What’s The Matter? I Thought You Guys Loved Cuts

‘It goes way overboard’: Ford calls OPP on protesters who brought guillotine to Queen’s Park

I had to say the obvious thing in the title, but now I need to have a word with whomever did this and anyone who thinks it might be a good idea to do some similar thing in the future.

Please don’t.

Protesting is good. I’m glad so many folks are out there giving a voice and a face to the many genuine concerns we all have about the things this government is doing. We need that. Please keep it up. Bring signs, bring friends, but for the love of god, please don’t bring the local theatre’s prop closet. Stunts like this aren’t doing our side any good. In fact, you’re helping Ford more than anything else. If him and his people point to you and your baby’s first executioner set and say ” there’s no reasoning with this band of lunatics and clowns, just ignore them,” there’s no way to argue he’s wrong. It’s ammunition for their side, not support for ours. We’re supposed to be the reasonable ones. The smart ones. The right ones. the ones that can claim the moral high ground because we actually care about people’s quality of life. We can do so much better than this.

The OPP has been informed about a group of protesters who brought a fake guillotine to Queen’s Park on Wednesday, the premier’s office has announced.

A few hundred people showed up to the protest outside Queen’s Park in what was called a “General Strike Against Doug Ford” on a Facebook event page.
Several masked attendees carried the wooden guillotine dotted with red paint onto the lawn and held signs that said “No cuts but this cut,” and “May history repeat itself, Chop, Chop!”

Lisa MacLeod, the province’s minister of children, community and social services, called the guillotine a “credible threat” and told reporters the party has referred the incident to the provincial police.  
“Masked protesters brought a bloodied guillotine to the grounds of Queen’s Park and you know what they did? They beheaded an effigy of the premier. This is disgusting,” MacLeod said.
CBC Toronto could not confirm if the group did, in fact, behead an effigy of Ford.

Let’s Fix Security By Breaking It. That’ll Show ‘Em

Maybe PluginVulnerabilities.com runs a great service. I don’t know. But I also don’t care, because chances are solid that I’m never going to use it. Why? Well, because irresponsibly endangering the entire internet as a form of protest is an extremely dumb, unprofessional thing to do even if some of your gripes might be legitimate.

A security service called Plugin Vulnerabilities, founded by John Grillot, is taking a vigilante approach to addressing grievances against WordPress.org support forum moderators. The company is protesting the moderators’ actions by publishing zero-day vulnerabilities (those for which no patch has been issued) and then attempting to contact the plugin author via the WordPress.org support forums:

Grillot claims that moderators have deleted his comments, covered up security issues instead of trying to fix them, and promoted certain security companies for fixing hacked sites, among other complaints.
In response, Plugin Vulnerabilities has published a string of vulnerabilities with full disclosure since initiating the protest in September 2018. These posts detail the exact location of the vulnerabilities in the code, along with a proof of concept. The posts are followed up with an attempt to notify the developer through the WordPress.org support forum.

I Have NO Good Title For This, Obviously

Today in Mad Libs sounding headlines: Naked Auschwitz demonstrators who killed sheep convicted

If you’re staring at that and thinking to yourself well, surely the rest of the story will make some sense out of this for me, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.

Twelve people who stripped naked in front of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and killed a sheep have been convicted of profaning the site.
A court in the Polish city of Oswiecim jailed two of the group for more than a year and fined the rest.
The incident took place last March beneath the site’s main gate, which bears the infamous slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work sets you free”).
About 1.1 million people were murdered by the Nazis at the camp.
At the time of the incident, officials said the motive was unclear but the group later said they were protesting against the war in Ukraine.

The individuals involved, aged between 20 and 27, include six Poles, four Belarusians and one German, police said at the time of the incident.
They launched a firecracker in the car park and chained themselves to the gates before museum guards intervened.
Local media reported that the group used a drone to film the disturbance, and draped a white banner with the red text “love” over the gate.

The sheep, who I assume was not feeling much of that love, was never mentioned again.

You Shouldn’t Kill Animals! Let Me Do It Instead!

I’m about as far from vegan as it gets, but if you’re not, great. I’m also not one who tends to engage in public forms of protest all that often, but if you do, great. Everyone should do what they want to do and be what they want to be. But for the love of god, would it kill some of you to include smart and rational somewhere on the list of things you want to be? The answer is no, especially when you consider the law of probabilities involved in the alternative, which in this case is drunkenly smashing your car into a truckload of chickens because people shouldn’t eat chicken, dammit.

A Georgia woman was arrested Wednesday after she reportedly slammed into a chicken truck, fled and then told officers who tracked her down that she hit the vehicle because she was a vegan.
The investigation began when a truck driver told police he was traveling west on Highway 72 when a red four-door car hit his truck twice, WXIA-TV reported.
The unidentified truck driver called police as the car fled. Madison County deputies found the car’s license plate in debris left in the wake of the crash. They were able to track the car’s owner to Comer, Georgia, where they found the vehicle and a driver matching the driver’s vague description.

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. A vegan, who I assume cares about the well being of living things, deliberately smashed into a truck full of living things more than once in order to make a statement about how we need to respect and appreciate living things.

Knowing this, it should come as little surprise that when tested later, Judith Armstrong blew over the legal driving limit. It also needs noting, however, that she wants to remove the excuse such as it is, telling police that she wasn’t drinking before the incident but did have a few shots when she got home.

She’s charged with hit-and-run, aggressive driving, driving under the influence and obstruction.

I’m Donald Trump…Or Am I

I’m giving this one a soundtrack because we need to get it in before it’s too late to be topical.

Tempting as it may be, there are more productive ways of voicing your displeasure with Donald Trump and his supporters than showing up at one of his rallies and vandalizing the cars there with peanut butter. This is especially true when the Trump rally in question isn’t even a Trump rally.

According to the complaint, Ferguson entered the meeting, which was being held on the 3900 block of Second St. in Amherst Junction, at about 9:30 PM on Monday, holding a jar of peanut butter and yelling at the club members about how much she hated the presidential candidate.
Ferguson left the meeting after being asked to do so, but after a few minutes one of the members suggested they check the parking lot to “make sure she wasn’t doing anything to their vehicles after leaving.”
As they went outside, one man saw Ferguson spreading peanut butter on a vehicle. He yelled at her, according to the complaint, and watched her walk into a nearby apartment complex. The man then called the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies attempted to question Ferguson, a man at the apartment claimed she had been home all night and couldn’t have been involved in the incident. Ferguson also claimed she hadn’t left the apartment that night, and was repeatedly licking her fingers — indicating the presence of an edible substance on her fingers, according to the complaint — while talking to the deputy.

Once she was identified by a witness, Christina Ferguson confessed to everything, explaining that she did it because she loved Hillary Clinton, hated Donald Trump and had been terrorized by Trump Supporters. She went on to tell police that “Peanut buttering is better than firebombing, and Trump plans on firebombing everybody in other countries.”

All of that sounds remarkably logical coming from a woman who also admitted to having consumed beer and blackberry brandy beforehand and then proceeded to blow a .218 on a breath test, it should be pointed out.

When informed that her Trump rally was actually a meeting of the Tomorrow River Conservation Club, Ferguson was apologetic, telling police that she was “just fed up about the entire election.”

The apology wasn’t enough to prevent an arrest and a charge of disorderly conduct for the peanut buttering, which effected approximately 30 vehicles.

The NRA May Or May Not Want Me And My Fellow Blindlings To Carry Guns, Because The NRA Is Ridiculous

Being one, I strongly believe that 99 times out of 100, blind people are much more competent in just about every aspect of life than the general public gives us credit for. Every day, blind people all over the world are completing tasks ranging from the mundane to the insane unhurt and without incident.

But of course, there is the matter of that pesky 100th time, and that’s where I must disagree with our friends from the National Rifle Association.

For some stupid reason or other, they wouldn’t mind all that much if I were allowed to carry a gun. Or maybe they would, since they seem to be trying to get this video disappeared from the internet. Good luck with that, by the way.

I get the part about not wanting to strip people of their rights just because of a disability, and there’s certainly value in the statement about falling on the side of freedom. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’re talking about blind people carrying guns. the mere thought of this, and keep in mind that this is coming from a blind guy, is completely batshit.

Let me ask you a question. Should I be allowed to drive a cab? I hope you immediately said “Of course not!”, because that’s the right answer. In my hands, a taxi is a dangerous weapon, even though I should be allowed to earn a living just like anyone else. Public safety and good old common sense basically say screw you blinky, go do something else for your money, and so they should.

Now let’s translate that logic to guns. In the hands of anyone, even those who are highly trained, guns are dangerous weapons. I say this leaving aside my personal belief that nobody who isn’t using a gun to kill her own food should be allowed to own one. Accidents happen. All it takes is a split second of panic for an innocent person to wind up injured or worse. And this is now, when folks like me aren’t allowed to legally cart one around town with us.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a blind person throw something, but I can tell you from experience it isn’t always pretty. For even the best of us, our aim can be pretty much crap. Just the other weekend, for example, Brother Brad and I were playing a few fun games with family that involved ball throwing. Even with somebody standing essentially where we were supposed to land it and making funny noises at us, we still managed to miss the target by miles and miles about 3 quarters of the time. And this is when we’re having fun. In a high stress situation, there’s no target yelling “I’m over here!”, and no time to set and fire, not that it matters since obviously we can’t be assured we’re going to hit it anyway.

And while it’s tempting to go along with the close range argument, what happens if our robber/rapist/murderer wrestles the gun away from us? We’re right back where we started. No, we’re actually worse off, because now the son of a bitch probably has 2 weapons to use on us. Thanks for helping me die faster, NRA. This isn’t even a blind vs. sighted issue, either. It applies to anybody. Your weapon gets stolen, you’d better be able to run quickly in the proper direction…another thing we blindies aren’t necessarily the best at, and for largely similar reasons to those which make gun ownership a spectacularly dumb idea.

So while I appreciate that the NRA wants to stand up for the rights of the disabled, it would be nice if just once they took a break from their usual business of making sure we can all kill each other because “Constitution, dammit!” and put some of that activist energy towards helping us break down some of the barriers we face that are…what’s the word I’m looking for here…important? Yes, important. We’ve got enough to worry about day to day in this society without the threat of the inevitable lawsuit or life sentence that’s going to crash down on us when we kill the wrong person in the name of safety.

White Poppies Make Me See Red

One thing I’ve noticed in this town is I’ve found it hard to find a place to get a poppy! I went to the bank across the street, I ran there before work, and no, they didn’t have them, nor did they know where I should go. I’ve never had to google it, but I tried…and google thought I wanted a puppy, and sent me to Kijiji! Um how about no? Apparently they’re at grocery stores, but I’ve always gotten them from the bank, so now I have one…or had one until it fell off yesterday. Must fix that, do not want to look like a disrespectful jerk.

But as I’m still walking around looking like a disrespectful jerk, I heard about another type of disrespectful jerk, one that’s walking around with another symbol pinned to their coats. Thankfully it wasn’t a poppy with a swastika through the centre, but this one is a white poppy.

So what the heck is a white poppy, you ask? According to the leaders of the movement, they’re a symbol of peace, a symbol of remembrance for those who we lost in the war, and a request to have no more war.

Um? Like the red ones?

According to these misguided souls, no. The read ones are glorifying war, and celebrate the war dead.

*shakes head* Where have you been? I have never thought of Remembrance Day as a day of celebration. I have never thought of a poppy like some kind of twisted corsage to put on as I go to the ra ra let’s blow stuff up party. I have worn it out of respect for those who went to war, people we have lost and people who had to face the horrors of it and still live with what they saw. I have worn it to say I remember, and I appreciate what they have done for us. In fact, I feel like a total asshole if I don’t have one on in November…which is the case currently.

The ones who really confuse me are the family members of veterans who I’ve seen on the news wearing a white poppy. Why the hell would you? How can that make your family member feel? I know probably they’re glad you have the freedom to wear that thing, even if it might be a bit of a slap in the face, but still. How can you?

Also, from what I saw on the news, they’re giving out white poppies for free, unlike the red poppy, whose proceeds go to organizations to help veterans…when the lowest of the low don’t steal the donation boxes, that is. so now, on top of pissing on their symbol, you’re potentially taking money from them? Oh just wonderful. You’re doing such a good thing for society.

This whole thing reminds me of something Steve saw one day while he was on the radio. He saw a group of dudes sitting on the stairs with a paper bag over his head. When Steve asked one of the guys what they were doing, the guy said the group was trying to take the face off of hunger. Steve, disbelieving, asked them why they would do that, and wouldn’t they want to put a face on hunger? Wouldn’t they want to humanize it? I can’t remember what the guy said to Steve, but I don’t remember them having a long conversation about it. I’m sure the group’s heart was in the right place, but they had no clue how to go about it.

It feels similar with these white poppies. It seems these people have good intentions, but without meaning to, they’re undermining their own cause.

Whenever I thought about this, my mind would do its best impression of a car spinning its wheels on ice. I would try to go forward with my post, but I couldn’t get traction and I would just rev and stay in place. So Steve suggested I read some things to get me going. This opinion piece basically nailed what I wanted to say perfectly, and added in a few chuckleworthy phrases. I don’t know how much I would like her stuff on most topics, but I agree with her here.

Plus this Wikipedia article on the white poppy gave me a sense that the white poppy thing has been around for a while, just not here.

I hope I don’t get offered a white poppy while we’re out today. At least I’ve written about it, so I won’t look at them and have a vein pop out of my head out of utter fury. Must…fix…my lack…of a red poppy…situation.

The Wrong Kind Of Accessibility Advocate

In his current form, Matt Wozenilek is the exact kind of person the accessibility movement doesn’t need. I thought so when I first heard is name a few years ago, and I think so now.

Have a look at the story and accompanying video here and see if you see what I see. What I see is a guy who has the right idea, but is going about it like a complete and total scumbag.

Making buildings accessible to everyone is a fantastic goal. To the level I can possibly understand it, I know how frustrating and sad it can be for somebody to be shut out of a restaurant, store or what have you because of something over which they have no power. When some of the simplest things in your daily life hinge on the willingness of other people to make adjustments, it sucks. That much, as a blind person, I’ve lived. And having been around a number of folks in wheelchairs and the like, I know that my struggles sometimes feel trivial to me by comparison. At least if I want to try out the Baker Street Station I’ve been hearing all these great things about, I can go in and have a burger and a pint. I have friends who can’t, because the only way in is up a bunch of steps. In downtown Guelph, that kind of thing plays itself out over and over and over again because of all the nice old buildings. The same thing that makes downtown Guelph special is the very thing that tends to make it an accessibility nightmare.

The unfortunate reality, though, is that because a lot of these buildings are so old and because they’re grandfathered (rightfully so) into the new standards, there’s only so much that can be done to improve the accessibility situation without demolishing a bunch of them and starting over. The other unfortunate reality is that a lot of these buildings are home to small, local businesses that often aren’t brimming with cash. Without massive municipal funding that doesn’t exist, the renovations required to get these places up to code would likely put more than a few people under. As much as I hated writing that, it’s true. Because of money, doing the right thing can’t happen all at once without defeating its purpose.

And this is where we get back to Matt. Often, what he seems to want is simple enough. Automatic doors so he can get himself in and out. A perfectly reasonable request. So reasonable, in fact, that when he asks for them, businesses have installed them. They’ve shown that they’re willing to work with him and yet, it’s not good enough. Things don’t end because he’s been accommodated, he says. He still deserves compensation!

From what I understand, and I may be wrong here, he hasn’t been disabled for a good portion of his life. So allow me to explain something. Unless advising on matters of accessibility and ensuring that steps are followed through on is your job, the accommodation is your compensation. The adapted life isn’t always the easiest one, which means we often have to fight for things. Whether it’s the blind person having a go round or 12 with the city to convince it not to put a roundabout in the middle of town or you asking for a door opener or some sort of ramp, these things often take time, effort and convincing. And when you win, it’s awesome! Not only did you win for you, but you won for everybody else. You won for people like you and for people you probably haven’t even considered. You’ve improved things for generations. It becomes a legacy of sorts.

What you don’t do is drag folks through Human Rights court even though you’re making progress because seeing a buttonless door or a flight of stairs made you sad. For one thing, it makes it seem to everyone like you’re all about the money. Like maybe access is somehow secondary and you’ve found a way to make some cash on the side. Secondly, and this is important, there’s no better way to make sure that nobody wants to work with you or the rest of us ever again. Results through fear is nearly always a poor strategy. You’re making headway, which is more than a lot of people can say. I admire that. But if you want to bring that forward momentum to a grinding halt, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s ok to get loud and even angry sometimes. But at the end of the day it’s important that the anger come from a good, reasonable place. Acknowledge the good steps these businesses are taking, don’t punish because they’re not enough. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes. Real change takes time and patience. And if you don’t reward the start, it’s not going to go well when you bring up the continuation.

I hope that one day Mr. Wozenilek will come to understand this. I also hope that that day doesn’t come too late. With a different outlook on things, who knows what he could accomplish.

It’s The Occupy VC Cast

Well, it is here. The Occupy VC Cast, the Occucast, whatever you want to call it, it’s here…and it’s about to occupy about 2 hours of your time. It would be awesome if you found it 99% funny.

We divided it into 4 parts. It would have been only 3, but well, ya see, I’m a giant moron and caused us to need to make a bonus part.

Part one lasts for about 25 minutes or so. In it, we spend some time on the whole Occupy VC thing, and how the Occupy movement has invaded my subconscious, because when I hear 1% or 99% from the computer as it’s loading something, I immediately think of Occupy-related stuff. We mention Lunchupguelph, and ramble a while about the work Christmas party we went to, some about the odd weather, the Baker Street Station, and then we set off on our first major rant. Steve got very creative in making fun of the reasons people come up with for petting guide dogs when they know they shouldn’t, and Trix got excited by his silly tone. I also did my best to describe the drink I tried at Baker Street Station, man that was awesome. Then after Steve talked in a funny voice, a joke next to noone will get, we brought this part of things to a sudden end.

In part two, which lasts about 42 minutes, Steve made me a drink and we talked about its ability to smack me around six ways from Sunday. We also talked about how Steve knows what drinks I’d like and has a pretty good track record. the story of the recent time where one of our Twitter buddies jokingly called Steve a douchebag came up, as well as the fact that someone seriously calls themselves Magnificent Douchebag as their Twitter name. We asked a question about something someone said who has gone lots of times to the Occupy Toronto movement, and Steve scared the hell out of me by mentioning this video. We lament the fact that BlindFileSharing’s front end went splat, cutting off access to the files. Other topics talked about are the Occupy Movement’s biggest curse, the stupidity of news media working people into a frenzy over nothing, Black Friday insanity, The mumbly new Tim Horton’s slogan and general suckiness of Tim Hortons commercials, especially the use of the words “whipped topping”. And before we break again, Steve talks about how much he loves the Grey Cup finals, and a few recent Grey Cup party memories.

And then, we really get silly in Part three, which goes about 50 minutes. This was the other half of our inspiration for audio. The story goes that the police in our area step up their efforts to watch out for impaired drivers. So, they pull everybody over on a stretch of road, ask them if they’ve had anything to drink, and if they think they have, they test them and deal with them. This is called the RIDE program (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere). But at Christmas, they call it the festive RIDE program. This always gave us an image of singing cops jingling bells and being full of jolly cheer while making people walk the line and blow into the breathalizer. We then wondered what sort of songs they would sing at the festive RIDE program…and that’s what we spend the majority of the time doing. Part of the way through, I suddenly realize we need bells, and go off in search of something that would serve as bells. Since I can’t find them, we have to settle for jingling our keys. At the very end, we wrap up by laughing at someone for thinking the Foo Fighters were called the Food Fighters, and there’s a little joke in there for a fellow known on Twitter as @thedangillis.

And just when you think it’s over, we make Part four, all because I found those pesky bells! This one only goes about 4 minutes or so.

We had a lot of fun doing this audio, so I hope you enjoy. Here’s Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and finally, Part 4.

Enjoy, or something.

Shame That Nothing Has Chosen To Occupy This Guy’s Empty Head

People, people, people! When are you going to learn that if you’re not sure what you’re protesting, it’s best you stay home and read up on it instead of drawing up a sign and heading downtown? You’re giving the folks trying to lend support to what may well be a legitimate and worthwhile movement a bad name and making things much harder for them.

Check out this goober from one of the Occupy Wall Street protests. You should get free schooling because it’s your opinion and you’re just throwing it out there because that’s what you want? That’s one compelling argument, I must say. I’m sure all those damn billionaires will be beating down your door with money orders and blank cheques by the time I’m finished writing this. At the very least you should be able to get a loan on the cheap, those Wall Street types have a bit of a fondness for those.