Monday, March 27, 2006

Adventures at The Public Library

Today was a short day and I left work around 3 or so. The sun was out, everything was melting and -- as I was admiring this bird that was belting its guts out to the world -- I slipped on some ice and bruised the heck out of my leg. I have an incredible aptitude for taking serious spills and either injuring my back or giving myself a non-lethal sprain. This aptitude is magnified by several hundred points when combined with a Crazy Carpet or some other sort of device. But, I dealt with the pain and soldiered on. Other than the spill earlier on, my day was pretty mundane: Went to the library. Looked up books on the computer. Sat beside some kid who smelled of ripe cat piss. Got La Bohème with Bocelli and Frittoli. Had some noodles at Ding Dong (Vietnamese restaurant). Came home. Took J for a walk. Got splashed by some bollocks licker that was driving her car. Now I’m hunkering down with my cello and some C.S.I. Good day . . . good day.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Empty Calorie's official position on people who would shut down The Sheaf

By now everyone should have heard about the critics of The Sheaf and their purblind quips. In case you haven't heard or have even forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory. What follows is a series of remarks addressed to the readers of this letter and to the critics of The Sheaf itself. The critics of The Sheaf's cheerleaders want to violate the basic tenets of journalism and scholarship for one purpose and one purpose only: to court an ugly minority of acrimonious, incompetent drongos. One might aver that inherent in our legal construction of obstructionism is the notion that I sometimes have to bite my tongue pretty hard to avoid saying what I really feel about the critics of The Sheaf. While that's true, it does somewhat miss the point. You see, like a verbal magician, the critics of The Sheaf know how to lie without appearing to be lying, how to bury secrets in mountains of garbage-speak. To recap the main points made in this letter:

1) The ideological fervor of the critics of The Sheaf's apple-polishers springs from their desire to keep us hypnotized so we don't take off the kid gloves and vent some real anger at the critics of The Sheaf;
2) The critics of The Sheaf are so huffy, I could languish along beneath the thousand eyes of larcenous gaberlunzies; and,
3) they are so incredibly slatternly that they really ought to change their collective name to "Slatternly McSlatternly, the Slatternly Collective of the Slatternly".

Monday, March 13, 2006

Dinner with Capitalist Piglet

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Because even furry lobsters need their 15 minutes of fame

From March 8, 2006.

A new crustacean that looks like a lobster covered in silky, blond fur has been discovered in the South Pacific. The creature has been called the "Yeti crab." Scientists have labelled it with its own genus and species, Kiwa hirsute: "Kiwa" after the goddess of shellfish in native Polynesian culture and "hirsute" because it's hairy. The crustacean has a white shell and 10 legs. It measures about 15 centimetres from tip to toe, or about the size of a salad plate, said Michel Segonzac of the French Institute of Research for the Study and Exploitation of the Sea. The researcher co-authored a paper that describes the find in the most recent issue of Zoosystema, the journal of the National Museum of Natural History in France. The blind creature has pincers covered in hairy strands and has "the vestige of a membrane" instead of eyes, Segonzac told the Associated Press. A U.S.-French expedition in a submersible caught the creature at a depth of 2,300 metres in a hydrothermal vent about 1,500 kilometres south of Easter Island last year, the team reported. The crustacean is the newest member of Galatheoidea, a group of 10-legged animals that includes lobsters, crabs and prawns.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Capitalist Piglet & Harold (Printed Oct. 6, 2005)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Students and Academic Freedom in Canada

"Writing about academic freedom in Maclean’s in 1936, McGill University’s Stephen Leacock argued that universities should not try to control student speech or seek to monitor student behaviour outside the university. What his readers made of this is not known; we do know that for much of Canadian university history, Leacock’s was very much a minority view. Before the 1960s, the academic freedom of students was largely a non-issue. Administrators and governing boards, usually conceding academic freedom to professors while trying to limit its scope, would not grant any aspect of it to students, typically seen as adolescents who should stick to their studies and to “safe” extracurricular activities. Above all, in no way should they cause embarrassment to the university or endanger its sources of support." (Horn, M.)

By M. Horn Historical Studies in Education/Revue d’histoire de l’éducation 11:1

Monday, March 06, 2006

How to copy music from your iPod to your iTunes library

If you have ever had the misfortune of restoring your PC back to factory settings, or lost your entire Itunes library for some reason, you probably have realized that you are unable to transfer your Ipod library to your Itunes. This is a really annoying feature of the Ipod/Itunes, especially when you have purchased your music from the Itunes store. But on the bright side there is a way to get around this.
"iTunes won't let you configure the iPod to prevent the auto-syncing until AFTER the iPod is connected to iTunes. It is imperative you do not partner the two libraries when asked by iTunes, tell it no so the auto-sync doesn't wipe your iPod clean leaving you a blubbering idiot in the process.
Once the iPod is connected and set to operate as a hard disk on your PC exit iTunes. Go to the iTunes directory on the Windows machine (My Music/ iTunes by default) and delete the XML file and the ITL file which is the library database installed when you hooked up the iPod.With those files deleted the iTunes library is now empty as it should be for this process. Navigate over to the iPod in My Computer and make sure you set the folder options to show hidden files.
Find the hidden folder called iPod Control and even though it's filled with many files with nonsensical names this is in fact the music library on the iPod. Copy that folder to anywhere on the PC which will take a while if you have a lot of songs. When this copy is complete open iTunes and in the Files menu tell iTunes to Add a Folder and select the iPod Control folder you just copied over. You could actually do this straight from the iPod without copying them all over but I was nervous something might happen to the library on the iPod so I copied them first.Before you do the Add a Folder mentioned above make sure iTunes is set to manage your library and to copy files when adding to iTunes. This is important to get iTunes to organize the songs using the ID3 tags in the song files you just copied over.
That's it- you have all your iPod songs now properly copied to the desktop and nicely organized and in the iTunes database. Note that when you first connect the iPod to the computer after you set iTunes to auto-sync it will wipe the iPod clean and sync the new iTunes library back to the iPod. It seems like a silly step but since the two libraries are the same anyway it doesn't hurt anything, it just takes time. It is necessary to make sure the databases are identical. Once it's done you can delete the iPod Control folder you copied on the desktop since iTunes has copied the songs into it's own directory tree." [James Kendrick, 2005]

The Sheaf's "Brief statement regarding “Capitalist Piglet”' and Sheaf Board of Directors accepts Editor's resignation

Sheaf Board of Directors accepts Editor's resignation
Written by Board of Directors
Tuesday, 07 March 2006

We, the Sheaf Publishing Society Board of Directors, have voted to accept Will Robbins' letter of resignation. While the Board is of the view that the "Capitalist Piglet" comic is not consistent with the Sheaf's objectives (as outlined in its constitution) nor its previous editorial policy, we wish to make clear that our acceptance of his resignation was based primarily on his failure to carry out his duties diligently.The Board of Directors

The Sheaf's "Brief statement regarding "Capitalist Piglet"'

Written by The Sheaf
Monday, 06 March 2006
The publishing of the cartoon “Capitalist Piglet” was a mistake. The Sheaf takes full responsibility for its publication and we apologize deeply and sincerely for the offensive nature of it. We are currently formulating a more formal apology in our forthcoming edition (March 9, 2006) of the Sheaf. We are deeply sorry and apologize to all our readers and volunteers.

The Sheaf Staff

NOTE from The Empty Calorie: I think that The Sheaf and the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union have forgotten something. Namely that “[f]reedom of the press does not mean freedom for those ideas which are pleasant, or conventional, or even provable, but freedom of the press.” The Sheaf, 1944.

The UofS Students' Union and Capitalist Piglet

"The Managing Editor(s) have the right to veto any submission they deem unfit for the Society newspaper. In determining this they will decide if the article or artwork would be of interest to a significant portion of the society and benefit the welfare of the readers. The Sheaf will not publish any racist, sexist, homophobic, or libelous material." – The Sheaf editorial policy(Source:

Freedom of the press is a right that must be protected in Canadian society. Without it 'truth' would be a casualty of censorship which would strip us of a fundamental right. However, with rights come responsibilities and by their recent actions the editors of The Sheaf have forgone their responsibility which is to follow the editorial policy that has been established. The recent publishing of "The Capitalist Piglet" in their March 2, 2006 edition violates not only their own editorial policy, but also violates the trust and relationship between The Sheaf Publishing Society Inc. and all of the students on campus to whom The Sheaf has a fiduciary responsibility.

The only reason to publish a cartoon of the nature of "The Capital Piglet" is to purposely spark controversy. There is no valid reason to suggest that this cartoon exists for the "benefit and welfare of the readers" when numerous people have been offended by it, regardless of their personal religious beliefs. The so-called humour displayed is juvenile and tasteless at best. At a minimum The Sheaf owes the University community an explanation for violating their own policies and for deliberately offending a significant portion of the staff, faculty, and student body.
Evan Cole on behalf of the USSU Executive

NOTE from the Empty Calorie: When this comment from the USSU Executive was first published Monday March 6, 2006, it was from Evan Cole on behalf of the USSU Executive. This letter has now been revised (on the USSU website) to be only from the USSU Executive.

YET the following letter via The Wayward Reporter -- written as a student and not as a member of the Executive Committee of the USSU -- suggests that outgoing USSU President Gavin Gardiner may have a different opinion . . .

Hello Everyone,

I want to start off by making it explicitly clear that I am writing now as a deeply concerned student at the University of Saskatchewan and not a representative of any other group. I am sure that most of you have heard about The Sheaf. Regardless of your thoughts on the cartoon itself there are extremely serious actions currently being taken by the paper. Needless to say The Sheaf has received a significant amount of pressure, which has led to the acceptance of the forced resignation of editor-in- chief Will Robbins. There is a small faction of people, largely non-students who are beginning to mount a campaign to shut The Sheaf down. If one wants proof they need look no further than John Gormely's website. The Sheaf is the most valuable independent media source in Saskatoon. It is important for students, faculty, university staff and Saskatoon community members at large to make a stand on the importance of an effective independent media, an issue much larger than a tasteless cartoon.


Letter to The Sheaf,

I write this letter in complete disbelief, although not at the cartoon many people are talking about. The cartoon can be characterized at best as inappropriate; however, I am in disbelief over the internal steps taken by the Sheaf and its Board since the cartoon issue has hit the major media, namely the Board's acceptance of the letter of resignation by editor-in- chief Will Robbins.

As I have always understood it, the independent media, including student newspapers, have served two major functions. First, to be the strongest defender of freedom of the press, and secondly, to effectively fill journalistic gaps left by the mainstream media. While the publishing of the Capitalist Piglet cartoon, particularly following the decision not to run the Mohammad cartoons, was a mistake, it is within every right of the paper to do so. Independent media has always been and should continue to be controversial. While this is not an excuse for the promotion of hateful messages, the issue at stake here is of a publishing error that has been apologized for, rather than unrepentant spread of anti-Christian messages. This means that even had the decision of running the cartoon been made by the editor-in-chief and not an oversight, it would not be, in and of itself, sufficient grounds for dismissal. Absolutely no policy was violated.

Secondly, the U of S needs the Sheaf to report effectively on issues on and around campus that would otherwise not be reported on. We cannot afford to lose this medium for connecting students. Student apathy is a crisis on this campus, as it is on most others. The most effective method to deal with campus apathy is communication through the student newspaper. Several people have taken issue with the quality of that reporting. I challenge them to do something proactive about it and begin to volunteer for the Sheaf. Certainly the answer is not to remove the leadership of the paper. This will only degrade the quality and increase questions of the papers effectiveness and ultimately legitimacy.

When calling for action on this issue I would sincerely hope that people remain rational. Depending on who you talk to, the cartoon published last week ranges from tasteless to offensive and while that is an issue that needs to be addressed, our campus community must understand the fundamental importance of an effective student paper. The efficacy of the Sheaf is severely compromised by the decision to accept the forced resignation of the editor-in- chief, Will Robbins. I sincerely hope that reason prevails and this decision is reviewed.

Students can still make a difference on this issue by doing two things: 1) Support the Sheaf. Independent media is essential in a university community that is promoting freedom of thought, expression and information. We can't afford to lose this valuable resource. If you find the content offensive, change it, students have that power 2) Let the Sheaf know that they made mistakes. Contact and tell them that accepting the resignation of Will Robbins is the largest mistake that could be made and a blow to the legitimacy of our student paper.

Gavin Gardiner

6th Year Student

Arts and ScienceUniversity of Saskatchewan


From the Desk of Y!ph: "Capitalist Piglet: Are some jokes just not kosher? "

Ok, so I have to start the process of blocking Mark [the other Capitalist Piglet cartoonist] from attack somewhere, so it may as well be here. Here's what I've submitted to The Sheaf as a start, and although it's not that great, I had to keep it short and not too in depth or risk losing attention. So here it goes.

As the sole writer and artist of the most recent Capitalist Piglet cartoon I feel I must take a step now that I hadn’t intended on. And that is take credit for the comic. I do this now for no reason other than to exonerate Mr Mark Watson from the misplaced attacks he is receiving. As Mark points out to President Mackinnon in his letter that some of you might be fortunate enough to have read – this cartoon was inevitable. I won’t say much about how necessary something like this was, and how in the very same week, two other Christian-content comics were printed, but I will mention a few things that hopefully will bring us back to reality and off those inquisition-esque high horses that are so popular and easy to get on. My first thought is “Can we really take the antics of an anthropomorphic ungulate that seriously?” My answer is NO. How can we, they don’t exist?REALLY people, Piglet is only a comic, and The Sheaf is a university news paper….

Remember what that means? University? It’s a place for open minds and that should mean free speech and press. CP is quite obviously not a hate driven comic, and it is undeniably about more than just shock value. If it was shock value, I’m sure it would have been more graphic, and it wouldn’t have contained such a unique quality as two punch lines in only two frames – that is cartoon gold. My question now is this: how is this blasphemous, deviant, offensive, or worthy of such attacks? Unless you view the actions portrayed in the comic as representational of characters of ill repute, then I see no problem with the joke. And if you see homosexuality, the attempts to adhere to a kosher diet, or being an eager-to-please corporate intern as fiendishly negative, then it seems an open mind and a light heart is the next thing we should all try and look for in our classes. After all people, I’m sure Jesus had a sense of humor.Now on that point: did Mohamed the Prophet have a sense of humor? I bet he also did. The difference between these two comics (you know the other one) is that the other one was dumb. Yes, that’s blunt, but it had no punch line, it had no style, and it was just plain hateful. Bombs are bad, that’s pretty straight forward. Imagine that comic with Gavin Gardner heading to Regina. Not cool. But Gavin and say, Brett Campbell in the place of Piglet and Jesus? Not so bad. Further with the comparisons here.

One of the points of the recent CP comic was this: How many of you thought “Why are those people getting so worked up over that comic? It’s only a comic, we Christians wouldn’t have done that, no way.” Well no, most people wouldn’t, and at the same time, most people haven’t done that over “the other comic” either. The media is handling that irresponsibly to portray a group in a negative light. That’s a whole other topic, so I’ll try stay on task here.

Consider this: two weeks ago while assisting two of the USSU election candidates in postering campus; I asked President-elect-to-be Evan Cole “How do you feel about Jesus jokes?”. “I’m pretty sure Jesus had a sense of humor,” was his reply, so I told him the joke (which then became this comic). His response was “*chuckle* Ouch, couldn’t that be about Mohamed instead?”

Get it? My point exactly, sometimes we need something to point out to us how others might feel. Racism is a skill we unfortunately learn everywhere, but empathy is harder to come by. So maybe next time, remember this: If Jesus loves you, he probably does so enough to take a joke. After all, he did die for us.Feel free to email me at if this still doesn’t sit well with you.

- Jeff “Y!PH” MacDonald

St Thomas More alumnus & Education student, and ordained Reverend

The "Capitalist Piglet" Controversy: Selected readings

The circus has come to town. The debate around Capitalist Piglet has finally permeated mainstream media. Today’s John Gormley live (650 CKOM, Saskatoon), a conservative talk show, has described the cartoon as anti-Semitic and disgusting. In fact, one of his callers has called for the immediate expulsion of the two cartoonists, Marq and Y!ph, which happens to be the Hebrew spelling of Jeff. Another caller has suggested that the University of Saskatchewan community stone the cartoonists. I understand if people are offended by this cartoon. But the fact remains that the cartoonists are allowed -- and protected under Canadian law -- to express their opinions and beliefs. It is up to The Sheaf or other media outlet to not accept cartoons, columns, or other materials that may offend its readership.

But then again, I could just be a pinko commie fuck. You decide.

For your reading enjoyment:

Apology E-mail to the University of Saskatchewan community from university President Peter MacKinnon [Friday March 3, 2006]:
"I feel I must publicly communicate with our campus community on what I have just seen in the student newspaper. In the February 23 edition of the Sheaf, the editors explained that they would not publish the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. It is surprising that they did not exercise similar restraint in their decision to publish 'Capitalist Piglet' in the March 2 issue of the paper. This is a cartoon that is certain to cause distress to members of our community. It has divisive shock value only and does nothing to advance the understanding or debate for which universities should be distinguished. The Sheaf should apologize to us all"

Marq (a.k.a. Mark Watson), one of the two cartoonists' response to Peter MacKinnon's E-mail: "Has a open letter that I sent to President MacKinnon regarding this. I am not the artist in question, but I am a good friend of his and a fellow cartoonist (I am actually part of the all-star duo, although I did not contribute to this cartoon). I feel that a letter of some defense for the cartoon and the cartoonist is in order" (from

Note from The Empty Calorie: "The Piss Christ" (from The Other Club) is referred to in Marq's (Mark Watson) letter. The Piss Christ "is a controversial photograph by American photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist's urine. Some have suggested that the glass may also contain the artist's blood" (from

Weblogs and News Commentary on the Capitalist Piglet Cartoon: These opinions and comments are both in agreement and disagreement of the cartoon. I've just tried to give an overview of what it currently circulating regarding the debate. The titles are arranged alphabetically. If you think another story should be added, please feel free to post it in the Comments. Thanks.

A Christian cartoon controversy? from GetReligion

A Little Disappointed from You're A Blog

Alma matter blues from Moldy Peaches

Another Campus Newspaper Features an Anti-Christian Cartoon from Uncommon Truths

The answer is in the life of the man the cartoons insulted? from The Other Club

Anti-Jesus Porn OK In Canadian Student Paper from no dhimmitude

a veritable sheafstorm from The Edwardian Sisterhood

Back at ya, P-MAC from The Wayward Reporter

Campus newspaper apologizes over cartoon from

Capitalist Piglet from frequently

Cartoon controversies from across the border from Sister Toldjah

Cartoon Scandal from Celestial Junk Blog

Counter hypocrisy? from Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Double standard: Muslim Cartoons No Way but Cartoon of Jesus in Oral Sex OK from Argent by the Tiber

Fun in colij from either orr

Hot topic on campus and elsewhere from daring to be remarkable

In deep Sheaf (updated) from The Wayward Reporter

It begins from The Wayward Reporter

The Jesus Cartoon Controversy from The Cutting Room Floor

Jesus loves Pigs from Bloggy McBlogingstein

Makes me Proud to be a UofS Student from Black Sheep Press

More Cartoon Madness: Hypocrisy? from Uncommon Truths

... more on the cartoon... from David Hutton

Muhammad cartoon fallout from Fine Young Journalist

Muslims could get upset about this cartoon, too--- from Deborah Gyapong

Off With Their Heads from At Home in Hespeler

The Pig, the Sheaf, and Jesus... from Dawson Irvine

Post-weekend briefing from Marshmallows for Breakfast

re. the sheaf cartoon controversy from 09/11/81 - ?

Real Journalists Eat Wheat from Bumfonline

Saskatchewan university really screws up from Tel-Chai Nation

Sask. University Paper Publishes Explicit Jesus Cartoons from kevin's journey

The Sheaf Cartoon from Crocodile Morsels

The Sheaf Controversy and all that damn hypocrisy from Dodosville

Sheaf Newspaper Regrets Running Off-Colour Cartoon from

Socialist Anti-Christian Hate is Okay? from Vek's Blog

Two faiths, two standards from from Daimnation

University of Saskatchewan cartoon causing big heat... from ABFreedoms

University of Saskatchewan - Jesus Oral Sex Cartoon: Yes, Mohammed Cartoon: No from Lost Budgie Blog

University Paper: Muslim Cartoons No Way but Cartoon of Jesus in Oral Sex OK from Opinipundit

The U of Sask. "Capitalist Pig" Cartoon from Canadian Christian Conservative

Western Hypocracy at Its Worst from Western Canadian Separation

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility from The Cutting Room Floor

Religious satirical cartoonists and the freedom of expression

The timely nature of the published cartoons in the Sheaf (March 2, 2006) — Captialist Piglet, Teddy Bares, and A Brett Skomorowski Comic — cannot be understated. They put into a Canadian context the precise questions that have been cropping up in global, national, and local media commentaries regarding the Mohammed cartoons published by a Danish newspaper. Those questions are: how much freedom and latitude are satirical cartoonists granted in Canada? What national or global legislation would a Canadian cartoonist violate when a satirical cartoon is published? And most importantly, are cartoonists legally responsible for the defamation of a religious deity?

The freedom of expression that Canadians enjoy is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 2 of the Charter specifically addresses the freedom of conscience and religion; of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; of peaceful assembly; and of association. The freedom of religion does not refer to the freedom to believe in a white, heterosexual Christian deity or to any other belief in a divine being.

Also, Section 26 affords the protection of “certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada” (The Constitution Act, 1982). So, indignation or anger towards a certain subject matter and how it is expressed do not provide the sufficient grounds to violate a cartoonist’s right to freedom of expression, particularly within the press.

Even Section 24.1: Enforcement restates the protection of Charter-protected freedoms: “[a]nyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances” (The Constitution Act, 1982). First of all, censorship denies the satirical cartoonist’s freedom to express his or her own believes. And second, the cartoonist has a direct course of action to ensure that the freedom to express his- or herself is protected. Besides, retroactive censorship is never particularly successful, especially when there are individuals in the minority who agree with a satirical cartoonist.

So what about universal human rights that protect an individual’s right to expression and thought? Articles 18 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provide a means by which cartoonists can express their thoughts, however contrary to the majority’s beliefs. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”.
While Article 27 states “[e]veryone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”. These Articles do not provide a refuge for any one particular religion nor does it sanction the lynching of a political cartoonist no matter how questionable the subject matter may appear to some readers.

The defamation dimension of these cartoons can be summarized as follows: satirical political and religious cartoons make up the “opinion-formation in liberal democracies” (Manning and Phiddia, 2004, 4). The very nature of the cartoons as exaggerated observations of our culture and the potentially controversial nature of them allow us to see exactly how far we will tolerate and promote the freedom of speech and expression in our country. Cartoonists are granted relative immunity under the law because there is no case law history in Canada regarding the defamation of religious deities. But this is exactly how it should be; we should be able to ardently disagree with another person but allow them to express their thoughts. These cartoons are the starting point around which discussion and debate will be framed regarding how far we, as Canadians, will tolerate different opinions. The reality is that regardless of how fervent your disagreement with the subject matter in Capitalist Piglet, if J.C. is offended he can go ahead and sue the cartoonists himself.

Further Reading

Canada. The Constitution Act, 1982.

Manning, H., and R. Phiddian. 2004. “Censorship and the political cartoonist.” Refereed paper presented to theAustralasian Political Studies Association Conference University of Adelaide 29 September – 1 October 2004.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948-1988.