Canadians, who like to think of themselves as a largely amiable people devoted to humility, apologies, and occasional hockey riots, now and then get a bit smug because they're not Americans. We have universal health care. We tend to believe that dinosaurs existed and were not the pets of prehistoric man, that children can be taught evolution in school without becoming god-hating, socialist homosexuals, and that god-hating, socialist homosexuals are often quite decent and deserve to be treated just like everyone else.

That's a self-serving generalization, obviously, and it springs from the complacency that can flourish up north when the north looks down below the forty-ninth parallel and sees everyone pepper-spaying everyone else in the face.

But then you hear about something like  Attawapiskat and you're forced to acknowledge that Canadians can suck as much as anyone else. 

Attawapiskat is a remote native community in northern Ontario where people are living in uninsulated shacks (or lucky enough to live in poorly-insulated houses crawling with black mould), enjoying a range of exciting experiences made available to them by a lack of indoor sanitation and potable water, and where children learn not to take education for granted because they have no actual school due to the fact that their old school building was condemned.

Of course, the most important lesson one should learn from this story, according to the people who spend their time being unfettered by the demands of basic human decency and then commenting on websites, is that the natives in charge of such communities are rich and corrupt, and the natives not in charge of such communities are drunk and lazy, so, really, the children with those rashes on their faces brought about by unsanitary living conditions had it coming to them and have only themselves to blame.

The federal government draws strength from and then reinforces such opinions by pointing out that it's sent Attawapiskat a whole lot of money - more money, even, then was spent on inexplicable Huntsville gazebos during the G8 summit - and implying that if the people there have squandered the money on trying to make up for a massive housing shortfall and didn't succeed, can't we all rest easy in the knowledge that those big-eyed, rash-faced children had it coming to them and had only themselves to blame?

The feds are absolutely right. I have no sympathy for fat-cats who use tax-payers' money to feather their own fat-cat nests and don't even bother creating a credible paper-trail to convince those same tax-payers they haven't been paying a great deal of misappropriated money for superfluous gazebos.

And is it really reasonable to expect the federal government to start putting time and effort into caring about sick, poor, disadvantaged native children? I mean, there are a lot of them, and not just in Attawapiskat. If the feds took that on, there'd be very little time left over for the construction of gazebos, and I don't want any child of mine growing up in that kind of world.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 

"They think they have done me no injury,/ And are gone to praise God and his priest and king,/ Who make up a heaven of our misery."
The Republican race is the gift that keeps on giving. It is a foul and reeking gift, and what it gives is cause for appalled disgust and amazed and appalled disbelief, but by God is it ever productive and persistent.

There was Michele Bachmann and her "baby girls are being poisoned and made retarded by big-government torture medicine"; there was Rick Perry doing anything; there was Herman Cain being accused of sexual harassment and trying to remember having opinions about Libya; there was Mitt Romney being ignored in favour of people who believed in government poisoning and forgetting Libya.

Now, once again, there is Newt Gingrich, who is being re-appreciated by Republicans because he has continued to not be Mormon. He has, of course, cheated on three wives, one of whom had cancer, but Democrats do that too, sometimes, so it doesn't work against him like being Mormon would. Recently, Newt indicated that if Newt gets his way, America's workforce would be changed significantly, in that it would be de-unionized and made up, at least in part, of children. 

While speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Gingrich courted the lazy-child-hating vote by saying that the "core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization" were "crippling" children, in that they make it possible for grown-ups to have unionized jobs and for children to focus on school instead of working to make money to support their parents who no longer have unionized jobs.

"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighbourhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, in child laws, which are truly stupid," he said. "Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they'd have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising."

Newt is right: the real tragedy of America's poorest neighbourhoods is that poor young people are not allowed to work for minimum wage cleaning their underfunded schools. His plan, however, might result in one small (child-sized!) negative consequence: children introduced to the rewards of honest work might turn resentful when they grow up and find the grown-up jobs they've been "rising" up to have been snatched away and offered to a new, fresh-faced crop of precocious fourteen-year-olds. Fourteen-year-olds, after all, can be paid less, have less need of the health insurance they won't be offered, and they're just the right size for chimneys.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 

It is rare in life to find a consumer product capable of offering the consumer both spiritual and intellectual enlightenment.

How happy I was, therefore, to come across this new bag from Lululemon, purveyor of soft and expensive yoga clothes:

Those who know me, know I've been searching for an Ayn Rand-themed yoga bag for quite some time. There are very few things that go together quite so well as  yoga and Objectivism.

Thank goodness Lululemon founder Chip Wilson read and was immensely moved by Atlas Shrugged at a tender age (thus putting a stop to the tenderness associated with his age and to any urge I might ever have had to talk to him at a party). His feelings about the novel are described here, by a writer and Lululemon employee so casual and presumably underpaid she  is referred to only as "Alexis."

I feel that the time is now right to introduce the world to the following new, ground-breaking, heartlessly Objectivist, Rand-ian yoga poses:
The Laissez-Faire
The Rational Egoist
The Heroic Being
The Federal Reserve Chairman
I expect this Objectivist "movement" to become enormously popular, especially with callow and disaffected captains-of-industry-to-be.
POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by axident. 
The other night, I was watching CNN and heard a familiar voice and thought: "God, I loathe that man." That man was Piers Morgan, a smarmy, no-good, unaccountably-still-employed man with the unhealthily swollen head of a twelve-year-old boy. What was amazing was not that I find him so loathsome, but that I then heard another familiar voice and thought, "God, I loathe that man even more. I loathe him so much, it makes the loathing I feel for Piers Morgan seem a little adorable."

That man was not a horrible despot or a horrible killer or a horrible burglar: that man was Brett Ratner.

I hate Brett Ratner. I've always hated Brett Ratner. Brett Ratner is a smug, bloated turd of a man. 

He made the Rush Hour movies, which I suppose was all right because there was no reason I would have seen them anyway, so the fact that they sucked wasn't particularly galling to me. Then he made Red Dragon, and that bothered me more, because I at least expected that to be a diverting, blood-drenched romp. At some point during the Red Dragon period, I saw him interviewed, and thought: "Rarely have I so disliked a person after hearing them say only a handful of words." Then, of course, he reached into the body of the X-Men franchise and ripped out its still-beating heart and forced us all to watch as it died in agony. The violent dislike I felt for him was strengthened and validated.

Now an unexpected and delightful thing has happened. Someone I detest has simultaneously justified my detestation and been punished by earning the detestation of a large number of people who aren't me. 

Ratner, who had, apparently because of his lack of both taste and a proven track-record of cultural accomplishments, been selected to produce this year's Academy Awards, answered a question at a press conference with the words: "Rehearsal? What's that? Rehearsal's for fags."

This comment, and a number of comments he made about his testicles and overall virility on the Howard Stern show, have resulted in his resigning (I initially said he was fired, but I was accidentally referring to the spirit, and not the letter, of their parting) from the Academy Awards show and being widely disliked by everybody. It is a mark of my maturity and fair-mindedness that I find myself reveling in his public humiliation and hoping it will continue for quite some time.  It's rare that someone who looks like he's fat from eating so much money and tired from plying so many underage girls with cocaine actually gets his public comeuppance, and I sincerely hope the only thing on his horizon now is Rush Hour 4.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.
In order to really effectively and profitably catastrophize, it's occasionally a good idea to brood about something that on the surface may appear to be not much more than surface. This adds variety to the habit of obsessively worrying about things, and allows you to later reproach yourself for being petty and superficial. 

Which brings me to the upcoming Muppet movie.

There are a number of things that went into forming me. I will now enumerate the ones that are least embarrassing: Star Wars, the Beatles, Doctor Who, and The Muppet Show. The recent incarnation of Doctor Who is not awful (although I seem to be the only person not charmed by either River Song OR Amy Pond); I never liked Paul very much, so the fact that he turned out all earnest and chipper and jowly doesn't really bother me.

Which brings me to Star Wars. I don't need to belabor this, because I seem to recall others discussing this a number of years ago... I went to see the prequels, young and full of hope and excitement, and left, an old and broken woman without wonder. George Lucas, who took a break from cultivating his McCartney-esque jowls to break me, romped through the memory of a generation and pooed all over it.

It remains to see whether we will now be pooed on by the Muppets. A new movie is being made. Jason Segel is making it. Jason Segel is kind of charming. Therefore the new Muppet movie might be kind of charming.

However, recent reports indicate that Frank Oz is not happy with the new movie. Veteran Muppet puppeteers considered dissociating themselves from the film. 

So either: a) Frank Oz is right and I will no longer like Jason Segel and another childhood memory will be tarnished; or, b) Frank Oz is just upset because he didn't get to make the movie and is not, in fact, a glorious and magnanimous person, in which another childhood memory will be tarnished.

Muppets fans desperate to reassure themselves in the lead-up to the premiere are reminding themselves that Oz might not be a reliable source in any case, as he was also involved with the Star Wars prequels. At least we know that since Oz isn't involved with this reboot, he won't make Kermit shoot Greedo in self-defense. 

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.