Monthly Archives: June 2004

Canada has elections too

In the fall of 1992 I met Terry Parker on Queen Street West. He was holding a large sign reading, “CIA brain experiments at Sick Kids Hospital“. He showed me the scars from his psychosurgeries and gave me a pamphlet telling his story, asking me to publish it. We were able to confirm his identity at the time, but were unable to follow up the story with him as he started pretending to be someone else when people called. Below are The Parker Chronicles, as given to me by Terry.

January 1969

Subjected to a right temporal lobectomy in order to alleviate epileptic convulsions. Patient was asleep during the operation and parents were only told that the doctors would attempt to remove a blood clot which they thought was causing the seizures.


Parker's story did turn out to be largely true, although the CIA involvement and other darker accusations are difficult to fully confirm, although Terry did eventually get an admission that it was an “unauthorized behavior control surgery“. Terry also became Canada's first legal marijuana user, which brings us full circle as he is currently running for government in my local riding for the Marijuana Party of Canada. (Hey! Canadians! Have you registered to vote yet?)

Normally I'd vote for the Marijuana Party, but we have an awesome Green Party of Canada rep here as well that will probably swing me… My vote for the Marijuana Party goes there because I believe that marijuana legalization, like gun rights in America, is an important part of protecting freedoms that I believe in. However, since legalization is also a part of the Green platform here as well (unlike any of the other mainstream parties — I don't see the Liberals sticking with that, the Conservatives have already said no, and the NDP has said they'll only do it if there's lots of regulation), I think I'm going to buy in to the “real change, real choice” slogan this election.

Experience update posted

I've just posted an experience update with I think about 240 or so new stories. Thanks as always go to the writers, Don and the volunteer review team, and to Mr1982 for being the cover model.

Later this evening I'm hoping to recode the guts of the search engine's build routines. Now, don't get me wrong, cataloguing well over ten million crosslinks over a third of a million URLs (that's how big BME is), and doing all that in an hour and a half is still a lot faster than the average code would do it. But an hour and a half is a lot more time than I think is appropriate or convenient, so I'm going to brush off my assembler skills I guess.

TREKPS. Ionize the hull plating!

Now, it's Dramatime. I wanted to recount here this hilarious bickering betweeen Greece (the host) and Australia about the Olympics. I don't really follow sports news, but I got a chuckle out of this all when I read it yesterday. Here's the (somewhat garbled by me) sequence of events.

It begins with a bomb exploding in front of the Athens police station, coupled with other violence over the last, oh, thirty years or more. Australia, as it does for many other countries, issues a “travel advisory”, warning Aussies not only that Greece is dangerous and other fear-mongering, but that its public transit system sucks (stuff like this — “The safety standards Australians might expect of public transport are not always met. In recent years many lives have been lost as a result of accidents on both inter-region buses and ferries”).

Greece, who considers Australia (host of the 2000 Olympics) a rival, says “Are you crazy? When these games are over, do you know what people are going to be saying? BEST. OLYMPICS. EVER. Not like the crappy ones you held in Sydney.” (Which, in a moment of irony, were in fact called the best Olypics ever by the head of the IOC himself).

Unfortunately that head of the IOC then had a bit of a slip of the tongue. When asked by a reporter what he expected to be saying at the end of the Olympics, he replied “Well, I might start by saying that these were not the best ever games, but…”

Bolstered by that, Australia stands by its previous recommendation, urging travelers to avoid Greece due to “bombs, hooligans, sexual predators, pickpockets, and improvised explosives” and added, “if you do go, avoid the Olympics.” The US then chimes in as well and (I kid you not) says, “You've only got 75,000 troops patrolling the Olympics? What about al Qaeda?” US Ambassador Thomas Miller actually went so far as to call Greece's security conditions “The Perfect Storm”, and iJet (a US business travel risks company) added “we think their stadiums may collapse — you have to be really emotionally committed if you want to go to Greece”.

Undaunted, Dimitri Platis, Greece's foreign minister responded — “Are you psychotic? It is a festival. It's not going to be Fortress Greece.” The top Greek official at the Olypics, “Cosey” Fani Palli-Petralia, added that Australians were just jealous, and that she remembered the Syndney Olympic experience as staying “in containers in the heat”, and assured the public that while it might seem scary before they tried it, Greek style wouldn't be such a pain in the ass, and that all their other girlfriends had loved it.

Australia brought it back to facts, asking, “look, did you or did you not have a bomb explode outside your police station last week?”

Defending his security arrangements, the Greek Prime Minister said, “yes… but if any planes fly over the city, we'll shoot them down.” After it was pointed out that that wasn't really relevant to the regular pipe-bomb attacks inside Athens, Denis Oswald of the IOC agreed, but did add “bombings happen not every day here, but from time to time. There is nothing you can do about someone throwing a bomb out of a car at 4am… kids will be kids.”

So next time you hear about a drive-by shooting, just be glad they weren't chucking bombs out the window like they do in Athens, I suppose…

notes from the asylum

Dear Doctors,

Living in the apartment next door is an old German couple — totally nuts and very nosey. At first I thought they were in some strange sort of “historical re-enactment club,” as old men and couples were always coming to their place dressed in German WWI and WWII officer's uniforms. While I had no proof, later I came to suspect that they were having strange geriatric Nazi sex parties, and today I may have gotten more evidence to support that theory.

I got a knock on the door and it was an old German lady, with other one fifteen feet behind her. She told me that she'd lived here forty years ago, and that she was the first tenant of this apartment. Then she sort of just barged in and began to look around! I stepped in front of her to keep her from wandering down the hall. Then, seeing all the paintings she asked me if I was an artist. I told her I was, just moments before her eyes caught a ManWoman print that hangs here.

A portrait of his skin, covered in swastikas.

I wasn't sure how she'd respond — most people don't react well to swastikas. But, she just stood there smiling at the painting. With hope, she turned to me and asked, “did you paint this?” She seemed dismayed when I told her that it was not my work and her friend (who'd been sheepishly apologizing the whole time) dragged her out. That was the last I saw of them; my brief encounter with aging Nazi spies.

Maybe that's too circumstantial, but in my world, it's another piece of evidence to suggest I live next door to some kind of occult sex club catering to war criminals. I'm pretty sure they have alien technology in there that they use to travel to their submarine base under the arctic and do anti-gravity research...



PS. Of course, in the real world, my nosey neighbors just social engineered me, and broke into my apartment to try and see if there was anything they could call the police about or have me evicted over. They're like vampires though; it's my own fault for letting them in. I should have just driven a wooden stake through their hearts while I had the chance…

Instant karma

I'm not sure what happened, but there's a whack of CSI stuff going on in front of our apartment at the park entrance. Everything is taped off and there are four or so news teams interviewing cops. Anyway, today is esoteric programming day (working on new search engine ideas for the main site and elsewhere… always fun because it's “weird” in comparison to most of what I write).

It always comes back to class war

The biggest problem in the world, and especially inside the USA, is probably ignorance. The average person is a dumbass with little to no critical thinking skills (and with little to no interest in developing them). That is why so many people can be deceived, and it's why, when you turn more than 50% of voters into morons, democracy fails. But this is a manufactured situation.

At this point, high school graduation tests in the United States are equivalent to the grade eight tests in most other countries (more, more). However, since many American students are still not smart enough at age 18 to pass what people in other countries pass at age 13, the passing grade numbers are being lowered. A few days ago Ohio just approved (by a 14-2 margin!) to a massive required skills reduction (more)… Now to graduate in Ohio, you have to score 40% on an already level-lowered test.

I fail to see how this is good for America.

Of course, rich kids go to private schools, and America is owned by the rich. I suppose if your goal is to create an ocean of consumers that you can trick into buying anything, even if it ultimately kills them, then this is a great idea. But it's not good for America.

The average young person spends about four hours a day watching TV (more), and many watch far more. To put that into context, I think it's safe to say that the average reader can easily read about 50 pages an hour (and that's really a low-ball guess) — meaning that if they gave up just half their television watching time they could read three or four books a week. Even for free. I pose a simple question for you:

How different a place would America be if everyone in America read three or four books a week?

PS. And don't think this is isolated in America. While America is a “leader”, it is also an indicator. This will happen everywhere that rich people exist. Oh, and feel free to substitute “television” with “aimless web browsing”. New instrument, same fucking song.