Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hey! Put That Effin' Sign Back!

This story actually showed up in the wierd news section a couple of days ago, but I got sidetracked (hey, it happens) with other news. And then I went looking for the song lyrics:

(Matt McGinn)

He kept bees in the old town of Effen,
An Effen beekeeper was he,
And one day this Effen beekeeper,
Was stung by a big Effen bee.

Now this big Effen beekeeper’s wee Effen wife,
For the big Effen polis she ran,
For there’s nobody can sort out a big Effen bee,
Like a big Effen polisman can.

This big Effen polisman he did his nut,
And he ran down the main Effen street,
In his hand was a big Effen baton,
He had big Effen boots on his feet.

The polis got hold of this big Effen bee,
And he twisted the Effen bee’s wings,
But this big Effen bee got his own back,
For this big Effen bee had two stings.

Now they’re both in the Effen museum,
Where the Effen folk often come see,
The remains of the big Effen polis,
Stung to death by the big Effen bee.

That’s the end of that wee Effen story,
‘Tis an innocent wee Effen tale,
But if you ever tell it in Effen,
You’ll end up in the old Effen jail.

And, just in case you think this is really a joke, after all...(link)

Oh, Man, Look Who's Turning the Other Cheek!

Venezuela offers fuel, food to hurricane-hit US

(no joke -- check it out here)

CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered to send food and fuel to the United States after the powerful Hurricane Katrina pummeled the US south, ravaging US crude production.

The leftist leader, a frequent critic of the United States and a target himself of US disapproval, said Venezuela could send aid workers with drinking water, food and fuel to US communities hit by the hurricane.

"We place at the disposition of the people of the United States in the event of shortages -- we have drinking water, food, we can provide fuel," Chavez told reporters.

Chavez said fuel could be sent to the United States via a Citgo refinery that has not been affected by the hurricane. Citgo is owned by Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

In the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for a quarter of total US oil output, 92 percent of crude and 83 percent of natural gas production were shut down due to Hurricane Katrina, which slammed Louisiana and Mississippi, according to US government data.

Venezuela is the fourth-largest provider of oil to the United States, supplying some 1.5 million barrels a day.

Last week, Chavez offered discount gasoline to poor Americans suffering from high oil prices and on Sunday offered free eye surgery for Americans without access to health care.

I Need an Economist's Opinion

Every time I read an article like this one, I keep seeing phrases like: "...the U.S. is not abiding by NAFTA rules...", "...The U.S. adheres to trade deals only when it chooses to...", "...the U.S. government immediately announced that, according to its interpretation of the ruling, the decision simply doesn't apply to the bulk of duties levied on Canadian lumber..." I start to wonder what's really behind all the stalling and refusing and harumphing and righteous preening and indignation on the part of the US government.

I'm beginning to wonder if the USA is refusing to pay back the $5 Billion because they haven't got it!

I'm wondering if maybe they're broke, and they just don't want the rest of the world to know it.

Let's face it, they are fighting wars on how many fronts, in how many countries? Never mind whether those wars are moral or not -- one thing you can be damned sure of -- war is expensive. And the American taxpayer is not about to shell out more of his hard-earned dollars to support his government, no matter how much he might agree with that government's policies. American taxpayers have the ability to fire their government, if that government gets too expensive.

So where else would an over-extended goverment get funds it so desperately needs?

Yoo-hoo! Hi, neighbor! Wanna trade...?

Morning Coffee, Morning Controversy -- All in the Same Cup

Tempest brews over quotes on Starbucks cups

Starbucks says it was hoping to inspire old-fashioned coffee-house conversations when it introduced a campaign this year featuring the words of notable Americans on its coffee cups.

But at least a few of those words are sparking more discord than discussion.

A national Christian women's organization is accusing the Seattle-based coffee maker of promoting a homosexual agenda because of a quote by author Armistead Maupin, whose "Tales of the City" chronicled San Francisco's homosexual community in the 1970s and 1980s.

Maupin's quote — one of several dozen in "The Way I See It" promotion — says his only regret about being gay is that he repressed it for so long.

"I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short."

There's more -- you can click on the link to read the entire article.

I don't much like that stuff they call "coffee," but Starbuck's sure has some terrific marketing ideas. Have you bought your shares, yet?

You’ve Got Dress-For-Success – Now You’ve Got Dress-For-Chat! Or Else...

Chinese researcher warns of nude Web chatrooms

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - A Chinese researcher has warned of a new threat to public health and morality - naked Internet chatting. Up to 20,000 Chinese Internet users log on to chatrooms each night in which users in various states of undress talk to each other with the help of Web cams, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said Tuesday, citing China Youth Association researcher Liu Gang.

"At first, we thought if was merely a game for a few mentally abnormal people," the paper quoted Liu as saying. "But as our research continued, we found the problem was much larger than expected," Liu said.

Participants in the sites download chat software and attach video cameras to their computers, the paper reported. They then "talk with others while exposing themselves and performing provocative poses," it said.

China has more than 87 million Internet users, the second largest after the United States. Communist authorities have struggled to limit free discussion and other online content considered subversive while encouraging the Net's commercial applications.

What's next? Live "performances?" I believe we in North America are a little ahead of them on that, but give them time...they'll catch up...

Monday, August 29, 2005

I have a troll! Well, damn! Ain’t that special?

Not really.

Before I got my own blog up and running (well, it’s limping a bit for now, but I’m learning), I visited a lot of blogs. Some of them are linked in the sidebar over to the right. Sometimes I left comments. But I never left an anonymous comment. I always signed a name (it wasn’t “Chimera” then, but it was always the same name). It’s good manners, when you’re talking to someone, to let them know with whom they are conversing.

Unless you’re a troll. Trolls have no manners.

There has been an unfortunate trend, lately, for hit-and-run comments. A lot of my blogger companions have started requiring registration before you can leave a comment. I’m trying to avoid doing this, as it tends to discourage someone who just wants to say a quick “Hi!” – I mean, go through the sign-in, write a comment, sign-out – who needs the hassle?

And, too, when registration is required, you can only register as a blogger. When I first saw that on one of my regular visits, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to leave a comment – at the time, I didn’t have a blog. (Psssst! Having a blog is not required in order to register – all you need to do is fill in some information , and you get a passcode, and you can leave comments again – and you’ll also leave your registered name.)

It’s a hemorrhoid. But then, so is my troll.

So, new rule here at Chimera’s Cavern: Sign your name to your comments. It doesn’t have to be your real name, as long as it’s a consistent name, every time you leave a comment. No exceptions.

As of the time of this posting, if you leave an anonymous comment, you’d better take a screenshot of it if you want to brag about it, because as soon as I find it, it’s gone.

Did We Finally Grow a Backbone in Ottawa?

Grits mull return on softwood

OTTAWA (CP) - The Liberal government is thinking of recalling Parliament early from its summer recess to deal with the trade dispute that's heating up with the United States over softwood lumber.


The tough talk in Ottawa began earlier this month when the Americans refused to accept a ruling by a NAFTA panel that went in Canada's favour and found the U.S. softwood duties to be unjustified.
The Canadian response was to call off talks that had been aimed at achieving a negotiated settlement.
David Wilkins, the new U.S. ambassador to Ottawa, warned last week that Canada should stop its "emotional tirades" and get back to the bargaining table - a demand dismissed by Emerson as hypocritical.
The industry minister, who was CEO of the Canfor forest products group before entering politics, said he's had plenty of experience with how the Americans bargain.
"I have seen the threats, I've seen the aggression with which the (U.S.) administration officials tell us how endlessly inventive they can be at finding new ways to hurt our industry," Emerson said.
" I find it a little hypocritical to hear the ambassador telling us we should be negotiating. We've been negotiating for years."

(Read entire article here)

Canadians are known around the world for being polite – except to each other. We are also, apparently, known for our patience and willingness to be doormats for every bully on the block.

Maybe not anymore.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I Wanna Be a Pastafarian!

Evolution debate spawns a saucy monster

Move over, Darwin. Stand aside, Intelligent Design.
The idea that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world is demanding equal time in Kansas biology classrooms.
In his corner are three moderate state school board members and a prominent Topeka attorney. They say this concept makes about as much sense as proposed science standards, favored by the board's religious conservative majority, that encourage schools to criticize evolution while they teach it.
Bobby Henderson of Corvallis, Ore., created the tongue-in-cheek deity and an accompanying mythology on the origin of mankind to satirize the Kansas Board of Education's ongoing flap over evolutionary theory.
Since June, when the spaghetti monster made his Internet debut, the parody religion has grown into a full-fledged Internet phenomenon.
Henderson said his Web site -- http://www.venganza.org/ -- has had 19 million visits, including 4 million in two days last week
(Read entire, delicious article here)

This would not be the first time creative speculation resulted in a new religion...

The Mouse and the Elephant

Too many years ago to remember the exact date, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau likened Canada’s dealings with the USA to “a mouse getting into bed with an elephant.” I love the visual images that come to mind – the elephant taking up not only his own space, but the mouse’s space, too. And when the mouse complains that he is getting squeezed, the elephant trumpets, “Quit whining! I’m letting you stay in bed, aren’t I?”

As if there are no other beds in the world. Time for the mouse to pack up and go bed-hunting...?

War of words over softwood lumber escalates

Tension between Canada and the United States over softwood lumber continued to mount when Canadian Industry Minister David Emerson declared his countrymen had "had enough."

In an interview that aired Sunday on CTV's Question Period, Emerson, a former forestry executive, reacted angrily to earlier comments made by U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins.

Wilkins urged Canadian leaders to stop their "emotional tirades" and get back to negotiating on the softwood lumber dispute. His remarks were published in the Ottawa Citizen Friday.

"I find it a little hypocritical to hear the ambassador telling us we should be negotiating.... we've been negotiating for years," Emerson said.

"The Ambassador has to realize that Canada is not going to sit back and knuckle under...Canadians have had enough."
Federal Trade Minister Jim Peterson said Canadians were not in any rush to get back to the negotiating table.
"We will go back to the table only when it's in the best interests for Canada," he told Question Period.
"We know that the world is watching the U.S. and the way it treats Canada -- it's closest trading partner."
On Saturday, Federal Conservative leader Stephen Harper waded into the fray.
"I think the U.S. ambassador is way out of line," he said, adding the ruling Liberals were largely to blame because they have "allowed communications with the Americans to break down entirely."
On Friday, Prime Minister Paul Martin said he would call U.S. President George Bush after the Liberal government had finished talking to the provinces and members of the softwood industry.
Earlier this month, Washington said it would ignore a NAFTA panel ruling that Canadian lumber exports pose no threat to U.S. producers, and would maintain expensive duties on the exports.
Ottawa claims the U.S. is exploiting legal loopholes to avoid cancelling the tariffs and to avoid paying a rebate of $5 billion in duties collected since 2002.
U.S. trade officials insist they're justified in imposing the duties on Canadian lumber. They say Canada's official grievance was rendered redundant last fall, when the Americans moved to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling on softwood duties.
Earlier this week, Canadian trade officials refused to meet to discuss the issue. Peterson said he needed time to consider his options in the wake of Washington's refusal to accept NAFTA's ruling.

Ottawa: We won't bow to U.S. bully

Ministers talk tough after envoy's jab

WINNIPEG - Paul Martin and senior Liberal Cabinet ministers have spurned an American call to stop "emotional tirades" over the softwood lumber dispute, with one of them yesterday urging Canadians not to allow "the bully to basically mop the floor with us."

David Emerson, Industry Minister, also labeled as "hypocritical" a fresh appeal from U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins for the two countries to declare a verbal truce and return to the negotiating table before the dispute mushrooms into a multi-product trade war.


Mr. Wilkins told the Ottawa Citizen on Thursday that Canadian officials should embrace negotiations to settle the softwood dispute rather than risk a trade war involving other sectors. "Emotional press conferences are not going to settle the issue," he said.

He argued that the latest NAFTA panel ruling in Canada's favor was not final. "It wasn't a settlement, it was a ruling," he said. "You have a difference in legal opinions."

(Read entire article here)

I don’t see a lot of the Blogging Tories dealing with this issue, and I can guess why. It mostly concerns western Canada – primarily British Columbia – and the Blogging Tories are mostly from Alberta and points east. This issue does not directly affect the economies of their provinces, so why should they give a damn what happens to the softwood lumber issue?

And that’s a good part of what the American government is hoping for – a split within Canada over what’s important and what’s not. After all, we have a track record of infighting. And we’re good at it.

If, as has been suggested, Canada imposed tariffs on incoming American products, there are going to be factions within Canada who will scream, “Oh, no! I need that! Don’t put a tariff on that!”

You need that? Life will stop without it?

I’ve also hear it suggested that we impose export tariffs on all our other goods that Americans buy. Now listen to the screaming. I heard one of the Blogging Tories who called into a radio talk show (Corus network, if you want to identify yourself) recently and said in no uncertain terms that if we do impose Export tariffs, it can’t be on anything that comes from Saskatchewan – why not target Quebec and Ontario?

Another caller to that same show pointed out that fully one-third of the United States depends on Canada for its electrical power. Now, isn’t that interesting...

Of course, we wouldn’t think of pulling the power plug. Would we?

Well, let’s look at it this way: The power comes from the same place the softwood lumber comes from. No other part of Canada needs to be involved. Anybody know where the “off” switch is?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Minister of hate to "hunt down" Swedish king

The fanatical American Baptist minister, Fred Phelps, is on his way to Sweden."We'll hunt down your king," he said ominously to Expressen. "It doesn't make any difference where he tries to hide."Phelps' hatred of the royal family and all things Swedish is linked directly to his equally virulent hatred of homosexuals. He praises homophobic crimes, including murder. When controversial Swedish minister, Åke Green, was convicted of inciting hatred of homosexuals following an anti-gay sermon, Phelps saw red and turned his attention to Sweden."You're doomed to spend eternity in hell," he continued. "All you Swedes and your Swedish king and his family."

(Read entire article here)

Fred and his gang of “Christians” (and I only use that term because they use it to describe themselves) are making Pat Robertson look like a rank amateur, here. They’re quite serious, unfortunately. Check out God Hates Sweden. And that’s not all – God also hates Canada and America.
I almost hate to give them the publicity, but ya gotta see it to believe it...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Scientists probe anti-ageing gene

Scientists in the United States have discovered a gene that can keep mice alive for 30% longer than normal.
They say the gene has a key role to play in many of the processes related to ageing...
... Now researchers have shown that by boosting the activity of the gene, they can extend the natural lives of male mice from two to three years.
The effect is not quite so strong in female mice.
(Read entire article here)

Seems like no matter what the politically correct crowd wants, there are always going to be gender differences. But along with the “advantage” of longer life, the males may also become more vulnerable to diabetes. There’s always a trade-off...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Quiz For You: Greek Goddesses

What do you know about Greek mythology? Try your knowledge with this.

I managed 12/15 -- not bad for someone who hasn't read up on Greek Goddesses for about a millenium...

Group dispute over lottery jackpot win

Group dispute over lottery jackpot winAug, 24 2005 - 9:00 AM
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Money is the root of all evil, and while evil may not be involved, the root bear may have to get involved.
Nine employees of an A&W restaurant in Mission are claiming this past Saturday's 14 and a half million dollar lotto 6/49 win. That is over 1.6 million dollars each.
But two other employees say they want a share of that and have complained to the BC Lottery Corporation.
Tanis Mcquillan and Megan Weisgarber say they're due a 1.3 million dollar share each because they consistently contribute to the restaurant'sweekly pool.
The other nine say they didn't get in this time, but Mcquillan and Weisgarber say contribution's are on an honour system and no records are kept.
They've hired a lawyer and the BC Lottery Corporation is investigating.
As they say, always be nice to those who play 6/49.

You just can’t trust your friends and co-workers when it comes to money. You should be able to, but you can’t. In a group-ticket situation like this, there is a really simple way for everyone to protect his own interests: get it on paper!

Seriously. When the tickets are bought, have them photocopied and give a copy to each person who contributed. Have everyone sign the master copy saying they received their copy of the tickets. Everybody else go away. And if your “consistent” contributions mean that sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t – too bad if you don’t and the ticket is a winner. On the other hand, if someone “consistently” contributes – late – but always: let them pay their usual late entry fee and split the damned pot!

And oh, yeah...one more thing...since when is A&W a restaurant? A really good place for really good burgers really fast, yes. But a restaurant?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Welcome to Chaos!

Soooo...a few people say to me, "Chimmie, when are you going to get a blog?"

And I, being the smart person that I am, reply, "Never!"

And here we are.

Wasn't that simple?

And as soon as I figure out what everything does, here at Blogger, I'll get right down to moving the furniture around, painting the walls, hanging my art, and generally doing the stuff you do when you're going to be occupying a space for any length of time.

I am going to school -- soon -- to learn how to do this for real. Web design. Yup. And this is just like when you go out in a boat for the first time in your life, and when you get about three miles away from the dock, you start to wonder if you've remembered to bring the life jackets...

The only difference I can see so far is that with blogging, at least I don't have to know how to swim!

This can only get easier (she says, hopefully)!