18 July, 2008

Meat Tale Part I

I gasp, opening my eyes. Darkness envelopes me like a bad metaphor. It is cold. So cold. My entire body is numb. I do not know where I am or how I got here. I feel like part of me is missing. Hacked away. Oh God! I don't belong here! Need to get out! I black out.

An eternity passes. Or perhaps only a moment. I come to. Calmer. Relaxed. I hear voices! Has civilization found me? I shout out, calling to them with what little of my voice remains. They speak a tongue I have not heard before. When they hear me, shouts of joy at first and then panicked screams. A commanding voice begins to bark orders. I catch one word, “protein” and my gut fills with fear. Vegetables. Vegetables are everywhere!

When I was young my parents read me fairy tales about meatless things. Full of fiber, Vegetables lacked moral principles. They were sinners, cast out of heaven. They bred like crazy, spreading their filth across the country side. But my ancestors had driven the heathen from our homeland. I had never seen a 'veg before in my life, and now I was surrounded by them.

I reach for my weapon (standard issue tenderizer) only to realize that I had no arms! Instead of experiencing terror like one would expect, I begin to remember things. The civil war between Beef and Chicken. The top secret mission I was sent on (infiltrate camp “Freezer” to rescue a group of POWs) and my capture. I must have been doped up pretty heavily for the mission because the only memory I have of my capture is being lifted up by the hand of God Himself and placed into a holding basket. Then I blacked out. Going to make one hell of an after action report. If I make it. Time to retire. I'm getting too old for this shit.

I look around again and notice the shouting has stopped. The one shouting orders is a Carrot (like everyone else I was shown Veggie Tales as a youngling – I know my 'Vegs) and they are now bringing forward what looks like a malnourished Oscar Meyer. Poor hot dog. He is ordered to read a statement to me. When he speaks it is with a voice that offers no hope: “You are now a prisoner of the Vegan Alliance. Your kind is wanted for crimes against Vegetables. You will be transported to the Crisper where you will stand trial. Your kind are charged with the crime of murdering three times your weight in Brother Grain each time you spawn. You will be found guilty and banished to the Far Reaches where you will slowly die of Consumption by Mold. God have mercy on your soul.”

I try to speak in my defense, but feel something sharp stab my stomach. The broccoli begin to drag me away. Not like this!, I pray. Not like this! Thunderous roar! Blinding light! Out of heaven manifests a monstrous being who (I can only say that this must have been God himself) reaches in with an enormous hand and picks up Carrot. The being bites his head off, casting the body into the abyss like some rag doll. The other vegetables pass out in terror I run.. I am safe. For the moment.

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10 July, 2008

Translink Consultation, WWPTD (What Would Penn & Teller Do?)

by Andrew Forshner

The notion of Translink consultation is good and essential for the establishment of a transit network that services the needs of all citizens in the GVRD. The problem is that in practice, consultation is utter bullshit…though entertaining at times. Here at the Devil’s Advocate we hope to libel our way to a better world, and if I could remember people’s names that could be a reality, but seeing as I have attention span of a special-ed goldfish I can only insult general descriptions of people.

Last night (July 9th) Metro Vancouver Translink held a consultation session in the Plaza 500 (across from City Hall) to an audience of a distinguished journalist (me), the Honourable Scary Rabbi Kushnir, four CFS student politicians, about six no-talkers, and one bat-shit crazy old dude. All-in-all attendance was quite good for a municipal consultation session. This was one of many mandated consultation sessions for Translink to discuss their 10-year and 40-year transit plans that are to be finalized in August. That’s right; consultation for large scale Metro Vancouver transit plans begin about a month before plans are due. Wow, and I thought UBC was bad at consultation. The night struck me like more of an information session where you could ask questions, not so much suggest anything. Personally, I’d like to recommend they build a Skytrain line that has drops like a roller coaster, which I contend will increase ridership for stoners, tourists looking for a cheap alternative to Playland, and high school kids (young stoners). Sadly, this was not the venue to suggest amazing changes to Translink service, unless, say you’re nuts!

Overall, I think positively about the expansion plans of Translink for the next few decades. Vancouver has one of the best transit systems in North America, and expanding the lines to better incorporate business parks, establishing a frequent transit network across the Lower Mainland to connect all municipalities and reduce wait times, and reduce the carbon emissions of their buses. All with minimal raises in transit fares ($0.25 increase every five years). Sounds great, huh!?! Well, it does, if you neglect the fact that Translink is planning to operate at a $175million deficit every year after 2011. The VPs at Translink seem optimistic about the BC Provincial Government covering the expected shortfall. This must mean that the viability of Translink’s plans rests on the hope that the NDP will win the next election, given the choice of Liberals to make the new gas tax revenue neutral rather than funnel it to transit, which is what the MUCH LARGER existing gas tax already does. Without gov’t money, Translink promises to reduce services in 2011. Hey, planning for a recession is good too.

Now onto the crazies: question period. First up are the CFSers. They want the U-Pass. We’ve got the U-Pass, and they (Emily Carr and VCC) want it too. I want them to have it too, but not really. I like the concept of “U-Passes for all”, or “U-Passes for the Poor”, but I’m not really a fan of “U-Passes for all…University Students”. Translink’s position is that it is not their responsibility to increase the costs to all of its users to benefit any specific group, whether they are university students or hobos (for some reason seniors don’t count, even though they pay less than everybody else). They like the idea of a flat tax, a fare, for everyone (except seniors), and it’s the government’s responsibility to subsidize the transit passes for students, poor people, and seniors – no, wait, not seniors, they’re special!

UBC and SFU get away with cheaper bus passes because we’re socialist pig-dogs who force student drivers to subsidize the transit users because every student has to buy a U-Pass. U-Passes can thus be cheaper because not everyone is using the increased service to UBC, although many now are, and therefore to Translink it is as though students were paying almost the price of a normal transit fare (though if you do the math, not really, but whatever, we’re special too!!). Emily Carr and VCC have less students, and even fewer who drive, so they’re stuck having to pay more because they of their lack of rich-kid students. Does that suck? Hell, yes!! But, don’t complain to Translink, go argue to the Provincial government to either subsidize your bus passes or force/lobby Translink to provide them with affordable U-Passes.

And there was the asshole: crazy old fart who hasn’t shaved, or showered in a week, and has his bus pass around his neck on a piece of string. His complaints (he admitted he had no constructive points, only bitching points) were as follows: 1) We need more corporate taxes to pay for transit. They get off scot-free in society, and they control our transit system. Urgghhh, I hate corporations, they’re like my asshole, really, really dirty! 2) You men, and old ladies, running Translink are undemocratic. None of you are elderly, poor, or even disabled. Shame on you all for being unrepresentative of transit users, and therefore a horrible group of people. (Now is where I would rant about the delusional necessity that only people within minority groups can represent those group’s interests, but this article is becoming a bit too long.) 3) Oh yeah, and Translink it’s your responsibility to fight urban sprawl. Bow-wow!!!

SO, what can you expect from Transit. 1) Probable economic crisis and lower service in 2012; 2) More rapid transit; 3) Possibly an #N17 that runs all night long, now all students can get plastered in Stanley park and still make it back to campus for a late night skinny sip off the 10-meter.

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02 July, 2008

Update

The Devil's Advocate hasn't been very active lately. It's summer. I'm lazy. But that will change. Starting next week, there will be weekly updates featuring real content (now with 50% less libel) and a new, sexier page design (hopefully - I'm still figuring out Wordpress)

If there is anything in particular you would like to see the Advocate do, comment away.

-Aaron

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