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untitled Allan's Perspective

U.S. Republicans are a bunch of hypocrites!

Remember the big kerfuffle because the Republicans in the States claimed Obama was ineligible to be President because he was born in Nigeria, or Slobvania, or somewhere else ……… anywhere else except the United States? (Wrong, and that asshole Donald Trump is STILL going on about that!) Well kids, apparently what’s good for the goose is […]

1067863-Clipart-Flasher-Man-From-Behind-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration Allan's Perspective

The Naked Truth!

A Charlotte man who has continually irritated his neighbors by standing naked in the front door of his home has exposed a state law that local prosecutors want to change. North Carolina law says a person can’t expose himself in a place where the public has access. But CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano told The Charlotte […]

untitled Allan's Perspective

Safari!

A Husband and wife were on safari: Wife- If that cheetah catches that deer and kills it, I’m going to be absolutely heartbroken. Husband- that’s nature. Don’t go against it. Cheetah has to kill it to eat and survive. Wife- do something. Husband – what can I do? Wife- if the deer dies I’ll call […]

imagesHPGLSYP7 Allan's Perspective

MAYOR REFUSES TO REMOVE PORK FROM SCHOOL MENU!

Let’s hear it for a Quebec mayor… Or as the commercial promoting pork says “put some pork on your fork” Muslim parents demanded the abolition of pork in all the school canteens of a Montreal suburb. The mayor of the Montreal suburb of Dorval refused, and the town clerk sent a note to all parents to explain why… ! […]

72P7FQ0G8716MV5L-rsz320x212-cp0x13x320x173 Allan's Perspective

Mile high, or just plain high?

Here’s someone who tried to join the “mile high” club as a solo act! A British woman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in an aircraft after she stripped off on a flight from Jamaica – and started performing a solo SEX ACT. (Masturbation!) The 46-year-old woman from south-west London was nicked when her […]

drama5 Allan's Perspective

Sunday Morning Funnies # 2645

The man told his doctor that he wasn’t able to do all the things around the house that he used to do. When the examination was complete, he said, “Now, Doc, I can take it. Tell me in plain English what is wrong with me.” “Well, in plain English,” the doctor replied, “you’re just lazy.” […]

cell_phone_logo2 Allan's Perspective

Saturday Morning Confusion #27,680

Well folks, are ya confused enough yet? Then read on with these files from the Naked News Department: ————————————— Authorities in Minnesota say three would-be robbers picked the wrong time to pocket-dial 911. Blue Earth Sheriff’s Capt. Rich Murry says a dispatcher took the call early Thursday morning and heard two voices on the other […]

74416-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Pleasantly-Plump-Woman-Covering-Her-Nude-Body Allan's Perspective

Tit for Tat!

It all started when a woman got out of line inside an Athens convenience store, according to police. The 28-year-old man behind her moved up to the counter to pay for his purchases, he told police. But when the woman came back, she was irritated the man had moved ahead of her, and she let […]

untitledvn v Allan's Perspective

Answer to Muslim Radicals!

Dear Readers: This is one of the best answers I have heard regarding the problem of Muslim radicals in the Western world. This woman not only makes a lot of sense, but raises some interesting questions as well! Cemetary of British war victims destroyed by Muslim Mob (Notice the Imam standing on a wall and […]

untitled Allan's Perspective

Winter is still here!

Just because it’s the middle of March doesn’t mean that winter is over, kids! There was a 50 car pile-up on the 401 around Bellville overnight and Nova Scotia has been shut down after they got their second snowstorm in as many days. Meanwhile, A Newfoundland woman and her two children who spent 21 hours […]

images Allan's Perspective

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May the luck of the Irish be with you! ———————————————— Facebook has created a new rule book that tells users the sort of content they can and can’t post on the site, including a ban on images of buttocks. The social network has been criticized in the past for inconsistency when it comes to user-published […]

1144045-Cartoon-Of-A-Chorus-Line-Of-Naked-Men-Dancing-The-Can-Can-Royalty-Free-Vector-Clipart Allan's Perspective

Monday Madness!

We’ve all heard of the tortoise and the hare……. right? Well here’s a new one for ya bunky! ——————————————————– Look at this dumb turtle chasing after a dog like he’s got a real shot at catching up; he’ll never catch up. And yet even so, onward he plods, ne’er to abandon his reptilian hope—to be […]

images Allan's Perspective

You are what you eat!

Coffee, first it was good for ya, then it was bad for ya, and now it’s good for ya again! Seems that’s not the only thing professionals have been lying to us about according to Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail! ————————————- Bacon and eggs for breakfast is a guilty pleasure in our household. […]

images4 Allan's Perspective

Sunday Morning Funnies # 53

A New Brunswick man was stopped by a game warden in Northern NB recently, with two ice chests full of live fish in water, leaving a river well known for its fishing. The game warden asked the man, “Do you have a license to catch those fish?” “Naw, my friend, I ain’t got no license. […]

Project5 Allan's Perspective

Saturday Morning Confusion about Pi.

Folks we have a story from Alabama that, whether it’s true or not, sounds like something they would do down there: — NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legistature narrowly passed a law yesterday redefining pi, a mathematical constant used in the aerospace industry. The […]

obr-slide-960x480 Allan's Perspective

Big Ass Balloon

Big Ass Balloon Seen recently at the Indianola balloon rallies……………………Up, up, and away! ——————————————- So, you’re having a bad day. Then you step outside of your house and look up into the beautiful blue sky. And see this !!!!! All of a sudden, that smile comes back to your face and you say to yourself: […]

imagesKWFB53WR Allan's Perspective

When I was a kid!

Remember when your parents told you they had to walk ten miles to get to school when they were kids? Well, it’s not that bad in New Brunswick, but it’s bad enough! Parents in New Brunswick say their primary school-aged children are being left out in the cold by a provincial policy that restricts school […]

17865-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Nude-Middle-Aged-Cacuasian-Woman-With-Black-Curly-Hair-Preparing-To-Take-A-Shower Allan's Perspective

The naked and the brave!

A 32-year-old woman told police in Florida she got naked and sat outside a Dunkin’ Donuts as a dare. The Palm Beach Post (http://pbpo.st/1EQc0sF) reports Shakara Monik Martin was arrested Sunday in Greenacres near West Palm Beach. According to a police report, Martin told authorities the dare was part of a pledge to a dance […]

image Allan's Perspective

Civilized?

A sign welcomes visitors to Taber, Alta., in this April 23, 2009 file photo. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS) Well, well, some places on this planet are getting a little civilized folks! TABER, Alta. — Do not disturb. Or yell, or swear or spit on the sidewalk. The southern Alberta town of Taber, population […]

april01 Allan's Perspective

Why?

Look folks, I can understand getting junk mail ………… but why in the hell do they keep sending me stuff that’s in CHINESE? – – – – After all, it’s all Greek to me!


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Explosive fire and ‘major building collapse’ in New York’s East Village

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  The Province - News

New York City’s fire department reported a ‘major building collapse’ at 125 Second Ave. in lower Manhattan

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Reader’s Diary #1135- Andrea Leask (Writer) and Alison McCreesh (Illustrator): Ty and The Fly

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  John Mutford

Ty and the Fly by Yellowknife locals Andrea Leask and Alison McCreesh is a short but wildly energetic and funny tale perfect for young kids and dog lovers of all ages. I don’t really fit either of those categories (I don’t mind dogs, per se…) but non…

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David Arquette — Picks Spray Paintin’ Over Strippers … for Vegas Bachelor Party

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  TMZ Staff

David Arquette is an artist at heart … even with ass in his face — and the freshly tagged wall of a Vegas strip club proves it.  Our stripper sources tell us … Arquette and his boys were at the Hustler Las Vegas last weekend for his…

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TD Bank facing tough economy, technology upstarts

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

TD Bank Group is facing unprecedented competition from technology upstarts that are changing the way customers conduct their financial affairs, the bank’s chief executive says.

“New technologies are raising consumer expectations of what banks do — and how they do it,” Bharat Masrani told shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting in Toronto on Thursday.

“Many of them are household names — and generally they are not subject to the same regulatory rules as traditional banks. They aren’t bogged down by their legacy systems, either. So their speed creates huge growth opportunities for them.”

While customers can benefit from the added choices that competition can bring, “regulatory oversight on some of the financial services provided by these new entities would be appropriate,” Masrani said.

“Regulators will also need to consider if the safety and soundness of these non-traditional players matter to the overall stability of our financial system,” he added.

Technology giants Apple and Google are developing competing mobile payment systems that would allow customers to use smartphones and certain wearable devices to pay products and services.

Analysts say the technology is bound to change the retail and banking industries as more shoppers opt for speed and convenience rather than pulling out a debit or credit card at the counter.

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CIBC, TD hike dividends as first-quarter profits beat estimates

Alternative lenders in the shadow banking sector are another source of rising competition, Masrani told reporters after the annual meeting.

“It is important for Canadians and for Americans that we have a sound and resilient financial system, and that as we have new players coming in that they are being looked at and regulated where appropriate,” he said.

TD Bank, like other Canadian banks, is also facing economic challenges in 2015, Masrani said.

“Canada’s economy is operating below its potential and the pace of economic growth will remain modest,” he told shareholders. “The plunge in oil prices and low interest rates could add to the challenges.”

Masrani and other executives told shareholders that TD is well-positioned to weather these times.

Ninety per cent of the bank’s record adjusted earnings of $8.1 billion for 2014 came from TD’s retail revenues, Masrani told shareholders at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The bank will benefit from economic recovery south of the border. TD is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S. with approximately 1,300 retail locations, from the northeast to Florida.

TD executives also took a variety of question from shareholders about executive compensation, stock options and pension plans for executives, and policies on credit cards.

Several shareholders asked whether TD would consider expanding its operations in the U.S. beyond the eastern seaboard.

“Currently we are very happy with where we are,” Masrani said at one point.

He later told reporters that TD will consider any opportunities that arise, but it doesn’t feel a sense of urgency to expand.

“We don’t need to do a deal. We have the scale and customer base that allows us to continue to grow organically,” Masrani said. “If something compelling comes up, we would certainly look at it but we’re not compelled to do it because there’s a strategic gap in our franchise.”

A shareholder named Martha Adair asked, “Why can’t TD tellers count the money quietly?” for customers making a withdrawal at a branch.

As a senior, Adair said, she is concerned for her personal safety and doesn’t want to broadcast how much she is about to carry out of the bank.

Masrani told Adair that the policy would be reviewed, and “if the policy doesn’t make sense, we will change it.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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Suspect sought who tried to lure 12-year-old girl into his car with offer of an iPad

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  The Province - News

Coquitlam police are searching for a suspect who allegedly tried to lure a 12-year-old girl inside his car Tuesday afternoon by offering her an iPad.

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Amazon Cloud Drive now stores unlimited files for $60 per year

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Jon Fingas

Amazon thinks it has a way to entice you away from the likes of Dropbox or Google Drive: real, honest-to-goodness unlimited internet storage. It just launched two Cloud Drive plans that let you upload as much as you like, with the primary difference …

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Statement by Minister Raitt on the Germanwings Tragedy

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Canada News Centre - National News

“Our hearts go out to all those who lost a family member or a friend in this terrible tragedy

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Explosive fire and ‘major building collapse’ in New York’s East Village

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Vancouver Sun - News

New York City’s fire department reported a ‘major building collapse’ at 125 Second Ave. in lower Manhattan

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OMG!!! Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris … TOGETHER!!???!

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  TMZ Staff

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris surfaced in Nashville … could it be? Taylor and the famous DJ were coming out of Whole Foods Wednesday night — wearing matching shirts no less —  when 2 people snapped the pics.  This isn’t the first time…

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John Tory and the power of decency: Hume

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Christopher Hume - Urban Issues, Architecture

John Tory (open John Tory’s policard)’s great gift to Toronto, his unswerving sense of decency, might well be enough to save the city from city council.

It won’t happen overnight, but watching the mayor deal with some of the worst behaved members of his city council this week, one couldn’t help but take heart.

Decency, a virtue not taken seriously in the 21st century, is no longer fashionable. Our feelings about it tend to be ambivalent. It’s as likely to be mocked as admired. The more people profess decency; the less we are inclined to believe them.

But the power of Tory’s decency is enough to shine a bright light on the sort of boorishness now associated with city council and reveal it for what it is. The mayor’s outrage is our outrage.

“All deputants,” he told Councillor Jim Karygiannis (open Jim Karygiannis’s policard) at a Wednesday executive committee meeting, “no matter what their point of view will be treated with respect and I just won’t be putting up with anything that castigates people, regardless of what their opinion is, who’ve come before us and spent their time to come here and represent their views.”

Despite the long-windedness and grandmotherly tone, Tory’s words echoed throughout Toronto.

“This is the new city hall,” he reminded the councillor, “not the old one.”

With these few words, Tory struck a mighty blow for, well, decency. He also reminded councillors about citizenship, a concept often forgotten in the din of political warfare.

Responding to the mayor’s relentless positivity and his insistence that councillors show respect to one other as well as ordinary citizens, even the most brutish decided to make nice.

Giorgio Mammoliti (open Giorgio Mammoliti’s policard), who once suggested turning Toronto Island into a red light district, sent Tory a Subway sandwich, a humorous reference to another of his (Mammoliti’s) hare-brained schemes, a Finch Ave. metro.

A Hero Burger would have been more in order, not that our eminently reasonable mayor would touch either.

Longtime Willowdale councillor, David Shiner (open David Shiner’s policard), was clearly irritated by this interloper chief magistrate who demands politeness. How dare he? Relearning how to behave is hard after so much time.

The sudden change in civic culture from loud confrontation to quiet consultation has exposed the Shiners, Mammolitis and Karygiannises for the graceless self-servers they are.

Tory, who would rather die than offend, operates in stark contrast to those who know no other way to conduct themselves or practise politics. To them, it is all war, all the time. The end justifies the means.

For old-hand Mammoliti and first-timer Karygiannis, comfortable in their arrogance, full of disdain and accustomed to being right, having to grow up so late in life won’t be easy.

Such behaviour has never been acceptable, but it has been the norm for so long Torontonians have come to expect it. That’s what Tory will eliminate from the civic culture. His ideas won’t all be worthy; mistakes will be made, but simply by being himself the mayor will raise the tone of local politics.

After a particularly nasty meeting of the licensing committee, Tory spoke about its member’s appalling manners.

“It was disrespectful to the public,” he declared, “and I don’t care what anybody’s view or their political stripe, or anything else about them, when they come here to city hall as citizens of this city and want to make a deputation provided they act in a civilized manner, they should be treated no differently.”

After the years of all-night deputations that were a cross between a circus and a show trial, Tory will have to be patient. Restoring dignity to a council and city that lost it long ago won’t be easy. But all Tory has to do is be himself.

Christopher Hume can be reached at chume@thestar.ca

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Memorial stone for slain homeless woman found near waste bins

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Jacques Gallant - Staff Reporter

Little is known about Casey Smith’s life, but one thing is clear: she was loved.

“In memory of Casey Smith. Home isn’t just where we live, it’s where we love,” reads an inscription professionally carved into a heavy, rectangular stone, not unlike those found in cemeteries.

It was discovered earlier this week in the melting snow near the recycling bins behind Laura Dobson’s apartment building at Queen St. W. and Roncesvalles Ave., raising a number of questions: How did it get there? Who commissioned it? And what to do with it now?

Dobson said she was horrified when she did an Internet search and learned that Smith, a homeless Toronto woman and mother of five, who went by the street name Cockeye, was murdered in 2000 in a drug deal gone wrong.

“I thought ‘Oh my God, in life it sounds like she was forgotten, and in death she’s still displaced,’” Dobson said. “It’s just not right that her stone is here. It shouldn’t be here.”

She said she called 311 and was told that the stone was not city property, but that someone might come by to see it.

“If it appeared that the stone had been placed there (and moved from its original location), then it should be reported to Toronto Police Service,” Tammy Robbinson, a spokeswoman with the city’s municipal licensing and standards department, told the Star in an email.

But what is the stone’s original location?

A picture from March 2008 posted on the photo-sharing website Flickr by a passerby identifies the stone’s home at that time as being somewhere on Queen St. W. between Niagara St. and Palmerston Ave.

It’s unclear if that was supposed to be the stone’s intended location. Smith was murdered behind an apartment building in Moss Park (near Shuter and Parliament Sts.) and, according to a friend, she rented a room for a number of years in the Beaches. It’s unknown if she was buried or cremated.

Brandi, who declined to give her last name, said she knew “Cockeye” for more than 10 years before she was killed. She said she was pleasantly surprised to learn someone had commissioned the stone.

“Wow, somebody really loved her,” she said. “That makes me happy that she had somebody else who loved her, because I really loved her, too.”

Brandi said she likely met Smith at a drop-in centre for the homeless.

“She was a nice woman. Really soft-spoken, really kind,” said Brandi. “She had a big heart … We didn’t only do drugs together. We went shopping together. We did normal things. If there was a show on at the theatre, we would go there.”

Brandi said she felt “lost” when she heard of Smith’s death. She remembers the day, May 28, 2000, all too well.

According to news reports and the subsequent trial of her murderer, Smith, 40, who had worked in the sex trade and had suffered from a brain tumour, was shot with a sawed-off shotgun at point blank range by Wayne Fairclough.

A crack cocaine dealer, Fairclough demanded three times that she drop $20 on the ground during a drug deal early that morning behind an apartment complex in Moss Park. She refused each time, and then he shot her.

Fairclough was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury and sentenced to life in prison in 2003 with no chance of parole for 22 years.

“Mr. Fairclough put a value on Casey Smith’s life. He determined it was $20 … He, in effect, executed her for $20,” Crown attorney Paul McDermott said at Fairclough’s sentencing hearing.

Dobson, who found the stone, said she would like for someone to come forward and claim it, or for it to be displayed in a public place like a park.

“It’s important for everyone to be remembered,” she said. “No one’s identity should be by my recycling bin.”

Brandi said she’s hoping the stone could be placed under a tree near where Smith died.

“And then we could do kind of a memorial for her. So that she knows that we love her.”

With files from Star staff

Jacques Gallant can be reached at 416-869-4194 or jgallant@thestar.ca .

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Ben Affleck — Support the Congo … And BTW, Their Chocolate is Awesome! (VIDEO)

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  TMZ Staff

[[tmz:video id=”0_s9ajr39z”]] Ben Affleck loves the people of the Congo, and really loves their coffee and chocolates. Our photog Colin got Ben coming out of a Senate hearing where he testified about his Eastern Congo Initiative, which helps peo…

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Ski season, what ski season? Seymour, Cypress mountains pack it in, Grouse hanging on

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  The Province - News

While two North Shore ski resorts are throwing in the towel after a washout year, Grouse Mountain is hoping a recent snowfall will stretch out the season a little longer.

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Bomb-plot accused said he was prepared to kill undercover cop with marble-firing gun

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  The Province - News

Less than a month before allegedly carrying out a plot to bomb the B.C. legislature, terror suspect John Nuttall admitted to an undercover cop that he was carrying a marble-firing gun and that he was prepared to kill him. The admission by Nuttall, capt…

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VICE and HBO Enter Major Deal to Expand News Programming

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  VICE Staff

VICE and HBO Enter Major Deal to Expand News Programming

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VICE and HBO Enter Major Deal to Expand News Programming

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  VICE Staff

VICE and HBO Enter Major Deal to Expand News Programming

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Google will fix Chrome’s scrolling with Microsoft’s help

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

Smoother scrolling is coming to Chrome, as Google will integrate Microsoft’s Pointer Events API into a future version of the browser. To say that Google and Microsoft haven’t had the best working relationship would be an understatement. The companies…

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The Trailer Park Boys Talk Pot, Kittens, and Their Show’s Ninth Season

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  David Bienenstock

The highlight of the Trailer Park Boys’ recent Still Drunk, High, and Unemployed Tour stop in Oakland, California came about midway through. John Paul Tremblay, who was very much in character as “Julian,” invited fans of the long-running Canadian comedy franchise to come up on stage and buy a $10 hamburger. Hundreds of drunk and stoned fans took him up on the offer, handing over real money for real meat, along with a chance to get some quick face time with their working class heroes. The line only abated after Julian had cleared, by my estimate, about $1,500 cash. And it only ended because he ran out of product.

Now, to the uninitiated, literally stopping your show to sell overpriced burgers to the audience hand-over-fist, and then spending that windfall on booze and pot, may sound like a greasy way to go through life. But fans of the series—which started with a low-budget independent short in 1998, and has since spawned eight TV seasons and three feature films—wouldn’t have it any other way. Not just because we’ve shared so many laughs and good times with Julian, Ricky (Robb Wells), Bubbles (Mike Smith), and the other denizens of Sunnyvale Trailer Park over the years, but because we’ve also shared copious amounts of love, hope, friendship, community, and an old-fashioned kind of solidarity you don’t often see on television these days.

Also, let’s be honest, even the boys’ more illicit capers—from growing and selling dope, to bootlegging Russian liquor—are actually far more honest hustles than what the rest of society does for a living. Because whether you’re a greeter at Walmart or a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, most of us work, for the man, while these three best buds manage to get by on the margins—at least when they’re not in prison.

Ricky grows the finest herb in Eastern Canada. Julian runs an unlicensed bar in his living room. Bubbles “finds” broken shopping carts, fixes them, and then sells them back to the mall. And, of course, all three star in an altered-reality show perhaps best described as Cops from the other side of the story.

Two years ago, the principal actors acquired the rights to Trailer Park Boys for themselves, and then subsequently signed a deal with Netflix to produce new episodes going forward. Still proudly made in Canada, the show’s ninth season will premiere on March 27, with at least one additional season already in production.

Since the boys only do press in character, I caught up with Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles earlier this week by telephone from Sunnyvale Trailer Park, as they prepared to indulge in the first joint of the day.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/ubeQtlkX8O8′ width=’100%’ height=’360′]

You guys just toured the US, and now you’re back in Canada—so who’s got better weed?
Julian: They call it medicine down there, or they use these fancy names. I’d rather just call it weed. If it gets me high and I’m happy, that’s all that matters.

Ricky: I’ve always thought our dope was way better, but I don’t know, the last couple trips down there, I’ve been pretty blown away—especially in Colorado and places like that where’s it’s legal.

So then are you still against legalization?
Ricky: Well, legalization sucks for people like me trying to make a living growing it, but you can get a lot better quality stuff and it’s a lot more available. I’ve got mixed feelings on the whole thing.

Legalization is emerging as a pretty big election issue in Canada, how is that playing out?
Ricky: Yeah, well, the dick that’s in power now [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] is against it and his opponent, who might or might not be a dick [Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau], is for it. So hopefully, he’ll get elected.

And if marijuana is legalized in Canada, how will you guys replace that income?
Ricky: My stuff is way better that any shit the government can grow, so I’m not really worried about it.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/EwJIDrOEPts?list=PLlMMi2QrE8SEV2j-BWSDCMdNSWfe3r35y’ width=’100%’ height=’360′]

How’d the rest of the tour go? What was the greasiest experience you guys had out on the road this go around?
Bubbles: Probably the strippers that Julian picked up. It was the first time we performed in Vegas and it got out of hand. Julian had about 40 strippers hangin’ off him.

Were they fans of the show, or how did you get them so interested?
Julian: They thought we had lots of money.

Do Americans recognize you more now that you’re on Netflix?
Bubbles: Oh absolutely, everywhere we go people buy us drinks and give us free dope. And ladies come up and smooch me and grab my wiener!

Any downsides?
Bubbles: Not really.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/QOe5-qzk2JI’ width=’100%’ height=’360′]

You’ve got season nine of the show coming out very soon. What are some of the highlights?
Julian: I was close to retiring again, which was awesome…

Bubbles: It’s hard to talk about the upcoming season, because the people with the—you know, that edit it all together—we don’t get to see it until it goes up on the TV, so we’ve learned over the years that a lot depends on what they use and what they cut out.

Do you like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black and some of the other shows they make?
Ricky: Bubbles has been trying to get me to watch that stuff, but I find it very hard to follow. It’s just, I don’t know, written by a bunch of people who think they’re too goddamn smart and it drives me crazy. Bubbles likes it.

Bubbles: I like the shows, but I wish Netflix would give me a goddamn free account.

They’re making you pay every month?!
Bubbles: Well actually, J-Roc’s got it rigged up, he’s foolin’ the thing somehow, so I mean we get it, but it would be nice to not have to do that, cause I love all of those shows.

Who negotiated your deal with Netflix that you didn’t even get a free account? Who is your representation in the industry?
Bubbles: Julian.

Julian: I was worried about making money, not free accounts. It’s $8.99 a month, isn’t it?

Bubbles: Yes! That’s a lot of money!

Julian: I was trying to get us hundreds of dollars, not $8.99.

Bubbles: You could have just said, “Oh, by the way, I need a free fuckin’ account.”

Julian: I’ll try next season.

[body_image width=’2000′ height=’1329′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’the-trailer-park-boys-talk-pot-netflix-and-kittens-456-body-image-1427396588.jpg’ id=’40245′]
The writer hanging with the Trailer Park Boys

What will you guys do when the new season premieres online? Do you get the whole trailer park together and binge-watch?
Ricky: Yeah, it’ll be a big party, I’ll probably have about 50 joints rolled, and Julian’s got a bunch of booze, and were just gonna get lit up.

Axl Rose is a big fan of the show, right? Think he’ll show up?
Bubbles: I just talked to him a couple days ago. He sent me a platinum record for Chinese Democracy. It’s awesome.

You performed with him once, right?
Oh more than once, I went on tour with him and played about 80 shows all over the world.

What did you do on the tour?
Bubbles: I got up on stage at the end of the night for the encore. Axl and I would sing a song I wrote years ago called “Liquor and Whores.” It was fantastic. And Axl has this whole touring thing all figured out. He’s got a private jet, all the booze you can handle and ladies around. You know we usually tour in Ricky’s car, but for this last one we got a nice big bus—that’s a trick I learned from Axl.

Ricky: We also just talked to Snoop a couple of days ago.

Julian: He says he wants to come to the trailer park and visit, so we’re hoping he does.

If you were going to host Snoop at Sunnyvale, what would the preparations for that be like?
Ricky: We’d roll up a shit-ton of joints. All hands on deck rolling joints.

Bubbles: And hopefully Snoop would bring the party himself. Snoop rolls big, right? We did his show and he gave us 200 bucks each straight from of his pocket.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/YrRKrj3-kLU’ width=’100%’ height=’315′]

Did Snoop give you anything else?
Julian: Two-handful’s of dope each.

Ricky: It was really well done, whoever was growing that.

Do fans often bring you gifts?
Julian: In addition to tons of dope and liquor, we’ve gotten bongs, clothes, hats, knives—all kinds of crazy shit.

Bubbles: I get sweaters and socks that people knit with kitties on them.

How are your kitties doing? It’s been a tough winter in Nova Scotia, right?
Bubbles: Yes, very tough winter, but they’re all doing great. I got a nice little wood stove in my shed, so we all huddle around that and it’s awesome.

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The Trailer Park Boys Talk Pot, Kittens, and Their Show’s Ninth Season

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  David Bienenstock

The highlight of the Trailer Park Boys’ recent Still Drunk, High, and Unemployed Tour stop in Oakland, California came about midway through. John Paul Tremblay, who was very much in character as “Julian,” invited fans of the long-running Canadian comedy franchise to come up on stage and buy a $10 hamburger. Hundreds of drunk and stoned fans took him up on the offer, handing over real money for real meat, along with a chance to get some quick face time with their working class heroes. The line only abated after Julian had cleared, by my estimate, about $1,500 cash. And it only ended because he ran out of product.

Now, to the uninitiated, literally stopping your show to sell overpriced burgers to the audience hand-over-fist, and then spending that windfall on booze and pot, may sound like a greasy way to go through life. But fans of the series—which started with a low-budget independent short in 1998, and has since spawned eight TV seasons and three feature films—wouldn’t have it any other way. Not just because we’ve shared so many laughs and good times with Julian, Ricky (Robb Wells), Bubbles (Mike Smith), and the other denizens of Sunnyvale Trailer Park over the years, but because we’ve also shared copious amounts of love, hope, friendship, community, and an old-fashioned kind of solidarity you don’t often see on television these days.

Also, let’s be honest, even the boys’ more illicit capers—from growing and selling dope, to bootlegging Russian liquor—are actually far more honest hustles than what the rest of society does for a living. Because whether you’re a greeter at Walmart or a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, most of us work, for the man, while these three best buds manage to get by on the margins—at least when they’re not in prison.

Ricky grows the finest herb in Eastern Canada. Julian runs an unlicensed bar in his living room. Bubbles “finds” broken shopping carts, fixes them, and then sells them back to the mall. And, of course, all three star in an altered-reality show perhaps best described as Cops from the other side of the story.

Two years ago, the principal actors acquired the rights to Trailer Park Boys for themselves, and then subsequently signed a deal with Netflix to produce new episodes going forward. Still proudly made in Canada, the show’s ninth season will premiere on March 27, with at least one additional season already in production.

Since the boys only do press in character, I caught up with Julian, Ricky, and Bubbles earlier this week by telephone from Sunnyvale Trailer Park, as they prepared to indulge in the first joint of the day.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/ubeQtlkX8O8′ width=’100%’ height=’360′]

You guys just toured the US, and now you’re back in Canada—so who’s got better weed?
Julian: They call it medicine down there, or they use these fancy names. I’d rather just call it weed. If it gets me high and I’m happy, that’s all that matters.

Ricky: I’ve always thought our dope was way better, but I don’t know, the last couple trips down there, I’ve been pretty blown away—especially in Colorado and places like that where’s it’s legal.

So then are you still against legalization?
Ricky: Well, legalization sucks for people like me trying to make a living growing it, but you can get a lot better quality stuff and it’s a lot more available. I’ve got mixed feelings on the whole thing.

Legalization is emerging as a pretty big election issue in Canada, how is that playing out?
Ricky: Yeah, well, the dick that’s in power now [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] is against it and his opponent, who might or might not be a dick [Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau], is for it. So hopefully, he’ll get elected.

And if marijuana is legalized in Canada, how will you guys replace that income?
Ricky: My stuff is way better that any shit the government can grow, so I’m not really worried about it.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/EwJIDrOEPts?list=PLlMMi2QrE8SEV2j-BWSDCMdNSWfe3r35y’ width=’100%’ height=’360′]

How’d the rest of the tour go? What was the greasiest experience you guys had out on the road this go around?
Bubbles: Probably the strippers that Julian picked up. It was the first time we performed in Vegas and it got out of hand. Julian had about 40 strippers hangin’ off him.

Were they fans of the show, or how did you get them so interested?
Julian: They thought we had lots of money.

Do Americans recognize you more now that you’re on Netflix?
Bubbles: Oh absolutely, everywhere we go people buy us drinks and give us free dope. And ladies come up and smooch me and grab my wiener!

Any downsides?
Bubbles: Not really.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/QOe5-qzk2JI’ width=’100%’ height=’360′]

You’ve got season nine of the show coming out very soon. What are some of the highlights?
Julian: I was close to retiring again, which was awesome…

Bubbles: It’s hard to talk about the upcoming season, because the people with the—you know, that edit it all together—we don’t get to see it until it goes up on the TV, so we’ve learned over the years that a lot depends on what they use and what they cut out.

Do you like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black and some of the other shows they make?
Ricky: Bubbles has been trying to get me to watch that stuff, but I find it very hard to follow. It’s just, I don’t know, written by a bunch of people who think they’re too goddamn smart and it drives me crazy. Bubbles likes it.

Bubbles: I like the shows, but I wish Netflix would give me a goddamn free account.

They’re making you pay every month?!
Bubbles: Well actually, J-Roc’s got it rigged up, he’s foolin’ the thing somehow, so I mean we get it, but it would be nice to not have to do that, cause I love all of those shows.

Who negotiated your deal with Netflix that you didn’t even get a free account? Who is your representation in the industry?
Bubbles: Julian.

Julian: I was worried about making money, not free accounts. It’s $8.99 a month, isn’t it?

Bubbles: Yes! That’s a lot of money!

Julian: I was trying to get us hundreds of dollars, not $8.99.

Bubbles: You could have just said, “Oh, by the way, I need a free fuckin’ account.”

Julian: I’ll try next season.

[body_image width=’2000′ height=’1329′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’the-trailer-park-boys-talk-pot-netflix-and-kittens-456-body-image-1427396588.jpg’ id=’40245′]
The writer hanging with the Trailer Park Boys

What will you guys do when the new season premieres online? Do you get the whole trailer park together and binge-watch?
Ricky: Yeah, it’ll be a big party, I’ll probably have about 50 joints rolled, and Julian’s got a bunch of booze, and were just gonna get lit up.

Axl Rose is a big fan of the show, right? Think he’ll show up?
Bubbles: I just talked to him a couple days ago. He sent me a platinum record for Chinese Democracy. It’s awesome.

You performed with him once, right?
Oh more than once, I went on tour with him and played about 80 shows all over the world.

What did you do on the tour?
Bubbles: I got up on stage at the end of the night for the encore. Axl and I would sing a song I wrote years ago called “Liquor and Whores.” It was fantastic. And Axl has this whole touring thing all figured out. He’s got a private jet, all the booze you can handle and ladies around. You know we usually tour in Ricky’s car, but for this last one we got a nice big bus—that’s a trick I learned from Axl.

Ricky: We also just talked to Snoop a couple of days ago.

Julian: He says he wants to come to the trailer park and visit, so we’re hoping he does.

If you were going to host Snoop at Sunnyvale, what would the preparations for that be like?
Ricky: We’d roll up a shit-ton of joints. All hands on deck rolling joints.

Bubbles: And hopefully Snoop would bring the party himself. Snoop rolls big, right? We did his show and he gave us 200 bucks each straight from of his pocket.

[youtube src=’//www.youtube.com/embed/YrRKrj3-kLU’ width=’100%’ height=’315′]

Did Snoop give you anything else?
Julian: Two-handful’s of dope each.

Ricky: It was really well done, whoever was growing that.

Do fans often bring you gifts?
Julian: In addition to tons of dope and liquor, we’ve gotten bongs, clothes, hats, knives—all kinds of crazy shit.

Bubbles: I get sweaters and socks that people knit with kitties on them.

How are your kitties doing? It’s been a tough winter in Nova Scotia, right?
Bubbles: Yes, very tough winter, but they’re all doing great. I got a nice little wood stove in my shed, so we all huddle around that and it’s awesome.

Follow David on Twitter.

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Comics: Envoy – ‘Meeting the Prime Minister’

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

[body_image width=’983′ height=’1252′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’envoy-meeting-the-prime-minister-951-body-image-1427384782.jpg’ id=’40115′]Look at Lane Milburn’s website and get hi…

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Indiana Is Threatening LGBT Rights Before the Supreme Court Takes Up Gay Marriage

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

[body_image width=’640′ height=’427′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’indiana-joins-list-of-states-trying-to-preemptively-gut-protections-for-gays-in-anticipation-of-supreme-court-ruling-…

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One Direction Fan-Fic Writers Have Not Taken Zayn’s Departure Well at All

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

[body_image width=’1250′ height=’1164′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427385550.jpg’ id=’40130′]

A troubled Zayn.
Image via Wiki Commons.

The fan-fic writer knows no obligation to reality. While the media might be full of rumors about what really caused Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction—
cheating on Perrie, smoking too much weed, just being a 22-year-old guy who is bored of the whole world imagining what it would be like to have sex with him—fan-fic authors are free to dream up stories far more ludicrous than any that would ever appear in a tabloid newspaper.

In the hours since Zayn announced he was leaving, the 1D fan-fiction community has gone into overdrive, flooding the internet with fresh, new, semi-conspiratorial stories. Most of them are prefixed with apologies for their hasty composition and overly mushy subject matter, and most, obviously, depict Zayn leaving and a histrionic imagining of what went down, although some fans have
announced that they’re retiring their pens in protest and shock.

One of the strange things about the fan-fic that’s been published since the split is that so little of it seems to fantasize about Zayn changing his mind and coming back. Almost every plot I read features scenes of backstage crying and clammy hugs, using the kind of quasi-apocalyptic language that wouldn’t seem out of place at a funeral. The tragedy of the situation is clear: Zayn’s gone for good.

Here are some of my favorite literary reactions:

EXHIBIT #1

Author: fetchlylarrystylinson a.k.a. Larry Smut
Title: Goodbye Zayn
Previous works: Togehter we’ll get through Anything (sic)


[body_image width=’1185′ height=’689′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427383448.png’ id=’40088′]

In review: Goodbye Zayn frames the Zayn revelation from a point in the not-too-distant past, the moment everything started to unravel. Were the signs always there? “Yes,” says fetchlylarrystylinson, “they fucking were if you opened your eyes.” Here, Harry—the de facto “main one” now, remember—approaches Zayn in the weird, five-dorm house that One Direction fanfictioners seem to think they all live in, and asks him if he’s OK. This is teenage wish fulfilment at its most basic: who has asked the Directioners of the world if they are OK? Because they are not OK. They are sat on their beds being sad about that good-haired prince fucking off to go and do an undoubtedly shitty solo record.

Sadly, all that tension—all that angst, all that parallel lives stuff—is quite rapidly destroyed when Zayn cups Harry’s perfect face in his hand and it all, as One Direction fan-fiction is wont to do, gets homoerotic up in here.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: C

EXHIBIT #2

Author: Bearcat
Title: Ready to Run
Previous Works: Dangerous (A Liam Payne Love Story)


[body_image width=’846′ height=’502′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427383871.png’ id=’40095′]

In Review: What Bearcat is saying with Ready to Run, beyond “I know a lot of descriptive verbs for talking,” is that she’s above the One Direction hype. Who cares that Zayn has left? Because Tracy fucking Chapman still exists, and turquoise paint still exists, and teenage fucking rebellion still exists. Heh, you think you know Zayn pain? You do not know Zayn pain. You do not know Zayn pain until you have deleted your Facebook page and smoked exactly three clove cigarettes and walked in your galoshes in the rain just really, actually, thinking about life.

OPEN. YOUR. EYES. SHEEPLE. PAINT. YOUR. NAILS. PURPLE.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: A low B, and a note to student services about their wellbeing.

EXHIBIT #3

Author: sunnysideup
Title: The Storm
Previous Works: Something Called Payne


[body_image width=’1059′ height=’624′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384286.png’ id=’40099′]

[body_image width=’1053′ height=’652′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384315.png’ id=’40100′]

[body_image width=’1045′ height=’624′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384372.png’ id=’40102′]

In review: You know when proper grown-ups write for young adults and it’s a bit, “Well, you tried granddad, but you did just describe a cardigan as being ‘well dapper’?” That times a million for sunnysideup, author of The Storm. At its heart, The Storm is a story of five lads who have appalling, unworkable nicknames for each other (why would you call someone called Liam “Li”? Liam takes like, a millisecond to say), and who are in love in a bizarre, sexless (I think?) way, and they don’t know how to swear, but they do understand each other, but they also punch each other in the bollocks on the reg. Liam and Zayn are in love, here, but in that kind of bromantic love where they sit on the sofa with their legs on each other’s laps, but they never actually jerk each other off. What is happening? Nothing. How long is it taking nothing to happen? Forever. This is puberty in a nutshell, basically. The Storm is the most meta out of all of these.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: Low D and a whispered conversation at parents’ evening where it’s suggested additional tutoring might be necessary.

EXHIBIT #4

Author: JessieAmari
Title: Zayn Quit 1D for me

[body_image width=’965′ height=’407′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427385156.png’ id=’40118′]

In Review: Think it’s pretty clear what JessieAmari is trying to say with
Zayn Quit 1D for me: It’s that Zayn quit 1D, for her. So what is Harry Styles doing at the door, with his fuck-eyes on? He is in love with her too. What JessieAmari is saying here, and this is a brave admission, is that One Direction was torn apart by not one but two members’ love for her, and the weirdly competitive feelings Harry and Zayn have over laying a stake on her. She’s walking into the One Direction fan-fiction community with her hands above her head and she’s saying: “Hear my voice, sunnysideup. Hear me well, Bearcat. It is I who broke up your favorite band, with my insanely powerful badonk-a-donk. I am like a double Yoko Ono up in here.”

A brave piece of writing.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: Oh, like a U.

EXHIBIT #5

Author: John the Craptist
Title: It Feels Better Biting Down

[body_image width=’1036′ height=’177′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384761.png’ id=’40114′]

In Review: Kerouac never died, he just went into the ground and re-emerged years later as John the Craptist, renowned stream-of-consciousness One Direction fan-fiction author. Burn, burn, burn, John the Craptist. Burn like the fabulous yellow roman candle that you are.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writin : A*********, a new categorization invented especially for it.

Follow Roisin Kiberd and Joel Golby on Twitter.


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One Direction Fan-Fic Writers Have Not Taken Zayn’s Departure Well at All

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

[body_image width=’1250′ height=’1164′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427385550.jpg’ id=’40130′]

A troubled Zayn.
Image via Wiki Commons.

The fan-fic writer knows no obligation to reality. While the media might be full of rumors about what really caused Zayn Malik’s departure from One Direction—
cheating on Perrie, smoking too much weed, just being a 22-year-old guy who is bored of the whole world imagining what it would be like to have sex with him—fan-fic authors are free to dream up stories far more ludicrous than any that would ever appear in a tabloid newspaper.

In the hours since Zayn announced he was leaving, the 1D fan-fiction community has gone into overdrive, flooding the internet with fresh, new, semi-conspiratorial stories. Most of them are prefixed with apologies for their hasty composition and overly mushy subject matter, and most, obviously, depict Zayn leaving and a histrionic imagining of what went down, although some fans have
announced that they’re retiring their pens in protest and shock.

One of the strange things about the fan-fic that’s been published since the split is that so little of it seems to fantasize about Zayn changing his mind and coming back. Almost every plot I read features scenes of backstage crying and clammy hugs, using the kind of quasi-apocalyptic language that wouldn’t seem out of place at a funeral. The tragedy of the situation is clear: Zayn’s gone for good.

Here are some of my favorite literary reactions:

EXHIBIT #1

Author: fetchlylarrystylinson a.k.a. Larry Smut
Title: Goodbye Zayn
Previous works: Togehter we’ll get through Anything (sic)


[body_image width=’1185′ height=’689′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427383448.png’ id=’40088′]

In review: Goodbye Zayn frames the Zayn revelation from a point in the not-too-distant past, the moment everything started to unravel. Were the signs always there? “Yes,” says fetchlylarrystylinson, “they fucking were if you opened your eyes.” Here, Harry—the de facto “main one” now, remember—approaches Zayn in the weird, five-dorm house that One Direction fanfictioners seem to think they all live in, and asks him if he’s OK. This is teenage wish fulfilment at its most basic: who has asked the Directioners of the world if they are OK? Because they are not OK. They are sat on their beds being sad about that good-haired prince fucking off to go and do an undoubtedly shitty solo record.

Sadly, all that tension—all that angst, all that parallel lives stuff—is quite rapidly destroyed when Zayn cups Harry’s perfect face in his hand and it all, as One Direction fan-fiction is wont to do, gets homoerotic up in here.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: C

EXHIBIT #2

Author: Bearcat
Title: Ready to Run
Previous Works: Dangerous (A Liam Payne Love Story)


[body_image width=’846′ height=’502′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427383871.png’ id=’40095′]

In Review: What Bearcat is saying with Ready to Run, beyond “I know a lot of descriptive verbs for talking,” is that she’s above the One Direction hype. Who cares that Zayn has left? Because Tracy fucking Chapman still exists, and turquoise paint still exists, and teenage fucking rebellion still exists. Heh, you think you know Zayn pain? You do not know Zayn pain. You do not know Zayn pain until you have deleted your Facebook page and smoked exactly three clove cigarettes and walked in your galoshes in the rain just really, actually, thinking about life.

OPEN. YOUR. EYES. SHEEPLE. PAINT. YOUR. NAILS. PURPLE.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: A low B, and a note to student services about their wellbeing.

EXHIBIT #3

Author: sunnysideup
Title: The Storm
Previous Works: Something Called Payne


[body_image width=’1059′ height=’624′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384286.png’ id=’40099′]

[body_image width=’1053′ height=’652′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384315.png’ id=’40100′]

[body_image width=’1045′ height=’624′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384372.png’ id=’40102′]

In review: You know when proper grown-ups write for young adults and it’s a bit, “Well, you tried granddad, but you did just describe a cardigan as being ‘well dapper’?” That times a million for sunnysideup, author of The Storm. At its heart, The Storm is a story of five lads who have appalling, unworkable nicknames for each other (why would you call someone called Liam “Li”? Liam takes like, a millisecond to say), and who are in love in a bizarre, sexless (I think?) way, and they don’t know how to swear, but they do understand each other, but they also punch each other in the bollocks on the reg. Liam and Zayn are in love, here, but in that kind of bromantic love where they sit on the sofa with their legs on each other’s laps, but they never actually jerk each other off. What is happening? Nothing. How long is it taking nothing to happen? Forever. This is puberty in a nutshell, basically. The Storm is the most meta out of all of these.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: Low D and a whispered conversation at parents’ evening where it’s suggested additional tutoring might be necessary.

EXHIBIT #4

Author: JessieAmari
Title: Zayn Quit 1D for me

[body_image width=’965′ height=’407′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427385156.png’ id=’40118′]

In Review: Think it’s pretty clear what JessieAmari is trying to say with
Zayn Quit 1D for me: It’s that Zayn quit 1D, for her. So what is Harry Styles doing at the door, with his fuck-eyes on? He is in love with her too. What JessieAmari is saying here, and this is a brave admission, is that One Direction was torn apart by not one but two members’ love for her, and the weirdly competitive feelings Harry and Zayn have over laying a stake on her. She’s walking into the One Direction fan-fiction community with her hands above her head and she’s saying: “Hear my voice, sunnysideup. Hear me well, Bearcat. It is I who broke up your favorite band, with my insanely powerful badonk-a-donk. I am like a double Yoko Ono up in here.”

A brave piece of writing.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writing assignment: Oh, like a U.

EXHIBIT #5

Author: John the Craptist
Title: It Feels Better Biting Down

[body_image width=’1036′ height=’177′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’1d-fan-fiction-zayn-maliks-departure-body-image-1427384761.png’ id=’40114′]

In Review: Kerouac never died, he just went into the ground and re-emerged years later as John the Craptist, renowned stream-of-consciousness One Direction fan-fiction author. Burn, burn, burn, John the Craptist. Burn like the fabulous yellow roman candle that you are.

What grade this would get if it were a high school creative writin : A*********, a new categorization invented especially for it.

Follow Roisin Kiberd and Joel Golby on Twitter.


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Poland’s First Transgender Presidential Candidate Doesn’t Worry About the Trolls or the Polls

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

This article originally appeared on VICE Poland

After the 2011 general election in Poland, Anna Grodzka became the first openly transgender MP in the country’s history. As expected in a place as conservative as Poland, her election caused quite a stir, with both the local media as well as her opponents focusing on her gender identity instead of her political agenda.

Not that that did anything to combat her ambition. On the contrary, this past January, Grodzka announced her plans to run for president later this year. However, there is a chance that today these dreams might come to a halt. The politician has had trouble collecting the 100,000 signatures required by the Polish Electoral Commission to validate a candidacy and the registration deadline expires tonight at midnight.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with a still-optimistic Anna Grodzka.

VICE: What exactly was it that inspired you to run for president?
Anna Grodzka:
The media has been focused on my transgender identity since I first got into politics. I completely get it but I am also set on showing people that my political abilities have nothing to do with my gender. A presidential campaign would be a great platform for me to do that—it would open up my reach and more people would get to hear my views and beliefs.

Are you prepared to be the president of Poland? Are you willing to represent all Poles—including the guys with the swastika tattoos?
There is no way a president can represent the whole nation—it’s just not possible. Politicians have supporters and enemies. In my opinion, the most important thing for a president is to objectively recognize the needs of the citizens of his country. To me, it seems that our previous presidents have been mostly concerned with their own agenda and that they’ve tried really hard to maintain a neutral stance when pressed with questions about controversial issues.

I believe it should be the other way around—the president should be a person who initiates the dialogue. An ambassador of their own ideals.

[body_image width=’1300′ height=’730′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’anna-grodzka-interview-poland-876-body-image-1427384730.jpg’ id=’40112′]Photo by Aurelia Moczyńska

What is the ideal that Poland is in need of at the moment?
The most important issue that Poland faces right now is rampant inequality. But, to be honest, it’s not only our problem. The whole Western world has to deal with that issue. One percent of humanity owns the rest of us.

In Poland, people have jobs but they cannot sustain themselves on their income. Economic difficulties create social phobias, and make the world-views of a large part of the society more radical. That would be at the center of my presidential agenda.

There is a lot of unpleasantry aimed at you. How do you cope with that?
I cannot really deal with it, but I try to do my best. I don’t read online comments—I try to ignore all of them—because I have a feeling that there’s nothing of use in them. On the other hand, constructive criticism is much appreciated. Critical opinions on my words or my actions—I’ll gladly accept those.

Have you ever been made to feel particularly hurt by someone’s comment?
I remember being take aback by a hate speech by another Polish MP, Krystyna Pawłowicz. She said that I look like a professional boxer and that a person like myself has no right to even be in a public space. She said those things at a meeting in the town of Mińsk Mazowiecki. It was around the time that we were debating the issue of civil partnerships and same-sex civil unions in parliament.

How is all that hate connected to freedom of speech? Should we encourage as unlimited freedom of speech as possible or control it?
If you’re assuming that in Poland we have freedom of speech, I have to stop you right there. There is no freedom of speech in Poland. Sure, we can say almost anything, but in private conditions. It’s impossible for an individual to take part in a civilized debate. There’s evidently censorship at work.

The situation is almost worse than in the communist years. I was a book publisher then, and I can say that we had more options. You at least had the option of arguing with the censor face to face. To make him consider saving some fragments of a book or taking an author off the blacklist.

Now, certain persons, events, and opinions are simply expelled from the public debate. In Poland, this is also largely the work of certain media.

According to the most recent polls, you’re supported by only 1 percent of the voters. Why do you think your predicted position in the elections is so low?
Take a look at the amount of time the mainstream media gives me and the amount of time that other candidates receive. I can sit at the conversation table with any of my opponents—discuss any issues and my views—but I am never given that chance. Even when a channel finally invites me, they have no interest in my political platform, all they want to discuss is my transition.

Polls are an entirely different case and they rarely get it right. In the last election, the polls gave the Green Party 0-1 percent and we got 10 percent. So, I don’t worry about the polls too much and the fight goes on.

Thank you very much for your time, Ms. Grodzka.

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Poland’s First Transgender Presidential Candidate Doesn’t Worry About the Trolls or the Polls

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

This article originally appeared on VICE Poland

After the 2011 general election in Poland, Anna Grodzka became the first openly transgender MP in the country’s history. As expected in a place as conservative as Poland, her election caused quite a stir, with both the local media as well as her opponents focusing on her gender identity instead of her political agenda.

Not that that did anything to combat her ambition. On the contrary, this past January, Grodzka announced her plans to run for president later this year. However, there is a chance that today these dreams might come to a halt. The politician has had trouble collecting the 100,000 signatures required by the Polish Electoral Commission to validate a candidacy and the registration deadline expires tonight at midnight.

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with a still-optimistic Anna Grodzka.

VICE: What exactly was it that inspired you to run for president?
Anna Grodzka:
The media has been focused on my transgender identity since I first got into politics. I completely get it but I am also set on showing people that my political abilities have nothing to do with my gender. A presidential campaign would be a great platform for me to do that—it would open up my reach and more people would get to hear my views and beliefs.

Are you prepared to be the president of Poland? Are you willing to represent all Poles—including the guys with the swastika tattoos?
There is no way a president can represent the whole nation—it’s just not possible. Politicians have supporters and enemies. In my opinion, the most important thing for a president is to objectively recognize the needs of the citizens of his country. To me, it seems that our previous presidents have been mostly concerned with their own agenda and that they’ve tried really hard to maintain a neutral stance when pressed with questions about controversial issues.

I believe it should be the other way around—the president should be a person who initiates the dialogue. An ambassador of their own ideals.

[body_image width=’1300′ height=’730′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’anna-grodzka-interview-poland-876-body-image-1427384730.jpg’ id=’40112′]Photo by Aurelia Moczyńska

What is the ideal that Poland is in need of at the moment?
The most important issue that Poland faces right now is rampant inequality. But, to be honest, it’s not only our problem. The whole Western world has to deal with that issue. One percent of humanity owns the rest of us.

In Poland, people have jobs but they cannot sustain themselves on their income. Economic difficulties create social phobias, and make the world-views of a large part of the society more radical. That would be at the center of my presidential agenda.

There is a lot of unpleasantry aimed at you. How do you cope with that?
I cannot really deal with it, but I try to do my best. I don’t read online comments—I try to ignore all of them—because I have a feeling that there’s nothing of use in them. On the other hand, constructive criticism is much appreciated. Critical opinions on my words or my actions—I’ll gladly accept those.

Have you ever been made to feel particularly hurt by someone’s comment?
I remember being take aback by a hate speech by another Polish MP, Krystyna Pawłowicz. She said that I look like a professional boxer and that a person like myself has no right to even be in a public space. She said those things at a meeting in the town of Mińsk Mazowiecki. It was around the time that we were debating the issue of civil partnerships and same-sex civil unions in parliament.

How is all that hate connected to freedom of speech? Should we encourage as unlimited freedom of speech as possible or control it?
If you’re assuming that in Poland we have freedom of speech, I have to stop you right there. There is no freedom of speech in Poland. Sure, we can say almost anything, but in private conditions. It’s impossible for an individual to take part in a civilized debate. There’s evidently censorship at work.

The situation is almost worse than in the communist years. I was a book publisher then, and I can say that we had more options. You at least had the option of arguing with the censor face to face. To make him consider saving some fragments of a book or taking an author off the blacklist.

Now, certain persons, events, and opinions are simply expelled from the public debate. In Poland, this is also largely the work of certain media.

According to the most recent polls, you’re supported by only 1 percent of the voters. Why do you think your predicted position in the elections is so low?
Take a look at the amount of time the mainstream media gives me and the amount of time that other candidates receive. I can sit at the conversation table with any of my opponents—discuss any issues and my views—but I am never given that chance. Even when a channel finally invites me, they have no interest in my political platform, all they want to discuss is my transition.

Polls are an entirely different case and they rarely get it right. In the last election, the polls gave the Green Party 0-1 percent and we got 10 percent. So, I don’t worry about the polls too much and the fight goes on.

Thank you very much for your time, Ms. Grodzka.

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Chef’s Night Out at Han Dynasty

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

Chef’s Night Out at Han Dynasty

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A New Art Film Inspired by Your Favorite Kids’ TV Shows

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

[vimeo src=’//player.vimeo.com/video/123003768′ width=’1000′ height=’563′]

Tonight, in the School of Visual Arts’s Mentors Show, Claire Christerson will debut her most ambitious project to date, a short film titled Off Season. This 20-minute short has everything—frisky green mermaids, a giggling nude woman dressed as the sun, and murderous scantily clad blue waves. What more could you want? To top it all off, actress Hari Nef plays a scheming, pink supervillain named Clamindia (who has chlamydia).

A man getting eaten.

“My new film is my homage to cult children’s shows that I grew up watching, like Spongebob, Sesame Street, and Teletubbies,” Claire told VICE. We have featured her work many times before, as part of the collaborative duo Mike and Claire, but this is Claire’s art school thesis, which she had to make on her own. Mike still helped out, and appears in the film as a bright red teen heartthrob named Flemo. His work (featured in this month’s issue of VICE) is also included in the Mentors Show, and it’s easy to see the connection. “Mike and I have been working on a concept that we call Human Animation, treating humans as cartoons,” says Claire.

VICE is proud to debut this trailer for Off Season, along with some stills from the film and animated GIFs Claire made for us. See the film installed in tonight’s Mentors Show at SVA’s Chelsea Gallery, on view through Saturday, April 4.

If you can’t make it to the gallery we’ll be premiering the film in its entirety here on VICE April 4 so you can watch it Saturday morning cartoon-style.

A man getting eaten.

[body_image width=’1000′ height=’559′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’claire-chistersons-off-season-405-body-image-1427381760.jpg’ id=’40038′]

A man getting eaten.

[body_image width=’1000′ height=’558′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’claire-chistersons-off-season-405-body-image-1427381778.jpg’ id=’40039′]

A man getting eaten.

[body_image width=’1000′ height=’559′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’claire-chistersons-off-season-405-body-image-1427381793.jpg’ id=’40040′]

A man getting eaten.

[body_image width=’1000′ height=’562′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’claire-chistersons-off-season-405-body-image-1427381813.jpg’ id=’40041′]

A man getting eaten.

[body_image width=’1000′ height=’560′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’claire-chisterson-off-season-405-body-image-1427382566.jpg’ id=’40069′]

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Kevin Stebner Is the Hardest-Working Musician in Calgary

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Josiah Hughes

Kevin Stebner Is the Hardest-Working Musician in Calgary

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Federal ethics watchdog investigating Vic Toews

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Les Whittington - Ottawa Bureau reporter

OTTAWA—Former Conservative cabinet minister Vic Toews is under investigation for a possible conflict-of-interest violation in connection with dealings with a lawyer for a Manitoba First nation shortly after Toews left government.

Mary Dawson, the federal ethics watchdog, told NDP MP Pat Martin last week she believes there are “reasonable grounds” to dig into Toews’ activities in connection with Peguis First Nation after the former treasury board president stepped down from cabinet and federal politics in mid-2013.

Earlier this month, Martin wrote to Dawson to request an examination under the Conflict of Interest Act, which prohibits former federal office holders from doing work for any person or organization with which the office holder had “significant official dealings” before leaving government.

In her letter to Martin, Dawson notes that the NDP MP “referred to recent media reports” alleging a link between Toews and the Peguis First Nation. Based on that letter, media reports and publicly available information, an investigation is warranted under the conflict-of-interest statute, Dawson told Martin in a letter dated March 20.

Dawson also said that she received a complaint from Toews asking that the ethics commissioner investigate Martin under the conflict-of-interest law. Dawson said she would act on that complaint in due course.

Several weeks ago, Dawson ruled that Conservative cabinet minister Diane Finley violated conflict-of-interest rules when, after input from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office, she awarded $1 million to a Markham improvement project that had been rejected by federal officials.

In a separate matter, Canadian Press reported Toews, who is now a Manitoba judge, was to have his wages seized earlier this year in order to fulfil his lease with an Ottawa-area landlord.

Toews lost an appeal at Quebec’s rental tribunal earlier this month to have the payment order against him reversed.

Tribunal documents say that after Toews resigned his cabinet post in July 2013, he did not pay the remaining months of his lease at a Gatineau, Que., property totalling $3,900.

Landlord Raymond Desmarais pursued the matter with the tribunal and won in November 2013.

But Toews says he did not take note of the proceedings or the ruling until the beginning of this year when he realized his salary was to be garnisheed, saying he could not read the French-language documents that were sent to him last December.

Administrative Judge Pierre Gagnon said that as a judge and a former justice minister Toews should have paid attention to a document entitled “DECISION.”

Aimee Fortier, a spokesperson for the Manitoba courts, said Toews would not be in a position to comment on either Dawson’s investigation or the decision on the question of rent owed in Gatineau, Que.

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CBC eliminates 144 more jobs in new round of cuts

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

CBC says at least 144 more people will be out of work following yet another round of layoffs, with the West experiencing the brunt of the cuts.

Jennifer McGuire, editor-in-chief of CBC News, informed her staff in a letter Thursday that 144 positions would be eliminated across the country, possibly yielding even greater job losses as remaining positions are recategorized.

“We announced last summer these reductions were coming but it doesn’t make the details any easier to hear,” she wrote in the letter to staff.

McGuire categorized the layoffs as part of the public broadcaster’s commitment to be “more local at lower cost,” by slashing the operating budget of local services by $15 million.

Positions in the West were cut the deepest, with 37 cut from Alberta and 25 from British Columbia. Ontario lost 30 positions.

Most of the reductions will occur in TV programming, as local television broadcasts have been cut from 90 minutes to either 30 or 60 minutes.

McGuire also said in the letter that the company will be hiring 80 new digital positions over the next year as it grows its mobile offerings.

The spectre of unemployment has stalked the halls of the public broadcaster since 2012, when the federal government announced $115 million in cuts to its funding. Combined with declining ad revenues and the loss of Hockey Night in Canada, the financial state of the country’s biggest news broadcaster has been on the rocks for years.

Last year, after announcing it was cutting hundreds of positions, CBC CEO Hubert Lacroix noted that since assuming his position in January 2008, he has overseen three rounds of layoffs, totalling more than 2,100 positions.

In February, CBC announced it would look into selling its Toronto headquarters as a cost-cutting measure.

McGuire said that after layoffs, the company will have more than 1,100 staff across the country.

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Woman follows wild lynx around outside mall in Terrace Bay, Ont. and calls it kitty

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Vancouver Sun - News

A northern Ontario woman who came upon a wild lynx outside her shop captured the encounter on video and posted it to YouTube, drawing both awe and ridicule from online commentators

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Body cam captures Georgia cop’s dramatic rescue of three-year-old boy from a burning house

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Vancouver Sun - News

Watch: ‘It was probably one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done,’ says a cop who was the first responder at the scene of kitchen fire in Griffin, Georgia

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Secrecy, Dark Rooms, and Patriotic Drag Queens: A Gay Night Out in Moscow

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

[body_image width=’2558′ height=’1627′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/02/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/02/’ filename=’this-is-what-a-gay-night-out-in-moscow-is-like-body-image-1425301892.jpg’ id=’31997′]All photos taken on location by the author.

Midnight is falling in Moscow, and I’m trudging my way along the city’s abandoned side streets, covered with piles of graying snow. It doesn’t really feel like a prime location for a party venue, but this club is different. Tonight, we’re taking a tour of Moscow’s gay scene—a world too many people in Russia seem intent on making disappear, or at the very least fade into secrecy.

“People go to the gay bars so they don’t have to hide their homosexuality. They can be free,” my Russian friend Sasha (I’ve changed her name) tells me before I head off. “But you always have to be super careful—you never know when there can be a group of bullies waiting outside. That’s happened to me before, but I told them some story and they believed me. Make sure you don’t hail a cab right outside.”

My guide for the night, John (I’ve changed his name, too), is quick to reassure me. “Moscow is the gayest city I’ve ever been in,” he says. John, from the UK, first came to Russia to study, and after graduation returned to Moscow to work as an English teacher. He says that, for him, coming back was never in question simply because of Russia’s notorious anti-gay laws: “you just need to know where to go.”

We’ll be starting our night at Moscow’s biggest and most notorious gay club: Central Station. Tucked into a respectable side street far from the city center, Central Station is as out and proud as it’s possible to be in modern day Moscow. This building is a new location and was picked for safety, not style. In late 2013, a group of men sprayed the outside of the last premises with bullets. Weeks later, a gang released harmful gas inside the building with more than 500 people present. The final straw came when a group of men tried to bring down the club’s ceiling, aiming to crush the people inside.

“It was a real shock to me when the attacks happened,” John tells me. “I’m pretty sure the club now has bulletproof glass. The club is now a ten minute walk from the nearest metro station for a reason. If you’re willing to drag yourself all the way out here, then you really have to want to cause trouble.”

We’ve deliberately come early, because if we’re going to risk being turned away from anywhere tonight, then this is the place. This is a men’s club, and women—gay or not—will often get refused entry. If you are so blessed to be permitted without a penis, then you’ll be paying for it; tickets for girls can be up to 2500 roubles ($37).

[body_image width=’1822′ height=’1456′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/02/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/02/’ filename=’this-is-what-a-gay-night-out-in-moscow-is-like-body-image-1425302863.jpg’ id=’32007′]

We leave to head into the city center. Located in a quiet courtyard, our next bar has a name above the door, but seems far more discrete. Once inside, the club is full of white polystyrene balls on the floor designed to make it look like it’s been snowing. We both instantly pray that this floor décor does not continue in the dark room. There’s no suggestion of bulletproof glass here, but the toilets are plastered with several rainbow-colored ads for “safe LGBT taxis.”

The real pull here is the drag act. Tonight is a Maslenitsa special—a bit like the Russian Orthodox version of Shrove Tuesday—and the stage is decked out with a traditional Russian Samovar and food. “I have no idea why drag acts are so popular here,” says John. “But almost every bar will have one. Maybe it’s because in the UK there would be specialist drag bars, but here there isn’t the amount of bars for places to specialize in just one thing. Almost every bar has the same things: a drag queen, a karaoke bar, and a dark room.”

I start to appreciate what Alexis meant earlier in the night when he said that the official scene was “all the same.” Aside from the creative floor décor, this bar offers in many ways the same music, the same performances and the same experience as Central Station, or any other gay bar I’d been to in Moscow. The risks posed to gay clubs in the city may not have wiped them out, but has drastically cut their number and the diversity on offer.

[body_image width=’1200′ height=’1607′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/02/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/02/’ filename=’this-is-what-a-gay-night-out-in-moscow-is-like-body-image-1425303310.jpg’ id=’32011′]

Our host for tonight, Veronika, comes out to a rapturous welcome, miming to Russian pop hits. “People like Lady Gaga aren’t the big gay anthems here,” John shouts over the applause. “It’s all about the Russian music. A lot of the Soviet songs are really popular, too. Russian singers like Alla Pugacheva have a big gay following.”

Veronika’s act ends with a dance to the Soviet classic, “Kalinka.” “Happy holidays, bitches!” she shouts as the song ends, giving her place on the tiny stage over to the next act.

[body_image width=’1200′ height=’1607′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/02/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/02/’ filename=’this-is-what-a-gay-night-out-in-moscow-is-like-body-image-1425303673.jpg’ id=’32015′]

The club doesn’t close its doors until 8 AM, so we leave early again. It’s been a successful night and, as we walk down the main street, John points out all of the straight bars which also have unofficial gay nights. It almost makes me feel hopeful. The openness of straight bars is giving LGBT people a wider choice of venues and freedom, and can optimistically be seen as a sign that Russia’s LGBT youth aren’t content to stay in the shadows forever.

Since we’re a boy and a girl together, we chance it and hail a regular taxi. “The homophobic attacks won’t stop me from going out,” says John. “To be honest, I don’t really feel scared going to the gay clubs in Moscow. But there is always the underlying worry that someone will be waiting outside—the gangs who wait to beat you up. That’s the feeling that never goes away.”



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Why I Quit Smoking Weed

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  VICE Staff

With decriminalization and legalization sweeping the country, it’s easy to assume that everyone is becoming a
pot evangelist. But there are still plenty of folks out there who don’t worship at the altar of ganja. For some, herb represents their rambunctious past as a petty criminal making bad choices. For others, smoking the stuff strips them of their sanity and leaves them mumbling paranoid non-sequiturs to themselves while they cry in the fetal position. We’re pretty used to talking to potheads who think smoking weed could stop the polar ice caps from melting or solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So we thought it was about time we heard from the other side—people who just can’t stomach a slice of space cake or handle a one-hitter anymore.

These are their stories.


PSYCHO PHISH

[body_image width=’2000′ height=’1967′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’i-quit-smoking-weed-because-it-sucks-456-body-image-1427392699.jpeg’ id=’40224′]

After college, I really got into weed and other psychedelic drugs. I was smoking pot every single day, and it was awesome. But then things started to get really weird. Out of nowhere, I began having some intense reactions to weed. The first time it hit me was at a Phish concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I was standing with friends having a good time, puffing on some weed, and listening to Phish play “Reba.” Then, out of nowhere, I could see the world closing in on me. It was like the sky went black, and I fainted.

As fucked up as that was, I still wasn’t ready to give up weed. But a similar thing happened to me when I went to Jazz Fest in New Orleans later that year. I felt the same way after hitting a blunt (luckily I had a place to sit down, so I didn’t straight up pass out). But I also started to get these crazy delusions. My girlfriend was supposed to pick me up from the concert and she was a few minutes late. I became convinced that she was late because she was off screwing some other guy. Then I was certain that she was dead and I left the festival to search for her body. She had no idea where I was at and found me hours later wandering down the Bourbon Street, totally out of my mind.

I really think it had something to do with the other psychedelics I’ve taken over the years. But pretty much every time I hit a blunt now, I just lose it to the point that it’s no longer worth it for me to even risk smoking. It’s ruined too many moments of my life that I’m cool with just drinking a cold beer when I want to unwind.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

[body_image width=’2000′ height=’1901′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’i-quit-smoking-weed-because-it-sucks-456-body-image-1427392495.jpeg’ id=’40219′]

I quit smoking weed after one crazy night when I was 19. Basically, I spent several hours toking up with a towering, harmonica-playing homeless man in an abandoned house with no electricity. My djembe-carrying friend and I had met the crazy dude while we were busking on the street. And being hippie stoners, it didn’t seem weird at all for us to follow him back to a creepy bando and spark up. But by 2 or 3 AM, my friend, the djembe player, had abandoned me to drop another one of our friends off. So I was just sitting alone in this decrepit building with my new acquaintance, who resembled a wizard and would have stood around 6’6″ if he hadn’t been hunched over with an enormous tree branch walking stick.

I was really fucking high by the end of the night. So I’m not exactly sure what happened next. Either Gandalf produced a knife, was talking about producing a knife, or was reminiscing about people he had knifed back when he was in Vietnam… Whatever it was, I was suddenly certain that this veteran was bent on gutting me like a fish and playing catch with my vital organs. Eventually, my friend returned and drove me to his parents’ house, where I slept off my high in one of his mom’s guest rooms. I haven’t picked up a blunt or listened to Phish since. Being a hippie is fucking dangerous.

MAD MUNCHIES

[body_image width=’2000′ height=’886′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’i-quit-smoking-weed-because-it-sucks-456-body-image-1427392526.jpeg’ id=’40220′]

When I was in college, drinking on weeknights was my shit. My only problem was being hungover in class—until I discovered that smoking weed was just as fun without giving me a rippling headache the next morning.

So every night, I would smoke pot with my stoner roommates. Everything was perfect until I started working at a bougie-ass bakery that sold fancy pastries. When I’d get off, I’d bring home about $50 worth of baked goods that I told myself I’d share with my roommates or eat over the course of a couple days. Of course, that never happened. Instead, I’d get baked and then tear into all the croissants, artisanal hot pockets, and loaves of miche, a French-style country bread, like Chris Christie at a Golden Corral. It was disgusting.

Eventually, I had to quit smoking because eating all the baked goods made me so fucking full and bloated that I would have sugar nightmares. And then in class the next day, I would be constantly going to the bathroom to shit my brains out. So yeah, I stopped smoking weed because the munchies were wreaking havoc on my colon.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

[body_image width=’2000′ height=’1312′ path=’images/content-images/2015/03/26/’ crop=’images/content-images-crops/2015/03/26/’ filename=’i-quit-smoking-weed-because-it-sucks-456-body-image-1427392639.jpeg’ id=’40223′]

I smoked and sold a shitload of pot back in college. I mean, it only makes sense—if you’re going to be a weed head, you might as well be a weed dealer, too. I wasn’t Nino Brown or anything like that, but I’d buy about a half-pound every week and use the profit to pay for my habit. I used to be slick about it and keep my shit in a fly, black leather briefcase.

It was great—until I got caught.

I was rolling around with my dudes, who just looked like they did a lot of dope, and of course we got pulled over. The cop thought we were “suspicious” and called for a fucking drug dog. I had about an ounce in my briefcase at the time, and the pooch sniffed it out.

I was lucky though, because in Vermont, if you have under two ounces and you’re under 21, you aren’t considered a dealer in the eyes of the law. So I didn’t face any jail time. I just had to go to this thing called Diversion, where I was given regular drug tests and paired up with a therapist.

My first therapist was terrible, but my second one was actually really great and is responsible for me quitting weed. Up until I met him, I was sure that once the drug tests ended, I would get back to doing what I was doing before. But he made me think about it in a different way by just stating the truth: There was no way I was going to know whether my life was better with or without weed unless I quit for a bit and compared the differences.

Later on, after Diversion was over, I realized every time I smoked weed I was dissatisfied and anxious and paranoid. I was making bad decisions and I couldn’t think clearly because I was smoking that shit every day. So I stopped and my life improved. My grades improved and I was more aware of what I was doing and where I was going in life. I’m not saying everybody is negatively affected by weed, but it had my life fucked up. It’s been ten years since I smoked any weed, and I haven’t looked back.

FLYING OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST

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I think acid ruined my weed high. I had a terrible trip once that did something irreparable to my overall outlook. I did the trip with a friend at my parents’ lake house, which looks like a cabin that sits right on the water. It’s an idyllic little place, but it brought some seriously dark and repressed feelings out of me. Maybe it was because the house is filled with all of my mother’s bird houses and weird little trinkets? When I was tripping, something about them made me feel incredibly sad and detached. The feeling was so deep, it’s hard to even put it into words. I felt like a child in a bad way, like I was not the one in control of my destiny or my decisions. The trip was so traumatic, I moved across the country to shake the lasting effects of it.

Unfortunately, ever since that trip, every time I smoke weed, I return right back to that intense and terrible feeling. A hit of a blunt puts me into something that is kind of like a panic attack. It’s like my thoughts are out of control, they start racing and I can’t reign them in. Everything I think gets perverted, even things that I used to have positive feelings toward. I start asking myself, Why are my friends my friends? They are really just trying to use me… It’s really overwhelming and it makes it so that I can’t cope with other people. Imagine having these intense feelings when you’re just hanging with a friend who wants to share a joint in the park and you end up curled in a ball mumbling paranoid shit to yourself. I’m good.

All illustrations by Nick Gazin. To see more of his work, check out his Instagram.

If you are seeking treatment for drug abuse, find helpful information at the website for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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I Talked to the Actress Who Says She Was Tricked Into Smuggling 3.5 Tons of Pot

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

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Photo by Sean Paul Franget

Everyone had at least one shitty friend growing up. The kind of girl who would peer-pressure you into stealing earrings at Claire’s and then make fun of you because your mom only gave you $10 to stock up on Invader Zim merch at Hot Topic. But Meili Cady, who is now 29, says she fell in with an adult version of that mean-girl BFF archetype when she moved to Los Angeles ten years ago.

Lisette Lee, who called herself “the Korean Paris Hilton,” was one of the first people to befriend Cady when she moved from small-town Washington to try and make it as an actress. She also dazzled the naive newbie with stories about being the Samsung heiress and a pop star in Asia. With a combination of expensive gifts and over-the-top praise, Lee won over Cady to the point that she would do anything for her. That’s why, according to Cady, at least, when Lee hired her as a personal assistant—and had her chauffeur suitcases from LA to Ohio—she didn’t ask any questions. Later, when she put together that the two were smuggling pot, Cady claims she didn’t go to the cops because she was terrified of her powerful friend.

Although her story of Stockholm Syndrome and complete innocence is at least a little hard to believe, the cops apparently ate it up. Cady says she helped with the investigation and as a result only served 30 days in prison. (Meanwhile, Lee got six years.) And on Wednesday, Cady’s book about the whole experience, Smoke: How A Small-Town Girl Accidentally Wound Up Smuggling 7,000 Pounds of Marijuana With The Pot Princess of Beverly Hills, hit the shelves. She’s hoping her new claim-to-fame will jumpstart her career, and it seems like it could be working: Although the most recognizable thing on her demo reel before the bust was pretending to give an under-the-table BJ in Californication,she told me she just finished filming a Toyota commercial.

I called up Cady to get more details about her incredible story, and to find out exactly how you gets manipulated into becoming a drug trafficker. I’m still not sure I believe her.


VICE: Tell me what it was like to move to
LA and what that city was like as a newcomer, especially for someone coming from such
a small town.

Meili Cady: LA was very overwhelming. When I moved here it was very exciting,
even just driving down the street. It’s a completely foreign world from
anything I knew when I was growing up. I felt just as much a tourist here as I
did when I was backpacking through Europe after graduating school.

I think
LA has a lot of great opportunities but it also has an equal amount of traps
you could walk into. As someone who was very young and wide-eyed and
ambitious and excited to explore it was a very stimulating town, but I don’t
think I was prepared for it. And I certainly wasn’t prepared to be independent
and succeed. I think I finally found my footing after years of failing and
learning from my mistakes.

How did you and Lisette Lee come to be friends? And why did she pick you?
I think that she doesn’t get along with many personalities in
general, particularly women. And I think that she had expressed interest in
finding a new friend almost in the way that you’d say, “Hey I was thinking about
buying a puppy!” [laughs]

We me through a mutual friend of ours. Lisette was not going
to get along with most personalities and I think that the only personality,
especially for females, that she would be likely to get along with would be a
personality that she could easily manipulate and use for whatever means she
wanted. So I don’t think she had a master plan in mind when she reached out to
befriend me. I think it was just something to do. It’s like,
Why not collect the
minions just in case I want them to do something for me?
Part of me thinks that maybe she was in search of companionship. I think she does
have some dualities. I think part of her thought was that I could be useful and I
think, probably, part of her thought it could be fun to be in this friendship.

Do you think that you were
ever actually friends or do you look back at it now and think it was a farce?

I genuinely cared about and genuinely had feelings of loyalty and
friendship toward her. My belief that she had any loyalty or friendship towards
me, those beliefs were shattered when certain truths came to the surface after
our arrests. And I realized how deep in the rabbit hole I went with her. I don’t
know that she’s capable of having a normal friendship or caring for someone in
the way that I have experienced with a lot of friendships and relationships in
my life. Part of me would like to believe that what we had was real in ways but
ultimately it really doesn’t change anything so I don’t spend much time
thinking about that.

Your friends or your
parents from Washington—what did they think of this? Did your parents ever
meet her?

My parents did meet her and my brother met her. Lisette never
wanted to meet any of my friends, but over the years there were a few exceptions
that she made and she did meet a couple of my friends. My family comes from
this—they’re very intelligent, grounded, good people, but they are also from
the same background that I am and none of us were… there weren’t a lot of red
flags that were raised for us. I think that we just didn’t have a frame of
reference, so my family didn’t claim to understand her or her background. But
they were supportive of the friendship that I apparently had with her.

Because on paper it looks like, “How could you be that dumb?”

My friends were more skeptical. I’ve always had really close friends. My best friends since first
grade, I am still really close friends with them. They are all flying in for
the book launch tomorrow. I’ve never not had close friends. So my core group of
friends in Washington were very skeptical of this outsider laying claim to me
in Los Angeles, because I had been best friends with these girls since I was in
first grade and there was a lot of defensiveness over our friendships that were
so rock solid and then this newcomer comes in and she criticizes my friendships
with the girls that I had always known.

She would always look for a weakness to
try to dig at and try to isolate me or say, “Well they’re not really your friend
if they did that to you. I would never do that to you. I am your best friend.” She was very subtly manipulative in the beginning, and then it just went
deeper and deeper until I was entrapped in a poisonous relationship. It was
platonic but it felt like an unhealthy relationship more than a friendship.

You’re right that your relationship seemed like more than a friendship in a lot of ways. She used to give you rings and call you “angel.” Did you ever think she was in love with you?
I think she used sex as a weapon. I don’t know if I want you to
print this but she always seemed sort of asexual to me. I think I wouldn’t
imagine her…I don’t know how to answer that because I’m afraid you’re going
to print it [laughs].

I think that being in love with someone can come in many different
forms.. and it was sort of
this obsessive, jealous, unhealthy, possessive friendship in a lot of ways that
was very….You know, she would be incredibly hurtful but then she would beg
forgiveness and tell me she would rather
burn in hell than not have me in her life. She’d be very jealous that I’m
hanging out with another friend. She’d say, “I understand you wanting to keep
busy when I’m not available just as long as no one steals you away from me.”

We
would joke around that if I was her husband or her wife then we’d be the
happiest girls in the world because we would just go to some state where it’s
legal and we would run away together and be together forever. She said she
wanted to be the godmother to my children some day. She said that was something
she expected. I don’t think there was a limit to where things would go and I
shudder to think how it would have ended up, if I had not been extracted from the
relationship and from my employment with her, which was incredibly dangerous as
well.

You said that your friends
were a little skeptical. When did you first suspect that she was full of shit?

My
experience was like a psychological roller-coaster from the beginning with her.
My suspicions really started building up fairly early on but I just
internalized them because I had been so conditioned by her to believe everything
she was telling me — and you have to understand the level of manipulation that is
possible that you can be taken by if someone is clever and wants to be able to
have that control over you. There are things that I can’t believe that I fell
for. That this is my story.

It’s been crazy for me, so since it has
happened, I’ve done some research and I’ve tried to trace everything back to
the roots to try to understand it better myself so I can move on with my life
and not repeat any of the mistakes. Because on paper it looks like how could
you be that dumb? But it’s a lot more complicated than that and I think that
this kind of poisonous relationship is something that a lot of people
experience. A lot of times it’s more in emotional or physically abusive relationships.

So she hired you to transport suitcases on a private plane to Ohio. What did she tell you it was for, if not to move drugs?
She didn’t really tell me. The way she presented the proposition
to work for her, I was not working for her as some mule. I was working for her
as her best friend. So the way she presented it was, “I know that you’re struggling
and looking for a job.” She knew that I had been looking for a job and that I
hadn’t been able to find one. And this is just on the heels of the recession, so
it was difficult to find a job. She said, “I want to help you. It’s good timing because I am starting
a new business operation and I’m breaking away from my parents to start my own
thing. It’s new. It’s private. I need someone I can trust to help me out, to be
my executive personal assistant so you can be there for meetings or for travel
when I’m unable to because I have business obligations in town already. Are you
interested?” And I said, “Yeah, sure.”

It wasn’t like someone on LinkedIn scouted me
out. It was my best friend saying, “Hey I know you need help. I need help, too. I
think we can help each other.”

Come on, she had to have told you what it was for. Or you had to have at least asked.
She didn’t actually ever say. I drew my own conclusions. So
that’s the way she presented it. Then she followed up later that week saying, “Okay, we’re going to be—she had said before, “You’ll be traveling to the east
coast. We’ll be using private jets. I need you to act like you’ve been on one
before. Don’t geek out about it. Keep your head down.” She emphasized, “You are
very under-qualified for this position. I know you can do it. I know you can rise
to the challenge. You just have to keep your head down and listen to me and do
as I say.” And I said, “Yeah, sure.”

…I guess she had a 9mm hand gun at her home and she said that her family used a hit man named Angel, for business, and that they’d been working with him for years.

I had never known her to engage in any criminal
activity whatsoever in the more than four years I’d been best friends with her.
So I had no reason to think this was some sort of criminal enterprise. She
liked to present herself as someone who liked to live on the edge, but not over
the edge. So I thought it had to do with the casino industry, and I had good
reason for believing that. She had always told me that if she could ever choose
to start a business of her own, away from her parents and Samsung, that she
would want to be in the casino industry and she had told me, over the years,
many times, that she would help her father with some casino business locally. I
had never known or really cared about any of the details of it but I was sort
of peripherally aware of that. And I was present when she met the person she
ended up starting this new business with and all they talked about was the
casino industry. For hours, it was all they talked about. So when she told me
she was going to be going into business with him, after she was always telling
me that was what she aspired to do, I thought probably it was the casino
industry. And when we brought suitcases to Ohio, I thought it was probably
money.

I had some blinders on. I didn’t look at things as they were. I saw them
through the filter of thinking:
Well I’m just working for my best friend, and
I’m just here to help out.
Rather than going in and being aware and having
my wits about me, I had these blinders on for the reality of the situation. It
was sort of:
Well, it’s probably okay, and I’m doing it anyway. One thing led to
another and by the time I had found out what I had become a part of, and what I
was actively a part of, I was in very deep and it was too late to get out
safely.

When you finally smelled weed in the suitcases, did you say anything
about wanting to quit?

I was terrified. She said that she was tapping everyone’s phone.
She said that she had had a private investigator on multiple people and she
said that there was a private investigator tailing me at one point. I had met
someone who was supposedly involved in a Mexican gang. I just sort of naively
wandered into this thing after she had lead me into it. But I couldn’t grasp
that reality of what I was a part of. It was terrifying. I don’t think I slept
a night without horrible nightmares after that. I would have dreams of being
arrested or being hunted down by Mexican gangsters. It was terrifying because
the only person who knew what I was a part of was my best friend and I couldn’t
trust her anymore. It was like the one person I trusted had become the person
that I feared most.

What was your relationship
like when she was threatening you? Were you still getting together and
acting like friends when you weren’t working?

Well, they were indirect threats. There’s a difference between
holding a gun to someone and saying, “Hey I might shoot you,” or saying, “Hey, I have a private investigator on you and you better watch it.” That’s a direct
threat. An indirect threat is saying, “Oh yeah, there’s a gun in my place.” Because
I guess she had a 9mm hand gun at her home and she said that her family used a hit man named Angel,
for business, and that they’d been working with him for years. She said she had
surveillance installed in her business partner’s apartment and she was tapping
everyone’s phone except for mine. Those are all indirect threats, but they are
threats. So that’s incredibly intimidating. And maybe none of those were true.
I mean I saw the gun, so that’s real, but maybe none of those [other ones] were true. I don’t know.

So when you got caught, were you relieved at least a little?
Ultimately, I was incredibly relieved that we were caught and I
had no part in that. I never told a soul. I was kind of imploding after I found
out what we were really doing but I never breathed a word of it to anyone. But
looking back, once I had already become entrapped in this hell ride. I really
don’t know that I would have done anything differently because even in
retrospect, I don’t see any options that I could have exercised because you’re
exactly right, if I had told the cops, then I would have feared for my life,
for the rest of my life. I would have spent the rest of my life looking over my
shoulder. I can’t even imagine the consequences of that, if I had snitched in
that way.

It’s also good I think that I was in it to the end because even if I
had been fired, and Lisette did incidentally fire me twice and then sort of
encouraged me to beg for my job back—it was a very sad cycle. But because I
stayed to the end, they knew that I wasn’t the undoing for the operation. I’d
say that was set in motion from when the groundwork was laid.
It was really built to fail. And that is another thing I was incredibly lucky
for, because after we were arrested there was no—I didn’t have to face that
tough decision of:
Do I break away from the plan? Am I going to be the one who
sings, or whatever?
Because there was no plan.

Are you worried about
being the girl who got duped? Or at least the girl who played dumb and flipped? That’s going to be your claim to fame, at least
for a little bit…

I mean I think any claim to fame wouldn’t define me. I’m glad
that I’ve had some experience in the world and my life to know that that’s the
case. Anything someone writes about you or what someone thinks about you or the
media, which can turn on a dime, that just doesn’t define you. It doesn’t even
define that moment for you. I used to care a lot what people thought and said
but I’ve grown to have pretty thick skin now and I think from the beginning
when the arrest made news five years ago, I thought:
I can’t let this define
me.
So sort of in response to that, I felt compelled to share my story, and
actually a lot of people have written to me through my
House Arrest Girl blog with very similar stories.

And I know I’m not the only one who’s had this
experience. It’s a very strange experience, so I don’t expect people to
understand it who haven’t had it, but you just can’t let your opinion of yourself
or your feeling of self worth be contingent on what other people think you’re
worth. So that’s their label. It’s not mine.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter.

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Nine indie developers on the secret to making multiplayer magic

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

Ten years ago, multiplayer-only games went through a severe identity crisis. More people than ever were gaming together, but they were increasingly playing online only. The small-stakes joy of twitchy experiences like Street Fighter II and Super Off …

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Fire fighters on scene of fire, building collapse in Manhattan

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Associated Press

NEW YORK—The New York City fire department says it’s at the scene of a fire and a possible partial building collapse in Manhattan.

The Fire Department of New York says it has no immediate reports of injuries.

Orange flames and black smoke are billowing from the five-storey building near Second Ave. and Seventh St.

There were some reports of an explosion before the fire.

The area was being evacuated.

Further details are not immediately available.

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Harper Government shows support for Canadian families at the Ottawa Home & Garden Show

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Canada News Centre - National News

Minister Findlay underscores Harper Government’s commitment to protect Canadians by combatting the underground economy and highlights federal tax cuts and benefits available to homeowners.

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U.S. considering Iran nuclear tradeoff

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Anonymous

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The United States is considering letting Tehran run hundreds of centrifuges at a once-secret, fortified underground bunker in exchange for limits on centrifuge work and research and development at other sites, officials have told The Associated Press.

The trade-off would allow Iran to run several hundred of the devices at its Fordo facility, although the Iranians would not be allowed to do work that could lead to an atomic bomb and the site would be subject to international inspections, according to Western officials familiar with details of negotiations now underway. In return, Iran would be required to scale back the number of centrifuges it runs at its Natanz facility and accept other restrictions on nuclear-related work.

Instead of uranium, which can be enriched to be the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, any centrifuges permitted at Fordo would be fed elements such as zinc, xenon or germanium for separating out isotopes used in medicine, industry or science, the officials said. The number of centrifuges would not be enough to produce the amount of uranium needed to produce a weapon within a year — the minimum time-frame that Washington and its negotiating partners demand.

The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the sensitive negotiations as the latest round of talks began between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. The negotiators are racing to meet an end-of-March deadline to reach an outline of an agreement that would grant Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The deadline for a final agreement is June 30.

One senior U.S. official declined to comment on the specific proposal but said the goal since the beginning of the talks has been “to have Fordo converted so it’s not being used to enrich uranium.” That official would not say more.

The officials stressed that the potential compromise on Fordo is just one of several options on a menu of highly technical equations being discussed in the talks. All of the options are designed to keep Iran at least a year away from producing an atomic weapon for the life of the agreement, which will run for at least 10 years. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has joined the last several rounds as the negotiations have become more technical.

Experts say the compromise for Fordo could still be problematic. They note it would allow Iran to keep intact technology that could be quickly repurposed for uranium enrichment at a sensitive facility that the U.S. and its allies originally wanted stripped of all such machines — centrifuges that can spin uranium gas into uses ranging from reactor fuel to weapons-grade material.

And the issue of inspector access and verification is key. Iran has resisted “snap inspections” in the past. Even as the nuclear talks have made progress, Iran has yet to satisfy questions about its past possible nuclear-related military activity. The fact that questions about such activity, known as Possible Military Dimensions, or PMDs, remain unresolved is a serious concern for the UN atomic watchdog.

In addition, the site at Fordo is a particular concern because it is hardened and dug deeply into a mountainside making it resistant — possibly impervious — to air attack. Such an attack is an option that neither Israel nor the U.S. has ruled out in case the talks fail.

And while too few to be used for proliferation by themselves, even a few hundred extra centrifuges at Fordo would be a concern when looked at in the context of total numbers.

As negotiations stand, the number of centrifuges would grow to more than 6,000, when the other site is included. Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran nuclear file as a deputy director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency until 2010, says even 6,000 operating centrifuges would be “a big number.”

Asked of the significance of hundreds more at Fordo, he said, “Every machine counts.”

Iran reported the site to the IAEA six years ago in what Washington says was an attempt to pre-empt President Barack Obama and the prime ministers of Britain and France going public with its existence a few days later. Tehran later used the site to enrich uranium to a level just a technical step away from weapons-grade until late 2013, when it froze its nuclear program under a temporary arrangement that remains in effect as the sides negotiate.

Twice extended, the negotiations have turned into a U.S.-Iran tug-of-war over how many of the machines Iran would be allowed to operate since the talks resumed over two years ago. Tehran denies nuclear weapons ambitions, saying it wants to enrich only for energy, scientific and medical purposes.

Washington has taken the main negotiating role with Tehran in talks that formally remain between Iran and six world powers, and officials told the AP at last week’s round that the two sides were zeroing in on a cap of 6,000 centrifuges at Natanz, Iran’s main enrichment site.

That’s fewer than the nearly 10,000 Tehran now runs at Natanz, yet substantially more than the 500 to 1,500 that Washington originally wanted as a ceiling. Only a year ago, U.S. officials floated 4,000 as a possible compromise.

One of the officials said discussions focus on an extra 480 centrifuges at Fordo. That would potentially bring the total number of machines to close to 6,500.

David Albright of Washington’s Institute for Security and International Security says a few hundred centrifuges operated by the Iranians would not be a huge threat — if they were anywhere else but the sensitive Fordo site.

Beyond its symbolic significance, “it keeps the infrastructure in place and keeps a leg up, if they want to restart (uranium) enrichment operations,” said Albright, who is a go-to person on the Iran nuclear issue for the U.S. government.

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Rob Ford to apologize for using racial slurs while mayor, because it turns out he broke city’s code of conduct

Posted  March 26, 2015  by  Vancouver Sun - News

In 2014, Ford said ‘Nobody sticks up for people like I do, every f—ing k–e, n—r, f—ing w-p, d-go, whatever the race. Nobody does. I’m the most racist guy around’

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