Monday, December 31, 2007

Bhutto's son, husband to be co-leaders of party: NAUDERO, Pakistan — Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son was chosen Sunday to succeed her as chairman of her opposition party, while her husband will serve as co-chairman, extending Pakistan's most famous political dynasty to another generation.

The party also decided to contest upcoming elections, apparently ending the threat of a wholesale boycott by Pakistan's political opposition as the key U.S.-ally struggles to transition to full democracy after years of military rule.

The decision was made at a closed meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party central executive committee, three days after the two-time prime minister was assassinated in a suicide attack.

It catapults Bilawal Zardari, an Oxford University student with no political experience, to the centre of Pakistan's tumultuous public life.

Every time Pakistan has a chance to do something right, it manages to do the complete opposite. Keeping power within the Bhutto dynasty is befitting of a monarchy, not a political party. Maybe the PPP has no other viable candidate, I don't know enough to say, but to the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis who don't belong to the Bhutto quasi-cult, this is a great step forward for the country's civilian aristocracy, not democracy. It is not true, as one analyst said in yesterday's Globe, that Pakistan can't be governed, but that no one seems to bother trying.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A day late but not a buck short are this week's buzzwords: Jamie-Lynn Spears and holiday season. Here's my entry:

This holiday season, get the most from Jamie Lynn Spears, Canada's clearest, most reliable network with the fewest dropped calls. Give reliability, give Jamie Lynn Spears.

Monday, December 24, 2007

This is most likely the greatest running blog ever. Mike Morgan, 23rd in the marathon at the sweltering World Championships earlier this year, writes of a hamburger-eating contest between four world-class runners in the latest entry. Fan-favourite Brian Sell won by eating 10.5 McDonald's cheeseburgers in a half hour, Morgan was 4th with 8.25 burgers. Chad Johnson, who I met at the Detroit Marathon, chewed his way through 8.5. You think they're just average guys by looking at them, but then you find out that they've run a 2:15 marathon or eaten 8 burgers in a half hour.

All four, by the way, consumed between 2,500 and 3,000 calories in a half hour. That's not as much as you might expect considering that Sell, the winner, averages about 20 miles of running every day.

Anyway, is anyone willing to indulge me in a similar contest? Andre challenged me to a Ruffles-eating contest once, I know. I like to think my accomplishments are something: I've eaten 11 slices of pizza in about a half hour, and a bag of Ruffles and a tub of sour cream in one hour. I think I have good speed as well, I pounded back a Big Mac Meal in a little over 3 minutes today.
Every time the racists in Quebec speak up about the need for the Muslim, the Jewish and the coloured to conform, I'm reminded that Canada has been English for almost 250 years. If a minority group somewhere needs to conform, surely its the whiny minority which begs the rest of this country for money, maintains an insular way of life and imposes itself on others through ludicrous laws about signage and language. Not to mention, of course, that their seditious desire to break up this country is a far greater threat to Canada than any queerly-dressed immigrant.

Every time people like Pauline Marois, leader of the provincial PQ, open their mouth, they embarrass themselves and their province, but more importantly, they embarrass this country. Take, for example, Marois' Bill 195, according to which "immigrants must learn French in order to obtain rights, including a putative Quebec citizenship and the right to run in elections at all levels". Going further, the bill "proposed the fundamental values of Quebec should be taken into account in a future constitution, including equality between sexes and the predominance of French". Ordinarily, this sort of latent racism would be from Republicans in Texas or California at which we guffaw with righteous indignation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Heideggerian phenomenology has, as many of you are aware, earned something of a bad rap in recent years with the advent of post-structuralist phenomenological approaches to the hypertrophic anti-Degaussian question with its firm rooting in the Milesian school. Contemporary deontologists and ontologists have struggled, ever since, to reconcile Degaussian Heideggerianism with incipient but recipient post-structuralist approaches to the neurophenomenological correlates of indelible trepidation found in Hellenistic-era works such as those of Chrysippus. The thesis which I will seek to attempt to further, advance and present is that post-structural neurophenomenology is not inimical to the endemic epidemic of pan-optic frugality we see in those such as Mill and Korsgaard, but rather it is a neo-Charlestonian conception of time and liberty as having a post-ontological existence within the realm of supposition.

Now, you might be thinking: what does neo-Charlestonianism have to do with post-structural approaches to neurophenomenology, particularly as it pertains to the pertinent portions of Cartesian intuitionism? Cartesian intuitionism, as you'll recall, is committed to the view that Gladstonian democracy as adopted by Mitterrand is not occidental, but is oriental in its orientation towards the Orient. The answer is that recidivism, particularly as practised in antebellum homogenous corrigibility, is astonishingly adept in its explanatory propositional validity. With this Heideggerian recidivism, we are now endowed with an explanatory propositionality with which to thematize and problematize the operationalizability of time and liberty. Time and liberty, after all, are what allow for a consideration of Reaganonian economics as the infrared structural adjustment of regionalizing within non-central Africa, mutatis mutandis.

So far, so good, and we are left with just one last problem which stands as an obstacle obstructing our way towards securing the achievement of a neo-Charlestonian pedagogy as paradigmatic of our spatio-temporal rejoinder towards artistic mendaciousness. Adorno wrote that the art of freedom consists not in the possibility of hope, but in the hope of possibility. In other words, he says, crucial to the project of reviving an autonomous inception of Degaussian historicism is the task of upending existing notions of crude and validity. Therefore, it is valid to conclude that percipient views on the recidivism of anti-industrial neo-Charlestonians are not, in fact, pivotal to our earth-science model. Rather, implementization of neo-adjustment basing for the model suggested by Koskei, Korsgaard and Skokie will be an empirical inevitability.
"I am disappointed that my 25 years in public life have apparently not earned me the benefit of the doubt," says Roger Clemens.

Are you kidding? It's Clemens' 25 years in public life which raise doubts. I remember reading an interview after the 1995 or 1996 season where a scout said that Clemens was losing velocity and, consequently, his performance was declining. Clemens rebounded from being an average pitcher in 1995 to a 21-7, 2.05 ERA season with the Jays in 1997, the 1997 ERA being less than half the league average of 4.53. After leaving Toronto, Clemens struggled again, but rebounded with an amazing 2005 season at the age of 42: a 1.87 ERA in 211 innings and his 7th Cy Young award.

In fact, his 1.87 ERA was his lowest ever. What sort of player plays his best past the age of 40? Barry Bonds is another example.
It's already buzzword Tuesday again. Buzzing like an apartment buzzer today is Karlheinz Schreiber. I'll start: Karlheinz Schreiber had two goals and pro-actively added an assist as the Leafs beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 on Saturday.

Update: how about a sentence that involves Schreiber and one of Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Greetings from the South Side of Chicago. Well, it is the South Side, but I'm just down the street from a Hilton and this hotel ferries people the Cumbersome Mile to the Magnificent Mile, and we know that an aversion to walking or public transit is the true mark of aristocracy. I was pinned down and tied down by a fierce blizzard blowing off of Lake Michigan, which is conveniently located about two blocks away, but the sun is shining today and I'm off to throw Bud Light bottles at a big screen somewhere.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It doesn't get more asinine than this. How many more symbols and awareness-raising gestures do we need, and do we need to wait almost four months to make engage in this meaningless exercise?

If Miller was serious about climate change, he'd start by at least trying to ban cars from the downtown core.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Would you rather live in Kitchener or Montreal? Saskatoon or Montreal? Oshawa or Montreal? In all three cases, the Conference Board of Canada believes that the first city is "the city that is the most attractive to people", not Montreal. The most desirable city in all of Canada? Calgary. The most desirable in the United States? Washington, D.C.

The only thing that could possibly explain this are hockey standings, but the Capitals suck, the Flames are so-so and the Habs are over .500. What's more, the Generals don't even play in the NHL.
This holiday season, I would like to introduce a recurring theme on AWYHIGTC. Run DMZ has Wordless Wednesday and the less erudite I've Made a Huge Tiny Mistake has Saved by the Bell Sundays. To these two I would like to add Buzzword Tuesday.

Every Tuesday, give or take seven days, I will choose a buzzword or a buzz-phrase and ask you to use it in an obtuse, turgid sentence, ideally combining it with another buzzword or buzz-phrase.

This week's buzz-phrase is 'sub-prime mortgage'. I'll start off: the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog, the dog having been adversely affected by the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Offensive linemen sometimes wear short sleeves in cold weather to try and get inside the heads of their opponents. Steelers great Mike Webster was well-known for this, and it fits Webster's mentality: he played 17 NFL seasons and the estimated 250,000 blows to the head he endured caused brain damage, which in turn caused him to commit suicide five years ago. Brain damage wasn't my desired outcome in wearing shorts for today's hilly, snowy 10.8-kilometre race. I just wanted to get inside Riyaad's head and make him think I was tougher than I actually was.

It's hard to speak with certainty, but I think the ploy worked, at least on myself. I beat Riyaad, who gamely finished with a pulled calf, and I even ran better than I'd hoped for, finishing 8th overall in 41:22 (3:50/km). I love running in snowy weather and I love running hills, and the Egg Nog Jog combines both. It's run on unplowed country roads that ascend and descend massive hills. Needless to say, I was looking forward to this race all year.

After I broke free of the pack after 8k and was running by myself in blowing snow, I wondered whether the shorts had anything to do with it. I think they did. You can't hide out from the cold in wimpy tights if you want to run well, you need to embrace the cold by wearing shorts and getting snow in your stubble.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

This is a clear case of life imitating art.
Digging deeper still, we get to the root of the problem. Here is the result of a poll of Toronto Star readers:

Should the army be called in to help curb gang violence in Toronto?

Yes 1662 38%
No 2684 61%

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A lot of cities in the world produce ridiculous ideas, but Toronto's city council and mayor seem to excel at coming up ideas that make no sense whatsoever, and that's true even if you ignore the time our mayor implored Ginger Spice to rejoin the Spice Girls. Therefore, councillor Giorgio Mammoliti's suggestion to use the army to combat gang violence finds firm rooting in a tradition of absurdity. This tradition itself seems to be so deep-rooted that it's hard to believe Mammoliti is a professional politician: the man is actually very well-paid to come up with ideas such as this one.

Unsurprisingly, a spokeswoman from the Canadian Forces declined comment.

Mammoliti, by the way, really is a professional politician. He has served as an MPP and now a city councillor for almost twenty years. In the 2003 city election, he was unopposed but still had one of the most expensive campaigns in the city.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No Country for Old Men proves that it's really not that hard to make a good movie. This is not to say that it's at all easy, but it does in comparison with absurd tripe like The Darjeeling Limited with its reliance on non-sequitur, probabilistic humour. I say the humour is probabilistic because it really wasn't that funny, but humour is the only thing which could justify the tedious, hours-long journey through northern India. The Darjeeling and others like it expend tremendous energy, all of which seems to be spent struggling in vain to produce a bearable film.

I went to see this movie through a hazily-remembered trailer and the praise of our resident poet, and I was surprised that it was exactly as good as he said. No Country for Old Men blows the doors off its peers in this department, blowing doors off being something that I was going to say before I realized how appropriate it is here. It doesn't rely on linear story-telling, but it doesn't fall into the absurdist trap of mistaking a focus on small details with profundity, as many a teenage micro-photographer does. There's nothing at all new or novel about what happens in No Country: there are some bad guys, a morally questionable man, a sheriff and lots of open country in Texas. The merits of the movie are not that oddities about the characters which pass for character development. Rather, No Country draws the viewer into an ostensibly unremarkable story with an intensity of experience which gets to be unbearable at times. As an added bonus, shots are fired. Lots of them.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I've been redeemed. LSU will play and cream Ohio State in the national title game. LSU is as good as any team, but with respect to Ohio State, it would be nice if favourable voters and a computer model could decide other desirable outcomes in my life.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What would life be without a pair of college football upsets on Saturday?

Top-ranked Missouri is losing to 9th-ranked Oklahoma. This comes after beating second-ranked Kansas last week. Second-ranked West Virginia is losing to unranked Pittsburgh late in the game.

This is getting so predictable that you can't even call them upsets anymore.
So, to the best of my understanding, a "major winter storm" will come here all the way from Colorado and give us 10 cm of snow and then some rain.