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NewsBrief Part VI: Bush’s Low Approval Ratings Part Of Evil Mexican Plot

Miami- Fox News released a report yesterday revealing the President’s all-time low approval ratings to be the result of evil Mexicans. The report added these Mexicans are working illegally and unified to the common goal of making Mr. Bush appear as a desperate politician willing to pull any half-cooked stunt to inflate sagging ratings.

The report is yet another drop in the bucket in the never before seen flurry to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. “It’s about time!” said Fox News political correspondent Beige Bush, calling illegal Mexicans ‘lazy’ and ‘more preoccupied with tacos and siestas except when it comes to ruining my second-cousin’s good name.’
When asked to comment on the possibility the current immigration initiative to be a plot to distract the American people from the aftermath of the Iraq war Mrs. Bush added ‘What Iraq war? Are there illegal Mexicans over there?’

The issue has already reached a feverous pitch when the President made a televised address two days ago in which he informed the nation that 6,000 National Guard Reserves would be mobilized to the border to stop evil immigrants. ‘Sure they can run but we have snipers who specialize on moving targets.’

When asked why suddenly the issue of illegal immigrants has become the current administration’s de facto issue, he said ‘Mexicans have always been on my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I have always respected our neighbours to the south. Back in Texas they made 3/4 of my staff. As you may already know, America will always need maids, cleaning staff and gardeners.’

The topic was then changed to the phone-tapping inquest, Mr. Bush said ‘The fact that we’re discussing this programme is helping the enemy.’ Defending his actions ‘as necessary’ he continued to add that as far as he was aware no laws had been broken. ‘But it would not surprise me if it was an illegal alien who tipped the press.’

–‘NewsBriefs’ appear monthly in the Toike Okie, U of T’s premier satirical newspaper since 1908 —

Silent Hill: The Course Of The Video Game Movie Lives

I have never bothered to own a Sony Playstation. However, five years ago I was able to acquire one on loan for about three months. How? Simple. A guy trying to impress my then girlfriend lend it to me in order to get on her good side. How bruck is that? Sucker.

Anyway, one of titles that came with my bamboozled unit was a unique game called Silent Hill. ‘What an odd name,’ I thought at the time. Why would anyone entitle a game, or a town for that matter, after a hill? But just not any hill but a silent hill? Guess we all eventually get tired of being around loud, obnoxious, bitchy hills? Makes sense.

That’s like Cuba changing their name to ‘Communist Island,’ or ‘Hemingway Got Drunk Here Isle.’ Such honesty won’t entice gringos or tourist in droves. Which is what the town of Silent Hill is trying to do. Its citizens aught to get a tax break for life to make up their forefathers bequeathing them with such an unimaginative name.

Alright, pragmatism aside what I did not expect was to play one of the most engrossing games I have ever experienced. So absorbing in fact, my little teen sister who was too scared to actually play the game, devoted herself to watch the action transpire from over my shoulder as I put my own psyche on the line. With a disturbing ambiance thanks to minimalist –yet quite off-putting— music, grotesque imagery and a general sense of desolation due to exploring a mostly deserted town that chips away at your comfort level.

Silent Hill is as creepy as games get. You hear things stalking you but can’t see them and only the uncomfortable hiss of a broken radio as your only means of knowing if they are closing in on you for the kill or not. The game immerses you into its world whether you like it or not. Sure you want to see how the thing ends but I remember at one point feeling such dread while playing it, I ended up giving myself a day or two just get the heck away from it.

It was like playing through an experience akin to watching the exorcist. Which I have to say made it a great game that ultimately ended inspiring three sequels. Which I never got to play as I gave the unit back to the sucke- I mean, my girlfriend’s friend who perhaps realized lending me a Playstation would not yield the expected results he hoped for. Duh.

Fast forward to a few months ago. As we all know, all cash cows whether be in print, TV or even a video game are nowadays the first victims to be turned into film. However since seeing the trailer of Silent Hill on the big screen I found myself totally engrossed, again. Its portrayal of a parent searching for her lost child in a surreal town which periodically slips into hell gave me hope director Christopher Gans (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) had somehow grasped the underlying sense of despair in the game and transposed it onto film. Memories of the dread I had felt before began to resurface. I wanted to see it, I wanted to feel disturbed…yeah, we humans are a strange bunch.

When the movie was released, I could not find anyone to go with. Women I asked were afraid of the movie or simply not interested in the movie. Friends were put off because it was based on a video game, which historically translates into an incoherent jumble and thus a waste of the viewer’s life. Movies like Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Wing Commander, The Resident Evil series and the recent theatrical bomb called Doom come to mind, each an atrocity on celluloid in their own right.

As I could not find anyone to go see it, I did the only thing I could think off, I downloaded it off the net and watched it for free on my laptop. Yes, you heard me. You overpriced movie theatres can all go to hell! You hear me? HELL!

What did I think? Director Christopher Gans created a visually perfect adaptation of a world first portrayed by a bunch of mentally deranged game designers. Bravo! Quite a spectacle to behold and if a feast to the eyes is your thing, you could do much worse. Too bad the same cannot be said about the script, which in true video-game-turned-into-film fashion is a mess. Something about witches, a little girl’s soul desire for vengeance and the fate of the surviving town folk. The plot gets so convoluted at times that I was not sure what was going on-screen.

The screenplay also fails by committing the cardinal sin of having characters act stupidly in order to move the plot along. Or worse, subject us to painfully obvious statements over and over. At one point (55:55min), after the town is enveloped by a never receding fog, has been cut off the rest of the world by a bottomless chasm that appeared out of nowhere and a zombie attack, two main characters chat:
-‘They used to say this place was haunted.’
-‘I think they were right…’
Duh. Someone please kill that first character off. Luckily, someone eventually does. Thank you.

The problem is video game plots have yet to be able to carry the weight and length of a movie. Since a gamer is generally too busy playing the game to be concerned with secondary things like plot. As a result, during the script writing process writers are forced to fill in gaps normally filled in by the player. So far with mostly life sucking side effects to the audience. Sadly, Silent Hill is no exception. This is the course of the video game movie.

I really wanted to like this movie. Visually is one of the better movies I have seen this year, watch for the scenes where the town is absorbed into the nightmarish and rusting ‘Otherworld.’ A Dante’s Inferno inspired vision that is almost worth the price of admission. The musical score, from soft piano pieces to industrial clatter is a big factor and right on and adds to the perversely bizarre pictures on the screen. The plot and dialogue cannot match the rest of the film and are a let-down.

The movie was so close to breaking the video game course that it could almost taste it. Alas, that coveted title will not go to Silent Hill. But compared to the pile t came before it, we can at least take solace in knowing it could have been much, much worse.

Now, if I could only get another zap to lend me their Xbox.

Letter To My MPP: SmartMeters? What The $^&*$@%!# Are You Thinking?

This was a letter sent to Mr. Smitherman, my MPP regarding Toronto’s new Smart-meters that if without opposition could start infiltrating Toronto homes as early as this summer. Although a good idea in concept, the way they are going at it is as boneheaded as only politicians have the gift to make it.

This is Mr. McGuinty’s plan to have Torontonians save electricity by doing their laundry at ‘off peak’ hours. Like, let’s say 3:00am in the morning.
If you rent than this affects you! Write your MPP, make them earn their lunch money.


Good day Mr. Smitherman,

I am taking this opportunity –my first in fact – to write to you about an issue, which has gravely alerted my attention. Mr. McGuinty’s proposed use of ‘smart meters’ in the city of Toronto, although a good plan at heart, needs to be rethought before it can ever come upon real-world implementation.

Mr. Smitherman, this plan does not take into consideration a landlord’s responsibility to upgrade a tenant’s unit or appliances to the latest most energy efficient models. I would also wager that most would be unable to financially fulfil this task. Further still, once they are no longer footing the hydro bill, it is easy to see their desire to replace them waver even more. Especially if McGuinty allows landlords to mandate their own generic discount on a tenant’s rent. After all, a building does not have to be environmentally friendly or efficient to pass code.

Under these circumstances, if a landlord cannotrefuses to upgrade appliances, don’t you think passing the expense of hydro over to tenants is not only unfair but an obvious lack of environmental concern by Mr. McGuinty and Queen’s Park? It sounds more like a misguided attempt to save a quick buck rather than avoiding an ‘energy crisis.’

So what if this plan comes into fruition? I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of keeping track of the new hardware and the billing system that will surely come with it. Instead of having one bill, now you are going to deliver over 320 to my building alone? How many trees are going to be cut down every billing cycle in order to keep Toronto’s mostly circa ‘80s appliances running? How about the new staff that will need to be hired?

To quote Mr. McGuinty from his April 19nth, 2004 Legislative assembly speech, it is easy for him or anyone to say “That old, inefficient beer fridge in the basement may seem like your best friend at playoff time — but every time you open the door it’s “pay-up time,” because that fridge can be costing you about $150 a year in extra electricity — electricity we can’t afford to waste.” Well, what about when that ‘inefficient fridge’ takes the form of your inefficient heater, or your stove, or your kitchen fridge? These things happen and they are not being addressed, could someone explain why tenants should pay for something they have no control over?

On a different note Mr. Smitherman, why no one ever touches on the fact that we do not need the CIBC tower on the Northwest corner of Yonge and Bloor lit up like a Christmas tree every night? Or what about the Manulife Centre? Or the Eaton Center Tower? Or most of the downtown core for that matter? How many lights does an evening cleaning crew need? Ultimately the key of this enterprise is not to save a buck but to save power, and hopefully save a buck or two meanwhile we are at it. I doubt that my own apartment building at 40 Gerrard Street East could ever compete with the power usage of the Royal Bank plaza at Bay and Front streets, as they have the advantage of their thousands of computers but only a soul or two per floor after 9:00pm.

If we are trying to save electricity why not legislate for landlords, particularly of large buildings and the private sector to implement solar power panels on their roofs for example? Generally, most roofs have gravel and a few pipes, they have the space and it will benefit them in the long term.

What about lower income families? Those very families who happen to live in less than perfect conditions; do you think Mr. Smitherman their landlord would have the funds to fix their drafty windows, bad heating and replace their energy wasting appliances? When that does not happen, whom do you think will be left in the cold when they are not able to afford to live even in those less than perfect conditions?

I am not saying that smart-meters are bad idea Mr. Smitherman, but the way Mr. McGuinty it is going about it definitely proves his $100,000+ a year salary has segregated him and is now out of touch from the average Toronto citizen and father still from someone who is an actual tenant. Where is ‘our’ voice being represented in all of this?

I am expecting a response to see what will be done about this matter. Oh, and if I may, could you be kind enough to email me a response. No fancy paper on regular mail, please.

Thank you for your time,

You can find some other thoughts on the matter if you click to this quick exchange on this forum.

Letter To My MPP: SmartMeters? What The $^&*$@%!# Are You Thinking?

This was a letter sent to Mr. Smitherman, my MPP regarding Toronto’s new Smart-meters that if without opposition could start infiltrating Toronto homes as early as this summer. Although a good idea in concept, the way they are going at it is as boneheaded as only politicians have the gift to make it.

This is Mr. McGuinty’s plan to have Torontonians save electricity by doing their laundry at ‘off peak’ hours. Like, let’s say 3:00am in the morning.
If you rent than this affects you! Write your MPP, make them earn their lunch money.


Good day Mr. Smitherman,

I am taking this opportunity –my first in fact – to write to you about an issue, which has gravely alerted my attention. Mr. McGuinty’s proposed use of ‘smart meters’ in the city of Toronto, although a good plan at heart, needs to be rethought before it can ever come upon real-world implementation.

Mr. Smitherman, this plan does not take into consideration a landlord’s responsibility to upgrade a tenant’s unit or appliances to the latest most energy efficient models. I would also wager that most would be unable to financially fulfil this task. Further still, once they are no longer footing the hydro bill, it is easy to see their desire to replace them waver even more. Especially if McGuinty allows landlords to mandate their own generic discount on a tenant’s rent. After all, a building does not have to be environmentally friendly or efficient to pass code.

Under these circumstances, if a landlord cannot\refuses to upgrade appliances, don’t you think passing the expense of hydro over to tenants is not only unfair but an obvious lack of environmental concern by Mr. McGuinty and Queen’s Park? It sounds more like a misguided attempt to save a quick buck rather than avoiding an ‘energy crisis.’

So what if this plan comes into fruition? I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of keeping track of the new hardware and the billing system that will surely come with it. Instead of having one bill, now you are going to deliver over 320 to my building alone? How many trees are going to be cut down every billing cycle in order to keep Toronto’s mostly circa ‘80s appliances running? How about the new staff that will need to be hired?

To quote Mr. McGuinty from his April 19nth, 2004 Legislative assembly speech, it is easy for him or anyone to say “That old, inefficient beer fridge in the basement may seem like your best friend at playoff time — but every time you open the door it’s “pay-up time,” because that fridge can be costing you about $150 a year in extra electricity — electricity we can’t afford to waste.” Well, what about when that ‘inefficient fridge’ takes the form of your inefficient heater, or your stove, or your kitchen fridge? These things happen and they are not being addressed, could someone explain why tenants should pay for something they have no control over?

On a different note Mr. Smitherman, why no one ever touches on the fact that we do not need the CIBC tower on the Northwest corner of Yonge and Bloor lit up like a Christmas tree every night? Or what about the Manulife Centre? Or the Eaton Center Tower? Or most of the downtown core for that matter? How many lights does an evening cleaning crew need? Ultimately the key of this enterprise is not to save a buck but to save power, and hopefully save a buck or two meanwhile we are at it. I doubt that my own apartment building at 40 Gerrard Street East could ever compete with the power usage of the Royal Bank plaza at Bay and Front streets, as they have the advantage of their thousands of computers but only a soul or two per floor after 9:00pm.

If we are trying to save electricity why not legislate for landlords, particularly of large buildings and the private sector to implement solar power panels on their roofs for example? Generally, most roofs have gravel and a few pipes, they have the space and it will benefit them in the long term.

What about lower income families? Those very families who happen to live in less than perfect conditions; do you think Mr. Smitherman their landlord would have the funds to fix their drafty windows, bad heating and replace their energy wasting appliances? When that does not happen, whom do you think will be left in the cold when they are not able to afford to live even in those less than perfect conditions?

I am not saying that smart-meters are bad idea Mr. Smitherman, but the way Mr. McGuinty it is going about it definitely proves his $100,000+ a year salary has segregated him and is now out of touch from the average Toronto citizen and father still from someone who is an actual tenant. Where is ‘our’ voice being represented in all of this?

I am expecting a response to see what will be done about this matter. Oh, and if I may, could you be kind enough to email me a response. No fancy paper on regular mail, please.

Thank you for your time,

You can find some other thoughts on the matter if you click to this quick exchange on this forum.