You killed my Father. Prepare to die.

The man of the hour, every hour, El Brucio, finally reveals the meaning of life.

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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

I am the Greatest.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Cajole Me.

"It's not the band I hate, it's the fans."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Moving on...

I'm not going to do any discussing in detail of my grandma's funeral or any events relating to it on here. It was a nice service, and a fantastic turnout. There were some different experiences for me personally, such as being a pallbearer and hearing a will being read for the first time, but aside from that, you're getting nothing about any other details of the events surrounding the funeral on this blog. Except, of note, an edited version of my last blog entry was made available to be read on a table of pictures of Grandma through the years in the church's basement. That is all.

Anyways, I'll make this entry mainly about events happening in the world.

First off, the new pope. I'm not Catholic, and my political views often fall on the liberal or socialist side of the spectrum, but I think people are lacking perspective on the election of Benedict XVI. Some people seem to think that a new pope can only be good if he moves the Church forward on a number of hot button issues, be it contraceptives/birth control, abortion, female priesthood, gay rights, etc. Most of these issues are western-centric, and not of great concern to a vast number of the world's Catholics (although contraceptives is). There are legitimate questions of faith to be answered regarding these issues, but I fail to see how an opinion one way or another takes away from him being the "spiritual leader" of the church. Plus, the Church had a great paradigm shift not even 50 years ago with the Vatican II Council... if anything, Cardinal Ratzinger's work on the Doctrine of the Faith or whatever his position was officially called was hardline in only to establish the boundaries set forth from that Council. Councils invite change, but normally the Church is not an institution of change... when it happens, it is delibirated on for a very long period of time before it happens. And there won't be a Vatican III anytime soon... although I'd expect some form of dialogue should happen involving female priesthood in my lifetime.

Secondly... Paul Martin is delivering a prime time message from the PMO tomorrow night, a 6 minute long infomercial outlining his objectives regarding the Gomery Comission and the sponsorship scandal in general... and a plea to not want to demand the dissolving of his sorry-ass government. This will be the 4th time in Canada's history that a PM has delivered a televised announcement/speech from the office of the Prime Minister during prime time (and we're talking prime time in Ontario and Quebec, of course)... the first was in October 1970, when Trudeau announced he was invoking the War Measures Act. The second was after the Meech Lake Accord tanked, and delivered by Mulroney. The third was just prior to the Quebec referrendum in 1995, delivered by Chr├ętien.

The first 3 dealt with BIG issues. Our nation's security was in danger in 1970; in 1991, we were in a massive debate about our Constitution; and in 1995 we were dealing with a threat to the Confederation. Martin is using his time to talk about an ongoing inquiry into illegal activity in the government... hardly a national crisis. It's a 6 minute commercial for what is certain to be another June election, when the opposition parties finally topple this minority government.

He's desperate... and he's losing the job he felt he deserved his entire life. That his daddy didn't get back in 1968... I don't know if he will lose the next election, but I certainly don't see why he should get another chance.

Anyways, there you go. A big issue post... politics, religion, and history. Next time, I promise fluff.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Johanne (Dam) Larsen, 1908-2005

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July 3, 1908 to April 14, 2005. That's quite the run. A lot of factors contributed to my grandma's death this morning, with the hip injury last summer that has made movement difficult, the flu virus that severally weakened her this winter, her declining hearing and sight that made her legally deaf and blind, the cancerous tumour only recently discovered, and the high fever that she was running with earlier in the weak. All that said, she did not die from any one of these ailments, but very peacefully died in her bed in between the end of the nightshift and the morning crew for nurses... she was calm, and fine during her last checkup by the night shift nurse between 6 and 7 AM, but dead by 8 AM in the first checkup by the morning crew. If she were in any pain, she was the kind of person that would buzz the nurses for help... there was no call. The news of her death reached my ears within the hour.

That being said, nearly 97 years of life had left her exhausted by the end. She grew up in Denmark, a relatively peaceful country during a time of chaos on the European continent. The fall of monarchies, the advent of trench warfare, the rise of Communism... all were part of her youth, but never touched Danish soil. She came of age in the 1920s and as a young 21 year old with her whole life ahead of her, hopped on a ship headed to Halifax in February 1930. After a year in Nova Scotia, she moved to Montreal. There she worked as a housemaid for wealthy families, including the Molson family. For six years, she worked in Montreal, until she got engaged to a fellow immigrant from Denmark, my grandpa. She left behind a young life in the big city for a farmlife in southeastern Saskatchewan... it couldn't have been the easiest decision, even if she wasn't earning much money in Montreal. She moved just in time for the summer of 1937... probably the most infamous of the "Dirty Thirties" years. On her farm in Redvers she raised 5 boys and 2 girls while helping out with the farm chores. She endured the biggest pain of her life in the summer of 1957 when her second-born son, Paul, who had recently completed his education, was killed in a construction accident. For a period of over 30 years, she raised children. She saw her husband lose a battle to cancer in 1985, and still ended up living for nearly 20 more years.

Incredible, isn't it? I'd say she deserves her rest.

My biggest memory of her will be when I drove her from Redvers to Saskatoon for Christmas in 1999. It was one of the rare times I spent one on one with her, and the first time that it happened. We didn't talk much, but we made several stops along the way since she had to go the bathroom often. We stopped in Fillmore. Fillmore is where my parents met, as they were both teachers on staff there. My grandma decided that I should ask the people in the restaurant if they remembered them. I hesitated, but she got right up and started walking towards some people... I wasn't getting out of this. Some people remembered, but little conversation started. Grandma was funny that way, though. It was cute when she got excited like that. She often complained and got frustrated, but she got incredibly excited over small things. She kept a flower garden planted into her early nineties... I guess that says something about her.

Today, I helped clean out her room with her body still lying on her bed. I folded her clothes, took her embrodiered art off the walls, helped console her son and two daughters that were present, and said goodbye. I hadn't expected her to survive the winter... she made it to spring. What else can I say... If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't exist. It's a weird thought... and it keeps passing through my brain. That, and trying to explain myself in Fillmore.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Best pop song of the 90s...

dear, I fear we're facing a problem
you love me no longer i know
and maybe there is nothing that i can do
to make you do

mama tells me i shouldn't bother
that i ought to stick to another man
a man that surely deserves me
but i think you do

so, i cry, i pray and i beg

love me, love me
say that you love me
fool me, fool me
go on and fool me
love me, love me
pretned that you love me
leave me, leave me
just say that you need me
i can't care about anything but you

lately i have desperately pondered
spent my nights awake and i wonder
what i could have done in another way
to make you stay

reason will not lead to solution
i will end up lost in confusion
i don't care if you really care
as long as you don't know

so, i cry, i pray and i beg

love me, love me
say that you love me
fool me, fool me
go on and fool me
love me, love me
pretned that you love me
leave me, leave me
just say that you need me

love me, love me
say that you love me
leave me, leave me
just say that you need me

i don't care about anything but you...

There. Now I've got a song in your head. Dig up your old Romeo & Juliet soundtrack... it still kicks ass.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Pirates!


Arr, me matie!


Wonder what they wear... and how one can become one. 4 attacks in a month in the same straight! That's incredible!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Seasons change...

TV Seasons, that is. The season finale of "The West Wing" was on last night... I'm a "West Wing" geek, I must say. I don't know how many, if any, of the people that actually read my blog watch the show, but it's great. Anyways, here's a rundown of what's happening:

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is in his final year of office. Is the show going to end? Nope. They're running a new plotline based on the election of his successor. The Republicans nominated Senator Arnold Vinick (played by Allan Alda), a California senator who is pro-choice and incredibly popular with independents and even Democrats. He had a bit of troubles with the religious right, and had his first VP candidate turn him down based on the abortion issue (guy was a famous Southern Baptist minister), though he found a pro-life governor to satisfy that part of the Republican party. You can think of him as a bit of a Sen. John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenagger rolled into one, politically speaking. He also rejected Christianity, though is not public about it... and he refuses to go to church which created a bit of a problem for him politically once he got the nomination.

Meanwhile, the Democrats were busy in a 3 way race right up to the national convention... usually, the primaries pick a clear candidate for the party, but not this time. The current VP, Sen. Robert "Bingo Bob" Russell, is the frontrunner, though he's viewed by many as a political hack and only got the VP job as a compromise by Bartlet with the Republican Speaker of the House... that was because VP John Hoynes, who was twice elected VP under Bartlet, had to resign due to a sex scandal. Hoynes is running thrid and thinks he can still win the nomination, though this is following a "career loser" storyline that the show has always had regarding him. Then there is Congressman Matt Santos, a Hispanic from Texas played by Jimmy Smits, who is the guy we are all supposed to love because he is running based on principle, and is "his own man". Anyways, in the season finale, everything comes to a head and after several deadlocked votes, Smits gives a big speech to the convention, and President Bartlet puts pressure on the teachers union represenatives, the key player of which heads the New York delegation, to flip the results to Santos. Then, at the end, Santos names Leo McGarry (played by John Spencer), Bartlet's former Chief of Staff and the guy who throughout the show has been the 'power behind the scenes' as his VP candidate.

Meanwhile, current chief of staff C.J. Craig (Allison Janney), looks to have leaked information to the NY Times about a military space shuttle... confident national security information that could carry with it a 10 year prison term. When she had learned about the shuttle, she expressed fears about the weaponization of space... the leak is being investigated, and it has been determined that it was someone in the West Wing... expect a storyline involving C.J. resigning and then Bartlet pardoning her... and it could have a real negative effect on Santos' campaign. And I think that Alda will win... even though all the main characters have been Democrats and would not likely work for a Republican president... On the Republican staff, they have Patricia Richardson and Stephen Root on board, so there is plenty of star power around... plus, John Goodman was once a key Republican on the show as the Speaker of the House, and could potentially fill in the administration. Plenty of new star power to build around.

Anyways, that's where we're left off. Download some episodes from the end of the season if need be... it's a brilliant, brilliant show.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Top 10 Flaming Lips song titles

I said I was going to do Top 10 lists a while ago... here's the first.

10. "Thank You Jack White (For the Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)"
From the Fight Test EP, 2003. Based on a true story, and written when the Lips had to replace The White Stripes at Glatsonbury or Reading or one of those big mega-British rock festivals; after Jack White broke his hand.

9. "One Million Billionth of a Second on a Sunday Morning"
From Hear It is..., 1987. The song is over 9 minutes long.

8. "Begs and Achin'"
From Telepathic Surgery, 1988. A play on 'bacon and eggs' that doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

7. "Guy Who Got a Headache and Accidently Saves the World"
From Clouds Taste Metallic, 1995. The song actually reflects the title, if you can believe it.

6. "Talkin' 'Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)"
From Hit to Death in the Future Head, 1992. A great tune... I've often wondered what "smiling deathporn immortality" could possible be.

5. "Redneck School of Technology"
From Telepathic Surgery, 1988. Who wouldn't want to go there, even just for a visit?

4. "The Southern Oklahoma Cosmic Trigger Club"
From the Okie Noodling soundtrack. Okie Noodling is a documentary by longtime associate of the Lips, Brad Beasley (check spelling). It's about people in Oklahoma that stick their bare hands into the holes where catfish live in lakes, and have the catfish bite their hands. They catch enormous catfish this way. Anyways, the song is about the reaction to hearing about this phenomenon, and what they originally thought 'Okie Noodling' referred to...

3. "Put the Waterbug in the Policeman's Ear"
From the Providing Needles for Your Balloons EP, 1994. A Lips classic, about Wayne Coyne's brother if he had the Williard complex, but with bugs rather than spiders. Wayne's brother was the original Flaming Lips lead singer but is now a mess due to all the acid he took in the 1980s.

2. "Ego Tripping At the Gates of Hell"
From Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, 2002. A great song title. It's an unfathomable act... shows the overwhelming brilliance of the band.

1. "Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles"
From Clouds Taste Metallic, 1995. As scary and unwholesome as this title sounds, you realize that it virtually accomplishes nothing. It really is the work of psychopaths... how can you have psychiatric explorations on a fetus? I suppose, you could see the results in years to come. Anyways, this title shows the Lips' love of medical equipment/procedures, is frightening, weird, and is the title of a great rock song. The best of the bunch.

The death of Billy. Boredom.

Billy died. Who is Billy, you ask? Billy was the bassist from Guitar Wolf, a fun, trashy, insane Japanese garage band. He was 38. Had a family. His heart just stop beating. He rocked too hard, I guess. His real name was Hideaki Sekiguchi.

Oh yeah, and some John Paul guy died as well.

Anyways, I thought I'd relay the funniest conversation I've had in a while into the blogging world... I was over at Jon and Moir's, watching the Egos & Icons feature on 50 Cent, and they showed his kid. I said, "I couldn't imagine ever being the son of a rap star", and Jon agreed (Moir was not back from work yet, it was just Jon and I). Then I thought about what I said... and asked Jon, "could you imagine if my dad was a rap star? Tony?" We laughed. "Of course, he would have been the original rap star, then, out in the rural Saskatchewan." More laughter. "Do you think rap would've been as big if it had originated in 1960s Saskatchewan rather than late 1970s New York City? How different would it have been?" "Could you imagine my dad referring to my mom as 'his bitch'?" "What would be rapped about? Grain prices?"

So the conclusion came that if my dad was the original rap star, and rap originated in rural Saskatchewan ("Straight Outta Steelman" would've been fabulous), it really just would've been this local oddity that not many people would've heard. Then, when New York begot the hip hop scene/culture in the late 1970s early 1980s, my dad could've become pseudo-famous by showing he was a pioneer. And, by now, he would be more respected and have his own TV show.

My, how things would've been different if only my dad had the creative vision...