Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bill Control Pill

One of my favourite jokes used to be the one about the new birth control pill in development for men : you take it the morning after and it changes your blood type. Well ladies, my days of joke-telling are done until somebody starts paying me to do it in front of an audience. Here's what yesterday's Daily Mail had to say about the Bill Control Pill :

British scientists have developed a revolutionary pill that men could take as a one-off contraceptive just before a date. The tablet would prevent a man from being able to impregnate a woman, but within a few hours his fertility would return to normal.

And of course the ONLY thing that counts, gentlemen...

Sexual satisfaction is not affected ...
The contraceptive was inspired by the observation that some drugs used to treat schizophrenia and high blood pressure also prevent ejaculation. After pinning down how the drugs stop ejaculation, the London researchers set about creating tablets that do the same thing.

Hmm, I wonder what happens if Bill pops a couple dozen at once? We'll find out in about 5 years when the new pill is expected to hit the market.

Lest We Forget

Seems that some blogger who shall remain nameless was asleep at the switch and forgot to notify anybody who cares to read that "In December 1999, the 54th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 54/134 declaring November 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women."

Nevertheless, we are in the throes of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. And the December 6 anniversary of the Montreal Massacre is coming up fast as well. So here's a little statistical info to keep you going...

Violence against women and girls is a universal problem of epidemic proportions. Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, it devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development.

Statistics paint a horrifying picture of the social and health consequences of violence against women. Violence against women is a major cause of death and disability for women 16 to 44 years of age. It is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill-health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.

Several studies have revealed increasing links between violence against women and HIV/AIDS. Women who have experienced violence are at a higher risk of HIV infection: a survey among 1,366 South African women showed that women who were beaten by their partners were 48 per cent more likely to be infected with HIV than those who were not.

What The Experts Say

Benedict will become only the second pontiff to visit a mosque (Photo - AP)

"Europe must recover its Christian roots, if it truly wants to survive."
-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 2004

And shortly after being elected as pontiff, Benedict also said some pretty nasty things about Turkey's attempts to join the EU.

Like, allowing the predominantly Muslim nation (with secular institutions but, like Europe and everywhere else, who knows for how much longer?) of Turkey into Europe’s club would be "an enormous mistake."

So if Turkey's membership in the EU is eventually rejected, can the Vatican take that vacant seat?

The Mother Of All Turkey Shoots?

The Pope has faced much criticism in Turkey even before his arrival (Photo - AP)

Here's a little something from the BBC. Before somebody gets shot. (Then again, if it's a slow news day any news is good news...)

Pope Benedict XVI travels to Turkey on Tuesday for what is arguably the most dangerous, delicate and contested visit outside Italy made by any pope in modern times. Turkey says security will be higher than for US President George W Bush's visit in 2004...

There are therefore three quite separate aspects to the Pope's visit to Turkey: his official visit to the secular Turkish state; his ongoing unofficial, at times acrimonious, dialogue with the world of Islam; and his formal visit to the headquarters of the Orthodox Church.

When I accompanied Benedict's predecessor John Paul II to Istanbul at the start of his pontificate just over a quarter of a century ago, John Paul did not once utter the word "Islam" in any of his speeches. But the world has changed a lot since 1979.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Papal Influence

Some of the thousands of protesters who demonstrated Sunday in Istanbul against the visit Tuesday of Pope Benedict XVI (Photo - Fatih Saribas/Reuters)

Now from the English-language International Herald Tribune...

Tens of thousands of protesters denounced Pope Benedict XVI as an enemy of Islam at a rally Sunday that underlined deep divisions straining Turkey ahead of the pontiff's visit this week.

Officials hoping to promote closer ties with the West urged calm, but Islamic groups wary of Western ways united in anger over Benedict's remarks two months ago linking Islam to violence. Chants of "No to the pope!" rose among nearly 25,000 demonstrators at every mention of his remarks on violence and the Prophet Muhammad.

Turkish officials hope to use the visit to promote their ambitions of becoming the first Muslim nation in the European Union and to showcase Turkey's secular political system. But Islamic groups, which have been gaining strength, see Benedict as a symbol of Western intolerance and injustices against Muslims.

They want to showcase their "secular political system"?!?
Why do human beings so frequently ignore the facts right in front of their noses? Last year at World Youth Day the pontiff "demonstrated his emphasis on cross-faith relations, by addressing Muslim leaders and visiting a synagogue" and warning "of the dangers of secularism."

What should really worry the Vatican isn't Turkey's secularism but its piety. When the pope quoted his Byzantine scholar in September about how Islam is a religion of violence, I wonder if he was just thinking about generating himself a little excitement for this week?

L'Influence Papale

"En tant que musulmans, nous croyons que Jésus est venu avant Mahomet et nous acceptons Jésus comme votre prophète", pouvait-on lire sur une pancarte, le 26 novembre (Photo - AP)

Manifestation à Istanbul contre la venue de Benoît XVI

Quelque 25 000 personnes ont manifesté dans le calme, dimanche 26 novembre, à Caglayan, sur la rive européenne d'Istanbul, pour protester contre la visite qu'effectuera Benoît XVI en Turquie à partir de mardi. Le Parti islamique de la félicité (Saadet), qui reproche au pape de ne pas avoir présenté ses excuses après son discours de Ratisbonne du 12 septembre, avait espéré rassembler un million de personnes, derrière le mot d'ordre "le pape n'est pas le bienvenu".

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Red China

The same stretch of Yellow River turned red a month ago (Photo - AP)

A stretch of China's Yellow River turned red for the second time in a month because of pollution, media says.... Local environmental officials said the red plume of water "very possibly" came from a station that provides heating for Lanzhou residents.

The plant had added a red dye to its water to prevent people from siphoning off the hot water from the pipes it used, officials were quoted by Chinese media as saying.

Tests found the dye was not toxic, and the spill lasted for around an hour, Xinhua news agency reports. Some 21,000 chemical factories are believed to be located along China's rivers and coastline - more than half on the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, which are relied upon by millions of people.

Could it have been a government-sponsored AIDS-awareness stunt...?

There are fears of a serious Aids epidemic in China (Photo - Getty Images)

China has announced a big jump in reported cases of HIV/Aids, officials and the state media have said. More than 180,000 people are now confirmed to have the infection, a rise of nearly 40,000 cases in a year.

A total of 183,733 cases have been reported so far this year, up from 144,089 last year, according to health ministry figures. The ministry has attributed 37% of the reported cases to drug abuse, and 28% to unsafe sex.

[Don't you miss Home?]-Land Security

Twins Barbara (L) and Jenna Bush are holidaying in the country (Photo AP)

US agents 'fail Bush's daughter'

One of the twin daughters of President George W Bush has had her handbag stolen in Argentina despite protection by US Secret Service agents.

Barbara Bush, 24, lost her mobile phone and credit cards in the incident in a restaurant in the capital, Buenos Aires - but she was not hurt. She was dining with her twin sister Jenna at the time.

ABC News in the US says the theft went unnoticed by the heavy secret service force protecting the family.

Don’t cry for her, Argentina.
The truth is she never loved you.

Up In Smoke

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A plan to roll and smoke the world's largest joint was cancelled at short notice in Amsterdam when the organizers realized they could be breaking the law. The group had wanted to roll a five-foot-long pure-weed joint, stuffed with more than a pound of marijuana and containing no tobacco, and smoke it in a bar.

It had initially thought the attempt would be legal if 100 people each brought along the five grams of the drug tolerated by Dutch authorities for personal use. "Unfortunately it looks like this will not be possible," Verheij said. The attempt had been planned for Wednesday.

You have to believe it's a tough choice Canadian government ministers are facing : stay in Afghanistan or invade Holland. So rather than make a tough decision and dealing with the consequences, it looks like they'll just stay home instead. Where's Rona Ambrose when you need her?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lost & Found

Hazyview - A man's penis was found outside a house at Masoyi village near Hazyview in Mpumalanga, police said on Sunday. Superintendent Benjamin Mtsholi Bhembe said a man found the penis on Friday morning outside a house he was looking after.

He saw a strange looking object lying down in the house yard, said Bhembe. "On closer inspection, he realised that it was a man's private part." Police were summoned and enquiries were made to local residents, but to no avail.

Bhembe said police were investigating and urged anyone with information to contact the nearest police station.

On the plus side, it would be super easy to check if the person laying claim is in fact the owner.


Bar owners lose battle in anti-smoking law war
Last Updated: Monday, November 20, 2006 | 3:10 PM ET
CBC News

The owners of several bars have failed to have a section of Quebec's new anti-smoking law temporarily suspended. Quebec Superior Court ruled Tuesday afternoon that any economic hardship dogging owners does not justify a temporary exemption from the smoking ban.

The bar owners' consortium had asked that a part of the anti-smoking law be lifted until the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on the legislation's constitutionality. Bar owners are challenging the law's validity under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

More to come
... on Tuesday?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

F*&% The Canucks

Those folks over at Greenpeace UK sure showed us. But I think they underestimate two facts about the Canadian government. Our PM Stephen Harper is a bit of a religious nut, so he wouldn't watch a South Park episode even if we told him it was the last chance for Rapture. The second fact they fail to appreciate is that he thinks the White Elephant along our southern border actually suffered a setback when the Republicans lost control of the two legislative houses of Congress last week, and we all know what those guys think of the environment whenever it gets in the way of economic considerations -- so Greenpeace UK may be raging against the indifference of a silent universe.

Nevertheless, this video is pretty funny. It's on how bottom trawling is ravaging the sea floors and we'll soon have no fish to eat. Man, it's a good thing we're doing the sensible thing and turning to farm-based food production. But if by some dark miracle it turns out that Canadian farms can't shoulder the load, at least the world will still be able to Blame Canada for their chronic shortages, eh?

For anybody who hasn't read them yet, this series of Mother Jones articles will shed some light on what the future holds.

Balancing Act

The Prithvi normally takes 300 seconds to reach its target (Photo - AP)

...three days after a missile was tested by Pakistan, India successfully tested a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The two sides met in the Indian capital, Delhi, last week for peace talks, the first between the South Asian neighbours since July's train bombings in Mumbai (Bombay). The two powers stepped back from the brink of war in 2001. India had blamed Pakistan for involvement in an armed attack on the federal parliament in Delhi in 2001.

Unlike the Cuba Missile Crisis of 1962, at least now we can breathe a sigh of relief. Because, you know, India and Pakistan are way, way over there...out of range with their nukes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just A Little Excessive

Women protested outside parliament as the debate was held (Photo - AP)

Pakistan's national assembly has voted to amend the country's strict Sharia laws on rape and adultery. "It is a historic bill because it will give rights to women and help end excesses against them," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told parliament after the vote.

Pakistan's religious parties called the new legislation "a harbinger of lewdness and indecency in the country", and against the strictures of the Koran and Sharia law.

Excesses?! Going back to the buffet three times is excessive. Pakistan is awash in misogynistic barbarism of truly mind boggling proportions.

A woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours in Pakistan, according to the country's independent Human Rights Commission. Correspondents say these figures are probably an under-estimation as many rapes are not reported.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ignorance Is Bliss

What is the one thing that pisses off both devout Muslims and Catholics?


WRONG!! Secularism only pisses Catholics off when it hinders their fundamentalism. To wit :

The Vatican on Tuesday stepped into the debate about Muslim women wearing veils, with a top cardinal saying immigrants must follow the laws of their host countries, including any bans on such face-covering.

Countries "must require that guests who arrive from a different culture must respect the traditions, the symbols, the culture, the religion of the countries they go to," said Renato Martino, the Italian prelate who heads the Vatican's office on issues concerning migrants, itinerant workers and refugees. Martino, responding to a question about veils from a reporter, said respect for local laws would include any bans on such coverings

Wait a minute, isn't this the same church whose spiritual leader in May said "Canada is today suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism"? Why would they make a statement like that two weeks before the head honcho is due to visit the Muslim, yet secular-governed Turkey? Sounds like somebody's looking for a martyred pontiff to boost attendance figures.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Judge This

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) A first-year Bay County judge was ordered to accept mentoring after bringing a loaded gun into his courtroom and announcing he was "locked and loaded."

According to the courtroom's recording system, Hauversburk told the defense attorney he was "locked and loaded," then said: "Tell your client that the deputies have certain constraints about the rules of engagement, but I do not. If he does anything that I see as a threat to me or anybody in this courtroom, then I'm going to fire first and ask questions later."

Ditto That Last Religion Thing

A Toxic Mix? President Bush, himself a born-again Christian, courts religious voters at a church in New Orleans (Photo - David Scull for Newsweek)

Newsweek sure has grown a spine since that whole "retracting the Koran flushing at Guantanamo Bay" dust-up in 2005. The story that goes with the above photo is entitled "A Dissent: The Case Against Faith" and was penned by none other than Sam Harris, whose website is accessible through the link on this blog -> -> ->

Here's a sampling for all of you Elton John fans out there :

Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue. Those with the power to elect presidents and congressmen—and many who themselves get elected—believe that dinosaurs lived two by two upon Noah's Ark, that light from distant galaxies was created en route to the Earth and that the first members of our species were fashioned out of dirt and divine breath, in a garden with a talking snake, by the hand of an invisible God.

It is, of course, taboo to criticize a person's religious beliefs. The problem, however, is that much of what people believe in the name of religion is intrinsically divisive, unreasonable and incompatible with genuine morality. One of the worst things about religion is that it tends to separate questions of right and wrong from the living reality of human and animal suffering. Consequently, religious people will devote immense energy to so-called moral problems—such as gay marriage—where no real suffering is at issue, and they will happily contribute to the surplus of human misery if it serves their religious beliefs.

Ban Organized Religion

"Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate." -Elton John

The Book Of Love

HYDERABAD: Buy one, get one free is the business slogan these days.

Taking a cue, poor parents of a dumb girl offered their second daughter as a bonus for their son-in-law so that they could see off their handicapped daughter in marriage. According to police in Nalgonda district, parents of Venkatamma a born deaf and dumb girl was married to Saidulu in 2004, on condition that their younger daughter Rajita would also be married to him after she became a major and completed her tenth class.

However, Saidulu and his parents started pestering the parents of Rajita to send her to their home.

You mean they're not even Siamese twins...?

The Look Of Love

Britney Spears and [ex-] husband Kevin Federline arrive for the Sony BMG Grammy Party in Los Angeles February 8, 2006. One day after Spears filed for divorce from husband Federline, the dancer and fledgling rapper responded on Wednesday with court papers seeking spousal support and custody of their two children. (Photo REUTERS/Chris Pizzello)

If Britney was pissed "after an American magazine published photographs of her on her honeymoon," she's going to shit herself, and probably a couple of the 24-karat diamonds she swallowed to hide from that hunk of a husband, when she hears this. I've never been much into gossip, but this time I just can't help myself. Check it out :

Pop singer Britney Spears' estranged hubby Kevin Federline has reportedly threatened to go public with the couples honeymoon sex tapes if she fails to make a hefty payout to him and hand custody of their two sons.

As a sane person I would have imagined that Britney -- you know, being a celebrity and all -- would have thought twice about romping around as Kevin's Video Vixen. But I would have been wrong. Yet again.

The home-made video is believed to show the naked couple enjoying an uninhibited range of love-making and sexual games. It was made during the first weeks of their relationship two years ago.... A pal close to Kevin Federline was quoted by the News Of The World : "At the time the two of them were in the honeymoon stages of the relationship and couldn't keep their hands off each other. They did nothing all day but have sex. Britney didn't think twice about making the video at the time. She mistakenly believed that their love would last."

So in other words, Britney-logic goes something like this :

- I'm horny. Let's do it.

- OK.

[ten minutes later]

- I'm still horny.

- Me too.

- I want to do it all the time, every waking minute of every day until I die.

- Me too.

- Let's do it again.

- OK.

[ten minutes later]

- Let's do it again.

- OK. [clothes being ripped off in haste] Hey! Let's videotape ourselves doing it so that way if we ever feel like doing it but don't feel like doing it we can watch ourselves doing it.

- OK. [here, imagine a little thought bubble, like in a comic strip] What could possibly go wrong?

Time For An Ark

Kennels and empty animal cages litter the front of 70-year-old Sandra Bauernfeind’s home on Brittman Road in Bethel last month. Bauernfeind has at least 30 small dogs at her home and feeds about 80 feral cats. At one point, Bauernfeind had more than 60 dogs in her home. (Photo Times Herald-Record/MICHELE HASKELL)

Can you believe this story? Apparently, some fine American charged with enforcing the rules isn't playing by them.

On animal control issues, Bethel's Animal Control Officer Henni Anker is the law in the fifth-largest town in Sullivan County. But she also runs an illegal animal rescue operation at her home on Gabriel Road. She owns cats, dogs, geese, donkeys, birds. She owns a bobcat that paces back and forth in a run that's visible from the road. The town of Bethel has no record of the facility....

Sandra Bauernfeind, 70, a retired teacher and the former chairwoman of Sullivan County's Conservative Party, has at least 30 lhasa apsos — a shaggy, small breed of dog — living with her in a ranch home. She says she once bred the animals. Once, she had more than 60. She also feeds about 80 feral cats, which live and breed in the woods by her home.

Actually, that's not what makes this story crazy. But here are three things that do:

1. Henni Anker is unregulated. In New York state, anyone can claim to operate an animal shelter, even if the facility is a private home or a dilapidated structure.

2. She also has been fired twice as the shelter manager of the SPCA in Rock Hill, during that organization's frequent internal battles. SPCA officials have called Anker a hoarder, someone who can't stop herself from acquiring more and more animals.

3. With no infrastructure and no state oversight, the system in Sullivan County frequently breaks down. [Then later on in the article] There is nothing in Agriculture and Markets law which requires public disclosure of shelter records.

What makes this article truly mind-numbing is the fact that it's 2,800 words and it's not until the end that we find out about "Randy Frost, author of 'People Who Hoard Animals,' an April 2000 article in the Psychiatric Times." Apparently most hoarders are unmarried and "In a significant number of cases, the hoarders' own homes lacked working plumbing, cooking facilities, heat, electricity or a combination of utilities...." Imagine that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Une Fois Laïque, Toujours Laïque

Selon le Globe & Mail :

Last spring, a local YMCA in Montreal installed four frosted windows in one of its exercise rooms to accommodate a neighbouring Hasidic synagogue and religious school. Its devout members complained that their teenaged boys were being distracted by the exposed flesh of women doing their Pilates, aerobics and other activities.

But now the windows have opened up a rift over whether the institution went too far to accommodate a minority. Some Y members have circulated a petition demanding the opaque windows be removed because they not only deprive the room of light, but allow a religious group to impose its ways on the majority.

***** "It's like getting us to wear a veil. Since we represent temptation, we're being asked to hide," ***** Renée Lavaillante, who started the petition, said yesterday. "We shouldn't have to hide in order to exercise in Quebec. We're a secular state, and shouldn't hide ourselves for religious reasons."

The Jewish institutions also installed tinted windows on their buildings but members say they haven't been able to stop people from opening them or heading outside during breaks. "We don't want our kids to be tempted by today's society," community spokesman Mayer Feig said as he stood outside the synagogue. "There's too much violence and sexuality today, and our religious beliefs don't want us to see those things. We believe in protecting our culture and religion."

Too much violence and sexuality when -- and where?! Has Mr. Feig ever thought to critique his Holy Scripture? Here's what Sam Harris has to say about it:

The notion that the Bible is a perfect guide to morality is really quite amazing, given the contents of the book. Human sacrifice, genocide, slaveholding, and misogyny are consistently celebrated. Of course, God’s counsel to parents is refreshingly straightforward: whenever children get out of line, we should beat them with a rod (Proverbs 13:24, 20:30, and 23:13–14). If they are shameless enough to talk back to us, we should kill them (Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 21:18–21, Mark 7:9–13, and Matthew 15:4–7). We must also stone people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, worshiping graven images, practicing sorcery, and a wide variety of other imaginary crimes.

***** As a source of objective morality, the Bible is one of the worst books we have. It might be the very worst, in fact — if we didn’t also happen to have the Qur’an. *****

- Sam Harris

No... Peace Be With You!

A wounded child being treated at hospital

At least 45 civilians have been killed in eastern Sri Lanka after army shells hit a camp for people displaced by the fighting, Tamil Tiger rebels say. "It seems a school where some internally-displaced people were residing has been hit in the attack," an SLMM spokesperson said.

"We can confirm lots of people are dead," the spokesperson said. "The numbers are unclear, but initial reports show 50 to 60 people have been killed. The injured could number several hundred." Tamil Tiger rebels say the number of deaths could be as high as 100.

And the band played on.

Peace Be With You

Water stained with blood filled the street where the shells landed (Photo - AFP)

At least 18 Palestinians have been killed and 40 wounded by Israeli tank fire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian sources have said. Palestinian officials said a barrage of tank shells hit civilian homes, and women and children were among the dead.

The shelling was condemned across Europe and the Middle East. The European Union expressed "profound shock", and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference accused Israel of war crimes. More than 60 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in a week-long operation that Israel says was aimed at stopping militant rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.

If this is what we can expect in the way of peaceful progress in the Middle East, then don't count on getting a good night's sleep anytime soon...

Whoa! Simpsons Moment

Every Simpsons fan will remember that in the episode "Homer the Heretic," when Homer asks Moe to join his church, Moe declines, saying that he was born a snake handler and will die a snake handler. Scratch Kentucky of the list of potential home states...

A woman is dead after being bitten by a snake during a Sunday church service, the Laurel County Sheriff's Office said yesterday.

Neighbors near East London Holiness Church on Smith Brewer Road, which officials said the 48-year-old attended, said the church practices serpent handling.

Snake handling is based on a passage in the Bible, in the Gospel of Mark, that says a sign of a true believer is the power to "take up serpents" without being harmed.

It is illegal in Kentucky to handle reptiles as part of religious services. Snake handling is a misdemeanor and punishable by a $50-$100 fine.



Officials say 37-year-old Monica Nicholson was jailed Sept. 18 on fraud charges involving bad checks and ATM transactions. She posted bond Oct. 2 using a cashier's check for more than $10,000.

By the time Macon County Jail officials realized the check wasn't legitimate, Nicholson was gone.... The jail isn't accepting cashier's checks for the time being.

?! ...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Dark Age Ahead

Energy demand has been rising in Europe as winter nears

An overload in Germany's power network triggered outages leaving millions without electricity on Saturday night. Romano Prodi said there was a "contradiction" in having a unified power network but no central authority.

Power failed first in Cologne, Germany, before shutting down across parts of France, Italy, Spain and Austria. Belgium, the Netherlands and Croatia were also affected.

"My first impression is that there is a contradiction between having European networks but not having a central European authority. It is somewhat absurd," Mr Prodi said.

Welcome aboard, chers amis...

Did Jane Jacobs know what kind of prediction she was making? Of course she did.

Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest

The game was simple : Name the stupidest thing you have ever done. One answer was peculiar : "Shot a guy in the head."

...now the second stupidest, Jerry.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Must See, Tasty TV

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian authorities want to stop the daytime airing of a television advertisement promoting flavoured condoms saying it is obscene and in bad taste, a newspaper reported Friday. The advert promotes DKT's "XXX" strawberry, chocolate and banana flavoured condoms with the catchline "What is your flavor of the night?"

"This campaign is obscene," Sharmila Tagore, chairwoman of the Censor Board was quoted as saying in the Times of India. "Maybe DKT is targeting raunchy teenagers. But the ads are definitely not meant for children." Tagore, who is also an anti-AIDS activist, said she did not want to ban the advert totally, but recommended it be aired after 11 p.m. or in cinemas with an "A certification" instead of during the day when children were watching television.

An "A certification" on a film or advert indicates that it is meant for adult viewing only. A senior DKT official told the newspaper the flavored condoms were not meant to promote oral sex, but to encourage couples who do not like the smell of latex. According to the United Nations, 5.7 million Indians are living with AIDS/HIV. But activists say the true figure may be far higher as social stigma forces many of those infected to keep their status a secret.

Those Victorian-minded British may have vamoosed in 1947, but one of the most destructive elements of their legacy is this [instinctive] recoiling from anything even remotely resembling an acknowledgement of sexuality or sexual activity. If this thing really explodes what are the odds the company will win an adverstising award?

Post-Modern...? Nah: BC[E]

Mayonnaise : One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion.

Here's a nice twist on a familiar subject from yesterday's Globe & Mail. To summarize, Nathalie Gettliffe was returning to Vancouver last spring to defend her doctoral thesis (topic not specified) at the University of British Columbia when she was arrested on "two long-standing counts of child abduction. The charges were laid after she fled five years ago to France with two children from a broken marriage, in defiance of a B.C. court order." Gettliffe's lawyer Richard Fowler, said she "will plead guilty today in B.C. Supreme Court, rather than face a scheduled jury trial on the charges against her on November 20."

[ After a French court agreed with the B.C. court the children came back with their father this summer, under "police escort" until they reached the airport in Paris because police evidently "feared a vigilante attack" to prevent their return. And in a real bizarre twist, Gettliffe has also announced that she intends to run for the French presidency in next year's election. ]

But what's most interesting about this story is its sordid underbelly -- which, not suprisingly, is left entirely unaddressed. Here's the extent of the Globe's reporting :

Ms. Gettliffe's guilty plea is unlikely to diminish the fierce emotions her case has generated in France. There, she has been characterized with great sympathy in the media as a brave mother seeking to protect her children -- Joséphine, 12, and Maximilien, 11 -- from an alleged cult-like church attended by the children's father, Scott Grant. The Vancouver Church of Christ has links to the U.S.-based International Church of Christ, banned from many U.S. university campuses for cult-like recruiting drives.

Obviously there are still judges out there who seem to believe it's less harmful to bring your kids up in a cult environment than to have them live sceptically in the French Alps. What kind of church must this be if American institutions forbid them from proselytizing on their campuses? In response to the question "Is the International Church of Christ a cult?" the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry "recommend[s] that people avoid this group."

...unless of course the courts decide that you're too young to decide for yourself.

Watch The Waffle Iron

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - No shirt, no service? What about no clothes at all? A couple that began squabbling in a motel room Friday morning carried their dispute over to an adjacent Waffle House restaurant in the nude, police said.

The woman, who was not identified, told officers she was staying in a room with Larry Boyd when he took a hit of cocaine, started trashing their room and choked her.

She ran in the buff to the nearby restaurant and locked herself in the bathroom. Boyd, also naked, followed her into the restaurant and then fled in a car.

He was arrested - still naked - after a short chase by police and was charged with driving under the influence and felony evading arrest, among other charges. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

Only in New York... uh, Tennessee.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cast The First Stone

Mr Haggard said he stepped aside "voluntarily" (Photo - AP)

The leader of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals in the US has resigned after being accused of paying for sex with a man. The Reverend Ted Haggard said he would also temporarily step aside as head of his 14,000-strong New Life Church while his colleagues investigated the claims.

Mr Haggard, who is known as a vocal opponent of same-sex marriages, denies the accusations. The claims were made by a man during a radio show in Denver, Colorado. In a statement to the New Life Church, Mr Haggard said he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations".

The row began after Mike Jones said he had been paid to have sex with Mr Haggard nearly every month over the past three years. The allegations come as voters in Colorado and several other US states are due to hold simultaneous votes on gay marriage laws.

Mr Jones, 49, said Mr Haggard's public stance on gay marriage had prompted him to reveal the details of their relationship. "It made me angry that here's someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex," Mr Jones told the Associated Press news agency.

So, which of the following will most of the good pastor's flock be most inclined to do :

(a) forgive
(b) forget
(c) forgive and forget
(d) forgive, then burn down his house, then forget


The Rev. Ted Haggard admitted today he bought methamphetamine from a male prostitute but maintained he never had sex with the man and never used the drug. "I bought it for myself but never used it. I was tempted but I never used it," he said, smiling constantly from the driver’s seat of his pickup truck as he answered questions from reporters outside his home. His wife sat silently next to him; three of his children were in the backseat.

He was on his way to an appointment and couldn’t talk long... A panel of outside church leaders wanted to talk to him about the scandal, he said. "Both (religious) positions
[leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals and his 14,000-member New Life Church] are based on trust and right now my trust is questionable," he said.

[/Update Friday November 3, 2006]

Disgraced former US evangelical leader Ted Haggard has confessed to his followers that he was guilty of "sexual immorality". "I am a deceiver and a liar," Mr Haggard said in a letter - a day after his New Life Church fired him for what it called "sexually immoral conduct".

I could have made a killing in Las Vegas betting on that one...

[/Update Sunday November 5, 2006]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Stunt Double

Some of you may have heard of the practice of "double bagging" – wearing two condoms during sex for extra protection. Taking this idea to its ultimate extreme, researchers from myscienceproject.org set out to answer the question “How many condoms can you put on your dick?"

However, since they were unable to find anyone with a penis willing to undertake this assignment, they had to settle for answering the question "How many condoms can you put on a dildo?" The answer : at least 625.

Do not attempt this experiment with an actual penis !

Does this mean the Church will start recommending double-bagging as an alternative to AIDS?

Les Contradictions Abondent


Le curé Gravel est une contradiction profonde. Selon cet article dans Le Devoir :

Ottawa - Si Rome le veut, le controversé prêtre Raymond Gravel pourrait bien devenir le prochain député bloquiste de Repentigny. Figure bien connue depuis son passage remarqué à l'émission Tout le monde en parle, Raymond Gravel s'est dit «très intéressé» par le fait de devenir le prochain député fédéral de cette circonscription située à l'est de Montréal. Il a déjà manifesté ses intentions au Bloc québécois, qui recevra sa candidature avec joie, a appris Le Devoir.

L'élection partielle du 27 novembre prochain pourrait donc amener à Ottawa un prêtre haut en couleur, homosexuel, ex-prostitué et défenseur des marginaux de la société. Le tout à la veille d'un vote aux Communes concernant la réouverture du débat sur les mariages gais.

La circonscription de Repentigny est un bastion du Bloc québécois, qui fait élire ses députés avec d'écrasantes majorités. En janvier 2006, Benoît Sauvageau, décédé en août dernier, avait récolté plus de 60 % des votes, en route vers une majorité de 24 000 voix. Le candidat qui portera les couleurs de la formation souverainiste devrait donc arriver aux Communes en novembre prochain.... C'est d'ailleurs lui qui a dirigé la cérémonie funèbre de M. Sauvageau, le 1er septembre dernier.

Raymond Gravel voudrait poursuivre à Ottawa les batailles qu'il mène depuis des années. «Je prends la défense des femmes qui se font avorter. Je prends la défense des marginaux. Je me bats contre les injustices et je veux plus d'égalité», dit ce prêtre catholique. Est-ce que ses prises de position et son passé houleux pourraient lui nuire en campagne électorale? «Je pense que la politique canadienne est assez ouverte», soutient-il.

Un deuxième Richelieu?