sabotabby: (lolmarx)
We're heading out for lunch as soon as the dude can get the AC working, but in the meantime behold the "VIP suite," in which we will spend our last evening in Kiev. We are pretty sure Soviet dignitaries stayed here and they haven't touched the room since:

sabotabby: (coffee)
I feel like this needs to be a separate post from the OMG ODESSA IS SO PRETTY post. For one thing, these were taken on my shitty cell camera and not my iPad. But also they're pictures I've taken when I've seen something hella weird and immediately need to inform social media.

Let's just say there are some, uh, cultural differences between Ukraine and everywhere else I've ever been that take a bit of getting used to. FOR EXAMPLE:

What is this, some kinky sex thing? Maybe in that masochist bar that we didn't get into because your kink is okay but not my kink?

No! It is the café in the Lviv airport. Why do they have chairs like this? No one knows. But to answer a few questions:

1) Yes, we sat in them.
2) Yes, they are actually quite comfortable.
3) No, no one else seemed to think they were out of the ordinary in any way.

To answer a question no one asked:

1) Yes, the Americanos in that café are quite good, especially by airport standards, would totally recommend. Though, granted, it was like 5 am and I would have drank lighter fluid if it would have woken me up.

Our hotel in Lviv, while cute, had no elevator--a problem, since our room was on the 5th floor. (I may be an obsessive step-counter who never goes on an escalator when there's the option of a staircase, but at the end of the day when you've been walking/carrying bags? Less fun.) We were relieved to see that this hotel does have one. In fact, it has all of the regular floors you would expect to see in a building, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and crab.

1) Yes, I know what's on the crab floor.
2) No, you'll have to wait and see until tomorrow if it's any good.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (teachthecontroversy)
Adolf Hitler, the Ultimate Avatar, by Miguel Serrano:
A recap of utter epicness
By [ profile] sabotabby, Professional Internet Martyr

As you might know, I kind of have a thing for wacky conspiracy theories. The wackier the better, really. The best conspiracy theory of all time, of course, is the one where Hitler doesn’t kill himself at the end of World War II, but instead takes off in a UFO that transports him to Antarctica, where he finds the gateway to the hollow centre of the Earth. Yes, this is a thing that people believe. Said people are, well, occasionally prone to publishing books about their unique belief system. As much as I enjoy this theory, these books are, shall we say, a little difficult to read.

Because he hates me, [ profile] apperception kindly e-mailed me Miguel Serrano’s 600-page opus on Hitler, yoga, deep ecology, and if I’m very, very unlucky, tantric sex as well. I am pretty sure that Chilean New Age Neo-Nazis are into tantric sex. I thought of obtaining some background information on Mr. Serrano for context, but the Wikipedia page detailing his belief system was so batshit insane that I think it left me more confused than elucidated.

At any rate, I’m going to read the entire fucking thing so you don’t have to.

the literary equivalent of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster lies beneath this cut )

And that’s the cliffhanger that ends Part 1. There are six parts. I am not entirely sure if I’m insane enough to read the rest, but you can start a betting pool if you’d like.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (quit your whoring now)
Via [ profile] the_siobhan, a truly excellent moment in Toronto history: The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.

No one seems to agree on exactly how the fight at the brothel got started. Some blame a particularly loudmouthed clown. Some say the clowns cut in line — or knocked the hat off a fireman's head. But this much is clear: that night, the clowns kicked some firefighting ass. At least two of the firemen were seriously injury [sic], dragged out of the brothel to safety as the Hook & Ladder crew retreated. For the rest of the night, the clowns could drink and have sex in peace.

But it wasn't over yet. Those firemen had a lot of friends. In those days, Toronto was still pretty much entirely run by a small group of Protestant, Tory elites. They were all members of the Orange Order, hung out together at the Orange Lodge, and made sure that other Orangemen got all the important jobs in the city. The police were pretty much all Orangemen. And the firefighters were too. Usually, they focused on beating up Catholics. But they were willing to make an occasional exception.

The whole thing is quite short and worth a read. Also possibly worth a reenactment as part of a Heritage Minute commercial, if Heritage Minutes were actually cool.

On a related note, I finished watching Carnivàle and am quite sad that it got cancelled. It's basically exactly my cup of tea, if instead of tea I were into methamphetamine.*

* I'm not really into either, but you get the point.
sabotabby: (teacher lady)
So Bill 115, which froze teacher's salaries and advancement through the salary grid, personally cost me just over $7000 a year based on the salary I would have gotten if there was just a simple pay freeze. Even more than that when you count things like the money I spend to take additional qualification courses ($700-800 a year) because I spend my summers, not loafing on a beach, but improving my credentials in hopes of getting to the top pay category. Even more when, next year, they mandate three unpaid days off, making the "pay freeze" actually a pay rollback.

It also cuts my sick days in a way that will dramatically affect my health. I suffer from a debilitating, life-threatening, potentially chronic illness. Now every time I have to take a sick day, whether it's to get the drug treatments that leave me weak and nauseous, to get consultations with doctors, or just because I work in a germ factory and have a depressed immune system, I have to weigh my health against the third of my day's salary that they'll dock if I'm gone more than 10 days this year.

And we can't strike over this. We can't even appoint a mediator to help us get a fair contract. We're not allowed to negotiate at all. The law is not subject to any courts, or the Human Rights Code. It says right there in the law!

The justification for this is that there's no choice! We're in a deficit! There's a crisis, and everyone must make sacrifices*. It's for the kids!

Which is why I was so interested to read that the government that voted in the illegal Bill 115 is itself making huge sacrifices for the good of the economy.

Wait, did I say that? Silly me. They're giving themselves huge pay hikes. Because how else will you attract qualified professionals?

Torches and pitchforks time, people.

ETA: One of those articles is undated and the other is from November 2011. But surely we didn't go from financially flush to flat broke in 10 months!

* Rich people excluded, naturally. Dontcha know they're job creators?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fighting the man)
I somehow missed the story about TD Bank closing the accounts of Iranian-Canadians until protests made the news.

I gotta say, I'm gobsmacked. TD seems to be the only bank doing this, so it can't be a government-imposed sanction that all banks are forced to do. They also like to promote themselves as Good Corporate Citizens, QUILTBAG-friendly in their advertising, diverse and all that. So to pull a move that is not only racist but is a terrifying echo of WWII-era xenophobia (what's next? Are we going to round up Iranians and put them in internment camps like we did to Japanese-Canadians?) is just astounding. Oh, and we're not even at war with Iran or anything. Also, these are Canadian citizens we're talking about, not that it matters.

So, why aren't we up in arms about it? Can they even do this?


Aug. 3rd, 2012 10:50 am
sabotabby: (books!)
I missed the whole Requires Hate dust-up and now everyone is posting references to it. Is it the same as the Readercon dust-up?

Help, I am out of the loop and there is obvious drama.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)

“Just keep going hard. Don’t hit babies though,” he said, alluding to a scene in the film’s trailer in which Ferrell’s character, a congressman seeking re-election, accidentally slugs an infant.

“Return people’s phone calls … and don’t talk to the Toronto Star,” the mayor added, a reminder of his ongoing feud with the newspaper.

Hey, remember how Toronto was plagued with gun violence and two innocent people were killed at a barbecue and also, running a city involves more than returning phone calls and includes things like transit, libraries, housing, parks and recreation, waste disposal, community outreach, arts and culture, and social services?

Didn't think so.

It's nice that he has time to hobnob with neo-Nazis and terrible comedians, though.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
I can't put the counter up because I'm not sure when this photo was taken, but it does seem to be undeniably a picture of the Honourable Wife-Beater hanging around with an actual neo-Nazi. Not in the distant past, when he was just a stupid kid from Etobicoke, but recently.


That's Jon Latvis from RaHoWa (short for Racial Holy War) and he is not exactly quiet about his politics. The photo appears to have been posted by Latvis himself. If you can't read the text, it says: "Me meeting with Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford to get an endorsement for the Latvian Homeguard—at City Hall," and was posted May 6th.

The story comes via Warren Kinsella, who is about as far from a trustworthy source as you can get, but it's also up on Anti-Racist Canada. I went to check out Latvis' Facebook account, which is surprisingly public but also very sparse. I mean, it's possible that there's a dude impersonating him who is also good with Photoshop, but there are more prominent Toronto neo-Nazis and Ford would hardly be the first right-wing wacko with far-right links.

ETA: Context!

“(Mayor Ford) condemns all forms of racism.”

Except, you know. When he makes comments about how Chinese people work like dogs or immigrants are the cause of gun violence in Toronto or when he slashes social programs that primarily benefit racialized communities. He likes purple people, though.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (racist!)

“I don't know, and that's what I’m going to sit down with the prime minister and find out, how our immigration laws work. Obviously I have an idea, but whatever I can do to get ’em out of the city I’m going to. Regardless of if they have family or friends, I don’t want these people, if they’re convicted of a gun crime, to have anything to do with the city of Toronto.”

Fucking immigration laws, how do they work?

Also, I'm pretty sure the shooters are going to turn out to be as Canadian as the Honourable Racist Wifebeating Drunk-Driving Bird-Flipper himself.

ETA: The HWB explains why he voted against funding social programs to reduce crime and the very organizations currently counselling the kids who witnessed Monday night's violence:

LOL just kidding. He runs away from reporters and gets into his car.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (harper = evil)
Can someone explain to me the thing where you take a politician's face and make it into the Joker? Comme ça:


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I feel like this is an incomprehensible political statement. I mean, the Joker is clearly Chaotic Evil while most politicians are Lawful Evil (like Nixon said, if the president does it, it's not a crime) and also, the Joker is, well. Cool. Also, probably unconcerned with politics, and certainly not a socialist. Does this make the person holding the sign Batman? Are we all aware of Batman's class privilege and problematic politics?

It makes less sense than Guy Fawkes as an icon of 21st century rebelliousness. At least there's a paper trail there.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (bones by arianadii)
Sadistic bees drink human tears has to be one of my favourite headlines ever. The Lasioglossum gotham—best name ever—which lives in Thailand, digs your salty, delicious grief:

“The experience was rather unpleasant, causing strong tear flow,” the authors wrote in the 2009 study published in the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. “Once a bee had settled and more were approaching, these tended to settle near each other in a row. Closing the eye did not necessarily dislodge bees but some continued to suck at the slit. They were even able to find and settle at closed eyes.”


So I did a silly painting about it )


Apr. 9th, 2012 05:26 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fuck patriarchy)

How is this a thing that happened in the world?

Apparently women are more concerned with making babies than making money and therefore it's just fine that gendered pay discrimination exists.

Oh Wisconsin. I know it's hard to compete with Arizona and Texas for Worst State Ever, but do you have to be so blatant about it?

I say!

Jan. 23rd, 2012 06:58 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (monocleyay)
Allow me to opine, if I might, on the deplorable state of the White workingman in our former colonies. With the abandonment of such venerable institutions such as the poorhouse and indentured servitude, it is apparent to all men of standing that the lower classes have forgotten both their place and their manners, and have become a species as alien to their betters as the Chinaman from the Orient.

Of late, the anarchist subversives have found sympathetic ears and blame the disparity between their sort and the propertied classes on the distant and uncaring attitudes of said propertied classes, but any man of decent breeding and education will recognize the treasonous mendacity of these statements. The problem, as always, lies in the moral degeneracy of the labouring classes. It may be illustrated in the poor habits of these unfortunates, who would sooner attend a cockfight or den of iniquity than a church pew.

I speak only of the White labourer. While it is true that the depravity of the Negro is an affront to our civilization, the affairs of the lesser races do not concern us. No, good sirs, it is the White workingman whose piteous plight I shall examine below.

Matrimony: In my day, a good number of Whites were married. It is most troublesome that, while gentlefolk continue to marry, the poors are content to engage in vice outside of the sanction of the Church.

Bastardry: The labouring classes continue to breed, whether joined in holy matrimony or otherwise. The result of this licentiousness, naturally, is a teeming mass of bastards living in squalid conditions in the slums, a problem compounded by misguided Child Labour laws that forbid factory owners from putting these unwanted wretches to work. Few among the fairer sex have even the common decency to perish in childbirth.

Industriousness: It seems to me that the poors in my day were a good bit more industrious. Why, in my sawmill, they would labour a good 16 hours a day for five shillings! There were never any complaints. When one of my employees severed a finger in his machine, he plugged the bleeding stump with cotton and kept on working, lest he be docked half an hour’s pay. The workingman of today expects a lunch, and even basic safety standards, and denied these, will kick up his feet and refused to work at all.

Crime: Possessing no industriousness, the workingman has become indistinguishable from the criminal rabble. It is my studied observation that the rate of crime is greater in the slum neighbourhoods of the labourer than it is in the estates of the gentry.

Devoutness: The workingman will no longer listen to his betters, or to the Good Book. Many labourers have ceased to attend church altogether. It is clear that the dire predicament of the lower classes owes much to the paucity of their prayers.


In my day, the workingman and the gentleman were not so different. While we lived in mansions and they in crowded tenement houses, and while they were far more likely to perish of consumption, the fabric of our great civilization remained intact. The degeneracy of the upper classes may, I daresay, also contribute to the cleaving of our social order; a good many of them have adopted curious habits no doubt borrowed from nefarious foreign influences. This lapse of judgment is most apparent in their exotic victuals, such as yoghurt and muesli.


What is the cause of this state of affairs? While the Whigs may lay blame squarely on the avarice of the aristocrat and businessman, it remains self-evident to any right-thinking gentleman that, rather, it is the workingman who is to blame for his own predicament. His decline has been aided by the folly of the suffragettes and reformers. His soul is in desperate need of salvation, a salvation that can be brought about only by the grace and wisdom of his betters. We must shun him for his vices and, in doing so, lead him back to the bosom of the Church. Only in doing so may our beloved colonies be redeemed.

Charles Murray on the "New American Divide." I may have paraphrased a bit.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (no pigdogs)
Ah, so, if I understand this correctly:

1. Someone broke into the Honourable Wife-Beater's home and threatened him.

2. That someone was not part of the downtown-elite-bike-riding-gay-immigrant-commie-pinko-scum, but rather Ford's sister's ex-boyfriend, who also had heroin and coke on him at the time.

3. This is not the first time such an incident has happened. Previous incidents have included the sister's ex-boyfriend shooting and killing her boyfriend, and someone else shooting the sister in the head. (She got better.) It seems that the Honourable Wife-Beater himself has 911 on speed-dial. You know. Just in case.

4. Ford's mouthpieces, Brother Doug and Mammoliti want taxpayers to shell out for security. Ford is demurring, but his frequent calls to 911 tell a different story.

Hey good thing you didn't cut the police budget, amirite? Someone tell me why protecting Ford from his deranged, drug-addled, violent family is more important than transit, libraries, community centres, affordable housing, school breakfast programs, pools, garbage pick-up, bike lanes, the arts, or even protecting other people from their deranged, drug-addled, violent families.

Oh wait. It isn't. It's not even a solution, as some have suggested, if Ford hires his own goons out of his own salary—his salary is our taxes. No, if rabid crackheads are going to attack him, he ought to be able to stand on his own two feet and defend himself in a fiscally responsible manner, presumably with some sort of blunt object (I hear he's a sports fan; a hockey stick seems appropriate). Not a single extra tax dollar ought to go to protect him, his family, or his home. There is no society; we are all individuals. Let this good family man deal with his own mess. I'll be watching on the side, rooting for the crackheads.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (fuck patriarchy)
It is patently unfair that I should have to know about the Miss Universe pageant, but apparently even in my lefty feminist bubble, it managed to hit my radar right now.

And yes, it's low-hanging fruit, but I'm going to laugh at the costumes.

My second-favourite is Chile:

Miss Haiti and Miss Japan managed to not dress up like earthquakes, and Miss Colombia is not dressed as a very stylish, very sexy member of the FARC, but Miss Chile totally kept it classy and dressed up like a miner.

I bet Miss Romania dressed up as, like, a vampire or something:

Wait, seriously?

But the most awful, over-the-top, offensive outfit belongs to my own Home On Native Land. Check out Miss Canada:

What the bleeding fuck, Canada? Why don't you just dress up in blackface or something? If I thought anyone watched this other than [ profile] ohnotheydidnt I would be horribly embarrassed about my country, but fortunately I'm pretty sure pageants are irrelevant and no one watches them. Still. This is a thing in the world, and I feel gross that it even exists.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (harper = evil)
According to our Dear Leader, "Islamicism" is the biggest threat to Canada.

I can think of some big threats to Canada, like climate change, energy shortfalls, economic disparity, the humanitarian crisis in First Nations communities, environmental destruction, the war on Afghanistan, lack of adequate urban infrastructure, and critical kitten shortages caused by Stephen Harper's insatiable appetites, but I'm guessing that our Dear Leader just wants to draw our attention to some sort of invented threat so that he can bring back terrorism laws that violate basic civil liberties. Maybe he also thinks that in our hysteria about Islamicists, we'll forget about the whole G20 fiasco or the fighter jets that his "fiscally conservative" government wants to buy.

cute kitten
Please do not eat me, Prime Minister Harper!

I don't think Islamicists have killed or even harmed any Canadians lately. Ever. I am actually shamefully ignorant and don't really know what an Islamicist is. Do you guys know? I've maintained for awhile that while Ford is floor-level stupid* and evil, Harper is smart and evil. Now I'm doubting that he's that smart.

* That is, you can tell that the floor is level when drool is coming out of both sides of his mouth.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (go fuck yourself)
Part of my job is to correct children who use terms like, "that's so gay," when they really mean, "I dislike this particular thing." You won't often hear me using that particular combination of words.

But really: This is so gay. And I don't mean that I dislike this particular thing, although I dislike this particular thing. I mean it is actually more homosexual than George Takei dancing to Donna Summer in a feather boa and tiara, except that that would be awesome, and the horror that awaits you should you click that link up there is not in any way awesome.

You see, Orson Scott Card has decided that what Hamlet is lacking is a) moral certainty, and b) rampant homophobia. So he's rewritten it. The title itself, Hamlet's Father, is problematic in itself as Hamlet's father was also Hamlet, but that's nothing compared to the, uh, liberties Card has apparently taken with the source material.

From the review:

Here's the punch line: Old King Hamlet was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people. The old king was actually murdered by Horatio, in revenge for molesting him as a young boy—along with Laertes, and Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, thereby turning all of them gay. We learn that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are now "as fusty and peculiar as an old married couple. I pity the woman who tries to wed her way into that house."

The thing is that, while I'm sure that the devoutly Mormon Card intended his masterpiece as some sort of cautionary tale about the evils of homosexuality (for those who lost track of him after Ender's Game, that's seriously the only sort of story he writes now), it comes off as, well. Either he's a fangirl with slash goggles welded to his face, or he doth protest too much. And I really think it's the latter. I'm pretty sure that there are gay porn stars who think less about buttsex than Orson Scott Card does, and it's their job to do it.

Apparently this is a real thing in the world, and neither an epic troll by Rain Taxi Review nor by Subterranean Press. Which means someone—a famous author, no less!—thought that it would be good to write this kind of drivel (and probably typed it with one hand), and then a publisher—which has put out some great books over the years—read it and decided that it would make money if published. Along the way one or more editors may have had to read it, and no one, no one, cried out, "wait maybe it's not the best ever idea to write a version of Hamlet where the old King is a serial rapist with a magic cock that turns everyone gay and where Hamlet is completely convinced that there's an afterlife." (I leave it to your interpretation, Gentle Reader, as to whether [ profile] sabotabby is more disturbed by the homophobia or by a depiction of Hamlet where the prince is entirely convinced as to the existence of God.)

I am confused as to how one person, let alone multiple, none of whom are 4chan, decided that this book was a good idea.

For some reason, Subterranean Press has decided on a limited run of 1000, so get it while it's ho—no, wait, that's the opposite of hot.

Hat-tip: [ profile] zingerella, who finds the most WTF things on the internet.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat flaming death)
Here are today's top stories, courtesy of the Star:

The IDF kills 13 Palestinian protesters. "Oh, but I bet they were Hamas members lobbing home-made rockets at Israeli civilians!" you say (well, no, you wouldn't say that). Nope, the only "attack" they were planning was against the fence at the border of Syria and Israel. Nevertheless, according to Netanyahu, "These protests aim to undermine the very existence of Israel," presumably necessitating the slaughter of (as far as I know) unarmed protesters.

Speaking of Syria, 850 people have been killed there since mid-March. This hasn't been highly publicized compared to the uprisings in Arab countries where we aren't so heavily invested in the status quo, and despite rampant and horrifying abuses of human rights, our illustrious government is keeping mum. To add a personal note, the new Minister of the Interior is the guy who arrested and tortured the father of a friend of mine, so you can imagine what the rest are probably like. Said friend suggests writing to your MP, given that Canada has been silent on the international stage.

On a happier note, Byron Sonne has, nearly a year since his arrest, been granted bail! Here's hoping that he gets off and is able to turn around and sue the bastards.

The IMF continues to screw the working class. Literally, and non-consensually.

Stay classy, Disney!

And in local news, Shorter Rosie DiManno: It's all about MEEEE. Is it just me or do her articles never make a single lick of sense?


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