Marc Emery: “Martyr”, or “Fool”?

Marc Emery is a Canadian advocate for the legalization of marijuana. Having been a fixture in the pot world – and more recently, politics – for decades, he’s been referred to as the “Prince of Pot”.

Somewhat of a success story, he has made great money through his BC Marijuana Party Bookstore and Headquarters, most people like him (myself included), and he has a good-looking wife.

(WHAT?! I’m just saying.)

But then, he messed up: he sold pot seeds to Americans via his online business. At the request of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2005, the Vancouver Police raided his store, then arrested him. For extradition to the US.

I, for one, was disgusted. Since when did the Vancouver Police become the DEA lapdog? (My guess is that the RCMP – who are taken far more seriously here – told the DEA to go **** themselves.)

Despite numerous protests from around the world, Marc was extradited and is now serving 5 years in Washington state. Ironic, given the number of pot smokers there.

In a recent statement he issued through his impressively devoted wife, Jodie Emery, Marc said that he’s doing alright, getting rest and exercise, and observed that “most people here are Mexican and African-American” – in a state where the two races combined make up less than 12% of the population.

Some are now calling him a “political prisoner”.

(*Deeeeeeeeeep sigh.*)

You know who I think of when I think of political prisoners? I think of:

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima

Adolfo Fernandez Sainz

Mumia Abu Jamal

Cho Sung-hye

Nelson Mandela

NOT Marc Emery.

Regardless of my opinion on the subject, here’s my issue with Marc Emery’s fans take on things:

1) The US has enjoyed this antiquated – and very profitable – ‘war’ on drugs for decades.

2) They’ve made it clear that they don’t play fair and that they’ll destroy anyone who gets in the way of said cash-flow. (Too many over-thrown ‘dictators’ to name!)

3) Marc decided that he would go for it anyway. (Maybe he got bored by the lack of a real anti-drug enemy here in Canada??)

4) Marc is screwed now.

Come on, guy! How many DEA agents do you think grew up watching ‘Cheech and Chong’? Probably too many to count, right? But they STILL busted the original ‘Prince of Pot’, Tommy Chong!

The moral: Know the difference between a “martyr” and being a “fool”. And thank God you’re not “Mexican (or) African-American”. Or you’d REALLY be f***ed.

We’ll see you in 5, Marc. And if it’s any consolation, your wife’s a cutie.

(WHAT?! I’m just saying.)

For more info on Marc, his wife, his ‘plight’, or pot in general, go to:

http://www.cannabisculture.com/

PotAYto/PotAWto. Twitter/Twatter.

Has it really come down to this? Have we officially become so attention-starved, so bored with our lives that we have to post every single thought that pops into our heads?

Are we really so lonely?

Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook have all but completely robbed us of our need to communicate with one another in real time and space. But now, we have Twitter. This new tool allows us to share whatever we’re thinking – no matter the banality of it.

Just had a sandwich you liked? Broke a nail? Bought a new shoe lace? Then send a “tweet” to one of your followers! These insipid fellow slaves of ‘hip, new, and pointless’ will gladly listen. Why? Because they’ve got nothing better to do – just like YOU! AND they know that you’ll listen to their mundane thoughts too!

And it’s all in real time! Yay!

The people usually drawn to this kind of thing are those who lack real people skills. They include those who insist on texting you instead of phoning you. (This is possibly because they KNOW that you just may answer the phone.) They also include those who have to be in the know. They need to feel like they are a part of everything that’s going on.

Seriously. How old are the people who actually participate in this activity? I can see why teens are into it. They believe that their lives are the culmination of “me! me! me!”, after all. But adults??? Supposedly SANE adults???

I can actually understand the merit that something like Facebook has. One can share aspects of their lives via text, photos, and videos with family (near/far), friends (past/present), and/or colleagues. But Twitter is an altogether new monster. It confirms how little we have going on in our lives. We’re so desperate to remain relevant that we dare not miss a chance to prove it.

Is it a coincidence that the root word of “twitter” is “twit”? Good thing they didn’t call it “Twatter”, hm?

“Calgon, take me away!”

The past couple of months have introduced a number of adventures in my life. One of them being marriage. (Thank you in advance for the well-wishes!) Another being television. (I accept your condolences in advance). I’ve avoided both like bad fish for a long time, but for vastly different reasons. Rather than getting all up close and personal though, I’d rather talk about tv.

I’d often found tv a bit too transparent (ie: dumbed-down in order to appeal to a wider range of people, or just plainly dumb). Most who enjoy television have told me that I “shouldn’t take it so seriously because it’s meant to be a form of escapism”. After years of blasting the medium without really giving it a chance to redeem itself, I decided that maybe I was being a bit too hard on it.

Besides, how could 50,000,000 Elvis fans be wrong?

I’m pleased to report that there are a few gems on the tube. “Mad Men” is a personal favorite at our place. You don’t know whether to fawn over the excellent writing or the incredible attention to detail in making this show feel like it’s truly been dropped out of the 1960s. I just really dig this show and can’t say enough nice things about it. Nuff said. But then shows like “Californication” had to come along and spoil the fun. On the surface, it seems like a goofy, fun little romp that promises to entertain you for 25 minutes. Instead, it crams every cliche and newly invented piece of hipster lingo in your face until you cry ‘uncle’.

But “Entourage“, for example, is a stupid show about stupid people, but at least it’s fun. (Despite his abrasive personality, who among us – male or female – wouldn’t want to be Ari Gold for a day? I rest my case.) And, despite its shamelessly sexist content (thank gawd!), it manages to do the impossible by drawing in a huge number of female viewers. It does so by not sucking up to female viewers. It’s a show for guys that women happen to watch.

Another show that I thought had potential but got lame pretty quickly is “Eli Stone”. My biggest problem with it – other than crap writing and annoying characters – is how it unabashedly wears its politics on its sleeve and everywhere else. I get it – you despise Bush and Co. But isn’t this supposed to be a form of escapism? And doesn’t escapism include escapism from politics?

See, the difference between a show like, say, “All in the Family” – a true classic – and “Californication” is not only in its delivery but in its intent. “AitF” reflected the times in a smart, direct way. One can watch its re-runs today, some 30-plus years later, and say “Wow. That was a crazy time! I can’t believe the things they used to say on tv!” Of course it looks dated today. Just as shows from the early 1990s look dated today. (“Fresh Prince” anyone?) Thirty years from now, they won’t be saying that about “Californication”. Instead, they may say something like “Wow. That was a crazy time! I can’t believe how stupid people were back then!”

Sadly they won’t be refering to the characters.

Listen, I get that television shows always have and perhaps always will try to include product placement and/or politics in its content. But the thing that bugs me is when I’m aware of these facts. If you’re going to invite me and others to ‘escape’ into your show, wouldn’t it also be swell if you didn’t remind me about what it is I’m escaping from? Hell, even David Duchovny validates my point, recently confessing to sex-addiction – just like his sex-addicted alter ego “Hank” in “Californication”! And just in time for Season 2!

WOW. Art really DOES imitate life sometimes. The cliche is complete.

“Now let’s hug it out bitch!”

PLEASE – Just shut up and SING!

Even though I’ve visited this subject before, it keeps rearing its ugly head in one way or another. What else can I do but share?

There are some days when I miss the simplicity of the music world past. Before technology came and ‘changed’ everything forever. I’m not referring to the days before video officially killed the radio star. After all, video was initially meant to paint a picture to go along with the sound.

Yes, it is tragic that many artists who weren’t the best-looking failed to impress the first ‘Mtv Generation’. (Christopher Cross, anyone?) But that’s why community college exists: to offer hope to those who want a second chance in life.

Back in the flawed but brilliant 80s, most of what we knew about our favorite artists came from either teen magazines, music video programs, or word of mouth (ie: rumors). Today, it’s completely different.

Bands have their own websites/forums from where they can talk about anything and everything. These subjects have ranged from their favorite electoral candidate to their favorite cologne.

On the surface, it sounds like a great thing. But then there are those moments when you feel like it’s become more about the artist than the art. Sometimes I don’t care to know about your family or what you had for breakfast. I want to hear about your ART.

That’s the beauty of having more than one web page – one for your art and another for your mundanity.

PLEASE, just shut up and sing!

Even the Dixie Chicks got the point… eventually.

My definition of a “bitch”.

balloon_float1.jpg
(And I’m using the word “bitch” in the gangsta sense, which means male OR female.)You may read the full story here if you wish, but if you ask me, my summary is far more entertaining.

Basically, this dude thought it would be the height of genius if he proposed to his girlfriend by placing the engagement ring into a helium filled balloon. The object was for her to literally ‘pop’ the balloon as he ‘popped’ the question.

Pretty smart, huh?

Instead, a gust of wind snatched the balloon into the heavens, leaving our hero empty-handed.

The intended was less than impressed, demanding that he replace the now departed ring with another. Problem was, he’d blown $12,000 on the first one, leaving him broke. This imbecile tried, in vain, to follow the ring-carrying balloon’s flight path, but eventually gave up.

She is now refusing to speak to him until he replaces the ring.

I say, dude, cut your losses and leave her.

Let’s review. Dude attempts to propose to this hag in an original – if stupid – way. She, failing to appreciate this, demands that he produce blood from a stone. He is hoping the ring still turns up, adding, “It would be amazing if someone found it.”

No, it would be amazing if people like you found a backbone and put jerks in their place. To be fair, however, my guess is that this guy is probably a bit of a f***-up to start with. It’s entirely possible that this is not the first idiotic thing he’s done, hence her less than kind reaction.

After all, any other caring woman would be mortified to know that her man spent a large fraction of his annual income on her engagement ring, only to lose it under such tragic circumstances.

This brings me to why I agree with Pamela Anderson’s choice of engagement ring: the tattooed variety. Ah, NOTHING says “Forever” quite like the tattooed ring. No worries about misplacement by drunken best men or freakish gusts of wind.

And best of all, you KNOW that the marriage will last forever!

PS: Speaking of “Can’t Buy Me Love”, looks like Heather Mills managed to milk ex-Beatle bonehead Paul “We Don’t Need A Pre-Nup” McCartney out of some $40 million CDN. Clearing those landmines must cost her a fortune…

Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 8:23 am  Comments (1)  

Lindsay Lohan tries to channel Marilyn Monroe…

slideshow_btnc.jpgAnd fails miserably.
Yes, Lindsay has nice breasts. And to be honest, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for freckles.

My problem is with the photographer’s choice of shots to mimic. This dude shot Marilyn in the nude. THE NUDE. One would guess that he had a pretty good idea of what her curves looked like. Seeing how, erm, ‘different’ Lohan’s body is from MM’s, why would he choose to mimic this pic?

Or this one?

Or even this one?

Marilyn’s body was the epitome of what a woman’s body should look like. Curvy. Natural. Among most of today’s young Hollywood, having large breasts – at any price – is enough. This photo shoot proves it.

When the rest of your body resembles that of a nine year old Chinese boy from the waist down, maybe Marilyn is not the ‘icon’ you should be trying to channel. On the other hand, ‘straight up, straight down’ seems to be what the general North American public seem to want today.

Well, except for blacks and hispanics, of course! (We will worship curves until the end of time.)

Hell, maybe I’m part of the problem by saying what I AM saying about LL’s body. I make no apologies for wanting women to accept who they are though. It’s the anorexic ‘role models’ I pass judgement on. (Shame on you!)

Most women don’t – nor should they – have Marilyn’s 36D breasts. But neither should they be starving themselves to resemble a certain hotel heiress’s body either. Marilyn probably had more than 30% body fat, but she’s considered the ultimate in beauty among most women.

How bizarre, in an era of weight loss gimics and obsessive dieting.

What a difference a couple of generations make, hm?

The Power Of The Hoax

You ever get one of those chain letter emails that tugs at your heart?

They usually involve a dying or seriously ill child, but close with some kind of odd request, like “If you want to make this child smile, forward this to as many people as possible…”.

Next thing you know, you’re actually doing it. You feel that if you DON’T, you don’t really deserve to live.

All of these hoaxes point to the same, lonely losers who originated them.

But don’t take MY word for it. There are a number of websites devoted to debunking these kinds of emails. The two best are:

http://www.sophos.com/security/hoaxes/

http://www.snopes.com

Should you receive such an email, do yourself a favor before forwarding it on to someone else: go to those sites and type in a related search query, or copy and paste a couple of sentences from the email in question, put it in quotations, and do a Google search.

(Copy and paste different lines, though. Not only one. Sometimes the message gets slightly skewed as it travels from person to person.)

I hope this made some sense. I’m really bloody tired…

Published in: on February 10, 2008 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

“STRIPPERS” vs “DANCERS”

A woman I was recently chatting with mentioned how her friend makes SO much money as a dancer. Naturally, I asked her which club her friend worked at, to which she snapped “She’s not a STRIPPER, I said she’s a DANCER!”

Great. I’m guilty of committing the same sin so many others do: referring to ’strippers’ as ‘dancers’.

Once upon a time, strippers were commonly called ‘exotic dancers’.

Somewhere along the way, someone – possibly strippers themselves – decided to refer to them simply as ‘dancers’, removing the word ‘exotic’ from the description. And ‘real’ dancers everywhere were furious.

I realise that a girl’s gotta eat and all, but for God’s sake learn the difference between what you ARE and what you DO. You are a STRIPPER who happens to DANCE. This does not a dancer make.

A dancer is usually someone who has invested a fair amount of time perfecting their craft, getting to know the limitations of their bodies, etc.

A stripper is usually someone who has invested a fair amount of time perfecting the fine art of balancing herself on a pole, gyrating, and dancing badly to music by Vanity 6 or Whitesnake.

I’m not saying that there aren’t any GOOD strippers out there. But just stop calling yourselves ‘dancers’. To me, it would be like a dude who goes around calling himself a doctor just because he works for ‘Rug Doctor’…

Did you hear? Jennifer Love Hewitt’s proud of her body!

And she even volunteered at a shelter this Christmas!

(Guess she was too busy during the remaining 364 days of the year…)

YAY! You’re relevant again, Jen!

To those of you who know not of what I speak, here’s the summary: “The Other ‘J-Lo'” was recently photographed on the beach, revealing a different body from what most of us are used to seeing. Her lower half was not only larger than we’re used to seeing, but (*GASP!*) patches of cellulite are even visible, too!

In response, JLH has hit out at critics of her currently humanoid shape, saying that she “loves” her body right now and has no problem with it. She’s also lamented the damage that this backlash will have on young girls out there who either have or are considering having body image issues. “For shame!”, she says. And rightfully so!

Kinda.

I think it’s awesome that she’s taking the stand that she is. Young girls and women in general need to be reminded of how beautiful they are, as is. It’s not necessary for you to buy the fake boobs, get the rinoplasty, or hunt for the cellulite creams. So, for that I’ll say Good on ya, Jess, but why now? Especially when you’ve become as irrelevant as you have?

See, it would’ve been one thing if you’d taken this stance about 6 years ago, back in your ‘prime’. But why now, when you have so little to lose? I mean, what other stance could you have taken now?

It reminds me of when George Michael got popped for ‘lewd acts’ in that toilet, ultimately ‘outing’ him. (Because none of us already knew he was gay.) Suddenly, he became a champion of gay rights causes and campaigns everywhere. He even boasted, “I’m mostly surprised that people didn’t realize it sooner!” Silly us, George. You got us on that one.

Then there’s Katherine Heigl of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame. After starring in the hugely successful “Knocked Up”, she recently told Vanity Fair how she felt that it was a ‘sexist’ movie; how “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys… It was hard for me to love the movie.”

Wow. Touching stuff, Katherine. Of course, you probably didn’t find the movie’s success too ‘hard’ to deal with once her salary went up from $300,000 to $6,000,000 per film. No, the important thing is that you spoke her mind after the fact. You go, girl…

Yes, JLH is suddenly relevant again. All thanks to an ugly attack that she wisely spun in her own favor. You may ask what the harm is if even one person is positively affected by JLH’s response to all of this. Honestly, there is no harm at all. On the other hand, had she decided to dismiss her slimmer figure whilst she was still at her peak, I would probably be considerably less dismissive of her proselytizing than I am now.

As for the remaining young, ‘flawless’ starlets out there (who are most likely binging and purging as we speak), know this: you can look forward to my commentary that will follow your inevitable dismissal of the Machine that put you where you are in the first place. Once they’ve tired of you first, of course.

Oh, and for the record, I LOVE JLH’s body now.

Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  

When you wish upon a star…

“MOOBY SAY RELAX!”

“The problem with being a star is that anyone CAN be, but not everyone SHOULD be…”

When we were teenagers, my friends and I would sit, listerning to our favorite bands for hours. Sometimes we’d watch their videos, imagining what it would be like to be in their shoes – singing songs we wrote while an enchanted world watched and listened. I would go to sleep, wishing for the day when the limitations of funds/technology and the barriers created by A&R folks would be a thing non-existent. In other words, a day when anybody could become a star.

“Be careful of what you wish for…”

This 21st century has ushered in the era of my wildest teen-aged dreams. But it’s also created a kind of nightmare that I’d never imagined could exist.

In an age of YouTube stars demanding that we “Leave Britney Alone!” while wiping away tears of mascara (along with any hint of self-respect), spectacle is king. Or queen, as in the case of certain fraudulent “LonelyGirl”. Girls have gone wild while boys proudly exhibit their inner jackass. Their logic asks, “Is it possible for me to get noticed AND taken seriously while pretending to be something I’m not?” People – mostly, but not limited to the young – don’t seem to care about being artists, per se. They want to become what they believe art is.

That is to say, they want to become something stared at, pondered upon, desired, loved or even hated. Art has become ‘the art of the con’. Whatever it takes to elevate these few to that point of apotheosis that they’ll never attain. At least, not in the way that they hope to. See, just like any other god, once one becomes one, they never really accept or realise that they have yet.

This is because it doesn’t feel anything like what they thought it would. Sometimes it’s more draining, other times it’s simply boring. But most of the time, one wants to have more. These are the times when our gods are found dead of an overdose. Or without underwear. The result? Hotel heiresses who are famous for nothing, and slickly-produced television that poses for ‘reality’. (Whatever THAT is anymore! When was the last time you felt ‘real’ in front of a video camera?)

Here’s the saddest part – no matter when this technology would’ve been created, the sad truth is that the results would’ve been exactly the same. With this in mind, I suppose there’s something to be said about having controls in place, limiting just who ends up becoming a star. There’s something kinda liberating about hiding some aspects of art. Who truly wants to know how the coolest magic tricks are done?

One thing that I’m definitely certain of is this: I’m glad that YouTube didn’t exist when I was a teen. God only knows how much of a jackass I would’ve willingly made of myself…

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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