Monday, May 31, 2004

Nevada's High Cancer Rate & Why Uncle Sam is Responsible

I was googling for statistics on Nuclear weapons when I stumbled upon the following list of 30 facts related to the United States nuclear program. Did you know that there have been 911 nuclear tests in Nevada in the past 50 years?

Nevada has the highest rate of lung cancer among women in the continental U.S. ("45.8 per 100,000") and certain troubling "clusters" of childhood leukemia have arisen in rural Nevada. How can MSNBC's headline read: "Nevada cancer cluster baffles scientists"? I'm no doctor, but don't they see a relation?

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute seems to suggest that only cigarette smoking can be blamed for cancer. They don't even mention fallout or nuclear radiation in their report on cancer (1973-1996), despite the fact that 921 nuclear weapons have been detonated on U.S. soil in the past 50 years (911 in Nevada, the rest in NM, AK, MI, and CO).

According to the EPA, the plutonium used to build the U.S. nuclear stockpile is Pu-239. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years. This means that the isotopes left behind from 20th century testing will be radioactive for the next 12,000 years.

Even if the Nevada nuclear tests were all performed underground, there is probably some radiation leaking into the Nevadan water supply. Also, sometimes when homes are being constructed and foundations are being laid down, they have to dig up dirt and move it to other locations. This can cause whatever radiation that was buried to become airborne, resulting in minute levels of radioactive fallout.

EPA Logo

I am quite appalled that the EPA claims not to know the effects of low-level radiation:
"The effects of very low levels of ionizing radiation are very difficult to study. They are well below the levels of normal background radiation that people receive from natural sources. In fact, the conclusions about the effects of low levels of radiation come from what we learned about the effects of higher levels of radiation exposure. As a result, there is no firm basis for setting a 'safe' level of exposure above background."

Upon further research, I found a chart at the National Cancer Institute that breaks down cancer-related mortality rates across Nevada county by county. The counties with the highest cancer/mortality rate were Lander County (274.0), Lyon County (227.0), and Carson City (226.7). They are all significantly above the national average of 199.8 cancer deaths per 100,000 people.

I discovered that several Nevada counties were offered compensation for early nuclear testing under the Radiation Exposure & Compensation Act of 1990. Guess which county was exposed to significant levels of radioactive fallout?
"In the State of Nevada, the counties of Eureka, Lander Lincoln, Nye, White Pine and a portion of Clark County were designated as downwind areas susceptible to radiation exposure from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing from January 1951 through October 1958... To date little is known about the actual number of persons affected in Lander County."

The U.S. gov't is still considering building a new nuclear waste storage facility in Yucca Mountain (against the will of the Nevada State gov't) but the Feds don't seem too worried about the effects it might have on Nevada's citizens.
"Little or no analysis concerning cumulative impact from radiation exposure were discussed in the Yucca Mountain Draft EIS."

I guess they're going to go ahead with the Yucca Mountain project. Don't be surprised if Nevada's cancer rate goes even higher in the next 50 years.

The U.S. spends approximately 35 billion USD per year to maintain a stockpile of over 2,500 operational nuclear warheads. These subterranean missiles are directly between us and world peace. Testing them gave Nevadans cancer, and if they're ever deployed, we'll be nothing but shadows. As long as a pendulum as cruel as this hangs above our heads, the peaceful people of the world will be powerless. (Yet another reason that I don't believe in empire-building. It runs counter to the will of humanity as a whole, nothing more than sinister death-worship.)

Friday, May 28, 2004

Liberals Slipping; NDP & Conservatives Gaining Momentum

The Canadian election campaign is underway and it looks like Paul Martin's Liberals are being threatened with minority-government status. A recent poll conducted by EKOS Research Associates (as reported by the Toronto Star) has placed Liberal support at only 38 percent, while NDP and Conservative support has climbed since last month. The poll placed Conservative support at about 30 percent, the NDP at 18 percent, and the Bloc Quebecois at 10 percent.

The NDP has released their 2004 election platform and it hinges on several key positions. It says that Canada ought to be a benevolent nation and should try to run a balanced budget without slashing any important social programs (such as health care or low-cost housing). It also calls for research into methods and practices that could make Canada less dependent on fossil fuels, more environmentally friendly, and more equitable in dealing with Quebec's sovereigntist aspirations.

Jack Layton is proving to be a great speaker and an intelligent policy-maker but he may lack experience at the national level. One thing Paul Martin has going for him is the fact he's already weathered many a political storm and he was the financial brains behind Jean Chretien's many years of budget surpluses and economic growth (at the expense of Canada's poor, I must add). Jack Layton may be a great source of quotes for the nation's journalists but I'm not sure if Canadians are willing to go completely NDP this time around.

NDP's 8 Main Objectives:
  1. Create opportunities and jobs in a green and prosperous economy

  2. Improve public health care with innovation – not privatization

  3. Invest in cities and communities through clean water, housing and transit

  4. Expand access to post-secondary education

  5. Make life more affordable and secure – starting with protecting pensions, removing GST from family essentials and expanding childcare

  6. Strengthen Canada’s independent voice for peace, human rights and fair trade on the world stage

  7. Restore integrity and accountability in government

  8. Balance the budget

If the NDP and the Bloc aren't going to oppose the Liberals, who will? Perhaps the Conservative Party of Canada. Stephen Harper's Conservatives are closing in on the Liberals but they frighten me. They seek to sign up to George W. Bush's Missile Defense Shield (which critics have denounced as both a useless expenditure and a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty); they want to cut taxes at any cost; they want to expand the Canadian military and follow the US tack more often; basically, they are like the Canadian Junior Republicans, trying to get a pat on the head from the US and maybe some lucrative trade deals as a reward.

I invite you to read the platforms of every Canadian political party since everybody should know what they're signing before they vote. Personally, I am endorsing the New Democratic Party of Canada because I feel that they would best represent my values as a Canadian. (They don't stand much of a chance in Quebec where I reside but I'm going to vote for them no matter what. If the Bloc wins a couple of seats as a result, at least it's not the Liberals!)

I would have probably voted for a Green party nominee but I think that the NDP have changed their focus enough to make the Green party's existence moot. We don't need two environmentally-friendly parties (the Conservatives and Liberals will pay lip service to protecting the environment but their past behaviour has proven that they are more interested in keeping their seats in Parliament to really care about ruining the land or the sea).

If you're Canadian, which political party speaks to you? Who do you plan to vote for in June? Please comment below!

Being an "Image Shark" can be Painful

If any of you visited this site in the past few days, you may have seen an image that was both very graphic and disturbing. Since until very recently, Blogger hasn't been offering a place to store images for blogs like this one. Consequently, I am usually forced to rely on the goodwill of other webmasters by remote-linking to their images. Since I don't receive a high volume of hits (roughly 25 a day), this doesn't really cause a strain on their resources.

After writing the Andy Kaufman post (and apparently angering the guy behind the hoax himself), a bitter web admin swapped the original image with something else (which was quite bizarre) to try and ruin my reputation. I'll leave that decision in your able hands but if this happens again in the future, don't think that I'm a depraved sicko! Being an image-shark (as they call perpetrators of remote image loading) can be painful.

On another note, the original pics were of Bob Zmuda in a Tony Clifton outfit. I have no idea who was in the pic they swapped it with (you couldn't see the individual's was a rear-view shot). I guess that I'm going to have to pay more attention to where I link my images from!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Andy Kaufman Lives???

"Here’s a little agit for the never-believer. yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Here’s a little ghost for the offering. yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Here’s a truck stop instead of saint peter’s. yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Mister andy kaufman’s gone wrestling (wrestling bears). yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"

R.E.M.- "Man on the Moon"

I think this is just a hoax. Andy Kaufman is supposed to be dead, or at least that's how his multi-million dollar biopic ended; with a cancer biopsy and a weeping widow, not with him slinking away to work odd jobs in the Caribbean.

This blog makes some pretty big claims but it could have been put together by anyone, and until I see a DNA test or his parents hugging him on Oprah, I'm going to have to keep on my skeptic hat and sit in the corner with all the other doubters.

The mainstream media is slowly biting into the hook. A Google News search of his name turns up 94 articles but most of them are just question-mark pieces like the one you're reading here at JB. Everybody wants to know if this is the real thing but so far all we've got is a blog and a couple of digicam shots of Tony Clifton schmoozing with the "Bunny Ranch ladies".

[Ed. Note: I apologize to my loyal readers for the image that got posted to this blog for a short time. I was remote linking to a file that got changed by some sadistic webmaster. Sorry for any inconvenience!]

Still, it would be marvelous if Mr. Kaufman actually got away with a scheme so well-planned, so intricate and outlandish. He did promise that he would return in twenty years but nobody believed him.

Cancer is no joke unless you're a shock-jock radio host or a comedian with a malignant tumour. I don't think that Andy would have pulled off such a stunt with the intention of hurting anyone but I imagine that hiding from his family and friends for twenty years would accomplish just that. It takes balls to disappear but it must take even more than that to reappear mysteriously out of the ether.

I want to see Tony Clifton doing a North American tour. I want to believe. Somehow, this death record seems more fake than Andy's "new blog". Maybe we're just waiting for the punchline, and everybody knows that Andy Kaufman didn't sink to that level. He was above all of that.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Michael wins one Moore at Cannes

Looks like the media circus surrounding Michael Moore's latest film may have paid off. Fahrenheit 9/11, a stunning critical view of President Bush's presidency and Bush family ties to the Bin Laden family, just won the Cannes Film Festival prize (courtesy of Reuters).

Congratulations, Michael & let's hope that Harvey Weinstein manages to sell the rights of the film before Disney's censorship stifles it's release on the North American market.

Friday, May 21, 2004

The Icarus Line Fly too Close to the Sun

Listening to The Icarus Line is like stepping through a portal into some parallel universe where the early 90's never ended. They're like a golem formed from the dessicated flesh of dead bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, but still fresh enough not to reek like the horrid nu-metal parade that tried to continue where grunge left off.

Visit their site for more evidence of their talent, or just read the appalling amount of praise they're earning from the critics out there. I tried desperately to avoid a knee-jerk-positive review of the I.C. but they confounded me with their dazzling virtuosity and their heavy, mind-boggling bass lines.

Icarus Line

I.C. in a blurry monochrome press shot

According to their official bio, they've already toured with bands such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, A Perfect Circle, Primal Scream, Queens Of The Stone age, & And You Will Know Us by the Trail Of Dead.

In April, they passed through Montreal with that other Great Mic Hope the Distillers (April 2nd, Club Soda), but I wasn't lucky/blessed/intelligent enough to catch their show. It would have been a psychotropic experience, seeing two bands of such a calibre prowling the same stage. Although the Icarus Line's tour recently wound up, June and July dates should be announced in the near future. I'll keep my eyes open for any updates (and for Brody Dalle sunbathing).


Ms. Dalle Showing us all how it's Done

The Onion's Latest Headline: "U.S. to Fight Terror with Terror"

Bite into this Onion and tell me if you don't laugh until you cry. The scary thing is, they're not far from the truth. The U.S. isn't making life easy for any Americans working in the Diplomatic Corps overseas. They have to explain for all the atrocities and broken promises resulting from their government's failing Iraqi experiment.

I don't advocate violence no matter where it originates from. Fundamentalists should be resisted whether they are clutching a Bible or a Koran.

While we're on the topic of terror, I've read a couple of rumours that allege foreign agents may have been responsible for Nick Berg's death (as opposed to the Iraqi insurgency or an Al-Qaeda cell). Just google "Nick Berg" and "conspiracy" and you'll find blogs full of reasons why. I won't bother to repeat the same tired points. (ie. the discrepancy between the accent heard on the video versus a native tongue, the link between Nick Berg & Zacarias Moussaoui, etc.) Still, an investigation examining the details behind Berg's murder would be warranted.

B-52's that bomb wedding receptions from twenty thousand feet are just as frightening as homicidal terrorists or murderous rebels. Terror doesn't limit itself to civilian origins and nations like the U.S. and Israel shouldn't try to outdo Al-Qaeda or Hamas by being even more brutal.

I sense that I'm straying off the main topic of this post but I was just thinking about the contradiction inherent in a term like a "war crime". Every war should be considered a crime because every war is against humanity. (Of course, that puts me on some loose soil since it would mean intervention in conflicts impossible, potentially giving tyrants a free hand to conquer half of the globe. Then again, isn't that what we're living?)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Explosion Reported at Bombardier Factory in Montreal

Bombardier, the Canadian company widely known for it's manufacturing of snowmobiles, trains, and other vehicles, may have had an explosion sometime this afternoon. It hasn't been reported in the mainstream news media but eyewitness accounts have indicated that the blast was severe enough to cause traffic delays on Montreal's highways.


I just got off the phone with Dave from CJAD 800's newsroom and he was kind enough to clear up the details of the story. It wasn't an explosion, as the mainstream Francophone radio stations originally reported--it was a fire caused by a chemical leak in the factory. Thankfully, nobody was injured and some workers have been able to return into the building because an inspector considered it safe.

I had previously questioned the cause of the accident and wondered if it was a terrorist act. It shows you how easy it is to get caught up in the web of fear that is being spun by Bush and his arachnid-like team of warrior-politicos.

Once again, I've bested the online print media (Gazette, I'm looking at you!) at their own game. They'll probably write a blurb tomorrow so keep your eyes open.

Babes Against Bush & Zell Miller's Vendetta Against John Kerry

Just when I thought I had seen it all, some scantily-clad liberal ladies appeared out of the cyber-mist and brought a smile to my face. Yes, these empowered women are using their sex appeal (and their smarts) to try and sway voters into voting Democratic in the American 2004 election.

This is taken from their site:
"What could be more un-American than that election-hijacking, economy-wrecking, war-mongering chimp George W. Bush? What could be more All-American than thirteen beautiful young women, exercising their first amendment right to thumb their nose at our bozo president?"

Funny stuff, but I'm sure they'll receive some dirty looks from the Christian Fundamentalists in the crowd and their lewd poses won't influence hardcore Republicans to change their faith in Bush. Still, I'm sure some of the 18-to-25 male demographic will be card-carrying Democrats after they visit the "Babes Against Bush" site. It's one hell of a way to attract people to the political process (although this could cause a backlash if any feminists hear tell of it, since it does encourage ogling and objectification of women!)

Blonde Liberals Do Have More Fun

In other news, Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) proved that he is a war-loving, poor-folk-hating southerner with a bone to pick with John Kerry. On May 15th, Associated Press reported that Sen. Miller accused Kerry of several questionable crimes, including being an "out-of-touch ultraliberal from Taxachusetts". He also went on to say:
"With John Kerry on national security, it's vacillate, retreat and turn over to the U.N...With John Kerry on domestic policy, it's tax, spend and redistribute income...The man now wants to be the commander in chief of U.S. armed forces? U.S. forces armed with what, spitballs?"

In effect, Sen. Miller is going against the Democratic Party's ideals since he is criticizing Kerry for wanting to uplift the poor (via taxation and income redistribution) and for wanting to minimize foreign conflict so as to protect the lives of Americans. (Democrats do go to war but they're much more cordial about it. At least they seek to use International bodies like NATO or the U.N. to give their invasions some legitimacy.)

Miller is 73 years old and ready to be put out to pasture. After serving his nation for over 20 years, Zell is the one who has become out of touch with real Americans, not JFK. I'm sure that most Americans don't want to waste billions invading other countries; also, most would probably be in favour of paying some sort of taxes to ensure that the poor are given the opportunity to better themselves and afford to give their kids an education. Sen. Miller accused Kerry of not understanding the South. If that's what Southern folks truly believe, that would explain why so many Dixieland states are such fervent supporters of the GOP.

It is surprising that Christians even support the Republicans. If he were a citizen of present-day U.S.A., what would Jesus do? Can you picture him sitting at a table with Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush munching on Kentucky Fried Chicken? Whether or not you believe in Jesus, his story tells of a man who wanted to help the disenfranchised, not punish them for being poor or for being Iraqi. In fact, he consorted with prostitutes and thieves because he said they were the ones who needed saving, but I digress.

Zell, why don't you step aside and let some fresh ideas permeate your government? Your time has passed and your stark betrayal of your own Democratic Party is not becoming of you. Nobody likes a traitor.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Beatallica Interview

"When I find myself in times of trouble
Hybrid children come to me
Pray for father roaming--roaming free
And in my hour of darkness
It is standing right in front of me
He is the thing that should not let it be
Let it be, let it be..."

Beatallica, "The Thing That Should Not Let It Be"

Imagine if the Strawberry Fields were covered by dark clouds and the Nowhere Man revealed himself to be Beezelbub, the Lord of the Flies. Reaching out his gnarled claw, he invites you to Hold his Hand. Everything has gone Helter Skelter and you feel like you're trapped in a late 60's sanatorium. Strawberry Fields forever, indeed.

Fear not! There is a band that will satisfy both sides of your twisted brain with their gratuitous sonic assault. They are called Beatallica and by combining Beatles songs with Metallica-style thrash metal, they have proven to be both hilarious and immensely talented. Already talked up in Pitchfork, Revolver, and Spin, Beatallica are a band on the move. Their garage days may soon be over.

Jaymz and Krk (for their own legal safety, they haven't revealed their true names to the public as of yet) recorded 2001's "A Garage Days Night" in a single day but 2004's "Beatallica" took somewhat longer. In true indie fashion, Jaymz and Krk are doing this for the music, not just to line their pockets with Almighty Dollars.

Beatallica's music was released under a "Creative Commons" license, meaning that they don't intend to earn any money from their recordings (at least for the time being). As far as I can tell, parodies are still protected by "Fair Use" copyright law so I seriously doubt that they'll get any lawsuits from the demon-spawn Major Labels.

We did this interview via email because they're from somewhere in the Midwest and I'm trapped on the island of Montreal.


Jeremy Brendan: Your website has received over a hundred thousand visitors in the past two months. Did you sign a pact with the devil, or what? If so, did he hook you up with some sort of a guitar that shoots fire, or at least some foxy succubi?

JAYMZ: You know, all that traffic means that there's been a lot of help for us out there. The old site was at least a good starting point while we were giving other interviews and having articles done on us. Our web master of puppets, D2, is really a main reason for site traffic. He routes stuff to us to answer personally, like this interview, and he just maintains things very well. And yes, he did hook us each up with a succubi. She's very sweet and doesn't torture me too much as she knows I'm trying to keep up with important things. There's also a based in San Francisco
and all those dudes have been great from the start. We, as a band, try to write back to those who enter the site and we encourage folks to come on back and check it out. We'll be putting up more fun stuff in the future to, hopefully, maintain the interest in the site and the band.

KRK: I did sign a pact with the devil, but he hasn't followed through on one important clause in the contract...George Bush is still the President of The United States.

Jeremy Brendan: I read on your site that you'll be playing a gig in El Paso, Texas. Will you be dressed in disguise or are you ready to reveal your true identities?

JAYMZ: "Disguise" may be a little much. We will have on garb that we feel represents both The Beatles and Metallica. Our costumes will change per show and we have a great outfitter up here in Milwaukee that has been really helpful and enthusiastic. When we're not playing, hanging out, chatting with people, or whatever, we may be as just our normal selves. We started Beatallica under certain guises and we'd like to keep that part of things going a bit, but we're not gonna let it rule our lives like the Descendants or Kiss. On stage, I'll be in character form, but off stage, I'm a character just the same.

KRK: You know the look of a typical Beatles cover band, you know, with the costumes and authentic guitars and everything? Well, imagine those guys having a nightmare that they were thrown into a mosh pit. That's how we'll look.

Jeremy Brendan: Have you been contacted by Metallica or any of the remaining Beatles? If so, were they reasonable, or were they itching to litigate? (I understand that what you've released is protected under fair-use law, being a parody
and all...)

JAYMZ: No direct contact from either band but we have gotten words of
support from Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich in various metal mags in Europe. Their quotes can be seen via our site. I'm sure the remaining Beatles have other stuff to do Beatles! We do have our legal stuff in order and we feel that we're trying to be careful, fair, non-slanderous to either band, and really just out for making fun music. That, however, doesn't stop a lawsuit against you, even if you're in the right. Hopefully, that wont ever happen. It's not like we're going to ruin either band with our chaos. I'd love to talk to either Metallica or The Beatles someday about it. Hell, I wouldn't even want to talk about Beatallica. I'd just want to talk tunes, life, general stuff and simply chill with a brew.

KRK: I think it would be a mistake on either band's part for them to take a dump on us. Metallica lost a lot of cred when the Napster deal went down, and here are some guys just having innocent fun and entertaining people all around the world, AND not doing it for the money. As for The Beatles, if they are having any problems with us, I'd like them to know that we've received a lot of mail from kids who never understood their parents' music, but are now going back to the originals (The old Beatle records) and discovering how incredible they were--which delights me to no end.

Jeremy Brendan: What is your opinion on the MP3 Revolution? Is the sky
really falling (as the RIAA says) or are the labels just worried that they won't be able
to retain their virtual monopoly over musical expression?

JAYMZ: I've never been in the position where what I do has been "threatened". I just think, with technology being the way it is, that the whole MP3, downloading, burning c.d. idea is something that may be a bit misunderstood. New technology can scare some folks at times, and it apparently has frightened an entire industry. Beatallica wasn't formed as a big "screw you" to the record industry. We simply use the internet to our advantage. We purposely wanted to do free downloads as a favor to folks. If we did sell tunes, it would be because we have a decent record deal or we're doing something for charity. Even if we did have a deal, we'd still insist on tunes being on the site for Beatallibangers to rip.

KRK: Jeez - the RIAA thing is just's just fat cats bitching about how they'll have to wait an extra month to be able to afford that gold plated wet bar for their indoor swimming pools. I think the internet has shown record companies what they have long feared: the music that the corporations shove down our throats sucks, and there is a huge part of the population that doesn't HAVE to consume it
according to their rules anymore. C'mon, if there's some band that I REALLY dig, I'm sure as hell gonna go out and buy the CD, support the band, and go to see them in concert. Why? Because I want them to make another record. The inevitable downside, which really, really sucks, is that the poor guys who are in debt from their first major label recording are now more worse off than ever. The companies have always shafted them anyway, and now they'll trickle down the profit deficit even further, putting the burden on the artist's shoulders. Although we didn't start this band with the intention of flipping off the RIAA, I'm glad that, in a sense, it has become that. It shows that music CAN survive due only to the wills and efforts of the individual artists, and now we all have a way to propagate that...the internet.

Jeremy Brendan: If you had to choose between the two, would you rather play a show with Metallica or the Beatles (with their full line-up, of course)?

JAYMZ: Man, that's a tough one. In ways, I couldn't keep up with either of them. How do I even challenge Hetfield's awesome rhythm playing? How do I even become as multi-instrumental as McCartney? I guess I would say The Beatles would be my answer. I've seen Metallica play often since 1983, met them at in-stores, and grew up with them. I didn't get the opportunity to see the The Beatles live and barely recall Lennon's assassination. I'm schooled in their history and significance but feel like I'm always missing something. I would like to play a show with the Rubber Soul or Pepper's Beatles as they weren't hating each other yet in those days.

KRK: Beatles, Beatles, Beatles. I mean, Metallica would be cool, but c'mon. The Beatles changed the entire course of popular music. They were geniuses, and I don't mean to use that word lightly. Plus, imagine the chicks at a Beatles show!

Jeremy Brendan: Where did the "Yoko up your ass" comment emerge from? I couldn't help but notice that you used this expression several times in the News section of your website...

JAYMZ: Those Metallica fans will know that "Kill 'em All" was supposed
to be called "Metal Up Your Ass". The Yoko phrase is something that combines both bands for us. Some may take it as slanderous, vicious, or whatnot. For us, it's a compliment to give to Beatallibangers and we love for them to give us the "Yoko" just the same.

KRK: I have always been frustrated with the whole Yoko thing, and when I first said it to Jaymz, who is a very level-headed guy, I thought he'd think it was too offensive. He didn't, he loved it. I dunno, for me, it's just offensive enough...I mean, it's not like the majority of Beatle fans would disagree, but they may not want it tattooed on their foreheads (though I think they'd secretly scrawl it on their undershirts).

Jeremy Brendan: Have any of the major labels expressed an interest in
signing you? Would you consider taking the "Tenacious D" commercial route, or are you just in it for the music?

JAYMZ: We actually have had label interest but, as we couldn't obtain
and continue with the creative control we have right now, we didn't end up signing. We had quite a lengthy discussion with one label, and then everyone was cool with each other, but we just didn't feel like we'd be doing Beatallica as we're doing it now. We all felt like we'd be taking a step backwards and actually regressing. We want to be Beatallica as we are on the site, nothing less. We feel that the folks who have given us their support and shown interest would state the same and want us to remain true. Again, if a label did approach us, we'd certainly listen. We would want things to be right for us as a band, the label, Beatallibangers, everyone. A label isn't our primary focus, but it would be great if we could do it right. People from all over have been making statements that if we did get a deal and could structure it well, that would be

KRK: It's not a priority. If something were to come along that would befit the project for us AND our fans, we'd check it out. But right now, we want to play live, work on new tunes, and have a blast with the fans.

Jeremy Brendan: Would you ever consider sharing a stage/tour with
somebody like Weird Al Yankovic? Love him or hate him, he is one of the most successful parody artists out there.

JAYMZ: Totally would. I remember listening to the Dr. Demento Show on
Sunday nights when I was a kid. He was a regular on that show and really grew into a success. Folks could learn a lot from him in regards to his humor, the way he conducts his business, and the way he takes himself not too seriously. He really goes all out to bring his stuff to life and, whether you dig the parody or not, he deserves a lot of credit for following through alone. I'm not sure if he'd ever be interested in something
like that, but a sit down would be cool with me.

KRK: Yeah, I totally agree...I'm not an active fan of his music, but if I ever met him, I'd present him with a choice of the finest beers from my personal collection, perfectly chilled to just the right coldness that's appropriate for each selection, served in a pre-chilled cut crystal lead-free pub glass. There would be bottled water also, if he so desired.

Jeremy Brendan: What is your favourite type of liquor? Mine is Johnny
Walker Red but I'm just imitating the late, great Elliott Smith.

JAYMZ: Irish whiskey, Irish stout. Nothing better than having a snifter and 2 pints to just hang out. I have a fair share of that Irish heritage in my blood. At times, there's more in my bloodstream...I can honestly say though that I don't get loaded and play. I just can't do that, man. It's warm honey water for me. Oh, I also am a member of a winery here. It's one of the snobby things I do.]

KRK: I'm English and German, so it's Newcastle Nut Brown Ale for me. I dig Moosehead for something lighter, but we're also from Milwaukee, the beer capitol of the universe, and there are some absolutely KILLER microbrews here. Blue Moon for instance, man, if you ever find it, the White Ale is something worth crying for.

Jeremy Brendan: Are there any current bands that have caught your
attention? Do you prefer old school, shredder-style metal or some other style (death metal, etc.)?

JAYMZ: Not that they're current, but Lacuna Coil simply kicks ass. I know, here in the States, Evanescence gathered all the headlines recently. But Lacuna Coil has been doing their thing for years now and they do it wonderfully. I'm a big In Flames fan so I'm happy they're doing well. I also appreciate the fact that Dimmu Borgir is playing the Ozzfest. Blind Guardian and Katatonia are some others I really enjoy. I guess you could say I'm way more into the European scene than the American scene which makes
it sort of odd we'd chose an American metal band to emulate. But keep in mind, that when I was a kid, I was around for the early days of not only Metallica, but Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth, Anthrax, Death, Trouble, and more American influencing pioneers. I do listen to all sorts of tunes though--acoustic music, Irish music, soul, standard rock n' roll. Why listen to only one thing, you know? I don't eat the same everyday, I don't wear the same shirt every day. I wouldn't feel right listening to the same music every day. You just lose out on too many good things.

KRK: I've been an active musician since I was three years old, so although I don't dig the shredder stuff, musicianship and inventiveness is big for me. King Crimson is one of the heaviest bands ever, and one of the most innovative. I'm a huge Rush geek, and Voivod will always top my list (I don't have any tattoos, but my first will be Frank Zappa, my second will be Voivod). The few current bands that destroy me are Cryptopsy (from Canada), The Dillinger Escape Plan, Radiohead is always amazing, Mars Volta has it together, and Tool is just perfect. I really dig a lot of avant garde stuff, like hardcore punk mixed with jazz, or the stuff Glenn Branca has been doing.

Jeremy Brendan: Jaymz, where did you first realize that you could impersonate Mr. Hetfield so accurately? Did it take hours of practice in the garage?

JAYMZ: It was sort of planned and developed but the Beatallica project
as a whole was a bit of a pleasant discovery. It all started with me and Krk messing around in a festival here called Spoof Fest. I help to run and organize the event. It's a weekend long fest where local bands and friends who don't normally play together put on a show in reverence of their influences. There's a lot of fun, silliness, over the top sort of attitude involved. One year, we did Metallica. On the way to practice, Krk was
listening to the radio and "For No One" by The Beatles came on. The chorus riff stuck with him as a Metallica idea. He asked me to come up with some fun lyrics, metal style, just for kicks. We had so much fun with it that we dreamed up a few more: "A Garage Dayz Nite" and "Sgt. Hetfield's". We wanted to offer something to the attendees so we
recorded a c.d. and gave it out to a few folks. All the practice for the show and then the recording really started to make us think about things, what we could do, how well we
could do it, and what we wanted to work on and pursue. It's not like we even planned on creating Beatallica. We sort of fell into it as our stuff was getting so much attention. The more attention it got,the harder we tried to hone our skills. The Spoof Fest show was simply great and it was a true springboard to bigger things. We're still heavily involved with the festival and last year we donated the money to a friend of ours, now our monitor engineer, who lost his gear in a club fire. We feel good in saying that community efforts are really an important part of Beatallica and how Beatallibangers have become a part of the whole thing.

Jeremy Brendan: Last but not least, are you planning to tour Canada? I can tell you for a fact that Montreal, Quebec has a disproportionately large Metallica fanbase just waiting to hear what you bring to the amplifiers...Not just Load-listeners", but a true-blue Master of Puppets crowd.

JAYMZ: Me being a huge hockey fan, I'd love to get to Canada. My
high-school German teacher was actually a huge Montreal Canadians fan, last name of Lafleur. We're not too far from the borders of Canada. We're really working on making the best decisions we can for the band, that includes getting to Canada. We've been talking with a number of outlets to help us do that as well as get to other places. The
cries for shows all over the world have been growing: Europe, Australia, South America
especially, and The States. For us to do that, we're developing a plan that would allow us to remain an independant band that still has backing to go. Right now, we're our own management company, we set up our own shows, and get our act to where it needs to go. The more backing we have, the better off we are in trying to get somewhere. If a talent
buyer from Canada contacts us, we'd speak with them directly on getting up there. Again,
we've been talking with numerous folks here and abroad. If there's a club or fest somewhere, and we can all make it work, then we're way in! Our contact info is available via our website. We'd love
to show everyone what we're all about, and maybe even open up their minds to a Metallica
and/or Beatles musical world.

KRK: I have never been to Canada, but I've always been fascinated with it, and have joked over and over that I'm moving there. Some of my absolutely-favorite bands are from Canada, so there must be something in the water, and I need to drink it! Seriously, it sounds like a fantastic place, and if we get to tour there, I suspect that I'd hesitate to leave. Believe me, if we ever get there, and we hook up with you, get yourself ready to guide me on a Canadian me what I need to see!

Jeremy Brendan: Thank you for the pleasure of quizzing you via email!
If you're ever in Montreal in the next few years, let me know and we'll do a follow-up
interview to catch up on your progress.

JAYMZ: Jeremy, thanks a lot for just taking the time, man. We're glad
to have you along as a Beatallibanger and we hope to do you and your readers proud! Tell your gang up there we appreciate them. And if you see the Voivod guys,let them know that their biggest Milwaukee listeners give them a shout!

KRK: Yeah, thanks bro! Keep in touch, and we'll do the
same. Hope to meet up with you soon...

The Thing that Should Not Let it Be

Beatallica will be performing @ Balloonfest in El Paso, Texas (an event sponsored by KLAQ FM, a radio station that is very fond of the Fab Two) on May 31st. You can download both of their albums at their website As soon as they announce more tour dates, I'll post them on JB so that you don't miss the mosh pit! Now, I must be off to sacrifice some small animals in a dank cellar while listening to Abbey Road backwards. Cheers!

[Ed. Note: I once smoked a joint with a long-haired rocker type behind Bar Le Sapphir on St-Laurent Blvd. He eventually revealed that he was Piggy, the guitarist from Voivod, and turned out to be one hell of a nice guy. Voivod kicks ass! Coincidentally, Metallica's former bassist Jason Newsted is now one of Voivod's permanent members. He's on tour with Ozzy this summer but he'll be on their next LP.]

Coming Up this Week on JB

Due to the fact that I'm $20 away from having to busk for food money, I've been neglecting to publish anything of substance in JB lately. Fear not--good things are surely ahead, or afoot. As long as I can hang on to my internet connection, I'll be fine. Besides, I've been eating for years so my body should have some adipose tissue stored away by now. Enough freeloading is what I say!

During the next 7 days, expect the following here @ JB:

  • Beatallica Interview:
  • Jaymz & Krk will be playing @ Balloonfest on May 31st.
  • MP3 Blog Roundup:
  • Brazen outlaws or musical liberators?
  • Upcoming Shows in Montreal:
  • Support local talent while getting drunk.

I'm proud to report that I've been accepted to Concordia's School of Journalism for the fall semester (2004). Of course, this is all contingent on whether or not I receive a student loan to pay for all the books and booze necessary to survive. (I suppose food should be on that list as well)

Any ideas for future posts/interviews/etc.? Please comment below!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Bill O'Reilly Threatens Canada with Sanctions for Harbouring Peace-Loving American "Deserters"

This man must have balls the size of Texas. Bill O'Reilly is actually threatening to lead a national boycott of Canadian products just because two Americans have chosen to flee the "undeclared war" in Iraq (Mr. O'Reilly readily admits that the war was undeclared himself, meaning it violates international law).

He even goes as far as spewing some thinly-veiled threats that will most likely ring hollow if cooler heads prevail:

"We respect honest disagreement, but undermining our military in the middle of the war on terror by providing sanctuary for deserters, lawbreakers is a hostile act.

Canada is totally dependent on the USA for its economic well-being. It best remember that in this very serious situation."

Mr. O'Reilly, I agree with you. We do depend on you to a maddening degree, but you must not forget that You depend on Us too. It is a two-way partnership and we are your largest trading partner. We share the world's longest undefended border; we signed on to your Free Trade Agreement and your NAFTA; hell, we're even willing to agree to the questionable FTAA, an accord chock-full of corporate loopholes that will decimate the environment and set human rights back a hundred years all the way from Alaska to Chile.

I appreciate the fact that you respect our right to have an opinion that runs counter your neoconservative Perpetual War Theory, but why can't you just leave us be? We're a sovereign nation and we have a great tradition of peace. When we send troops into a country, they're wearing the blue helmets of the United Nations, and we're damned proud of that. We don't just summarily invade places to forcefeed Democracy down their throats. We're a peaceful lot.

If you want to push away your best (and one of the only) friends you have in the whole world, perhaps we'll have to cozy up to the European Union a little more. They've got the technology, the democratic institutions, and even a sense that we must protect our fragile environment, which appears to be a lot more than you have these days.

About the torture (Rumsfeld calls it "abuse") of the Iraqi prisoners, we once had a similar scandal. Back in 1993, our Airborne Regiment was accused of torturing prisoners in Somalia while on a Peacekeeping mission, echoing the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal that currently threatens to remove your Secretary of Defence from office. Instead of just placing the blame on a handful of soldiers and a few token Brigade Commanders like you are currently doing in Iraq, we completely disbanded our Airborne Regt. in 1995. Canadians don't stand for torture, be it of our own citizens (like Canadian Mayer Arar, whom you deported based on scanty evidence) or one of our foes.

Now that an American suspect is being accused of having ties to the 3/11 Bombing, perhaps Spain will decide that you are harbouring terrorists and lay waste to your great nation, just like you did to Afghanistan when Saudi Arabians bombed your WTC. I know, I know. That is one of those crazy Canadian ideas. We borrowed it from the ancient Greeks--no, not rhetoric. It's called logic.

One last thing: I believe that everyone should have the freedom to worship (or not to worship) the religion of their choice. I can't say that I agree with "thugs" like Muqtada Al-Sadr because he could spark a sectarian civil war in Iraq after the transition on June 30th. Still, clothed in his ceremonial burial garb, "ready for martyrdom", he had the following to say during a Friday speech at a Mosque in Kufa.

"America claims that it is fighting terrorism, and not sponsoring it, and is spreading justice and equality among peoples and freedom and democracy. Now it is doing the same acts done by the small devil Saddam and in the same place where Iraqis were oppressed.''

Your heavy-handed, poorly planned, illegal war with Iraq doesn't seem to be getting any better, but you are making a radical cleric with a fundamentalist agenda into a hero of sorts to many Iraqis. Sort of reminds me of when you overthrew Mossadegh to install the Shah, only to have him overthrown by a Fundamentalist revolution. How did that turn out again?

Rumsfeld Backed into a Corner: Takes Responsibilty For Abu Ghraib Torture Controversy

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee today (live on CNN), U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld faced several tough questions from the bi-partisan Senators. After being asked if he thought that any new evidence of torture would surface, he admitted that there would probably be more incidences of torture reported. He explained this by saying that since there were six different investigations going on, they would undoubtedly uncover more allegations of torture. He even went as far as admitting that he had heard of some videotapes which documented the "abuse" (he refused to call it torture but it sounded a lot like a matter of semantics).

Waving his hands like magical talismans to ward off the difficult questions, he conjured up images of a man who is fearing for his own political survival. It will take more than just words to exonerate him from the repercussions of this scandal. Democrats and Republicans alike are calling for his resignation, or in the very least, an explanation as to why these horrible events were not reported to the Senate and to the American people as soon as they were discovered.

There are even signs that General Richard Myers attempted to censor the pictures before they aired on CBS. Although this fact was already reported in the news media before Sec. Rumsfeld testified, General Myers denied that he had attempted to surpress the photos. He said that he had only requested that CBS delay the release of the photos until a later date, in order to protect the lives of American troops.

When Senator Mark Pryor - (D-AR) pressed the issue, Secretary Rumsfeld interjected and explained that it was common in American history for the military to limit the release of certain information for a certain period of time in order to protect certain objectives in times of war.

Although Rumsfeld accepted full responsibility for the "mistreatment" of the Iraqis imprisoned at Abu Ghraib Prison but he also said that the actions were "unamerican" and against the values of the United States. He also denied any allegations that he might resign.

In the very least, Donald Rumsfeld may have taken a political bullet for incumbent U.S. President George W. Bush. Rumsfeld pointed out that he had not briefed President Bush with the proper information that would have enabled him to realize the severity and ramifications of the torture that went on at Abu Ghraib. This makes Bush seem like an innocent while Rumsfeld becomes the fall-guy, the one who didn't warn the boss when the smoke began to rise.

It will be very difficult to remove Secretary Rumsfeld from office but there were protesters who demanded the very same near the beginning of Rumsfeld's statement. They were escorted out soon after by security.

What really struck me is how Republican Senator John McCain ignored the potential political fallout and asked that Abu Ghraib prison be evacuated and demolished, as a symbol of how torture would never occur in Iraq again. He was echoed by some of the other Senators in demanding that this structure be torn down. It showed courage and I wouldn't expect any less from Mr. McCain. Although I don't agree with all of his domestic policies, he still has a backbone and he answers to the American people, not to the whims of his own Party.

This minute, the House of Representatives is beginning their questioning of Donald Rumsfeld. A Californian Republican Representative just indicated that all the attention being focused on the Abu Ghraib torture scandal is exactly "what the enemy wants" and compared it to Vietnam. Finally, the Republicans are drawing parallels with that last quagmire that the American government trampled into.

Economist Cover- May 6th

Courtesy of moderate conservative pundit and renowned blogger Andrew Sullivan, the Economist is asking for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, flat out. He committed the cardinal sin of falling asleep during his watch and now he will have to atone for his transgressions, Old Testament Style. My prediction? Within a year, he'll be sitting behind a desk at Halliburton fantasizing about his political days.

Five Reasons Not to Smash Your Television

I've had a love/hate relationship with television for years. As a boy, I was drawn to the warm glow of the cathode ray tube and the two-dimensional images that flickered on our Hitachi screen. Socially awkward and frightened of my own intellect, I would immerse myself in the safe, happy world of "Degrassi Jr. High" or contemplate the enormity of the universe with Carl Sagan in his series "Cosmos". I noticed that every problem in TV Land could be solved within thirty minutes, including commercial breaks, and everybody made the right choice in the end. It was quite comforting, I suppose.

Years later, in the midst of my post-teenage rebellious phase, I began to scold my friends and neighbours about their natural fondness for television. (I've always been somewhat dogmatic, for better or worse) This was during my college years in Gaspé, that maritime village that calls itself a city. While my roommates would be watching "WWF Monday Night Raw", I would hide in my room reading Nietzche and feeling oh so superior. I know that this makes me sound like a pretentious fuckhead but I was 16 and I had to turn against the child I used to be, that TV-admiring little panic rat who lived in a virtual paradise.

Part of the reason that I turned away from the Blue Box was because of what it represented: I thought that it was a mind-numbing influence that eliminated the need for conversation, possibly signifying the death knell of modern civilization. If our eyes are fixed on the screen, we're not reading great literature or painting a watercolour: we're just absorbing the dreams of a hack writer who lives a stone's throw from Beverly Hills, or waiting for the Wheel to stop spinning so that we can guess the next letter.

Although I never really stopped watching the damned thing, I eventually reached the point where I couldn't watch a program without criticizing it for all it's flaws, or at least savagely denigrating the commercials that appeared every 10 minutes or so. Before long, my friends were tired of my posturing and let me know that I was being an ass. Soon, I gave up trying to criticize TV and just tried to ignore it.

Today, I am proud to say that I have reached a balance of suspicion and admiration for the "Idiot Box". I am still very resistant to commercials (except that Dairy Queen one where the baby kicks the father right in the crotch. That one is hilarious) but the following programs have won my heart. They are the reason why I don't smash my television. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: A highly-addictive form of fake television journalism that never ceases to amaze me. Host Jon Stewart serves up witty, acerbic commentary and interviews many high profile guests with a level of poise and honesty rarely seen on American television. Although the satirical news thing has been done before, the Daily Show just does it better than I've ever seen. In case you have any lingering doubts, take a swig of chocolate milk and try to listen to one of Stephen Colbert's segments without blowing the milk out of your nose. Rob Corddry and Steve Carell are also violently funny. It appears here in Canada on Comedy Central every night @ 11 PM EST.

  • Trailer Park Boys: True "Canadiana", this faux-documentary series covers the life and times of some troubled Nova Scotians and their near-brushes with law enforcement. Set in an authentic trailer park near Halifax, main characters Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are always trying to stay one step ahead of getting busted. Some of their recent episodes include backyard wrestling, cars being flipped by a Ricky-piloted Caterpillar Loader, Ricky and Julian scheming to buy out the trailer park by growing thousands of outdoor marijuana plants, and a massage parlour run out of the park that attracts some negative attention. Combining comedy with some compelling characters in a familiar rural setting, this series is in it's fourth season. You can catch it on Showcase every Sunday night at 9 PM EST.

  • Hockey Night in Canada: The "coolest sport on earth" beamed live into living rooms and bars across this great nation. People watch HNIC almost religiously, regardless of their background or first language. I'm quite certain that this is the unknown "X-factor" that holds Canada together. Without it, we'd be nothing more than a former British colony that hugs the continental United States. Hockey is fast-paced, exciting, and has enough drama to rival any popular soap opera. Don't miss the slapshots, bone-shattering body checks, and if you're really lucky, double overtime that will leave you breathless. CBC is kind enough to provide HNIC throughout the hockey season. Visit their website for the Stanley Cup Playoff schedule (we're down to four teams!).

  • The Simpsons: Nearly ubiquitous animated weekly satire that pushes all the right buttons and takes no prisoners. Although the quality has been diluted over the years--they're running out of ideas but can you blame them?--the Simpsons are still good for a laugh from time to time. They've appeared on Fox for the past 15 years (Sundays at 8 PM EST) but I suspect that their broadcasting days are numbered. Enjoy their hijinks while you can.

  • Crossfire: File this one in the "Guilty Pleasures" category, right up there with Pay-per-View Porn. Crossfire is the American template for a political discussion program but it is more like watching a hybrid of Ultimate Fighting Championship and C-Span, complete with a bell that sounds every minute to signify a change of topics and bi-partisan hosts that can barely contain their contempt for one another. In a fairly obvious form of symbolism, they place the Democratic supporters on the left side of the stage and the Republicans on the right. When the shouting begins, you know that you're in for an enjoyable show (although they never really resolve anything because both sides refuse to admit when they're wrong). It still makes for some compelling television. Crossfire appears on CNN every weekday at 4:30 PM EST.

Honourable mentions include Elimidate (for the hidden voyeur in you) and Family Guy (although cancelled, you can still find FG on Teletoon at 10 PM weekdays).

Have I left any exceptional programming off this list? Please comment below.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Arcade Fire Sign the Dotted Line & Plan U.S. Tour with The Unicorns

In a post dated Monday, April 3rd, announced that The Arcade Fire have signed to Merge Records. Details of the deal were not specified but let us hope that Win & co. will be in for some smooth sailing. Labels have a tradition of treating artists like commodities or indentured servants (albeit sometimes well-paid ones), but Merge already handle several top-tier acts (And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, The Buzzcocks, Neutral Milk Hotel, Destroyer) so I'm sure that they'll be civil with the AF.

The Arcade Fire attempting to flag down a helicopter
Above: The Arcade Fire attempting to flag down a helicopter.

According to the Arcade Fire's website, they'll be touring with the Unicorns again in early June. If you've successfully avoided hearing about the Unicorns up until now, think of Ritalin-deprived indie kids in pink matching outfits rocking a no-wave, Pavement-meets-Beck-while-stoned-on-paint-inhalants vibe. Pretentious, yet satisfying. [ed. note: A thousand apologies for that cumbersome phrasing.] Personally, I think that just seeing the Arcade Fire live would pay for the ticket by itself. Tour dates & locations? Presto!

SUN 6/6
@ Black Cat
w/ The Unicorns

MON 6/7
@ The Cave
w/ Fan Modine

TUE 6/8
@ Echo Lounge
w/ The Unicorns

THU 6/10
@ The Nick
w/ The Unicorns

FRI 6/11
@ tba

SAT 6/12
@ Walter’s on Washington
w/ The Unicorns and
Fiery Furnaces

MON 6/14
@ Emo's
w/ The Unicorns

TUE 6/15
@ Hailey's
w/ The Unicorns

WED 6/16
@ The Conservatory
w/ The Unicorns

THU 6/17
@ Rocket Bar
w/ The Unicorns

FRI 6/18
@ Open End
(all ages show)
w/ The Unicorns

@ Mad Planet
(2 shows)
w/ The Unicorns

SUN 6/21
@ tba
w/ The Unicorns

TUE 6/22
@ Bug Jar
w/ The Unicorns

WED 6/23
@ Lee's Palace

SAT 8/7
on Toronto Island,
w/ Sloan, the Constantines, Sam Roberts, Death From Above, Buck 65, et. al
The Unicorns
Above: Two unicorns frolicking.
The press shots were too pouty.

Any AF/Unicorns testimonials out there? Comment below.

I wish that something would Happen.

Thom Yorke is a damned genius. I listened to "The Bends" today (from 1995's "The Bends" album) and I was struck by the grace and emotional depth of Thom's lyrics. Sure, it's mid-90's era mope-rock but I feel that Thom was on to something here, before the Techno Aliens abducted him and dragged him to Planet Idioteque.

Just in case you don't have the album roosting in your CD changer, you can download the song on Kazaa or Limewire. For the more adventurous spirits out there, you can hear a fairly decent cover of the song by some random guy named Jason Buckley. I found his version on Google and in all honesty, he doesn't have the vocal range of Thom Yorke--who really does, besides opera singers and maybe Mike Patton?--but Mr. Buckley offers an interesting take on the Radiohead classic. (His singing voice isn't unlike that of my dear friend Mr. Aubie, a Bishop's U. Senior and seasonal Lighthouse Keeper.)

Radiohead-"The Bends"

Where do we go from here?
The words are coming out all weird
Where are you now when I need you?
Alone in an aeroplane
Falling asleep against the window pane
My blood will THICKEN.

I need to wash myself again to hide all the dirt and pain
I'd be scared that there's nothing underneath
And who are my real friends?
Have they all got the bends?
Am I really sinking this low?

My baby's got the bends
We don't have any real friends
I'm lying in a bar with my drip feed on
talking to my girlfriend waiting for something to happen
I wish it was the sixties
I wish I could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen.

Where do we go from here?
The planet is a gunboat in a sea of fear
Where are you?
They brought in the CIA
The tanks, and the whole marines to blow me away
To blow me sky high.

My baby's got the bends
We don't have any real friends
I'm lying in a bar with my drip feed on
talking to my girlfriend waiting for something to happen
I wish it was the sixties
I wish I could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen.

I want to live and breathe
I want to be part of the human race.
Hear a great song lately? Let us know! Leave a comment below.

Bush's Latest Brain Teaser--A Rhetorical Rubik's Cube

"America must confront threats before they materialize." George W. Bush, Cincinatti Post, 05/05/2004.
Isn't that a little bit like saying we must shovel the yard before it snows? Or, if you prefer, we must put out the fire before it starts. Another nice one would be to say that we must kill the murderer before he attacks his first victim. (That sounds an awful lot like Minority Report!)

Sure, there are some naysayers out there who could find examples where this form of logic might actually fly. I suppose that you could take birth control to prevent impregnation before you have sex. (We all know where Bush stands on that one! Abstinence only, ladies and gentlemen!) Also, one might argue that you should drink water before you're thirsty. Even so, we're getting away from the brainteaser itself.

How can you confront a threat that hasn't materialized yet? If it hasn't materialized yet, it is obviously not a threat. To confront a threat that is immaterial seems impossible and downright silly to me. Plus, Saddam Hussein was much more of a threat back in the 80's when America was busy selling him all those Weapons of Mass Destruction (yes, they existed, up until the First Gulf War under Bush Sr., when some pretty intelligent bombs turned them into confetti). So, basically, what Bush is advocating is going back in time to when Ronald Reagan was selling all those dangerous arms to Hussein in the 80's and to stop Reagan from making such a shoddy decision.

Mr. Bush, while you're back in time, could you do us a favour and tell the CIA and MI5 not to train Osama Bin Laden and his Afghani Mujaheddin Resistance Fighters? Sure, they were indispensable in booting the Ruskies out of Afghanistan, but they've been a real pain in the WTC since then. (The CIA denies that they participated in Bin Laden's training. Then again, they wouldn't admit to ordering a pizza. They're just very secretive, I guess! Still, this fact has been documented in various places.)

Disney Blocks New Michael Moore Film from North American Theatres

Michael Moore is no stranger to controversy. Ever since he first stepped into the public eye, he has been trying to shake things up and he doesn't make many friends--his take-no-prisoners brand of Celluloid Activism has already made him a pariah in Republican circles, and I'm sure that there are at least a couple of CEO's whom would gladly put a price on his head--but this time, he may have poked his face in the wrong bee's nest.

Disney has decided to block distribution of his latest film, Fahrenheit 9/11, from appearing in North American theatres. The New York Times reported that Disney's reason for halting the release was because they were afraid that they might lose some of their tax incentives in Florida if they authorized a film that criticized the president. Although Disney executives have refuted this claim, they did express reservations about releasing a film that could "alienate many." The unnamed Disney executive who was quoted in the NY Times article also said, "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle."

Disney has the power to halt the release of the film, legally anyhow, because they own Miramax, the production company responsible for it's creation. When Disney purchased Miramax in 1993, their agreement specified that Disney could block any movie release that had an adult rating or that went over budget. Although Fahrenheit 9/11 does not meet these criterion, it will be difficult for Miramax to change the outcome of the decision because of their parent company's enormous might. Disney has more money than some small nations.

In response to the Disney decision, Michael Moore said,

"(T)here's nothing they can do about it now because it's done, it's awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you'll see it this summer -- because, after all, it is a free country."
Even if the film doesn't reach North American theatres, the overseas rights have already been sold to other companies so Europe may still get a chance to see what the fuss is about. In any case, this will surely create an enormous buzz which will guarantee that it becomes a box-office smash just like Bowling for Columbine, his previous film which earned Moore an oscar. Fahrenheit 9/11 will also be competing at the Cannes Film Festival and may garner the nod for Best Documentary or Best Film.

Personally, I feel that Disney is proving to be very Anti-American by refusing to let the truth be told. Why did they allow Miramax to produce the damned thing if they were going to waffle and try to censor it after the fact? It is an election year and they don't want to cause a ruckus but this will only hurt the Bush Administration because it will make Moore's movie into a "Cause Celebre" and everybody will rush to see it as soon as they get the chance. Also, they're giving it all sorts of free press... (hmm, I can see how this is a Win-Win situation for Disney: If the film is blocked, they gain an ally in BushCo.; if the film is released, they earn thirty-odd million dollars to throw in their Scrooge McDuck Vault. Those brilliant bastards!)

Then again, this sinister type of censorship could have prevented monstrosities like "Mighty Ducks II" or "The Haunted Mansion" from ever making it past the cutting room floor. The funny thing is, Disney didn't prevent Miramax from releasing "Kill Bill Vol. II", an intrinsically violent slash-fest made by the blood fetishist himself, Quentin Tarrantino. I guess that it didn't make any political stands, so it was palatable for the masses. Give me a break.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Iraqis Tortured by American Forces at Abu Ghraib Jail

The New Yorker has provided us all with a harrowing account of the torture being inflicted upon Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib Jail. It is nauseating just to imagine that such horrific events take place. What appears below is part of a 53-page report written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba completed in late February, outlining some of the abuses inflicted upon the inmates, many of whom are being held without being charged with any crime.
"Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee."
I must admit that this level of depravity leaves me at a loss for words. I am a pacifist but such horrible acts demand retribution. While I am not about to fly to Baghdad and pick up an AK-47, I will take a stand and wish the Iraqi resistance best of luck.
Iraqi Prisoners Humiliated by American Captors

I spend a large amount of my time trying to convince my father that the U.S. isn't the benevolent force that he imagines. They are the perpetrators of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the fiends that napalmed villages in Vietnam, the terrorists that mined Nicaragua's harbours, and the unfailing supporters of the militaristic Israeli regime that holds Palestinians beneath it's boot. The U.S. has committed scores of atrocities in the name of "democracy" and the "free market". Absolute power corrupts absolutely and when you give a man a stick, he'll use it to beat his neighbour until he bleeds through the nostrils.

The images of these poor Iraqis being forced to commit unspeakable acts are only evidence that the American warrior culture is heartless and cruel. They are, after all, the creators of reality television, where individuals will eat unborn ostrich fetuses for the chance at a million dollars. When the Nazis were burning my ancestors in their easy-bake ovens, let us not forget that America turned away thousands of Jews who were seeking refugee status. They also manufacture a large amount of the weapons used to maim or kill all around the world. We all know which master America serves, and it sure as hell isn't God. Here's a hint: it's green and printed in several denominations.

I don't want to give you the impression that I hate all Americans. That is like hating the forest just because of the nasty rash you got from touching some poison ivy. I just hate their government, their military, and their foreign policy. I have no particular opinion about the millions of people who blindly follow their Xeno-leadership and who read the New York Post. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't invite any of them to a dinner party.