Thursday, September 29, 2005

Caught On Video

"I Want a New Lawyer", "Horny Guy", and "DUI"

Something went wrong on Court TV... I've heard that they don't guarantee to give you the results you're looking for. I guess this guy used to be a Boy Scout -- he came prepared. Sort of.

This one is in French, but you will not need a translation. Strap yourself into your chair before hitting the link on it, though...

And, finally, I"ve seen a few versions of this one, and I've come to the conclusion that it's either faked, or it's a blooper reel from a police training film. Two reasons: First check the time stamp on the video. Who does roadside impaireds that take 25 minutes? And second, I know less than five people who can recite the alphabet backwards, never mind in this short time frame. I'm one of them, and I can do it in about 5 seconds, but I'm not drunk with a full bladder. Still, it has always been one of my favorites.

Warning: Not Family Viewing!

The nut bra can now be bought at your local department stores. Its for men over the age of 60.

This is hilarious, but, like the headline says, it's not family viewing! Keep your children and easily-offended PC Police away from this video.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dog Flu Spreads Worry Nationwide

From ABC News:

New Disease Kills Dogs in at Least Seven States

Sept. 27, 2005 — A newly discovered virus has killed dogs in at least seven states, and veterinarians, kennel operators and pet owners are concerned because researchers say there is no vaccine and dogs do not have immunity to the new flu.

Dr. Cynda Crawford, an immunologist at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, said in an audio interview posted on the university Web site that the disease is only deadly in rare cases — about 10 percent in puppies and old dogs — but is of concern because it is spreading rapidly.

It is believed that the new virus may have mutated from an equine influenza strain, she said.

Like most flu viruses, it can be spread by air, as well as by contact, and the populations of dogs most at risk are those in shelters, kennels, boarding operations or other situations where a lot of dogs are housed under one roof, she said.

The disease could also spread in parks where pet owners let their dogs off the leash to socialize, vets say. Dog parks are a perfect playground for contagious diseases because when animals share toys and water dishes, they also are sharing germs.

The symptoms of the disease include coughing and sneezing, and there is concern that it could be spread in vet waiting rooms, Crawford said.

"When you bring a bunch of dogs together under one roof, if a dog happens to be infected, then the virus will spread rapidly," she said. She compared the situation to what happens with young children in school.

As yet, there is no test for the flu that vets can administer, she said

The virus is too new for any dogs to have developed immunity to it, so pet owners should watch their dogs carefully for any symptoms.

"The concern is that the dog population on the North American continent is wholly 100 percent susceptible," Crawford said.

Seattle veterinarian Dr. Kenneth McKim recently treated some dogs with "kennel cough," but said the new virus is different.

"It's a more severe disease (with) high fever," McKim said. "It's got more complications with pneumonia and congestion."

There have been outbreaks of this new dog flu in kennels, race tracks and shelters along the East Coast. But not on the West Coast, yet.

"It's something that we're going to be watching for in the Northwest," McKim said. "There have been no reported cases of it here yet, but I think it's something that veterinarians are going to be on the watch for."

The majority of the deaths have occurred at greyhound tracks in Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Iowa, but there have been documented cases in some kennels and shelters.

Vets stress that the flu is no reason for pet owners to panic, but they should take some precautions. If you take your dog to a dog park, bring the dog's own water dish and toys, they say.

If you kennel your dogs, or take them to a doggie day care, vets say you should make sure the facility is clean, well-ventilated and requires all dogs to be current on their shots.

The main worry with this story is that dogs, like humans, are truly social animals. And if the 'flu takes hold in dogs, if it has already jumped the species barrier from horses to dogs, how long will it be before it jumps again to humans?

Calling All Hockey Fans!

There is a new website for you, whether you're a player or a fan -- at whatever level in either category.

There's a blog -- fans, players, writers, broadcasters -- it's there!

Chat -- each team has its own chat room, plus there are rooms for the press and general fans of The Game.

Forums -- for broader, more in-depth discussion.

Fantasy -- ah, now, this is a bit different. As I understand it, you are going to get to build your own team from all current players, using existing salaries and the existing salary cap. You will then get to "play" against another player and his team.

This particular part of the site is still under construction, but it should be ready to go very soon. I heard the last part of an interview with the site owner last night on Dan Russell's Sports Talk... I heard him mention some future plans -- like prizes for the games. I was half asleep at the time, so I'm not going to rely on what's probably a combination of faulty memory and wishful thinking. Check it out for yourself.

From Eklund's home page:

A Letter to the Buzzers - posted @ 12:17 PM

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little about where the website is in it`s development and where we are going.

First off, the initial numbers are incredible.
11 million hits,
1.3 million page views!
420,000 different people have stopped by!
In only 11 days.

And that's before the blogosphere found it!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water (And Where Have We Heard That Before?)

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

by Mark Townsend Houston
Sunday September 25, 2005
The Observer

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.

Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.

'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?'

Usually dolphins were controlled via signals transmitted through a neck harness. 'The question is, were these dolphins made secure before Katrina struck?' said Sheridan.

The mystery surfaced when a separate group of dolphins was washed from a commercial oceanarium on the Mississippi coast during Katrina. Eight were found with the navy's help, but the dolphins were not returned until US navy scientists had examined them.

Sheridan is convinced the scientists were keen to ensure the dolphins were not the navy's, understood to be kept in training ponds in a sound in Louisiana, close to Lake Pontchartrain, whose waters devastated New Orleans.

The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea

Criticism from animal rights groups ensured the use of dolphins became more secretive. But the project gained impetus after the Yemen terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Dolphins have also been used to detect mines near an Iraqi port.

All emphasis is mine.

And I don't want to start an eradication program on all dolphins, either. But the military machine sure has some answering to do. It's up to the people to come up with the questions, now, and keep after them until the truth is told.

Runaway Technology

First, we have alarm clocks that run and hide when you push the snooze button, now we will soon have "smart" rabbits that will tell us everything we thought we needed to know but were afraid to ask...

Anybody know how to say "target practice" in French?

Friday, September 23, 2005

It's Not Hockey, But...

Burk Is A Berk?

I heard Nasty Neil Macrae foaming at the mouth about this one on CKNW this morning -- what an earful to wake up to!

From news services:
Updated: Sep. 23, 2005, 12:38 PM ET

Burk plans to protest new NHL ad campaign

The NHL's new advertising campaign is getting attention, but not the kind it was likely hoping for.

According to a report from The Canadian Press, Martha Burk, the chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, said she intends to write letters of protest to the NHL and NBC over the NHL's new ad campaign, which is set to begin next week.

The first spot, titled "It's Time," shows a player (an actor, not an NHL player) in a locker room, surrounded by candles and accompanied by a woman who ceremoniously helps him don his hockey garb. The ads feature quotes from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" along with dramatic camera work and music reminiscent of the film "Braveheart."

Burk told The Canadian Press that the ad is "offensive on many levels."

Personally, I find Burk offensive on many levels. That does not keep her off the airwaves, however...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Surrey Cancels Gay Play

School district says sex, violence and swearing unacceptable

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun
Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Surrey school district has cancelled a high school production of a play designed to teach tolerance toward homosexuals.

The school district's administration says the play, The Laramie Project, contains sex, violence and foul language and is not appropriate as family entertainment.

Students at Elgin Park who showed up for auditions Tuesday were told the school district administration decided The Laramie Project, was not appropriate for the audience and could not be staged as a pre-Christmas production.

Doug Strachan, communications manager of the Surrey school district, said the decision to cancel the play -- which explores attitudes that led to the murder of a young gay man -- had nothing to do with the issue of homosexuality.

"The play wasn't appropriate as family entertainment."

Strachan said the play's content included sex, violence and foul language, which was considered inappropriate for elementary school siblings of students at the high school and grandparents who would likely be in the audience.

"It's not going ahead simply out of respect for and sensitivity of the audience," he added.

Well. I listened to Doug Strachan being interviewed this morning by Phillip Till on CKNW. There was time afterward for two calls in to the station, and both callers had pretty much the same thing to say: Strachan is blowing sunshine up your ass -- Surrey is homophobic!

Go on to read the rest of the story, and it will mention the Surrey school board's fight to keep three books out of the Surrey school system. The books deal with gay partner parents as a normal and viable life style. The battle took years. It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Surrey lost. Then they decided they wanted the provincial government to pay the legal costs for a case they should never have instigated in the first place. The provincial government responded with a loud raspberry, and rightly so.

Strachan is wrong when he says that the play is better received by grades eleven and twelve. By that time, it's too late. Lifetime opinions and attitudes about other peoples' way of life are formed at a much younger age. This play needs to be seen by 12- and 13-year-olds, and perhaps even younger.

"Foul language" is one of the excuses being used to keep this play out of Surrey. Point out a ten-year-old who doesn't know the meaning of the word "fuck" and all its synonyms, never mind using them on a free-wheeling basis as punctuation marks in speech, and I'll show you a child who will never be able to communicate with you on any level.

Another objection to the play is the proposed timing of it -- Christmas. Not appropriate for Christmas.

No? Can anyone think of a better time of year to emphasise acceptance and understanding of other human beings?

Later on in the article:

The school's drama teacher has decided to do another play, The Crucible by Henry Miller, which is about censorship, she said.

I wonder if Strachan got the irony of it. Probably not.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Virtual Reality Moon Phase Pictures

Does the werewolf in you need to know the phases of the moon so you can plan ahead to buy extra shampoo/conditioner?

Do you feel the need to do something totally off the wall, and you're looking for something to blame it on?

Just want to know the lunar phase for any given day between 1800 and 2199 CE?

Check it out.

I'll be posting this on my sidebar under Other Useful Links.

I Felt the Earth Move Under My Feet

Natural Resources Canada

Voice:(250) 363-6500
Fax: (250) 363-6565
DATE: Tuesday September 13, 2005
LOCATION: Southern Vancouver Island
GSC Scientists Monitor "Tremor and Slip" Beneath Vancouver Island
An important scientific event is currently underway on the west coast of Canada.
The event is the predicted "tremor and slip event" which is related to the movement of the Juan de Fuca and North America tectonic plates along the Cascadia margin of southern British Columbia. The slip event (monitored by Global Positioning Satellite data) and the associated tremors that we are currently experiencing, are directly related to megathrust (Sumatra-like) earthquake potential. Neither the tremor nor the slip can be felt.
The forecast Episodic Tremor and Slip event has now reached southern Vancouver Island. Tremor activity started at 01:00 on September 03 on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and has migrated north to the greater Victoria/southernmost Vancouver Island area. Using GPS observation, Natural Resources Canada scientists have confirmed that Victoria has moved 3mm to the west in the 2 days since the slip event began. Episodic tremor and slip occurs roughly every 14th months, and lasts from 6 to 15 days.
By better understanding these events, we will be able to better predict the effects (and perhaps timing) of future magnitude 9 earthquakes along the west coast.
For an update on the current situation, please check our headlines at:
For a detailed description of "tremor and slip" (recently published in both "Science" and "Nature"), please check:
Prepared by: John Cassidy and Herb Dragert
For further information on recent earthquakes, visit our web site at

Defining "Moral"

This item was in the New York Daily News' "Daily Dish" section -- unattributed.

Retailers take a swipe at Katrina card use

Some stores across the country are refusing Red Cross-provided hurricane-relief debit cards because they do not approve of the goods being bought.

Responses have poured in since this column reported last week that the cards had been used to buy $800 handbags at the Louis Vuitton store in Atlanta.

Retailer Vicki Haniford said she has begun refusing the cards at her store in Illinois. "[Last] Saturday, I had 14 transactions go through from about six different people totaling a little over $1,000," she E-mailed. "They purchased jewelry and a TV with a DVD player. I called the Red Cross and they said unfortunately these people made bad choices when purchasing, but there was nothing they could do.

"This is totally and morally wrong," she says. "Many hard-working Americans donated money to the disaster victims so they could have food and clothing, not buy outrageous items."

Another reader told me: "My daughter works at an entertainment store in a suburban Atlanta mall. [Last Sunday], an apparent hurricane refugee came in the store and purchased a personal PlayStation and two games for a total of about $360, using a Red Cross debit card.

"They couldn't refuse the sale, but subsequently store policy changed. Everyone in the store was incensed, except the guy using the card, of course."

A Louis Vuitton spokeswoman did not respond to a question about whether their chain would continue to accept the distinctive white debit cards.

A Red Cross rep told me the card could be used to buy anything except alcohol, tobacco or firearms. "Once they're out of our hands, there's nothing we can do," she said.

Now, I have some questions:

1. When the cards were issued, why were they so unrestricted? The intent, I suppose, was for people to use them to buy essential items like food and clothing. Most of society does not see a Playstation as an essential item for survival. On the other hand, a child's view of survival is different from the rest of society's view. And a harried mother or father will often seek to divert restless children in order to deal with the rest of the situation.

2. Whose definition of "morally wrong" are we using? Seriously, different people have different priorities when it comes to "moral" anything. Vegans, for example, will see the buying of meat as being morally wrong, and will campaign against it -- even when all evidence points to the fact that growing children need animal protein in order to grow properly. Veganism is an adult choice, and should not be forced on children. And yes, that is my moral opinion, based on what I know. So, whose definition of "moral" are we going to use when we point fingers?

3. Let's go back to that first sentence: Some stores across the country are refusing Red Cross-provided hurricane-relief debit cards because they do not approve of the goods being bought. Who has the right to approve or disapprove anyone else's purchases?

I gotta admit, whenever I see someone grocery shopping and they're loading their cart with sugar-saturated cereals, I want to scream, "Do you know what you're doing to your body and your children's bodies?" That's not my choice to make, however. So I bite my tongue and buy my eggs and sausage, hoping I don't run into a vegan/cholesterol freak who will lecture me on my own choices.

4. Has anyone considered that some of these purchases are being made with stolen and/or forged cards? That maybe Katrina's victims are being responsible (according to whoever gets to define "responsible")? And that they're just getting a bad rap because they're easy to pick on right now, having no way to fight back? Hmmmmm...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Normality of Gay Marriages

Editorial -- The New York Times

Published: September 17, 2005

There's nothing like a touch of real-world experience to inject some reason into the inflammatory national debate over gay marriages. Take Massachusetts, where the state's highest court held in late 2003 that under the State Constitution, same-sex couples have a right to marry. The State Legislature moved to undo that decision last year by approving a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages and create civil unions as an alternative. But this year, when precisely the same measure came up for a required second vote, it was defeated by a thumping margin of 157 to 39.

The main reason for the flip-flop is that some 6,600 same-sex couples have married over the past year with nary a sign of adverse effects. The sanctity of heterosexual marriages has not been destroyed. Public morals have not gone into a tailspin. Legislators who supported gay marriage in last year's vote have been re-elected. Gay couples, many of whom had been living together monogamously for years, have rejoiced at official recognition of their commitment.

As a Republican leader explained in justifying his vote switch: "Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry who could not before." A Democrat attributed his change of heart to the beneficial effects he saw "when I looked in the eyes of the children living with these couples." Gay marriage, it turned out, is good for family values.

Some legislators who strongly oppose gay marriages also switched their votes this year for tactical reasons. They realized that the original measure was headed for defeat, and they had never really liked the part that created civil unions anyway. They are now pinning their hopes on an even harsher proposal, endorsed by Gov. Mitt Romney, that would ban gay marriages without allowing civil unions.

We can only hope that this new appeal to fear and bigotry will stumble over the reality, already apparent, that gay marriage is no threat to the larger community. States that rushed to ban same-sex marriages after the Massachusetts court ruling were succumbing to misplaced hysteria.

Related Articles
Massachusetts Rejects Bill to Eliminate Gay Marriage (September 15, 2005)
Schwarzenegger to Veto Same-Sex Marriage Bill (September 8, 2005) $
National Briefing West: California: Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriages (September 2, 2005)

No Men Need Apply

Will Science Trump Politics in Resolving Abortion Debate?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
By Wendy Mcelroy

Artificial wombs will be "reality" within 20 years, according to the London Times. Indeed, 20 years seems a conservative estimate given an earlier report in The Guardian, another UK newspaper, which predicted them for 2008.

Discussion of ectogenesis — growing an embryo outside the mother's womb — may sound wildly futuristic. But a few years ago, cloning and genetic modification seemed impossible. A few years before that, the idea of a 66-year-old woman giving birth was absurd; it happened last January. And only last week, British scientists received an official go-ahead to create human embryos from two mothers with no male genetic contribution.

(Read entire story here)

The main problem with this type of procreation -- if other articles I've seen on it are accurate -- is that only females are produced. The "y" chromosome that denotes maleness is not differentiated until quite late in the gestation process (yeah -- we all start out female), and it seems to actually require input from an actual male, so to speak...

Rush Limbaugh's feminazis might see this as a good thing.

Those who oppose, please form a line to the Extreme Right===>>>

Talk About An Electrifying Personality!

Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction

Sep 16, 10:30 AM (ET)

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

"Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.

"There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge.

Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said.

"I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.

Firefighters took possession of Clewer's jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.

David Gosden, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Sydney University, told Reuters that for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect.

"Static electricity is a similar mechanism to lightning, where you have clouds rubbing together and then a spark generated by very dry air above them," said Gosden.

Didn't there used to be a comic-book super-hero who fought the bag guys with charges of static electricity?

Life is now imitating comics?

Witch Hunt Called Off in Colorado

Ramah mayor apologizes to pagans
(update from previous here)

The Gazette

RAMAH, Colo. (AP) -- Mayor Tamra Herrara has apologized to a pagan group whose plan for a Halloween gathering cast the small plains town as a modern-day Salem.

The Calhan-based coven of about a dozen members rented Ramah's American Legion Hall for an Oct. 29 fund-raiser for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

The Rev. Tim Tucker, minister of Ramah Baptist Fellowship, tried to get the town board to block the gathering at a work session Aug. 25 called to discuss the pagan celebration.

Herrara's apology followed a scolding Tuesday from fellow trustee Nicole Allen, who said she was embarrassed by the board's behavior at the work session, saying it was an attempt to violate the group's civil liberties.

"All I can say is we do as a board apologize," Herrara told members of the Secret Garden Coven at Tuesday's meeting. "This has never come up before and never will again."

(Read entire article here)

There is one person who seems determined not to let this issue die, and that is the resident who began the petition, Annette Manchego:

"It is not proper," she said of the pagans' beliefs. "We say 'one nation under God,' not 'goddesses."'

Who wants to be the first one to point out to her that the words, "under God" were not included in the document until 1954? The Founding Fathers were not Christians, per se, but Deists -- quite contect to allow everyone to define his own religious beliefs as he saw fit, and also determined that religion not become mandated by the State.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Canadian Logic

Sent to me by e-mail...

President George Bush was in the Oval Office wondering which country to invade next, when his telephone rang.

"Hallo, President Bush" a heavily accented voice said. This is Archie, up 'ere at the Harp Seal Pub in Badger's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada ey? I am callin' to tells ya dat we are officially declaring war on you, ey!"

Well Archie," George replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Archie, after a moments calculation "there is myself, me cousin Harold, me next-door-neighbour Mick, and the whole dart team from the pub. That makes eight!"

George paused. "I must tell you Archie, that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command.

"Holy jeez," said Archie. "I'll have ta call ya back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Archie called again. "Mr. Bush, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be Archie?", George asked.

"Well sir, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Harry's farm tractor."

President Bush sighed. "I must tell you Archie, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke."

"Lard T'underin' Jaysus, bye", said Archie, "I'll be getting back to ya."

Sure enough, Archie rang again the next day. "President Bush, the war is still on! We have managed to git ourselves airborne! We up an' modified Harrigan's ultra-light wit a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four byes from the Legion have joined us as well!"

George was silent for a minute then cleared his throat. "I must tell you Archie that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to TWO MILLION!"

"Jeysus, Mary and Joseph," said Archie,"I'll have ta call youse back."

Sure enough, Archie called again the next day. "President Bush! I am sorry to have to tell you dat we have had to call off dis 'ere war."

"I'm sorry to hear that" said George. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well, sir," said Archie, "we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and come to realize dat dere's no way we can feed two million prisoners."


'Celebration' Defies Church

Michele Birch-Conery presides over first service: 'If this is needed ... the people will accept it'

LADYSMITH -- It was, in some ways, a conventional Roman Catholic Church service that drew 100 people on Saturday afternoon. There was a chorus, teachings from the Gospel, prayers and communion.

But it was also unconventional: The service wasn't in a church building, and was held under a tent on a residential front lawn. And the officiant was Michele Birch-Conery, whose status of priest is a matter of controversy -- the Church's official position is that women aren't allowed to be priests.

I have been keeping an eye out for further developments in this story ever since the Gananoque ordination ceremony on the 24th of July. That the "official" policy of the Roman Catholic Church is not to recognise women as priests, the plain fact is that many Catholicis disagree with Mother Church.

I haven't made a specific head count, but roughly half of my family members are Catholic. Of them, about half support women as priests, and about one quarter do not. The rest simply don't see what all the fuss is about.

"We really don't want to be adversarial towards the hierarchy," said Brassard. "We call this a prophetic stance. The law that says she can't be ordained is wrong and the only way you can change it within the church ... is having enough women taking a prophetic stance. If enough people say, 'We like this, this is what we want' then all law changes.If a doctrine or law is not received by the people, it's no longer valid."

In other words, you can pass all the laws you want, make all the declarations you want, scream, "This is the way it is!" all you want -- if the people refuse to co-operate, whatever it is you want counts for nothing.

Andrew Greeley has repeatedly said, "The four most important women in a man's life are his mother, his sister, his wife, and his daughter. You might as well ordain them; you can't possibly give them any more power than they've already got." The Church hasn't been able to shut him up, either. Either that, or, wisely, they haven't tried.

Something tells me this is going to become a much broader movement.

(NOTE: If the link for the Star-Telegram story brings up a registration page, go to my sidebar and open the link that says "Bypass Compulsory Web Registration" in a new window. Enter the url for the Star-Telegraph page in the box, and you'll get a working registration and password to use.)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

No Religious Arbitration for Ontario!

No Shariah family tribunals in Ontario: McGuinty

TORONTO — Ontario will not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow the use of a set of centuries' old religious rules called Shariah law to settle Muslim family disputes, and will ban all religious arbitrations in the province, Premier Dalton McGuinty told The Canadian Press on Sunday.

In a telephone interview with the national news agency, McGuinty announced his government would move quickly to outlaw existing religious tribunals used for years by Christians and Jews under Ontario's Arbitration Act.

"I've come to the conclusion that the debate has gone on long enough," he said.

"There will be no Shariah law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians."

(Read entire article here)

Until now, Catholics, Mennonites, Jews, Aboriginals and Jehovah's Witnesses have had recourse to their own religious and cultural traditions to settle certain disputes among themselves, so long as all parties agree. This is no longer going to be allowed, under McGinty's decision, and I can't help but think that's a good thing.

No question that Shariah was a bad idea that never should have gotten as far as if did. Its focus on the utter and complete subjugation of women is anathema in a Western society.

The other cultures mentioned here, who will now lose their own ability to arbitrate disputes within their own laws, were probably never the threat to half their population that Shariah was. Still, when each group gets to handle situations in its own way, things can get very confused very quickly.

It's one thing for people within a group to go along with a cultural tradition because it's just that -- a tradition. It's another thing entirely when they have to go along with it because it's the law within their culture.

There will now be only one law by which everyone in Ontario must abide.

It's about time.

And to The Canadian Islamic Congress I say this: You've tried now in two provinces and been turned down both times. Don't you think it's about time you started learning how to adapt and live under Canada's laws?

Take the Great Canadian Blog Survey

Aaron Braaten at Grandnite is conducting the Great Canadian Blog Survey

If you're a blogger, or even if you just read blogs -- and whether you comment on them or not -- go do the survey

It takes a couple of minutes.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

When Cultures Fail to Understand One Another...

A Prayer for New Orleans

By Tom Masland

Once American slavery’s busiest marketplace, the city represents much more culturally than a place that throws a great party.


...I combed the final stretch of beach, where I’ve often found revealing flotsam—many empty crack vials in the 1990s, and now and then a useful piece of timber. Glittery green and yellow ribbon was wrapped around the mahogany stick with bead eyes. Red and white thread bound the stick to a slender branch of bamboo. My six plus years in Africa, just ended, told me this was an occult offering. At lunchtime in midtown Manhattan, I learned that the offering was on a mission for Oshun, the Spirit of the River in the ancient West African religious tradition called Ifá. Her main color is yellow.


It has to pain the people of New Orleans when outsiders trivialize their unique Creole (to use the polite term) culture. The best-selling author Anne Rice, whose horror novels dwell on death, Christianity and the supernatural, railed about this in last Sunday’s New York Times: New Orleans, she wrote, “Has always been not only a great white metropolis but also a great black city, a city where African-Americans have come together again and again to form the strongest African-American culture in the land.” She concludes: “During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us 'Sin City,' and turned your backs.”

(Read entire article here)

The Kitty Cat Dance And Song

This is...weird.

But hey, I made no promises about not being weird once in awhile!

No cats were harmed during the taping of this little movie. All cats were paid triple overtime just for showing up, as is their due. All cats who actually participated in the filming were declared on the spot to be Gods -- and act which was redundant.

All humans with feline companions are urged to provide treats and toys -- immediately -- as a way of abjectly apologizing for being lured into watching this undignified display (during which no cats were harmed, as stated previously).

I must now go and opologize to my own feline companion, who is patiently awaiting her treat of succulent Chinook salmon. With luck, she may offer some to me...

Insults, Astrological Style

Stick It Up Your Astrology

by Rachel H. Palmer

Please allow me to apologize for the words I am about to write. They will strip all of us naked, and leave us raw and exposed for the world to mock at will. Our privates will become public. Our secrets will be revealed. Let us go, dear souls, and walk through our collective shame. Yes, we all have pride, and our pride makes us vulnerable.

I am about to bestow upon you a great gift: the power to insult, wound and mortally offend people based on acute astrological insights! Won't that be fun?

Many of us are striving for the Buddha consciousness -- you know, being nice people and all that. I have great respect for that endeavor. But just for a minute, I'm asking you to put aside your angel wings and join me in a bit of naughtiness. Don't get too comfortable. Thanks to astrology, what I'm about to write might make your tummy hurt.

Carry on here if you want to know the keys to insulting someone astrologically.

Two warnings go with this article:

First, the insults contained herein have been tried (informally) by a volunteer panel, and they have been judged effective. As soon as the volunteers are out of the hospital, they will submit a final report.

Second, read the different signs carefully before you begin to throw insults. In order to avoid the unfortunate results incurred by our volunteer panel, you might wish to practise breaking the land speed record before you try this at home. Or anywhere else.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

"...We've Got Canadian Flags Flying Everywhere."

Louisiana senator: Thank you Canada
Last Updated Thu, 08 Sep 2005 07:12:44 EDT
CBC News

A Louisiana state senator has praised a Canadian search and rescue team. Senator Walter Boasso said a Vancouver-based team reached St. Bernard parish five days before the U.S. army got there.

"Fabulous, fabulous guys," Boasso said. "They started rolling with us and got in boats to save people ... We've got Canadian flags flying everywhere."

(Read entire article here)

I'm normally not one of those people who looks for a reason to fly the flag. But, damn! I wish I had a flag pole now...

(Related story here)

Credit Where Credit Is Due

It's probably the nightmare of every journalist -- professional or vanity (we bloggers belong to the latter type) -- to get stung by a source. Source. You know -- the person who feeds you "insider information" to post on your blog (or in your column) so you can get the scoop on everyone else.

You should be able to trust your sources. Being really new to this world, I'm not sure what the source gets out of it (professional sources probably get money, but bloggers are not rich. At least, I'm not). Vicarious thrills, maybe, that the "tip" went public, and they had something to do with it?

There are bloggers out there who have built up such a following as to be almost professional. Indeed, some of them could be -- possibly should be. They have sources. They trust those sources. And the readers trust the bloggers.

So, what happens when a source burns a blogger?

I don't imagine much is going to happen to the source, except that his credibilty is forever shot. He'll never, as they say, "work in this town again."

But what happens to the blogger?

Well, that depends entirely on what he does next. This one and this one both got burned by the same source on the same story. Go read how they handled their end of things.

Well done, Stephen and Angry. Class acts, both of you.

Professional journalists -- take notes!

Fear and Hatred in Smalltown, Anywhere

This article in a Colorado Springs newspaper caught my eye, as, over the years, a lot of similar articles have caught my eye. Articles like this make me angry. Too often, lately, I have heard the piteous cries of the WASPs: "We're being discriminated against because we're white and Christian!"

Who is being discriminated against here? And by whom?

Planned festival of pagans draws anger in plains town

The small eastern plains town of Ramah is simmering with religious tension after a pagan group rented out the American Legion Hall for a festival on Halloween weekend.

The name of the festival is Samhain -- pronounced SA-when -- and it is the pagan festival that honors the ancestors.

A Baptist minister tried to rally the town board to stop the gathering, and one woman is circulating a petition demanding that the festival be stopped.

Other residents call the situation a witch hunt targeting those with different beliefs and are sarcastically referring to their town as “Salem.”

“It’s mass hysteria,” said resident Virginia Gurule Baker. “These people are so closeminded.”

On the other end of the spectrum is Annette Manchego, who said, “I do not want it in our town or anywhere around our town.”

Last month, the Secret Garden Coven decided to hold a fall festival as a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Organizer Jerusha Doucette-Johnson said she paid a deposit Aug. 19 on the building. Then she distributed fliers in Calhan, Simla, Ramah and other towns advertising the festival, which will include a ball, craft show and midnight ritual.

The coven of about 10 is primarily from the Calhan and Simla area.

Pagans worship a number of gods and goddesses and don’t subscribe to the Christian idea of a God and devil. The ritual consists of facing different directions, lighting candles, honoring those who have died and giving thanks for loved ones, Doucette-Johnson said.

This part is really, really important: pagans do not believe in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim concept of satan, a devil, or demons! Pagans have their own dieties. They do not need to borrow or steal anyone else's dieties!

The different directions have meaning. The candles have meaning. This festival, to repeat myself, is meant to honor the ancestors.

There’s no violence, she said.

No. Violence. None.

Some in Ramah, named for an Israeli town in the Old Testament, became upset when they saw the flier, particularly the reference to a ritual.

Specifically, it is a religious ritual that has nothing to do with Christianity. It also has nothing to do with the devil, satan, or demons. Why is it that people fear and hate things about which they know nothing?

The Rev. Tim Tucker of Ramah Baptist Fellowship asked the town board to meet about the matter, and Town Clerk Cindy Tompkins scheduled a workshop Aug. 25 at Town Hall.

Trustee Nicole Allen, who is Gurule Baker’s daughter, said she protested the gathering because the town has no legal interest.

Doucette-Johnson said Trustee Tara Bell did much of the talking when the meeting began and asked what the ritual was about.

This is where an invitation would normally be issued to anyone who is curious about paganism. Samhain, however, is an intensely emotional and private ceremony. This is not "hallowe'en" we're talking about.

Tucker was there but said nothing, she said. Doucette-Johnson said she tried to explain how her religion worked but felt Bell was aggressive and rude. Bell did not return two calls seeking comment.

This does not surprise me. That someone of any religion would demand to know what another religion is all about if the space of a town meeting is ludicrous. We are not only talking about a religion, but an entire culture. You can't possible explain it in a town meeting.

The meeting quickly became heated.

Doucette-Johnson said some residents thought the pagans would slaughter animals and one man said he didn’t want the pagans pushing their religion down his throat. He then asked whether she would be open to a Ku Klux Klan meeting in her front yard, she said.

Several religions use ritual animal slaughter as part of their dietary laws -- Judaism (for kosher) and Islam (for halal), to name two. Pagans have no such ritual or requirement. And then there are Catholic Christians, who practise a kind of cannibalism they call Holy Communion -- eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their god. You, reading this, might think that is only symbolic. Ask a Jesuit priest sometime. He will tell you it is not symbolic -- the bread and wine are being literally transformed into flesh and blood. They call it "transsubstantiation."

And as for pagans shoving their religion down anyone's throat: If this is the first time the town realised there are pagans among them, I wouldn't call it shoving anything down anyone's throat -- quite the opposite, in fact.

And the whole reason for renting the Legion Hall was to keep the festival private -- remember the Legion Hall? Four walls, a roof -- doors that lock? Not public. Private.

“That to me was like a threat,” Doucette-Johnson said.

Sounded like a threat to me, too. Are there not laws against this kind of threat?

The same man also said he could organize a cattle drive through the area to ruin the festival, Allen said.

Oh, how wonderful! Not only is this unnamed man willing to ruin a sacred moment for a culture which is no threat to him, but remember where it's being held? Legion Hall? He wants to drive a herd of cattle through the Legion Hall?

Tompkins said the meeting continued for about 45 minutes before she stopped it and proclaimed it a citizens’ meeting.

Tompkins said she made a mistake in allowing the meeting in the first place and that she and elected officials didn’t understand the subject of the meeting before arranging it.

“The town should not have been involved,” she said.

Thank you, Ms. Tomplins. No more should the town be involved in what the local churches are doing...

Mayor Tamra Herrera agreed, declining to share her personal opinion of the matter. “I’m staying completely out of it,” she said.

Now Manchego is circulating a petition asking the American Legion Hall not to allow the rental. She said she’s collected more than 100 signatures from residents in the area and plans to present the petition to the American Legion.

She may find that some of the veterans who are members of that Legion are pagans, themselves. The military guarantees freedom of worship. There are pagan military chaplains.

If that fails, Manchego said, she’ll hold a protest Oct. 29.

She said pagans have the right to practice and gather privately, but shouldn’t do so in public.

Once again, and trying not to repeat myself too often -- this is not public. This is in a Legion Hall. Behind closed doors. Four walls and a roof. Completely private.

However, if other religions have a right to gather in public, then so, too, should pagans have the right to gather in public. This is not a subversive society, here, people!

“We have vulnerable young people that don’t need this put upon them,” she said. “The festival is a pulling to get people in. Then they can work with the devil himself, which they worship. It is powerful, believe me. They can brainwash you, and before you know it, you’re staying for the midnight ritual.”

Ahem. Pay attention. Major point about to be made:

Of all the pagan festivals (there are eight formal ones), Samhain is the least suited for children. This is not hallowe'en we are talking about!

Repeating: NO DEVIL!

And, perhaps if more people understood this next point, they'd understand why they don't hear about pagans until close to the time of a pagan festival:

Pagans do not advertise. Pagans do not proselytize. Pagans do not go on recruiting drives. Pagans are not interested in your children. Pagans are not interesting in adding to their membership. Pagans do not want to tell you how to live your lives.

How un-Christian of them!

You have not been, and will not be, invited to the midnight ritual.

A representative of the American Legion Hall didn’t return calls, but Doucette-Johnson said her group has been told it can still hold the festival. However, American Legion representatives did ask her to remove references to a ritual from a flier. She agreed to do so.

Thank you, American Legion. And perhaps this is a good place to say that mentioning the ritual was maybe not the best idea in the first place. After all, anyone attending would know about the ritual -- it's part of the festival. And we've just seen how upset the willfully ignorant can get when you mention certain words...

Doucette-Johnson said she’s never encountered such problems before.

Ah, sister-friend, welcome to reality!

“It’s the first time I’ve ever organized anything like this. I know now why paganism is such an underground religion and why (pagans) are so afraid,” Doucette-Johnson said.

“It is disappointing to me,” Allen said. “It’s 2005. I thought we’d become more progressive. I found out we’re not.”

No, we are not. And, despite that the year is 2005, the differences between religions and cultures is still the hottest button you can find to spark anymosity among otherwise civilised peoples. I have no idea why this is so, but it is a fact that is being used around the world to keep people isolated from one another. One of these days, I'll write an article on the politics of isolationism.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Everybody's A Spoilsport These Days...

Koran-Quoting Trojan Spoils Smut Surfing

By Gregg Keizer
Courtesy of TechWeb News

A new Trojan monitors access to porn sites and then displays a quote from the Koran chastising the surfer for his or her sins, a security vendor said Tuesday.

Once it's installed, Yusufali.a -- called "Cager.a" by Trend Micro -- watches which sites Windows users visit by examining the browser's title bar. If the Trojan sees a word in its list -- such as "teen," "xx," "sex," or "penis" -- it minimizes the window and displays a quote from the Koran.

"Yusufali: Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for they fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes."

"This Trojan isn't trying to steal money or confidential information, but acting as a moral guardian instead, blocking viewing of sites it determines are unsavory," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a statement. " "This may have been written as a joke, or as a serious attempt to clean-up the habits of Internet users."

Eventually the Koran quote is replaced by a "For Exit Click Here" button. Once the user moves the mouse, however, the box changes to show three buttons -- LogOff, ShutDown, and Restart -- all of which when clicked log off the current user. The mouse cannot be moved outside the buttons' box.

That box shows the text "OH! NO i'm in the Cage," hence the moniker Cager.a by anti-virus vendor Trend Micro.

Time to learn those keyboard shortcuts for your task manager.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"Candygram for Mungo...!"

So, don't accept chocolates from a Nazi..
Sep 6, 8:29 AM (ET)

LONDON (Reuters) - Luckily, the exploding Smedley's English Red Plums in Heavy Syrup were intercepted in Turkey before anyone got killed.

But what of the hand grenade disguised as a chocolate bar? Or the incendiary Vichy pastille sweets?

A secret file from the archives of Britain's spy services released this week shows ingenious methods, conjured up by Germans during World War Two, for disguising bombs.

Britain's Security Service began opening its records this year under the country's new Freedom of Information Act.

Among the files declassified by the National Archive was a treasure trove of nifty exploding gadgets, labeled "Camouflages for sabotage equipment used by the German sabotage services."

The drawing of the design for the chocolate bar grenade says it is made from steel coated with real chocolate, and activated by breaking off a bit at one end. It doesn't say whether the grenade was ever actually manufactured or used.

The file also includes photos of the incendiary pastille sweets, and bombs hidden in anything from oil cans and food tins to a lump of coal.

The "Late" Southern Decadence XXXIV

After a week of disastrous, near-eschatological events, if you find yourself still alive, what do you do?

Why, you party, of course...

And when you're gay, and you live in New Orleans, you pick up the Southern Decadence banner, dust it off as much as you can, gather a few friends, and un-cancel the pre-cancelled event.

You will, of course, be severely criticized for celebrating the survival of an event for which you are being blamed in the first place. However, you are already being severly criticized for merely being alive and being gay. So, pay your critics no mind, darlings. You're alive, and there is a 35-year-old tradition to uphold. Better late than never!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Clone, Clone of My Own

It was mumblety-mumble years ago that I read an article on cloning by Isaac Asimov. In the scope of the article (and where the entire thing went, I have no idea), he got a little tongue-in-cheek, and amid all the scientific stuff was a lyric that could be sung to "Home On the Range."

Clone of My Own
The first verse and chorus are by science fiction writer Randall Garrett. The other verses are by Isaac Asimov.
Oh, give me a clone
Of my own flesh and bone
With its Y-chromosome changed to X
And when it is grown
Then my own little clone
Will be of the opposite sex.

Clone, clone of my own,
With your Y-Chromosome changed to X
And when I'm alone
With my own little clone
We will both think of nothing but sex.

Oh, give me a clone
In my sorrowful moan
A clone that is wholly my own.
And if she's an X
Of the feminine sex
Oh, what fun we will have when we're prone.

My heart's not of stone,
As I've frequently shown
When alone with my own little X
And after we've dined
I am sure we will find
Better incest than Oedipus Rex.

Why should such sex vex
Or disturb or perplex
Or induce a disparaging tone.
After all, don't you see
Since we're both of us me
When we're having sex, I'm alone.

And after I'm done
She will still have her fun
For I'll clone myself twice ere I die.
And this time without fail,
They'll be both of them male
And they'll ravage her by and by.
(My note: I'm wondering if that last line should read, "And they'll both ravish her by and by." But I hate to second-guess the Good Doctor.)
I think it was The Great Bird of the Galaxy who said that if one man could imagine something, another man could build it (and you politically correct types can stop before you start -- he said "man" and I am not going to retro-fit the language to suit you. So there!). Soooooo...flash forward a few decades, and we now have news items like this one:
Some Sex With Your Clone Perhaps?
Two amateur documentary makers say they've infiltrated the UFO cloning sect known as the Raelians and come away with candid videos they hope will further tarnish the group's reputation and even help shut it down.
The Raelians are no strangers to bad press: Brigitte Boisselier, a Raelian bishop and biochemist, created a media furor in December 2002 when she announced the world's first successful cloning of a human. But her credibility, as well as the Raelians', was questioned when she never produced "baby Eve" or 12 other purported clones.
Now, rare video footage of the group taken at one of its Las Vegas seminars has been spun into an as-yet-unreleased documentary that brings a fresh, critical slant to the Raelians -- replete with allegations that the sect uses sex as a recruitment tool, targeting people most likely to sympathize with its message that aliens populated the world: "Trekkies and whatnot," explained Abdullah Hashem, who taped the group in May as part of a broader, personal investigation of the group.
"There are a lot of people (at these seminars) who believe in aliens, and all these beautiful women who will have sex with you even though you're a dork," he said. "And that's why most people were there."

"No Parking" Is Taking On a Whole New Meaning

Watch the Parking Meters

PACIFIC GROVE, California -- In this seaside town, parking meters don't grant those magical few minutes on someone else's dime. Each time a car pulls away from a space, the meter automatically resets to zero.

Little is left to chance in the brave new world of parking technology: Meters are triggered by remote sensors, customers pay for street time by cell phone and solar-powered vending machines create customized parking plans for the motorist.

Oh, and forget about rubbing the traffic officer's chalk mark off your tires on the streets of cities where short-term parking is free but overstays are punished by fines.

If you're in Monterey, California, or Chicago, you're apt to be foiled by parking officials who drive minicarts outfitted with GPS-enabled cameras that scan your license plate and know how long a car has occupied the given space.

(Read entire article here)

I love technology. Actually, what I like is the race of the technological "Don'ts" versus the technological "Dos."

'Way back a long time ago, thieves and other opportunists had a relatively easy time getting into their victims' places of residence or business. Everyone had (up till then) trusted everyone else to keep their mitts off someone else's stuff. But wholesale stealing put a stop to the trust, and someone invented the lock and key. This was a "Don't." (And yeah, I know this is kinda simplistic -- bear with me.)

Wasn't too long before a "Do" invented the lockpick and key forging.

Then came combination locks. And magnetic and/or auditory cheats to beat the combination. And so it went, and continues to go, until we now have technology that scans your fingerprints, iris patterns, vocal range and modulation, and on and on and on...

Every time a "Don't" technology comes along, right behind it is someone waiting to create a "Do."

So, how long before we've got free parking again?

Got Condom?

Japanese sex engineers invent new vibrating condom
(original dateline: 2004/10/20)

It is an open secret that Japanese enjoy the reputation of most cunning creators as far as the invention of stupid little things is concerned. This time they decided to make sex more pleasurable: Japanese engineers created a vibrating condom.

The new kind of condom was presented at the international show of inventions in Geneva in April. The visitors applauded to the skilled craftsman from Taiwan, whose product became the high spot of the show. The anti-hemorrhoid chair became the second most interesting exhibit of the show. The artful construction was supposed to relieve a seating individual from such discomfort as constipation, hemorrhoid and poor blood circulation. Now the enterprising Japanese decided to launch the production of a new sex toy. It is a conventional condom with a hard plastic ring on its base. The ring is outfitted with a tiny spherical vibrator, which gives extra pleasure to the most intimate part of the woman's body. To find the perfect place for the vibrating device on such a small item as a condom was a very hard nut to crack for Japanese sex engineers. A special agent was sent to Japanese brothels to investigate the issue. The new condom is currently undergoing tests. Porno actors and script writers were honored to become the first humans to put the new device on and try it in action. Women, who experienced the new kind of pleasure, were all thrilled with the new sexual feeling. They said that the vibrating condom would give women a possibility to experience two pleasures simultaneously. The condom is very comfortable in use, they said, it is wireless. "A lot of men think that women like the back and forth movement in sex. This is absolutely wrong. They would rather prefer to have the penis inside producing up and down movements," a porno actor said. The man added that the new invention would be highly popular on the market.

Escalated Promotion in -- wow! that was fast!

John Roberts nominated to the Chief Justice position

Proving that he intends to move swiftly to fill two vacancies on the Supreme Court, President Bush announced Monday that he will nominate John G. Roberts to be Chief Justice, replacing William H. Rehnquist, who died Saturday.

Roberts, already Bush’s choice to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, would become the nation’s 17th high court leader and would be the first to replace his former boss. Roberts clerked for Rehnquist in the early 1980s; the two have had a close personal and professional relationship ever since.

“I’m certain that Chief Justice Rehnquist was hoping to welcome John Roberts as a colleague, and we're all sorry that day didn't come,” Bush said. “Yet it's fitting that a great chief justice be followed in office by a person who shared his deep reverence for the Constitution, his profound respect for the Supreme Court, and his complete devotion to the cause of justice.”

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that Roberts was appointed to replace one Associate Justice and ends up being leap-frogged over that position to the chair of the Chief Justice? Has this ever happened before?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but does GWB find Renquist's death a little too convenient...?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

You Know You Are In Vancouver When...

Your co-worker tells you he has eight body piercings - none are visible.

You make well over $100,000 and you still can't find a nice place to live.

You think anyone who drives a car to work is decadent.

You keep a list of companies to boycott.

You would never dream of crossing a picket line.

You realize there are far more Rainbow flags in the city than Canadian flags.

The guy who cuts your hair is straight, and your plumber is gay.

Old friends you haven't talked to in years suddenly call. "Do you have a spare bedroom for a weekend?"

You think anyone wearing a Preston Manning haircut is Preston Manning.

You can't pot still illegal?

You go to your office manager's baby shower. The parents are named Judy and Amber.

You give a "thumbs up" gesture to a car with a "FREE TIBET" bumper sticker and you mean it.

You have a very strong opinion where your coffee beans are grown, and are willing to fight about it.

A really great parking spot can move you to tears.

A man walks on Robson in full leather regalia and crotchless chaps.

You don't notice.

You curse those damn tourists - but always stop to help a cute person who is looking puzzled at a city map.

Your child's 3rd grade teacher has a nose ring and is named "Breeze".

You are thinking of taking an adult education class, but you can't decide between a Yoga, Channeling, or Building Your Web Site class.

Your new neighbours go to temple, but you are still not sure if they're Jewish or Buddhist.

You own an expensive Gore-Tex mountaineering jacket and wear it 90% of the time.

You run the risk of being trampled by all the running clubs out at 8am on Sunday morning.

Your choices for vegetarian food aren't limited to the salad bar at Bonanza.

Passports, Please!

Delay in U.S. passport requirement will affect Canadians

Last Updated Thu, 01 Sep 2005 18:31:59 EDT
CBC News

The United States government said Thursday it will go ahead with plans to require travellers from Canada, Mexico and other allied nations to show a passport or other secure document to enter the country. A Canadian spokesman said this is the way it's going to have to be for a while.

The U.S. departments of State and Homeland Security said they expect to officially adopt the new policy -- which drew complaints from travellers, Canada and Mexico, and even President Bush -- by the end of the year. But it'll be a year after that before the new requirements will begin to affect travelers.

Under the new timeline, all who travel by air or sea to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda and South and Central America will have to show a passport or one of four other secure documents by Dec. 31, 2006.

Those who drive, ride or walk into the U.S. from Mexico and Canada, will have to comply with the new rules by Dec. 31, 2007.

After the rules were announced in April, Bush said he was surprised by the passport requirement, which drew sharp criticism from the Canadian government, and said he had ordered a review of the plans. (Emphasis here is mine. And the burning question is: who's running things down there? I mean, really?)

Jasmine Panthaky, spokeswoman for the Canadian embassy in Washington, said the Canadian government will continue working with the administration to develop a new document for widespread use on both sides of the northern border.

Asked if Canada was disappointed that a compromise had not yet been reached, Panthaky said: "We would have liked to have seen something. ... But this is the way it's going to have to be for a little while."

Our "good neighborship" notwithstanding, I do think it's within any country's right to say who needs a passport to get in and who does not. The US has allowed cross-border traffic for Canadians without passports since forever, and I guess we've gotten spoiled. It's not the fact that we will now need passports to visit back and forth across the border...'s the hoop-jumping and red tape of getting a Canadian passport in the first place!

I don't have mine, yet. I took one look at the requirements and I'm trying to decide if it's worth it. I mean, I'm not a Christian, so where in Tartarus am I gonna find a priest or minister who will vouch for my "good character?" I'm also not Jewish or Muslim. I do not belong to one of the "book" religions.

Ditto with getting my "family doctor" to say I'm not a dangerous person -- what's a "family doctor?" With our laughable health care system, if anyone at my house gets sick, it's off to one of those clinics. Or the *shudder* hospital. Fewer and fewer of us have a family doctor anymore, but we are required to have one to get a passport?

And then there's the economics of it. A Canadian passport is good for five years. Every other country in the world issues ten-year passports. And cheaper, too. But in Canada, you have to renew twice as often, and you pay more.

And don't let me get started on the "this photo is not passport qualified" argument that some friends of mine had to go through last year -- even after they had had their photos done three times (and paid for three times) by the photographer they were sent to by the passort office!

I'm beginning to wonder if there aren't more tunnels out there like the one connecting the grow-op in BC with the wanna-be distributor in Washington.

Where'd I put that shovel...

And Just What Do You Have Under That Heavy Coat?

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Prohibited goods are not souvenirs.That advice from border guards expecting to have a busy Labour Day long weekend.

Paula Shore with the Canada Border Services Agency says certain products, including fruit and guns, are not allowed into canada, "We find over the Labour Day weekend, lots of families are doing back-to-school shopping. Kids inevitably want a treat, something a little different. They bring things home that are prohibited in Canada like brass knuckles, replica handguns, those kinds of things."

This should not come as much of a surprise to anyone, but it's not a really good idea to carry around a replica handgun -- people who have real guns might get the wrong idea. Like, that you know what you are doing. And/or that you might use it (trust me -- they will assume it's real!).

Keep your replicas where I keep mine -- in a safe place. And if I told you where, I'd have to go get my non-replicas...

As for the brass knuckles, well, it's news to me that they're illegal in Canada. They were legal enough when I got mine, a few years ago (does that give away my age?) I guess I'm going to have to disguise them as pairs of gloves, now, eh?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Grab a Laugh -- Decompress

"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane." -- Jimmy Buffett (more or less)

There is so much raw emotion being generated by what's happening (or not happening) in Katrina's wake, that I started "tuning it out."

You can overload your sense of outrage and anger, just like you can overload your sense of smell and taste (and for the sakes of those people stranded without toilets and bathing facilities, I sure hope they've been able to overload their sense of smell!). One of the by-products of overload is ennui.

So, with a view to staving off that sense of "oh, well, that's the way it is," I went looking for something off-topic. Something funny, with a bit of a bite to it. Something I could take a break with, so my sense of humanity didn't completely sink into the morass of despair that I've noticed popping up more often, now.

So, grab a laugh. Decompress. Start with this first one, and I'll add more as I find them...

I was fired for eating pizza! and other stories.

Somebody Is Angry!

...and it's not a Canadian blogger, either!

A note to our conservative friends:


Ever wonder why New Yorkers detest George Bush?

Because we experienced his incompetence up close and person. We knew this guy was full of shit, absolutely full of fucking shit, after they started to play games with the funding and gave Wyoming terrorism money.

We knew he was an assclown then.We thought DC 9/11 was a comedy, because the Bush we saw hid in AF One like the scared bitch that he is.But did you listen?

Fuck no. Until last week, Ann Coulter was calling New Yorkers cowards for not endorsing Bush's folly in Iraq.

There's more. There's lots more.

Go, read!

Hat tip to Dawg, who gives tail-wag to Pogge...

Friday, September 02, 2005

California Set to Join Canada, Spain, Massachusetts?

State Senate approves same-sex marriage bill

SACRAMENTO – The state Senate became the first legislative chamber in the nation to pass a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, setting up a showdown next week in the Assembly, which rejected the proposal just three months ago.

Gay-rights activists hailed the action as a landmark victory in their struggle for equal rights.

"It's a significant day. It's a historic occasion," said Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the author of the legislation.

But Leno also said, "It's just the beginning."

For the bill to become law, it must pass in the Assembly – which rejected the measure in three separate votes in June – and have the governor's signature.

What does the Governator think? Read entire article here.

Yeah, We Know There's a National Disaster Going On, But This is Football!

Refugees must make room for football fans

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — First it was Hurricane Katrina chasing them away. Now it's college football fans.

Hundreds of refugees from Hurricane Katrina are being evicted from Tallahassee hotels to accommodate fans coming to town for the Miami-Florida State game Monday night.

"There is absolutely no compassion here whatsoever," Lynne Bernard wrote on a bulletin board on the Web site of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. "The Hampton Inn in Tallahassee is pretty much throwing us out because of a football game."

I've heard that there is nothing so dedicated as a college football fan, and I guess this is proof...