money privately. I'm not overly supportive of government funding for any filmmaking, be it the most vile smut or your run-of-the-mill drama-comedy. The filmmakers are not doing any favours to their cause when they offer up blatantly contradictory statements. David Cronenberg has this gem of an offering:

"In essence, all Canadian filmmaking is independent filmmaking and we are very dependent on government money to have a film industry."

Nothing says indepedence like being heavily dependent upon the government to create something, eh?