Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I'm attempting to get my domain registrar switched over, over the course of the next week. Expect glitchy nonsense to ensue, as normal. If I go missing, I'm optimistic I won't stay that way for long.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In case you missed it

Which you certainly did. Who stays up late enough to see The Daily Show?

Last night, the correspondent piece was about the Mexican immigrant invasion - of Canada. The story featured jackass Paul Fromm, of "Canada First". (I debated about putting up that link, but honestly, does anyone come to RevMod who might be swayed or sympathetic to this guy's viewpoint?) As always, it reinforced my belief that hate shouldn't be criminal, but we should take seriously our responsibility to stand that hate up in the public square, and gut it of power by mocking it relentlessly.

Plus, I almost pissed myself when Raffi Torres was interviewed, which made it all worthwhile.

Bear604 has recently posted about "comedy" that divides. The best comedy makes people rethink their ideas and prejudices, not reinforce them. Paul Fromm wasn't the butt of the joke here - he was the funhouse mirror being held up to the rest of us.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Welcome, Canadian Tourists! We accept Canadian Dollars at par!

There's been a lot of ink wasted talking about this, so let me hop in with a little of my own. One question that arose from the story isn't being answered very well.

How did this happen?

The basic answer in the media to the first has been that the US dollar has collapsed. That answer, while true, is not the whole story by any stretch. On the last solstice, March 21, as well as buying 86.37 US pennies, a single Canadian Dollar bought 22.48 Russian roubles, 101.77 Japanese Yen, 64.92 Eurocents, 1.05 Swiss Francs, and 57.74 Icelandic kronas. Against every one of these currencies today, the Canadian dollar buys more: 25.03 Roubles, 115.50 Yen, 70.98 Eurocents, 1.17 Francs, 62.46 Kronas. For the record, that's increases of 11.34%, 13.49%, 9.33%, 11.43%, and 8.17%, in the same time as we've gained 15.78% on the US dollar. Pick a currency, and you'll find this same approximately 10% gain in a loonie's buying power in the last six months.

I personally think this has more to do with the fact that we've spent the last few years discovering that no matter how much turmoil our government is in, no matter how many minorities we elect, no matter what stripes our provincial and federal governments are, things are going to be generally managed competently. We're not going to play out any extreme weird theories either of central planning or of extreme laissez faire barbarism. We're predictable, and money markets love predictable. It hasn't hurt that the United States has put themselves deeply into hock to the Chinese in order to "fight them over there" ("over there" being anywhere bin Laden isn't, apparently), but that hasn't been the driving force of our own gains.

Peace. Order. Good government. Money markets love that stuff!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Robert Jordan, 1948-2007

Like, as of Sunday. Am I the only one who hadn't heard about this?

I've been reading this man's Wheel of Time series for sixteen years. And rereading it. The prose was... well, it was a bit much. And later books in the series advanced the plot almost not at all. Nonetheless, the world he'd created in the series was engaging and complex, and there were enough questions raised that we as readers were sure there would be answers to; in fact, we were sure that the answers were already there if only we managed to puzzle them out.

He was working on the book that he had been promising for some time would be the last of the series. I'm sure that his publisher has enough of an eye to the revenue side of the ledger that something will come out with Jordan's name on it, something called A Memory of Light, that will wrap up the series. I'm also certain that given the lengthy illness that led to his death, he's made sure that there are notes, that there have been conversations with family and friends and editors about how he'd like to see the series concluded, so what is eventually published may actually be very much what Jordan himself would have written. It won't be quite what we all wanted: there will be puzzles that seem minor to those left behind, that Jordan himself may have forgotten he'd planted, that will now never be solved, and the text won't have the same feel - whatever else you might say about the man's writing, it was distinct - but it will give us some closure on this world we've been so invested in for so long.

For those of us who have lived in Jordan's world these many years, I know some of you probably shared my initial reaction: disappointment that he wouldn't finish the series. Selfish and callous, sure, but I know I wasn't the only reader upon hearing about his illness to think "that bastard's had me on the hook for way more books than he's deserved; he better survive this long enough to get to the end." What I'm suggesting above is that he probably did - close enough, at any rate. So take a moment to reflect on what he's actually given to us, the world that he shared with us, and give him his peace.

Thank you, Robert. May the last embrace of the Mother welcome you home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Good news, maybe

The NDP win in Outremont is obviously exciting news for New Democrats. The margin is shocking.

But the maybe comes from associated concerns. Mulcair was personally popular, and the turnout was tiny, so these results shouldn't be read in too deeply as the beginning of a massive breakthrough for the NDP in Quebec. It's possible that as the Bloc declines (as I think is proving to be inevitable), the NDP might start gathering up some of those voters. The fear is that the party decides the way to do that is to abandon Clarity. Or to abandon any efforts at getting seats in traditional NDP strongholds like Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Layton has tried both of these and been smacked by the party for it. Does a seat in Quebec mean he gets to try again?

You know me - I just can't trust a guy from the GTA. Left wing though I may be, it doesn't change my essential Albertaness. I'll try harder to be enthusiastic about this.

Outremont! Wooooo! Suck it, Liberals! We r in ur provinc, winnin ur seats!!!!1!

Yeah, that felt okay.
Celebrity disses Christ, offends Christians

Elsewhere in the news that doesn't really matter a whole lot: Kathy Griffin, accepting an award (for best non-competitive reality show or maybe celebrity-based reality show or... I mean, does anybody actually know or care?) at the Emmy Awards That We Don't Think Are Worthy Of Live Broadcast told the audience that despite the award show tradition of celebrities thanks their Lord and Saviour, she was going to pass. "I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, "suck it, Jesus." This award is my god now."

Catholic League President Bill Donohue, a man who has never met a microphone he didn't like, called this "hate speech":
"It is sure bet that if Griffin had said, "Suck it, Muhammad," there would have been a very different reaction from the crowd and from the media who covered this event. To say nothing of the Muslim reaction."
Well, needless to say, saying "Suck it, Muhammed" (or Buddha or Vishnu or Moses or select the deity/prophet or your choice) would be a very different joke, and not nearly as funny. Because the joke wasn't aimed at Jesus, it was aimed at the recent tradition of awards ceremonies for celebrity winners to reserve a special place for Jesus in their list of who to thank, as if my Lord and Saviour gives a rat's ass about who gets a little statue for Best Original Song in a Made for TV Movie.

People are dumb.
And life got a little bit slower

60% of Saskatchewan's power subscribers were in the dark this morning. I've been reaching since I heard this for a "stuck in a (grain) elevator" joke, but it's just not coming. I'm sorry - it's disappointing to me, too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Race from the Legislature

Recent polls have fired a warning shot over the bow of the Alberta Tory ship, and Premier Stelmach has responded by changing direction on at least Marie Lake, stopping F.L. (Ted) Morton's plan to do seismic testing there. I can respect that, just as I respect Tory MLA Dennis Ducharme's public criticism of F.L.Ted when allowing the seismic tests was still government policy.

At the same time, Premier Ed didn't feel he had the political capital to tell the Mayors of Edmonton and Calgary what to do with new money the province will be handing over for the next several years, so he just wrote a cheque.

In the face of all this, you would think the Liberals would be having a field day. And I guess they sort of are, in the sense that they seem be to ignoring the self-destruction of the Tories, and are instead trumpeting their candidate gender equity plan. Don't get me wrong - I think plans like this can play an important role in a party's recruitment and representation. But there were bigger fish this week that have gone completely unfried.

Increasingly, the election expected in the spring (though I hear more whispers of "this fall") is Kevin Taft's to lose. So far, so good.

Note to regular RevMod readers: According to Blogger, this is post #1000 on this organ. According to my recent hit statistics, many of you have faded away as my posting has become more infrequent. My mission remains mostly what I set out in my very first post (I haven't posted nearly enough chess here, but that's another conversation), that I'm write here because I need to write, even as the rest of my life has started absorbing more and more of my time. Nonetheless, I sure do continue to appreciate all of you who stop by, particularly those who make RevMod a regular part of your Intertubes travels. I might slow down, I might speed up, but I'm not stopping any time soon.