American Made


Poster art

This movie is presented as a biopic but it’s really just “inspired” by the life of Barry Seal. It’s nevertheless enjoyable to see Tom Cruise play in a comedy — although this story should really be a tragedy since it’s about how Reagan’s government was trying to prevent communism to prevail in Central America by arming the Nicaraguan Contras against the Sandinistas using drug smugglers. It doesn’t end well for Seal but the light tone of the movie makes the heavy subject entertaining enough to be enjoyable — while we should have been puking in disgust instead… stars-2-5


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Notable News (W07 – W12)

In the last five weeks, nothing much happened on the domestic front. The weather slightly improved each weeks (now it’s mostly above zero, although the east coast kept being hit by one  nor’easter after another!) and the sun feels much better (warmer) since we switched to daylight saving time as it sets much later now. The snow is melting. The job is as tiring and frustrating (absurd) as ever, but I think I am dealing better with it. Zen and all (trying not to give a f*ck).

I got my DNA testing results from 23&me and it is rather disappointing. I am genetically boring: one hundred per cent europeans and no variants detected for major health issues (save a higher risk for macular degeneration and celiac disease). The physical traits reports are hits and misses. I still have to read everything in details, but I feels it is more amusing than really useful.

I didn’t write much (although I did a few good comments on What the Health, An inconvenient sequel, Le chat du rabbin 7, Reine d’Égypte vol. 1 and vol. 2-3, on Kim Thuy’s conference and her book Ru) because I have been constantly busy trying to solve multiple problems. I have the feeling that nothing works properly anymore! Everything seems buggy: the WiFi, the blog, the computer (at home and at work), and even the electricity (causing the lights to flickers almost constantly, turning off and on the TV or the computer)! Is the world starting to slowly brake down all over? The entropy! The entropy! Seriously, if all this is a simulation (or a dream) slowly shutting down, maybe a reboot would wake me up? Or maybe not. But this constant fighting to maintain the cohesion of the universe is getting tiresome (if not unbearable, yet).

I called Hydro Q and the flicker stopped (for now). Tried to install network extenders but Bell’s wifi is till shitty (neither Apple Airport or Netgear worked; should I try another brand? More pods? To be continued…). The computer finally died (there was a problem with File Vault being on but the main problem was the hard drive after all) and is now at the repair shop. My desk feels empty and working in the salon on a combination of Mac-mini (which I normally use as a media center) and iPad, is rather uncomfortable. I am planing to purchase a Macbook soon… But I wasted so much time doing all this… it is frustrating.

In the news, the world doesn’t seems in a much better shape. More Trump-related scandals (Cambridge Analytica, Stormy Daniels, he fires Tillerson and McMaster, tease trade war and impose tariffs on steel & aluminummostly for China, proposed talks with North Korea, etc.), more school shooting this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland (Florida), serial bombing in Texas, another democrats’ victory in Pennsylvania slowly tips the scale, emboldened Russians assassinated a couple of former spies in Britain (one with a nerve agent!), Steven Hawking died, etc. The good news is that the students from Parkland are old enough to become activists (#NeverAgain) and, for some, to vote in the mid-term election in November! An end to this nightmare really seems possible…

Anyway, as usual, I managed to stay a little acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered many notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window as usual), after the jump.

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Faux Ziegler but not fake humour

Last week on Facebook I stumbled upon this piece of cartoon signed “Ziegler”:


I found it extremely funny (but also quite sad) because it embodies everything that is wrong in Washington right now and particularly the Republicans’ hypocrisy (they pledged to never raise taxes but they do; they say they are against raising the deficit but they always  make it worse; they try to impeach a president on moral grounds but elect a treasonous crookserial sexual harasser and bully as president and want to put a child molester in the senate ! They always said they would removed those entitlement and, well, they kind of did… Where’s their moral high-ground now? How can they claim to be “good Christian” and allow this? They should be ashamed of themselves!).

So, kudos to the “cartoonist” for this excellent idea that pinpoint Washington’s ethical fallacies. Or is it? I noticed that the style of the cartoon is quite similar to what we find in magazine like The New Yorker, but the font used for the caption is totally wrong for this style — such cartoons usually put the caption in a italicized serif font… So the creator of this piece must have “repurposed” (meaning stole) a previous cartoon in order to create this hilarious concept by adding his own caption.

RealZieglerCartoonConsidering that the drawing is signed, it didn’t take me long to find the original. The concept is quite similar, so the “thief” just adapted it to the current political situation.

The original was created by Jack Ziegler and was indeed published in The New Yorker, a magazine well known for this style of cartoon. Unfortunately, Ziegler died last March. You can read tributes to his life and work in The New Yorker,  The New York Times and The Washington Post.

You can find many compilations of The New Yorker‘s cartoons in your local public library.

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Portes Ouvertes à VSP


Cet après-midi je suis allé faire un tour aux Portes Ouvertes de la mairie d’arrondissement.

Je suis citoyen co-propriétaire d’un duplex dans l’arrondissement depuis presque sept ans (avril 2011) et je commence tout juste à m’intéresser à la politique municipale. Comme je travaille tout les mardis soir, je n’ai jamais assisté à une séance du conseil alors c’était l’occasion idéale de rencontrer la nouvelle mairesse de l’arrondissement, Mme Giuliana Fumagalli (au centre), et ses collègues du conseil d’arrondissement (de g. à d.): Franz Benjamin (District de Saint-Michel), Sylvain Ouellet (François-Perrault), Rosannie Filato (Villeray) et Mary Deros (Parc-Extension). Je ne suis pas sûr d’avoir vue Mme Filato mais, bien sûr,  mon conseiller de district, M. Benjamin — que je n’ai jamais réussi à rencontrer durant toutes ces années — était absent.



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Monthly notable news (w26-33)

On the domestic front, in the last month or so, the condition were still rather horrible at work: it was way too hot (ventilation is working but there’s absolutely no air conditioning so we regularly work at temperature of 28~33 ? including the humidex — 23~25 ? with 45%~55% humidity) and we are still running like crazy… Therefore, most of the time, I come back home totally exhausted.

When I was not busy chasing quotes for the balcony and masonry repairs on the duplex, I was taking care of the stray cats, but this year’s cat saga has finally concluded: the two females have been sterilized & released and their kittens have been adopted through a good samaritan shelter. Despite all this (and maybe thanks to the omega 3 supplement I am taking? Nah…) I wrote much more than the previous months (many capsule reviews including commentaries on the Ghost in the Shell and Valerian live-action movies, as well as the superb Pline manga)  and I also started contributing to the Irrésistibles blog (with a version of my commentaries on Animeland #214 & #215, dBD #115, Pline #1, and the movie Silence).

In the news, everything was about the Trump circus. I was literally consumed by the news of this train wreck in the making, like watching an accident where you know you shouldn’t but just can’t turn you gaze from it. So we’ve spent countless hours watching news reports on MSNBC (mainly Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows) about the latest trump scandals — and there’s a new one almost every day! It never stops: the Buzzfeed Russian “dossier” (Wikipedia, document), the possible election tempering collusion and financial involvement with Russia, the healthcare repeal & replace disaster, the sabre-rattling with North Korea and, finally, the controversial comments following the Charlottesville violence contributing to inflame the supremacist and racist agenda! When will the republicans realize they have bet on the wrong horse and decide to put him out of his misery? I can’t believe it has gone this far…

I have also watched today’s partial eclipse of the sun (58%) on TV and with my own eyes (using a home-made filter) but, unfortunately, I was not able to take any respectable pictures (by lack of preparation and appropriate equipment). But, at least, the weather was cooperating and I was able to see it. The next opportunities for such event will be June 10 2021 (partial at 85%), October 14 2023 (partial at 29%) and on April 8 2024 (a total solar eclipse!).

As always, I tried to remain acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered oven an hundred notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly separated in a few categories of interest), after the jump.

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How to save the planet

You’re feeling good because you think you are saving the environment by recycling and switching to LED light bulbs? Well,  don’t (feel good, I mean). It is totally useless.

Last week-end, I read an interesting article in The Gazette titled “Want to save the planet?” (also from the National Post via PressReader). A study by the University of British Columbia is showing that what we are told to do to reduce climate change is rarely the most effective way.  We’re told that “making a difference doesn’t have to be difficult” when, in truth, making a real impact demands some major sacrifices!

The most interesting part of the article is found in a graphic that was available only in the print version. What high school textbooks suggest students to do for the environment is not very effective: using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones represent only a saving of 0.005 tonne (5 kg) of carbon dioxide per person per year, while upgrading light bulbs saves 0.1 tonne, hanging your laundry to dry in the sun saves 0.21 tonne, recycling saves 0.213 tonne and washing your clothes in cold water saves 0.247 tonne. Small changes.

In opposite, the more effective actions for helping the environment represents only four per cent of the suggestions given to students. The best tactics are eating less meat with a plant-based diet (saving of 0.8 tonne per year), buying green energy (saving 1.5 tonne per year), taking one less transatlantic flight per year (saves 1.6 tonne), and going car-free (saving 2.4 tonne per year — note that switching from an electric car to car-free saves 1.15 tonne per year and buying a more efficient car saves 1.19 tonne per year!). However, the most effective way to be environmentally friendly is to have one less child: you would save 58.6 tonne of CO2 emission per year! I always said that those kids are killing the planet.

I am really happy because I am already doing all those things (switching light bulbs, washing in cold water, hang-drying, using reusable bags, hydro-electricity, having a plant-based diet, no flying, no car, no kid) and I hope you will consider it too. I won’t go as far as some sci-fi shows and suggest, as some sort of Sophie’s Choice, that we should reduce the children population (or even the general population) — it would surely make the environment quieter — but please copulate with moderation (I would say “practice abstinence” but that would be inconsiderate: just don’t have four or five kids and think of it as a planetary-wide one-child policy)! There are already too many people on earth…

That would certainly be a good way to save the planet.

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Lettre à l’arrondissement

Mme la mairesse d’arrondissement
M. le conseiller de Saint-Michel,

J’ai quelques questions que j’espère vous aurez, cette fois, l’obligeance (sinon la décence) de répondre.

En novembre dernier, suite à une annonce dans le journal de St-Michel (“Toujours à l’écoute de vos besoins, nous vous invitons à nous faire part de vos demandes et commentaires”) qui incitait les citoyens à envoyer leur questions par courriel à leurs conseillers (jusqu’alors, quand j’avais un problème, je me déplaçais au bureau de mon conseiller — que je n’ai jamais rencontré par ailleurs mais sa secrétaire à toujours fait en sorte que les problèmes soient réglés de façon satisfaisante), je vous ai écrit au sujet d’un grave problème de gestion animalière dans notre arrondissement (j’ai par la suite publié cette lettre sur mon blogue et ma soeur, co-signataire, vous l’a très récemment envoyé de nouveau). Je n’ai jamais eu de réponse, ni même d’accusé-réception!

Je ne vous répèterai pas ici le contenu de la lettre (pour cela je vous réfère à mon blogue où le sujet est abondamment documenté par des hyper-liens) mais je me permet d’insister sur le fait que, cette année, la situation est pire: une dizaine de chats errants (deux femelles, cinq chatons, un mâle dominant et deux prétendants) font un véritable ravage dans le jardin de ma cour arrière. Non seulement la situation était-elle devenue intolérable mais apparemment les règlements municipaux nous menaces d’amendes si l’on “tolère” des animaux errants dans notre cour (?!).

Je n’ai donc pas eut le choix d’attraper tout ce beau monde (du moins les femelles et les chatons) mais maintenant qu’en faire? Les refuges privés sont toujours bondés (particulièrement à ce temps-ci de l’année où il y a beaucoup d’animaux abandonnés), c’est très difficile de trouver de bons samaritains pour adopter autant de chats et la seule solution officielle offerte est le Berger Blanc, qui a très mauvaise réputation (l’an dernier un employé m’a avoué que 100% des animaux errants y étaient euthanasiés) et que je me refuse à utiliser. J’espère trouver une place pas trop chère pour faire stériliser les deux femelles (et ensuite relâcher au moins la plus vieille des deux, sinon les deux, pour faire un TNR — “trap, neuter & return”) et trouver des gens pour adopter les chatons. Aux États-Unis et aux Canada anglais la plupart des villes ont des programmes subventionnés pour la stérilisation gratuite ou à bas prix ($15-$20) pour les animaux errants mais ici cela va me coûter autour de $60-$80 chacune! Avez-vous des suggestions?

Donc, suite à ce trop long préambule de contexte (je m’en excuse), j’aimerais bien que vous répondiez à ces deux questions:

  1. Comment cela se fait-il que notre arrondissement fasse affaire avec le refuge qui a la pire des réputations, le Berger Blanc, et non avec la SPCA comme beaucoup d’arrondissements environnants (Anjou, Montréal-Nord, Plateau, Rosemont, etc.)? Si VSP faisait affaire avec la SPCA cela serait déjà un peu mieux…
  2. Comment se fait-il que la ville repousse sans cesse la construction de son propre refuge animalier (dans notre arrondissement)? Aux dernières nouvelles il était maintenant annoncé pour 2019 !!!

Tant qu’à vous écrire j’aurais encore quelques questions sur d’autres sujets:

Comme vous le voyez je ne me gène pas pour commenter les absurdités municipales que j’observe que ce soit des problèmes de déneigement ou la politique de contraventions abusives sur Saint-Roch…

Merci de me lire et, surtout cette fois, de répondre à mes questions…

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