"Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion."
-- Hoban Washburn

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Have you guys seen this?

2

Transparency is great for the other guy

I actually had an idea for a great song lyric to use as a title for a post. Of course, because i didn’t write it down at the time, I’ve forgotten it…

I had an interesting conversation with my parents about corruption and Canadian politics. Dad’s entire public service career was spent at CIDA, and he had many years of experience in dealing with the agency being used as a vehicle to fund pork-barrel projects in the constituencies of high-ranking politicians. Apparently, the Mulroney years were the worst – during that time, my father was asked about corruption in Kenya, he responded that corruption there was only marginally higher than corruption here. Which seems to imply that despite the sponsorship scandal, the Liberals weren’t really any more corrupt than anyone else – they just got caught.

Which brings me, in a round-about way, to my reason for posting; despite all the talk about bringing more accountability & transparency to government, our current Conservative government seems to be just as secretive as any other. I can’t decide if they are raging hypocrites, or if their lofty ideals have just gone “splat” on the concrete floor of reality….

2

Easy now as un deux trois

After a day and a half in Paris, my legs are actually still working…maybe this is my first step to getting back in shape! :-)

We started the day off by taking the Metro down to the Louvre (which is closed today and tomorrow), and walking through the Jardin des Tuileries and down the Champs Elysees to l’Arc de Triomphe…a somewhat long walk, but an amazing one! It’s phenomenal to think about all of the armies, monarchs, and everyday folks that have done that same walk over the centuries…

I seem to be the only one on this trip that’s managed to stay healthy…the rest of the fam is suffering from various degrees of a cold. Happy Phantom is blaming the vents on the plane for stirring up the viral soup, but I think it has more to do with the jet lag than anything else. I remain immune, happy to say…and trying not to burst into song… :-)

1

These so-called vacations will soon be my death

OK, one thing I forgot to mention yesterday (because I was posting in the evening) is that coffee shops in this country don’t seem to understand the concept of “extra large”. I’m having serious issues getting going in the morning when I have to buy several piddly-ass cups just to get my fix! :-)

I don’t know how this country functions without a pail of caffeine every morning…oh well, I’ve gotta go now…time to find my next latte…

1

Quit holding out and draw another breath

Well, it’s been 36 hours in London now, and so far the trip has been pretty awesome! (oh yeah, in case you didn’t know, I’m in London with the fam right now…)

This is my first time across the pond, so there have been many differences to take note of…but, as John Travolta once said: “it’s the little differences,” such as:

  • pulp in orange juice is referred to as “bits”
  • getting a coffee to go or take-out food is referred to as “take away” (as I was snootily reminded earlier tonight)
  • Exit signs are nowhere to be seen, but the “Way Out” is always clearly marked

We hit the National Gallery today, and did a walking tour around the Thames by the Westminster and Victoria embankments. On the list for tomorrow is the British Museum (thanks BirdLady!) and the Tower of London. Then, on Sunday, we hop the train to head over to Paris.

The really good news is that our budget travel-tour flight brought us into Gatwick airport, which allowed us to avoid the “killer fog” that stranded 75000 travellers at Heathrow yesterday.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll find time to post from gay Paris (no, Grabber, I’m not…), but for now my fingers are getting tired from this crappy Internet terminal keyboard… :-)

Merry Xmas, everyone!

1

Take me where I cannot stand

Our favourite Joss Whedon sci-fi has been licensed for a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. Apparently, by 2008 we’ll be able to login and play around in the ‘verse.

(BTW, I found this very cool wiki site!)

So far, I’ve been able to resist getting into any of the MMOs (even Star Wars Galaxies), mainly because I am truly afraid of what it would do to my life. However, a Firefly-based game might just be enough to break me–after all, Joss Whedon is my master now:-)

2

How on earth could I not feature this?!?

A purely gratuitous fart “joke” – with truth being stranger than fiction:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6213644.stm

What I really want to know is, what is the woman’s “medical condition”? I can’t remember studying causes of excessive flatulence being due to anything other than the usual culprits of burritos, refried beans, and male gender… :D

1

Will Wright on the Colbert Report

Will Wright (without whom the world would never have known the joys of video games such as SimCity, SimCity 2000, the Sims, The Sims Online, The Sims 2, or The Urbz: Sims in the City to name just a few) was just interviewed on the Colbert Report (ri-pohrt) the other night and I thought it was too good not to share. Watch the video here.

I should add this comes on the tail of my spending Saturday night with my fourteen year old cousin playing The Sims 2: Pets (which I gave to her…). I also have to confess that I almost had a mini nerdrection* when Will had to explain simlish to Stephen.

*It’s not dirty like it sounds, just watch the video.

2

I’m off to play Messiah….

Well everyone, the season must be here. I am on my way to my first Messiah rehearsal of the season. This year I am playing first oboe, which is great because I am playing parts that I sing when we go to the Sing-Along with Tafelmusik in Toronto (soprano). It’s not great because I know the 2nd part so well that my fingers refuse to read the 1st part. This is the first rehearsal of only two, two performances and then the Sing-Along. It’s just not Christmas without them, to me. You should try it sometime :)

4

Nations abound

Further to yesterday’s brunch discussion re: Quebec as a nation, BC premier Gordon Campbell is calling to have the aboriginal peoples of Canada collectively acknowledged as a nation in the same way that Quebec was.

I figured this would be next, but my problem is that I disagree with lumping all of our aboriginal peoples together into one “third solitude”. This is by no means a homogeneous group, even if they do seem themselves as “nations within a nation”.

If we are going to acknowledge the Quebecois as a nation, then you clearly have to also acknowledge the many other nations within Canada. Although it might make for a lengthy proclamation, it’s not such a bad thing, really; I recall more than 15 years ago a TV special hosted by an anthropologist (& funded by the Body Shop) looking at aboriginal peoples worldwide. At the time, he hailed Canada as being a model for the world – many nations within one state. It would be nice to see it happen.

1

Let’s Split!

I’ve been griping about Harpers’ new campaign move tax relief plan with mom (being single she would get the shaft in this setup) so i thought I’d bring it to the blog (knowing how all of you enjoy a good gripe). So the idea is that if you’re married and your spouse makes significantly less than you then you can split your income between the two of you, working the tax brackets in your favor. It’s a great plan for single income married couples and families, married pensioners, and of course the wealthy generally get a little extra money to throw around during their next money fight; and all for the low low estimated cost of 5 billion dollars. But it’s OK! Because apparently that’s about what our estimated federal surplus is looking like, which Harper claims he always meant to give back to the canadian people in the form of tax breaks. Of course, by ‘Canadian people’ he doesn’t mean all of us (I mean, why should a single parent get any extra cash?) he’s more refering to families with a stay at home parent, the rich, and pensioners (wait, who are his core constituency again, i forget…) because tax cuts that benefit all would clearly be unreasonable (i mean, could you imagine if someone was expected to pay the same taxes as someone who did the same job but wasn’t married? I know, it’s just preposterous…). Personally I think we just need more things to claim, since there’re such different things to claim if you have kids (regardless of being married) then if you were a pensioner, etc…

2

Divergent journeys, but we will meet again in Hell

Since Bill C-38 was passed last year, anti-gay marriage groups have continued to lobby for its repeal, despite that fact that the bill merely confirms the interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms made by the Superior Courts of eight provinces, in order to provide uniform application of the law across the country.

With the Conservatives in power and planning to honour their promise to hold a vote on revisiting the same-sex marriage debate, a coalition of 43 religious leaders has issued a Declaration on Marriage, calling for the restoration of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. I’ll ignore for the time being that three of the signatories represent religions that currently allow for polygamy.

According to the declaration, “changing the definition of marriage involves a repudiation of millennia of history and experience.” Is it really a repudiation? I believe we’re actually learning from millenia of history and experience, and are now choosing to end millenia of discrimination and persecution.

The declaration also places a great deal of emphasis on the impact of Bill C-38 on the children (a certain Simpsons character springs to mind). Apparently, the primary purpose of marriage is to procreate, in which case there should be special protections for marriage in our laws. I guess married couples who don’t have children shouldn’t be allowed the right of marriage, nor should we tolerate single people who choose to raise a child on their own.

The conclusion of the declaration brings home the real point of this argument: somehow, these religious leaders believe that if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, their respective belief systems are somehow challenged. According to them, “the freedom of conscience of marriage officials and service providers is already being violated”, although no evidence of this controversial (and, to my knowledge, false) statement is provided. Apparently, religious freedom trumps individual freedom (even when the individuals are holding a pair).

Sigh…can’t we all just get along? :-)

5

Good morning, Ottawa!

Hi all -

Well Homewrecker recently told me that the Blog was back up and running again. Three cheers for KaveMan! Now that I’ve crawled out from under the heavy breastfeeding fog (read about the realities of Mommy Brain), I’m ready to add to my own growing anxiety about my upcoming thesis proposal deadline by wiling away the hours on the Blog!

Here’s a picture of my latest accomplishment doing her thing (read: being cute).

Oh, and if someone helpful can tell me how to put a link in my post, I’d appreciate it…

6

So it seems I must have won

I didn’t get a chance to post about this last week, but Ottawa’s mayoral race resulted in a bit of a surprise for most of our crowd…I’m pretty sure all of us had pegged it as a showdown between Munter (the pinko lefty) and Chiarelli (the populist middle-of-the-road guy). When the big-business right-wing guy took the race, I guess we all got a reminder that Ottawa tends to be a reasonably conservative town…something that may have been masked in the last decade by the growing geek quadrant that has been somewhat stifled in recent years.

Also last weekend, the boat came out of the water. BogMan and I got out for one last (and very cold) sail on the Friday before taking the batteries out (well, actually, he took the batteries out by climbing under the cockpit again…I just directed from above). Then on Saturday, Righteous Guy joined BogMan and I in lowering the mast, while The Grabber and SMC watched from a safe distance. Then, finally, on Sunday, BogMan and I pulled the boat out of the water (with the help of one of the sailing club service providers), and wrapped it up like a big blue enchilada. Only six more months before the next sailing season… :-(

Last but not least, BNL has provided another song for the soundtrack of my life. This one hasn’t bumped the already-established theme song, but it’s definitely on the “Songs About and Inspired By” CD… :-)

3

South Africa more progressive than the Tories

My jaw almost hit the floor when I read this one. South Africa has passed a same-sex marriage bill. Kind of puts our Conservative government to shame! To say that homosexuality is taboo in Africa is a major understatement; typically, you can count on it getting you killed. If the South African governemnt can overcome the most violent prejudice & pass a bill that upholds human rights, why is our government trying to undo it here, where we are supposed to be more tolerant?

1

Save me from myself!

Here’s a cute little tidbit from the world of movies: a couple of US frat boys are suing the makers of the mockumentary “Borat” because it made them look bad:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6136944.stm

And here, silly little me, thought it was the making of sexist and racist comments during a #*$(&#(*$&#) INTERVIEW (which these frat boys apparently knew was going to be aired!) that made them look bad…

1

No touchy!

The creator of the Dead Or Alive series of games (“She kicks high…”) has been slapped with a sexual harassment suit. As unfortunately stereotypical as it is, I can’t say I’m surprised at this from the man who pioneered independent bounce physics between left and right breasts in 3D gaming…

People of the world! Not all gamers are misogynistic pigs! Some of us are just ordinary, everyday pigs… :-)

2

Culture of Entitlement

Well, the Ontario Court of Appeal has just ruled that victims of West Nile Virus can’t sue the Government of Ontario for negligence. The suit alleges that the government should have “prevented the outbreak” of WNV . How on earth they expect that to happen when the reservoir is in birds and the disease is transmitted by insects is absolutely beyond me. Lawyers for the plaintiffs go on to say that this ruling now means that no one can sue over a future Walkerton, or for victims of the second wave of SARS. Talk about a comparison of apples and oranges.

I have to confess that this whole case infuriates me. The threat of West nile Virus to humans is so much smaller than that posed by diseases like SARS or malaria. People in Africa have just lived with West Nile for ages. Nobody bothered to create a vaccine for it. (In fact, there has been a WNV vaccine for horses for years, which just goes to show where people’s priorities lay – race horses, which are admittedly far more susceptible to the virus, were more important that the very few people who developed serious complications.) Only now that it has shown up in the Western world does anyone in this province even know this disease’s name. Expecting to be able to sue the government for negligence over a disease contracted from a mosquito bite just seems to show how spoiled people can be in this country.

6

Rona’s Awesome Clean Air Act

An environmental group is planning to take the Conservative government to court because inaction on greenhouse gas emissions not only disregards Canada’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, but is also a breach of the Canadian Enviornmental Protection Act (CEPA). Claiming that the government has been acting “illegally” for some time with regards to GHG emissions, the Friends of the Earth Canada is planning to take the government to court.

While this seems to give Friends of the Earth good media coverage, and will of course bring attention to this issue, I question what value a ruling against the government would accomplish; it might make them look bad, but if the government didn’t want to change its ways, it wouldn’t. Any thoughts ont his process?

Soon to come; Rona and the Ronettes on the Air Farce; don’t miss it!!

0

Oh no I’ve said too much

For the first time in my life, I’ve managed to come down with a case of laryngitis. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Dr. Grabber has informed that it is indeed viral, so I just have to suffer through it…

It came on pretty quick…I’ve had a cold for most of the last week, provided quite helpfully by our little Typhoid Mary of the group. Then, yesterday my voice just started disappearing in the afternoon. I went from discussing the issues over breakkie (by which I mean making silly noises with little miss SMP) to no voice by the evening.

I’m finding this not being able to talk thing quite disruptive to my life. Teleconferences at work are of course out of the question, as are my frequent rants about executive management, interspersed with the occasional vitriolic diatribe over the state of the Canadian political landscape. Take those away, and what’s the point of even leaving the house in the morning? :-)

Oh, one note for the bloggers…I’ve added a new Comment Policy on the blog, primarily so that I can make commenters have to check a little box that they’ve read the comment policy before submitting a comment. This only will be required if you haven’t logged into the blog (for those who have an account), but be sure to check the box if it’s there–otherwise, your comment will be lost. I’m hoping that this will reduce the comment spam a little…I’ve had over five thousand spam comments in the last ten days, so I wanted to take an extra step against it.

3

C is for…um, a sometimes food…

Yesterday was the Nepean Sailing Club‘s Haulout Day, which means they had two massive cranes pulling boats out of the water and placing them onto their storage cradles for the winter. I didn’t have Serenity pulled out just yet, as I’m trying to find a decent day to get one last sail in before I really call the season done.

BTW, sailboats just don’t look right when they’re lifted out of the water.

I’ve found the theme song for my life on the Grey’s Anatomy Season 2 soundtrack. I don’t actually hate everyone I know, but I’m very entertained by the song’s cheerful disdain for the throngs of idiot humanity out there… :-)

3

Wanna go for a ride?

I passed! I passed! I have a G2, I passed….hehehehehehe!

0

It takes control and slowly tears you apart

Scientists have apparently figured out how to design the cloaking shield from Trek lore, and they’ve demonstrated it experimentally, albeit not yet with visible light. They’ve been able to make a copper cylinder disappear on radar, which is the first step towards expanding the concept towards making something truly invisible. This is different from current stealth technology, which only makes stealth craft extremely difficult to lock onto with radar beams.

Personally, I think that Porky’s fans everywhere are getting that special gleam in their eyes… :-)

6

I am not a beautiful or unique snowflake

OK, this is me trying to make a re-appearance on the blog, after being absent for so much of this year. Yes, work has indeed taken over my life, and I’m now trying to fight back…viva la revolution!

Here’s a summary of what this year has been about for me:

  • Re-discovering my dedication to work, after years of dismissing the management of the Evil Corporation where I’m employed as self-serving, dishonest power-mongers
  • Missing out on what little ski season there was
  • Deciding that the time had come to buy a sailboat
  • Buying a sailboat, and paying through the nose to have it hauled halfway across the province
  • Straining all of my relationships with family and friends through continued (and continuing) lack of contact
  • After months of long days (and nights) trying to get the “right thing” done at work, being told (indirectly) that meeting the unrealistic schedule was far more important than doing a good job
  • Enjoying this new show called “Grey’s Anatomy” that Kamelot keeps telling me about (on DVD, of course)
  • Moving into a new corporate metrics role to help shape an infrastructure for management integrity
  • Not touching the yard or the deck that took up so much of my energy last year, nor finishing the entrances that I started so late last year
  • Making BogMan climb under the cockpit of my boat multiple times (to install batteries and a motor bracket)
  • Watching little miss SMP grow up way too fast
  • Missing out on the cycling season
  • After months of long days (and nights) trying to implement high-quality process measurement tools, being told (directly) that meeting the unrealistic schedule was mandatory, but I still had to do a good job
  • Realizing I’ve missed out on much of the sailing season
  • Re-discovering my disillusionment with work, after months spent re-affirming that the management of the Evil Corporation where I’m employed are self-serving, dishonest power-mongers

I’ve taken this week off (after two other failed attempts at taking vacation) to try and reconstruct my life…I’ll let you know how it goes. However, the time off has let me finally get around to upgrading the base software for the blog to the latest version of WordPress, which means more automated filtering of all the freaking comment spam…woo-hoo!

(BTW, it never ceases to amaze me how much internet bandwidth is taken up by various forms of spam…I have to delete literally hundreds of spam comments every week.)

Anyway, now I’m just rambling, so it’s time to get back to my housecleaning, er, I mean vacation… :-)

5

Apologies for being a blog-hog…

Sorry – just couldn’t resist this: we’re front page news on the BBC!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5322302.stm

Can I use this excuse for speeding? (Though with a one year old in the car seat and another in the oven, can’t say this little momma does anything BUT the speed limit – on a “daring” day!) :D

0

Who would have thunk?

I’d always imagined the Crocodile Hunter would be taken by some one tonne reptilian behemoth… A lowly, usually docile stingray did this great one in. Somewhat “War of the Worlds”-ish in its ending…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5313078.stm

3

54 years don’t mean nothin’

Well, let’s see who’s still out there…

Since Birdlady & I revived the old religion debate after our pancake breaky at the cottage this Sunday, I thought I would share with you the following tidbit from today’s Metro:

“The Minister of a church in Watertown, N.Y., that dismissed a female Sunday school teacher after adopting what it called a literal interprtation of the Bible says a woman can perform any job – outside of the church. The church dismissed Mary Lambert after 54 years with a letter quoting the first Epistle to Timothy, ‘I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.’”

Some days, I despair…

0

So long suckers!

I live in peterborough now.

1

The dawn is breakin’, it’s early morn…

I have again been absent from the blog for quite some time, but I finally have an update on the whole boat situation–I’ve bought one! It arrived this week from Tobermory on a very great big truck. Here’s a pic of unloading the boat in the yard at the sailing club, and here’s what the interior looks like…

Serenity will be launched tomorrow morning, and I’m looking forward to getting out onto the water for the first time this year…

7

I remembered my password!

Hiya folks…

so it took about a year, but i finally remembered my username/password combo

i decided to drop a line, b/c appallingly, no one has since the beginning of april

now lets see if i know how to insert pictures

aren’t bunnies the best!

where are the bunnies???? stupid blog

aha! bunnies

never mind… i give up…

3

Roamin’ Gnorman’s first dispatch

OK, I give up with the pictures… I had a whole bunch, but they keep overlapping each other even with the low resolution. I guess I’ll have to share them on an email.

However, this one is priceless.

Cheers everybody!

6

I noticed every Tom, Dick and Harry really liked “Blue Sun”…

Sadly, I won’t be purchasing the cute little Viking 22 I’ve been looking at. I had a marine survey done, and there are significant structural problems with the boat that would be muchos dolares to fix.

The good news is that it’s spring, and everyone’s listing their boats for sale, so I’m still hunting for that opportunity to have a little slice of heaven on the river… :-)

I’m a little stiff and sore this morning…after a long week of 17-hour work days, I decided to take a nap after work yesterday…I went to sleep at 4pm, and then woke up about half an hour ago. 14 hours of sleep has left me a little fuzzy-headed, but I’m definitely better rested now!

1

Simpsons Live?

So I’ve been waiting for illustrious Bloggers to post something about the Simpson’s live-action intro, which we missed due to an ill-timed cranky episode from our firstborn. Did anyone see it? Can anyone post a decent link to a video so we can watch it? (the ones I found were pretty poor quality, and I must say, Marge and Lisa don’t look anything like Marge or Lisa.)

2

Is “Serenity” too geeky a name?

I haven’t been around much lately. Work has lately been my life, but I do occasionally find time to stop for food and sometimes even sleep!

My current big news, though, is that I might be buying a boat! After watching the for-sale pages and listings for a year and a half, the little gem to the right showed up this weekend. It’s a Viking 22, which is very much a day-sailor masquerading as a yacht. It has a large cockpit and a small cabin, which is pretty much what I was looking for in a starter boat. I’m giving up on the goals of wheel steering and an inboard engine, but that was pretty much a pipe dream in my price range anyway… :-)

The current owner is a gent in his 70s who’s retired and isn’t going to be sailing anymore. I’m getting a marine survey done later this week, and assuming there aren’t any big surprises, I should own the thing within a couple of weeks…and then I just have to figure out how to get it here from Southern Ontario.

More info to come!

21

Only in Nova Scotia…

Nova Scotia just has that newfie-like charm/boredom combined with that new brunswicker money that just makes things like this possible (Hint: Click ‘Watch’). Just remember, it’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. Trust me.

2

Just in time for St. Patty’s Day

Ever want to own your own pub? IPCo will build it to your specifications and deliver it for you!

10

I’m ready for my close up…

From the Reasons-Kavi-no-longer-watches-television department –

Is it sad that all I take away from this is that i’m pretty sure my new goal in life should be to get my own reality TV show? I mean, it can’t be hard work. And apparently networks are just dying to give one to anyone. Plus, one just leads to another. (And another. And yes, at least one more.) Either that or companies will randomly throw money at you. Even if noone likes you. I wonder if I could get Paris Hilton to come on my show guest star.

2

Polygamy on TV

After our discussion on Sunday about the new TV show Big Love, a couple of articles about it here and here , and a review.

0

More movie musings

I think I found a movie worse than Fantastic Four:

Two For The Money. Avoid this piece of crap at all costs. One might call Pacino’s over-acted (as usual) character sociopathic and schizophrenic, but it’s just bad writing. Horrible writing. The editing is almost worse. You could chop this movie into pieces (please do) and rearrange them and it wouldn’t make any difference. I won’t waste any more bandwidth on this except to express disappointment at the too-kind lukewarm reviews, and to say that the one bright spot here is that this kind of filth gives me inspiration to do more writing of my own, knowing that there are hacks like that actually making money.

Breaking my string of slanderous pans, I very much enjoyed Lord of War. I’m not a huge fan of Nic Cage but he was ideal for this role. The cinematography and soundtrack are both top-notch, and the script is peppered with cheeky, though often dark, humour. The social and political commentary is set at just the right tone and leaves pause for thought without being too preachy or dominating the story. The good versus evil stare down at the end is the perfect climax to the gradually-built character metaphors.

“I would tell you to go to Hell, but you’re already there.”

Highly recommended viewing.

5

Gourmet discovers poutine

I never thought I’d see the day that Gourmet magazine would publish a recipe for poutine – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/233993?mbid=RF5

and wassup with the chives??

2

For you new mothers

I had no idea breastfeeding could be so difficult!

12

As Kaveman is silent…

Since there are some interesting political doings in the news lately, and Kaveman must be too busy to comment, I thought I might just jump in… I feel somewhat vindicated that after all the talk of shameful Liberal scandal, it turns out Mulroney took kickbacks too. (Oh, OK, he took them after he left office… whatever.) I’ve always suspected that the Liberals were no more corrupt than any other party in power, and this seems to be a little bit of evidence that this may be so.

However, I’m particularly interested in the defection of David Emerson. Grabber, BirdLady and I ran into someone who had worked for him when we were out on Tuesday night, and this person confessed that it really was a surprise to everyone who thought they knew the man well. I find myself more disturbed by this change of allegiance than Belinda’s, and I had to ask myself why. All I can come up with really is that Stronach, whatever her personal motives may have been, did make the case that she did not believe that the Conservatives really had the best interests of her urban riding at heart, and that her move was best for her constituents. Since they re-elected her, a significant number of her constituents appear to back her on this. What I’ve read about Emmerson, however, seems to indicate that this is more about personal politics and less about the people he was elected to represent. (That it is also about personal power goes without saying…)

Is there actually a difference between these two cases?

6

Punks vs. Disco

Also, for those of you who wanted to see photos of BirdLady and I dressed to impress, here are some photos from the party that should tide you over until I actually get my act together and post photos from my own camera.

2

Lost and found

You may have heard about the “lost world” in Indonesia. Here are some pics of the new species they found.

2

Hit me with your laserbeams.

Just picked myself up a pair of these babies (they’re CD players). Totally fleeced the seller on eBay too, to the applause of my fellow local DJs.

Because of my entrance into the DiJital universe, I am now an unstoppable jockey of discs. $1.49 per download sure beats $17 for a slab of vinyl, but don’t worry, the regular turntables aren’t going anywhere and I will still be buying records.

So! After knocking off the couple mix CDs that I’m still months behind on, one of my new projects will be a be-all-end-all non-stop 80s mix double CD (much easier to do from CD than vinyl).

And thus we get to the purpose of this post: any requests??

Note: British music only. Why? Because the rest sucks.

20

Everybody begs for self-esteem

I’m finding it greatly amusing to watch the fortunes of the federal Liberal party succumb to a high-stakes game of “Not It!” :-)

Looking at the available candidates, I think that Belinda Stronach has a pretty strong chance at becoming the next Liberal leader, which is definitely not a phrase I expected to be typing even a year ago. I think she’s either a brilliant strategist or a nimble opportunist…or possibly a bit of both. But it looks like we’ll be waiting almost a year to see if it does her any good — the Liberal leadership race won’t be starting until at least the fall.

16

Bread and Circuses

Well, I’m now 5 days overdue, which explains my frequent visits to the Blog :) I wanted to share a great expression I came across in a research article I was reading for my comprehensive paper (hey, if you are waiting around, you might as well do something productive, right?). In context, the quote was: “The populace needs as always, and probably always will need, panem et circenses.” Now the only Latin I took was in a mandatory half-course on Medical Terminology, but I recognize it when I see it. Took me a bit to track it down because it was misspelled in the article (as panum, not panem), but the literal translation is ‘bread and cicuses’. It’s a shot against the proletariat(borrowing terms from our recent discussion on Marxism), referring to a Roman poet who commented that all the people needed to make them happy was bread and circuses (or whatever was going on at the Coliseum that night, I guess). A direct commentary on our current Western civilization’s obsession with consumption and entertainment. See if this sounds familiar to you: The expression has also “become a general term for government policies that seek short-term solutions to public unrest.” http://www.thomasjamesmartin.com/breadcircus.htm (sorry, I still don’t know why, but I don’t have a link button on my writing page!)

4

Marxist gays

Can anyone out there explain to me how same sex marriage is Marxist?

5

We Love the CBC

I second DJBoyo’s comment in our last thread, that I love the CBC. For those of you who knew my former liberal MP from Ottawa South, John Manley, you’ll be happy to know that he has decided not to run for the Liberal leadership . He was quoted as follows: “Manley poked fun at his bland image. ‘Some may want a dynamic, charismatic leader. Some others may support me.’ ” For anyone who saw him on the election coverage the other night, that’s about as charismatic as I’ve ever seen him :) I once asked him a question about post-secondary education funding at a election debate when I was in my undergrad, and he talked around it like a dog going around a fire hydrant. I have about as much success listening to him as Peppermint Patty did to her teacher. He is a very intelligent guy, and if you listen hard enough to hear between the rhetorical lines, he makes some sense – but that’s just too much work as far as I’m concerned.

In other news, a day after the election which KaveMan appropriately dubbed “Canadians are Idiots”, Frank McKenna resigned as ambassador to the US. Congratulations, Frank. Too bad we had to lose a savvy guy representing us in Washington, but you’re too desperately needed at home, and who wants to work with the incoming Canadian administration anyway? Too bad it means you’ll likely be replaced by some lightly diguised George Dubya fan. In the meantime, the American ambassador to Canada was here at Western yesterday at a poorly advertised pannel discussion (boy, would I have loved to go and heckle at that one, even if it was my due date!). I guess he kept his comments in the ‘not wildly offensive’ realm, except for the softwood lumber dispute, about which he said something to the effect of ‘we need to sit down at the table and work it out’ (sorry, it was local London news and I can’t find a quote). Work WHAT out, is my question? It’s been worked out and ruled on. The only debate left is whether the US is going to listen to the ruling or not.

Fun times on CBC news, for sure :) Keeps my mind off the stubornly unborn child. As the anti-Fat Bastard, I say, “get out of my belly!”

4

Dont’ drive while gaming

As if connections to gaming and violence weren’t bad enough, will thisextremely tragic incident lead to connections being made between racing games and your driving record?

5

Because he’s holding a thermal detonator!

OK, regardless of how the people in this article say that this could happen any day, this would never happen at my job. :-)

2

Canadians are idiots

Well, we went and did it…a Conservative minority. And not even a weak minority — we went and gave Harper a minority government where all three of the other parties need to unite in order to bring it down. Which means we’re probably stuck with him for at least two or three years, and quite possibly a full term.

Of course, Martin’s done. There’ll probably be a Liberal leadership convention in less than a year now, and my bet is that someone like John Manley will end up as the new leader of the federal Liberals, along the theory that they need a younger face to go up against Harper next time. Unfortunately, Manley has all the charisma and leadership potential of a rainbow trout. I’m starting to think that this minority government is going to pave the way to a Conservative majority, which will be a disaster for this country.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this is Jean Chretien’s legacy…the destruction of Paul Martin at the expense of the federal Liberals and of Canada. Chretien held out long enough after removing Martin from cabinet to let the future PM’s popularity of 2000/2001 wear off, but not long enough that the sponsorship scandal could rightly be pinned on him politically.

Beyond everything else, though, I’m most upset with the Canadian voters — we are stuck in this perpetual loop where we never vote for anyone, we only vote against them. Every single change in federal government (and some of the provincial ones, for that matter) for the last thirty years (or more) has been us moronic Canucks voting someone out. And then we get all huffy about the new guy that’s left saying “Holy crap, I won“. It’s as if we don’t care enough about ourselves to do something positive, but we’re always up for a little passive-aggressive voting to really screw ourselves over.

Sigh…

12

And I think it’s what I want to be

Natural selection is still hard at work. Self-professed speed freak though I may be, I understand snowmobiles even less than I understand crotch rockets.

So, after weeks of internal debate, I finally made my decision, drove down to the polling station, and marked the X next to my local Green Party candidate. I spent some time this afternoon going through their platform document, and while there are a few things here and there that I’m not completely sold on, I have to say I liked what I saw.

We’ll see if the Green Party makes any headway this time around…I guess at the very least I just added $1.75 to their annual budget… :-)

2

Damn it – time to put away the contacts and stop seeing my hairdresser…

Scientists of the world, it comes as a shock, but although we’re considered brainy, we’re considered far from attractive:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/4630808.stm

Time to put away the heels and makeup, I guess… :D

6

Gun Registry woes

The CBC online has a breakdown of the costs of the gun registry and the savings that can be realised by scrapping it (not as much as you’d think, apparently). Still, what I’d like to know is how something budgetted for $119 million is allowed to cost $2 billion. I appreciate that the gun registry was a requirement of Bill C-68, and so it had to be done (we went through our own bout of “we have got to get this done before the Act comes into force” scrambling when the Species at Risk Act came into being) but someone had to be in charge of the purse strings. Did they just not notice?? :(

3

Dressed up like a million dollar trouper

Although this weekend was quite work-filled for me, I managed to join the gang down at the Canal Ritz for Homewrecker’s birthday festivities. Other than that, though, I have to say this whole being re-dedicated to work thing is really chewing into my spare time… :-)

In what little free time I have, I’ve been very frustrated with the weather lately…the unbelievably atypical Ottawa winter is not providing a whole lot of opportunity for outdoor activities. I’m still signed up for the 29km Keskinada, but at the rate I’m going, there’s no way I’ll be ready.

Oh well, enough griping. Leonard Lee (of Lee Valley) is apparently having quite a spat with Canada Post. This isn’t the first time that issues have arisen with taxpayer-funded corporations — I remember a few years ago that the various privately-held Canadian television networks were complaining that the CBC was airing programming without any commercial breaks, something that the private networks were unable to do without suffering a huge loss (I wish I could find a link to a news story about this, but Google has surprisingly failed me in this regard).

If I was better rested, I’d probably rant about the use of public funds to undercut or otherwise aggressively compete with private sector business. However, I think I’ll just go to bed instead… :-)

6

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet

Chu Shen Tan, Shuvo Nabo Barsho, Bonne Annee, Prosit Neujahr, Kenourios Chronos, Hauoli Makahiki Hou, L’Shannah Tovah, Buon Capodanno, Chuc Mung Tan Nien, Feliz Ano Nuevo, Heri Za Mwaka Mpya, Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun, Godt Nyttar and Bliadhna mhath ur! In other words: Happy New Year!

2005 was an eventful year for me, particularly with the tons of work done around the house. However, it was also an eventful year for most of us, I think. BirdLady moved into her apartment (from which, unbelievably, I never posted the pictures), Homewrecker went through a stressful life change, BogMan went to Europe, The Grabber and Righteous Guy produced offspring, with Limbo (and her as-yet-unnicknamed hubby) soon to follow. Not sure we’re gonna be able to beat that string of significance in 2006! :-)

My plan for 2006 is to spend the first part of it focusing on my skiing…I’ve signed up for the 29km flavour of the Keskinada on February 19, so getting myself into shape would probably be a good thing to do. Then, once the snow starts to melt, I need to get back into the renovations again…the list for this year includes: finishing the front porch (majority of it was done in 2005, but there’re still a few things to complete), doing the roofing for the side entrance, putting the decking and accoutrements onto the deck, and then finally finishing off the trim on the interior of the house. Oh, and at some point, remodelling my kitchen…sigh…

I do have a New Year’s resolution with respect to the blog, though. Going through some of the older posts, I’ve realized that through 2005, I seemed to have transitioned from diary-based posting into event-based posting. In 2006, I want to get back to more regular posting here. Part of that will mean not getting so hung up over finding the right song lyric for a post heading. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve actually let that stop me from posting in the past…yes, I am a geek, why do you ask? :-)

All right, I have to go finishing waxing my skis so that I can make my way to Sunday breakkie…

6

Father Time must be having a conniption

Well, I thought we were all a big bunch of nerds when it came to our email discussion about whether or not there should be a leap second this year, but apparently a mathematician has managed to make an entire millenium disappear - and then some. Another story on this here as well. Interesting food for thought, whatever you make of it…

3

SMP update

Well, it’s time for an update on Righteous Guy’s and the Grabber’s prodigal offspring.

Our little bundle of joy (and energy!) has shown herself to have a larger than life personality that seems to belie her mini size. A happy camper most of the time (her gummy grins and giggles melt all hearts – she’s a perennial favourite at our local library’s “baby time”) she nonetheless has a temper as mercurial as the wind. Squealing with delight one minute, then real tears and screaming the next. At least she soothes easily when picked up…but she doesn’t seem to realize yet that the world doesn’t revolve around her (except in our household, I suppose)

We’ve discovered, in addition to her happy-go-lucky demeanor (courtesy of dad’s side), she’s showing Grampa Stelios’ propensity to enjoy being naked. At change time she seems to love sticking her feet together (and occassionally nibbling on a toe), bum in the air, for all the world to see. Sigh – guess there are some genetic tendencies that will rear their heads…

Our little miss has also shown herself to be uncommonly bright and alert (dare I say she takes after her mom? :D ), with early babbling/vocalizing (probably a good thing, seeing she has English, French, and Greek to master! So far she’s only mastered dolphin, complete with high pitched squeals, squeaks, and screams), and has shown a scary tendency to master her toys quickly (thanks to uncle Kav, who keeps her buried in a steady stream of new Lamaze playthings!). Hopefully we can decipher the ever more insistent “ah-guh’s”, “mmmmmm’s”, and “ah-la-meh’s” soon! There’s a dramatic monologue for most of the day (when not napping, of course!), which gets more “drama queen”-esque when it’s obvious she wants you to do something.

Like her daddy, she seems to have an insatiable appetite (though that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to be petite – guess in her case, nature has outgunned nurture in this regard, as Righteous Guy and I are, well, on the short side), and, like daddy, chows down with remarkable speed. She’s happily mastered rice and oatmeal cereal, and continues with her monologues during feeding time (usually a “whoa-eh!” with each mouthful). She likes to “help out” at mealtimes by trying to guide the spoon in, which, of course, results in more laundry (for the littlest member of our family, she produces by far the most dirty clothes!). Cuteness at mealtimes aside, I don’t seem to recall ever hearing such loud burps and farts coming from such little things during my med school/residency years…

The little cutie has also shown a propensity to being quite social (though her patience wears thin after 6 pm, when she starts her “meltdown” if there are too many people for her taste), probably her Greek part coming out. Thank goodness the gang’s been so good about letting her tag along…though it’s often her naptime during Sunday breakkies, so she doesn’t contribute much to our political/religious/environmental discussions. In true form, she smiled endearingly at Father Alex (our Greek priest) while we were discussing the nitty-gritty of her upcoming baptism, before loudly filling her diaper while sitting on her godfather’s lap. I’m not sure the Father heard, since he called her gorgeous and blessed her repeatedly during her visit nonetheless, and the baptism still occurred! Kaveman got some choice photos of her naked, looking over the baptismal font with a truly curious expression: “am I getting ANOTHER bath today?” She took to her first communion as well, happily slurping up the wine from the tiny spoon, and seemed to want more… A true Greek, I’m afraid!

All in all, she’s one little cutie, bright and alert, full of beans, and is settling into her role as first baby in the gang (Uncle Kaveman’s already spoiling her with his “month birthday” gifts – she’s happily swimming in Lamaze toys!). A big thanks to the gang for their flexibility in allowing SMP to come along to our outings: so far, Righteous Guy and I haven’t noted much of a change in our social calendar! (Except the earlier bedtime, of course: with a 6 am wake up call every day, getting to bed after midnight can be a dangerous affair. Who needs an alarm clock when you have a baby?). Another big thanks to the gang for the Best. Baby. Gift. EVER. : the Chariot running/cross-country ski/bike stroller is AMAZING and we LOVE it! (Uncle Dan’s MEC baby-backpack also deserves an honourable mention). Here are some of our favourite photos of the littlest Miss.

Kaveman apparently has some choice cross-country skiing and baptism photos on his digicam, so he’ll be posting them sometime soon.

Several people have asked me what my favourite moment is with SMP. I can’t seem to narrow it down to one, so here are my top five:
1) cross-country skiing with SMP in tow (bundled to the gills), big brown eyes checking out the scenery before settling into a nap;
2) her giggles, when you give her tummy razz-berries;
3) attempting to eat cereal, getting more of it on her than in her (or when she happily nibbles on her toes, bum to the world – and she seems to prefer toes to her cereal);
4) when she snuggles into your chest/shoulder when tired, and falls asleep (I just LOVE to watch her snooze);
5) (possibly my favourite): after breastfeeding, when she’s sated and calmly alert – she just gazes up at me, gently touches/explores my face with her hands, and gives me these little smiles (with accompanying soft cooing sounds). Just melts my heart!

All in all, we think she’s the most adorable thing on earth (what parent doesn’t think this of their kid?), and we love watching her grow up. I know I’ll be intellectually ready to go back to work in March (thank goodness I have friends who speak beyond baby-talk and can carry on political/scientific/etc discussions!), but it’s going to be tough emotionally… Thank goodness I’ll know Righteous Guy will be looking after her for the next few months, when I’m back at work, before she starts daycare!

5

Banning Christmas

Put the Christ into Christmas or take the Christmas out of Christianity? An interesting look at religious groups that have sought to have Christmas banned in the US.

8

Well, I wanted to be an a$$hole, but all the TV pundit jobs were taken.

Jerk.

I came away wondering, if I was ever to meet Tucker Carlson, if I would have the guts to actually strike him, or if I would wimp out and merely throw a drink in his face. Now Ann Coulter on the other hand…

3

Guess we’re not the only species packing on pounds over Christmas…

Obesity is now apparently a big problem (pun intended) in zoos.

Seems our feathered, furred and finned friends, while not being hunted/hunting, tend to do as we Homo sapiens sapiens tend to do: eat a lot, and forego exercise. However, some entreprising Japanese zoo-keepers now trot their penguins out for daily walks in the snow. Seeing as the walks only last half and hour, its a damn site easier than in Antarctica (where penguins walk hundreds of kilometres from the rookery/nursery to the sea)!

Check out the portly penguins on their stroll:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4530928.stm

2

Beer not Kids

Competing petitions have been drawn up in response to the “furore” over the “gaffe”. To choose kids over beer, click here. To side with Ricke Mercer and choose beer over kids, click here. :D

4

Saw it through without exemption

Check out the entrance roofing log for a major milestone — the roofing over the front entrance is now in place! Many, many heartfelt thanks go to BogMan, Righteous Guy, Deuce and Digger for coming over for a lot of heavy lifting in the freezing cold. Also, thanks to The Grabber for coming by to act as our medical support, in case of crushed heads or broken bodies… :-)

Now I just need to do the shingles, finish the decking on the porch and put in a railing, and I’ll be done (until spring)!

7

What is a working family anyway?

Harper is in the news again for offering a tax cut to “working families”. Anyone know what that is, exactly? What kinds of jobs are available to families? Do kids under 5 have to work, or are they exempt? :D

5

The fine line between empowerment and objectification

Looks like Lululemon, purveyor of feel-good-about-yourself messages and skimpy yoga wear, has crossed the line. In an effort to perhaps promote positive self-image and perhaps a little nudism, they wound up leaving potential customers feeling violated. I think I’ll be getting my yoga wear from MEC instead! :) Read on…

9

A follow-up of our favourite sparrow…

I know, despite all this election fever, that the gang is dying to know how this little sparrow’s tale wraps up. If you remember, a rather gregarious sparrow was shot dead at point-blank air gun range after knocking down some dominoes during a Guiness World Record stint. You’ll be pleased to know that our unfortunate fowl friend, though now flying peacefully in the great beyong, will nonetheless get a full memorial:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4519446.stm

4

Election Stuff Episode II

I hate when “gaffes” cause a “furore” even though the comments are valid in the first place.

Incidently, the Citizen is hardest on the Liberals on this today, the Globe and CBC have less-prominent stories dealing with Reid’s apology.

I can see why it is a gaffe in the sense that you must never talk down to the public during an election (or ever, I guess), but in a way it is only talking down to those that don’t get the implication of his remarks. Harper’s handout is not a child care plan, it is a baby bonus, and we all know that baby bonuses are already used for booze and smokes anyway :) – speaking of which I forgot to mention that Scott Reid stole my joke.

Suffice to say that Reid was attacking Harper, not “hard-working Canadians”, and the gaffe stems from the fact that Martin’s damage control ended up defending Harper’s handout.

I just hope that anyone who agrees with those who have decided that they should be offended by this don’t use those cheques for “incidentals”. Maybe the real insult comes from the fact that these days, $25 a week gets you a 24 of really crappy beer.

10

Curious…

Pet peeve du jour.

Ever notice how:

Jingle Bells
Winter Wonderland
Frosty the Snowman
Let it Snow

…make no mention of Christmas?!?!? Are we not able to celebrate winter without associating it with gift-giving?

Post some more if there are any!

3

Harper’s up to something fishy

The Globe an mail reports today that Harper is targetting overfishing. He says that he is pledging to take control of fisheries outside of Canada’s territorial waters. Now, while this may be a laudable goal from a conservation perspective, I’m not sure that we can actually do that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Although Canada was involved in the apprehension of the Spanish vessel Estai in international waters about 10 years ago, and it was quite a coup for Canada at the time, ultimately the charges had to be dropped and the cargo returned, the government of Spain brought charges before the International Court in the Hague that Canada had acted illegally in international waters, and the owners and captain of the Estai began civil proceedings against the government of Canada. At the time, there was a reason for such a blatant PR move – it was an attempt to bring more attention to the need for an agreement on straddling stocks and migratory species. 5 months later, the UN adopted such an agreement. What would is the purpose this time? Yes, the North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) has been useless at best, but I’m not convinced that repeating this maneuver would get Canada anywhere. The capture of the Estai is credited with forcing the EU to come to the table and take the need to negotiate straddling stock agreements seriously, and although it appears that the turbot is better protected now, there is disagreement as to whether or not Canadian fishers are better off. I’m not sure what Harper intends to accomplish with this, other than getting Canada dragged back to the International Court.

7

What is lost can never be saved

The following was taken from The Ottawa Citizen archives on canada.com.


Hefty special bonuses gild Owens’s Nortel parachute

Bert Hill, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, December 03, 2005

Former Nortel Networks chief executive Bill Owens got more than $5.5 million U.S. in special bonuses as he left his job.

The company disclosed yesterday that he got a $2-million severance payment based on two times annual pay, $3.4 million in double bonus payments based on his maximum annual bonus of 170 per cent of salary and a lump sum to cover nine weeks of unused holiday time.

The company also immediately vested Mr. Owens’s 2.9 million stock options, which means he can cash them immediately, rather than over four years. He also got unspecified relocation and tax-preparation services.

Earlier this year Nortel approved a special pension payment for Mr. Owens, who was a director for one year and chief executive for 19 months. He gets $703,913 in June and equal monthly payments of $99,073 through to November 2010.

Nortel also said Mr. Owens could get another bonus under a success incentive plan if it is are granted for 2005.

The Owens payments are another sign of the high cost of changing top leaders at Nortel.

New chief executive Mike Zafirovski received pay, bonus, restricted stock, options and other incentives that will likely generate about $4 million to $7 million in his first year. Nortel also paid him $11.5 million so he could repay Motorola Inc., his former employer, to settle a breach-of-contract lawsuit.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005

4

But with a different meaning since you been gone

Well, that didn’t take long. The typical jackassery that we poor fools have come to accept as what constitutes an election campaign has begun in earnest.

Stephen Harper today pledged to cut the GST from 7 percent down to 5 over the next 5 years. Sound familiar? It should…our morally-challenged former prime minister promised to abolish the GST entirely way back in 1993, a couple of years after the Progressive Conservatives introduced the damn thing in the first place.

But it gets better…here’s how Harper explained this promise: “I believe all taxes are bad. Lower taxes are good.”

Wow. It’s hard to believe that we don’t just hand this guy the keys to the kingdom without waiting for that pesky election. With pearls of wisdom like these, who needs all that complicated “planning” or those responsible “commitments”?

In some kind of twisted effort to sabotage all the work gone into making him look less redneck, Harper first pledged to backtrack the equal marriage bill if he were to become prime minister. I’m sure that’s going to win him tons of votes in Ontario and Quebec, where governments are made.

Of course, Martin isn’t exactly winning any points yet, either. So far, all he’s done is bad-mouth Harper and spin stories about how wonderful Liberal rule has been over the last 12 years.

Mr. Martin? Mr. Harper? I’ve got some free campaign advice for you, because you both really seem to need it. It’s pretty simple, actually: Implement a sustainable solution for public health care. Address the rising cost of education. Provide incentives for the accelerated development of “green” technologies. Fund our military appropriately for their commitments.

This election was a waste of time before it even started. A couple of days into the campaign, it sure looks like it won’t be improving anytime soon.

14

With a blue moon in your eyes

It’s been a while since I posted, but life has been keeping me busy yet again. Since my last posting, I’ve finished the deck frame, and I’ve gotten back to the roofing over my entrances. It’s getting mighty cold out there…

The renovation update aside, what got me posting again was the latest bit of stupidity from our “leaders”. The Grits are all up in arms because the Conservatives (I refuse to call them Tories) used the phrase “organized crime” in reference to the sponsorship scandal. The Liberals have their lawyers sending warning letters to Harper and his cronies, which is of course only for the publicity, since remarks made in the House of Commons are not subject to slander or defamation laws.

I’m not often in agreement with Harper (I prefer my conservative with a small c), but I have to admit, in this case the shoe kinda fits. There isn’t actually a common definition of organized crime, but here’s the RCMP definition (taken from their site):

A “criminal organization” means a group, however organized, that:

(a) is composed of three or more persons in or outside Canada; and,
(b) has as one of its main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences, that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any one of the persons who constitute the group.

The various components that comprise this legal definition are based on the exclusion of a group of three of more persons that has formed randomly for the immediate commission of a single offence.

South of the border, the FBI has the following to say (taken from the FBI site):

The FBI defines organized crime as any group having some manner of a formalized structure and whose primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities. Such groups maintain their position through the use of actual or threatened violence, corrupt public officials, graft, or extortion, and generally have a significant impact on the people in their locales, region, or the country as a whole.

By either definition, I don’t really see how the sponsorship scandal doesn’t apply. Have a look at The Globe and Mail’s representation of the parties involved. Definitely more than three people, who do have a formalized structure.

According to the Globe’s summary of Gomery’s initial findings, “a complex web of financial transactions existed among Public Works and Government Services Canada, Crown corporations and communications agencies, involving kickbacks and illegal contributions to a political party in the context of the sponsorship program.” Sounds like graft to me. Also, “there was “clear evidence” of political involvement in the administration of the program.” So we also have corrupt public officials in the mix.

I could go on, but I’m pretty sure I’ve made my point. Just because the Liberals weren’t carrying guns and eating down on Preston Street doesn’t preclude their actions from qualifying as organized crime. Harper is of course using this phrase for political capital, but Martin needs to choose an approach other than denial. This country needs to recover from this shameful interlude and move on, and fighting against the reality of the situation is just going to draw it out even more.

17

More “truth is stranger than fiction” goodies from the BBC…

Another “world” story that made front-page BBC.com news:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4450958.stm

In other news: since when are common house sparrows endangered? We have more than enough to go around back here in Canada…

6

White Phosphorus

Just a small, but pointed, rant here, sparked by the white phosphorus story.

Now, I’m not going to get all bleeding-heart lefty-indignant about the horrors of the ‘weapon’ itself and claim that it should be classified as a chemical weapon or WMD and be banned by some international body. But I do have a problem with the arguments that use semantics to defend its use, pointing to some list that says some weapons are ok and some aren’t (rumours of the use of napalm notwithstanding). Or the arguments that point out burning jet-fuel in a WTC tower as justification.

Here’s my point. Aren’t the U.S. supposed to be the good guys? I asked the same rhetorical question when Abu Ghraib became public and some pro-war types scoffed because the ‘terrorists’ had it coming to them.

You can’t just brand yourself as The Good Guys and then do whatever the hell you want. You’re not The Good Guys because your flag is made of primary colours. You’re not The Good Guys because your God is better than other people’s God. You’re not The Good Guys because you adhere to certain standards of conduct that you find convenient, and argue semantics to keep doing things that may be as horrible as things that are outright illegal. Being The Good Guys means acting that way and showing the rest of the world that what you’re doing is a good idea. The hypocrisy of the WMD justification for war just makes this worse. I realize that WP does not deliver ‘mass’ destruction, but again, let’s not argue exact number of deaths due to skin melting here.

I could be way off here, but I can’t help but come to the conclusion that many pro-war Americans or hawkish Westerners in general actually believe that the terrorists or the insurgents or Muslim kooks from the Middle East overall admittedly think of themselves as The Bad Guys and they’re out to get the prissy American Good Guys, and that neutral parties see it this way too therefore the Americans can behave as they please.

If more people realized that the Muslims that hate America think of themselves as The Good Guys also, and that it is the US who are The Bad Guys (try and put yourself in their shoes and see how easy that would be), then more people might see how pointless this all is.

edit: Oh, and another thing. I don’t get all in a huff when I read stories about messy weapons, prisoner abuse, and civilian deaths, etc (apart from the above rant, obviously, and the occasional ‘told you so’), because I was all in a huff about the war in the first place, largely because this is the kind of shit that happens in war, duh. If war consisted of flag football and tickle fights you’d find far fewer people opposed to it.

2

Welcome to your Calrsberg years

I’m sure most of you have heard the theory that civilisation was built on beer. Now there’s evidence of a society that could not have functioned without it!

3

Amazon are idiots

Well, it’s great to have computer programs and databases and such to track customer preferences and to suggest new products, but this is ridiculous. The following is an actual email I received from Amazon.ca.:

“We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased Farscape: Season 2 have also ordered Home Improvement: The Complete Third Season [3 Discs]. For this reason, you might like to know that Home Improvement: The Complete Third Season [3 Discs] will be released on November 22, 2005 on DVD. You can pre-order your copy at a savings of 30% by following the link below”

What, exactly, do these two things have to do with each other? :D

5

Put the BMI to bed

Well, it’s about time. Finally, a comprehensive study showing that hip to waist ratio measurement is a more accurate predictor of heart disease the the body mass index.

I have found all the recent talk of the “obesity epidemic” quite disturbing. It’s almost as though we have forgotten all about teenage girls’ eating diorders – and don’t seem to really be noticing that the boys are starting to catch up in this department too. The pendulum has swung from skinny-is-bad to fat-is-bad, and it’ll be just a matter of time before it swings back again, I fear. Furthermore, when people start to link the increase in obesity with smoking cessation campaigns, it seems the war on obesity has the potential to take people to some weird & disturbing places indeed – hey, I may be giving myself lung cancer, but at least I’m a twig. I’ve wondered for quite some time now just how much of the “obesity epidemic” has to do with the skewing of the data that occurs when you use the BMI.

For those of you don’t know me, I’ve lost some weight, give or take about 20 pounds. While before I certainly felt I could lose a little weight, I certainly didn’t feel that I was unhealthy, and the curves were still looking OK. The musculature was well padded, but still substantial, and my athletic performance was pretty good and improving steadily. However, my BMI indicated that I was obese. My doctor told me I was obese by looking at her computer screen, not by looking at me – boy, was that ever a strange day. Now, a bit lighter, I don’t feel too much different (OK, my yoga practice has improved dramatically!) although the complements I get are nice. But my BMI still puts me just shy of obesity – in the “your-weight-could-lead-to-health-problems” range. Loosing 20 lbs brought me down one and a half points only. If I didn’t know any better, I’d be on the weight loss fast track, and probably really hurting myself in the process. Fortunately, I have the brains to look in the mirror, see that I’m fit and toned (& can even see a couple of ribs), decide I look OK and that my doctor is a flake and not worry about it. Impressionable teenagers may not be so lucky.

I won’t deny that we might have a problem. But so long as the true scope of the problem is masked with inaccurate measurements, and those measurements result in inappropriate assessments at the indivudual level, we’re just going to replace one problem with another.

2

You can buy off the rack, or have it custom made

The funniest thing ever. Make sure to scroll down and read the description and all of the questions.

4

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies

Before I get into my rant, I’ll mention that there are updates on the deck log.

So the first part of the Gomery report has been released, and guess what? It looks like Chretien shares some of the blame for the corrupt sponsorship program that was run from the PMO, by his chief of staff. Our current lame-duck leader is very likely innocent of any wrongdoing, which (if upheld in the final report) would help provide some stability for our stuck-in-the-mud political scene. Hopefully, Canucks will be willing to put the past in the past in next spring’s election, get us to a Liberal majority and let us all move on with our lives.

But wait! Our old power-hungry, fame-seeking, legacy-building ex-prime minister wants none of that. He’s not willing to roll over and take the blame for a program he started. Instead, he’s using his (bewilderingly powerful) influence to cast doubt on the veracity of the Gomery findings, encouraging all of his (confusingly numerous) loyalists to believe that the report is not worth the paper it’s written on. Rather than taking one for the team (which would have no real impact on him, since the Gomery findings incur no civil or criminal liability), Chretien has decided that maintaining his legacy (which doesn’t actually exist anywhere other than in his mind) is more important than allowing Canada to move forward from this embarassing chapter. He even went so far as to directly implicate Paul Martin in holding responsibility for the kickbacks…a move which makes no sense to me, as this also kind of confirms that Chretien himself knew what was going on.

Canadians need to realize that Chretien is a narcissistic loon who can’t handle the idea that anyone might have a harsh word to say about him. Because of this, he invents the appropriate spin to cover his own numerous failings, and expects everyone to fall for it. I truly wonder if he even knows the difference between reality and his media-friendly ramblings anymore. Between his own do-nothing tenure and the impact that his mismanagement has caused (i.e. years of minority governments), Chretien is responsible for allowing this country to shuffle along without any clear direction for over 12 years now, with no end in sight. This man does indeed have a legacy, but it’s a legacy of shame. It’s time Canadians clued in to that.

2

Police Cops

Some musings on the over-the-topness of CSI, which of course should be renamed Super Science Cops. Apparently no crimes get solved outside of the CS unit.

Btw, I would have thought the “CSI effect” referred to the number of specific requests received by hairdressers.

0

Intelligent Design and Monty Python

It all comes together with the brontosaurus sketch.

1

I knew there was a scientific explanation for this…

I’ve finally found it – actual scientific evidence that pregnancy DOES shrink your brain!

In perusing the BBC World New this am, I found this gem:

She said not only are male and female brains different, but women’s brains change throughout life in relation to fluctuating hormone levels.

“That may well affect disease states and how drugs work.”

She scanned the brains of women before and after they were pregnant and found the brain shrank during pregnancy.

The shrinkage was even greater if the woman had a complication of pregnancy called preeclampsia, but reversed by six months after delivery of the baby.

So, Kaveman, there you have it. Not exactly proof, but at least correlation. Perhaps I should view this as a handicap to my Catan games? Ha ha!

11

But our princess is in another castle!

Anyone who’s ever played a Nintendo game needs to see (and hear) this.

Plus, there are updates on the deck log.

7

Yesss!

This was really weird. This is also a bit stupid (and esoteric beyond belief) so feel free to stop reading.

You know that Future Shop ad where the guy tinkers with the escalator to make it go faster? When it originally aired, earlier this year it seems, I fully expected, nay hoped for, the guy going up to crash into something upon arrival, but alas he did not slam into anything or even fall over. The ad bugged me ever since.

I was disappointed for two reasons. Firstly, one needs that sense of comedic climax and closure, much like an out-of-control toboggan or cardboard box on the Simpsons going up in flames upon impact (please explode, please explode…yessss! *fist pump*). I mean, the premise of the ad was a little juvenile, you gotta follow through.

Secondly, and this is more puzzlement than disappointment, every second ad these days (many of them for beer) seems to incorporate some aspect of real-life cartoon violence, so it felt odd that FS would not represent with the hijinks, so to speak.

Well, lo and behold, one day last week I see the same ad only this time the dude DOES go flying into a rack of DVDs and go down in a heap. Yessss! I was thrilled and bewildered at the same time. I mean, I didn’t even write a letter to spur this development (and don’t think it didn’t occur to me).

This means that:
A. I can now influence entertainment by sheer force of will,
2. Future Shop came to their senses all by themselves, or
D. SOME OTHER PERSON ACTUALLY CONTACTED THEM to complain. If it’s a woman, I want to marry her. If it’s a whole bunch of people, my faith in humanity has been partially restored.

I’m sure this has been more insight into my twisted mind that you’d rather not have had.

6

Doesn’t anybody know what a radio’s for

Looks like Starbucks has finally come up with a wi-fi solution for its Canadian locations. Bell Hotspots are now available at most of the Starbucks locations in Ottawa (and I assume in most other cities as well).

Of course, it’s not free (unlike our local fair trader). Apparently, the scheme is that you sign up for a wi-fi account and your usage gets billed to your cell phone account. I guess if you don’t have a cell phone, they just don’t want your business… :-)

The prices aren’t horrible ($7.50 for 1 hour, $13 for 24 hours, $25 for unlimited access), so I won’t squawk too much about it. I expect I’ll soon be using Starbucks as a third office (the second one being at home) for whenever I’m fed up with the shenanigans that go on at work.

16

More Serenity Geeks

It turns out that I bellydance with some Serenity & Firefly fans as well. Kaveman, they spotted you on opening night in your T-shirt – and they were very impressed that I had one that matched! (Hah! I say to all of you who laughed at my T-shirt!)

Anyway, it turns out that they are all going as Serenity characters for Halloween, and I’ve snagged the part of Zoe. Of course, I will have to do something about the hair (although I’ve been given some very specific instructions on how to achieve the curls), but I already have the leather vest and the tough demeanor. All I need now is a holster and combat boots!

10

Ditch Monkey

Environmentalism to the extreme – find out what it’s like to live in a ditch.

4

Suddenly the day turns into night

Well, I’m in Peterpatch for Turkey Weekend, having driven down early yesterday morning. Everyone’s still asleep right now, so I thought I’d get caught up on posting some pictures I meant to put up earlier this week. I went for a visit with The Grabber and Righteous Guy a few days ago, and brought my camera along…The Grabber managed to steal it away and took a bazillion pictures. I’ve made the best of them available here.

I had taken Friday off to work on the deck, but the weather stymied me yet again…instead, I got a bit of work done on the yard, in between the showers. Saturday turned out to be a much nicer day, so I managed to get a little further on the deck. Only 65 joists to go! :-|

3

All through the town

If anyone’s looking for a cheap car, check out this vehicle auction going on in Winchester the weekend after Thanksgiving (at Rideau Auctions). Think of the road trips we could have with this thing! :-)

I really want one of these, but the femtovan and all the home improvements this year have really drained the coffers (and then some).

Speaking of which, there are some updates on the deck log.

5

Aaarrrrrgh!!!!

Guys, we never had the pirate party! I got spam from ThinkGeek that tells me that Sep. 19th was ‘talk like a pirate day’ (I wonder who came up with that), and it reminded me that we never followed up on this idea! I think we should! Any volunteers to hostÉ

6

I’m gonna soak up the Sun

I know I just upgraded my computer back in June, but I think I want one of these now.

Hmmm, might have to save my nickels for a little while first… :-)

15

I don’t care, I’m still free

Check out this interview with Joss Whedon talking about Serenity, opening this Friday.

1

You say you want a renovation

While I’ve been making progress on the deck these last few days, I hit a bit of a snag this weekend. I’ve known that the roofing over my entrances have needed replacing for some time now, but on Friday night the roof over the front entrance decided to become somewhat support-challenged. So, after a nice sail on Saturday morning, I spent the rest of the day taking down the roof. I need to take down the roof over the side entrance as well, and I’m really hoping that I can finish the deck framing in time to rebuild at least the front entranceway before the snow hits…

4

Those Climate Loonies

The following article is about a British scientist who hopes that Katrina (and subsequently Rita) wakes up people in the Bush administration to the perils of Climate Change. The problem is that the article focuses on the comments that relate to the hurricanes hitting the USA only, and does not focus on the fact that this has been an unusually active season for hurricanes in the Atlantic. Apparently, there are only 4 storm names left before they have to start husing Greek letters to designate them, and the season is not over yet (sorry, I can’t find the link to where I read that). This has never happened before.

The take home message from my class on Global Environmental Change is that climate change will bring an increase in extreme weather events. It’s a shame that the entire Atlantic hurricane season is not being given more coverage, because this is the sort of trend that is predicted by climate change models.

20

TV shows

Considering the wealth of commentary on KaveMan’s most recent post, I think we need a debate! So far, I agree completely with DJBoyo’s list of essentials, except Family Guy, which I have not watched. I’ll have to see what I think of 24 this season, cause I must admit Jamie and I have been addicted since the first season.

So I suggest we vote on shows that are essential first-run watches, or at least, DVD purchases. My votes are:
1. Lost
2. Amazing Race
3. 24

I must also confess I had a serious bug for Rock Star INXS. Call me crazy if you want, but I defy you to have a musical bone in your body and try watching that show without at least really wanting to know who won in the end. I’ve now become a big Suzie McNeill fan (4th runner up) and will actually be buying the new INXS album in October!

20

NOOOOOOOO!!!!

George Lucas, marketing whore that he is, has finally sunk to aligning himself with that lowest of lows, that darkest of dark sides, reality TV unscripted programming. The picture at right is the actual image defiling my inbox this morning, sent by those bastards at starwars.com.

Over and over again, last year’s decision to stop watching TV keeps getting re-affirmed. I’ve been loving my new approach (i.e. watching TV programs as they’re released on DVD, via zip.ca). I get to watch pretty much anything I want (albeit a few months after broadcast), and I get better A/V quality, no commercials, and most of all, I don’t have to put up with the vagaries of culturally bereft, ratings-hungry morons (aka network execs) who screw around with the broadcast schedule just to rake in a few extra dollars for the next day’s money fight. The only remnant of that era for me is that I still have to deal with them cancelling quality shows just because the ROI isn’t up to the same standard as having Paris Hilton prance around the world pretending she’d know how to live life without a gajillion dollars.

Oh well, at least it’s only nine more days until Serenity.

11

Shadows grow so long before my eyes

I went over to the Ottawa South Gaming Centre (also known as The Grabber’s and Righteous Guy’s place) for a Catan visit last night, and finally remembered to bring my camera. Despite her general sleepiness for most of the evening, I managed to snap a few pics of her frolicking.

Oh, and Righteous Guy stomped The Grabber and I at Catan… :-)

3

You got to work to feed the soul

I had a pretty full weekend. Like many of us, I went to SMP’s baby shower on Saturday, which was a blast. SMP herself spent most of the party sleeping in someone’s arms — she went from Kamelot, to me, and then to some other folks as the guests started pouring in. She seems to do well with crowds, which is probably for the best, considering her parents… :-)

On Sunday, I shunned human contact in order to make tons of progress on the deck. Apologies to Premier for not showing up for breakfast, and also to The Grabber for not meeting her and SMP for a customary afternoon coffee. However, all the beams are done! Now I just have to do the header joists around the edges of the lower deck, and then it’s time for many, many joists in the interior.

After spending nine hours doing manual labour yesterday, I’m a little stiff and sore this morning…but it was worth it!

5

Bees?!

Beams!

0