Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

George Strait has more Number One singles than any other artist across all genres.

One night I did an experiment.  I sat in the Arts and Humanities Students’ Council Office and blared country music as loud as the crappy speakers on the council computer would let me.  I cranked up some Brantley Gilbert songs about partying in the woods and running moonshine.  I cranked up some George Strait tear-jerkers.  I jammed to some Zac Brown folk-soul-country.  I played modern country and I played old-school country.  I played up-tempo foot stompers and slow, old bar-room ballads.  But the result of the experiment would only ever be one thing.

I got the dirtiest looks from the people who walked by that office.  It was almost as if they were offended to be graced by the wholesome sounds of country music.  One girl, on her way to the bathroom, stopped for a second and just stared, with eyes ablaze like some spawn of Satan wishing death upon all things happy and breathing.  It was safe to say that country music was not her cup of tea.

Based on the reactions I got, and the accumulated data of four years at this school, it is readily apparent that people at Western do not like country music.  And, even though doing so will get me absolutely nowhere, I have to ask why?

I know that I derive my pleasure from country music in a way best described by Trace Adkins:

I met a guy on the red eye.
He spotted my guitar
and said what do you do?
I said, ‘I sing for a living,
Country music mixed with
a little rock and a little blues.’
He said, ‘I’m sorry,
but I’ve never been crazy
’bout that twang and trains and hillbilly thing.
What ever made you want to sing stuff like that?’
I just looked at him and laughed and said,

‘Cause they’re songs about me
and who I am.’

Many of the stereotypes that others point out in country music were a reality of my childhood.  I grew up on this type of music and in this type of culture.  Every morning when I woke up, the radio would be tuned to the local country station, where the sounds of Paul Brandt’s Small Towns and Big Dreams would describe our little section of farm town life as if he wrote it while driving down Ridge Road past the feed mill and the covered bridge.  From this point of view there is a certain romantic beauty to country music.  It takes the hard work of the everyday man and glorifies it; it makes the farmer growing your crops or the mason building your house into the heroes that they are.  It lays bare the soul of the world in a way that perhaps no other music can match.

But that’s my point of view.  That’s what drives my desire to know why country music is such an anathema to the population of this school.

The one point that jumps out at me is that not everyone comes into this school from the same background and the same values that I do.  There are as many daddy’s-credit-card-wielding, grew-up-in-a-rich-neighbourhood-in-Oakville people at this school as there are proud-to-be-called-such hicks.  There are as many people from small towns that just wanted to get away as there are people who can’t wait to go back.  The music they grew up with and that they treasure is something else.  They just can’t relate to songs about your pickup truck breaking down on some old gravel road or partying in some big ol’ field with a bonfire reminiscent of the one that resulted from a certain burning of alcohol-soaked couches.  And that’s fine, I can understand that.

The picture says it all...

What I can’t understand is the animosity.  There is a significant population that degrades country music based on the twanginess of the signing or the stereotypes present in the lyrics, but you can always say similar things about any other type of music.  For example, you might look at the distinctive vocal styles of auto-tuned pop and rap music or the angsty cry of the indie rocker.  Each genre has its own distinctive style that the majority of its artists follow and that designates it as that given style of music; that’s simply the way genres work.  Whether it is good or not is a matter of personal preference and is really nothing to get antagonistic over.  The same kind of thought can be applied to the stereotypes of given musical styles.  The emo sound, for instance, is characterized by a heavy reliance on emotional tropes, in particular sadness or angst.  Rap, as I’ve jokingly said before, can be broken down into songs about “capping a bitch,” doing drugs, or throwing money around.  Even heavy metal can be broken down into the stereotypes of death, destruction, and epic fantasy.  On one hand these stereotypes fit the bill, where in such a case it comes back to a matter of preference.  On the other they are but Wikipedia summaries of rich musical genres with large quantities of subject matter.

In any case there is no cause for animosity.  The beauty of music as a whole is that it can appeal to anyone in any situation.  I have yet to meet the person that says they don’t listen to music at all.  This beauty is also the reason why we have so many different kinds of artists and why we have genres.  Different artists and genres identify specific areas that people like.  This is as true of country as it is for rock and roll.  Yet people don’t hate rock and roll.  They don’t approach it with the same look of disgust on their faces as they do country.

The one solace that I can take from this entire thing is the way certain elements of country music—family, friends, and growing up—can speak to us all.  There is, at the end of the day, a certain universality about country music that isn’t as present in other forms of music.  These concepts that I listed above apply to all of us equally.  We all have some sense of family, friendship, and life.  Even if we’re separated from our family, have few friends, or have had a rough time in life we still have common ground in talking about them.  I think Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush, and Tim Owens put it best in their song “Very Last Country Song.”  The lyrics in the chorus describe perfectly this commonality:

"Very Last Country Song" singers Sugarland.

But if life stayed the way it was
And lovers never fell out of love
If memories didn’t last so long
If nobody did nobody wrong
If we knew what we had before it was gone
If every road led back home
This would be the very last country song

These things—that happen so often in everyday life—are what make up the majority of country music.  All the things that happen to us that have meaning—that stick with us emotionally—are captured in country music.  In order for country music to become irrelevant things would have to stay the same, people would not be left broken-hearted, we would forget about everything bad that ever happened, and we would have the foresight to avoid anything bad that came our way.  But that’s not possible.  Life as we know it would cease to exist.

So the next time you seek to degrade country music, think about how it relates to you and your life (because I guarantee that it will).  If you do that I suspect your mind will change faster than it takes Colt Ford to down a bucket of fried chicken.


So, Adrian Grenier came to Western.  From the reaction it got on Twitter you would have thought it to be the second coming of Jesus Christ and not a brief appearance by a C-List actor known only for his role on TV’s Entourage.

Entourage star Adrian Grenier came to the Western campus in September.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Entourage is a great show and it’s sad to see it end its run.  And Grenier’s Vincent Chase is a great character who has come on in leaps and bounds from his humble beginnings in the first few seasons.  But I don’t understand why people flocked to see him like he has done something more meaningful with his life than filling up half an hour of our Sunday nights?

Today’s society puts celebrities, even minor ones – **cough** Jersey Shore **cough** – on a pedestal.  We raise them up to such deific heights that we forget that they are real people with different personalities than we see on their various movies, shows, or records.  And, unlike real life where we don’t like certain people for their personalities, we expect every celebrity to be a perfect model of friendliness and humility.

But I don’t want to question why we put celebrities on pedestals – that’s a question that probably could never be answered satisfactorily, but rather what we really hope to get out of meeting them in person?  What do we really expect from that meeting?  What kind of value do we expect for sometimes exorbitant fees and hour-long waits in line?

I suppose that everyone hopes to forge some kind of connection with a celebrity, whether just as a quick conversation or as a more long-term sharing of interests.  Is that actually going to legitimately happen though?  You might exchange some pleasantries while he or she makes out a semi-personal stock message on your dime-a-dozen album, DVD, or book created by that celebrity, but nothing meaningful is likely to occur.  However, when you do share a heart-to-heart with Justin Bieber be sure to let me know.

The fact is that we fall in love with the characters a celebrity acts, the music they play, or the characters they create as writers.  We don’t fall in love with celebrities unless their out-of-spotlight persona is larger than their in-spotlight persona, and that is very rare.  Bono is one celebrity that managed to pull it off, but he’s a piece of shit.  Let’s take Adrian Grenier for an example.  I bet maybe only five out of every one hundred people could tell you anything about Adrian Grenier other than what roles he has played and a large number of those will only be familiar with him from Entourage.  We don’t love Adrian Grenier as much as we love Vince Chase and that’s who we really want to see.  We don’t want to see Grenier sign autograph after autograph or talk about other projects; we want Vincent Chase.

Now, we can easily get Vincent Chase by pulling up an old episode of Entourage and throwing it on.  We don’t need to pay money to see the actor who plays him, doing so is likely to lead to disappointment when we see Adrian Grenier the real person and not in character as Vinny Chase.

By all accounts Adrian Grenier was a stand-up guy, the kind you wouldn’t mind being friends with.  But that raises another point against the deification of celebrities: you wouldn’t pay money to hang out with your friends.  It is a simple fact that one isn’t going to spend hard-earned money to simply sit and talk with one’s friend.  One might spend money on going to an event with a friend or for the dinner they eat while they talk, but never just for the privilege of talking to them.  That’s not what being a friend is all about.  Furthermore, in any celebrity encounter, as noted above, you’re never really getting a friend no matter how friendly the celebrity may seem.  You are just another gratification-hungry individual with some story about how much they love the celebrity in question.  If we’re going on the assumption that celebrities are real people just like you and me, then I bet they get pretty tired of the constant badgering and faux-adoration of the unwashed masses.  Sure, they make money out of pleasing the masses, but it’s a job for them.  It is not who they are.  They get paid because we like them.  If my livelihood was based on the whims of thousands of moody pre-teens I would put on the biggest fake smile you’ve ever seen and kiss so much ass that my face smells like fecal matter just like celebrities do…

These people provide you something tangible, unlike celebrities.

So, after all of this, why do we still partly define ourselves by which celebrities we meet?  It’s not like they’re meaningful encounters that have any true impact on who we are…  Why do we make a big deal out of serving Ryan Gosling coffee at a Starbucks – as one of my classmates did on WebCT?  He likes coffee just as much as 75% of the western hemisphere population…  Why is it a big deal that Paul Davenport and Shooter McGavin – another example of how we really only care about the characters played and not the person themselves – are Kappa Alpha alumni or that Alan Thicke burned down the original lodge?  They’re great people, but Kappa Alpha is so much more than how many column inches have been devoted to your praise…

In my opinion, there’s no rational reason.  I refuse to believe that celebrities are anything more than regular people who happen to make a living entertaining others.  And entertaining is far from the most essential or prestigious profession.  What of the farmer who grows your food?  What of the construction worker who built the house you live in?  If we’re going to idolize someone it might as well be someone who does something essential for our way of life and not someone who provides a secondary service that is only really used as a distraction from the stress of our everyday lives.

So, we need to stop treating celebrities like they are God.  As some militant atheists might tell you, God doesn’t actually exist…

I was searching through my computer harddrive today and I came across this gem that I wrote back in second year.  It’s short, but sweet.

Dessert is defined as either “cake, pie, fruit, pudding, ice cream, etc., served as the final course of a meal” or “a serving of fresh fruit after the main course of a meal.” Pizza, on the other hand, is defined as “a flat, open-faced baked pie of Italian origin, consisting of a thin layer of bread dough topped with spiced tomato sauce and cheese.” In this paper I will argue that the two are mutually exclusive: that is to say that what has been commonly referred to as dessert pizza is not actually pizza.

We should start by unpacking our definitions. Taking pizza, we can say that for something to be pizza, it must a) be flat, b) be baked, c) have a bread-based crust, d) have tomato sauce, and e) have cheese. A dessert must be served as the final course of the meal. We could also add on to our conditions for pizza that it be served as part of the main course, as that seems the most logical order in which to eat a pizza. However, that condition is not essential to the argument at hand.

A dessert pizza, the catalyst for this discussion, does not meet the criteria that we have laid out for a thing to be pizza. Sure, it is flat, baked, and usually has a bread-based crust, but it lacks the cheese and tomato sauce required to be actual pizza. One particular dessert pizza recipe calls for cookie dough, whipped cream, bananas, strawberries, pineapples, and grapes. The only thing in those ingredients that we would find on an actual pizza is pineapple. If we were to call a dessert pizza actual pizza, ignoring the need to satisfy all of the conditions, we would then be forced to call anything that is flat and on bread pizza as well. Therefore, we could call toast with peanut butter pizza by the same logic. However, we know that toast with peanut butter is not pizza and to say so is absurd, just like it is absurd to call dessert pizza actual pizza when it does not fulfill all the criteria required for it to be pizza.

Of contention in this matter is that both pizza and dessert are defined as being some sort of pie and that in and of itself is fine. Pie, in this case, refers to the general shape and method of preparing the dishes in question: it is flat, baked, and usually round. It makes no claims as to content, but the rest of our definitions do. Our definition of pizza states that it must contain tomato sauce and cheese. Our first definition of dessert implies some sort of sweet content while our second definition specifies that it contain fresh fruit. The definition of dessert is less rigid, but still does not entitle us to conclude that pizza and dessert are consistent.

While dessert pizza is undoubtedly a great idea, it is simply not possible for something to be both pizza and dessert. This argument has been undertaken, personal tastes aside, in the interest of properly defining our foods to ensure that when one orders from a foreign menu, one knows just exactly what they are ordering. No one wants to order a dessert pizza and, expecting a delightful take on a time-tested classic combination of bread, cheese, and tomato sauce, be treated to an assault of frightening fruit placed on a bed of whipped cream. It just isn’t right.

A lot can happen in four years…

For instance, a kid from small town Ontario can graduate university at one of the biggest schools in the country (I know it hasn’t happened yet…).

When most of us think of where we were four years ago it won’t seem like it was that different.  It won’t seem like we’ve each undertaken a journey, a progression.  But things do happen, things do change.  Here are a bunch of things that can (and have) changed over the past four years.

Is he smiling for the camera or the pretty blonde in the second row??

Tiger Woods can go from being the most respectable athlete of his generation whose career couldn’t possibly fail to a degenerate sex addict without a good knee to stand (or swing) on.

– Justin Bieber can become the whitest thing since sliced bread to achieve world-wide popularity.

– Space shuttles can stop being launched into space, ending the 30-year NASA project that has come to form a large part of the American mythos.

– Osama bin Laden can cease to be the most wanted man in the world.

– Jack Kevorkian can cease to be Dr. Death and instead be collected by Death himself.

– Natural disasters can become more common and more devastating…and more translatable into Hollywood box office success.

– The BlackBerry is no longer just the smartphone of choice for the United States Department of Defense, but nearly every other two-thumbed organism.

Yes, a lot can happen in four years…but a lot can stay the same…a lot of things can seem to be just where we left them four years ago…

– Harry Potter can go from chasing criminals and godfathers through mysterious tunnels to chasing even bigger criminals and surrogate fathers’ ghosts through mysterious tunnels.

Smoother than a Baby's Bottom: Findings from an Examination of Justin Bieber's Face

The island nation of Fiji can still be controlled by Frank Bainimarama’s military government.

– The All Blacks can still be odds-on favourites for the Rugby World Cup.

– The Dark Knight can still be everyone’s favourite movie.

– Justin Bieber still cannot grow any measurable amount of facial hair.

– EA Sports can still fail to release a decent Rugby Union video game, thus alienating even more fans than it did when they repackaged Rugby 06 as Rugby 08.

– People can still be expounding 9/11 conspiracy theories like the world actually gives a damn.

Sure, these are all interesting tidbits and nice reflections, but what can we actually take from them and learn?

Let me do some reflecting and tell you what I’ve learned from the past four years…

– It doesn’t take much to capture the attention of a world wide audience…although sex certainly does sell.

– Now that the Cold War arms-race is safely over what is out there in space can be consigned to the laboratories of mad scientists everywhere as it has outlived its fifteen minutes of fame (or should that be light years??).

– Osama bin Laden was the world’s most wanted man, but no one bothered to knock on his front door to see if he was home…  Man, people are stupid.

– What goes around comes around.

– The end of the world is pretty hip right now…

– Evolution is eventually going to cause human necks to bend at a 45-degree angle so that it is a much more natural position to be in when we spend 8 hours a day staring down at a smartphone.  And thumbs will shrink to less than half their current size to prevent awkward messages like “I just saw your dick” (as opposed to “I just saw your duck”).

– What works once in popular media will work again and again and again and again and again…

– No one cares about Fiji.

Why am I showing you this? No one cares...

– Truly good movies stand the test of time.  So do truly bad ones…

– Being young and naive can be a great set of qualities to have, so long as they don’t land you in someone’s trunk and/or basement…

– and again…

– Shit happens.  Sometimes you can explain it, sometimes you can’t.  Sometimes you under-react and other times you over-react.  But there comes a time to move on…in the case of 9/11 that time would have been January 20th, 2009 – the day Barack Obama took office and replaced George Bush.

There are some important lessons in there, but there are also some things that just make you want to shake your head.

I guess the real moral of this story is that the world is an ever-changing place.  Things come and things go.  It is the destiny of humanity to adapt to these changes, especially since they are so uniformly driven by humanity’s need for progress, instant gratification, and total connection.

In a way, the change that we have seen over the past four years is a product of a movement towards a global community.  I mean, how many people seriously used Twitter back in 2007?  Why does the news cover things from around the globe instead of what is happening just down the street?  This is the world, and we’re going global.

The only real question that remains to me is to speculate on whether the changes we are seeing are good or bad.  It strikes me as an odd question given that we aren’t writing the history of our time, but rather living it.  When you wake up in the morning and check your email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, do you wonder to yourself whether it is good or bad to do so?  I know I don’t.

Besides, can we really measure these changes on a scale of good to bad?  What classifies something as good or bad on the global framework?  What scale of morality do we use?

I say, leave the weighing of our time to the historians of the future…they’ll be the experts on our age.  Just as the historians of the past were on the ages that came before us…

They say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes.  There definitely are other sure things – such as being born, having to breathe to survive, etc. –  but these two are the ones that are most often quoted.

At first glance, death might seem the harsher of the two, the most final, but death is a natural phenomenon – it is neither good nor bad, it just is.

On the other hand, Canada’s current tax system is completely unjust.

...Mainly because they want to take your money...

I don’t say that because I think we shouldn’t have to pay taxes.  I don’t say that because I feel that my tax money isn’t doing as much for society as I think it should.  I say that because Canada’s tax system is basically a tax on hard work.  It is a system that takes more money from those who work harder to make what little they can just because they make it.

Let me clarify what I’m trying to say here.  Canada’s tax system collects a higher percentage of one’s wages if one earns higher than a certain threshold.  If I earn $1000 per week I am taxed at a higher percentage than if I only earned $500.  When the money you take home each week is directly linked to how hard or how long you have to work, as it is in construction for instance, it is a complete disgrace that a greater percentage of a person’s income is torn from their grasp.

I ask you: what right does the government or society have to tax people more because they work harder??

The simple answer is that it doesn’t have that right at all.  A more complex one would be that the government feels that people don’t need more than a certain amount of money and think that the money could be better used elsewhere.  That isn’t a decision that the government is entitled to make on behalf of the people.  Yes, we elect them and let them make decisions for us, but that does not give them the right to decide what happens to the fruits of my labours.

Let’s look at it in a slightly different manner…

We can safely say that work is for the benefit of society in one way or another.  Society demands some kind of service and pays a person to provide that service.  Many people may use the service, many people may not, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that someone demands a service and someone else provides it.  This system is what our current economy and way of life is dependent on.  To be otherwise would be to go back to the days where a person’s food, clothing, and belongings were made or created by the person themselves.  (I’m not necessarily saying that a self-providing lifestyle is bad, but rather that it isn’t the reality that we currently find ourselves in.)

So, when a person works they give back to society.  When a person gets paid it is a recognition that the person has contributed some value to society.  They have essentially given back to society already, before taxes have even been put into the equation.

Taxes are necessary, there’s no getting around that.  How else would we pay for necessary improvements to infrastructure (roadways, railway tracks, police and fire departments, health care, etc.)?  These are things that everyone uses and everyone should pay for and pay for equally.  Why do some people have to pay measurably more just because they make more money?

Since people already contribute to society through work and basic taxes, it can’t be some payment of debt to society that is incurred by the hard-working segment of society.  One would actually think that because people contribute more value to society through their work that they would be taxed less initially.  So, what kind of justification can there be for the current tax system?

What would make more sense is a system that taxes those who don’t work more as they have a larger debt to pay to society.  Such a system would have some flaws in that there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around for everyone – hence having an unemployment rate above 0%.  However, it would not be the farce that is currently being propagated by the Canadian government.

A counter argument that some would pose is that quite often the people earning high amounts of money really aren’t deserving of that kind of wage, and it is an interesting counter-argument.  However, one must remember that someone’s wage is determined only by a kind of relative value.  A person’s paycheque is relative to the amount of value the employer feels the person brings to the table.  If a CEO makes $3 million it is only because the owner/owners/shareholders of the company feel that the CEO is worth that much money to the company.  If they didn’t feel that the person’s value matched their wage demands, then they could easily find someone willing to take the job for less (although they are likely going to get less value in return).

For athletes it is even easier to measure their value as most professional leagues in North America legislate that players shall earn a certain percentage of the league’s revenue.  The fans (read shareholders) determine the revenues through ticket and merchandise sales, thus indirectly determining the value of the players.  It is all relative.

We must also remember that tied up in this concept of value is a measurement of whether a person actually earns their pay.  If someone is getting paid $XXX, then it has been determined that they actually earn that money.  If they aren’t truly earning it, then they will likely be fired or have to take a pay cut.

I earned this money, I should be able to decide what to do with it.

The piece that ties this together is the theme that underlies this whole post: what you earn is yours and shouldn’t be taken from you in an unreasonable manner.  The principle holds the same for the CEO and the athlete just as much as it does for the construction worker or the bus boy.

The bottom line is that the sham that is Canada’s tax system is a complete slap in the face to those who work hard each and every day to make enough money to make ends meet.  If I work extra hours because I need the money to pay my bills it certainly doesn’t help when the government dips their hand into my pocket to steal money that isn’t theirs.

Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this is that the money we earn and the things we purchase with that money should be ours and ours alone to decide what to do with.  It should not be up to someone else, even if that someone else is an elected official – there are many people in the Canadian government that I would not trust with my money, to decide that my hard-earned pay should be taxed to a higher degree.

It does not make sense…or dollars for that matter…

Yes, you heard it correctly.  After what seemed like an eternity of student elections we have been plunged back into the world of expensive campaigns, designer websites, non-informative campaign videos, and a bunch of candidates who just want to be popular enough to get the vote.

No, Andrew Forgione has not been forced to step down as USC President-elect due to connections with the Italian mafia.

I know it's hard, but it's every Canadian's right to do it...

I am actually talking about the Canadian Federal Election that is set to happen on May 2nd, 2011.  For most people my age, this will be the first time that you are able to cast a vote for the government of this great country, and I hope that you use it to the fullest.

However, that means that you will actually have to pay attention to what’s going on in the world of politics.  Hint: following topics like #cdnpoli or #elxn41 on Twitter would be a good start for the social media inclined (that includes myself).  That also means reading platforms that might seem like a bunch of throwaway promises designed to lock in the vote of a certain demographic.

Because it is important to vote.  I know that is said every time an election rolls around and it is always met by the same snorts of ‘yeah, right’ or ‘one vote won’t make any difference.’  And those claims might be true in a two-party, two-candidate system like what is used in the United States.

Your vote is your voice.  It might seem like your voice isn’t loud enough to make a difference, but the point is that you use it.  Because when you actually speak up, someone somewhere will hear you and pay attention.  Hopefully that someone will be your local MP who represents you at Parliament.

It’s not about whether your vote will be the deciding vote in the election.  It’s not about picking the winner in a landslide election or jumping on a bandwagon (*cough*, Obama, *cough*).  It’s about the mandate.

Any elected official is given the mandate to represent the voters and that mandate is only as strong as the number of voters who turn out to the polls.  A smaller number of voters means that the government’s mandate is not as strong as if every single eligible voter actually voted.  It’s the difference between a couple people saying something and the whole country saying something and, in all honesty, which one would you be more likely to listen to?

These government types are all master-debaters!

So vote, if only to put pressure on the government to do its job.  And then, if it doesn’t do its job, you can complain about it and protest.  If you don’t vote, you don’t have that right.  You can only complain about the government if you give them a mandate.  If you don’t and refuse to vote, then you forfeit the right to complain about their actions.  You didn’t vote for them or against them and in doing so lost your right to comment on anything that the government did while in power.

So, use your voice and vote!

This talk of mandates leads me to think of another problem I have with voting practices: the practice of voting for a party rather than a person.

In the Canadian system, we elect MPs from our local riding to represent the voice of that riding at Parliament.  Then, the party that has the most elected MPs is asked to form the government and the Prime Minister is chosen by dint of being the leader of the popular party.  It is expected that we vote for our MP, and not for the Prime Minister.  So why then do we vote for parties and not people?

Voting for parties may get us the party that matches most with our ideals in power, but the ideals of the Conservative party and a Conservative candidate may not be identical.  That same candidate could meet the same base ideals, but radically differ on things such as gun control or daycare.  They also could just be not the best candidate.  There may be someone out there who is more responsive to the voters and more capable of being heard in Parliament.

Simply put, a party does not make a candidate who they are.  A party simply gives them a platform to be a candidate.  It doesn’t change who a candidate is or how they are going to do the job.

All of this is why, when exercising your right to vote, you should vote for the candidate in your riding that best represents your riding regardless of what party they are running under.  They may be running as a member of the Galactic Empire Party for all that allegiance is worth.

While we’re on the topic of candidates in ridings, how much campaigning do you think Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton, Gilles Duceppe, and Elizabeth May are doing in their home ridings?  How much campaigning are they doing to ensure that people see them as the best person to represent the wishes of the people?  Or are they always on the road promoting their parties?

Jack Layton's tan made me confused as at first I thought he was a Typical Western Girl.

In all honesty, if any of those candidates were in my riding, I would not vote for them.  Not because I have anything against the parties that they lead, but rather because they put going on publicity tour as a higher priority than actually engaging the voters of their riding.  I’m sure the other candidates in Jack Layton’s riding aren’t just sitting around with their feet up because they know Layton is in the same riding.  They are likely out there trying to get to know the thousands of people in their riding and understand exactly what they want from their MP.  Leaders like Layton though are off being celebrities (and Layton certainly looks like one with the traffic cone coloured tan that he’s been rocking so far this campaign period).

Things like televised debates and Vote Compass don’t help this situation either.  They are all about breaking down politics into broad, generalized Party ideals.  They have no time for picking the best candidates, only for painting anyone who runs under the Bloc Quebecois banner with the same brush.  They chase voters to the ideals that match up best with their answers to questions, completely missing the point that the ideals of parties and candidates don’t always match up.

So, when your casting your ballot like a dutiful Canadian, vote for the candidate that best represents your ideals, not just the one who is best friends with the leader of their party.  Voting for the best candidate will only result in a better, more responsive government instead of one that is content to avoid transparency and public opinion like the plague.

At the end of the day, no matter who you vote for, do the right thing and vote.  Earn your right to complain when the winning party fails to live up to its promises!

Due to popular demand…  my parody of Eminem’s Lose Yourself about Ash Ketchum trying to catch a Mewtwo…

(the instrumental track can be found below to listen to as you read)

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To catch the Pokemon you always wanted
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, Pokeball ready
He’s used sleep moves already, Sleep Powder confetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To throw balls, but Mewtwo keeps on resisting
With the Take Down, Tauros tears up the ground
Mewtwo opens his mouth, but snores just come out
He’s sleeping now, time’s gonna be leaping now
The clock’s run out, sleep’s up Mewtwo pow!
Psychic blast to reality, oh, there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Tauros he’s toast, Ash is so mad but he won’t
Give up that easy, no, here goes Blastoise he knows
His whole back’s to these ropes, it don’t matter he don’t
He knows that but no hope, Hydro Pump’s useless he knows
When he goes back to his Pallet town home, that it’s
Back to Oak’s lab again, yo
It’s all rhapsody, he better go capture this Mewtwo
And hope it don’t pass him
You gotta prove yourself with the Mewtwo
In the moment, you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, to let that Master Ball go
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo
You gotta prove yourself with the Mewtwo
In the moment, you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, to let that Master Ball go
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo

Mewtwo’s close to escaping, through this hole that is gaping
Ash’s party’s there for the taking, it’s fucking weak
As he moves towards a new world order, his Blastoise moves are boring
But Mewtwo’s close to post mortem
But it only gets harder, only grows hotter
Charizard blows it’s all over, the show is all on him
Johto to Kanto, he’s known as the Globetrotter
On these lonely roads God only knows he’s grown Lapras alone, it’s no bother
He goes home and barely knows his own Corphish
But hold your nose cause here goes the cold water
Blastoise Pumpin’ some more, it’s cold product
So he moves on to the next schmoe who’s stowed
Down below and moves onwards, and so it unfolds
I suppose it’s old partner, but the battle goes on
Da da dum, da dum
Chorus x2

No more games, Mewtwo’s gonna change what you call rage
He’ll tear your motherfucking roof off, cause he won’t be caged
He was playin’ in the beginning, but the mood all changed
Recover boot up, Thunder shoot up, Blastoise get off stage
He keeps fighting, steppin, choking Ash ever tighter
Charizard’s fucking going home in a diaper
All Mewtwo’s pain inside amplified by the fact
That he can’t get by from 9 to 5
Without fighting some loser shit trainer, kind of a pansy
Cause man, these god damn food stamps they aren’t badges
And it’s no movie, there’s no fucking survivors, this is no life
And these times are so hard, and they’re getting even harder
When Ash sends out Pikachu, he’s cannon-fodder
Caught up between being a loner and a prima donna
Pikachu’s screamin’ on and it’s too much for him to wanna
Stay in one spot, this battle’s monotony’s
Gotten him to the point it’s like a jail
He’s got to formulate a plot or Ash will get him caught
Success is his only motherfucking option, capture’s not
Heracross is coming so Mewtwo’s gotta go
Megahorn will kill him in one fucking shot, so here he goes with his shot
“Teleport fail me not,” this may be the only opportunity that he’s got
Chorus x2