Friday, June 22, 2007

Lord Black, Toilets and Sluts

I have payed little attention to Lord Black's trial. It does not really interest me that much. I don't feel sorry for David Radler, the board, or the Hollinger Shareholders. And honestly, I have no idea if Black is guilty of any crime. I commented to a friend that I hoped he would get a fair trial and my friend said, F* that, I hope he goes down. I replied that our system can only really work if even the most obnoxious creeps among us can be treated fairly. He stared dully at me and said why? I replied that because otherwise stupid people like you will end up in jail for something you didn't do. He didn't like that much.

Anyway, two things in the trial caught my attention:

Exhibit A:

One day, while riding the court house elevator Barbara Amiel-Black called several members of the press sluts. Presumably she was angry that the media was writing about the husband and his woes in a manner she disapproved of. Its always the same with self-adoring people. Everyone is out to get them because of envy (which I would remind you is also a Cardinal Sin). It is sad to realize that someone is too dumb to realize that their childish outburst is really a self-condemnation.

When you think about it, twenty or so years of Amiel's dark yellow journalism can be summed up in that one outburst. Every single column could be summed up: you are all sluts.

I can't think of one pleasant idea that emanated from that mass of slimy semi-gelatinous overcooked ichiban-noodlish mush that was planted between her ears by some malevolent alien force...(editor: woah dude, A journalist who has always been noticeably lacking in any kind of class, kindness or logic, now calls her peers sluts and expects empathy.

Exhibit B:

The prosecution brought up the fact that Black's New York condo, payed for by the Corporation, was noted to have a bidet. This fact is fairly pointless. It is not illegal to own a bidet or for a corporation to purchase a bidet for its Chief Executive. The mention of the bidet was probably intended to reinforce the idea that his highness is not one of us and needs to be brought down. How better to do that than to reference exotic European toilet habits. The hard working people of Chicago would no doubt look down on a man who dresses up as a toy soldier and squats over a porcelain ass sprinkler. In shorthand: hey look, a Frenchman.

If I could have one present for my birthday, it would be this: the CBC interviews Henry Kissinger and asks him how buying Lord Black a bidet made Hollinger Shares worth more. But alas, Dr. K. apparently won't do any more interviews with the CBC because they kept asking him whether he is a war criminal.

I actually think the jury people will see through the bidet shame and ignore it. But if they don't I won't cry. It would be sad if our toilet gadgets became one more thing to divide is into factions.

Some useful background information:

The bidet was apparently invented by the French Royal Family. Just before they were decapitated by the first generation of French Liberals. The word itself could have many origins, but mostly likely evolves from the French verbs trot or straddle. As Steve Martin observed, those French have a different word for everything.

The Japanese, obsessed as they are with toilet recreation, have invented the first bidet with a built in blow dryer. This far exceeds the Japaneses' last greatest invention: the toilet that emanates fake flushing noises so as to hide the real sounds. Which also might be useful as a portable device, to be used should you find yourself in an elevator with Barbara.

June 21, 2007
Calgary, Alberta Please recommend this post

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Crumb versus Java

I was just sitting here minding my own business trying to read a textbook on Java. Riveting stuff. Although I enjoy technical writing I'd hate to have to write a complete textbook on a programming language. I would not be able to suppress my sarcasm and my metaphors would probably be inappropriate. Metaphors are very important in technical explanations. For example sometimes in software design theory we refer to two software pieces that are tightly coupled. Imagine the metaphors.

Anyway, I suddenly noticed that someone left a copy of a Robert Crumb Sketch book (Volume 10) on the chair next to me. You might not know this Artist's name but if you were around in the 60's or 70's you probably would recognize one of his cartoons or posters. He is probably most famous for the various versions of Keep on Trucking.

When I was 12 or 15 (I can't remember) I had two kinds of friends. One type had Crumb's Keep on Trucking poster on their wall. The other had that stupid Farrah Fawcet poster.

My favourite Crumb poster is the cover he created for the Cheap Thrills Album around 1968:

Robert Crumb met Janice Joplin in 1960's San Francisco. They became friends and she asked him to do the Album Cover. Crumb was paid a one time fee of $6,000.00 and Columbia Records ended up owning the rights to the drawing. I believe Crumb eventually got the rights back, but much later. When Janis Joplin heard that Crumb had lost the rights to the work she immediately fell over and died.

(Editor: Oh come on, that's really mean.)

And not all that funny.

The Crumb sketch books are unstructured and have no narrative. They're sketch books. There are previously unpublished doodles, out-takes, and works in progress. This shows an interesting side of the artistic process, that it can be iterative and repetitive. Occasionally he writes self-deprecating comments in the sidebar. Why can I never draw a chair properly?

Other Crumb notables include Natural Man - an old man in a flowing robe with a long white beard who strides along with his elbows flying around like he's Chris Pronger. Then there are all the Hell's Angels, pictured on ridiculously tricked out bikes, the odd one with a big cyclops eye.

There are a lot of drawings of women. Mostly the women are wearing hot pants, drawn with their backs to the artist, and always looking saucily over their shoulder. Always, they have very large butts. That was just his thing.

Rumours have always persisted that the FBI watched Crumb because his Comics were considered politically subversive and anti-America. Thankfully they were. If our society does collapse I would squarely blame Robert Crumb, John Lennon and Mad Magazine just for starters. I have more on my list and I'm watching you all.

Calgary, Alberta
20 June 2007

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