July 22 - When my surprise twins were born my first words were "that kind of thing never happens to me!" It was true; my life had always been fairly mundane (until the unexpected twins, that is) and, once we adjusted to the challenge of having two infants to feed, change, raise and educate, life quickly returned to unremarkable. I've done all the usual things that can be filed under "coming of age" but I never won big in Vegas or even came up with something that could get me into the Guinness World Book of Records.
But life likes curve balls. I actually saw the ghost we always joke about last Tuesday night and, as time passes, my freaked-out meter readings are rising rather than lowering. For the first time in my life, I wish I were far more a flaky person than a stolid Capricorn because then I could shrug off the sighting to an over-active imagination for the requisite "rational explanation."
It was a definite sighting, but there was no heeby-jeeby stuff. He didn't enter my line-of-sight, he just appeared and then disappeared in my line-of-sight and there wasn't even any eerie shimmering or fading-in and fading-out stuff.
In the ghost's defense, I felt no malice or hostility from him. He just appeared for a few seconds walking toward the receiving dock, and his gait and body language was so matter-of-fact that I'm pretty certain that his presence at my place of work is due to happy memories rather than unresolved issues. I find that reassuring.
I know, this is a weirder post than my usual. I just needed to write it down. I already made the mistake of telling Mark about it. I guess Scorpios have even less flights of fancy than Capricorns.
June 23 - Some quick hits: Charles Krauthammer pays tribute to our kick-ass cousins in Why I Love Australia. Do they show Australia Rules Football in the U.S.? The game is tough and gritty with daz-za-ling-ly dressed refs.
CBC execs try damage control (I know what you're thinking and no, Don Cherry didn't say anything that freaked out the Perennially Panties-in-a-Bunch Crowd):
CBC programming executives scrambled to do damage control yesterday in the wake of a firestorm that erupted after fans of The National learned that the flagship newscast would be bumped eight nights this summer for an American Idol knockoff reality show.Kind of gives you an idea as to the size of CBC's loyal viewership.
After announcing The National's schedule shift yesterday, The Globe and Mail received 50 e-mail messages from readers from readers enraged that the Peter Mansbridge-led news hour would be pushed back to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting July 18 and ending the first week of September. (Emphasis added)
N.B.: The Globe and Mail requires free registration. (Links via Newsbeat1.)
John Hawkins lists the Worst People in America as selected by bloggers and also his own selections and brief reasons for his picks -- and reminded me of some people I'd forgotten to despise. Only one of my picks didn't make it: Maureeen Dowd.
Attila girl wants silly pictures:
Send me pix if you want to participate: I'm interested in the silliest examples you've seen of cell phone towers dressed up to look like something else.Ever wish al Zarqawi's Mom kept a blog? Hey, this is the internet, where all your secret fantasies are realized (via Kate.)
Ace highlights some reviews of the Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank affectionately (?) nicknamed "Donk."
And, in case you were worried about Saddam (cue dramatic music) he's ended his hunger strike after missing one whole meal. Damn. I was really conflicted: force-feed him or just let him starve to death?
Don't Pester the Teacher: Tony Snow did some great stick handling with Helen Thomas during today's White House briefing that included questions about the latest NY Times
breach of national security story about the program to track money sent from al Qaeda operatives to and from the U.S. (I wonder how much President Bush's approval ratings will go up this time? Seems to me that, if the people at the NYT really wanted to hurt the Republican administration, they wouldn't print these stories. But what do I know?)
The other Snow, Treasury Secretary John Snow, also held a news conference on the program.
I just don't get it. You have a gaggle of reporters just dying to break a Watergate-type story, yet somebody has to explain to them about "follow the money" to track down wrong-doing? That was covered in the movie, wasn't it?
President Bush and Gen. Pace attended a T-Ball game today. The things you have to do when you're president ...
I need to get myself off to work (One. More. Night.)
June 22 - And now for something we always suspected about raising healthy children: Alpha Patriot reports on some studies that indicate that over-protecting and over-anetheticizing your kids is bad for their health.
I especially love the clip in which the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents warns parents that healthy, energetic play may result in some boo-boos.
Let's bake up those mud pies!
June 20 - My internet provider's frequent incapability to connect to Munu sites (including mine) continues to be a problem. Sometimes it lets me in long enough to start a post and then it loses the connection when I try to save.
I wouldn't be so angry if they had actually tried to address the problem, but when the same person asks me three different times in one conversation if I'm sure my modem is on then I get a little miffed.
This should all be resolved by Thursday because Hooray! We live in a country that allows consumers alternates.
Now let's see if this stupid post will publish.
June 17 - Posting continues to be difficult: the denial of service attacks targeting My Pet Jawa have affected alll Munu sites (despite the inconvenience, there's also some satisfaction that a fellow Munuvian is pissing off the right people but that is offset by the infuriating fact that the Jawa Report is still off-line) plus my ISP seems to have intermittent problems finding the the Munu server. At least I have options if my ISP can't resolve the second problem.
Indeed, one of the fundamental values of Western civilization (and capitalism) is that there are a variety of options for most situations, yet when we women make choices that don't fit with what other women believe we should do there is an incredible amount of spin to make it appear that what we have freely chosen is evidence of victimhood.
For example, child-care advocates continue to be baffled by a strange phenomenom in Alberta and British Columbia. Despite the West being one of the "hottest job markets" in the country, more women in theose provinces are leaving the workforce and the numbers are especially high for women with children under the age of six. Now I'm no expert, but it seems to me that they are opting to stay home with the kids until they enter school.
Shocking, huh? They could have jobs, you know, yet they choose to stay home and focus on raising their young children during "the formative years."
But the author of the study concludes that this is due, among other factors, to the lack of child care::
The author of the study, Francine Roy, says women are entering and exiting the job market for reasons that have little to do with financial need.One of the implication seems to be that lack of education causes a woman to make poor choices - like stay at home and raise her own kids. The CTV item doesn't include any data from the study supporting any of Roy's conclusion (which doesn't necessarily mean there was none) but it is fairly apparent that her bias has led to her to a complete failure to consider the one factor that many parents with pre-school children would immediately recognize: the desire to nurture one's children. (Sometimes Dads are the ones with the nurturing trait, and it's thrilling to see more and more of them opting to be the at-home parent.)
Instead, Roy argues that factors such as the availability of day care, educational levels, number of children and the type of employment drive women's participation in the workforce.
"The rising participation rate of women in eastern Canada appears associated with greater use of daycare and higher education levels in Quebec, lower birthrates in the Atlantic provinces, and a lower proportion of immigrants than in the West," Roy writes in the study.
Having constant, one-one-one interaction with young children in those early years is not only incredibly satisfying for both parent and child but has the additional benefit of establishing a solid bedrock for the child which can stabilize him or her after they enter the "real" world of elementary school as well as later on when they become teens and the inevitable struggle ensues to redefine limits and capabilities as well as themselves as independent from the parents (except for money, shelter, food, and the family car!)
One of my aunts told me long ago that the primary duty of parents is to raise responsible adults. You can't sub-contract that job out, yet universal childcare with the attendant heavier tax load will force women out of the homes and into the job market.
The sad part is that having government agencies raise children is being presented as an ideal scenario by daycare advocates. There are two glaring problems with that position: the ridiculous notion that we can raise children on an assembly line, and the inability to have quality control. (Actually there are three: the absurdity of thinking the government actually performs routine tasks better than the average person.)
Whatever happened to the tiresome assertion that each of us is unique? Uniqueness doesn't roll off assembly lines (reminds me of the old joke that you can buy a Ford in any colour you want so long as you choose black.) Uniqueness, also known as individuality by us older types, is nurtured by consistent, one-on-one interaction that parents are best fitted to provide. The family remains the best setting where good qualities can be encouraged and bad qualities can be dealt with, and it should go without saying that dealing with behaviour problems when they first appear is far better than trying to deal with them after they become entrenched characteristics.
I make this claim about the family for one simple reason: parents love their children. Parents have an ongoing interest in their children's future. Parents are emotionally invested in their children in ways that reach far above and beyond someone who is paid to look after their children. Parents don't go on strike.
I keep thinking that the real impetus for government day care is that the social engineers are frustrated that, try as they might, this country continues to produce square peg children who defy efforts to pound them into round holes and they figure that if they can get the children at any earilier age it will better their chances of making children more pliable, i.e., into uniform, cookie-cutter kids.
Issues over quality control are fairly self-evident when you are dealing with a monopoly and more so when the government is the sole provider. Both health care and education issues continue to plague us, and tangential to the problems in the education sector, it is worth noting that children who learned to read at home before they entered school do better scholastically than those whose parents rely exclusively on the schools to teach that basic skill.
People conveniently forget that even that bastion of early childhood education, Sesame Street, was specifically designed to be viewed by both parent and child, which tends to reinforce the necessary role of the parent as a child learns how to learn.
Am I saying that families where both parents work cannot raise children well? No, but I do think it is a lot harder and a lot more frustrating because we've already devoted our best and most productive hours of the day at work. And then there's the need to discipline children, which require two vital tools: patience and maintaining a calm atmosphere. That's damned hard to achieve when your day is one long rush: rushing to get them and you ready to leave in the morning, rushing to pick them up after work, rushing to prepare dinner, rushing to bathe them, rushing to read the bedtime story ... all this yet rushing to get them to bed at a decent hour. Even with both parents performing those tasks, where's the time to teach them why it's wrong to bop another child on the head with a Tonka truck? or find a suitable answer to "why is the sky blue?" or "why do I have to kiss Aunt Martha even though she smells funny?"
Interestingly, David Warren comments on the steady encroachments on personal freedoms, including the destruction of the family unit, with the goal being that "the citizen becomes a kind of jelly to be fit into any desired new mould."
So, rather than deplore the choice to stay home and raise their kids, we ought to applaud their good sense and committment to parenting.
So if you opt to say at home with kids and someone says "what do you do," i.e., where do you work and what job do you perform that enables you to pay more taxes, just look them straight in the eye and say "I'm an early childhood specialist." And you will be telling the truth.
(David Warren link via Newsbeat1.)
May 28 - Bob of Let It Bleed announced that he has written his last post for the blog.
Many Toronto columnists will sleep better tonight, secure in the knowledge that their skewed logic, mixed metaphors and non-sequiturs will not be exposed at Let It Bleed.
I'm really going to miss him.
May 14 - Happy Mother's Day to all my sisters engaged in the struggle to raise children and/or cope with the realities of having adult children.
A lot of those adult children are deployed abroad and won't be home for Mother's Day. Words are inadequate to compensate for the sacrifice these Moms are making, but one courageous Marine Corp. Mom writes of her memories of the past 21 Mother's Days she spent with her son and sends her own best wishes and some darned good advice to the all the Moms out there.
Members of the C Troop, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry conducted a Good Mother's Day Patrol which ended in the best of all ways: they all returned safely.
As part of the effort to bring the troops home from a stable Iraq, some insight as to how Transistion Teams Coach, Mentor Iraqi Units
Serving on a military transition team may be the most important job in Iraq today, with members working with Iraqi units to realize President Bush's promise: "As the Iraqis stand up. We'll stand down."Some common sense is applied to the latest uproar in Intel-Dump's Another NSA Scandal:
Military Transition Team 0911, the "Mohawks," is where the rubber meets the road. The team works with the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade of the Iraqi 9th Division, the "Desert Lions." The Iraqi unit is a mechanized outfit and patrols the area north of this sprawling base. The Iraqis secure the three water points that supply 70 percent of the drinking water to the capital.
Ahh, the moonbats and tin-foil hats ask, how do we know they're not putting Cindy Sheehan's number through the database? The answer is, who knows? However, several facts would lead a reasonable person to conclude the answer to be "ain't happening."Mark Steyn writes that To connect the dots, you have to see the dots
First, NSA, while large, at some point has limited resources. Basic laws of bureaucracy dictate that NSA will only apply enough resources that will allow them to meet their basic mission - catching terrorists and agents of foreign powers.
So there are now two basic templates in terrorism media coverage:On the efficacy of the "international community," James Phillips and Peter Brooks write Iran’s Friends Fend Off Action at the U.N. Security Council: Here’s Why. It's more than "all about the oil" (although that is a factor, especially with the Chinese who, surprise! have a similar oil-for-weapons relationship with Sudan and and have been instrumental in blocking U.N. action to stop what the U.N. doesn't define as genocide in Darfur.)
Template A (note to editors: to be used after every terrorist atrocity): "Angry family members, experts and opposition politicians demand to know why complacent government didn't connect the dots."
Template B (note to editors: to be used in the run-up to the next terrorist atrocity): "Shocking new report leaked to New York Times for Pulitzer Prize Leak Of The Year Award nomination reveals that paranoid government officials are trying to connect the dots! See pages 3,4,6,7,8, 13-37."
(Last three links from Newsbeat1.)
May 13 - John of Right Wing News requested that right-of-center bloggers submit in ranked order their favourite columnists and the results are in. I was among those polled and the hardest part was definitely the ranking.
It is an impressive list. Mark Steyn came in first, Charles Krauthammer came in second, and Victor Davis Hanson came in fifth.
John has provided links for the columnists to their home pages or to their publication sites for those who might be interested in reading what these columnists offer. There are a couple of gems in the group and worth the time and effort to check them out.
Apr. 20 - Mark's youth team (he's a lowly coach) had some exhibition games on Saturday. They seemed to field and pitch okay, but don't have game sense, i.e., they don't seem to know what to do with the ball when they field it.
It ought to be simple. Before the ball is put into play, fielders need to have a notion as to what they will do if the ball is hit to them and what they will do if it's not hit to them, i.e., what position they will back up. It's not exactly hard to figure; after all, a 3-1 play is fairly routine (that's the first baseman tossing the ball to the pitcher for the out at first) and I know the kids have seen it several times.
And relay. It's a baseball fundamental, but kids don't get it - they want to be the hero who throws it into home from left field. They also don't get why trying to hit a legitimate home run (as opposed to a single and 3 errors) is selfish. The sorriest statistic in the world is "runners left on base."
And deeking out a baserunner? Dude, we call that a balk.
Strikes are fascist, ground balls are democratic. The truth and implications of that statement is crystal clear to me but very difficult to explain to those who don't already know it. Luckily I don't have to; Mark does. Heh.
I hate the way the concept "team work" has been bastardized. In a sports setting, team work is the magic that happens when the players have a winning attitude and bust their asses to win the game. The fielders do their utmost to retire batters and "passed ball" is regarded by catchers as grounds to commit suicide. Everything comes together and the bang-bang plays create an intensity and excitement that drives the entire team. Who doesn't love a clutch hitter?
Team work is that intangible thing that cannot be artificially created but comes straight from the heart - a stubborness and perseverance that marks those who strive to win.
In a work setting, though, team work seems to be code for "some people need to work harder to cover up for those who refuse to perform." If a company really wants team work they need to do as sports teams are supposed to do: bench or release players that won't or can't strive to win in order to keep that winning edge.
It's going to be an interesting season.
I managed to get a few consecutive days off work before Easter and resolved to do those things most easily deferred: my taxes, and washing the windows and curtains.
The windows and curtains really do need to be done. I haven't done them since Sept. 11 despite my earnest intentions. Somehow it always seemed more important to surf the news channels and internet to see if there had been another terror attack - and, too often, there had indeed been one.
But I found we had only a tad of window-washing solution, so I did my taxes - sort of. Mind, I was very well prepared. I had sharp pencils, the correct forms, my adding machine, scratch paper, all my receipts, and some cold beer in the fridge to celebrate the successful conclusion of this annual ritual. When I went to get my T-4, though, it wasn't where I had seen it less than 24-fraking-hours earlier.
I began to search, and boy did I search. I found all sorts of papers and mailers and stuff I meant to look at (some of it went back to the beginning of Gulf War II, which I guess is a commentary as to how long I've been shutting out everyday stuff) and, because I still suffered with a mild variety of the spring cleaning bug, I began to toss or file. Then I went through the newly bulging files; I'm not sure why I had baseball registration lists from 1997, but I can honestly say that now I no longer have them. Was I still procrastinating? Yes, because all the figures I needed were on my final pay voucher of 2005 so I finally bit the bullet and did my stupid taxes (and called work Monday morning to humbly request a replacement T-4.)
Then I noticed this weird smudge on a wall. You know what happens when you wash a smallish section of a wall, right? Right.
If anyone next to you has just fallen off their chair you are undoubtably sitting beside someone who knows me and how much I hate housework. It was all very well and good when the kids were little (and, come to think of it, spending most of my time trying to up clean the dirt they and the dog brought in from outside) but that was the in the pre-Internet era as well as those days when all history ended and life is much more exciting now - and considerably more dangerous.
Solutions seem harder to come by now (maybe because the Cold War strategy was conceived before I was even born.) Except for Iraq: that one is as simple as A-B-C. We keep faith with the people of Iraq. We don't flinch. We stick it out.
Iran, though, is hard. Those who discount the messages coming out of Iran as simple rhetoric simply haven't been paying attention. Bin Laden used to be dismissed too, until we learned to our shock that he meant business.
We can't go back to 1979 (which is why a long vacation would look good on President Carter right now) and have to deal with what is happening today. The U.N. will likely be useless - will there likely be a new Oil-for-Food program for Iran after sanctions prove to be a burden on the Iranian people? Puh-leeze.
And then there are those voices that are carefully implying that if we abandon Israel we'll end the "root causes" that caused Sept. 11 and the threat from Iran. But let's get serious: the root cause of barbarism is, you know, barbarism, and even the barbarians didn't occupy Rome until the Romans had lost the will to fight -- most clearly evidenced in that they had sub-contracted their fighting out to others.
Come to think of it, one of Bin Laden's grievances was on behalf of dead infants in Iraq which he attributed to the sanctions. Has he lifted the jihad now that the sanctions have been lifted? Or directed one to Saddam for diverting money from health care for his own personal gain? Of course not. There will always be grievances because there will always be those who will justify unbelievable acts of savagery for their own ends. But do we have to play along?
I would be willing to go on a bit of faith that the cartoon controversy was viewed by many national leaders as a skirmish and the feckless response was simply a feint, but something very precious was seen to be surrendered: the right to be irreverent, and without irreverence we lose our joy. No South Park? No Simpson's? Or, and this is really scary, no Monty Python?
Those who take themselves too seriously run the risk of ulcers and migraines, but I doubt waiting for the dour mullahs to develop life-style health problems is a useful strategy.
So the spectre of nuclear weapons in Iran - a country that has absolutely neither reverence for international relations much less a sense of humour - continues to pose a problem that challenges us all. I do feel certain we need to come up with a strategy that differs from those employed in both Afghanistan and Iraq and the best one I've heard thus far is to give more tangible support to the pro-democracy forces within Iran. It's a long shot, and I guess that even though I never would have characterized myself as a gambler I do remain, at heart, a liberal (in the classic sense) and I'm willing to gamble on my belief that the yearning for freedom remains the most compelling urge in the history of humanity.
Relying on the choice less hopeful is straight out of Tolkien - the quest to destroy the ring was one such choice, and Arvedui's claim of the kingship in Gondor was another. [That's an admittedly obscure reference; my fellow explorers in the the History of Middle Earth will undoubtably recognize it and others can find it in the Appendix of Return of the King where Earnil's ascension to the throne is discussed.]
Oh well, I'll do the stupid windows and curtains over the weekend but place the responsibility on Mark to remember to buy window cleaner. That might work, but I know I'll have to keep reminding him. And if it rains, maybe he'll have to cancel practice and then can help me take the curtains down!
Yeah, sometimes team work means cursing obstinate household fixtures together.
Apr. 20 - Okay so I asked Mark to look into the cats mouths to check out their toothy status. He simply gave me That Look (the women know what I mean and the men are allowed to look perplexed) and left the room to, you know, do something. When he returned he remarked that the cats tend to yawn prodigiously and
we I could take a peek then. Very logical (don't you hate that?)
Naturally I have consistently failed to remember to look when they yawn, but I remain guilt-free as both cats are content with their soft food diet and, as they continue to be nuisances, I'm going on faith that they are just fine.
Archie pulled another stupid act. I went through my pseudo-furious routine when he jumped on the table as I was eating my Steak and Potato With Mushrooms Chunky Soup and when he jumped off, his hind foot clipped a chair and it fell on top of him. He limped away but still managed to look offended. There was a lot of cat hair but no blood, and the limp was gone before I went to work.
Why did I think my life would be saner just because the kids grew up and moved away? I am beginnng to conclude that children are like dogs and teenagers are like cats. Unfortunately, cats never grow into adulthood.
Apr. 6 - Can cats lose a tooth? (I mean due to causes other than injury or trauma.) I found a small, hard object on the floor and finally decided it was either a small tooth or a deformed clove and, as our cats are getting old, thought I'd better check them.
I approached the older one with my flashlight and he immediately became defensive.
Hold still, I said. I just want to look at your teeth.
I'm not taking a pill, he stated and commenced to stare me down.
I'm not trying to give you a pill, ya stupid cat. I just want to get a look at your teeth. (A firm statement of intent should work.)
I'm not taking a pill he insisted, and then did that acrobatic squirm thing cats are famous for and got away. He's a mean, ornery bastard on his good days and bites - not to draw blood but to bruise, which hurts a lot more - so I figured I'd tackle an easier target.
Naturally the younger cat had been watching the whole thing. He's the needy, velcro kind of cat that requires two legs to eject him from the bed or couch and just won't leave you alone, but he did the unexpected and fled when I approached him. I finally located him at that sweet spot under the bed where he couldn't be reached without a baseball bat and tried to coax him out.
I'm not taking a pill, he said.
Sometimes I hate these cats. The only thing they're good for is blocking and tripping us when we come home and, of course, shedding, but I and most of North America have been brainwashed into thinking we owe them something because we rescued them from pounds and feed and shelter them.
Anyway, I got even with them for their stubborness because, still fretting over the tooth issue, I added water in their kibble. Soft food diet! Take that you stupid felines! Watch your steps or it will be jello and watery soup for the rest of your natural lives!
They liked it. They really liked it. The younger and usually more apprehensive one even finished it and wanted more (thus rising to the position of most likely candidate for tooth issues) and the nasty older one even purred when he tried to take over my pillow.
It was much, much easier raising the children. Ever try to give a cat a time out?
As for checking their stupid teeth, I'm waiting for Mark to get home. It will be entertaining to say the very least because he may be patient with kids but not with the cats and he can swear like a sailor when they piss him off. I can observe and come up with all manner of useful suggestions safely behind enemy lines ...
Apr. 6 - Any introduction is impossible, so just click and go read The Gatorade Conspiracy.
(Not safe for work. Or drinks. Or your mother. It is, however, completely safe for children who don't know how to read.)
Link from the always surprising Rocket Jones.
Apr. 3 - Robins are all very good and all but there are some more tangible signs of spring today: York regional police warn that the ice on Lake Barrie is unstable and the 2006 baseball season begins!
President Bush throws out the first pitch at the Reds home opener.
(Photo via FoxSports)
The Cubs win was a welcome bonus: with President Bush on hand, Cubs rout Reds.
The answer to The Burning Question: the president says he threw a slow ball and it was high and off the plate.
Apr. 2 - Sometimes I could kill Tuning Spork. Or myself.
His latest story here got me good.
Be sure and check the date. I know I didn't.
Apr. 1 - That's all for now. Time to watch Supernatural, followed by Battlestar Galactica, then the movie Army of Darkness, or, if you prefer, time to get scared, time to get serious, and time to get slapsticky.
Mar. 30 - Sorry for the silence; my attention has been focused on some extremely interesting developments at the workplace -- the one subject that this blog does not address -- and as I tend to write (at length) on my thoughts I've been unable to focus sufficiently to compose anything worthwhile until it's stale.
There was another factor as well, namely the Dubai port management fiasco which gave public expression to the one sentiment that I feared most after Sept. 11: that our identification of the enemy would irrationally grow to include those who are oppressed by our enemy.
Those of us who advocate war must remember that war is a means to peace -- but not the false peace that is achieved with cowardly appeasement -- and therefore we must pursue a strategy that solidifies allies and isolates those who support our enemies. We failed.
Furthermore, if it's really "all about the oil" the U.A.E. is out of the equation. Is that why Democrats and Republicans found them dispensable but aren't outraged over this? It's enough to make one drink (or eat chocolate!)
One of the catchwords of this post-Sept. 11 era is despair. I guess anyone who is interested in politics can rightly feel despair at the rank opportunism which dominates, at minimum, Canadian and American politics. But I'll never again use the expression "rock-bottom" again after opposition parties up here managed to set a new low by calling for a debate on Canada's role in Afghanistan -- as though they hadn't already had the opportunity to do so.
The twins turn 23 today. Good heavens, they're going to be adults soon ...
Mar. 2 - Very interesting column by Peggy Noonan in today's Opinion Journal.
We don't talk about such sensibilities much these days but maybe we should start.
Feb. 17 - Canada has won the gold and silver medals in the men's skeleton events! Great news, but ... um, what is a skeleton event? I didn't know and Mark didn't know so I did a quick google and came up with one answer by by Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press in an extremely humorous article Why skeleton is a dumb sport.
A brief primer: Skeleton is exactly like luge, except that instead of flying down the track on your butt, you fly down the track on your stomach. Skeleton athletes (that's what they call themselves, which is title inflation of the worst kind) say skeleton requires a totally different skill set than luge. Let's just take their word for it. Otherwise, they might explain.Aw, unruffle your fur. He's poking fun at the U.S. team, not the Canadian team, and tells you much more than you want to know about how the "U.S. skeleton team brought sex, drugs and violence to these Winter Olympics, and not even in a good way."
I know: It sounds like a ridiculous, inane, stupid, non-sport kind of sport. But that's what people said when luge first became an Olympic sport in 1964, and now, 42 years later, many of those same people are dead. So maybe we shouldn't question it.
Mark and I can't quite figure out how a hair restorative can be considered a performance enhancing drug (in sports, for crying out loud. Sheesh.)
Feb. 14 - I have some kind of virus thingy and my brain is fuzzy.
We're all having a good laugh at the Vice-President's hunting mishap. Lord knows we need it - and the icing on the cake has been the indignation by the White House press corps that a local Corpus Christi news reporter scooped them. Only in America!
I'm posting a too true email that Dex sent me and heading back to bed.
25 SIGNS YOU HAVE GROWN UP
1. Your house plants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
6. You watch the Weather Channel.
7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up."
8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door won't turn down the stereo.
11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers.
15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
16. You take naps.
17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.
20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."
23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them instead of asking "Oh S*$# what the hell happened?"
26: You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your sorry old butt. Then you forward it to a bunch of old pals & friends 'cause you know they'll enjoy it & do the same.
Feb. 11 - When the first set of churches burnt I was dismayed. When the second set were set ablazed I was alarmed. Now I'm getting angry (10th Alabama church burns) and I mean angry American-Style ... the kind of implacable, watchful anger that can be mistaken for calm and even forgetfulness by those who don't know us.
Can you imagine the response if 10 mosques had been burnt down in two weeks? The horror! And I'd be one of those horrified and angered. The fact that it's Christians being targeted doesn't change the fact that this is a hate crime and is not only unlawful but threatens a fundamental value for which our ancestors fought: the right to worship as we choose.
That evidence indicates that at least some of the fires were set by the pulpits may contain an somehwat threatening message. That they started so soon after MLK Day is disquieting (need I remind anyone that Dr. King was a Baptist minister?) even though I realize that these arsons seem aimed more at Baptists generally and are not colour-based. Nevertheless, Dr. King appealed to Christian consciences which was why, in large part, his message could not be disregarded and why he remains to this day an inspirational and visionary American figure as well as a refutation to those who despise religion.
Whatever, the motive, whoever is doing this don't know Southern Baptists. I think it likely the parishioners will still attend services tomorrow whether the location is a neighbouring church, a barn, a tent, or the open air. I also think they will, even as they mourn for the loss of their churches, pray for those who are doing this evil. (Although I also think it might be better for the perpetrators if the feds catch them, if you know what I mean. It's unlikely that anyone will read 'em from the book, but still.)
[No, I'm not a Baptist but I've attended Southern Baptists services and they bowled this sophisticated urbanite over and filled me with humility and joy. But then maybe urbane is just another word for jaded. Or pretentious.]
Feb. 11 - There are so many things wrong about the events outlined in this story. David Archuletta of Colorado was told that his child was stillborn. It was a lie, and the mother had actually put the child up for adoption in New Jersey with an agency called Children of the World. She had told the agency that the father was unknown, but then tried to extort money from the prospective adoptive parents by threatening to contact the biological father. They did the right thing and their lawyer contacted the executive director of the adoption agency, Veronica Serio, by letter but no one at the agency attempted to contact the now known father during the next nine months before the adoption was finalized.
The bureaucratic mind-set of the people at Children of the World is appalling. Once they learned that, contrary to the mother's initial claim, the father was "known," they must have realized that the case was more complicated than first thought and immediately halted the adoption process. They must have known they needed to initiate a different process which must begin by contacting the child's father. They didn't.
It's easy to speculate that the agency ignored the father because fathers have been more and more deemed expendable these days, but it may well be that the fault lies in a rigid bureaucratic mentality. No matter the cause, the easy manner in which the father and his rights were banished - as well as those of the child, who was entitled to the chance to be with his natural father - is disgraceful.
When, a year later, Mr. Archuletta was finally told the truth by the child's mother he began trying to fight for custody of his son but has no money to pay for attorneys.
Maybe someone will take his case pro bono? It seems a worthy cause.
Feb. 10 - Sorry for the longer than expected hiatus from the blog. The anticipated flurry of activity during the Chistmas shopping period was co-joined to another flurry and then yet another flurry. I would love to employ the term fugue but the addition of the 3rd element ruined that along with most of January and the first part of February. The element that all three complemented one another does, however, hold true.
In short, I'm still waiting for the much-needed post-Christmas slowdown, but at least I am working what passes for normal hours (at least this week -- but don't take any bets that I won't have to work this Saturday although, with luck, next Saturday is reserved for personal time!)
The Canadian elections were interesting and, although the Tories lead a minority government, perhaps the most important thing is that a balance has been restored to Canadian politics in that there are two functional national mainstream parties vying for power. Liberal corruption was enabled in part by the lack of a credible alternative for the electorate -- a lesson both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. should already know but don't.
Andrew Coyne has written brilliantly on some weird appointments by the new government. Just a note to American readers: Cabinet members up here are supposed to be elected Members of Parliament which is why the appointment of Fortier is such a shock. I should also note that Fortier doesn't have to be confirmed by Parliament which is in some ways a mixed blessing given how acrimoniously political such things have been but the appointment is, nonetheless, disconcerting.
Note to Democrats: re-read Sen. McCain's letter to Sen. Obama on developing legislation for lobbying reform and pay special attention to this:
They [the American people] see it as yet another run-of-the-mill Washington scandal, and they expect it will generate just another round of partisan gamesmanship and posturing.Attempts to run campaigns around corruption will fail for precisely the reason cited above: we see it as irritatingly business as usual. As JFK famously said, every mother wants her son to grow up to be President but no mother wants her son to grow up to be a politician.
Back to the point, Americans who have a post-Sept. 11 mentality realize that securing the defense of the nation is not the most important job of the national government but is the only job of the national government. With that understanding, those with a grasp on reality, like Sen. Lieberman and Robert Livingston, lend respectability to a party that has irrationally wedded itself to the mindset of the 1960's without remembering that those days were molded by a generation that rebelled against the kind of mind-controlling authority such as Orwell wrote about in 1984. Those of us who cherish liberty regard "politically correct" speech more as confirmation of Orwell's fears than any supposed enlightenment and if the Democrats really want to look at the future maybe they should start by not forlornly wishing for the past. It's no accident that the intensely irreverent South Park is so popular.
If you've noticed that any attempt at a segue was incomplete then you got my underlying point. Canadians are not Americans, and among other differences, most people up here regard the war on terror as not that much a Canadian thing (despite the presence of and and casualties inflicted on Canadians in Afghanistan.) Nevertheless, as an American I want to say again that the participation of Canada in the WOT is, although often obscured, important and greatly appreciated. It does not, nevertheless, drive Canadian politics.
There isn't much that can be stated about Coretta Scott King's passing that others haven't said. My generation owes much to this woman who symbolized dignity and strength because she held us together when we were torn with grief and fury over Dr. King's murder. (I guess only people of my generation can know what I mean about that time, as with all things some people read about but which others of us lived through. Those were dark days during which many of us lost hope as well as our way, and focusing on the erect figure of Mrs. King restored a point on which to focus.)
Lastly, I'd like to thank President Bush because his revelations about the plot to attack a Los Angeles building gave me the opportunity to drag out one of my favourite photos:
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Isn't he cute? And I would like to note that something that may have been vital to thwarting that and future plots could have been the arrest of a Canadian-based terrorist and no, I'm not referring to any member of the Khadr family, but to Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, who was a prominent member of Jemaah Islamiya (see here for his role in JI) until his capture and incarceration with the assistance of Canada. (His brother was killed in a shoot-out with Saudi police. Sigh.)
P.S. What, I should weigh in on those cartoons? I intensely dislike anything that is racially stereotypical whether it be of Muslims, Jews or Condi Rice, but didn't find the cartoons to be all that terrible (especially compared to those I've seen over at lgf from the Arab media) so although I will pass on re-producing the Danish cartoons I do defend anyone else's right to do so. I just don't see them as advancing the struggle against terrorism. Besides, Calvin and Hobbes they ain't.
Free speech does mean that we will see things that we may find offensive. We handle it. Freedom often means having a thick skin, but hot damn! it's worth it.
On the recent Palestinian elections, is anyone really all that surprised? Yes, I know many say they are, but the difference between Hamas and El Fatah is more one of perception than reality. Neither is interested in peaceful co-existence with Israel and both have deep roots in terrorism. I'd rather deal with the wolf than the fox any day.
Nov. 17 - Decaf coffee linked to heart risk:
Drinking decaffeinated coffee could increase the risk of heart disease, a study has suggested.Heh. I never touch the stuff.
It could lead to a rise in harmful cholesterol levels, the US National Institutes of Health study found.
Nov. 14 - One staple of American philosophy is that "your rights end where the other fellow's nose begins." Implicit in this cliche is the recognition that individuals will inevitably meet people whom they don't like and who don't like them but a person's just gotta shrug it off and let it go.
Easier than it sounds, no? But I think most parents find that the first life lessons their kids learn in school are that (1) not everybody is going to like them and (2) nothing they can do will really change it. That second part is the hardest, and I doubt I'm the only parent who listened to their child's lament that after he did everything they could think of, little Johnny or Jane still despised him. (Gender specific because I had boys.)
On the one hand we teach our children to avoid "peer pressure" because we know their friends can lead them into all kinds of trouble. On the other we (Americans, in particular) are castigated because we defy "peer pressure" and embark upon courses of which "the rest of the world" disapproves. This isn't only about Iraq but also include Kyoto, social programs in which people become increasinlgy dependent on the state and, perhaps most of all, on gun control (or the lack thereof.) (Snark Time: maybe they want us to be like them in order to validate their compromises. Misery loves company, they say.)
The willingness to march to the beat of one's own drummer is one that is sorely and repeatedly tested and, let's be honest: sometimes we keep faith with our inner drummer and sometimes we wimp out.
I've finally been able to review comments left on posts made during my computer's comatose state and can only shake my head at how little people seem to know of recent history.
On my post for Rosa Parks there was an attack on the U.S. due to the "separate but equal" policy which was enshrined by the Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896). I presume the troll also denounces an activist judiciary as this deplorable decision took nearly 60 years to be overturned because only the SCOTUS could overturn its own rulings. (He might also be expected to applaud Harry S. Truman despite the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he found a work-around to that Supreme Court decision and opened the proverbial roadblock to integration, and if the trolll doesn't I will.)
Then there's the claim that Americans didn't know our presence in Iraq would be lengthy. Actually, a CNN poll right after the fall of Baghdad says differently: a majority of the respondents said we would be there 3 years, and barely in second place was those who chose 5 years. Or, for those who pay attention and connect dots, a recent DoD press release spoke to the number of troops we currently have in Bosnia after 10 years and that situation is by no means stabilized yet despite their recent elections (which only occurred after just under 10 years of occupation.)
If Iraq is a quagmire, what is Bosnia? or, indeed, Cyprus?
What do they teach in schools these days? Evidently not the definition of fascism which includes "stringent socioeconomic conrols" and the "suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship" or Canadians would be more alarmed about their own laws permitting censorship and regulating the economy. Time was that leftists understood that laws intended to suppress their freedom of speech were often disguised as "progressive." (Of course, time was that leftists opposed gun control because they recognized the implicit threat to them. I can only conclude the left has gotten dumber.)
I may at some point address the claims that President Bush misled the nation about the state of Saddam's Iraq weapons research and capability but, as only a real wacko would try to pretend that Bush wasn't relying on intelligence collected by the prior Clinton administration as well as that of other nations, I will pass for today. Those who embark upon re-writing history need to rely so much on invective that I find it hard to respond without scorn (and I'm not in a scornful mood this morning.)
The personal is not the political. Polls that suggest that Canadians "dislike" President Bush always leave me baffled. Who freaking cares if Canadians "like" or "dislike" him? It's not a popularity contest! Clinton was (and is) very likeable but his "law enforcement" policies toward terrorists proved disasterous. One of the most likeable, decent and kindly men I ever had the privelege to meet was Jimmy Carter (when he was still governor of Georgia) but he was utterly inept as the Head of State. I can like him even as I deplore his weakness at a time of national crisis (okay, I don't often attack Carter. Truth is I think he has become unstable but that doesn't make him evil but misguided in his desperate efforts to justify his policies during his brief presidency. Any why blame him alone? Didn't many of us wish that the U.S. would take a closer look at their internal policies toward dissidents before allying herself with men like Marcos of the Phillipines as well as the Shah of Iran? I can't blame Carter for being shortsighted when I myself was so in my younger years.)
Sad Conclusion: liking them on a personal basis isn't a good enough reason to vote for them. We're adults, right? We get to vote in real elections because we are adults, and have presumably developed criteria beyond those necessary for selecting the Head Cheerleader.
The only rational measure must be about the policies of a state's leaders, and Bush's approval ratings in the U.S.A. can go up and down yet he still scores higher than the current Prime Minister of Canada. (Paul Martin would do cartwheels if he could garner Bush's approval figures at their lowest.)
There's a point to all this, right? Well, yes. I'm the sort of Christian who doesn't attend church but feels a personal relationship with my deity and my savour but nevertheless the catechism of my early years has left a lasting impression as to the faith and courage of the early Christian martyrs -- and how resolutely they defied peer pressure and refused to burn meaningless incense on the altars of false gods.
My friend Dex has long been a source of strength and kindness. He recently sent me the following which speaks to the difficulty of being true to oneself (and maybe should be sub-titled I Will Not Be A Co-dependent) because, by implication, it poses the question of who needs to approve of you the most: You, or Toxic Others.
THE FRONT ROW
Life is a theater - invite your audience carefully. Not everyone is holy enough and healthy enough to have a front row seat in your life.
There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships, friendships or fellowships.
Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention to: Which ones lift up and which ones tear down? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't really understand, know and appreciate you and the gift that lies within you?
The more you seek God and the things of God -- the more you seek quality. The more you seek not just the hand of God but the face of God -- the more you seek things honorable -- the more you seek growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW of your life and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.
You cannot change the people around you...but you can change the people you are around! Ask God for wisdom and discernment and choose wisely the people who sit in the front row of your life. [My bolding.]
Dex added this postscript: I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. Helen Keller
What is your "something that you can do?"
Nov. 11 - Sorry about my sudden absence, folks. Danged computer died and it took awhile to get it back up and running which was complicated by an intense work load.
Best amend that to just "running." There are still some features that disappeared and had to be re-installed and some old features that reappeared - like just how freaking old is Morpheus, anyway? and how many times do I have to uninstall Wild Tangent until goes away and leaves me alone?
At least I no longer need to wrestle over whether to get rid of Kazaa, and in one blazingly cheering revelation I realized that not only was it gone but that all its accompanying adware was also gone yet all my downloads remain. It doesn't seem quite cricket somehow, but I'll take it.
Recent news items have left me shaking my head. Some chickens may have come home to roost but other members of the fowl family cluck cheerfully along. The terror attacks in Jordan showed the futility of trying to fool all of the people all of the time. The latest reports are all about the shock that Palestinians were the victims of the bombings:
SILET AL-THAHER, West Bank -- In this village, the Akhras clan mourned 17 relatives killed by a suicide bomber in Jordan -- the first time Palestinians have been a target in a suicide attack.That's from an AP dispatch, by the way, and I am incapable of commenting because my head is spinning as I wonder who the hell was killed in Bali, Jerusalem, Istanbul, London, Madrid, New York City and IRAQ (I know - I left some terror attacks out. Head. Spinning. remember?)
"Oh, my God, oh, my God. Is it possible that Arabs are killing Arabs, Muslims killing Muslims?" asked Najah Akhras, 35, who lost two nieces.
In the West Bank and Gaza Strip yesterday, Palestinians expressed outrage over suicide attacks aimed at civilians.
Then there's France, where the rioting of "insurgents" are in part a consequence of a country which has successfully fooled most of its people all of the time.
I don't believe that those who advocated multi-culturalism were actively or knowingly promoting racist policies, but it does seem that one result has been to isolate rather than genuinely embrace non-European immigrants and the events of the past two weeks have perhaps been hardest of all on the parents and grandparents of these young Molotov tossers who moved to France in pursuit of a better future for their children. Their reward was to be denied protection by the law from lawlessness - after all, whose cars, schools and businesses were torched?
Was I the only person yelling "Use tear gas!" every time clips came up on the news? The kind of thinking that dictated that it would be racist to confront and stop the rampaging led to the French government's choice to deny these "other" citizens their indisputable right to be protected by the law from lawlessness. But then it wasn't whitey's car a-burning, you know?
But they did rouse themselves sufficiently to put out full police presence to protect a military parade.
The ease with which people are willing - even desperate - to be fooled was indicated in Canada when the initial Gomery report exonerated Paul Martin from any involvement in much less knowledge of Adscam or, as Doug Fisher put it, "Gomery's whitewash of Martin is both thorough and repetitious" and the report also cruised past what senior government bureaucrats knew or did not know (we already know that they did nothing.)
Mark just called and for some reason emails being sent to him are being bounced back. I need to "fix" it and then tackle my own email. The universe can be so very unkind.
Oct. 24 - I'm glad I persevered in reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It was becoming more chore than pleasure until Gail Wynand was introduced, and I found him to be so interesting that I continued to read it by standing beneath the street lamp as I waited for my bus this morning.
Even Dominique was beginning to make sense.
This is extemely funny.
Oct. 20 - For reasons beyond anyone's control I'm off work tonight so I'm going to indulge myself by doing more reading than writing.
Okay, I've always tried to be honest here so I'm also watching Stargate SG-1 and will watch the new Smallville episode at 11 p.m. (on the LA W-B station) and a Season 2 episode on YTV at 2:35 a.m.
Here's a couple of worth-while reads:
"Canadian anti-Americanism is, paradoxically, perhaps best expressed in its adulation for one of the US's most infamously unscrupulous and immoral leaders, former president William Jefferson Clinton. .."They also love Michael Moore up here and don't understand why we didn't elect their choice, John Kerry, for president. That Canadians have preferences isn't strange, but their indignation that we ignore their wishes as to how we run our country and live our lives is nearly psychotic.
I've tried to write about Saddam's trial but can't be dispassionate and the solemn pronouncements of those wonderful human rights sorts would be laughable if their sentiments didn't disguise so total a lack of any respect for human rights. Peter Worthington sums it all up nicely, both in the title of today's column in the Toronto Sun Get it over with: Saddam must die, and in this:
We, in civilized countries that live by law and decency, like to say that the process is more important than the outcome. Certainly that was the case in the first free elections in Iraq and Afghanistan.Those who doubt the ability of Iraqis to try Saddam are the same who doubt Iraqis - or Muslims in general - are capable of forming and maintaining consensual governments. Coincidence? I think not.
With Saddam, however, the verdict is more important than the process: Death for the despot.
A first-class constable -- an officer with at least five years on the job -- earns $66,852 annually.The one thing the police desperately need and can't negotiate for is RESPECT from City Council and the citizens of this city. We want them to be saints even as we villify them as demons, and we want them to risk death but pay them less than the city's paper-pushers. We tie their hands yet expect results.
Wilson complained that the police services board wants to cut benefits, require officers to work an additional 40 hours each year without compensation and to reduce retention pay.
We're so damned enlightened that we imagine ourselves superior to the men and women who put their lives on the line to save our sorry asses.
I said I was going to read more and write less. I didn't intentionally lie ... I'll to back to reading and update this after Smallville. (What? It's one of the funniest shows on TV these days. Every time one of the Kent parental units gives that "exasperated but indulgent look" I crack up. Besides, the episode where Clark met The Flash was wonderful and tonight he's going to meet Aquaman.)
Oct. 21 - 01:50: If you're looking for spoilers on Aquaboy meets Superboy I'm going to disappoint. But if Canadian viewers without W-B access want teasers ... Arthur Currie (Aquaboy) does bring new meaning to the phrase "blew him right out of the water" and there was a cute play on acronyms with Junior Lifeguard Association. Also, Clark gets pissy over some kissy-face at the Kent Farm, which after last week's antics was totally hypocritical.
South Park Does Katrina! Clips for viewing at the link.
Robert has been temporarily stuck at home with an injured foot but it hasn't affected his posting. Annan talks about needing more aid to Pakistan. Maybe Kofi and his "advisors" should read Big Windy In Pakistan dated October 15:
BW has been on the ground here in Pakistan for 6 days now and we have been going non stop. We have 3 Chinooks along with 2 Dco Hooks from Kandahar. In the last 4 days we have hauled thousands of pounds of relief supplies and back hauled well over a 1000 Quake victims. The crews are running from sun up to sun down making turns up into the mountains and back to the airfield of Islamabad. This is the main hub where most of the supplies we pick up are brought in from all over the world. Below are a few photos of operations of the last few days.These guys do while others talk. I know which are more likely to get results, and now I'm back at that humble-but-proud state whenever I think about the exceptional men and women in the American Armed Forces.
Robert also looks at the coverage by some of the British press of Saddam's trial.
You all know that Kate's back, right? Kate's always great, but the Postcard from Kandahar in particular needs to be read and re-read. It reveals a reality that bland reporting and the "La la la Canadian troops are Happy Peacekeepers" fiction obscures. (Yeah, I know I linked it downstream but ... so what? It deserves double-dipping.)
Via Newsbeat1, Michelle Malkin reports on the on-going fight over Able Danger. I'm glad she and others are staying on top of this. Why isn't Congress demanding that the Pentagon stop the stonewalling and tell us the truth? (You'd think the Dems would be all over this. Why aren't they?) We already know there were serious intelligence failures leading up to Sept. 11 and we assume (hope) changes have been made. Or haven't they? After all, nothing more typifies the immoveable object than bureaucracy.
Newsbeat1 has some other great links that I plan to read right now, including the newest Rosett investigatory piece about the UN procurement scandal.
Oct. 16 - Venturing into the template to add to the blogroll:
Under News and Commentary:
The Ornery American (I can't believe I hadn't already put Orson Scott Card on the blogroll. Argh.)
I'd really wanted to add Michael Yon under Those Who Serve for, even though he's not a soldier, he does serve, but accuracy compels me to put him under News and Commentary.
From the Great White North:
From the Rest of the World:
There are a few seemingly dormant blogs I'm leaving on because I never give up! Someday (I'm looking at you, Paul,) I hope they will resume blogging.
Oct. 19 - What a game! Houston and Atlanta went a record setting 18 innings - Houston prevailed and eliminated Atlanta. (Take that, Mega-Freaking Wanker Ted Turner.)
The ballgame forced Thanksgiving dinner to be a few hours late (we held it today to accomodate the kid who has to get his b*tt back up to Ottawa for school) but it was worth it.
What. A. Game!
The post title above comes from a small thing for which I am also very grateful. Space: The Imagination Station aired the first four hours of the Battlestar Galactica series last night and this evening, and although it will be difficult to wait until January for season 2 (who am I kidding? it's driving me nuts!) I continue to be impressed by the sheer power of the series.
Each time I see the memorial scene in which Adama suddenly reveals that Earth is not a myth and he knows it's location I find myself cheering as the shouting grows louder: "So say we all!"
A vital truth lies in Adama's explanation for the subterfuge: it isn't enough just to live; one has to live for something. Hope is the spur that lends wings to our feet and meaning to our deeds. It's why we continue to breathe, love, and have children. And it's why we have celebrate Thanksgiving.
So say we all.
Oct. 7 - It's almost a relief to wake up and find a major news item that's both outrageous and funny. If I had know that being ineffective and incompetent was the chief qualification I'd have submitted my own name. Or Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's name.
I'm referring of course to the awarding of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.
On reading the rationale, I gather it's been awarded for doing absolutely nothing to make the world safer from nutjobs having nuclear weapons but for opposing U.S. military action and foreign policy in general:
The Nobel Committee's decision lent support to negotiations and inspections, not military action, as the best way to handle volatile nations. It also was seen as a message to the U.S. administration, which invaded Iraq after claiming UN efforts to eradicate Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions had failed and which opposed ElBaradei's appointment to another term.Well, they are diplomats and I'm not.
UN Ambassador John Bolton, once the U.S. point man on nuclear nonproliferation and a key opponent of ElBaradei's reappointment, refused to comment when asked if the prize was a rebuff to U.S. strategy.
"I'll stick with the secretary's statement," he said Friday as he entered the United Nations, referring to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statement that ElBaradei deserved the honour.
Rice also reaffirmed that the administration was "committed to working with the IAEA to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology."
On more sober reflection, they should have given the award to Libyan Head of State Omar Muammar al-Ghaddafi. It was through him (albeit indirectly) that the black market of nuclear weapons technology and Dr. Khan were exposed. At least one source was actually shut down, which is more than the IAEA has accomplished.
He also posts on a somewhat more serious topic: accusations that Iran has been behind attacks on British soldiers in Iraq, and notes the chief affliction of BBC reporting:
Thus for the reader the meaning is clear: for the BBC, the word of the Iranian theocrats is supposed to be as trustworthy as that of the British government.Exactly. Welcome back, Robert.
They played .500 ball, not bad for their first year in D.C.
You all ready for the World Series? This household is firmly in the "anyone but the Yankees" camp which probably means the Red Sox (for as long as they last, which will hopefully be all the way to the Series.)
Ever watch baseball with a coach and an umpire? It can be ... informative. Yeah, that's the word.
Sept. 29 - Many thanks to David A. Giles for the following link:
There are a number of articles by Dr. Baskerville on the web page; some of them look interesting, some look to be controversial and a few look to be extremely uncomfortable.
Discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, sometimes it is an extremely health sign that something is wrong and needs fixing.
Sept. 27 - I had been unable to remember the source, author or name of an article I had read (which turned out to be a book review!) so was unable to link it in my post on Fatherhood and Grandparenthood. I am grateful that reader Andrew P. recognized my brief description and very kindly emailed me the relevant information.
The book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by economist Steven D. Levitt and scientist Stephen J. Dubner was reviewed by Orson Scott Card in Freakonomics Or You Have to Find the Facts Before You Can Face Them. Some of the assertions in the book are controversial and Card touches on one of the hypotheses: that lower crimes rates came about as a result of decriminalizing abortions.
In 1973, Roe v. Wade made abortion permissible throughout the United States. The floodgates opened, and vast numbers of abortions were performed. As a result, vast numbers of children were not born.Did I mention that some of the conclusions are controversial?
Ah, but which children? The vast majority of the abortions were among women who would have been raising their children without a father; substantial numbers of these women were addicts. And even the abortions performed on middle-class women were somewhat more likely to be the result of liaisons in which one partner or the other, or both, had poor impulse control.
In other words, the fetuses that were aborted, had they been born, would have become children who were statistically the most likely group to become criminals. Raised by single mothers, in poverty, with genes that might not provide them with much ability to foresee the longterm consequences of impulsive actions.
The crime rates began falling exactly when that generation of children would have reached adolescence and those with such tendencies would have begun their criminal careers.
It certainly looked as if we killed off much of our criminal class in the womb.
I've only excerpted the portion of the review that fit the blog post I was writing, but the review is about much more than that and addresses one of the biggest problems of this information age: too much specialized knowledge by experts which we can neither ignore nor understand.
I was curious and read about the book at the Freaknomics site and saw something that never fails to get my attention:
[Steven D. Levitt] usually begins with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. (Emphasis added)I can't recommend the book as I haven't read it (at least not yet) but it sounds intriguing.
I need to write (or at least begin) a report on a meeting I attended yesterday evening and then catch some sleep so probably won't post again until tonight.
(Orson Scott Card link via Relapsed Catholic)
Sept. 27 - Good friend Jack has helped launch a website for OPP IRONMEN, self-described as "two very tough cops giving it their best!" Their best includes going into the dunk tank in order to raise money for Diabetes Canada.
They're also a bit modest, but Jack's profile of them is very informative. [Blogger permalinks seem somewhat skewed today; scroll down to Sept. 26 post "Very Late Update | OPP Ironmen" or run find option (Ctrl + F for IE users) search words "OPP Ironman."]
Welcome to the crazy blogging world, Ironmen!
Sept. 24 - I read two posts yesterday that really stuck with me. They both concern parenting, or more properly, the lack of full parenting, and raise some disturbing issues.
David has written an outstanding post about The Ultimate Victims of single-parent families and he's backing it up with more than abstract speculation. Some of the figures cited are alarming and point to the need for a sober evaluation of the impact on families without a father's influence.
It's a touchy subject. There are a great many women (and a few men) who are raising children singlely and it is not always by choice. Some were deserted or one of the parents died. Others wisely left abusive or destructive relationships. I doubt anyone would argue that remaining together "for the sake of the children" is a good thing when the kids are forced to endure the fighting, bitterness, and animosity that often arises when a marriage has crumbled. Yet the acceptance of "no-fault divorces" argues that we as a society do accept that marriages can fall apart for a number of reasons that don't cast either spouse as villainous but simply as incompatible.
But somehow there has been a shift whereby dropping the belief that it's best to stay together for the sake of the children has led to assertions that a non-custodial parent, usually the father, is dispensable. Mom can do it all, be both father and mother, and the kids will turn out just fine because ... well, actually, that part is kind of left out. Dad's good for presents and trips to amusement parks, but when it comes to guidance, discipline and that most important parenting tool which we are literally stuck with, setting a good example, he's too often considered inconsequential. Evidently, two heads are not better than one.
The alarming part is that family courts also seem to regard the other parent as superfluous by their reluctance to enforce visitation rights when the custodial parent deliberately (and one might argue maliciously) denies it.
The seeming indifference of the courts when a parent's visitation rights are denied allows for a second injustice: the child's rights have also been violated. Judges and family courts, by inaction, diminish the worth of the love between the child and the non-custodial parent. Although the impact of that has yet to be assessed, one has to wonder how a child will develop emotionally when love for one parent is intentionally thwarted by the other or if the child comes to feel ashamed or disloyal because of that love.
I believe we need to find a way to encourage and support those who are raising children alone without diminishing the very real need for children to have two involved parents because, in this instance, we really do need to think about the children.
Anyone who prefers words like "resilient" and "survivor" over "irreparable" and "victim" will be intrigued by this next post. Raskolnikov evokes the former as he examines a different kind of parenting issue in Gramma's House by looking at the large number of grandparents who have taken on the child-raising of their grandchildren in aboriginal communities. That mirrors what is happening throughout Canada and the U.S.A. but there's a twist: the grandparents who are raising these kids are of the generation that is often viewed as having been so damaged by res-schools that they were rendered incapable of good parenting skills.
Evidently there has been a lack of any noticeable concern exhibited by Tribal Child and Family Service workers and community leaders, which is surprising and perhaps even alarming, but both of the outcomes Raskolnikov suggests contains the hope of healing.
(The comments, by the way, offer some different perspectives and worth the read.)
Sept. 25 - 17:05 - Read Is There Really a Fatherhood Crisis? for more (it's long and I'm still working through it, but it's already pretty hard hitting.) I don't know what to say; it's all very sobering.
I read an article this week (but can't find it now) linking the lowered crime rates in some major American cities with readier access to abortions. That was really a mind-stopper (if you know the one I'm referring to please drop me a line so I can link to it as well.)
Sept. 27 - 07:14 - Many thanks to Andrew P., who remembered that the article was Freakonomics Or You Have to Find the Facts Before You Can Face Them by Orson Scott Card and - bonus - that it had been linked by Kathy at Relapsed Catholic which was how we both came to read it.
21:50 - John Leo is linking Katrina casualties to single-parent families, although I think he may be streching it a bit far. One of the most uplifting things I saw during the early coverage were two men who had delivered their wives and children to the Convention Centre and were heading out to see if anyone else needed help. They had such a matter-of-fact attitude - neither exhibited humility or arrogance - and just said they had done what men need to do. I wish I could remember their exact words.
An honest report on Katrina might well show that a lot of men stood up and, well, acted like men so often do: strong and true.
I enjoy some wine with dinner so I'm going to indulge in some sauce for the gander is good for the goose whimsy: Imagine, if you dare, what would happen if all the men in the world went on strike. [And before you mention Lysistrata, be sure and read the damned play. The women barricaded themselves in the town treasury, which was a bigger problem for the Greek men than doing without sex!]
Sept. 23 - It's a cleverly disguised PR campaign, I tell you! A lot of people are still mad over last season's lockout and going "meh" over the new season, so perennial boring-campaign organizer Martha Burk has been retained to build the interest in hockey by another stupid whine (Burk shifts energies from Augusta to NHL ads) against the new NHL ad claiming it is - you guessed it - "offensive on many levels." (She's probably not referring to the cost of tickets.)
The response from an NHL spokeswoman is wonderful:
"This ad shows no disrespect for women," [Bernadette] Mansur told The CP. "On the contrary, the woman is the spiritual and physical trainer for the 'Warrior' and is his mentor."Ah, that Canadian sense of humour. There may be a spiritual level to rock'em sock'em hockey, and the distinct sound of a well-placed body check is admittedly music to the ears, but I'll wait for Don Cherry's opinion on the ad before I'll let Martha Burk tell me what offends.
There is some merit to the claim of "mentor," though. Tacitus wrote that the women in Germanic tribes urged the men to battle, baring their breasts and reminding them that their children would be enslaved if they lost to the Romans.
Um, maybe I should stop while I'm ahead. And, you know, "Go Leafs!"
(Via Kathryn Lopez at the Corner.)
Sept. 23 - This was news I didn't expect to awaken to: the future of New Orleans and, worse, actually contemplating that rebuilding it might not be the best course, received another blow today with a new breach in the levee (Texas Braces for Catastrophe; New Orleans Flooding Again.)
I've always had a pet theory that inviting the newly-American inhabitants of the city to join us in fighting the British - and beating the Recoats soundly - brought New Orleans and Louisiana securely into the American fabric and reduced the abandonment many felt when Napoleon sold them along with the territory. We cannot think of Andrew Jackson without remembering Jean Lafite, and the Battle of New Orleans is remembered with a glory which is scarcely diminished even when we consider that it took place after a treaty had been signed.
Abandoning New Orleans is literally a case of abandoning an important part of our heritage and an integral part of the history of extending our borders from sea to sea.
And then there's the personal. So many of us have wonderful memories of the times we visited there (and sometimes the memories are the more cherished because we can't exactly remember!) furthering the dilemma beyond logic and reason. The cuisine. The music. The people. The mystique. New Orleans is part of the American soul in ways I can feel more than articulate.
I can't even imagine how those who call New Orleans home are feeling today, but maybe it is time to bite the bullet and make some hard calls. It is going to hurt. Deeply. Even thinking about it hurts. Part of me knows that with time we'll do what we've always done: cling to that part of the American spirit that has always held that a new future means a better future, but for now I thinks its permissible to grieve.
18:25 - The news out of New Orleans is getting worse. Thank God the city stayed closed, but spare a thought for the troops there.
Glad to see the President sensibly cancelled his trip to the region. People on the ground there have enough to contend with and don't need the security nightmare.
I finally received word that my Texas friends are safely out of Rita's path. I have to go to work tonight (although I really don't want to leave the storm watch) and I'll be holding my breath even though I know on most levels that we'll weather it.
I can't help thinking that the destruction wrought by the hurricanes have brought us together again. I don't mean the politicians and other Important People but just us, the normal, everyday American whom everyone takes for granted. The press was all a-twitter at the lapses at every level of government but for me, it just reinforced the soundness of the joke "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Say a prayer for Texas. We owe them: the people of Houston electrified the nation when they strode in with a "we can help" attitude and gave refuge to thousands of NO Katrina survivors (and, more importantly, challenged other cities to do the same) and rekindled belief in something that we've seen too rarely in these modern times: neighbourly actions. Southern hospitality and Christian charity have combined to remind us (again) that we are a decent, good people and that we can help and stand by one another.
Sept. 22 - I knew I was forgetting something important. I'm a lot late with this, but if you haven't taken the The Great Canadian Blog Survey there's still time!
Sept. 22 - Today is the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins (by S.R., at least) and it may seem silly (and probably is) to mark the birthdays of fictional characters but two of the most important works during the 60's were Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.
Yeah, I know somebody's thinking What about Catcher in the Rye and Future Shock and some of the more intellectual books but I ask you, how many times did you re-read Salinger and Toffler and how many times did you re-read Tolkien and Heinlein? which did you re-read most recently? and, most importantly, which brought you joy?
So I'm toasting those worthy hobbits and, as I do every year, thanking them for giving us the Red Book for our birthday present.
(Have no fear, I'm not totally wacko. I hardly even considered the idea of hunting for my "Frodo Lives" button.)
Alas, I'm still struggling through The Fountainhead. And I seriously should have gotten to sleep some hours ago.
Prayers go out to those in Rita's path and for those in our military and the National Guard who are now at risk. It would be responsible for me to be irked at those surfing as the storm approaches but I can't deny that part of me which envies them. (Just wait too long before you leave, okay?)
Sept. 22 - because I miss really exciting things like Captain Ed attending a conference in Toronto.
(Link via modest attendee Newsbeat1.)
Sept. 15 - Robert reports that the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists is asking
al Qaeda the resistance in Iraq to investigate the killing of journalists by its forces.
Well, maybe not exactly. (He got me good with this one.)
The pity of it is, it should have been true. I'm just sayin'.
Sept. 15 - Guess who Mugabe's bestest new friend is?
Sept. 14 - I'm way overdue on updating the blogroll. The additions are Canadian based and I think the sharp increase of blogs up here since Adscam broke continues to defy the "passive Canadian" label.
The Wild Duck
Waking Up on Planet X
A Voice for Freedom
Right Thinking People
Frost Hits the Rhubarb (new home for News Junkie Canada)
Silence No More (among other things, this is a valuable source on topics about fathers' rights - or the lack thereof. Examining those issues and legal inequities is long overdue.)
I've also added a terrific news source and a site that tracks recent Canadian blog posts:
I've used Newsbeat1 extensively, and The Canadian Bullet is run by Jay Currie, whose new website address has also been updated on the roll.
Sept. 12 - I haven't been totally inactive this past month. I finally began to read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and it is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read.
No, I'm not going to offer any insightful commentary on it. I've already accepted that I will have to read it twice in order to fully absorb those characters that have left me gasping - especially the sinister Ellsworth Toohey.
Truth is, I've thrown it down a few times fully determined to relegate it back to the "Some Other Day List of Good Intentions," but when so many,
like the inestimable Tuning Spork like Shaken, have declared that it had a profound influence on them, I know I have to finish it.
Next job is to figure out exactly why I find it so disturbing!
Sept. 13 - 23:21: Tuning Spork says he did not recommend it, and my apologies for the incorrect attribution. Of course, I still blame him (because that's what friends are for!) and Shaken.
Sept. 11 - Thank you all so much for your message of sympathy and support. I have been focused on personal things (no surprise) and owe you all letters, but want you to know how much they were appreciated even if I couldn't focus sufficiently to make adequate responses.
[I have no doubt that you all have been thinking of and praying for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans flood and don't need me to encourage you for that.]
Mark did require an angioplasty, and had a mild reaction after it but is firmly in charge of his life again (after he takes all his pills, that is!) and sticking to his diet faithfully. No, he hasn't eaten broccoli or yogurt yet and probably never will, but has discovered that he can live without chocolate and fried foods.
Fear is an odd thing. You do your best to present a cheerful, confident face and then when the imminent danger has passed it's Crash Alert! You're dry-gulched by cold sweats, nightmares, and everything that you put resolutely aside in order to do what it takes to get through a crisis.
I feel several cliches coming on, but then they are old saws precisely because they are so often true.
Again, thank you all for your support. August is not a month I will remember fondly, but maybe it's human nature to resent wake-up calls.
July 31 - Mark had a minor heart attack Thursday night so I've been less attentive to news items much less posting about them than I normally would be given the extraordinary news out of Europe these past couple of days.
Naturally he didn't go to the hospital Thursday night. (I can't prove that that 18-inning Jays game was why he stayed home, but ...) The nausea was so intense, however, that he left work Friday -- which itself is remarkable and means he felt much worse than he let on.
So I can add that to my small store of medical knowledge: when the lower portion of the heart is the area affected, nausea is the primary symptom.
He is in no immediate danger and, pending the results of Tuesday's angiogram, his main course of treatement will likely be changes in his diet. That may sound minor, but this is a meat and potatoes guy who won't eat broccoli because it looks yucky and sounds yuckier. He still refers to salad as "hay" but is extremely strong willed so will do whatever he sets his mind to doing and has even considered eating yogurt.
He seems resigned to being immobile due to the heart monitoring machine and they allowed him a minor concession by letting his sit in a real chair but he chafes at the restraint. We hope they will release him on Tuesday.
The hardest part is not fussing over him. Maybe someday I'll write a book about women who love strong willed, independent men, but for now I'll just focus on remembering that those things that drive me nuts are also the things I love most.
Many thanks to our friends who have dropped by the hospital to talk baseball and tease him about hospital food! They've really kept his spirits up.
Indeed, the ball now seems to be in Europe's court and the question is what they will do with it. They seem to have seized the initiative to crack down on their own extremists, but is it temporary?
Stay safe, and happy Simcoe Day!
July 27 - As the title says, I'm sorry for the lack of posting. Two factors come into play on my silence.
Our electrical power levels have been uncertain the last two weeks and we've had troubles maintaining internet connection (the thing with an adaptor that acts as a go-between between the computer's modem and the phone lines keeps blinking off which means I try to save something and I lose the whole thing) and there have been a couple of days when only half our electrical outlets were putting out any juice.
Short version: we chose air conditioning over computers, televisions and stoves.
A problem of a different variety is that I am still in Rage Mode after the bombings in London and Egypt. I don't want my life to be dominated by anger much less rage and I can't think of a worse prospect than grimly striding through life, but contrarily I can't imagine any better respose to atrocities than rightful anger.
What's to say? The Democrats are outraged. Check. Most people up here feel Canada is too insignificant to attack. Check. Ressem has been sentenced but won't testify against his co-conspirators. One of the would-be London bombers, Yasin Hassan Omar, from the failed July 21 attack has been captured and there is a lead on the Egyptian bombings. The U.N. contract for Paul Martin's mentor, Maurice Strong, was not renewed. Heh. Syria and Assad have been implicated (again) in yet another probe into the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, this time by I.R.S. investigators. I'm shocked that Syria, which is a member of the U.N. Security Council, would participate in a conspiracy with Iraq to circumvent U.N. sanctions on Iraq.
The CBC has joined their British colleagues at the BBC in refusing to allow the word forms of terrorism" to describe terrorism. Seems it's judgmental. It almost sounds like they think terrorism is bad ...
It's important to live with optimism and thus look to the stars: Discovery lifted off and we'll all probably hold our breaths when it returns because however blase we may be about space-travel, it's dangerous - far more dangerous than taking a subway or visiting a landmark. Kind of puts things back into perspective.
The Jays are just above .500 and the Giants aren't.
We saw Conan the Barbarian recently with what we'll call "renewed appreciation." Who could have guessed 20 years ago it would contain so much commentary on today's issues?
Two more nights and I get a real holiday weekend! Three consecutive days off, yet all I can think of how badly this place needs cleaning ...
I hope you're all enjoying the summer. It's been a baseball player's delight (because rain-outs are bad) but the days are already getting shorter and we're got provincial eliminations this weekend.
July 12 - By power issues I mean of the electrical sort; anyone losing partial power - as opposed to a brown-out - here in Toronto? The power just went back on, but I'm posting fast in case it shuts off.
July 9 - Unfair! Nicholas starts out with a mild anecdote and then bang! cuts to a solidly-reasoned post as to how the economic woes of far too many Third World countries can be directly linked to their thuggish governments:
Western business practices can have little effect on cultures with no rule of law: the only way to conduct business in areas like that is to cut deals with the local powers-that-be or to become a local power. This is not good for the company conducting the business: they're not good at weilding power, nor should they be. Their core competency is conducting business, not becoming local bully boys.Excellent, concise read.
July 9 - I just learned that comments were down but they have been restored.
That's the kind of news I like - learning a problem was fixed before learning there was one. If only life were that simple ...
July 6 - I found this article (and those also linked on the page) incredibly funny: Bono, Geldof and protesters steal spotlight:
Bono of the mega-group U2 and activist-musician Bob Geldof stole the spotlight on the first day of the G8 Tuesday with their incessant, high-profile calls for a huge increase in aid to Africa and the world's poorest countries.It evokes a lot of Beatlemania memories, let me tell you. I keep having this mental image of Chirac squealing like a girl and tearfully begging Geldorf and Bono for their autographs.
Camera crews and G8 leaders alike were falling over one another to get access to the pair.
And then, after their fingers meet as they return his autograph book, ecstatically swearing that he'll "never wash that hand again." (Yes, I'm foregoing the obvious follow-up crack.)
Those gathered for the G-8 meeting (the participants, I mean) are supposed to be leaders of the most powerful countries in the world yet they're all ga-ga over rock stars?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
July 5 - If you are reading this then we are back up (but then again, it may be only temporary.)
It seems some kind of (im)perfect storm is hitting Munu with trackback spam, comment spam and some kind of automated upgrade thingy that involves squirrels and pearls or some such.
If you've been unable to leave your comment please don't take it personally; I too am receiving the message "you do not have permission to post."
Urgh. It lets me save but won't let me publish. Heh, this is a good opportunity to test my theory that I am way more stubborn than any machine.
July 2 - This post by Melanie Phillips on The big lie cut straight to the chase and when it reminds readers of the known links between al Qaeda and Saddam. The gem is in the concluding paragraph:
The anti-western left has, over the course of history, fallen time after time for the propaganda of murderous tyrants who offered a handy platform for bashing the home society by providing the alibi of conscience. (Emphasis added)The "alibi of conscience" is a wonderful turn of phrase, and quite appropriate today as I find it more heartbreaking than humorous that so many young people are attending or watching Live Eight concerts in the assured belief that the money raised can actually turn the tide in Africa when any rational person has to admit, however privately, that what Africa really needs is decent, honest leadership. I am beginning to realize that trying to nurture the ideals of the young without shattering their idealism with reality is impossible:
The investment of personal, political and moral identity that this represents is so immense that after a short while such gullible dupes are simply incapable of recognising reality even when it stares them in the face. Hence their stupefaction when confronted with the enormities of Robespierre, Stalin or Mao. To that list must now be added the Islamic jihad and Saddam Hussein.There is a sobering warning in her conclusion:
The difference is that this time these useful idiots have taken the middling people of Britain and Europe – and increasingly, it seems, of America – with them into the land of deluded wishful thinking. The result could be that this war against the jihadi terror could be lost -- at home.She could well be addressing Canadians too.
More on the youth and the lies they are fed, Peaktalk writes about The Benefits of Underage Labor (in which he links to this post by Kate about her childhood work experiences.) In addition to the inevitable paper route, my kids also worked at movie theatres, which seems to be a fairly predominant rite of passage for city dwelling high school and college students, and I must admit that I was initially astonished that the middle child stayed at the job, given his fairly laid back approach to life, and his perseverence and dedication at that job laid to rest my fears that he had somehow failed to inherit the work gene.
Inserting a quick aside to Kate's post for a moment, my morning bus driver made a similar observation connecting childhood obesity to the lack of support for public school athletic programs.
The latest example of Hand-Holding 101 comes from the New York City public schools. According to Lauren Collins of the New Yorker magazine, the school system is introducing a new curriculum called "Operation Respect: Don't Laugh at Me" into all its elementary and middle schools. The program is now used in at least 12,000 schools and camps across the country.I'd be in favour of assigning "push-ups" in response to "put-downs" and childhood obesity, but that's just me.
Ostensibly, the program helps kids deal with petty meanness and name-calling from insensitive classmates, not by instructing them in self-defense, mind you, but by inflating their self-esteem. The organization's mission is "to transform schools, camps and organizations focused on children and youth, into more compassionate, safe and respectful environments." Instead of "putdowns," teachers encourage "put-ups."
The Operation Respect Web site depicts well-adjusted children holding up ego-affirming signs reading: "Ridicule Free Zone," "No Dissing Here," "U Matter," and "Peace Place."Mark just said that he knows who he'll be beating up for lunch money. I love that man!
There's so much renewed value in the old adage regarding "sticks and stones." There are people who really are trying to break our bones, and that seems more worthy of our attention than worrying over potential hurt feelings caused by the names Americans are being called internationally. (I know it bothered Sen. Kerry, but it doesn't bother me until it becomes personal, a still relatively minor hazard here in Toronto compared to, again, issues like death.)
It also doesn't hurt that our folks taught us to ignore "peer pressure" and to do what was right, not what was popular.
What to say? By all means, let's add the nation's youth into the growing list of "victims" in our society. Let's strip them of their dignity and urge for self-sufficiency and teach them that self-defense and the work ethic are wrong. What's to lose, except for minor qualities like the vigor and strength exhibited by citizens in a confident nation?
June 29 - Not much to add on the President's address last night, although the irritation by some that Sept. 11 was mentioned would seem to affirm Rove's observations on the reaction of the left to that infamous day.
Root causes, people. Remember them?
They [the enemy] know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.As we inch toward success, those who chose to express their opposition to the war by characterizing it as President Bush's personal war it might do well to remember that the Civil War at one time was referred to as "Mr. Lincoln's War" and he ended up being known as the Great Emancipator.
It almost makes me glad that journalists don't take history courses.
One perhaps original thought: as I read the speech, it struck me that media focus on the presidential election of 2008 might inadvertantly be sending a different message to the anti-Iraqi terrorists, who may be believe that they need only hold on for another 3-1/2 years until an appeasement president is elected. (Please note that is not an accusation, but merely an observation with a vague speculation.)
Nice joke in this email which I got from a friend who got it from a friend who's brother sent it to him. Need I mention the brother lives in Alberta?
A popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed.
A fellow came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your I.Q.?"
The man replied, "150."
The robot then proceeded to make conversation about Quantum physics, string theory, atomic chemistry and so on.
The man listened intently and thought, "This is really cool." The man decided to test the robot. He walked out of the bar, turned around, and came back in for another drink.
Again the robot asked him, "What's your I.Q.?"
The man responded, "100." So the robot started talking about football, baseball, and so on. The man thought to himself, "Wow, this is really cool."
The man went out and came back in a third time. As before the robot asked him, "What's your I.Q.?"
The man replied, "50."
The robot then said, "So, you gonna vote Liberal again?"
I will be working two shifts tomorrow (mostly so than I won't feel guilty when I book off on July 4) so want to take the opportunity now to wish those of you getting out of town a happy Canada Day and Independence Day! Camping, barbecues, baseball games, hot dogs and beer. What's not to like?
I believe that most of the aggression and violence found in today's society can be attributed to two reasons: the lack and demise of traditional physical activities in our schools and the lack of fathers in their children's lives.(I was going to say more on that last sentence but I think maybe it's something you either do or don't get. Hint: the words "learn" and "before punishment" are key; furthermore, compare "learn" with "teach.")
As a kid growing up before the onset of political correctness, staples like dodge ball and floor hockey were part and parcel of our daily segregated gym class in school, along with playground games like tag, red rover and 'King of the Mountain'. This served several purposes: we burnt off energy and aggression through fair play, learned our strengths and weaknesses, teamwork and individual successes and kept in shape. It also allowed us to learn boundaries and limits for our aggression before we would be punished. (My emphasis)
On the underrated importance of fathers taking the lead on some aspects of childraising, I cannot stress enough how important it is that he not be belittled, corrected, or interfered with in any way when he is talking to the kids. If rolling one's eyes must be done, do it in another room. Show the man some respect, for heaven's sake. I am so tired of women who think they gain something besides a reputation for boorishness by degrading men. What they really get is boys who are ashamed of being male (try to fix that self-esteem issue!)
I should disclose that I have three sons who have grown into fine men.
When they were young, it didn't take long for me to realize that their Dad was qualified to teach them things that I couldn't, things like standing up to pee and shaving.
He taught them how to fight fair, and how to parry, duck and counter-punch. He taught them how to pull their punches. He taught them how to avoid a fight and when to brace themselves because a fight was going to happen simply because the other guy wanted it. He taught them that they would heal from most everything except the shame of backing down, but that discretion was also a sign of true valour.
[Me? I was all about "finding alternatives." Their Dad told them that everything I said was absolutely right and that peaceful solutions were the best solutions, but that it was always good to have a Plan B. That's when he took them outside for some basic lessons.]
Dad taught them to stick up for one another and that the older ones should take care of the younger ones. They learned by logical extension not only that it was indeed their business when a big kid was picking on a little kid but that if another little kid got involved then the big kid felt outnumbered and might say stuff while he walked away but what mattered was that he walked away. He taught them that victory comes in many forms and never to crow.
He taught them that the best offense and defense was to look the other guy squarely in the eyes.
He also taught them - by deed as much as by word - to be courteous to women, to carry the heavy stuff, and open doors. He taught them that women don't always fight fair, and that if a woman wanted to rant then just take it - it would blow over - but never, ever hit a woman. He taught them that men who hit women were the lowest of the low, only barely above rapists and child abusers, and not real men but chickensh*ts.
This man routinely left his clothes on the floor, yet he taught them how to be good men. Really, which is mattered most? They are his clothes and his business because I'm not his mother.
And that's the key: husbands and significant others don't need to be mothered but need to be wifed and be made to be feel that they are indeed significant, and the real pity of it all is that today's Super! Feminist! society disparages that kind of uncritical love.
Far more men are engaged in protecting women and children from violence than perpetrating it. Healthy boys with strong fathers—and father figures like male teachers—learn that their attraction to power can be a tool for doing good. Their instincts for gallantry, fair play and protectiveness are easily mobilized when aggression is properly channeled.Here's a thought: let's stop taking them for granted and say "Thank you."
June 18 - This was forwarded to me:
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1940's, 50's, 60's, and 70's:
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day, and we actually were able to function and survive.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, DVD'S, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms! .........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL.
And you are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!
I would add that no one cared about our self-esteem. They did care about our manners, though, as well as our grades, doing our chores, and shoveling the sidewalk and/or carrying grocery bags for elderly neighbours.
- Unknown (at least to me; if you know who wrote it, let me know and I'll append their name.)
June 16 - Great post by Kateland! Being a parent means always dealing with bullocks and, as she could have added, never backing down.
June 16 - I've been tagged again - twice- in the book game and again the answers of those who tagged me are very interesting. Shaken calls it a "book virus bookthing" but good-naturedly answers the questions here.
A lot of people including Shaken have cited The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I'm embarassed to admit I've never read it, but maybe it's about time I did.
Bruce was also politely requested to contribute and does so after he tries to track down the origin of what he too terms a "virus" and again, there are some surprises in his answers - like listing all 21 books of the Master and Commander series.
Both Shaken and Bruce list The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as books that meant a great deal to them and, like The Fountainhead, it's a title that has appeared fairly regularly.
June 7 - This is The best Chicago dog story ever!
The [120-pound] pit bull first latched onto the boy's groin, and then bit into his ankle, police said. His 9-year-old sister, who was walking with him, began swatting at the dog with her book bag. The boy yelled for his sister to run away so she wouldn't get hurt. That's when Montiel and her son went for the door to help.The police arrived and it took 7 bullets to bring the pit bull down, which later had to be euthanized.
"In our minds, we were going to go out and save the boy," she said. "But our dog had other plans."
As soon as their front door opened, Maya [a 74-pound black Lab] blew by, knocking the Montiels over "like bowling pins," she said. Montiel went down and Michael hit a wall.
Maya bounded down all eight stairs of her front porch in one leap, aimed for the pit bull and bit.
India let go of the boy, and as he fled with his sister, the two dogs began circling each other, Montiel said. Soon, India got the best of the smaller Maya and locked onto her neck.
Maya is recovering, but may need further surgery. Teachers and workers at the school attended by the sixth grade boy who was attacked have taken up a collection.
(Via Mudville Gazette, who have their own dog photos posted.)
June 4 - Glenda tagged me!
Number of books I own: On shelves or in boxes? Hundreds! I never throw a book away, and have lugged my books from university through 4 cities and 2 countries.
Last book I bought: To Dream in the City of Sorrows by Kathryn M. Drennnan. It's a Babylon 5 book and sheds some light on Sinclair's growth into becoming Anal'shok Na. (I really miss that show.)
Last book I read: Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen.
Books that mean a lot to me:
1. Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, and the other collected works (including the fragments in Unfinished Tales) by J.R.R. Tolkien.
2. The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Goldhor Lerner.
3. Children: the Challenge, by Rudolf Dreikurs.
4. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein
5. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
May 26 - Sorry for the light posting - I hit a state where I was too tired to sleep and too tired to post. Really miserable day but I still have to get to work tonight (boo hoo.)
This CBC story about Canada's designation of Iran's People's Mojahedin as a terrorist group needs a little more scrutiny, but I'm inclined to view just about everthing this government says about Iran with suspicion.
The filibuster: one of the curiosities of the American political system, right up there with compromise. Get it together, Congress. We grow weary of your games.
A truly Iraq mission, with, by, and for Iraqis. Every day brings new challenges and the Iraqi people are meeting them.
More tomorrow unless the sky falls and the power is knocked out.
May 10 - Do any of you have to work in a team setting? Are some members of that team lazy, belligerent or carefully stupid?
Or, horrors, all of the above?
Me too. I am so damned mad I could scream (or get drunk.) I'm going to go to the store and buy some tuna fish, swiss cheese, caraway seed rye bread and milk.
All of your comfort food are belong to me.
Feel free to vent on your own working woes while I'm gone.
11:30 - Fine, make me feel like a lone malcontent. Now I'm hitting the hard stuff: chocolate!
May 9 - Professor Frinklin, Doctor Misa and Miss Susie create superduper artificial intelligence. Next step: find an application for it.
A Brilliant Idea! First borrow some of Ted's robots out of his rocketry lab and build harddrives into them, then send them to Mets games and let them figure out baseball.
Read the wonderful results in Aaaah, Baseball!.
Apr. 24 - Seems everyone has an opinion about the latest study which concluded that slightly overweight people live longer, and David Brooks weighs in happily, opining that Living Longer Is the Best Revenge:
Mother Nature, we now know, is a saucy wench, who likes to play cosmic tricks on humanity. If the report from researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is correct - and it is the most thorough done to date - then it seems that Mother Nature has built a little Laffer curve into the fabric of reality: health-conscious people can hit a point of negative returns, so the more fit they are, the quicker they kick the bucket. People who work out, eat responsibly and deserve to live are more likely to be culled by the Thin Reaper.
I can't tell you how happy this makes me. Since I read about this report a few days ago, I haven't been able to stop grinning.
I've been happy because as a member of the community of low-center-of-gravity Americans, I find that a lifetime of irresponsible behavior has been unjustly rewarded. If this study is correct, I'll be ordering second helpings on into my 90's while all those salad-munching health nuts who have been feeling so superior in their spandex pants and cutoff T-shirts will be dying of midriff pneumonia and other condescension-related diseases.
Apr. 18 - George Steinbrenner is not happy with the performance Yanks record. (Others, of course, are delighted.)
The offense is batting .208 with runners in scoring position, including 4 for 21 over the weekend. The starters have not had a quality start (at least six innings and no more than three earned runs) in nine games. The bullpen has been abysmal, and the Yankees have given up at least seven runs in every loss.It seems their dismal record has been a solid team effort.
The CNN poll on their home page asks if Steinbrenner over-reacted in criticizing "the highest-paid team in baseball." 85% had said "no last time I checked, which is the first time I can recall so many people siding with George S.
Manager Joe Torres must feel like hockey coach Harry Neale, who is reputed to have said "We can't win at home, we're terrible at home, and my failure as a coach is that I can't think of anywhere else we can play."
Since I'm on a sport topic, it is worth while to mention Lance Armstrong's decision to retire after the Tour de France in July.
I have to go to a meeting tonight and then to work. So long!
Apr. 17 - Mount Karthala is definitely cranky, causing Hundreds to flee as volcano belches smoke from the crater.
"The ground has started trembling and we have seen cracks appearing," a local official on the island of Grande Comore, near the scene of the volcanic activity, said.20:07 More here, global location of Comoros Islands here. The lava flow seems to be contained within the crater at present, but the bigger danger is from the poisonous fumes coming out of the volcano.
Residents near the affected villages described a strange smell wafting from the volcano, followed by a steady drizzle of black rain on the Indian Ocean island.
"Villagers are in total darkness, gritty rain is falling and visibility is zero," a resident, who gave his name as Charif, said.
Apr. 15 - I just have to note this moment in history. We have a good friend who is still a diehard Senators fan (he even wrote and published a book about them) and Mark has long bewailed the lack of support for the Expos, who consistently played better than their payroll warranted, so now there a cosmic merging of The Underappreciated and The Arcane as the legacy of the Expos and Senators combine to create the Nationals.
Great article in the Washington Times about the President's intense preparation before throwing the initial pitch including the fact that he warmed up before taking the mound. Guess only women who love baseball lovers would understand, but I just know he constantly peppered Laura with the all-important question: slider or a fastball?
The Times says "It was a fastball. A ball. High and inside to a phantom right-handed batter." Mark said the catcher called it a strike, and I made the error of observing that, sans batter and umpire, it can't be anything because without the latter, It ain't nothing until he calls it.
Mark replied smugly, "The catcher knows" which in itself is a bit of a switch as Mark rarely admits to pitcher error on a wild pitch because it's the catcher's job to catch whatever is thrown. So now a catcher is all-wise and all-knowing? (Of course, Mark was not only a pitcher but a southpaw to boot which are two strikes against his sanity.)
I'm a baseball fan, but I'm not as fanatic as certain people like someone sitting 10 feet away who reads baseball blogs but doesn't read mine ...
Charles Krathammer tries to figure out why he cares about 25 guys he doesn't even know:
It is one thing to root for your son's Little League team. After all, he is your kid, and you paid for his glove -- and uniform, helmet, bat, and, when he turns 9, cup. You have a stake in him, and by extension his team.The Washington Senators were often observed to be First in war, first in peace, and last in the American league. If only for the sakes of Tom, Mark, George and Charles, I hope the Nationals have a terrific season and make 'em proud.
But what possible stake do grown men have in the fortunes of 25 perfect strangers, vagabond mercenaries paid obscene sums to play a game for half the year?
The whole thing is completely irrational. For me, this is no mere abstract question. I have been a baseball fan most of my life. I could excuse the early years, the Mantle-Maris era, as mere childish hero worship. But what excuse do I have now? Why should I care about these tobacco-spitting, crotch-adjusting multimillionaires who have never heard of me and would not care if I was dispatched to my maker by an exploding scoreboard?
Presto. It is 1975 all over again. I begin to care. I want them to win. Why? I have no idea. I begin following day games on the Internet. I've punched not one but two preset Nationals stations onto my car radio. I'm aghast. I'm actually invested in the day-to-day fortunes of 25 lugheads I never heard of until two weeks ago.
Apr. 16 - 08:34: Sorry, forgot link to Krauthammer's column. Fixed now.
Apr. 14 - Sometimes Nick at Quotulatiousness drives me nuts. He writes very well, but too often contents himself with just quoting other people leaving his readers thirsty for more.
Now I've got him! He's got a post in which he does much of the driving himself here and scores:
The author also waves that wonderful "self esteem" flag, but that's a rant for another time.Sooner, please. It's time to take parents off the hook for trying to "raise their child's self-esteem" and getting him/her to do their durned homework so they can get the grades that might make that self-esteem an earned achievement.
I think we may be going too far to attempt to protect our kids from the real world by making even their most competitive environments less challenging (the "Nerf"-ing of kids' lives). How much of a shock is the real world going to be to someone who's never been exposed to the good and the bad of real personal conflicts outside the home?The "Nerf"-ing of kids lives. Perfectly stated.
Read the whole thing.
Apr. 13 - Now Mount Talang is acting up (Thousands flee Sumatra volcano) coinciding with a series of moderate earthquakes which are most likely aftershocks of the December earthquake that caused the devastating tsunami, in the region.
PBS has a terrific series some years ago called "Rim of Fire" (maybe it was a NOVA presentation?) about the volcanos that dot the land masses in and around the Pacific.
No real content to this post, I just find plate techtonics fascinating, all the more so when it was learned that the planet Mars has one single plate (so why all the volcanos there? As I said, fascinating.)
Pope John Paul II waves to pigrims in Sept., 1989
Apr. 3 - There is absolutely nothing I can write that I would consider an appropriate tribute to this Pope. Such a tribute lies best in the hearts of the many of us who celebrate his life and mourn his passing.
There is something discomfitting about the death watches we have held - the one for Terri Schiavo was followed much too quickly by the one for the Pope. They are linked not only by time but by by content and although I am not a particularly religious person I can't avoid feeling that there is deep significance therein which I can barely grasp but trying to define it substantively still eludes me.
The obvious is that we should revere life in the infirm young and infirm old. We should not presume to play God but leave those things which are the province of God firmly in His hands.
Maybe it is about humility for the grace of the human spirit and awe for sustained endurance in the face of suffering on both physical and spiritual planes.
Parkinson's disease wracks the body with pain and disability, yet the Pope did not complain but instead resisted mediction to alleviate that pain because he believed his suffering brought him closer to our Lord. Most of us are unlikely to emulate his example but we cannot ignore it.
I find it disgusting that those who so recently disparaged efforts to save Terri Schiavo (including some despicable characterizations of her physical state) and spoke scornfully of the "religious right" cannot - or dare not - be so dismissive and disrespectful as the world marks the death of the man who spoke so fervently on behalf of the sanctity of life, who joined in the calls to let Terri live, and who led the Roman Catholic Church which, by it's continued opposition to contraception, abortion and homosexuality, stands somewhat to the right of those who have been so recently under attack.
Do those whose vicious words so recently attacked those of us who pled for mercy for Terri Schiavo recognize their hypocrisy as they remain silent or, worse, speak with feigned admiration of the Pope? Or do they believe their words of tribute sincere because they have been, by their own blindness, rendered incapable of seeing beyond their ideology to be struck with this unmistakable connection?
I don't support the Church's positions on homosexuality and contraception nor do I support wholly the Church's position on abortion (my personal belief of "a women's right to choose" is limited to the first 3 months and I expect sexually active women to use contraceptives.) But I am also not surprised that the Church adheres to those doctrines. As the lesson of Galileo's struggle with the Church demonstrates, the Church is implacable on matters of faith.
Yet despite my differences with the Church I found a revival of my religious leanings through this Pope, and believe that many people feel the same way. Charles Krauthammer addresses this:
I am not much of a believer, but I find it hard not to suspect some providential hand at play when the white smoke went up at the Vatican 27 years ago and the Polish cardinal was chosen to lead the Catholic Church. Precisely at the moment the West most desperately needed it, we were sent a champion. It is hard to remember now how dark those days were. The 15 months following the pope's elevation marked the high tide of Soviet communism and the nadir of the free world's post-Vietnam collapse.This first ever Polish Pope transformed the world because
And yet precisely at the time of this free-world retreat and disarray, a miracle happens. The Catholic Church, breaking nearly 500 years of tradition, puts itself in the hands of an obscure non-Italian -- a Pole who, deeply understanding the East European predicament, rose to become, along with Roosevelt, Churchill and Reagan, one of the great liberators of the 20th century.
He demonstrated what Europe had forgotten and Stalin never knew: the power of faith as an instrument of political mobilization.World leaders have marking the passing of Pope John Paul II with tributes and praise, including the unlikely country of Cuba, one place where the ruling elite is least likely to mourn his passing:
Under the benign and deeply humane vision of this pope, the power of faith led to the liberation of half a continent. Under the barbaric and nihilistic vision of Islam's jihadists, the power of faith has produced terror and chaos. That contrast alone, which has dawned upon us unmistakably ever since 9/11, should be reason enough to be grateful for John Paul II. But we mourn him for more than that. We mourn him for restoring strength to the Western idea of the free human spirit at a moment of deepest doubt and despair. And for seeing us through to today's great moment of possibility for both faith and freedom.
"We always saw, and continue to see, Juan Pablo II as a friend," Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said. "We express our message of condolences and respect to all Catholic believers in Cuba and all of the world."Poland's solidarity movement began shortly after the Pope's visit there in 1979 and culminated into the fall of Cuba's one ally, the Soviet Union. I doubt that fact has escaped Cuba's rulers, but even they dare not try to stop the faithful in Cuba from mourning.
This may say it best for me:
"We all feel like orphans this evening," said Vatican's Undersecretary of State Archbishop Leonardo Sandri.Orphans, that is to say, with the comfort of a guiding hand and a renewed faith in the immense power of that hand to imbue the human spirit to defy that which would constrain it.
12:50 - I should have read Michelle Malkin earlier. My belief that MSM and others would have respect for the Pope was completely wrong.
Apr 1 - The bells are tolling. Pope John Paul II has died.
When he was in Toronto for World Youth Day, he gently told the assembled "You don't know how good you are."
Words to cheer, to comfort and aspire to.
I'm sorry, I just can't write about this now.
13:49 - The news now states the Pope's heart and heart are still functioning, which by my definition means he is still alive.
I should try to get some sleep. I should at least try to rest. I can't explain it, but it somehow seems disrespectful not to maintin a private vigil as he slips away.
Apr. 2 - Fox reported at 14:59 that AP had announced that the Pope had died. At 15:04, they reported that the Vatican had sent out an email informing news media of the death. As of 15:23, the lights in his apartment have not been turned off. I find that break with tradition to be comforting, as though to remind us that the body fails but the spirit remains illuminated.
Mar. 31 - While Americans struggle with hearts and minds over the many issues that have been brought to the fore during her parents' fight to save their daughter, Terri Schiavo, the Dutch are now contemplating what should be done when doctors decide it's best to kill infants, the mentally handicapped or the demented. From AP:
THE DUTCH government, first to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill people, will tackle an even thornier ethical dilemma: What to do when doctors say it's best to end the lives of infants, the mentally handicapped or the demented. The Royal Dutch Medical Association says guidelines and a panel of experts should be created to vet such cases. Doctors acting with the families' permission would not be punished for administering lethal sedatives to "people with no free will" in cases that pass review.I began this post over 45 minutes ago and I'm still groping for words. This has just got to be some kind of twisted joke. Real people, the kind who can walk upright and string words together to form coherent sentences, could not be contemplating such barbarity.
Under current law, euthanasia is restricted to terminal patients suffering unbearable pain with no hope of improvement and who, when they are still of sound mind, request to die.
Mar. 30 - Not entirely a surprise: Ann Coulter causes stir at KU although the headline is misleading - usually, it's the hecklers who are said to cause the stir.
Or maybe they didn't approve of her solution:
"Could 10 of the largest College Republicans start walking up and down the aisles and start removing anyone shouting?" Coulter asked.(Link via Drudge Report.)
Mar. 16 - More additions to the blogroll, mostly in the growing Great White North section (and a big hooray! for the growing blogging community up here.)
Angry in the Great White North
A Journey Through Time
Hacks and Wonks
Canada Free Press Blog
My Left Wing Girlfriend
myrick.ca, a Canadian living in Shanghai
I know some of the sites already on have gone dormant, but I stubbornly hope they will return to posting (because I'm a hopeless optimist.)
Off to work. Party hearty, you lucky souls for whom Friday is Friday.
Mar. 17 - Sorry for the light posting today, it's been a wild week at work and I slept longer than usual today. (In other words, I overslept and even as I write this, I'm waiting for the ride I begged from my first-born.)
Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!
Mar. 16 - I said I wasn't going to go into it, but how can I resist when National Post Columnist Barbara Kay takes a more sober look at the lack of female columnists and, by implication, of female bloggers, and makes this very insightful observation:
Dowd ends her column with a kneejerk feminist suggestion: "I have no doubt there are plenty of brilliant women who would bring grace and guts to our nation's op ed pages ... We just need to find and nurture them."Either we are equal or we are not, and that means our work should be judged without consideration of our gender.
No, Maureen, you've got it backwards. If a woman needs finding and nurturing, she's wrong for the job. We don't want shrinking violets on our op-ed pages. We want strong proactive women writers with definite opinions, who scorn affirmative action and like to duke it out in public.
(Link via Neale News.)
Mar. 15 - It's been awhile since I've been able to do the New Precision Guided Humor Assignment for the Alliance of Free Blogs, but this week's essay exam is a goodie that even I should be able to finish on time: What should Dan Rather have done to make his last CBS Evening News broadcast more memorable?
Dan's farewell would have been more honourable had he said his last word, Courage, and given an example, so I think he should have said that he wished he had had the courage to investigate the phony documents that ultimately brought him down.
He should have said that even though stonewalling didn't work for Nixon, he was absolutely positive it would work for him.
He should have said that he had been forced to run the story because he needed to get the negatives* of certain photos.**
He should have said that those negatives are also why he conducted a sympathetic interview of Saddam during the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and then would have been overheard muttering Sean Penn promised "this would be the last time."
*Plausible Denialibilty - he is a journalist who chases stories.
** I know, I know. Video Camera!!!!! No.
Seriously, I wonder if he understands how the degree of his own hubris - pride - brought him down as surely as had Richard Nixon's, and if he understands that basically, they both received pardons.
I didn't always disagree with him,
but and his broadcasts, like Cronkite's before, were a staple of my life and it is incredibly sad to see this man who once excelled in his profession publicly disgraced.
And that is why I am angry at him.
Note: I corrected a word error in the second paragraph from the end.
Mar. 15 - I wanted to ignore this one, Blogging Beyond the Men's Club by Steven Levy, and the call for more diversity in the blogosphere. I didn't want to point out again that blogger is freaking free so the only impediment to anyone is taking the time to sign up and start posting and linking to other bloggers.
I didn't want to point out that some leading blogs, and I'll cite Wretchard as The Prime Example, may or may not be written by men. Hard to tell if they don't tell.
Even when they tell, how do we really know if the blogger is male, female, white, black, Asian, American or Nepalese?
Yes, I am irritated. And I need sleep. And I really don't need the adrenaline rush this kind of foolishness brings. And I was going to shrug and continue my blog rounds.
But I read this:
And at the Harvard conference, Suitt challenged people to each find 10 bloggers who weren't male, white or English-speaking—and link to them.Guess the fool missed Estrogen Week. Sheesh. If you're going to emulate Kevin Drum, at least check his freaking trackbacks.
I'm ending this post and getting some sleep before I really go estrogen on Levy. The poor man probably means well but just can't overcome the disability of either being a moron or Google-challenged.
(Link via Angry in T.O. in a post which should be read.
Mar. 16 - 17:43: Mr. Levy has at least succeeded in uniting women from both sides of the political spectrum over the Invisibility Factor. Even as he wrote, some sisters were already celebrating Estrogen Month. (Love that poster - I'd love to steal and post it with a bit of editing to change "liberal" to "libertarian".)
Thanks to commenter Elayne for the pointer.
Mar. 15 - I really don't know how to take this. Obviously I should be all puffed up with righteous feminist indignation, but that might lose its effectiveness when I'm doubled over with laughter.
Update: Forgot to include the obligatory be sure and read the comments.
Mar. 10 - Sorry I've been off-line; the fan seized on my computer and I had to take it in to the shop.
I haven't made it through all the comments on earlier posts (although I can see things have been busy) nor have I been able to check my mail box yet. I don't know how much I'll be able to do before I head for work tonight (Mark needs to check and respond to his mail as well) so I probably won't be posting on topical events until tomorrow morning.
The sad part is all the stuff I got done while the computer was down -- horrible stuff like "mending" and cleaning the oven. I suppose it was a shame that it was too cold to do the windows ...
Mar. 11 - Still catching up with comments in earlier posts. I'm beginning to understand why the fan gave out ...
Mar. 2 - Chrenkoff interviews Hanson.
Two giants in one post. I'll never be the same.
:... In what's known as a "preference cascade," the vanishing of flags and other signs of patriotism from the homes, cars and businesses of the style-setters caused a lot of other people to go along with the trend, perhaps without even fully realizing it, a trend that only strengthened with the politicization of flag displays in several 1980s political campaigns.Sometimes it takes a traumatic event for individuals to decide that they don't care what their neighbours think - they're going to express their feelings and do it assertively.
The result was a situation in which a lot of people's behavior didn't really match their beliefs, but merely their beliefs about what was considered acceptable. Such situations are unstable, since a variety of shocks can cause people to realize the difference and to suddenly feel comfortable about closing the gap.
That's what the September 11 attacks did.
For Americans it was Sept. 11. For the Lebanese it was the murder of Rafik Hariri.
Feb. 23 - I have to go to work shortly, but it's (hopefully) the last night working this stupidest of stupid schedules so will try to be cheerful, etc.
Just for the record, I hate it when some poor, bewildered man (like, oh I don't know, a respected academic at a leading university) has to apologize for speculating or musing on forbidden topics. It reminds me too much of the "confessions" Soviet and Chinese officials used to make shortly before they were sent into exile or were executed.
So although it's definitely not PC, I find the following side-achingly funny and, in its own twisted way, think it deserves an honourable mention during Estogen Week.
Schwarzenegger Accused of Being Anti-Women and issues a pro-forma apology. My favourite excerpt:
"But I realize that some women are angry with me, and for that I apologize. But let's be honest. When I apologize to women I don't mean a word of it and neither does any man in America.So when those who have offended the PC police confess and apologize for the deplorable sins of being insensitive and unintentionally causing pain do you:
a) roll your eyes,
b) write down a really good phrase for future use,
c) curse him for being a Wimp and Traitor to Manhood,
d) forgive him, or
e) pump your fist and chalk up another victory for Women's Rights.
Feb. 24: I was unforgiveably sloppy in not making it clear that the linked post was satire and not a true news item. I apologize for the lapse.
Feb. 23 - Welcome to readers sent by Ilyka.
Continuing to celebrate Estrogen Week up here:
Are the old white guys in suits asking us to embrace institutionalized day care because it's better for our kids?Sari writes about the union vs. Walmart in Montreal with some not so well known information as to how long Walmart negotiated with the union:
Looks to me like they want us to believe that the woman who lives down the street, (the woman I know and trust ) who looks after my kids is providing inferior care. That my kids are not going to be healthy, well adjusted and intellectually ready for school if my mother or my sister agrees to look after them while I work.
Ken Dryden can blow early learning out his ass. There is a reason rich folks hire nannies and live-in house keepers. They know and can afford what is best for their kids. The rest of us do the best that we can. And that doesn't always include institutionalized day care.
If Wal-Mart was simply trying to bust unions, they would have closed in October, instead of spending months trying to negotiate. In all that time, however, the union didn't budge an inch, making it patently obvious that the union's negotiaters weren't looking for a workable settlement; instead, they were trying to make a political point.Sari was, by the way, proven right: the suggested boycott of Walmart lasted all of what - 5 minutes? It was in fact mentioned by the media up here - once.
Yeah, I'm a bad loser. A really, really bad loser. I don't make scenes or get in people's faces, but I bitch and complain with the best of them. I don't apologize for it, either. An aversion to losing is a fundamental ingredient to competitive success.Somehow I don't think she had to resort to smelling salts at the show.
"Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser".
The Essay explains the intricacies of being a Ninja Wife. Please note she lives in Edmonton, which explains why she has so much confidence in her ability not only to find a doctor but to find one who can remove an alarm clock from (I hope) a forehead.
Lastly and back-to-the-original-pointedly, The Truth About York takes up the cause of a one conservative female who just might have the mettle to withstand a grilling before a Senate Commiteee and even (gasp!) the Sept. 11 Commission.
(Although this is not how I had planned to spend my night off, this celebration provided an additional upside: there is a Law of Unintended Gratification!)
Feb. 22 - I'll celebrate Estrogen Week in my own back yard!
Welcome to readers sent by Ilyka.
Geez, what do you expect from a country where an elected member of the ruling political party can stand up and say, "The government will not tolerate statements that create dissonance in our society" and the official Opposition and/or the Canadian public did not howled her down in outrage. She should have been run out of Parliament on a rail and not returned with a majority.Kathy refuses to fall in line with all those bemoaning Hunter S. Thompson's suicide and declares him to be a teenage boy obsession.
I am not actually that picky -- some graffiti on a London synagogue is fine by me if that means that someone somewhere will do something other than tsk about Sudan.But, but, they tsk so well!
Broad at bat made me laugh while reminding me how grateful I am that I don't have daughters. Her writings are fun and warm, and she proves that you don't need to be a political blogger to demonstrate courage.
Feb. 22 - Readers will pardon anything resembling the vapours and assign it to those delicate sensibilities to which we female bloggers are said to be prone. You see, the writer in the linked article seems to lean toward the notion that the political blogosphere is just too danged uncivilized for us frail, weak females.
He never seems to wonder why women should be poli-bloggers, though. He seems to take it as a given, yet if he understood anything about real - as opposed to popular - feminism, he would recognize that he broke Rule #1 : don't tell us what to do, think, or aspire to.
I first read about this when I read Ilyka's response following a link from Ith (I'll return to Ith for the last word.) Do yourselves a favour and read Ilyka's response - it's funny, well-targeted and well-written.
Meryl turns up the heat with basic fact-checking making it two women that can kick the stuffing (and stuffiness) out of paternalistic men.
21:22: Make that four: Andrea and Michelle. I'm sure there are more, but my poor head is beginning to ache with all this unseemly unpleasantness so I'm going to
pour a stiff drink make some tea to soothe my jangled nerves.
Now, having dispatched the self-indulgent fussing over how few of us there are back to those men who have fixated on it as an "issue," there is another issue that actually does concern us which Ith targets in a chilling post on the lost Voices of Muslim women who do not get a choice in what to do, think, or aspire to and, too often, are not even permitted life.
liberal men who want to "advance our cause," "open the doors of opportunity" and "smash the glass ceiling" are, to be blunt, f***ing cowards. They are picking acceptable, soft targets instead of the single hardest one: the way Islamists and fundamentalists (who are deemed above criticism by the culturally sensitive types) treat women.
You want to be on my side and advance my cause? Help my sisters, dammit. I can help myself!
Then connect the dots and realize, finally, that only bringing democracy to the Mid-east will begin to loosen the chains that shackle Muslim women.
Feb. 23 - My, my, the source article was changed by stealth without noting "update" or any of the other conventions bloggers use.
Feb. 22 - Two posts over at Daimnation are well worth reading and considering in tandem. The first presents a series of accusations that are so laughable that they and the accusers are easy to dismiss, and the second demonstrates how hysteria coupled with "experts" can ruin lives and reputations.
The accusations being leveled about suspected sub-text and hidden messages in Shrek 2 require stretching the imagination so far that the actual story line is forgotten, but it's precisely the story that children will pick up on and remember. If there was a hidden message within Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, my kids failed to pick up on it. But then, I failed to pick up on any sub-text in The Odd Couple (maybe because there wasn't any!)
Children, blessedly, are not as paranoid as adults. I guess paranoia is one of those things that have to be taught.
But how wise are we to shrug off such accusations, however absurd they may be?
The next post, an excellent book review of No Crueler Tyrannies by Dorothy Rabinowitz demonstrates the horror and character assassination that occurs when hysteria (and dubious experts) take command over common sense. Although the book focuses on the hysteria about satanic rituals and sexual abuse in day care centers, the lesson is broader:
Witchhunts tend to backfire in the long run, as people start to assume the witches never existed in the first place. McCarthy’s anti-Communist buffoonery in the 1950s forever discredited anti-Communism (which explains all these execrable Che Guevara T-shirts), and “ritual abuse” hysteria has done almost incalculable damage to the fight against child abuse. It was only in the Fells Acres era that real stories of long-buried abuse were coming to light – notably at the infamous Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland – and it would be an unforgivable sin if we start ignoring these hideous crimes again. But when so many police officers, child-welfare officials, prosecutors and “experts” have shown their willingness to lie and railroad innocent people, what are we supposed to believe?And, of course, therein lies the real danger.
People who love hockey are playing and/or watching other people who love hockey play. Toronto rinks never close ...
Feb. 18 - Sorry about the light posting. It was a day riddled with dumb stuff the dumbest of which was a VHS cassette which partially ejected and then stopped betwixt in and out. It seemed nothing would dislodge it and when I manually pushed it back in it wouldn't engage and the door wouldn't close.
I naturally consulted the user book (which reminds me, I have to fish it out from behind the couch where it landed) and was on the verge of turning the unit upside down and administering a series of smacks on it's, um, backside (think "catsup bottle") but remembered I had some hard plastic pie servers that were slender enough to get in on the top and bottom of the cassette and I finally coaxed it out. Victory!
The moral of this tale is: Never begudge the space given to all the stuff in that kitchen drawer (you know the drawer I mean - the one that has time-saving gadgets, twist ties, and sundry items you never use and can't even identify.)
Feb. 17 - Greyhawk of Mudville Gazette is home.
Well done, sir. And thank you.
Feb. 14 - That's right, it's Valentine's Day! Chocolates aren't mandatory, of course. There's lingerie, flowers, wine, jewelry (with or without diamonds,) a nice dinner out (without the kids, definitely) or whatever special thing you can think of that is a little different.
Hey, at least a card and flowers, okay? Even if she or he said it wasn't necessary.
Make that especially if he or she said it wasn't necessary! We're all adults, and know that people often say "it isn't necessary" but they only say that because they don't want to be disappointed ... yet deep down inside is that scared thrill of anticipation just in case you thought enough of them and just had to find some way to mark this special day!
By the way, you get major bonus points for the "I just couldn't help myself" approach. It is extremely sexy.
Feb. 14 - After a lot of work, some find people bring you the New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganza No. 1 hosted this week by Simon World. There are some pretty good entries up which are well worth your time and believe me when I say that it took longer for the bloggers to compose them than it takes us to read them!
A lot of terrific blogs first got exposure on the (sadly) defunct New Blog Showcase run by Truth Laid Bare, and this Carnival will hopefully give new bloggers the exposure and encouragement they need.
By the way, if you have or know of a new blog (less than 3 months old) and want to submit an entry for the Feb. 21 Carnival, go here (Lucas of Celebrity Cola is hosting it) and follow the instructions.
Feb. 7 - Sorry, between work, sleep and helping one of my kids with his homework (!) I wasn't able to do any posting today. Two more weeks of this nutty schedule ...
Feb. 5 - I don't handle the night shift on Fridays very well. I seem to come home Saturday morning and sleep most of the day, get up for dinner, then go back to sleep for a few more hours.
I'll just keep telling myself that this goofy schedule is only for one or two more weeks ... and really! a person can do anything through sheer force of will and determination. Right.
Click on "read more" for a wonderful, loving picture.
Feb. 3 - Simon is announcing the premier of the New blog carnival to be held February 14.
Word of this phenomenon dubbed the blogosophere is spreading. Between Memogate and Toygate and (perhaps soon Jordangate, Gunrunner Kerrygate and [Sarah] Boxergate,) there is growing awareness that the former gatekeepers of information are failing to ensure accuracy when they promote unsubstantiated charges and failing to go after the truth when it doesn't serve their political ends.
Granted, I am more into political blogging, but the old TLB Showcase also brought attention to many writers, poets and word artists who flourish on the internet and they too are part of this growing community.
So if you know of a new blog (or if you are a new blog) go here to make a submission and be watching for it on February 14.
Feb. 3 - This should complete the update of the blogroll and side banners for now.
Rachel Lucas is at Blue-Eyed Infidel.
Andrea Harris is at Victory Soap.
I am overdue at adding Thoughtcrimes.ca.
The presidential campaign buttons have been replaced by America Supports You, a new initiative dedicated to ways civilians and civilian agencies can suport the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. If you haven't yet heard of this you can read more here.
Andrew Coyne has gone MIA. He was reportedly last seen in a battle to the death with Evil Software but he and a few others who seem to be missing may yet emerge victorious. (Or, to put it more prosaically, blogging demands a substantial committment of time and energy and sometimes other aspects of our lives need attending.)
Feb. 1 - Changes to the blogroll:
The Meatrearchy finally left blogspot and can be found here.
Sobering Thoughts should have been on already ...
I realize a lot of urls in the blogroll are inactive (I ususally try to keep up with actual changes to web addresses) so this is to be an ongoing project.
Dec. 13 - Sorry for the non-blogging; I've been fighting a cold and going full speed at work (which is normal for the Christmas shopping season.) Things should lighten up in early January, although as retail sales have been spectacularly high throughout the fall (due in part to the high Canadian dollar, I suspect) it will be interesting to see how much of a drop we actually see in winter.
Can a person actually live on coffee alone? I'll let you know!
One cliche I can shoot down is that of the Surly Christmas Shopper. The vast majority are cheerful, patient, and a pleasure to deal with. Why stress about a few bad apples?
Stay safe, and enjoy the season. My blogroll is full of some excellent bloggers, and I hope you give some of them a read.
10. Tony Soprano
9. Capt. James T. Kirk
8. Mary Richards
7. Lt. Columbo
6. Seinfeld Cast
5. Homer Simpson
4. The Fonz
3. Lucy Ricardo
2. Ralph Kramden
1. Archie Bunker
Some good calls by us commenters, but Daisy Duke, Dr. Who and George & Gracie have been most unaccountably left out.
Looking at it one way, the top five has three cranky men, a dizzy redhead and the Fonz.
Or, the top five has 2 characters from the 50's and one who portrayed someone from the 50's. Archie is a 50's guy living in the 60's, and Homer is A Timeless Man of All Decades. Heh.
Nov. 30 - I got off work Friday morning feeling the symptoms of a cold and spent most of the weekend sleeping, reading, and taking plenty of liquids. I see you carried on without me ...
Is it a definite sign of decreptitude when someone gets sick on weekends? I've always faithfully observed the rule about only being sick on work days but it seems some things have gotten beyond my will power since I turned *ahem*cough* years old.
The weekend wasn't a total loss as I was able to finish my leisurely re-read of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien as well as Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
TV Ontario had an Austen-fest Saturday night and I was fully prepared with my kleenex, tea and popcorn for the airing of the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility, a horrible 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice (Greer Garson is horrible as Elizabeth) and a reasonable version of Persuasion. Unfortunately, I fell asleep at around 6:30 p.m. and woke up at around 4:00 a.m. so missed the whole thing.
I brightened up considerably when I saw that the Vancouver CITY station was showing Boondock Saints at 6 a.m. ET, and it wasn't until I was applauding the confessional scene that I considered the oddity of liking both Jane Austen and a movie like Boondock Saints.
There's probably a significant philosophical undercurrent that transforms that seeming weirdness into something deeply profound, but whatever it is, it escapes me and I can only justify my taste with "I like it!"
Oh well, don't cross the road if you can't get out of the kitchen.
Nov. 25 - Just a quickie to wish Americans back home and abroad - and particularly the wonderful members of our military - a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
There are many things for which we can be grateful, but the one thing that strikes me this day is that we are still a people who fail the global test of world weary cynicism and can cheer wholeheartedly for the Ukrainian people and admire their courage.
Nov. 23 - Newsday has compiled a list of the top 100 TV characters. They only list the top 90 at the link and will reveal the top 10 on Bravo Channel Friday night. (I think they mean USA Bravo.)
Some of the choices are interesting. Bret Maverick placed at #33, and Mulder and Scully placed at #32. Maynard G. Krebs placed at #93 (not that I'm complaining; I'm actually pleased that other people out there have fond memories of TV's first recurring beatnik.)
The top 10 might be deducted in part by who is not on the list thus far, so I'm figuring Archie Bunker, Mary Richards and Ben Cartwright (or one of his "sons") might make the Top10!Greatest!TV Characters.
Any other all time greats that aren't listed yet? I'd like to see Delenn or Capt. John Sheridan of Babylon 5 make it but, hard as it is to believe, that show seems to still be in the "cult favourite" catagory.
Nov. 30: The top 10 are named here. We made some good calls (with a few disappointments.)
Nov. 23 - Got a cough? Try eating some chocolate:
Eating chocolate could be a better way of stopping persistent coughing than anything available from the chemist's, according to new research.And it is safe to drive or operate heavy machinery after eating chocolate, too!
Theobromine, an ingredient of cocoa, was found to be almost a third more effective in preventing coughing than codeine - considered the best available cough medicine.
Nov. 20 - Sharing some good links:
There's a lot of interesting posts on the startling backlash in Holland to the murder of Theo Van Gogh starting with Jujitsui Generis: A Clash of Civilizations? (link via The Transplanted Texan.) It may well be that there's much more repressed resentment in Europe than we had thought. I don't know how accurate this analysis might be, but if Borders and Glenn Reynolds are right and far too many Dutch have lost faith in the ability of their government to handle this crisis then I worry about Europe in general. Peaktalk is not allaying my worries with his look at the response of the EU and Germans to Dutch proposals on limiting immigration.
Jay takes a hard look at the "mythology of multiculturalism:"
Toleration is not licence, nor is an invitation to relentlessly call for the destruction of the host culture. Muslims - and others - who do not realize this need to be reminded, initially by their own communities but, if they persist, through the criminal and immigration law.As Jay points out, it's not only Muslims but "others" who have turned their right to expect tolerance upside down by being themselves intolerant. I believe we thought that we could teach by example, which is not an unrealistic belief, and that it seems to have failed in some cases doesn't mean it failed in all cases; perhaps making it clear that there is a responsibility for immigrants to be tolerant can enter the politically correct lexicon.
Steve is uncompromising in A Conservative Country is a Liberal Country That Got Mugged :
The Dutch, on the other hand, responded to a single murder by repudiating the leftist drivel they've been spewing proudly for decades. Holland is one of the most liberal countries on a liberal continent, but now they're putting and end to their touchy-feely, all-embracing, nuanced immigration policies.He says a lot more, of course, so read it . And as one of the commenters pointed out, GWB made impressive gains in that historically Democrat-owned city in the last election. (Link via AlphaPatriot.)
Wonder why that is. Could it be because conservatives really believe in their values, while liberals only pretend to believe in theirs? In a word, YES. Everyone is a liberal when the living is easy. But when reality intrudes and bursts your soft utopian bubble, people turn conservative. Fast. Remember how New Yorkers adored President Bush for six months after 9/11? That's the state the Dutch are in right now.
Damian Penny is looking at two other incidents in Europe that are disquieting: the shooting death of an Orthodox Jew in Antwerp (Jerusalem Post article here)[Update Nov. 23: Belmont Club links to a JP article which says Belgium police have ruled out anti-Semitism as a motive in Moshe Na'eh's murder] and racist heckling of 2 British soccer players in Spain. From Spain, John goes into more detail including past and ongoing incidents of racism in Spain which seems to find an outlet at soccer games but notes that racism against blacks is something seemingly new. What the hell is going on over there?
The Diplomad carries the BBC story of 3 French fighters who were killed in Iraq ... and notes the spirit of Petain continues. [Nov. 26 More in-depth article in today's Washington Times, Decision to join Iraqi rebels fatal for French teens (two of them were 19 and the third was 20 years old.)]
Over here, Condoleeza Rice has been subjected to levels of racism (link via Kate at this Shotgun post) which I never believed would have been resurrected in in the USA - much less by liberals - and the latest insult has been to be called "Aunt Jemima" by a Milwaukee radio talk show host. The accusations that Bush's re-election would be accompanied by a resurgence of racism seems to be coming true, but the racism is coming from some of those who made that accusation.
He's got an explanation, but it is not just stupid but outrightly not believable. If he wanted to say that he finds her too subservient, why didn't he just say exactly that? One expects someone who is as a radio host to have a vocabulary, and whereas the tendency to disagree with something by hurling insults has become much too much a part of political discourse it is nonetheless disheartening to see how quickly racist epithets and stereotypes have leapt into mouths and on print.
If the Democrats don't disassociate themselves quickly from all this they will lose even more standing from independent members of the electorate.
Before someone says - however subtlely - that Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza Rice aren't the "right kind" of African-American I'll warn them that I heard that kind of talk 40 years ago and regard it as racist now as then. To allow dignity to African-Americans only so long as they espouse the "correct" political line is racist. Period.
Things long over-due are happening: Annan faces a vote of no-confidence by UN staff, link via Alpha Patriot, who also reports that WaPo has finally dumped Ted Rall. [Update: There was indeed a vote of no-confidence in senior management at the UN, but a spokesperson says it wasn't directed at Annan but at the staff as a whole. The text of the U.N. staff resolution is here.]
Alpha Patriot also Deconstructs the CIA for those (like me) who need their memories refreshed about how the CIA moved from an "intelligence to an anti-intelligence footing." A lot to absorb in that post. Time to put Watergate in the same past to which Vietnam and Mogidushu have been relegated and get back to defending our country by and with whatever means are at our disposal.
The media is still pushing the story of the US Marine who was filmed allegedly shooting a wounded man. Donald Sensing goes over the rules for treating the wounded (as well as rules regarding religious sites which are used by combatants) but the unfortunate fact is that the decision to booby-trap dead bodies and wounded anti-Iraq fighters in order to kill the Marines tending to them worked to alter the application of those rules.
PowerLine has some words on the subject in A Message from Baghdad from a reader:
I just got of the phone with my father in Baghdad. I asked him what is the reaction of the Marine killing the injured Iraqi in the Mosque in Felujah. His first words were "Good riddance."That reality, of course, is what has been lost as the media thinks they've got another
People are not giving it a second thought. Any terrorist who attacks soldiers from Mosques has no sanctuary. Any terrorists who fake death to kill in a mosque deserve no mercy. He says Iraqis (including Sunnis) are fed up with the terrorists and want them eliminated.
There was much uproar about the brutal kidnapping killing of Mrs. Margaret Hassan. Iraqis are upset outraged and disgusted with her brutal abduction & killing. She helped us, helped the poor & needy and this what the terrorist do to her and her family.
Her murder has sparked further concerns for those who would assist Iraqis: Aid agencies fearful for staff operating in Iraq. It goes without saying that far too many aid agencies are contemptuous of the very military which they expect will protect them ... and, of course, you can always count on sometone saying that her death is the fault of the USA. Why is it too hard to blame her death on those who killed her?
Dr. Funk has an ironic account of a CBC interview with someone claiming to be a friend of Margaret Hassan. Refer to question above.
The difference any day right now between a live Marine and a dead Marine in Falluja might be a double-tap into a wounded rebel in a mosque.So to any Marine, coalition or Iraqi soldier reading this are to hear this CFB: Your mission is to come home alive.
Gotta lighten up some. It's finals at the Greatest Canadian competition at the CBC, at Autonomous Source is entering the finals of The Most Annoying Canadian (vote on the main blog page.) Bruce is very annoyed with Carolyn Parrish for reasons no one else has mentioned and has the word on another contest: The Most Embarassing Canadian. (The biographies are hilarious.)
One very funny link (er, a link to more links, in truth) is Smokin' Good Posts with tips for Dr. Rice for her visits with dignitaries and advice for those lefties who are embarassing themselves with their public woebegone-melodramatics (and, yes, I am being disrespectful. They are in the depths of despair over a lost election but have another chance in '08 -- it really, really isn't the end of the world. We lost Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy so shut up already, m'kay?)
I've gone through the depressing, the funny and the fun, and now it's time for some things uplifting: Ghost of a Flea's Winston Review No. 20. (If you're new to the review, it is well worth the time to go through the archives and read the previous entries as well.)
Yesterday was Friday, which to many of us means a new Victor Davis Hanson column:
If someone wonders about the enormous task at hand in democratizing the Middle East, he could do no worse than ponder the last days of Yasser Arafat: the tawdry fight over his stolen millions; the charade of the First Lady of Palestine barking from a Paris salon; the unwillingness to disclose what really killed the "Tiger" of Ramallah; the gauche snub of obsequious Europeans hovering in the skies over Cairo, preening to pay homage to the late prince of peace; and, of course, the usual street theater of machine guns spraying the air and thousands of males crushing each other to touch the bier of the man who robbed them blind. Try bringing a constitution and open and fair elections to a mess like that.When he puts it that way, I guess we are crazy (and dangerous.)
But that is precisely what the United States was trying to do by removing the Taliban, putting Saddam Hussein on trial, and marginalizing Arafat. Such idealism has been caricatured with every type of slur — from both the radical Left and the paleo-Right, ranging from alleged Likud conspiracies and neo-con pipe dreams to secret pipeline deals and plans for a new American imperium in the Middle East shepherded in by the Bush dynasts. In fact, the effort not just to strike back after September 11, but to alter the very landscape in which our enemies operated was the only choice we had if we wished to end the cruise-missile/bomb-'em-for-a-day cycle of the past 20 years, the ultimate logic of which had led to the crater at the World Trade Center.
Oddly, our enemies understand the long-term strategic efforts of the United States far better than do our own dissidents. They know that oil is not under U.S. control but priced at all-time highs, and that America is not propping up despotism anymore, but is now the general foe of both theocracies and dictatorships — and the thorn in the side of "moderate" autocracies. An America that is a force for democratic change is a very dangerous foe indeed.
Out for now ...
Nov. 22 - 05:52: A commenter points out that the attacks on Dr. Rice have been prompted by her political views. I believe that those who disagree with her views and actions should formulate their arguments on those grounds, but when her race is included as an attack point that is, by definition, racism.
Nov. 18 - Sorry for the light posting. Sometimes the lack of sleep makes it impossible to put thoughts and words together in a coherent fashion, and other times I have sufficient sleep but that translates to having barely enough time to get ready for and travel to work.
I'm not sure I'll ever get this night work thing down pat (although the hours should lighten after New Year's.) There's a fair amount of perpetual confusion in going to work one day, coming home the next, and returning the same day. It's hard to separate one day from another. I'm comfortable with an operational standard of "it's not tomorrow until I wake up" but the newspapers and television don't share my views so I'm always feeling behind.
The worse part is Friday, which is not my Friday until I get home Saturday morning. The second worse part is that Monday is still Monday even if it doesn't actually start until late in the evening.
Sleeping during the day isn't so bad on one like this day, which was overcast and comfortably cool. (Apologies to Torontonians for wishing for non-sunny days!)
Mark Steyn is on hiatus, darn it. Oh sure, he's earned it, but I miss his pith.
Nov. 15 - I have to prepare for a meeting so won't be posting today (unless something absolutely phenomenal happens.)
Nov. 13 - I guess the good news is that Canada is only one of many potential destinations offered by the public-minded folks at Help Them Leave.
The bad news is that, like many children, they often threaten to run away from home but never actually do so.
(Link from Ace of Spades HQ: The Ultimate Buhhh-bye.)
Nov. 11 - In 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent and World War I ended. That day became known as Armistice Day.
On Nov. 11, 1921, The Unknown Soldier was laid to rest at Arlington and President Warren Harding asked that, at the eleventh hour and on that day, all Americans observe "a period of silent thanks to God" for the valor of those who fought in that war. In 1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in recognition of all men and women who served their country.
That same day and hour is marked in Canada as Remembrance Day. The poem In Flander's Field by Canadian Lt-Col. John McCrae (background and text here) is recited in schools and at cenotaphs, and, as the words of the poem suggests, it is a day dedicated to remembering those who died in the cause of freedom.
But today I'm more mindful of those veterans who survived their wars: those who, without fuss, caught that torch from the failing hands of the ghostly narrator and indeed held it highly - and then returned to their civilian lives.
I think it's because we are at war, and today we are engaged in action in Fallujah and it is vital that we believe that our warriors - Iraqi and American - prevail and return to their familes. Our enduring optimism is our biggest strength, and today it is one to which we must adhere and embrace. We give reverent thanks to both the dead and the living, and to that inner prompting that leads men and women to dedicate their lives in the service of their country.
Back to speechifying (never absent on national occasions!) The Gettysburg Address is more to my taste because it views the legacy of the dead as a stern injunction to the living:
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract... It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.Or, as Robert Heinlein would have put it, Tanstaafl: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
But the Muse of Serendipity provided the right classic for this day, as on a completely unrelated topic I was reminded of Shakespeare's Henry V and the inspiring St. Crispian's Day Speech:
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian:May all our warriors return safely, and may a nation never forget or be indifferent to the mighty deeds of our fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors.
And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forget,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
10:45: CBC celebrates Remembrance Day in its own special way with this article: Solve problems without war: veterans.
George Orwell had a harsh view of pacifists.
Nov. 9 - I know you've been waiting breathlessly for this: 'Passion,' 'Fahrenheit' hit Globe snags (the awards, not the planet.)
"Fahrenheit" (Lions Gate/IFC/Fellowship Adventure Group) will not be eligible in any Globes categories because it is a documentary. The rules of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which administers the Globes, state that docus are ineligible for consideration in the top film award categories; there is not a separate documentary category.Calling Farenheit 911 a documentary is like expecting a cat named Einstein to understand relativity. Just because you call him that don't make him a great theorist.
They duck the second bullet too:
"Passion" (Newmarket) cannot compete for best drama because it is considered a foreign-language film. The HFPA considers any feature with a non-English dialogue track to be a foreign film. The organization's rules reserve the best picture awards for movies in English.Well, Mel Gibson is rumoured to be an Australian ...
"Passion," in which much of the dialogue is spoken in Aramaic, can be considered for best foreign film and under the rules can compete in all other categories.
Nov. 7 - One of the great things about blogger bashes is learning about newish Canadian blogs to add to the roll:
The Tiger in Winter
Brock on the Attack (who I thought I had already put on)
David Artemiw (who I knew I put on before - maybe these last two were lost when everything crashed as.per.usual whenever I added to the blogroll on blogger?)
Long-time astute commenter Keith has finally opened his own blog: Minority of One!
I'd say the fact that I can't keep up is a good thing in a healthy blogosphere, hmm?
Nov. 4 - I've just realized that I've only slept a total of 3 hours since Monday afternoon. A part of me feels like an 18-year old who itches to find a party but the other part is faintly aware that I am not 18 any more. I have, you know, responsibilities. I must be mature. (If only I didn't have this silly grin on my face which totally ruins that image.)
But I'm going to try to sleep. It's the mature thing to do. Right? Right?
Nov. 4 - I know, I'm seriously twisted, but I find this funny: Lawyer shoots lawyer. Money quote:
It was not immediately known whether Joice [the shootist lawyer] was represented by a lawyer.
Oct. 28 - Ghost of a Flea celebrates his Second Blogiversary. Go thank him for his wonderful contribution to the blogosophere. Right now!
Oct. 26 - Another legend has passed on, baritone Robert Merrill. One of my favourite recordings of La Boheme is with him as Marcello (it was a record set which I had wisely copied to tape cassettes.) It also featured Jussi Bjorling and Victoria de los Angeles.
Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters and Beverly Sills were names I cam to know as I was exposed to and learned to love opera. (The biggest influence, though, remains dear Leonard Bernstein.)
Although I couldn't find a mention of it, I am pretty sure Merrill once appeared on The Odd Couple TV series and TV Tome has these listings for him.
Oct. 25 - Donald Sensing has posted some joyous news about the Graduation Day of a Marine.
There are some other posts at One Hand Clapping, including one about the probable impossibility of stopping nuclear proliferation.
I don't know if the good Reverend plans to begin posting daily to his blog, but I certainly hope so.
Jack doesn't wish Arafat "well" and has an amusing recollection on the last sighting of "bin Elvis."
Welcome back, Jack. You've been missed.
Oct. 24 - I've done some additions to the blogroll lately:
Also, (sound the trumpets) I finally got the script around the Shotgun button fixed so it actually links to the Shotgun blog.
Lastly, there's been some scuttlebutt that bloggers should identify party affiliation and how they intend to vote.
For the record, I am registered as an Independent voter in the State of Georgia, and I already voted for President Bush by absentee ballot.
Oct. 20 - So raising children isn't a "real job"? Well, I guess that's true, in a sense.
Read jobs have fixed hours. Real jobs pay real money. Real jobs have real vacations and honour statutory holidays.
Even had Teresa H-K been correct and First Lady Laura Bush never held a job as a schoolteacher or, let's be honest, as First Lady, she would still be among the millions of mothers who are on duty 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, with no time off for our kids' good behaviours and even in the soundest sleep being alert for the kinds of sounds that mean "sickness" or "trouble" from the kids' rooms.
We do get statutory holidays and vacations, of course. It means spending more time (on the job) with our kids.
But not having a "real job" has one, unequalled perk: we love our not-real work, our very real and often rambunctious charges and, hopefully, our co-worker(!)
And maybe that's why Laura Bush is "calm" and has a "sparkle in her eye."
Note that Teresa H-K has retracted her comments, yet she still missed the point that Laura Bush's life and experience is much closer to the norm than that of a millionairess.
Oct. 20 -
TI estimates that the amount lost due to bribery in government procurement is at least US$ 400 billion per year worldwide.This is from the press release issued by Transparency International that accompanies their report Corruption Perceptions Index 2004.
A total of 106 out of 146 countries score less than 5 against a clean score of 10, according to the new index, published today by Transparency International, the leading non-governmental organisation fighting corruption worldwide. Sixty countries score less than 3 out of 10, indicating rampant corruption. Corruption is perceived to be most acute in Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria, Chad, Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Paraguay, all of which have a score of less than 2.As the title of the report indicates, these scores are based on perceptions and the ratings are based both on bribes requested and bribes paid.
According to the table here (scroll down,) the three least corrupt countries are perceived to be Finland, New Zealand and Denmark, and the three most are Nigeria, Bangladesh and Haiti.
Australia is ranked 9th least corrupt, the UK 11th, Canada 12th, the USA ties with Ireland at 17th, and France and Spain tie at 22th. Russia is far down the list at 90th.
Oct. 15 - Some quick hits before I go to work:
The voice of another American abroad! Greg writes what I think may be the best statement on the critical need for religious tolerance from his perch in Denmark.
Silicon Ninja catches Teresa Heinz-Kerry in a mistatement and points to actual, proven links of Saddam-era Iraq and terrorism in $72 million is not zero.
Paul reports that Teresa Heinz-Kerry has a dandy remedy for arthritis pains.
The fact that Heinz-Kerry is
graceless woman if not a barking moonbat outspoken didn't really affect my vote: Sen. Kerry failed to win support by his own lack of merit. Nevertheless, she has provided some comedy relief in this campaign. (You go, girl! Go anywhere but to the White House ... should Kerry be elected, I predict an historical Congressional vote to duct-tape the First Lady's mouth by the end of February. When Bill Clinton promised two for the price of one I don't think this is what he had in mind ...)
(Note that some of the following links go to blogspot so you may have to hit the refresh button to get the page to load properly.)
Oct. 13 - I meant to start posting when I got home this morning but ended up sleeping - for a solid 9 hours. Not to be utterly selfish, but the cooler weather and kids being at school (and thus making their wonderful noises far, far away from my bedroom window) does makes it a lot easier to sleep during the day.
Anyway, I slept soundly for a glorious 9 hours. (Okay, I already mentioned that.)
He will appear at a Trek convention in August to bid farewell.
According to his page at imdb, he was born in Vancouver in 1920. The article says he was a D-Day warrior:
"If you ask him about D-Day, he'll go on about an hour about D-Day," Chris Doohan said.I was thinking about how cruel that disease is, but then none of them are particularly kind.
A native of Canada, James Doohan fought, and was wounded, in that historic World War II battle as a captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery.
July 4 - 21:49: Mike posts how Doohan lost a finger on that battlefield. I can't believe this isn't more widely known.
July 7 - 07:33: Here is a permenent link.
July 2 - One of the terrific things about the Shotgun is the ready access to good posts that say what I meant to say.
A case in point: Spinkiller's musings over Bill Cosby's challenge to black Americans to take back their dignity and futures, and his reflections that Cosby's words are relevant to everyone who has adopted victimhood status.
Victims are people who can't win. Is that the legacy you want for your children, or do you want them to stand tall?
Read the whole thing. If more people start to re-examine the racism and patronizing attitudes that are too often shielded by words like "compassion and caring," maybe we can begin to stop the kind of emasculation that is being promoted by the politics of victimhood.
Any other South Park fans thinking about the episode with Cosby taking on the Streisand beast? I'm thinking we oughta demand a rematch!
July 3 - 08:51: CTV news last night called Cosby's remarks "jabs at African-Americans" which was a cheap shot and indicated how utterly they failed to comprehend what Cosby was talking about. They did, however, air statements by Jesse Jackson which backed up Cos.
Somebody needs to write a post about empty nest syndrome in the nanny state.
09:52: Alpha-Patriot also has an impassioned post on the speech, did some research on reactions to it, and closes with a fervent hope.
July 2 - CNN TV is carrying the news that actor Marlon Brando died yesterday at the age of 80.
That's the "number three" we've half-expected.
15:21 Link added.
June 25 - Acronyms are inescapable. I've registered for my share of courses from Professor TBA and we've also got BYOBs, ETAs and RTWTs permanently embedded in our vocabularies.
It's quick communication, and you'd think there would be kind respect sent their way.
Unfortunately, guys, it appears you just lost a biggie.
June 19 - Some excellent tips on Cat Maintenance from Ozguru (and that final sentence is damned spot on.) (Drink warning alert, by the way.)
June 15 - John over at Right Wing News asked several of us to submit our favourite 25 fictional characters and has posted the results here.
My picks are below, with the ones that made the top 21 in bold. (One of my choices, Mike, the dinkum thinkum of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, received an honourable mention! So there are at least 3 other
very strange people hardcore Heinlein fans out there.)
1. Theoden in Lord of the Rings (the books)
2. Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice (the book)
3. Mike (the computer) in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (the book)
4. Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land (the book)
5. Jacob Fuller in From Dusk Till Dawn (the movie)
6. Professor Digory in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the book)
7. Pippi Longstocking in Pippi Longstocking (the books)
8. Doc McCoy in Star Trek (the TV Show and movies)
9. Victoria Barkley in The Big Valley (the TV Show)
10. The Devil in The Devil's Advocate (the movie)
11. Col. O'Neill in Stargate SG-1 (the TV Show)
12. Jo in Little Women (the book)
13. Coach in Cheers (the TV Show)
14. Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files (the TV Show)
15. The man with no name in Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (the movies)
16. Batman (comics, first movie, TV show Batman: The Animated Series)
17. Rupert St. Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the TV Show)
18. G'Kar in Babylon Five (the TV Show)
19. Verbal in The Usual Suspects (the movie)
20. Neroon in Babylon Five (the TV Show)
21. Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams (the movie and book Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa)
22. Mr. Rasczak in Starship Troopers (the book)
23. Silent Bob in Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma (the movies)
24. Chris in The Magnificent Seven (the movie)
25. The Joker in Batman (the movie, comics and Batman: TAS)
Jim Rockford and Thomas Magnum had to duke it out (okay, I tossed a coin) when I was making my list because I just couldn't sacrifice Chris of The Magnificent Seven - that would have been wrong.
John has very kindly put up his list as well as some choices that received 3 votes, which include one of my picks, Jo March, and a Chronicles of Narnia character, Aslan, whom I dared not pick because it isn't as though he's a tame lion.
John also put up his Top Ten Villains and Top Ten Female Fictional Characters at the above link. I am really twisted: I didn't agree with any of his female picks, and gee, Tuco and Riddick weren't villains, they were just misunderstood ...
18:30: I went to sleep thinking about villains (scary thought: I slept long and well) and came up with a short list:
Alien (the movies Alien, Aliens)
Predator (the movie Predator)
Angel Eyes (the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
The Joker (the comics, the movie Batman, TV show Batman: TAS, and the Batman Beyond movie Return of the Joker which was truly creepy.)
Harvey Two-Face (the Batman comics, Batman: TAS, definitely not from the character assassinating movie Batman Forever)
Bester (TV show Babylon 5)
Madame Defarge (the book Tale of Two Cities)
Mr. Murdstone (the book David Copperfield, and also the movie version wherein Basil Rathbone portrayed the heartless monster.)
That list can give you really strange dreams.
June 2 - Sorry, I managed to sleep through the day (well, I'm both sorry and not sorry. You know what I mean.) The thing that bothers me most though is how little time I've been able to spend cruising other web logs.
I've fallen behind on developments around UNSCAM but Friends of Saddam is doing an incredible job of tracking it.
The strange allegations about Ahmad Chalabi are getting stranger, but Roger Simon is trying to make sense of it and how it has become linked to UNSCAM. This post is especially link-ful. As I said, I've fallen behind some, but there is definitely something wrong with the scenario that's unfolding, and we're lucking to have a mystery writer looking at it (and it has Cancon!)
You read Belmont Club daily, right?
I have to go. I hope to have time to answer my email tomorrow, and there have been some excellent comments left here which tells me you all don't really need me ...
May 30 - I have to go in to work this afternoon but should be back around 1 a.m.
I do have the secret to working the night shift: endure (aka just do it.) Sigh. More later.
May 26 - Sorry for the silence, I'm back on midnights and trying to duck the garlic and pointed wooden thingies ... oh yeah, and trying to sleep while everyone is determined to be really, really noisy.
Posting will be somewhat sporadic over the next couple of days while I work on being awake and coherent simultaneously.
The good news is that I am supposed to be on this shift until the end of June, which means some kind of internal routine should kick in. (I have no proof this will happen, but it just seems logical.)
May 21 - There's a new blog in MuNu called Memeblog. It's your one-stop reference for carnivals and memes in the blogosphere.
Fix bayonets! God bless our British allies. (Read the post and follow the link - it's a shiver moment.)
Today in Canada marks the official beginning of the Victoria Day weekend which is the biggest, bashing-est, drinking-iest, planting-est weekend of the year! Many folks up here will likely spend this weekend talking about the Stanley Cup finals which finally has a Canadian team in it. (Yes, it is spring in Ontario. Yes, it is odd to watch a hockey game in May. We do it anyway.)
Today is "Lend Me Your Links Friday" over at West Coast's Absinthe and Cookies, so I'm linking to her link. If you don't visit her daily you should, because visiting her site is much like visiting her at home, curling up up in a chair and chatting about all kinds of different things. It's hard to convey warmth over cyberspace, but she does it. She also gives good advice.
Inside Europe: Iberian Notes also demolishes a reporter, this one from La Vanguardia.
On an intellectual note, Victor Davis Hanson is grading the war in today's post.
I've saved the best for last. Kate of SmallDeadAnimals wrote the ultimate response to that portion of the population that has been leaving comments and speculation and whatnot about that video and all things idiotarian in our comments sections.
Henceforth, I may elect to respond to weirdness in a soft-spoken, Clint Eastwood-y voice "Don't mess With Texas".
We're everywhere, even in Toronto.
May 20 - I guess this my formal good-bye to mainstream media (unless Justice League shows some spark, and I don't mean the 'shipping) as the last program I regularly watch ended last night.
The rabid fan following must seem weird to those who didn't follow Buffy the Vampire-Slayer and Angel, but when you think about it, it isn't the least bit strange.
In the pre-Sept. 11 world, there was little admission in the entertainment industry that "evil" and "soul" existed much less were significant. Those things were canon in the Buffyverse.
Remember how the news media pundits gravely stated that "irony was dead?" That may have been the first thing that made me belly-laugh after Sept. 11, because I was on strictly moderated Buffy and Angel forums that dealt forcefully with spoilers, flaming posts and off-topic discussions.
Buffy in particular told stories within a framework of metaphor and sub-text, so discussions about the sub-text of the show merged sub-textually with discussions about Sept 11 and the existence of evil which had suddenly leapt from the realm of fiction to a gaping hold in Manhatten.
And, at times, it seemed the only one who didn't "get it" was Joss, because Buffy that season focused on growing up, not because we "wanted" it but because we "needed" it. It's no accident fans called it the Season from Hell and regretted that Buffy had been resurrected. And Spuffy. I'll never get over the long season of Spuffy and those three pathetic evil-doers.
I could so clearly see the demise of irony. Oh yes indeed.
Angel, on the other hand, had an arc that seemed tailor-made to a post-Sept. 11 audience. It told of a good man who knowingly lapsed into evil in his fanatic quest for vengeance. I have no idea how Keith Szarabajka regarded his Holtz character, although the name of his official website might be a clue.
The Holtz arc remains and will probably always be an all-time favourite of mine, and along the way we got the MacOracle and one of the best death scenes of all time.
Angel also gave us "Numfar, do the Dance of Shame."
People who want to examine this from an intellectual perspective might wonder why the same fan base seemingly exists with the three Whedon vehicles, Farscape, and Babylon Five. And a fairly good number of posters were overt Gilbert and Sullivan fans before Gunn had his upgrade. (It was an Iolanthe thing over Connor's mixed heritage. Don't ask.)
I'm off to work, but left some mild spoilers and more analysis in the extended section ...
Nice synchronicity too, like having Connor come out of nowhere to deliver a stinging punch to a Firefly alumnus just as Angel had delivered in the Buffy finale to another Firefly alumnus.
We got an answer: Connor knew.
Lindsey died and Eve didn't. (I can't believe Denise didn't comment on that.)
One prophecy was fulfilled: Cordelia did pass her vision thing along to Angel (although he said it was a one-shot deal.)
Another prophecy will be unfulfilled. Is that legal?
Some are speculating that an army of slayers showed up to defeat the Demon Army, but I'd settle for Faith (and maybe Principal Wood.)
Buffy lived in Italy, an ally, but not France. That proves I was right and Joss supported Operation Iraqi Freedom!
On the cliff-hanger ending, Joss always has alternated between seasonal endings being cliff-hangers or conclusions. Last season concluded with the end of the Jasmine arc, so I think he just stayed on form. (Okay, the 6th and 7th seasons of Buffy both ended in arc-conclusion mode. I can shoot down my own theory!)
As for the dragon and Angel's calling dibs on it, the Buffy Season 5 finale showed a dragon flying through the portal, and many of us wondered where it went and what happened to it. I haven't had a chance to compare dragons, but wouldn't it be wonderful if Buffy's MIA dragon ended up on Angel?
J. Michael Straczynski called it symmetry. I call it treating the audience with respect.
Thank you, Joss.
May 21 - 08:06: David Janes mixed up his Morks and Angels, but he does link to a nifty piece from Jim Treacher Top 10 Favorite Moments In The Final Angel, In No Particular Order. I really agree with Number 6.
One thing I forgot to include: Lorne sang again!
May 20 - Thanks to J.M. Heinrichs, for sending this: Prisedent Yasser Arafat.
I was puzzled, admittedly, until I read the site.
Update: That isn't a typo in the title.
May 17 - Seems there are 101 books that are recommended reading and people are 'fessing up, as this title suggests: (Well, I think I caught the 1952 movie version on cable around 2am once....)
Many of the books on this list that were assigned reading in high school and university (and often both) back in "my" day, so I don't think numbers give anyone bragging rights but might reveal
age maturity ...
I'm borrowing from how Damien Penny indicated his "read" items and bolding my reads.
I'm using a double asterick to indicate books I began but abandoned (usually because I hated them.)
Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury**
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones**
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick**
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago**
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple**
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie.
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse**
Wright, Richard - Native Son
May 18 - 04:50: Sarah has her list.
May 13 - Harvey of Bad Money is now happily settled into his new home at Bad Example.
Change your bookmarks, and visit him at his new home.
Also, Rachel Lucas has returned to the fold and is as impudent as ever.
May 11 - I'm still working the graveyard shift, and apologize to everyone for being absent. My excuse is simple: lack of sleep, but this morning I finally mastered the art of sleeping six consecutive hours! (That is more important than it may seem ...)
Previously I had noted some articles and kept them in draft form about things that will appear below this post - things that maybe I'm marking more for reference purposes than because I have anything terribly important to say about them.
My apologies for unanswered mail and to any commenters that have been overlooked. Rumour has it that this is our last week on this shift and everything will go back to normal (ha!) next week.
I think I still need a bit more coffee ...
I'm running late for work, and although I didn't get any posting done today, I did get a lot of sleep ;-)
Thanks to all the commenters. I'm sorry to say that I read enough stupid cracks about Canadians on other sites to know that the misconceptions go on both sides of the borders.
I'm off to work. Go Flames!
May 3 - Say what you will about shift work, I was never happier to go to work than yesterday evening and miss the last period of the Leafs game. As David suggests in a post from yesterday, "let's pretend it never happened."
My eldest picked me up from work late last night (early this morning?) and we went over to His Apartment to talk and drink some beer. In the course of the conversation I found myself nagging at him about something which, like much of his life, is none of my business. I apologized, but even so ... I wonder if that "mother reflex" ever really goes away. I've been working at it for a couple of years now, and whenever I think I have it licked, it sneaks up behind me and I find myself talking too much.
I'm going to be working the graveyard shift all week, which is all new for me, and I don't know how long it will take me to get used to it and how it will affect posting.
I don't proofread well off a monitor even in the best of circumstances, and I made enough mental slips last week to prove conclusively that sleep is a friend with which I must spend much more time.
For today, I'm going to put a couple of links up as my brain seems willing to read - it's trying to write coherently that has me jammed.
May 1 - Sorry about yesterday. Some family things came up, and between that and finishing my damned taxes I got utterly derailed.
How about them Leafs? I woke up on the couch to a lot of hooting and hollaring, but it wasn't for another Leaf goal, it was for Tie Domi's post-game comments.
I only have time for a few short posts before I go to work, but my blogroll is full of excellent bloggers.
What ever is Glenn looking at?
Judging by his look of chagrin, I'd say he's looking at us - that's right, us, the Alliance of Free Blogs which, in a brilliantly coordinated stealth attack swept past him to Rule The Blogs!
Or he could be looking at one of his students who just said something incredibly dumb and he's trying to figure out how to say "That was incredibly dumb" without coming right out and, you know, saying it.
I figure I'll give Harvey a real shock and get this in ultra-early because somebody's got to even for When the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout, "RUN FOREST, RUN!"
If I'm stuck on a desert island with bloggers, I'd be more concerned about their abilities to hunt, trap, build a fire, find shelter, and get us off the damned island than just about anything except the Whine Factor, because the biggest irritant would be someone who whined incessantly (they'd probably have an unfortunate accident.)
But if posting
my a picture will boost my traffic, I'll do it.
Okay, I've done it. Those hits better roll in or I'm going to have some words with John.
He's promised that this is the final chapter.
The sad part is, John may have a point. I've been astonished at how many search engine hits I've received for "Darcy Tucker's two black eyes" and "Bobby Clarke's a maggot" - two throwaway lines I mentioned during hockey playoffs.
More gratifying have been the search hits for the "U.N. Oil for food program" and "Khadr," though.
On make-up: wear it, don't sleep in it.
On houseplants: they die. Rapidly.
Pre-emptive strikes: I smoke, drink Scotch, and firmly believe God is a baseball fan.
There. Covered the photo angle, the sports angle, the political angle, and the personal habits angle.
What about spelling, punctuation and syntax, hmm? Or does that fall under housework?
Maybe if my kids were still young I'd blog more about the obnoxious attitudes I'd run into from other women when they learned I was a stay-at-home mother. Maybe my mission would be to encourage the many women who are challenging the social engineering that is going on and support their efforts to buck the pressure we get from schools and "professionals" who would have us castrate our sons.
I suspect if my kids were younger I wouldn't have time to post and be a news junkie, though.
I am not a special interest group, other women don't speak for me, and I am not a number. I cannot be filed, stamped, etc. I hate bureaucracy and regulation.
Does my faith and belief in individuality make me a conservative? It appears that way, although I think it makes me more a classic liberal. Words like "collective" and "identity politics" are an affront to my belief that each of us are unique human beings.
We absolutely exhausted the topics of make-up and plants in Sarah's comments so don't be looking for a renewal of those discussions.
Apr. 24 - Munuvania's fearless leader and absolute ruler will be doing some stuff to thingies in the database at 2 a.m. GMT (which I think means 9 p.m. EST.)
None of us will be able to post or edit things, and something odd will happen with comments. I don't think anyone will be able to make them, but even if you can, they'll disappear.
Or something like that. It's tech stuff, and thus techie.
Everything should be restored back to normal around 10 a.m. GMT which is 5 a.m. our time. I think.
My suggestions include thongs, tassles and wardrobe malfunctions. Once you do that, explanations will be unnecessary.
19:28 Okay, it appears some explanation is necessary.
Two words: strip tease.
I'm never sure to what category she belongs - lifetimes of experience? Anyway, I'm just happy to be able to read this gifted writer again.
Apr. 18 - It's Sunday, I have to go to work, blah blah blah.
There are so many good web logs out there these days it's hard to pick any, but I'll stick with the Methodology of Randomness:
Winds of Change is always worth reading. They connect events and dots (and I'm not just saying that because they occasionally link to me ...)
Ambient Irony lives up to the name. Amazing posts, and never dull.
Murdoc looks at the war and homefront with analytical posts that help make sense of where we're going.
Andrew Coyne is still heroically navigating the complexity of Adscam and now Svend Robinson. My compass went nuts as we approached the North Pole, and I knew Robinson was nuts a long time ago, but Coyne analyzes it all as a real columnists should.
That was a clumsy segue to Let It Bleed. It's Sunday, and you know what that means.
Jay Currie continues to make sense and reins us all in when emotions run high.
Check out Shotgun for the meeting of minds of Canadian bloggers. I received and accepted an invitation to join, and would say more but I'm embarassed by such things and need much time and massive re-editing for that post.
Command Post is faster than CNN with news.
Although I haven't mentioned the American hostages currently held in Iraq I do think of them. I think most of us recognize that we must remain stoic and those of us old enough to remember the hostages-taking in Tehran probably have a harsher view of this than others.
I prefer to say less than more on this because of the torture being inflicted on their families, but Fabrizio Quattrocchi has set the example for us all. God forgive his murderers because I won't.
But it's Sunday, and I try to wrestle with my own demons however hard may be.
Yeah, there's a thunderstorm outside. At least it isn't snowing!
Go Leafs! and hurrah for the Montreal fans last night! A lot of cliches about people of good will spring to mind, but I'll let each of you supply your own.
Sorry about the no posting - I've been feeling ill all day, nothing specific just yucky. It wasn't so bad I couldn't work, but I fell asleep as soon as I got home and think I'll head back to bed.
Last night's hockey game ended on a very down note. Last I heard, it wasn't known if Mats Sundin would be playing, but they reported he was able to walk out of the arena. The less I say about the referees, the better.
Rumour has it that Boston fans cheered the Canadian national anthem. That'll show certain fans in Montreal the meaning of class.
Apr. 13 - I fell asleep before the game last night so missed it but I can cheer retroactively Zero hero saves day. They're giving Eddie Belfour's chiropractor the win. Numerous links in the article about last night's game.
Apr. 13 - I keep missing assignments because I'm trying to come up with funny stuff, but no more. I'm just going to post whatever pops in my mind and be done with it. I may as well churn out unfunny stuff without all the angst and torture it takes me to churn out unfunny stuff.
The latest assignments is Write a witty tagline for Air America.
Air America Now Under New Management!
Grass and cocaine are cool, but do you feel you need something more? Try our product!
We guarantee to distort the news, not your vision!!!!!
Note: Possible side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, acne, stunted growth, irrational lapses of logic, unsubstantiated rumour mongering and paranoia. If you experience these symptoms, don't see a doctor who's probably a member of the vast right wing conspiracy.
Apr. 10 - I have to go to work (to a place that has no access for stealth posting) but check out the blogroll.
but those are only the first, not the only.
The Western Standard group blog Shotgun has a much better viewing platform, permalinks and enabled comments, so have a look.
Apr. 8 - Ghost of a Flea has written an insightful analysis of a recent political debate and how it revealed the need in Canada to define Conservative.
For these parties to offer viable alternatives they must espouse convictions about what government is for and therefore how policy should be made. There is a legitimate difference between those advocating personal responsibility in contrast with collective responsibility and these have reasonable correlates in views toward business, health care, trade and so forth. Political views formed solely on the basis that a particular religious or secular worldview should predominate do not meet this test.Canada has has a united right-of-center party after years of schism, but what exactly is it other than the not-Liberal and not-ND Parties?
Apr. 8 - New home for Anticipatory Retaliation here in sunny, downtown Munuvania.
Go over to say hi, and change your bookmarks.
Apr. 6 - Ith has a slew of posts about Tartan Day 2004 and they are wonderful.
I can't resist linking to this picture of Paul in his Tartan.
Enjoy, and Happy Tartan Day to you all!
Apr. 1 - How 9-11 happened. This timeline of terror actions against the US contains some things even I had forgotten about:
On April 5, 1986, a West Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. servicemen was bombed by Muslim extremists from the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin, killing an American.Classic Coulter.
Ten days later, Reagan bombed Libya, despite our dear ally France refusing the use of their airspace. Americans bombed Gadhafi's residence, killing his daughter, and dropped a bomb on the French Embassy "by mistake."
Apr. 1 - Can anyone help Name that movie?
It's going to be bug me all day.
Mar. 29 - Mark has reprinted some of his columns during the Iraq War and this latest is one of my favourites from the Mar. 27, 2003 National Post in his Topical Take.
He was writing on the media take of the war (for some weird reason he chose to watch CBC, which he likened to attending a White Russian tea party in 1917) and was commenting on the oh my god they're bogged down and some people have died and others been taken prisoner, it's like a war there frenzy that went on at CNN that must have been even sillier at CBC.
Steyn knocked me off my chair when I read this last year and Damn! It's still right on target:
... The best way to honour the dead is to press on to victory. Fleet Street has a diverse press from gung-ho right-wingers to unrepentant Stalinists. But it doesn’t have a lot of mushy ninnies for whom a run of bad luck is cause to question the entire strategy. There are times when there’s something to be said for stiff-upper-lipped public-school emotional repression, and war is one of them.It's too bad the recent anti-war columnists didn't re-run their columns and dire predictions from the second week of the war.
Then, at the weekend, it was the Pentagon’s turn for a run of bad luck, from a US Muslim soldier going postal on his comrades to the parading of American prisoners on Iraqi TV. And the big networks collectively decided that somehow they’d been misled about how “easy” it was supposed to be, and ever since have been convinced that the war plan’s a bust. General Franks has been transformed from the new MacArthur into the new MacArthur Park: someone left his cakewalk in the rain, we don’t think that he can take it ‘cause it took so long to bake it and he’ll never find that recipe again. Oh, no.
Okay, Mark also has a new column, this one about Nader's candidacy:
AND, OF course, lurking in the Democrats' darkest nightmare is the spectre of November 2000: Nader angrily denies he's a spoiler, claiming that what he brings to the election are groups who wouldn't normally vote.Ba da boom.
That's true. In a normal election, the Supreme Court wouldn't have wound up voting, but, thanks to Ralph's showing in Florida, they did.
Mar. 29 - (This really is the last post tonight. This morning. Whatever.)
What is Munuvia? The Story of Munuvia is here.
And there was much rejoicing as we were freed from the bondage of Blogger and other undesirable habitats, and then there was a Fourth Sign.
20:10: And now The Fifth Sign
And thanks again, Pixy Misa.
Mar. 28 - [The title needs work] It's been awhile since I did a series of links to other sites, and I need a lift after the news about Cecilia Zhang, so here goes.
I never know what to expect at Ghost of a Flea, but he usually finds things of wonder.
Ever wondered what Earth looks like from Mars?
Compared the old and new Batmobiles yet?
I think the Danes are just getting even for the assignment of Adscam player Alfonso Gagliano as Ambassador to Denmark, but Flea suggest there's a Viking undertone. They might reclaim Newfoundland and Labrador next!
Colby Cosh suspects A Dangeld Strategy.
Mike Campbell is finally back and posting after recovering from a sports-related injury and weighs in on those Cheeky Danes and do scroll down to "Heaven on Earth" for the book review from a Churchillian.
Mar. 29 10:25 Peter Worthington publishes a reader's suggestion that Canadian sovereignty of Hans Island would be ensured if it had occupants. So far the names Adrienne Clarkson, her oh-so-intellectual consort, and Alfonso Gagliano have come up.
Oh, you're still wondering who is this Gagliano that might have given the Danes cause for resentment? This report from Spin Killer indicates why we
dumped shipped honoured the Danes with his appointment as Ambassador. Spin Killer is a bit frustrated. You see, he reads the news and can't get the answer to a simple question Spiritual Leader...Terrorist...Media...PLEASE EXPLAIN
Go Kathy! relapsed catholic wipes up the floor with Antonia Zerbisias [Americans: think Maureen Dowd wanna-be, Australians: think Naomi Klein, oh, wait . . .] in the aptly named post She's fat AND stupid (with update, below). Seems Zerb senses there is a vast right-wing conspiracy behind CBC Watch. As Kathy scathingly points out,
"Considerable research resources"? You mean, like, they watch the CBC, comb the Newsworld site, and write about it? Like all dumb leftists, Zerb is so conspriacy minded, she actually thinks this guy and his pals are being paid to blog, by--who? The Conservative Party? The National Post (which is owned by Liberals)? Frankly, my money's on the Freemasons...Zerbisias, a "noted" Canadian columnist (well, at least one who has mastered the fine art of death quotes) redefines investigatory journalism because she's evidently unaware of BBC Watch, ABC Watch in Australia and Media Research in the USA.
Clearly there is vital need for a Toronto Star watch, which is why I always read Let It Bleed most especially on Sunday, because all the wingnuts are paraded in the Star's opinion section on Sundays and Bob makes has thoughtfully provided a brief description of Antonia Zerbisias today:
Finally, we turn to cub reporter Antonia Zerbisias. Her column today is the usual piffle (something about media convergence, which is evidently a bad thing, so long as Starcorp isn't the acquiring party), but her column from a couple of days ago is the real winner. Entitled "Fog of war still hasn't lifted", you can probably guess where it's going: the same freakin' place she's always been. Bush is bad. Saddam was a great guy. Bush is mean. Why was he so mean to Saddam? Bill Maher is a martyr. Why was Bush so mean to Bill Maher? etc. etc.See! MoDo, eh?Paul found a site that rates flags. And I thought I had too much time on my hands.
Tony starts off with a quote from Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Note to Tony: beginning a column with an epigraph is generally a sign that what will follow is pretentious twaddle. Taking an epigraph from a book you've likely never read is even more pathetic.
While we're in government-think, Jaeger picks a Thomas Sowell quote for Quote of the Day and, do you suppose he was thinking of Chirac too? Jaeger also looks at the new scientific methodology of the bureaucrats in the Ministry of the Environment here in And then they came for the sawmill operators . . .
Now it's late for bed. Good night!
Mar. 24 - The Alliance of Free Blogs PGH assignment this week is What Would John Kerry Do in His First 100 Days in Office?
Day 1: His first act of president would be to set out his policies in his Inauguration Speech.
Day 2: He would add nuance to the policies enunciated in his Inauguration Speech.
Day 3: He would add colour and tone to the policies enunciated in his Inauguration Speech.
Day 4: He would reverse the policies enunicated in his Inauguration Speech.
Day 5: Now that no one (including him) had the slightest idea what the policies enunciated in his Inauguration Speech were, he would get down to business and send a non-hostile agreement with North Korea to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Day 6: He would reverse his position when the agreement was returned to him in an envelope in itty bitty pieces.
Day 7: He would appoint a Special White House advisor to tape the pieces together.
Day 8: He would send an envoy to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to explain that he had no intention of honouring the provisions of the agreement and ask them to review it again.
Day 9: The envoy would be returned in an envelope in itty bitty pieces. The words "Been There, Done That" would be barely descipherable on one of the pieces.
Day 10: He'd send a proposal to drop sanctions against Iran to the Foreign Relations Committee.
Day 11: See days 6-9 for the events of Day 11-14.
Day 15: He'd go to Disneyland.
Sorry, folks. Some of us just weren't born funny, but at least it's on time.
Mar. 22 - A couple of moves have taken place:
Paul of All AgitProp, all the Time...Frozen in Monreal has a new address as does
Update those bookmarks
Mar. 20 - You will all be spared my rantings today because I must work (although had I sooner known about today's The World STILL Says YES to Liberty! rally in Toronto I would have made alternate arrangements) and won't be home until quite late.
As always, give the folks on the blogroll a look and you don't be disappointed.
Ha! A brief snow flurry passed and I intend to mock each and every pile of snow I pass because they are Destined to Melt.
Lots more on Adscam, but Andrew Coyne is doing such a terrific job I'm going to let him carry this ball.
According to the Chinese ambassador, Canada's lot lies with EU
The Chinese Ambassador in Brussels said the other day, in that big-picture Chinese way, that the creation and success of the European Union is one of those transforming human events that happens every 300 or 400 years.The article notes that the EU has successfully avoided war. It doesn't note that one of the wars it avoided was the ongoing one in Kosovo.
More anti-Semitism in Toronto:
Police had to be called to York University on Tuesday after a dramatization of an Israeli border crossing by pro-Palestinian students led to a rival demonstration at the politically charged campus.Is there a connection with what happened yesterday? As Margaret Wente points out, We Can't Afford to Look Away noting that the West is looking away from blatant anti-Semitism in the Arab world.
The insurrection in Syria went into it's fifth day. The death toll is reported to be at least 30. A timely reminder:
Kurds comprise almost two million of Syria's 17 million population although about 200,000 of them are not recognised as citizens of the country as a punishment for seeking to establish an autonomous homeland.Australia and Japan were mentioned as possible targets on the Al-Quds al-Arabi webiste but both governments said they wouldn't be intimidated. The website also reassured the Spanish government that they needn't worry:
In its statement, Abu Hafs al-Masri said it was calling a truce in Spain to give the socialist government that was elected Sunday, three days after the train attacks, time to carry out its pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq.How humiliating it must be for the Spanish to be told that the group which has claimed responsibility for killing 202 people in the attack last week is pleased with their election results.
The group appeared to boast it had the power to change governments. The socialists, who have long opposed Spain's military involvement in Iraq, were running second in Spanish opinion polls until Thursday's bombings.The statement goes on to boast that it is anxious to have the Arab world see how dreadful the US really is. Sounds a lot like the Maoist rhetoric I heard back in the 60's.
"We change and destroy countries," the statement said. "We even influence the international economy, and this is God's blessing to us. We won't accept to be an object in this world, but a player, a strong player - with God's will."
The statement tells American voters that Abu Hafs al-Masri supports the re-election campaign of U.S. President George W. Bush: "We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections."
Many thanks for the links to these stories which were available because I receive Jack's Newswatch by email daily.
Mar. 19 - These are some important stories I missed Wednesday:
There was an ugly incident of anti-Semitism here: T.O. police probing anti-Semitic hate crimes in north Toronto.
Part of the rise in anti-Semitism last year is being blamed on the war in Iraq, which produced a spike in hate crimes. The ongoing tensions and violence in Israel is apparently giving licence to hate mongers.The Canadian media, always ready to Blame America.
More news from Syria about Syria uprisings and Syrian officials blame US for the Kurdiah uprising because US flags were spotted in crowd. I'll own up to such that
blame inspiration gladly and gratefully.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda yesterday accused France of direct responsibility for the 1994 genocide of at least 800,000 people in the central African country.
M Kagame claimed that the French government supplied weapons, logistical support and even senior military planners to the regime of militant ethnic Hutus responsible for the slaughter of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. (UPDATE: Mar. 24 - See this for seeming verification of the charge.)
France's growing closeness to the Chinese leadership was signalled yesterday when the two countries held joint naval exercises and the European Union said it wanted to scrap its post-Tiananmen Square arms embargo. Hmm, Chretien was visiting China when Adscam broke out.
SAN'A, Yemen (AP) - Nine suspects in the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole have been arrested, the government of Yemen said Tuesday, including eight who escaped from jail last year.
These and other stories were on my daily email from Jack's Newswatch which I can keep and use the links to refer back to important stories as they develop.
Jack changes the page daily, so bookmark it for your first stop visit to catch Canadian and international news stories.
Incidently, Jack is a veteran, and pays special attention to Canadian troops troops and to the history of the regiments in Canada. In a country that all but ignores it's military unless it makes for a good sound-bite, Jack is a lone voice of support.
You can sign up to be on his mailing list with an email to Jack Davies (contact address at the site.)
Mar. 18 - I found this gem over at The Meatriarchy's site I Come to Praise Hockey, Not to Bury It. I've been trying to figure out myself why the American audience doesn't love hockey; I incline toward the "not sufficiently exposed to it" theory but that's probably pre-Canadian resident mea culpa projection.
I get why Americans don't particularly care about Formula One, but I thought hockey would catch on much more than it has.
Mar. 16 - Offically moved to a terrific site at Munuvania with the same blog name Being American in T.O..
See you all
I'm posting in both places until I actually think I know what I'm doing. Come have a look!
Mar. 14 - Work beckons . . .
It's early yet, but I suspect Let It Bleed, Trudeaupia, Le Blog de Polyscopique and Canadian Comment will be taking a critical look at the Canadian media pundits. (This is in haste so I've probably overlooked some, but see True North blogroll for more CanCom.)
Paul has been posting translations of media accounts from Spain and could use our prayers to sustain him until he hears from Alina.
Robert is following the media accounts from the UK.
We're all watching the Spanish elections today, but need to remember that, whatever the outcome, the fact that they are taking place at all constitutes one victory against terrorism.
Mark Steyn's column with the Chicago Sun Times is up here and today he takes a look at the media handling of the arrest of Susan Lindauer.
Mar. 13 - I'm off to work, so refer you to the blogroll and, in particular, check out these folks
Bob at Let It Bleed,
The good folks over at Canadian Comment (and note the new url)
Jaeger at Trudeaupia
Laurent at Le Blog de Polyscopique
Steven at USS Clueless has an insightful post about the Iraqi intermin constitution and how it compares to the constitutions of the US and EU.
Weather alert: sunny and bitterly cold in Toronto.
Mar. 9 - My favourite war historian has his own website - Victor Davis Hanson. Hooray! No more waiting until Friday . . .
(Via Damian Penny.)
Mar. 9 - According to the Washington Times, an unnamed State Dept. spokesman said that after the plane carrying former Haitian president Aristide was already in the air, they learned that S. Africa refused to take Aristide at least until after the elections there. There's a bit of a he said he said thing happening, but it does raise some questions in the context of the story that Paul covered when Mbecki joined with Caricom in denouncing Aristide's "forcible removal" from Haiti.
Mar. 9 - Some interesting links:
Ith firmly debunks those who, as "Families of Sept. 11," denounced the visuals of the devastation after the attack used by the Bush ads and guess what! There's a money trail straight back to the Kerrys. (And Glenn Reynolds has more links to the issue here.)
Kathy is tired of "-gate" being affixed to every scandal and links to an article that suggests the internal memos of the Democrats reveal the delays on approving judicial nominations were a deliberate obstruction of justice.
We cannot allow a singular quest for electoral victory to impede the more important quest for victory over terrorism, a victory that will enable the American people to feel fully secure again here at home, our soldiers to return from Iraq and the Iraqi people to enjoy the blessings of liberty which it is America's historic mission to advance and defend.Andrea Harris is sick of the pretzel language we're stuck with and asks "Is it just me, or does the new habit of using the words "female" and "male" where the words "man" or "woman" used to be used grate on the ears of others than myself?"
As important as our party's victory is for each of us, it is not more important than a victory against terrorism for all of us.
Mar. 7 - I'll be at work for most of the day, so be sure and check out
Some sites that offer good insights and overall good critiques are (in no particular order) Le blog de Polyscopique,
The Owner's Manual, and for views from without Canada you can try
murdoc online, and
Each of the Iraq and military blogs deserve a look. You'll note that Kevin made it home safety and has posted a summary of his thoughts about being in Iraq. I've only had time to scan it, but intend to read it more thoroughly tonight.
hM is getting ready to return stateside as well so go offer some cheer while she navigates red tape and B.S. Doing things the army way can be a trip into a strange wonderland.
The online discussion about the Conservative leadership race continues at Andrew Coyne's site. I don't think I have to mention that it really isn't one in which Americans should participate - it is about an internal Canadian matter, after all - but you will be safe if you have your own Gratuitous American Reference Drinking Game: these people are serious about Canada and above the usual distract from issues by using the anti-America card and that puts them above and beyond the usual punditry that is so wearisome in the Canadian media.
The Globe and Mail is threatening to do several insightful articles about Iraq next week which will doubtless be another effort to convince themselves that Canada did the right thing to stay out of it. Give it up, will you? Nobody else cares anymore . . . the die was cast, get over it. It is so unbecoming to snipe from the sidelines especially when some of the readers (you know who you are!) are armed with Hellfire missiles.
The Yankees and Red Sox are playing today on the Boston UPN channel for those who receive it!
It's cold and windy outside so I have to drag out my gloves and scarf. It's unfair, I tell you!
Mar. 6 - I have to go in to work today, so check the blogroll particularly for Canadian and Iraqi views on the latest events.
There is an excellent debate over at Andrew Coyne's place on the Donnybrook comment thread (listed over at the right sidebar) and the wording of his news headlines are getting better and better.
Oh, I have updated the blogroll and fixed soma glaring error from my last tinkering [and blogger didn't go down! I'm 3 for 5 now . . .] so some I thought were on actually are on now (with profound apologies to The Owner's Manual in particular) and given the humourous sites their own exalted spot.
Mar. 5 -
Americans are generally uninformed when it comes to the United States Constitution. The results of a 2001 survey show that 84% of adults don't know that freedom of religion is one of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment! On the flip side, the majority of Americans wrongly believe that the phrase "Separation of Church and State" is actually found in the Constitution.Good, history-based article on The Separation of Church and State.
After the 14-nation Caribbean Community refused Wednesday to participate in a peacekeeping force, two South American countries - Chile and Brazil - agreed to send forces in support of about 1,200 U.S., French and Canadian troops already on the ground.It is proper for neighbouring countries to take the lead in peacekeeping efforts in Haiti, but a major difficulty might be language: Brazil is a Portguese-speaking and Chile a Spanish-speaking country, and of course Haiti is French-speaking, which is why Canadian involvement would be a good fit.
Chile sent about 130 troops, but that number was expected to rise to 300.
A spokesman for Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said his country is preparing to dispatch 1,100 troops.
The spokesman, Andre Singer, said last night that French President Jacques Chirac told Mr. Lula in a telephone conversation that he and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan want Brazil to lead the multinational force.
Canadian officials said earlier that military representatives from nine countries ready to take part in the force met yesterday at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami. They declined to identify the participants.
I'm not sure how many Canadian soldiers are in Haiti at the moment, but I've seen numbers between 60-100 in various reports this morning. Some have evidently pulled back in the Dominican Republic (where Spanish is spoken) but a CBC report says Canada will deploy 450 to Haiti in the next few days for a 90-day mission.
The following, however, has got to raise some eyebrows: even Kofi Annan has seen fit to express his hope that PM Martin will increase funding to Canada's military before it crumbles. One can imagine hearing some bobble-heads already: Well, if Kofi Annan says it's a good idea, maybe we should! because, you know, the UN is all-wise and all-knowing. The International Community has spoken! Sheesh, this is the third time recently Canada has had her knuckles rapped by the UN: over spanking earlier this year, earlier this week over a safe-injection centre and now over her military.
Right, Haiti: do you suppose Aristide's urgency to get back has anything to do with this:
The St. Petersburg Times in Florida, meanwhile, reported that looters found stacks of $100 bills - possibly as much as $350,000 - in a hidden safe at Mr. Aristide's mansion in the suburban town of Tabarre.Something I failed to post yesterday (due to excessive astonishment that he's still alive) was a news report regarding Papa Doc Duvalier's wish to return to lead Haiti in its time of trouble. My grumpy side is inclined to set both of them down smack in the middle of Port-au-Prince and let events take their course . . .
The bills were either crumbling into dust or stuck together so tightly that they could not be pulled apart, the newspaper said.
But note this interesting accusation:
Mr. Aristide also insisted he is still Haiti's president and accused France of "colluding" with the United States to oust him.In today's column for the National Review, Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
Far from polarizing our allies, we are entering into a more mature relationship that has dispelled much of the dishonesty of the last 20 years. Expect more, not less, cooperation from Germany and France around the globe.Paul is not in the mood for any of Aristide's manipulations and totally unimpressed by the Caricom withdrawl and South Africa's involvement.
Mar. 4 - USS Clueless is back and posting! Hurrah!
Now if only Bill would finish his danged essay. (It sucks when people have day jobs.)
Mar. 4 - One of the reason I love being a historian is that I can view things in a totally different manner and connect seemingly unrelated dots in a plausible fashion. The downside is that, lacking actual bases for these inter-connections means that the plausible fashion part is mostly in my own mind so it would be irresponsible to make any claim of fact until mountains of actual evidence becomes available.
So please forgive this self-confessed bias, but I've wondered for awhile what the long-term impact of the recall movement in California would be - not on California, for that is self-evident - but upon electorates in other states and even other countries. Some of the statements of those opposing the recall tend to support my hypotheses, but I don't believe in building theories on negative data however suggestive they may be.
So yes, I am looking at events surrounding the movement in Venezuela to recall Chavez with the aforesaid built-in bias, but, by stating my bias openly I am content to let it ferment without removing the lid for a quick peek to see how it's coming along, m'kay?
This, however, is unexpected and starts my speculative juices roiling: Venezuela's UN ambassador, Milos Alcalay, resigns:
Milos Alcalay told a news conference at U.N. headquarters that his key concerns throughout a 34-year diplomatic career were to promote democracy, human rights and a non-confrontational foreign policy.Is it remotely possible that ethics are beginning to make a comeback internationally? The response from Venezuela is odd:
"Sadly, Venezuela now is operating devoid of these fundamental principles, which I still remain intensely committed to, he said.
"The increasing bipolarization and problems we are experiencing at home in Venezuela have impacted our relationships around the world," he said.
In Caracas, a leading political ally of Chavez in the National Assembly condemned Alcalay's resignation as hypocritical.Unless it has lost something in the translation, would seem to condemn the Chavez goverment more than Sr. Alcalay as though to say that the Chavez government has gone so far off course that the former UN Ambassador has decided he can no long apologize for or defend it.
"Milos Alcalay looks very bad because everyone remembers him as an apologist, a defender, in extreme terms, of the foreign policy of President Hugo Chavez's government," said Tarek William Saab, president of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee.
Interesting times. Of course, the neo-communists in Europe and Canada will be having kittens over events in Nicaragua (and may even start to agitate for unilateral US intervention) but as they let events in Haiti overtake their natural lethargy, their impotent hyperventilations will serve only to highlight how useless and tiresome their rhetoric has become and the US responses to Liberia and Haiti gave evidence to the at a time of our choosing section of the Bush Doctrine.
I have another bias: I totally approve of democratic revolutions. Che had it right: Two, three, many revolutions. We American neo-con-libertarians are very, very naughty: we also adapted Mao's domino theory.
UPDATE: Bruce gives some great analysis about Chavez here - and check out his new look!
Mar. 2 - A computer in every home, and two blogs on every hardrive? The figures in this post by Jeff Jarvis indicate that the desire to write about what we see and feel is more widespread than even optimists believed.
By the way, today's entry includes mail - a lot of it - from some of David's readers.
March 1 - After chatty commentary about seeing the movie Mystic River, today's Bleat looks at how Kerry answered a question and what he revealed. Great read.
Feb. 29 - A very interesting post at Belmont Club about Canadian intervention in Haiti and points out the biggest problem in countries like Haiti that prevents true reform is thuggery:
Any American involvement should come with strict conditions. The foremost should be an insistence on an active pacification strategy by UN and especially Canadian forces. Experience in the Global War on Terror and in fighting narco-terrorists in Latin America suggests that civil society can never emerge unless the backbone of thuggery is broken. In the context of Haiti this means an aggressive pursuit of warlords, looters and criminal elements that have reduced that country to a shambles. The Canadians should forthwith embark on an intensive intelligence operation to discover the most dangerous elements threatening orderly society and issue their equivalent of a Most Wanted Deck of Cards. Thereafter, the Canadians must simultaneously hunt these men down while rebuilding the Haitian police and judiciary. Only by employing these methods will Haiti and Haitians have any chance of regaining normal life.CNN says that Aristede has resigned and preparing to leave the country. I wonder if he'll take as long as former Liberian President Taylor.
Feb. 28 - I'd been working on a post about the unrecognized danger of relying on Supreme Court rulings focusing on their 1883 decision which overturned the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which had forbidden segregation in public institutions and effectively reversed the gains made by African-Americans after the Civil War. It took over 70 years (during which Jim Crow laws became entrenched in those states that had them) and numerous court challenges before the Supreme Court finally reversed itself and the US was able to begin to honour its committment to freedom for all its citizens.
I trust the electorate and their ultimate control over legislators more than 9 men and women who are unelected and prey to the ultimate corruption: admiration for their own enlightened selves.
But I got derailed by the NY Times article about the Oil for Food Program (post below) which is about a clearer kind of corruption.
I have to work tomorrow but will try to get it finished and up Monday. Bill Whittle has promised a new post by the end of the weekend so don't forget to check his site.
I could come up with a lot of excuses as to why I can't finish it tonight. I am tired and not finding it easy to write, but the other reason is really geeky: I need to watch the Witchblade episode I taped last night so I can tape the midnight showing of Justice League on YTV. I'd like to think it's because I have eclectic tastes.
Feb. 27 - Yes, I have to go to work even after I've been called in on my days off.
I'm going to assume that everyone in Toronto is planning all kinds of activities that include the glorious weather we're experiencing!
Feb. 26 - I got derailed from posting Tuesday after an emergency at my workplace. The details are so freaking routine because inept co-workers are everywhere but, like anyone else, I simply wish they were elsewhere.
In short, I don't care what McAfee says, you don't open attachments without scanning them no matter how much you "trust or know" the sender. Worms get into your address book so naturally you're going to get one from someone you know. Trojans and true viruses are devastating, and giggling after you've brought the whole system down may not be grounds for a firing squad but I'm willing to re-examine the issue.
Furthermore, the fact is that I routinely back up my work, but that doesn't mean that no one else has to bother to do so. Certainly I am gratified that my back-ups gave us a reference point, and I try to be the kind of team player who will cheerfully pitch in to reconstruct weeks of work, but doing a back-up is not difficult or time-consuming.
We can back-up our work while we are fixing our hair, freshening our lipstick, making plans with our friends and in truth doing little more than getting ready to bolt as soon as the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 5. It's amazing how little supervision the computers require during back-ups these days.
I swear, some day I'm going to haul out my old computer and let them struggle with DOS. I'm going to grin like a maniac when my co-workers encounter Abort, Retry or Fail? and the only confirmation that the computer has performed the task they requested is a return to the C prompt.
Well, maybe that's too harsh. Dialogue boxes give us the security of telling us what we could logically assume if we actually used, you know, logic, and it would be cruel to remove that basic need for validation and positive reinforcement. People are so needy these days.
If I was a techie-type I would love to rig up a computer with sparks and smoke like they had on Star Trek: TOS just to watch the ensuing hysterics. But maybe I should make sure I already have a signed letter of reference before I did something like that. Bosses are notorious for frowning on innocent jokes that send everyone to the Resource Centre for counselling.
This post is dedicated to The Essay about whom I have thought with gratitude these past two days for already posting about back-ups and weird co-worker issues and gave me reason smile at the most inappropriate times.
Feb. 21 - I'm running late, but wanted to pass a suggestion that people follow the link at Andrew Coyne's website and read his column.
Also, Iranian bloggers have continued to post as they await the results of yesterday's election.
Take care, I'll be checking in after dinner.
Feb. 20 - I'm off to work, so don't forget to check Andrew Coyne for the latest news on Adscam (and don't forget to use "Adscam" in your post - google is up and running with it.)
Feb. 19 - According to Russian Col.-Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, the Russian military has successful tested a hypersonic missile that would be able to move too quickly and evasively to be stopped by a missile defense shield.
After assuring the world that they did not intend to use the missile against the US, the Russians said that the missile expired after the test, probably meaning that it burnt up in the atmosphere.
Feb. 18 - Love Immortalized. Just go. You won't be disappointed.
Feb. 18 - I've long meant to blog roll a fellow Torontonian, The Transplanted Texan (you should already know about me and my template issues) and now there's another point of convergence: an Ontarian who lives in Texas who wisely takes it One Day at a Time.
Texas is kind of like Manitoba: sometimes a southern state, and sometimes a western state. I like Texans any which way.
Hmm. A new arrangement was was recently signed between Liberia and the US which allows the US to board Liberian ships.
This has got to be fodder for some conspiracy theories.
Feb. 17 - From a rough transcript of a panel discussion which included Norweigen Friends of America founder Fredrik K.R. Norman:
Knut Olsen: Is Bush worth dying for?(Link via Roger Simon.
Fredrik K.R. Norman: Hopefully we won't have to die because of Bush. Hopefully, we also won't have to die because of Osama bin Laden, terrorists and tyrants -- and that's what the Americans are trying to save us from.
Knut Olsen: But is he worth fighting for?
Fredrik K.R. Norman: We should fight for ourselves and our own interests, and they are the same as American interests: liberty, democracy and human rights. This, we shall fight for, hopefully together with our allies.
Feb. 15 - I'm off to work now. It's sunny outside, which means it's bitterly cold, but I keep telling myself it's colder just about everywhere else in Canada (even if doing so doesn't help a darned bit.)
Later . . .
We're here for you, Ith.
Feb. 13 - I'm floudering here. I need to come up with a Filthy Lie about Evil Glenn's Movie Remake for The Alliance and my mind is blank.
There was a commercial recently which I only noticed because it featured the theme song (whistled) to the old TV show Lassie. I looked at the TV and it showed a collie walking with a blonde kid and I inadvertantly said aloud "That's not Timmy" which made everyone fall over laughing (they only know the expression "rescue Timmy from the well" but never realized there really was a Timmy. Hell, I remember when Jeff was Lassie's master!)
Ahem, getting back to the assignment, maybe my problem is that I really like dogs - real dogs, that is, not those ankle biting, yapping things who are only pretend dogs but real dogs like Rin-Tin-Tin, Bullet and Lassie. I should include London of The Littlest Hobo but he was more of the Touched By An Angel type (although he probably would go get help to rescue a kid in a well in a pinch.)
The most horrible thing I can think of, however, and the lie that would keep me up at night would be a re-make of the cartoon and sequel to the movie Scooby-Doo with the horrible, dreadful, show-killing Scrappy-Doo in it.
Feb. 6 - I'm sorry about my absence yesterday, a minor crisis and major changes at work (don't the two always go hand in hand?) means my schedule will be somewhat erratic until Monday.
Check out the blogroll, there are some fine people there including some gems that have kept me sane!
Take care, and enjoy the weekend. (I know I won't! It really crimps my psyche when I can't post regularly, but sometimes you have to go above and beyond to keep that paycheque rolling in. Damned bills.)
Feb. 3 - I wasn't going to post anything on the silly furor over the Super Bowl half-time show but I can't resist Chuck's take.
Feb. 1 - Time to vote in The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase.
I'm voting for Ivy's discussion about Paired Things because the conversation about the poem could have taken place in my living room with my Mark who is wonderful but exasperatingly practical and because she was able to convey that beautifully. Good writing!
Next is Rasslin' Republicans' post (blogspotted, so Ctrl+F "constitutional amendment") on the much-discussed Constitutional Amendment to protect marriage because he makes some valid points in an unusual way, and although he touches on conservative concerns reaches the conclusion that marriage is not a governmental matter. I'm more inclined to allow each state to decide rather than remove any legal status for marriage and/or civil unions altogether, but the federal govenment most definitely has no jurisdiction in this matter so a constitutional amendment is wrong for constitutional reasons.
Feb. 1 - Looks as though I'm the only person in the blogosphere who hasn't made a prediction for the Super Bowl, so here goes:
Pats will win 28-13.
Global TV will not show the same commercial over and over and over. They will show the same two commercials over and over and over . . .
The "surprise" guest during half-time will either be President Bush or Muhammed Ali.
If my predicted score is wrong and it looks to be a blow-out, I won't watch the 2nd half. Please let it be a game game!
I have laid no money on any of the above, which indicates how confident I am.
UPDATE: I was wrong on nearly every one of my predictions BUT I got my wish! It was indeed a game game.
Feb. 1 - Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative Party in the UK, demands that 'isolated' Blair calls inquiry into intelligence on WMD.
That's the reaction not only in the UK but in the USA as well, but is it so in France and the UN? As it appears that everyone was fooled and the fooling was furthered by relying on reports from those fooled, I'm not sure inquiries country by country will actually lead to answers in how we had all been so fooled about the existence of stockpiles of WMD (and please remember, Kay's testimony before the recent Sentate Intelligence Committee concerned stockpiles as Kay's earlier report on WMD programs before a House committee made clear that those had not been abandoned) by the regime.
The NY Times covered many of the questions by committee members and noted the partisan nature of those questions, but even the Times article did not refer to Sen. Clinton's question as to whether continued inspections by the UN team would have produced the same results as Kay's, to which he adamantly responded No, because the people Kay's team interviewed would not have volunteeered the information so long as Saddam was in power and able to intimidate them because of his known fondness for shredding.
In many ways, the intelligence lapses before the war might finally put to rest the attitude that the USA is omnipotent, an attitude Americans don't share but others irrationally believe. Disagree? Then explain why anyone would be astonished that an incomplete set of dots combined with Saddam's refusal to cooperate with the UN teams resulted in an inaccurate assessment.
It's not a simple matter of 2 + 2 = 4, it's more a matter of 2 + x = y, and intelligence experts are expected to accurately ascertain the values of both x and y. People like me get to say "there's not enough information" and beg off, but the intelligence agencies in the world can either a) contract out to Wolfram & Hart and ask their psychics for help (gratuitous Angel reference) or b) they can take their best guess based on past experience with Saddam and Iraq's known weapons programs and stockpiles at the time of the 1991 ceasefire agreement.
There are two dangers in such intelligence lapses, of course: that we may inaccurately assess a threat to be more than it is or less than it is. As more information emerges about North Korea's aborted missile sale to Saddam, Pakistan's role in selling nuclear weaponry expertise, how advanced Iran's nuclear weaponry program is, and Libya's involvement in a weapon's program that circumvented detection by UN inspections, there is also a question as to whether their belief that Saddam had such weapons was a factor in their pursuit of WMD programs which would also justify one of the reasons for war: that Saddam posed a threat to his neighbours.
Good old DOS. Why have you abandoned us?
To be honest, I am not feeling very charitable right now. Of course, the French haven't given me any reason to feel charitably but I usually at least try to make an effort. Fact is I'm too tired, my fingers are cramped and my toes haven't thawed out.
So I'm sticking with "Don't let them in Iraq at all." They can, if they wish to do something useful, come here and help with snow removal. It warmed up just enough to make the snow heavy - very heavy - and there are still some residential areas of the city where it's pretty rough going.
Okay, I'll try to be more charitable.
Toronto got a lot less snow than other areas in the East, so let's send them to harder hit areas and Toronto will cope. Yeah, that's it. And now I don't appear so self-interested.
Jan. 26 - I got a really late start today, but want to begin by pointing to some more observations from Roger L. Simon in his post Roshamon on possible Syrian involvement with Saddam's WMD. He also links to more analyses of David Kay's interviews at JunkYardBlog and Dust in the Light.
There needs to be some major snow shoveling here. Mark's brother lives in Sault Ste. Marie so I would normally be downright embarassed to complain about the average snowfall in Toronto, but I think today might just qualify as the exception, but there's no point complaining until it actually stops snowing.
I screwed up my courage earlier to go into the Blogger template and update the blogroll. Two blogs have not only changed urls but names as well, so Moving Target is now Autonomous Source and Too Much to Dream is now Twisted Spinster. I also updated the link for Random Thoughts and added Just Between Us Girls and Let It Bleed, two fine Canadian bloggers.
The Canadian Election Blog has a lot of contributors from the Canadian political spectrum and will prove particularly relevant as everyone assumes an election will be called at some point this year (by the way, I'm going with the name I first saw on Jay Currie's blog for now, although the title "E-Group Election Blog" is on the web bar.)
I thought that The Owner's Manual and Iraq 2.0 were already on the blogroll, but they were evidently among the links lost in cyberspace when blogger went down completely during one of my recent forays into the Blogger Template (and you wonder why I'm reluctant to venture in there.)
Usual request: if I screwed up something, let me know so I can fix it. To err is human, and I'm human.
Jan. 23 - I guess it was predictable that there would be a backlash against John Rhys-Davies for remarks he made asserting the worth of Western Civilization and declaring it and its accomplishments worth defending. I'm not going to quote the accusations, but they are in Front Page Magazine as well as Robert Spencer's defence of Rhys-Davies which concludes:
As Rhys-Davies himself put it: "I do not want to see a society where, should I ever have any, my granddaughters have their fingernails pulled out because they are wearing nail varnish. . . . Do not brand me a racist because I am most certainly not. But I will stand by this: Western Christianised Europe has values and experience that is worth defending."(Link via little green footballs.)
Can Malik guarantee that none of those young Muslims in Holland want to see the Sharia imposed there? Is he willing to renounce the Sharia and work to educate Muslims about how it must be reformed in light of principles of human rights that are recognized universally outside the Islamic world?
If not, then Gimli has nothing whatsoever for which to apologize.
Jan. 23 - Bob Keeshan, 'Captain Kangaroo', dies at age 76- . Sheesh, another part of my childhood has just passed from this mortal coil.
Jan. 22 - The latest precision guided humour assignment was to list some War on Terror Side Benefits. This was a toughie, not because I couldn't see any side benefits but it was hard to see them in a humourous light.
Truth is, all I could think of was Frank J. and Allah, both of whom could be considered humourous side benefits (as well as reminders as to why liquids must be kept far, far away from keyboards and mousepads.)
The airline pilots altered their Welcome Aboard speeches. We began to take another look at some of our allies, and at their current transgressions and past lapses. We made independent yet simultaneous decisions to mock and boycott.
France even annoyed Colin Powell.
New heights of humour erupted last May when France complained it was the target of untruths and thoughtfully provided us with a list of some of the accusations. Journalists who felt insulted that they were not on the list rushed to file new stories about the perfidious French. (The Wa-Po story even put "American intelligence source" in death quotes throughout the article. Heh.)
Our President is not the greatest orator in our history, but we choose substance over glitz. We remembered that Lincoln was, by all contemporary accounts, a poor orator with a voice that grated on the hearers, yet he led our nation through its darkest period and delivered the definitive understanding of what obligation our dead pass onto us, the living, in The Gettysburg Address.
And President Bush echoed that recognition of obligation, committment and sense of purpose in the State of the Union Address:
Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people. Twenty-eight months have passed since September 11th, 2001 -- over two years without an attack on American soil. And it is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting -- and false. The killing has continued in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Mombasa, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and Baghdad. The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilized world. And by our will and courage, this danger will be defeated. (Emphasis added for those who think he ignored Israel and the Palestinians.)So I guess for me, it's all about the things that make me laugh and the things that make me smile - with gratitude and affection - and the things that give me hope.
Jan. 20 - This is the time of year when we say hopeful stuff like "It's warmer than it was yesterday" and "It has to warm up before it can snow."
Dedicated smokers have their own definitive line on cold, namely when someone admits It's too cold to finish this cigarette, so let's head back in.
I was sent this KANSAS CONVERSION CHART recently, which is very similar to the Canadian one our Caper friends sent out:
California issues a heat alert and allows no one outside of their house.
Kansans go for a nice cool run.
South Dakotans call their dogs inside.
Kansans turn off their air conditioning and open the windows.
70 - 80 DEGREES
There's no such thing in Kansas
60 DEGREES ABOVE 0
New Yorkers turn on the heat.
Kansas folks plant their gardens.
50 DEGREES ABOVE 0
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
50Â° Fahrenheit (10Â° C)
Californians shiver uncontrollably,
Canadians plant gardens.
40 DEGREES ABOVE 0
Italian cars won't start.
Kansas people drive with their car windows open.
32 DEGREES ABOVE 0
Distilled water freezes.
Shawnee Lake's water gets thicker.
20 DEGREES ABOVE 0
Floridians wear coats, gloves and woolly hats.
Kansas people throw on a sweatshirt.
15 DEGREES ABOVE 0
New York landlords finally turn up the heat.
Kansas people have their final cookout before it gets cold.
People in Miami cease to exist.
Kansas people lick the flagpole.
20 DEGREES BELOW 0
Californians fly to get warm in Mexico.
Kansas people get out their winter coats.
Kansas Girl Scouts begin selling cookies door to door.
-60Â° Fahrenheit (-51Â° C)
Mt. St. Helens freezes,
Canadians Girl Guides sell cookies door to door.
Polar bears begin to evacuate Antarctica.
Kansas Boy Scouts postpone Winter Survival classes until it's cold enough.
Mount St. Helen's freezes.
Kansas people rent some videos.
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Kansas people are frustrated because they can't thaw the keg.
-100Â° Fahrenheit (-73Â° C)
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole,
Ottawa canal opens for skating.
-173Â° Fahrenheit (-114Â° C)
Ethyl alcohol freezes,
Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.
Microbial life survives on dairy products.
Kansas cows complain that farmers have cold hands.
ALL atomic motion stops.
Kansas people start saying...."Cold 'nuff for ya?"
-460Â° Fahrenheit (-273Â° C)
Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops,
Canadians start saying "cold eh?"
-500Â° Fahrenheit (-295Â° C)
Hell freezes over,
Leafs win Stanley Cup.
Hell freezes over.
The Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
Jan. 20 - A personal note to say Happy Birthday to my Mom, who is a terrific lady, wonderful Grammy, proud Red Hat and the terror of SF Bay Area highway commuters. (I'm probably out of the will for sure now!)
Jan. 20 - Adherence to tradition can involve some sticky ethical quandries: for the past 56 years, someone has snuck into the graveyard on Edgar Allen Poe's birthday and placed a bottle of French cognac and three roses on his grave.
This year the tradition was again followed, but the midnight visitor left a note:
"The sacred memory of Poe and his final resting place is no place for French cognac," the note read. "With great reluctance but for respect for family tradition the cognac is placed. The memory of Poe shall live evermore!"
Jan. 18 - The conversation in the post on Crows and Ravens in Ivy is here made me laugh. Never have this kind of conversation with someone who prefers things stated cleanly. FWIW, my Mark thought the author should have consulted a bird book before writing about crows and ravens, and was more interested in wondering if a flock of ravens was also termed a murder.
Note that this is the same man who can argue for hours about the varying deficiencies and advantages of different baseballs, so it's not as thought he can't grasp subtlety.
UPDATE: Hmm, I'm not sure the url is right because my vote wasn't counted. Anyway, the post may be blogspotted, so try Ctrl+F "Ravens."
Jan. 15 - Jaeger doesn't like the cold up there in Gatineau, and has some very positive things to say about global warming.
Miscellaneous, etc. has snow haiku.
The evil attack squirrel of death attacks innocent biker! Really!
Damon has little empathy for Dean.
Jan. 15 - Dennis Miller, probably best known for ending the SNL News with his trademark "And I am out of here!" will soon be hosting a nightly show on CNBC starting Jan. 26 at 9 pm. (I'm assuming that those of us in Canada who can receive the cable station will be able to pick it up.)
Mr. Miller is my kind of whatever it is people call people like me are called (South Park Republican is probably the best well-known) because he believes in individual rights.
Mr. Miller is also not a traditional conservative. "I've always been a pragmatist," he said. "If two gay guys want to get married, it's none of my business. I could care less. More power to them. I'm happy when people fall in love. But if some idiot foreign terrorist wants to blow up their wedding to make a political statement, I would rather kill him before he can do it, or have my country kill him before he can do it, instead of having him do it and punishing him after the fact. If that makes me a right-wing fanatic, I will bask in that assignation."(Link via Neale News.)
Mr. Miller said he remained socially liberal. "I think abortion's wrong, but it's none of my business to tell somebody what's wrong," he said. "So I'm pro-choice. I want to keep my nose out of other people's personal business. I guess I fall into conservative when it comes to protecting the United States in a world where a lot of people hate the United States."
Jan. 14 - The title says it all: the reward for a job well done is, as everyone knows, getting assigned to do something similar but harder.
I flirted briefly with the notion of trying to excuse myself due to excessive rabble-rousing, but there are bills to pay and kids to educate and A Good Example to be Set and besides, I do enjoy a challenge.
I should be finished by tomorrow morning, so adios for now.
Jan. 13 - Jay Currie has an interesting article up over at Tech Central Station Virtual Israelis. Well worth reading.
Jan. 12 - I had a major report to finish, but got distracted by some fantastic football yesterday. Although the report is done and sent off I am still behind on my correspondence so my apologies to those I owe responses to and I should be able to get caught up by tomorrow.
The comments seem to be down. Oh well, you get what you pay for, as they say. Is there a halo-scan equivalent to the euphremism "blogspotted"?
In honour of the Toronto District School Board we had a snowball fight this morning (it was a draw.)
I found a terrific article through Jack's Newswatch which helped answer a question that's been nagging at me a couple of weeks (see below.)
By the way, Jack has altered the format of the newswatch a bit to give some information about each link. It's a good, one-stop Canadian news and opinion source so check it daily.
Day by Day has a beauty today.
In other news, U.S. Begins Hoofprinting Canadian Cows at Border over the protests of Canadian bovine-rights advocates over what they called "xenophobic species-profiling."
A new episode of Angel is on tonight, so I'll probably watch it, swearing all the while that it will be the last episode I watch if it doesn't measure up. Next week's episode is going to be Harmony-centric so I guess tonight had better be good. Still, we lost Firefly to save Angel? There is no justice.
Jan. 10 - Indiscriminately following links often gets good results, as in this Canadian blogger who has obligingly translated Chirac-English/English-Chirac which is extremely funny (but where was he when I needed help translating Chretien into any known language?)
He too expresses his outrage about the incomprehensible ban on visible religious symbols in French schools (read crackdown on Muslim girls wearing head scarves) but as I wanted answers, not validation, I'll make do with some pretty well-targeted satire:
But then explain to me how that, in any way, applies to students in a school? Are the religious freedoms of Jean-Pierre the Catholic in some way polluted by the presence of Amal, the strict Muslim? Is her head scarf radiating some kind of religious intolerance that says, "Jean-Pierre, I deny you your right to Easter and Christmas and the Seven Sacraments", merely by its presence? Will Eliad's skullcap somehow destroy his teacher's ability to maintain control of his class, with such blatant religiousity in full view of the other students? I've got to be missing something.What am I missing? That's actually been the general reaction. If anyone has found that something that everyone else has missed, they aren't admitting it.
Maybe Mike can follow-up with the story about Iraqi Shiite cleric Sayyed Amer al-Husseini proposing a boycott of French products in protest of the ban. Like the French really need more people boycotting their products.
(Link via Au Currant.)
Jan. 10 - Time again to vote in the The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase.
Canadian Headhunter has a very good one on management styles in Ridiculous Business Books (blogspotted - use Ctrl+F and "ridiculous"). The entire blog has some interesting insights for both workers and management and is lacking the usual mumbo-jumbo so well-beloved by human resources types.
Go Dubya also suspects that the guest editorial by Neal Starkman in the Seattle Post Intelligencer might be more revealing than some leftists might wish about liberal elitism in his post You're Stupid. I'm not talking about all liberals, of course, but I've heard this argument too often, albeit more cleverly disguised, by left-liberals who have concluded that the only possible explanation for the president's popularity and approval ratings is due to gullibility and/or stupidity.
Jan. 9 - Too funny: I guess it was inevitable that this guy show up there!
Jan. 8 - So I get home from work, and decide to read some blogs before I hit the news and get totally side-tracked with some links from Moving Target. And they had more links, and their commenters had some other links, and it was, as you-know-what proclaims, time well wasted.
UPDATE: Alpha Patriot has his own notions about the S Factor.
It wasn't only Bruce, though. It was also some good links from Colby Cosh and the image of Jay Currie playing in the snow after organizing a vote for Chretien (who didn't come in first, but then he actually had some competition.)
Jack put together an intriguing post "NO -- Ya don't Say?" that links to the CBC, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun and the National Post (among others). But I have to tell Jack that I do feel safe in Toronto, even at night. That's not actually a good thing, because if people like me didn't feel safe maybe more folks here would demand the City Council act to stop the gang warfare. But apparently the tolerant and inclusive city of Toronto is willing to tolerate the deaths of young black men and the let the residents of some areas be included in the terror of hearing gunfire at night.
Another good waste of time was on a tip via Damien Penny that tonight's PBS Frontline would have a feature about the crackdown on Iranian dissidents, so I watched it and was pleased to see that it focused on Zahra Kazemi. Her body has still not been released to her son, (although Canada has threatened Iran with more soft diplomacy) but he hasn't let up on the pressure and it's good that PBS is helping by not letting Kazemi's death be forgotten.
UPDATE: This is the webpage for Frontline correspondent Jane Kokan's clandestine visit to Iran and her investigation into Zahra Kazemi's death as well as a link to her interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Abadi.
From The Story:
In the outskirts of Tehran, Kokan further interviews Arzhang, who shares information about Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi's last days. "She fought [the interrogators] back, she criticized them, she shouted," Arzhang says. "They cannot endure critics and she fought them back strongly."Kokan also interviews Stephan Kachemi, Kazemi's son, in Montreal.
Anyway, those are my excuses for blogging so late and, worse of all, getting to the Australian and British press for tomorrow's news without yet seeing today's.
Jan. 8 - This article about the possibility that a no-show passenger on a cancelled Air France flight was an al Qaeda trained bomber has a terrific quote:
"French intelligence services in constant touch with American partners conducted additional investigations that produced no new indications that could confirm the theory put forward by American media," said a police spokeswoman.If only more people could learn to distinguish between theories and suppositions (often substantiated by "unnamed official sources") put forth by the media from official US government statements.
Jan. 6 - I love coffee. I don't put stuff like milk or sugar in it (scotch isn't "stuff") because I like it hot, black and strong. When my coffeemaker broke down last month, I startled my family when I calmly pulled my Emergency!Back-up!Coffeemaker out of the cupboard thus proving that I believe in being prepared for some emergencies.
I don't exactly require validation but am nonetheless pleased that A healthy jolt seems to be a good way to reduce the risk of developing some types of diabetes:
PHILADELPHIA -- Drinking more coffee may reduce the risk of developing the most common form of diabetes, a study has found. Compared to non-coffee drinkers, men who drank more than six eight-ounce cups of caffeinated coffee per day lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by about half, and women reduced their risk by nearly 30%, according to the study in today's issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.I protest the perceived bias of coffee toward women inbibers.! No, wait, it just means I need to drink more than 6 cups. I can do that!
But experts say more research is needed to establish whether it really is the coffee -- or something else about coffee drinkers -- that protects them.Heh, "something else about coffee drinkers." I'm tired or I'd be full of
"The evidence is quite strong that regular coffee is protective against diabetes," said one of the researchers, Dr. Frank Hu. "The question is whether we should recommend coffee consumption as a strategy. I don't think we're there yet."Well, yeah, decaf. It isn't real coffee, you know. It's like light beer: you get the foam, but not the buzz, so what's the point?
There was a more modest effect among decaf drinkers: A 25% risk reduction for men and 15% for women.
Jan. 3 - Time to vote in the The Truth Laid Bear's The New Weblog Showcase.
Self-composed has an interesting post about the hypocrisy of Banning Smokers, or more specifically not accepting people for employment who smoke off-premises and off-duty, while not discriminating against people who are overweight, have high blood pressure and indulge in fast food who are also high health risks. (Full disclosure: I smoke.)
Dec. 31 - To all of you, both readers and those I read, thank you for sharing the challenges of 2003 and bringing your insights and perspectives.
I remember reading a post (or maybe a comment?) where someone wrote that people in the blogosphere are participants in a civics class. Doesn't that just hit the nail squarely on the head? The degree of political debate going on in this medium is like the whole town showing up for one heck of a stormy meeting.
I'd wax all eloquent and go on about the Renascence but heck, you already know it or you wouldn't read blogs.
Goodness to all of you in this new year, and enjoy the party!
Dec. 28 - Okay, these round-ups happen as every year ends, but Michele Mandel's take of events captured both the Biblical and the Absurd:
We must have done something very, very bad to deserve the year that was. We were smote by the biblical 10 plagues -- we had wind, fire and darkness, we had cattle disease, plague and pestilence. All we were missing were the frogs.I suspect she already knows that the frogs were busy in Colorado. It's not all funny, as we recall Holly Jones and still-missing Cecilia Zhang, but invokes hope as we recall Elizabeth Smart.
Before any posts in the comments, I know that Mandel remains opposed to US action in Iraq. That's her right, and doesn't change the fact that she's right on so many other issues.
Dec. 27 - Time to vote in the The Truth Laid Bear's New Weblog Showcase.
I enjoyed viewing (and reading!) Reality's Angry Howie and "the point". I can't recall a similar photojournal in the showcase, and it's a good innovation. He makes some pretty shrewd guesses about "the point" too.
Dan K. O'Leary highlights one of the things I admire most about President Bush in the post Bush, Saddam, and Howard Dean and that he knows what is priority is even if his opponents don't. While Dean prattles (and points!) away, the president is committed to doing the job with which he is entrusted and ignores the slights and slurs aimed his way because protecting Americans is his concern.
Dan says the president delivered a smackdown by reminding Dean that the primary focus right now is to defend our beloved country. GWB is more concerned with that than with defending himself against spitballs from the opposition.
Give Justin full marks for research! He read the NR piece with John Rhys-Davies and set about discovering the political views of the cast of the LoTR and found that Sean Astin considers supporting the troops a duty and another Rhys-Davies gem in which he explains his views on Tolkien's LoTR Politics of the Lord of the Rings. I think Justin would agree that dropping The Scouring of the Shire made JRRT roll over in his grave. (I am not voting for this because it's about the LoTR. No, I'm not. Really. You'd think I'm obsessed with the collected works of LoTR or something. Sheesh.)
Eric adds another layer to the interview with Rhys-Davies in Someone in Hollywood is FOR Western Civilization? adding emphasis on the fact that slavery was and continues to be one of those things about which the UN talks but does nothing. And Rhys-Davies' father saw the contradiction way back when.
Read these and enjoy, and remember, you too can vote simply by linking the posts on your own blog.
Dec. 26 - Actually, they are right behind me, and they would really, really like this computer. (It's the DSL, you see.)
I'll be back later, so take care.
Dec. 26 - When the single case of mad-cow disease hit Canada, the Daily Telegraph was full of interesting links about the history of the disease and the degree to which the science was speculative, but they haven't the links up (yet?) this time around (Nations bar American beef after first mad cow case.)
The same questions will be raised in this investigation as were raised when the disease hit Canada: How did the cow contract the disease?
I'm going on memory here, so correct me if I'm inaccurate or downright wrong, but as I recall, the speculation was that the cow contracted it through contaminated feed, it got it from infected elk (even though prior evidence indicated it wouldn't) or the disease occurred spontaneously.
Dec. 22 - Two more days to go until I'm off for Christmas. I'm sorry I haven't had time to answer any comments (although it looks as though everyone is doing fine without me!) but you've all been spared any, you know, deep and insightful posts from me so there is indeed a bright side to everything.
I'm just catching the local news on Global, and give them their due: they are broadcasting messages from the troops in Afghanistan back to their families.
A dominant feature of the media on both sides of the border is the elevation of the threat level to orange. Please: is anybody surprised?
Jack has some posts that make excellent reading: Illusion, which Canadians and Americans should read and I'm still pondering, and Justice - Canadian Style about his feelings about the recent sentences handed down in the Matti Baranovski case and his feelings - as a cop- about the failure of the judicial system in general.
So long, and take care. And for crying out loud, make sure there are no pedestrians in the driveway before turn left into mall parking lots. Sheesh.
Dec. 20 - The blogosphere has graced us with the presence of writers and thinkers whose works inspire and challenge. Steven den Beste at USS Clueless and Bill Whittle at Eject!Eject!Eject! are two such, and efforts to post individual essays or quote sections are near-impossible due to the overall sweep of their incredible essays.
Another is Wretchard of Belmont Club. The problem with him, as with den Beste, is that it is impossible to read just one, and that in turns leads to the impossibility of posting about only one.
Today he cites from Victor Davis Hanson's latest column at National Review Online, which leads to a post about European apathy which, as it did between WWI and WWII, hid a deeper antipathy which may be a very clear danger sign.
Before that is an analysis of the strategy of pursuit (a nice word also known as annhilation) which follows a broken line in a defensive formation using the information we get from Saddam as the starting point.
Even before that is an analysis of the post-war period which uses the Yalta Conference as a starting point.
See what I mean? How do you isolate one post when each flows seamlessly from the previous one?
Add him to your daily reading.
Dec. 20 - Time to vote in the The Truth Laid Bear's New Weblog Showcase.
I enjoyed viewing (and reading!) Reality's Angry Howie and "the point". I can't recall a similar photojournal in the showcase, and it's a good innovation. He makes some pretty shrewd guesses about "the point" too.
Dan K. O'Leary highlights one of the things I admire most about President Bush in the post Bush, Saddam, and Howard Dean and that he knows what is priority is even if his opponents don't. While Dean prattles (and points!) away, the president is committed to doing the job with which he is entrusted and ignores the slights and slurs aimed his way because protecting Americans is his concern.
Dan says the president delivered a smackdown by reminding Dean that the primary focus right now is to defend our beloved country. GWB is more concerned with that than with defending himself against spitballs from the opposition.
Give Justin full marks for research! He read the NR piece with John Rhys-Davies and set about discovering the political views of the cast of the LoTR and found that Sean Astin considers supporting the troops a duty and another Rhys-Davies gem in which he explains his views on Tolkien's LoTR Politics of the Lord of the Rings. I think Justin would agree that dropping The Scouring of the Shire made JRRT roll over in his grave. (I am not voting for this because it's about the LoTR. No, I'm not. Really. You'd think I'm obsessed with the collected works of LoTR or something. Sheesh.)
Eric adds another layer to the interview with Rhys-Davies in Someone in Hollywood is FOR Western Civilization? adding emphasis on the fact that slavery was and continues to be one of those things about which the UN talks but does nothing. And Rhys-Davies' father saw the contradiction way back when.
Read these and enjoy, and remember, you too can vote simply by linking the posts on your own blog.
Dec. 18 - I not only failed to complete the last Precision Guided Humor Assignment on time (it was to come up with nifty campaign slogans for the Democrat candidates) but I can't come up with a danged thing even now.
My lame excuse is that we've all been dazzled and awed up here by the coronation up here of newly installed PM Paul Martin and saying Adios (ok, au revoir) to Jean Chretien, debate over the reconstruction contracts in Iraq and shoveling snow as well as fighting a losing battle against the ice (I live in a hilly area.) Okay, the dazzled and awed part is a lie. The snow and ice parts aren't.
The only thing I could come up with was "He's President Bush and I'm not" which is not witty but accurate as that seems to be about the extent of what they offering the electorate.
What can I say? If the endorsement of Madonna for Wesley Clark doesn't inspire me, I'm hopeless.
OverlordQ of Pinto's Blog came up with this.
Susie of Practical Penumbra came up with these.
Fly Killa has of Ripe Bananas these.
Dogtulosba of dogulosba.ink provides good snark.
homicidalManiak of The Rantings of a homicidalManiak produced more.
Dan of Dan K. O'Leary's Blog has pictures with his slogans.
CD of Semi-Intelligent Thoughts lets them show their true feelings.
Nick of The Conservative Cajun even visited the DU for inspiration and came up with this plus an excellent explanation for the DU. (Ctrl+F "Another Assignment")
Physics Geek of physicsgeek has these and a very apt picture atop the post (we had a calandar with that cartoon, Far Side, I think?) Count the heads.
Graumagus of Frizzen Sparks gets full snark marks with these
Bow Down! The Emperor Misha of Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller graces us with this (and the commenters supply more.) [Is this mike on? Bow down is a play on, oh, never mind. It was lame, like my sole contribution.]
Harvey of Bad Money finds their groove with these. I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you.
Mercenary Sniper J of Quibbles and Bits kindly provides footnotes for these which are as funny as the slogans.
Witty, pointed, and really unlikely to be used by the Dems, which is too bad because they aren't coming up with much on their own.
Dec. 17 - ColbyCosh looks at Michael Crichton's speech at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club in which he which declares environmentalism to be a new religion and more.
Check out Jay Currie's post on Lazy Bison, too.
It does seem that we are unwise and arrogant) to fool with Mother Nature.
Dec. 17 - Fly Our Flag is having a vote on which flag Martin will hoist over the Peace Tower (for American readers, PM Paul Martin is a shipping magnate who runs his ships under flags of convenience rather than the Canadian flag.)
Neat descriptions under each flag explain why Martin might choose it.
A Paul Martin fact-file is here.
(Via Francois of Martin Watch, who kindly sent out an email with the links.)
He's already got links to recent columns by Bob MacDonald, Colby Cosh and David Warren for starters, as well as numerous articles at canada.com (National Post) Debka, Daily Telegraph (UK) and the IHT (Int'l Herald Tribune).
Keep it up, Jack!
The system can be fitted to most commonly used pistols. It has a trigger attached by a cable to the pistol trigger, so that the handgun can be extended through a doorway while the soldier remains covered by a wall.Check out the photo.
A small, high-resolution camera and monitor give a full view around the corner. The footage can also be transmitted to a command post. The soldier can tilt the pistol 60 degrees to the left or right, enabling him to angle his body and fire a shot at 90 degrees.
A sharp pull of the grip snaps the pistol back so that it points to the front and he can storm the room.
In the three months that the system has been on the market, Corner Shot Holdings, a Florida-based company manufacturing in Israel, has sold units to 15 countries including Israel, Russia, the United States and Britain.
Dec. 16 - It's official: today's top stories are too weird and determined to devil me.
First, Real cop nabs fake fuzz. Actually, I think the guy is totally sane. He only put into action what many of us have wished we could do.
Client slugs own lawyer Okay, raise your hand if you never wanted to slug your own lawyer. Right. (Actually, this guy might be nuts. And I don't approve of men slugging women even if she is a lawyer.)
Keiko now 'at peace'. Details on the burial of a whale which, you'll be glad to know, went smoothly but in secrecy.
Doc will be 'threat' because he likes to perform unnecessary hysterectomies. Ya think? The question now is if he should be allowed to continue his practice excluding surgery.
'Alien entity' killed mom after which her daughter sat beside her decomposing corpse for 7 days and smoked cigarettes. The name of the alleged alien entity is "Devil Son Zellion."
"Now a judge will decide if 92-year-old Amy Ruth's daughter killed her with an aquarium rock."And the social engineers obsess over kids playing video games?
Tobey Maguire thinks it's much more physically demanding to be a jockey than Spiderman. I always said Spiderman was only slightly better than Aquaman. How long before a super-hero who's a jockey by day and crime fighter by night makes the comics?
File this under "a rose by any other name ...:" Tory MPP (that's Member of Provincial Parliament) John Baird was asked by Liberal MPP Tony Wong to withdraw the phrase "Red" China. Baird said he would substitute the phrase "Communist" China.
The article notes that over 7,000 jobs in Ontario have been lost since Ont. Premier McGuinty (aka Reptilian Kitten Eater from another planet) and the Liberal Party took power here.
Ex-tyrant nearly blown to pieces because US soldiers were seconds from tossing a grenade into the spider hole that housed Saddam.
Yeah, me too.
The yard was a mess, the laundry wasn't done, the pantry was bare and the only art on the wall was a poster of Noah's Ark. Saddam Hussein's hideaway on a derelict farm property in northern Iraq was a far cry from the lavish palaces he had lived in for years.Noah's Ark? That has got to launch a thousand interpretations. Where's a de-constructionist when you need one? (All busy with Return of the King, no doubt.)
T.O. doc lost two chums to Saddam. He isn't wasting any tears for Saddam either.
Of course, not everyone is happy Saddam has gone from despot to prisoner: Many Palestinians lament Saddam's downfall. Yeah, blowing yourself up isn't half as attractive when $25,000 isn't to be paid to your families. Just think: what if the whole Straight Ticket For Paradise part is also wrong?
Vatican opposes death penalty for Saddam. Big surprise. The Pope also opposed deposing Saddam.
Saddam's family demands international trial. I agree: I think the world should be put on trial alongside Saddam.
Except for the last bit, these really are news items from the Toronto Sun. Anyone who thinks Canadians are boring just isn't paying attention.
Dec. 16 - To anyone in Toronto who experienced the blink-out (brief black-out) I confess: that was me. I was trying to tidy up the blog roll and the power cut off and then back on. You already know what happened to my work, and I apologize for what may have happened to your work.
Contrary to numerous cliches, things don't necessarily work out better the second time you do them. If I put somebody in the wrong category, mispelt a name or did something equally dumb, please email me and let me know. I don't proofread very well when words are surrounded by htlm as well as blogger code (that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.)
I have a number of good reasons why I'd rather do housework than enter the Template Zone. It's not fear, it's justified caution because I have to go into the Template Zone unarmed.
The Blogger Template Zone and I have an relationship similar to that of the UN and US. If I have something it wants, we're the bestest of friends; if I need it to cooperate or at least not stab me in the back, it smirks and
a) goes down completely (second-to-the-last time I tried to tidy the blog roll)
b) refuses to re-publish the entire site and gives an error message that even Blogger doesn't recognize (last tidying)
c) the power packs up and leaves the building (today.)
Does it show? I just finished reading Kofi Annan's views on the fate of Saddam and my jaundice level is a-rising.
One thing struck me: I actually have something in common with jihadists and muhajadeen. They have contempt for Americans because they think we'll break and run at the first sign of trouble, and I look at the United Nations and Red Cross and, yes, I admit that I find them contemptible cowards.
Respect is something that has to be earned, or, in the case of the UN, re-earned. Their numerous lapses in confronting genocide and evil have caused many to wonder of what use they are except to give lifelong bureucrats like Annan status and well-paying jobs and pensions at our direct expense.
We have our own corps of life-long albeit homegrown bureaucrats, thank you all very much.
Again: who pays their salary? The very people they deign to lecture on courage and morals! Can we all say Pink Slip the lot of them? Of course we can.
The USA has a lot of bad as well as good. The difference is that we are continually working to eliminate the bad, and if we seem self-involved it's because helping and improving the lives of all our citizens is a priority. Are we really doing any worse than any other country? No, actually; we're doing better because we never give up.
It is really, really nice that everyone in the world wants to get involved with improving us and I can really, really see how that goal would be much more preferable to working to improve themselves.
Americans believe that actions speak for themselves, and regard all words with respectful skepticism. Nice words had better be backed by action or the speechifyers will be shrugged off.
hostile nations allies who want us to use our taxpayer dollars to subsidize their economies with contempt. We see too many nations with their hands perpetually extended for a payout, and some of these are G-8 nations!
Cowardice and courage come in many forms. I merely listed a few examples and implied some others.
[N.B.: No bureaurcrats were harmed in the production of this rant.]
Dec. 12 - All good things must come to an end, like my mid-week weekend. I return to work tomorrow for some more weird and wacky hours so I'm searching out the funny and witty (because I need to cheer up.)
Day by Day - always good.
Looks like Donald Sensing isn't the only one who sees the Little Red Hen analogy to the outcry over the Iraq reconstruction lockouts, but Dumbidity takes it a step further and gives the animals appropriate names. He explains CWISSLN and gives an inadvertant reason to be relieved that Martin isn't Chretien (other than the fact that he isn't, you know, Chretien): he doesn't have a silly sounding name.
That tale is getting a lot of play including some Very Special Versions over at Mudville Gazette.
I got that from Susie, who also gave me, no, just get them yourselves (where does she find this stuff?). It's her Monday, which was my Sunday, which means we're both depressed.
The Essay is no longer sick, is not depressed, and has an answer to the Eternal Question (and instructions for catching the next mothership.)
Chuck notes that this war has it's moments.
ScrappleFace has a report that DH Rumsfeld has left the door open for one thing the Weasels can contract for.
Dec. 12 - Time to cast votes for the The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase.
The Iraq war will be a success is an excellent look at not only Iraq, but Bosnia and Kosovo and a brief history of occupations.
There will be talk of a "Mesopotamian renaissance" (you heard it here first).I read it, and I like it. What's more, I agree.
Maybe this is my day for nostalgia, but as I read this on plagiarism I found myself again thinking again "how times have changed" (and "this is getting depressing.") When I was in uni, committing plagiarism was grounds for expulsion. Period.
I don't find it surprising that parents are indignant when their kids are caught and try to avoid any punishment. We see that behaviour from parents too often in public schools too, although it takes the form of fretting over "self esteem."
One thing that hasn't changed is parental compulsion to get their kids into a good university, but wait, aren't these parents boomers? And didn't we drop all that phony comformity to the establishment stuff? Dang, I must have missed another memo.
Dec. 11 - A story from Colorado Conservative: He had an excuse made me laugh, especially because I suspect the defense he suggests might actually have worked. Humans are a strange and wonderful species.
Dec. 10 - The new Precision Guided Humor Assignment is to suppose I am Secy-Gen of the
Useless Nations United Nations and can not only propose but pass resolutions!
I think mostly I would want to dissolve the danged thing (at a significant savings to US taxpayers, I might add) but would have to get members to think they thought of it themselves, so first I would have to propose and pass resolutions that would suddenly make
driving New Yorkers crazy living in New York less desirable.
Obviously, the first I thing I would do is insist they drive - and park - in compliance with the laws of the city. There would be no diplomatic immunity for double-parking, unpaid tickets, and non-payment of restaurant bills. We'd request that the NYPD cooperate with us in enforcing those laws, and if jail time is required with someone named "Tiny," we would intone about human rights and equality under the law and tell 'em to throw away the key.
Next I would open the books of the Oil-For-Food program and have it audited. If companies that did business under that program wouldn't cooperate, I would ask the nation of that company to force them to comply. If any nation didn't cooperate in my search for truth, I would suspend them from the UN and they would lose all rights and privileges. (Guess which nations I'm thinking about? Heh.) After they cooperated, they would be reinstated but only as a
lowly member nation. (Guess which three are off the security council?)
Of course, I'm completely fair. Nations tossed off the security council would have the right to show cause as to why they should be on the security council (having overly exaggerated self-important delusions of grandeur wouldn't cut it.)
Arafat is next. That audit will be done in painstaking detail. But I'm not heartless: I'll send him some fruitcake as a gift. If that doesn't kill him, I'll send him last year's fruitcake. Then I'll call the PA rep into my office and, while I'm cleaning my gun, tell him my "peace" plan.
By now most of those
freeloading serving their countries at the UN have fled or stalked off in a pique. So far, so good.
The UN couldn't run without its bureaucracy, so naturally we'd have to reduce staff due to lesser duties. With less ambassadors and staff, we don't need that big honking building, so we'd move.
unused airport way outside Montreal known as Trudeau's white elephant Mirabel Trudeau Airport. It's a bit cold in Canada, but I'm sure these dedicated people would not be off put by a little personal hardship in the pursuit of their lofty goal. Besides, they speak French in Quebec. Sort of.
For the stubborn ones still left, I'd improvise. I'm an early riser, so we start business promptly at 6 a.m. No free breakfast, so they'd better be sure to stop at the Tim Horton's Drive-Thru on their way to the HQ. I would provide coffee at $0.50 (see? I told you I'm not heartless.)
Ambassadors would be expected to brown-bag it for lunch. They only get a half-hour, and will be penalized if they are late.
In order to assist Canada in meeting their Kyoto targets, I'd reduce the heat in the winter. The delegtes would have to cope.
Alcohol would be forbidden because we wouldn't want to offend anybody. Smoking too. (Although what I do in my office is my own danged business. Besides, I wouldn't let anyone in there except friends.)
Anyone who remains is now
compliant and totally subject to my will shares my goals.
Drinks on me (in Toronto.)
Dec. 10 - Another miserable failure nomination over at The Meatriarchy.
Dec. 10 - You want to see a miserable failure?
(Via lots of people!)
Dec. 7 - Things your mama never told you, like how to spot a Rural Sex'Yal.
Dec. 6 - Harvey persuaded me to take the plunge and add comments.
It was easier than I expected. HaloScan directions make sense.
#1 son brought over Clerks - Unedited, a cartoon version by Kevin Smith. Too funny.
Dec. 5 - Time to vote The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase. By the way, for those who don't know what I'm talking about, follow the link and check out some of the entries from new bloggers. Anyone can vote, you just put up a post like this one with the same title and link to the article (not the blog) and your vote will be counted that midnight. Voting closes midnight Sunday, and it's a good way to encourage new bloggers.
First is for Dangerous Liberty and Al Franken on Book TV. Most of what I garner about both Franken and O'Reilly is from the internet because Fox isn't legally available up here but the links and the commentary are impressive. How important is this spitting contest? Probably not history book worthy, but I think dangerous liberty knows the basics of fact-checking which puts him way ahead of Franken.
After I read Right Behind Me I clicked "Main" and found myself reading the entire blog. I have no idea what dogtulosba, ink is supposed to mean, but Chad is both funny and no-nonesense. How can you not love a guy who acknowledges the Army-Navy game (Go Army!) and uses his camera to capture the priceless factor?
Dec. 5 - No, I really don't give a hoot about the Grammies, but there's weird stuff happening with them.
It all started innocently with this article in the Toronto Sun: Several Canadian artists get nominated, but not Celine Dion. So far, so good.
Dustbury reports on some scammy at the Grammys, and invokes Milli Vanilli.
The one that needed some digestive biscuits was this from Colorado Conservative who reports that Bill and Hillary Clinton are each nominated for Grammys.
Bill gets a nomination for his wolf-friendly version of Peter and the Wolf. The weird part is that the Duck clearly represents the kind of victim Democrats usually love: too damned stupid to stay in the pond, it leaves and tries to out-waddle the Wolf and is gobbled up. I could see defending the Wolf because it acted soley according to its nature, but I didn't know deforestation was a big problem in Prokofiev's time. Most wolves try to avoid humans (and our guns) so I would have to support shooting the Wolf as he was endangering the farm critters. Bill's from Arkansas, and should know better.
But at least Peter and the Wolf contains music.
But Hillary? She received the nomination for Best Spoken Word Album for her autobiography Living History.
And I wouldn't be surprised if they win.
Dec. 4 - This week's Precision Guided Humor Assignment was to come up with definitions for The Liberal Dictionary (Canadian alert: small l liberals.)
Anti-American: Righteous victim or one who supports the rightful claims of righteous victims
Appeasement: Consulting the international community
Canadian Alliance: The Official Opposition in Canada, but isn't based in Ontario or Quebec and thus irrelevant.
CBC: Canadians think of it as the home of Hockey Night in Canada and Coaches Corner. It isn't necessary for Canadians to watch, like or agree with CBC news and commentary since it's government funded.
CBC Radio: Anti-capitalism radio station funded by government.
CBC Radio-French: Anti-capitalism French radio station funded by government. Since most Anglophones don't know French, classic music lovers listen to it so they can enjoy the excellent non-lingual music without being indoctrinated by the commentary, so the Canadian government is redoubling it's efforts to
force get people to learn French.
Censorship: Invoke when necessary to promote progressive views; denounce when people ignore progressive views
CNN: Anti-capitalism news agency owned by a capitalist
conservative: Backward greedy Philistine [Ant. liberal]
Conservative: A member of the same party as no one in Canada as it hasn't been formed yet
Diversity: Building a power base
Europe: The coolest fraternity on campus
Fox News: Pro-capitalism news agency owned by a captitalist
Fundamentalists: Deluded fools who actually believe in religion [Urgent: Exhibit sensitivity for religion around Muslims, as they are still too backward to have reached our level of enlightenment.]
Haliburton: Beautiful forested cottage country with excellent fishing; N of Toronto
Halliburton: Oil cartel with dark, secret agenda and insatiable oil lust
Jingoism: Mental defict which causes those afflicted to support their country's right to wage war as a last resort to defend their interests
Lie/Liar: Useful accusation which rarely causes journalists to do fact-checking
liberal: Enlightened compassionate visionary [ant. conservative]
Liberal: A member of the same party as the Prime Minister who reigns in Canada
Libertarian: Dangerous faction that really hates unnecessary regulation
Mainstream: Dangerous element of society
Oil: [see: ooooilll!!!!!!!]
Patriotism: Vulgar display of affection for imperialist country
Progressive Conservative: A Canadian party which is rapidly becoming extinct. Once led by Joe Clark, a liberal who refuses to join the Liberal Party.
Quagmire: Swamp, bog, fen. Usage includes demoralizing citizens and soldiers, gets respect in Old Europe and Toronto Star.
Taxation: Mmm, taxes . . .
Tolerance: We state our views. They agree.
U.N.: Active international body entrusted to ensure respect for human rights and dignity, stop genocide, and maintain peace
Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: A useful accusation to levy which requires no proof or evidence. Most effective when said in a lowered voice.
Weapons of Mass Destruction: Fox News, fundamentalists, jingoism, patriotism, vast right wing conspiracies, SUVs, Big Macs, and Ann Coulter.
UPDATE: Oops, forgot to be bilingual and have inadequate percentage of CanCon. Added CBC-French Radio and CBC proper.
SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!
I'm late finishing this one, but the bonus is I get to link to people who are actually witty! (If the link is suffering from blogspotted fever, hit Ctrl+F and type in keyword.)
Marc of Idiot Villager
Silverblue of Ramblings of SilverBlue
Roxette of Hoppings of Roxette Bunny
Physics Geek of physicsgeek (Use search for "assignment")
Nick of The Conservative Cajun (Use search for "homework.")
CD of Semi-Intelligent Thoughts
Don of Anger Management
Harvey of Bad Money
Dec. 4 - There's some good news for everyone who's ever read (and admired) Mike The Marine's comments on other blogs: he's finally begun a blog of his own From the Halls to the Shores.
Thanks, Harvey, for spreading the word.
Dec. 3 - Strong black coffee, a cigarette, and Love poems. It doesn't get much better (Ahem: note time.) A sample:
Love may be beautiful, love may be blissThen there are Kang A Roo jokes (no, not Klingon, fellow Trekkers):
But I only slept with you, because I was pissed.
First Kangaroo: Why did the dinosaur fall out of a palm tree?Mommy, what's a Retrosexual?
Second Kangaroo: A hippopotamus pushed him out.
This map is the penultimate blog tour.
Do all panda namers stutter?
Nov. 25 - This week's Precision Guided Humor Assignment from the Alliance of Free Bloggers is to determine what kind of punishment would be accorded anti-war protesters under American sharia law.
The all-important word "American" should mean that sharia law not violate either the First or Eighth Amendments of the US Constitution (the latter forbids that "cruel and unusual punishment be inflicted") so American sharia would be both more humane and necessarily more imaginative than current Muslim sharia law.
It is somewhat fitting that this question come up as Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is super fitting that I read A Puritan Idealism in Iraq at Earthly Passions last night because I was also reminded of how the Puritans dealt with minor trouble-makers. [More on this excellent post downstream.]
However, I don't think that either the pillory or stocks would be allowed under American sharia law, although the feather-tickler might get by. So I had to go further back in our history to come up with something that would not violate the Constitution.
Then I remembered the practice of shunning. It's pretty self-explanatory, and just means that the citizens of a town decide they will neither speak nor acknowledge a person or persons who consistently violates the sensibilities of that town or are unrestrained mischief-makers.
That may sound like I'm going easy on them, but given their penchant for drama and over-the-top actions, constumes, props and exhortations, depriving them of attention would be hitting them where it hurts. All that time lovingly spent on Hitler=Bush posters, applying magic marker with bold strokes to draw a mustache on the President, and the laboured the construction of the ubiquitous effigies, and nobody even looks!
Sheesh, if you're going to turn the water of fountains red as a puerile statement and nobody even looks twice, where's the thrill?
They could march and holler slogans, but people would just keep on about their business. (Since they're being shunned, however, anti-war protesters would be well-advised to cross only at marked intersections and with the light. People subject to the shunning can't expect drivers to yield the right of way to people who don't even exist.)
Actually, we've already put the shunning into practice on a small scale. What else explains the fact that the all-important and influential media (in their minds, at least) consistently issue dire prognostications yet are ignored?
Another possibility, still in keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, would be to make them eat all the leftover turkey. And dressing. Yeah, especially the dressing.
But they can't have any of the pumpkin and pecan pies. They're mine, and the whipped cream too, which doubles as a topper for Scotch Coffee (because I drink Scotch whiskey, not Irish.)
Nov. 6 - This is a must read for all men and women who stoutly defy attempts to remake and recondition and improve them: an essay by Kim Du Toit.
It is an absolute must read for those with male children.
Canadians may read this with a different eye, and wonder if what Kim's talking about might possibly have anything to do with the disrespect with which our veterans and present military personnel are treated. How about our police? Hmm? If it is no longer respectable to catch and punish the bad guys, even in child's play, how we treat our adult law enforcement personnel is going to feel the impact.
Zero tolerance has come to mean you must back down when someone is bullying you. Bulls***. Sometimes a black eye is a badge of honour, and fighting for someone weaker is worthy of respect. Zero tolerance means we aren't supposed to tell the difference, but there is a difference. Women know that, or they used to.
We've come a long way, baby. Now girls are among the worst and most vicious bullies in our schools and workplaces.
I was a feminist at the time of the first woman's rally August 26, 1970, which celebrated 50 years of the vote because I believed in choices, and let me tell you right now that I wasn't a feminist because I wanted a different group of women telling me how to live.
I was dismayed at how I was treated by other women when they learned I was a stay-at-home Mom. I had made my choice. What was the deal with this new judgement thing? I'm a bitch myself, though, so changed my strategy. Thereafter, when people asked what do you do I replied: "I'm an early childhood specialist." I was treated with respect then. Morons.
I wasn't a feminist because I hated men. I loved men then and I still love men, or more specifically, a specific man. A good man who has a moral code, who knows right from wrong, and who won't tolerate bullies of either gender.
My honey dumps his dirty clothes on the floor (but restricts it to one big pile.) He also does the laundrey, which inevitably means picking up those clothes. If it was really that important I would have made careful inquiries into his value system of clothes storage between laundrey days but didn't because I was interested in other attributes (no, I mean other attributes other than those attributes. Sheesh.) (Not that those attributes aren't important. Right. Ahem.)
When you really love someone, you don't try to change them, you love the good and the bad. You accept the good and the bad. Getting together with someone when the goal is to change them is a sign of mental instability because it means you are with someone you don't like and don't approve of. That. Is. Totally. Sick.
And Kim? Men aren't the only ones abandoning television. A lot of women are sick of female characters who are castrating bitches. Quite frankly, I find most television extremely embarassing.
[As an aside, I've often wondered if we are finding it a tougher go in Iraq because American television, which is sold throughout the world, portrays American men as groveling before the Superiority of Women.]
So I'll keep watching Stargate SG-1, and Buffy, and old John Wayne and Charleton Heston movies because they're about people who, by and large, know who they are and what they are. Oh yeah, and mute the commercials.
Link via One Hand Clapping who in the link cited, adds some depth and further substance as a Christian, and encapsulates the entire controversy (at least I hope it will become a controversy) quite admirably:
Manhood must no longer be defined by women, but by men. Specifically, men who are self-confidently masculine and donâ€™t regret it, who donâ€™t want to regret it.I know I'm a little over the top on this one, but I'm quite serious when I say that young boys and young girls everywhere need you to fight this battle.
Death to political correctness and all it's lying liars who are trying to socially engineer us in the image of ants.
Oct. 26 - From the blog quebecois:
If you have a power sander, dispose of it now. Throw it in the garbage, give it to Goodwill, annihilate it with a cutting torch.This can only end one way . . .
People with power sanders are like people with pickup trucks. When people need to move on the cheap, they think of people with pickup trucks.
Susie has some thoughts about moving the clocks around from the viewpoint of someone in Indiana here they stick to the clock all year. Cool.
David wrote a letter to his blog and invokes the spirit of Rod Stewart.
Anger Management has a disturbing story (my favourite kind) about the untimely demise of Miss Piggy.
The Lemon bears the sad tidings that Iraq is being kicked out of the Axis of Evil, but the remaining members are heroically searching for a third member to replace it. There's also a report that Dean is leading in the presidential polls -- in Europe.
The Essay has a house that's easy to care for. Sort of.
Allah Is In The House (actually he's out playing paintball) and has some nice things to say about the NY Times. Sort of.
ScrappleFace is just plain funny. Just start at the top and keep on going.
Oct. 2 - French Libertarian in Quebec has been keeping on top of the case of the pizza deliveryman who wore a collar bomb, robbed a bank, and was killed when the bomb detonated.
This post tracks more twists and turns than The Rockford Files. It connect to a body in a freezer, and, well, just go on over and read.
(A quick prayer: don't let them make this into a TV-movie. Please.)
Sept. 30 - It was inevitable that conspiracy theories would arise given the unusual number of blackouts since August in the US, Canada, the UK, Denmark and Italy. I can't deny that I noticed that the countries affected (except Canada) were members of the Coalition of the Willing, and I'm sure terrorism crossed everyone's mind followed quickly by more mundane, earth-bound explanations.
Al Qaeda had issued a statement in which they claimed responsibility for the Northeastern blackout last July, but as it didn't spread panic and, in fact, strengthened some ties to our neighbours, they must have been disappointed. Civilians even got to direct traffic.
The wonderful Sun (UK) compiles the whispers in Dark forces are at work. Excerpts:
One of the most popular is that the Western nations have secretly organised the blackouts as dummy runs against terror attacks.Behold the unlimited power of the US military. It can control the Earth's magnetic field.
One US web user said on a chat site: "There's a good chance this was orchestrated to test public response and as a reminder to be prepared."
Others believe a top secret US military experiment is to blame, suggesting it had affected the Earth's magnetic field which caused the cuts.
Others attributed the blackouts to aliens taking over the world.Nobody is blaming Klaatu. How times have changed.
One conspirator said: "The aliens transmit large amounts of electricity into power relay stations and blow out their circuit breakers. It's all part of their invasion plan and every industrial country will be affected."
Perhaps the most bizarre explanation came from a conspirator simply known as Acoloss, who said: "Maybe electricity is a form of life and it's become aware."
Sept. 26 - Child porn and child sexual abuse is everyone's problem:
Too, too funny.
Sept. 18 - Some of our favourite bloggers are coping with the hurricane, and sending out reports (mostly via battery back-up).
The Canadian Weather types are calling it "a significant weather event" with 55 mm of rain and winds of up to 80 km/hour (that computes to about 2 inches of rain and wind of 50 mph in American. It's almost embarrassing.)
But they are still taking the Big Cautious Route, urging everyone to have at least 3 days of supplies on hand.
Sheesh, if we were talking winter and snow they'd use words like "only" and smile too much, right?
(Canada.com link via Neale News.)
Most Etobians have three major hurricane-related concerns:
The Humber River
The Mimico Creek
The Etobicoke Creek
Our street, which runs along the Mimico Creek, was submerged up to the 2nd floor of most houses during Hurricane Hazel in 1954.
The water level in the creek rose dangerously high for days after Hurricane Andrew passed, so we kept a near jail-warden eye on our kids to ensure they didn't heedlessly run across the little footbridge to play in the park.
Losing power? Been there, done that, partied heartily. But the Canadian Red Cross is urging people to replenish those supplies which were used during the black-out (which of course assumes that people didn't scramble frantically to get supplies after the power went out) so I totally expect big line ups at the beer and liquor Stores.
Dollars to donuts this is about as exciting as Hurricane Watch Canada is going to get, so I'll simply express my best wishes and hope for their safety to those coastal people in the hurricane's path safety.
Sept. 17 - Courtesy of Meryl Yourish, The Axis of Isabel:
Are you a blogger in the path of the hurricane? Are you tired of wondering when, if, and how hard it will land?Yes, yes and yes. This axis has promise.
Or are you just plain tired of the hype?
There's also The Axis of Isabel Guide: How to tell you're in a hurricane with some practical, common-sense ideas:
Try turning on a light switch. When the light doesn't go on, turn the switch off. Then turn it on again. Then off. Then on. It's a well-known fact that if the light doesn't go on the first time, it's not because you have no power. It's because you obviously didn't flick the switch correctly to the "on" position. Repeat this in various rooms throughout the house to make sure that your power is out everywhere, and not just in one or two rooms.(Whoa, does she know my kids?) Good, funny read.
Aug. 27 -- Bloggers have been busy as hell today. Have I mentioned how hot it is?
Paul has I want McCallum's head stuffed and mounted on my wall, Thank God for the RCMP which is a necessary read for this followup Oh f*ck off in which Paul responds to demands from Toronto's Muslim community for an apology and an immediate release of the 19 illegal immigrants arrested on suspicions of terrorism (or should that be activism?)
Smug Canadian looks at the plea to movie-makers from attorney generals of 22 US States that they reduce depictions of smokers, well, smoking in movies States request honest depictions of Democrats in movies (if only).
Colby Cosh links to his new column in the National Post which takes a look at the ideas of Hernando de Soto and foreign aid. I'm emailing it to the US State Dept.
French Libertarian is threatening to go to jail before he'll eat brussel sprouts.
Jay Currie reports the latest move the BBC has taken. I think it's called damage control, although others might call it locking the barn door way too late.
News Junkie Canada has received and posted a letter from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties about Irish hate speech laws. She has also posted the text of the section of the Criminal Code in Canada which pertains to hate speech. Someday someone will explain to me why those laws don't apply to the US President and Americans but I'm content to think of it as hypocrisy for now.
David Janes explains why he's in a blogging funk. His reasons are pretty good.
Right On! has a downright revolutionary idea about how to solve the child care crisis. (Translation: revolutionary these days means common sense.)
The Canadian takes on a rather crude depiction of Christians by Warren Kinsella and also attacks the recent poll from the LA Times which skewed its results in order to show Bustamente is ahead of Arnold in the polls. Is he saying the liberal press lies? Oh no . . .
The Dissident Frogman is looking ever more closely at the actual state of health care in France with another horror story. The demise of the "greatest health care system in the world" must be read, especially as we have to wonder if that's where Canada is also heading.
If you haven't read David Warren's latest essay One-a-day then do it now.
North Korea: we're all thinking about it but not sure what to think. Mike Campbell looks at NK's acceptance of multi-lateral talks and their slow realization that China will not bail them out and connects some dots between resolving the stalemate with North Korea and Iran's nuclear ambitions. Check out the following entry also, Up >From Slavery, which is about Booker T. Washington's autobiography, and Mike factors in some Canadian history about the Antigonish Movement which, from what I could tell, had a similar "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps" approach to ending poverty.
Naturally The Meatriarchy would be at the forefront of the meat recall story and even gives credit to the Toronto Star who finally got to the bottom of this story.
Before I close down I'm heading over to Jay Solo's blog to follow the link to vote in Balloon Juice's blogger awards. You might want to do it also.
Aug. 16 -- The funniest thing online is the opening page to blogger.com, which proclaims "and in the darkness blog them" as the preamble to their latest updates. It was pre-black-out, but still cracks me up.
ScrappleFace gives some acid tea and sympathy to those of us hardest hit by the blackout:
With no electricity, many "bloggers" were forced to post their latest musings to the Internet by candlelight. Some resorted to using old-fashioned kerosene-fueled personal computers. Others wrote their thoughts out longhand on paper then ran through the streets reading them aloud to the passing crowds of stranded commuters.
Canadians must take a moment to be thankful for small mercies: Frank J. has called off vengeance on Canada in retaliation for causing the black-out (scroll to bottom of comments.) It may have been premature, though: wait until Frank J. find out more about MP Herb Dhaliwal, co-chair of the newly established investigatory committee. Even though there wasn't any way around it (he's federal Minister of Natural Resources) he's bound to be more interested in the Blame Game than Finding Solutions but remember: it's in his nature. He's a Liberal Party one-liner, and he's a moron.
Dollars to donuts Herb will blame the USA for the black-out and pinpoint the cause on our refusal to ratify the Kyoto Accord. Any takers?
OK, I'm off to the stores to get the essentials while we still have power. Cold cuts and anything bar-b-queable will be the first things on my list.
See you later, Toronto Hydro permitting.
Doesn't it figure that once the screen is up I can't think of a blessed thing to say? Of course, I can always think of really cool stuff when I'm away from the keyboard . . .
Oh well, the first post is probably the hardest. Until the second post comes along.