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February 21st - 27th, 2005
February 25th, 2005
Before You Read The Morning Paper

What Sovereignty?

If you cracked open one of the intelligent Canadian papers today, you probably read articles vividly quoting a US ambassador dismissing Canadian sovereignty. If not, you can read about it in the Globe or the National Post.

The ambassador said that by opting out of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program, Canada has somewhat stupidly given up its sovereignty.

Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said from now on, the U.S. will decide when to fire at incoming missiles over Canadian territory.

"We will deploy. We will defend North America," Cellucci said. "We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty -- its seat at the table -- to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada.'' - CTV

With this, Canada has finally received its own dose of good old fashioned US propaganda - and perfectly worded, I might add. When I first read the headlines, I thought, BY GOD, what have we done? We have surrendered our ability to sit at the table, to influence the national defence of our borders! We have walked away from the table, so foolishly!

But then, I read the articles, and realized Cellucci was full of shit. eg:

"[f]rom now on, the U.S. will decide when to fire at incoming missiles over Canadian territory... "

Perhaps I missed the last incoming missile alert, but the statement seems a little overblown. Truth is, we don't have to sink billions into a program that will never be used, will probably never work, and will not add to our sovereignty.


a. Who the fuck is going to launch a missile at Canada?

b. Who the fuck is going to launch a missile at Canada instead of launching it at the United States of America?

c. If the US ever DOES see a missile or a malevolent flock of low-flying geese winging towards North America, is Bush really going to ask Paul Martin whether or not they should try to shoot it down? I mean, Americans are considerate, in a reach-around sort of way, but they're not particularly worried about anyone else's border integrity. Except Israel's, of course.

d. Is it really possible to shoot down a missile with another missile? Without sinking another couple hundred billion dollars into the program? Most tests so far have failed miserably. And jesus, we already got our own financial boondoggles. Like the gun registry. Or the Liberal sponsorship campaigns.

"In January 2000, the U.S. military conducted a mock nuclear attack. A Minuteman ICBM, designed to carry a nuclear warhead, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Twenty minutes later, another smaller missile was launched from the Marshall Islands about 7,000 kilometres away. The second missile was supposed to hit the first, but missed." -

Fact is, the US is going to deploy its BMD whenever it likes, whether we're in the program or not. Opting out of BMD is not a matter of surrendering our sovereignty. In regards to sovereignty, we've recently given it a boost by handing the military the biggest budgetary increase it's had in the past 40 years. Now they'll have the dollars to go where we need to send them, with proper numbers and equipment. Which is lovely, because now we can actually sit at the international table with more than two chips in our pot.

So - don't fall victim to any American propaganda being trumpeted through the headlines today. If you have any doubt about the ability of the American propaganda machine, check out this article. It's a little ditty about the Republicans planting their own fake reporters amongst real reporters in the White House scrums. Bastards:

"Jeff Gannon" is now at least the sixth "journalist"to have been a propagandist on the payroll of either the Bush administration or a barely arms-length ally like Talon News while simultaneously appearing in print or broadcast forums that purport to be real news. Of these six, two have been syndicated newspaper columnists paid by the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the administration's "marriage" initiatives. The other four have played real newsmen on TV. - International Herald Tribune

And, now that I've addressed Ballistic Missile Defence, national sovereignty, and the budgetary increases alotted for our armed forces, I would like to announce that I'm going to get drunk all weekend and write, in Hunter S. Thompson's honour.

I suggest everyone do the same.

February 24th, 2005
That's What You Get

Persuant to yesterday's conversation with Mr. Gander, I thought I'd post one of his favourite poems, with its overlong title. After one of his favourite quotes.

"You're a gentleman," they used to say to him. "You shouldn't have gone murdering people with a hatchet; that's no occupation for a gentleman." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Note found pinned to a man's chest on a Sunday morning after he has awakened to find his house in ruins, the door open, the liquor and his car and his wife gone and his brother lying comatose in the bathtub

We got drunk
Maybe I got out of hand and
You got out of hand

And maybe your missus got out of hand
And there was some fucking
And some fighting
And your brother took six kicks to the balls

But I got to say
It is your own fault

You get me talking bout god
And Americans
And nuns

And then your brother said that Fyodor
Was nothing but a drunk and an epileptic
And never wrote anything worth a ruble covered in shit
And they should have shot him that day on the execution grounds
Instead of shipping him to the gulag

What the fuck you expect?
You're lucky I didn’t burn down the cabin

Yours truly,
Mingus Tourette

February 23rd, 2005
Ode on an English Bastard

Gander phoned late at night, long-distance from Regina. He sounded a bit tipsy, like he'd got into the scotch. I'd been trying to write love poetry to Chloe, but it sounded hollow, and I couldn't think of anything to make 'the shocker' sound romantic. Not even a bit. Gander didn't bother to say hello.

"The word you're looking for is 'ekphrasis'", he said.

"Pardon me?" I said.

"Ekphrasis. It's the word to describe the process of writing a poem on a piece of art. Thought you might be interested, what with your work on the paintings, and all."

He was referring to the recent experiment I had undertaken, to write a series of poems inspired by a local painter's artwork.


"It's Greek, I believe. Some tradition of the Muses, or Homer. On about the beauty of a particular piece of art."

"Sounds too close to exstasis. Or Metaxis. Or Metamucil, even," I said. "Why not just call them art poems?"

He huffed indignantly.

"Because it's not the best word. That's like comparing 'effervescent' with 'bubbly'," he said. "And if you ignore the word, you ignore your tradition. You ignore your forebears. Like Keats."

"Keats is my forebear?" I said, surprised." That's funny. I don't think I could name a Keats' poem."

"Oh yes you can," he said. "Ode on a Grecian Urn. That's Keats."

"I thought that was Tennyson?" I said.

"That's not fucking Tennyson. Tennyson wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade, among others."

"I thought Tennyson wrote To An Athlete Dying Young. I'm pretty sure that's Tennyson."

"That is A. E. Housman."

"I'm pretty sure it's Tennyson. Something athletic, about crossing the finish line..."

"That is Tennyson, but he was not talking about sports. He was writing about crossing the metaphorical bar. HE WAS WRITING ABOUT DYING, for Christ's sake. "

"Calm the fuck down, I was just saying..."

"I thought you called yourself a poet?"

"Yes, but I don't call myself a dead English prick."

"Here's an update: Keats was the Ode on a Grecian Urn. Tennyson was The Charge of the Light Brigade, and Yeats, my dear friend..."

"Was a cocksucker."

"He was not."

"Absolutely, he was. Died of AIDS."

I thought I could hear him choke on something. It sounded like an icecube.

"Yeats did not die of AIDS, you fucking twit. He died in 1939."

"Oh, you're right. Keats was the cocksucker, died tragically young. Yeats was the Irishman. Though I think he had an affair with Ezra Pound."

"None of them were homosexuals, you..."

"I'm pretty sure Pound was Yeats' secretary, which is pretty much the same as saying he was Yeat's bitch. Happy, happy boughs, you know?"

"You, sir, are a puerile twat."

And then he hung up. And I went back to writing ekphrasis.

February 22nd, 2005

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

Hunter S. Thompson is dead. This weekend, he put one of his much-beloved NRA-sanctioned shotguns to his head and blew it apart.

To learn about the impact Thompson had on journalism, about his wild character, and his inimitable books read the news at: CBC | The Scotsman | Rolling Stone

Though the last Thompson book I read, Kingdom of Fear, was nowhere near as good as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I was still hoping for one more big book. Hoping for one last blast of shitheadery from the master himself.

What kind of personal tribute do you leave for Hunter S. Thompson? Perhaps I should get drunk, load up on methamphetamines and run for office. Or nominate myself for police commissioner. Or find something worth writing about and sink myself into it for a year and live it hard and write it hard, and don't think about the consequences.

I'm coming up on the deadline for some poems. Maybe this weekend I'll lock myself in a room with a pen and a notebook, put the bottle of tequila in front of me, open up the pint of raw ether and emerge periodically to phone up old friends in a state of unreasonable panic. And refuse to sleep until I got twenty new poems pounded into submission. This sounds about right to me.

Starting Friday night - if you try to contact me, expect the worst. I'll be crushing out tequila-soaked dirges, or wandering the night streets with my lloyd, or screaming right-wing neocon politics at university students, trying to get a line on where the serious drugs are. And stealing personas. And boosting character lines. And speaking in tongues.

In his own words:

"The TV business ... is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs." - Hunter S. Thompson

"America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable." - Hunter S. Thompson

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S. Thompson

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson

"You have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you’re writing about before you alter it." - Hunter S. Thompson

But What Happened Last Week? By God, Find Out Here!