Friday, December 30, 2005

Turn That Apathy Into Cash!

"What's your vote worth?

"For some it's priceless, for others it's not worth the trip to the polls. The more we ask the beter the answers get. Register today and tell us what your vote is worth. Then get your friends to register too. Our goal is to have the definitive answer by January 21, 2006!"

(H/T Bourque)

Aaaaaahhh... This could be fun...

A More Inclusive Form of Scouting

Pagan scouting group takes root

Begun in 2001 in Washington state, SpiralScouts has grown into a movement serving families of various minority faiths in 20 states, Canada and Europe. The newly created Emerald Earth Seekers in Eugene is the organization's third "circle" in Oregon, following the lead of similar groups in Salem and Portland.

Karen Glickman is co-leader for the Turtlemoon Hearth, whose members include her son, Jade. Raised near Los Angeles, Glickman was herself a Camp Fire Girl for five years, and remembers loving the camping trips and arts and crafts.

"My mom was a co-leader, so I'm kind of following in her footsteps, but in sort of a pagan way," she says.

But why enroll her son in SpiralScouts instead of, say, the Boy Scouts? Glickman says the Boy Scouts often have a Christian flavor and, as their name suggests, is for boys only. "I like the alternative religion and the fact that it's co-gender," she says of the SpiralScouts.

(The Boy Scouts of America is not strictly a Christian group - there are Scouting opportunities for Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and other faith adherents - but does profess a belief in God. The private organization permits women, but not "avowed homosexuals," to serve in leadership roles.)


At the recent Turtlemoon Hearth gathering, 7-year-old Aubrey Gomes-Pereira is asked to lead the other children in the Fireflies Promise: "I promise to serve the wise ones, to honor and respect Mother Earth, to be helpful and understanding toward all people, and always keep love in my heart."


"This is definitely a good fit for us," she says. "It's a good reinforcement of our family values."

I anticipate that this is going to drive the Fred Phelpses of the world out of their tiny skulls. Imagine the temerity of anyone except fundamentalist Christians presuming to have "family values!"

Monday, December 26, 2005

Thoughts for the Next 21 Days

From the, "If you're hung over, this will make your head hurt," file:

1 - Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

2 - The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

3 - Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

4 - There are two kinds of pedestrians -- the quick and the dead.

5 - Life is sexually transmitted.

6 - An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

7 - If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the fool who said, "Quit while you're ahead?"

8 - Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

9 - The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

10 -Get the last word in: Apologize.

11 - Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

12 - Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

13 - Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

14 - Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they use to?

15 - Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

16 - All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

17 - Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

18 - In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

19 - Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

20 - How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

21 - You read about all these terrorists; most of them came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10 -15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration.

Thanks, Peter!

Thieves And Arsonists -- Open Season

Yesterday, I posted this, as a general thank-you to firefighters everywhere. We tend to depend on them without noticing them, y'know?

Firefighters don't do their jobs on the basis of whether or not they like you, or think you are a law-abiding citizen. They work just as hard to put out a fire at a grow-op as they do if the fire is at a regular residence. Or a hospital. And when they leave the station, they don't lock the doors, either.

That's why this news item pissed me off:

Firefighters Christmas lunch spoiled by thief
Dec, 25 2005 - 4:40 PM

VANCOUVER - This one falls under the "how low can you go" category.

Captain Rob Jones-Cook with the Vancouver Fire Department says while crews responded to a suspected arson fire at St. Paul's Hospital, a theif broke into the firehall.

He says the suspect took an undisclosed amount of money firefighters on duty had pooled together for Christmas lunch.

And that item was quickly followed by this:

St. Paul's Hospital set on fire Christmas Day
Dec, 25 2005 - 4:50 PM

VANCOUVER - No patients were injured after 2 separate fires broke out at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver Christmas Day.

Spokesperson with Providence Health Care Shaheen Shivji says the fires were contained quickly on the 4th floor, which is home to mostly administrative and non-clinical offices.

Patient care and the emergency room operations have not been affected.

The fires have caused widespread damage to the 4th floor of the downtown building.

Captain Rob Jones-Cook with the Vancouver Fire Department says about 60 gallons of water was deployed by the sprinkler system, putting out the fire, but leaving behind a major clean up effort.

Police are now looking for a person of interest in connection with the fires, which are being considered suspicious.

What kind of low-life deliberately sets fire to a hospital?

And if you'll notice, the time between those two items is ten minutes. Which makes me think they're related. Which makes me ask the next question:

What kind of low-life deliberately sets fire to a hospital so he can steal money from the fire station while the station is unoccupied?

Next time you have a chance to question one of your candidates in this election, why not hammer them on their stand for law and order? Forget about the gun registry that doesn't work and same-sex marriage and religious rights and whether or not someone thinks one of their wives looks like a dog or where they go to get their boo-boos bandaided or who insulted whom or who likes Bush (okay...take a breath...). This is all "soft" stuff. Nobody is being killed or deliberately put in danger for these issues.

But when are they going to get serious about law and order? When do we get laws with teeth? When do we get more police? When do we get minimum sentencing? When do we force judges to impose stiffer sentences for heinous crimes? When do we get more prisons? When are they going to ignore NIMBYisms in regards to building those prisons? And when are they going to stop focussing on victimless crimes and go after the assholes that need to be locked up for the protection of the population of this country?

Imagine yourself in the hospital (or one of your loved ones), helpless in bed, when somebody sets fire to the building and endangers your life -- just so he can steal from the people who have come to save your life.

Are you angry yet?

Because you bloody well should be!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas to the Local Fire Department!

Boy! Am I Glad You Guys Make House Calls!

Some turkey in my 45-unit building forgot to clean the oven before putting the other turkey into it and turning it on before he left for the day.

This building is old enough to collect Social Security.

The alarm system does not connect to the fire station. It is close behind the building for age.

We have frequent false alarms due to delinquents and burglars (burglars? Yes. When you leave your apartment, you have to leave your door unlocked so the firemen can get in to check for survivors and victims. Burglars know this).

I'm one of the hall-runners, checking my floor for hot doors and pulled stations, before I head down to the annunciator panel to check the alarm source. It's always a false alarm. Once I was able to nail the kid that pulled it. The cops made me let him go.

This time, no pulled station. Check the panel, and it says my floor. Do hot door check again, sniff for smoke. Nothing.

Fire department arrives. They've got electronic smoke sniffers that can detect smoke the human nose can't. I want one. Yes, I know that that's what my smoke detector is, but I want one I can carry around with me.

Fire guys find the apartment, turn off the stove, reset the alarm. Suddenly, silence! Merry Christmas, guys!

I am so tempted to camp outside the door of the turkey who did this, so I can watch his face when he sees the warning notice from the fire department, the warning notice from the building manager, and his still-uncooked turkey sitting forlornly in his oven, probably never to see the dinner table. The bird-turkey has become an albatross. The other 44 apartments are not about to let him off lightly for ruining their day and panicking their kids, cats, and dogs.

Maybe now the cops will let me keep the next kid I catch just long enough to lead him around to the other residents...

Friday, December 23, 2005

"Tis The Season...

...To Recycle With Freecycle

(h/t Wingnuterer)

This international recycling organization has got to be tried to be believed! No matter what you're trying to get rid of, there's bound to be someone that wants it, and is willing to come get it!

One of the first things I posted to give away was a ratty old chair that my cat had shredded. The frame was solid, but the fabric was literally hanging off it in sheets. And it was vomitting stuffing all over the house. I was going to take it to the dump after I finally got a new chair for myself and a scratching post for my cat.

One of my in-laws gave me the Freecycle link and told me to offer it. Couldn't hurt, she said. If no one takes it, you can always truck it to the dump, right?

Somebody came and got it the same day I offered it. And there were three other people who also wanted it if the first one changed his mind. The guy that got it was learning how to re-cover furniture, and my old chair made a perfect project for him. He did the re-covering with stuffing and fabric he'd also found on Freecycle. Then he gave the refurbished chair to a place that helps people get back on their feet after a fire/flood/name-your-disaster.

I can't figure the exact amount of money that was saved in this entire process, but it comes down to this:

I didn't have to pay someone to take the chair to the dump, and then pay the landfill fees on top of that.

Several other people also didn't have to pay to have stuff taken to the dump.

The guy who took it didn't have to pay for a frame, stuffing, and fabric.

Someone who got burned out didn't have to buy a new chair right away.

And none of us contributed to an already over-crowded landfill.

And this is the time of year when we get new stuff to take the place of old stuff. Even if it's broken, someone is very likely to be able to use your old stuff. Clothes, appliances, furniture, games, books, computers, hot tubs (not kidding, there!)...

Give Freecycle a look. Then give it a try.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Games On!

BREAKING NEWS: COC clears Bertuzzi and the team
Dec, 22 2005 - 12:00 PM

VANCOUVER/MOJO(AM730) - MOJO Sports Radio AM730 has now learned that Todd Bertuzzi and the other 25 players have been all cleared to play for Team Canada.

As first reported this morning on MOJO, there was a meeting called this morning by the Canadian Olympic Committee to take a look at the selection of Bertuzzi to the team. There was some question as to whether Bertuzzi should be allowed to play due to his unfortunate involvement in the Steve Moore incident.

Bertuzzi’s agent Pat Morris said his client is very thankful for the opportunity to represent his country. “He’s [Bertuzzi] really excited and gratified for the support and show of character by those picking the Canadian Olympic Team,” Morris said. “So he’s quite excited by that honour and is looking forward to participating in that tournament.”

Bertuzzi after hearing yesterday’s announcement about making the team said it's rewarding that club managers felt his Steve Moore baggage won't interfere with the team.

--Ryan Hobson

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Canada Swings

And exactly whose business is it to tell consenting adults what sexual activity they should be allowed to practice in the privacy of their

Not yours, Mr. Rushfeldt!

Shortest Day, Longest Night

In the Northern Hemisphere, today is Yule, Midwinter, and Winter Solstice. It's the shortest day of the year. And the longest night (or maybe it just seems to be the longest because, after two periods of play, Vancouver and Edmonton are tied with five goals each. That's an average of a goal every four minutes. Is there a goaltender or a defenseman in the house?).

The good news is that after tonight, each day gets a little longer. The Holly King is dead, the Oak King reigns, and the Wheel of the Year is bringing back the light...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas With Louise

This was sent to me with an invitation to pass it along. It was a winning story from a 1999 newspaper contest, in which readers were invited to tell about their most memorable Christmas. I've never known the name of the author, or the newspaper; whoever you are, thanks!

Christmas With Louise
As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jay's kids' stockings were overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.
One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there an hour saying things like, "What does this do? You're kidding me! Who would buy that?" Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section.
I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour. Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love Dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for Lovable Louise. She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a doll took a huge leap of imagination.
On Christmas Eve and with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.
The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.
My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked.
My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped.
I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut.
"Where are her clothes?" Granny continued.
"Boy, that turkey sure smells nice Gran" Jay said, to steer her into the dining room.
But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?"
Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny, hang on!"
My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?"
I told him she was Jay's friend.
A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.
The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa.
The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation. My brother fell over backwards out of his chair and wet his pants.
Granny threw down her napkin, stomped out of the room, and sat in the car.
It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember.
Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.
Update: One of the reader/commenters has tracked down the source to Jeff Foxworthy:

Have Some Caffeine With Your Caffeine


"Coca-Cola Blāk is not just a flavor extension. It is a blend of unique Coke refreshment with the true essence of coffee and has a rich smooth texture and has a coffee-like froth when poured. We believe we have created a new category of soft drink – an adult product in a carbonated beverage – and a whole new drinking experience. This brand is ideal for any part of the day when people are looking for renewed energy or simply to take a break," said Marc Mathieu, vice president, Global Core Brands, The Coca-Cola Company.

I'm torn between "Oh, good! Finally, a replacement for Jolt!" and, "Ee-ew! Coke and coffee together?"

If it ever gets to Canada, might be worth a try; but I'm sure not going all the way to Paris just for a taste test!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Make Up Our Minds, Stephen!

Gay Marriage Repeal Raised In Canadian Election Debate

(Vancouver, British Columbia) Conservative leader Stephen Harper tried to shed his reputation for intolerance by insisting Thursday night he would love his children even if they were gay, adding - for the first time - that he wouldn't use the Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.


Harper said he would not use the Constitution's controversial notwithstanding clause to eradicate the right to same-sex marriage... But he refused to be pinned down on how he could void the law when the courts have ruled it unconstitutional to bar same-sex couples from marrying. (My guess would be that he has no idea how to go about voiding a law that has not only been declared, but acted upon. It's very likely that he is frantically looking for a graceful way to get out of this position -- and he had better find it soon.)


His opposition to same-sex marriage has been cited by pollsters as a position that has driven moderate voters away from the Tories.

Suppose the CPC do win the election. We can fantasize, right?

Even if -- and that's a big little word right now -- Harper was able to put the question to a "free" vote in Parliament, he can only set that parameter for the CPC. And he can only do it different from the way Martin did it by allowing cabinet members to vote against him if they wish to do so.

He cannot force other party leaders to declare it a free vote. Jack Layton, for example, is not likely to allow his members to vote to cancel the right to same-sex marriage after he backed it so firmly in the first place.

And then there's this little thing called "precedence." He has already stated that he will not nullify the 6000+ same-sex marriages already in existence. I think he anticipated the protests, here, Truth is, he can't nullify them, even if he wanted to do so. They were legal at the time, and laws of imposition cannot be made retroactive. That establishes the precedent. And where there is a precedent, the law allows a continuation.

Marriage is also completely under the jurisdiction of the provinces. The charter might hold sway over the definition, but marriage law is provincial, not federal. And most of the provinces and territories had already legalized same-sex mariage before C-38 was enacted.

So he's stuck.

It'll be interesting to watch how this develops.

Only in Canada, You Say? Not Likely...

Bombardier's JV to make regional jets
Fu Chenghao
2005-12-15 Beijing Time
BOMBARDIER Inc plans to produce its proposed C Series regional aircraft with a local partner in northeastern China in a joint venture, following its major rival Embraer of Brazil.
A "C Series Project Team" has been set up at Shenyang Aircraft Corp prior to the official establishment of the venture, which is subject to government approval, an official at Shenyang Aircraft's publicity office told Shanghai Daily via telephone yesterday.
Quebec, Canada-based Bombardier will then transfer its production technology on the C Series jets to the Shenyang company, according to Beijing News. Shenyang Aircraft has been making plane components for Bombardier for more than a decade.
Zhang Jianwei, head of and spokesman for Bombardier's China operations, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
The joint venture would make Bombardier the second foreign plane maker to do final assembly of aircraft in China, after Brazil's Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA, or Embraer for short.
Embraer, Bombardier's archrival in the regional jet market, set up a similar joint venture three years ago with Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co and Hafei Aviation Industry Co to make small- or mid-sized planes.
The joint venture, called Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co, has so far received 16 orders from two domestic carriers including China Southern Airlines Co and China Eastern Airlines Co.
Bombardier, however, said late last month it's considering whether to start production of the proposed C Series regional jets, which can seat between 110 and 130 passengers, citing uncertainties for market demand.
The company also said earlier that it would stop making 50-seat CRJ200 models by mid-January next year as airlines choose mid-sized planes with better fuel efficiency.
Bombardier is the world's third-largest commercial-plane maker.
So far, the only place you will find this story listed is on Bourque (scroll down for the headline). I heard about it as an item on the radio.
What I am finding absolutely fascinating is that this "definitively Canadian" company has not seen fit to alert our own media about this new business venture.
As of this moment, they don't even have it posted to their own website. I'd take a screen shot if I knew how to post it once I've got it (still working on skills).
Keep this in mind when next you hear Bombardier whining about how much they need yet another taxpayer-provided subsidy so they can stay solvent.

How to Wrap a Present

This originally came to me via e-mail a couple of years ago. I have no idea whence it originated. I imagine it has been around the 'net a time or two, but it's always good for a chuckle. And if you are companion to a feline, you know all about it.

My feline boss is twenty-plus non-fat pounds of Maine Coon. She's got eleven years of experience at "helping." She can levitate and teleport. And she knows all the tricks. This had to have been written with her in mind...

How to Wrap a Present

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping presents.

2. Go to closet, collect bag in which present is contained, and shut door.

3 Open door and remove cat from closet.

4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.

5. Go back and remove cat from cupboard.

6. Go to drawer, collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc.

7. Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.

8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove cat that has been in the drawer since your last visit, and collect the string.

9. Remove present from bag.

10. Remove cat from bag.

11. Open box to check present, remove cat from box, replace present.

12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.

13. Try to smooth out paper, realize cat is underneath, and remove cat.

14. Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.

15. Throw away first sheet, as cat has chased the scissors and torn the paper.

16. Cut second sheet of paper to size by putting cat in the bag the present came in.

17. Place present on paper.

18. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don't reach. Realize cat is between present and paper. Remove cat.

19. Place object on paper to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.

20. Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from cat with pair of nail scissors.

21. Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.

22. Look for roll of ribbon. Chase cat down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.

23. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.

24. Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to cat's enthusiastic ribbon chase.

25. Repeat steps 13 - 20 until you reach last sheet of paper.

26. Decide to skip steps 13 - 17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper.

27. Put present in box and tie down with string.

28. Remove string, open box, remove cat.

29. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for lockable room.

30. Once inside lockable room, lock door and start to re-lay out paper and materials.

31. Remove cat from box, unlock door, put cat outside, close and relock door.

32. Repeat previous step as often as necessary (until you can hear the cat from the other side of the door)

33. Lay out last sheet of paper. This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best.

34. Discover cat has already torn paper. Unlock door, go out and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year's paper. Remember that you haven't got any left because the cat helped with this last year, as well.

35. Return to lockable room, lock door, and sit on toilet and try to make torn sheet of paper look presentable.

36. Seal box, wrap with paer, and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide the worst areas.

37. Label. Sit back and admire your handiwork. Congratulate yourself for completing a difficult job.

38. Unlock door, go to kitchen to make drink and feed cat.

39. Spend 15 minutes looking for cat before coming to obvious conclusion.

40. Unwrap present, untie box, and remove cat.

41. Go to store and buy gift bag.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sick Parade -- The Injuries List

Sometimes I fantasize that there will someday be a trophy for the NHL team that sustains the most collective injuries during the regular season. Bet the Canucks would win...

No sooner did Matt Cooke come back from getting his jaw broken (came back with focus, though -- take that, Rangers!), than Dan Cloutier finds out that that collision with Niedermayer back in November has ripped the shit outa his knee, and he's gone for the remainder of the season.

Good thing we've got Auld. Now, who's backing him up...? What did we do with Brent Johnson? Whaddaya mean, WASHINGTON?

Jeez, ya can't turn yer back on anyone, these days!

Vancouver Center Stage

The election race that's going to hold me riveted is taking place in Vancouver Center.

Nothing about this particular riding is gonna be boring, from the issues, to the candidates, to the final count -- and I think that may be close.

Michael Smyth, political columnist for the Province newspaper, does his best at a two-hour radio show on the Corus network, weekday evenings between 7:00pm and 9:00pm Pacific time -- hockey games permitting (and, sorry, Michael -- you could be the best political analyst in the world, but you're no broadcaster; would you please learn how to lead the timing so you don't end up cutting your guests off in mid-sentence because you've run out of time? Mini-rant over, and we now return you to regular programming).

Last night, he held a candidates' debate for the three major parties.

In the left corner: Hedy Fry, Liberal incumbent.

In the other left corner: Svend Robinson, NDP infant terrible.

In the right corner:*psssst* gimme a hint!)...oh, yeah...Tony somebody...

It was a three-party party, but it was a two-party rant fest. Poor Tony was pretty much limited to trying to break into the conversation -- and at one point, trying to elicit an apology for an imagined insult. He didn't make much headway at all, at all.

Svend did talk about the incident with the ring.

Hedy did not talk about burning crosses on Prince George lawns.

Tony did not get to talk much at all.

I'm going out on a limb, here, and I'm gonna call it: Svend in a squeaker -- Hedy will be right behind him. If it were a hockey game, I'd be predicting a shoot-out (and it may be close enough for a recount, at that).

Beer and popcorn...must get beer and popcorn...

Careful What You Ask For...

This courtesy of one of Peter Warren's e-mails that he read on the air:

A good union man all his life, George took a vacation trip to Nevada. While he was there, he decided to visit a brothel.

At the first "ranch" he came to, he asked the madame, "Is this a union house?"

"No," she told him. "We don't have a union here."

"Well, what percentage do the girls get?" he asked.

"Of every hundred dollars, the house gets eighty and the girl gets twenty," said the madame.

George stomped off down the street muttering to himself about unfair labor practices. In turn, he visited several other "ranches" and got pretty much the same answer at all of them. None were union shops, and in every case, the house took the majority of the fee.

About to give up, he decided to try one last time. When the madame answered, he asked her, "Is this a union shop?"

She smiled. "Yes, we do have a union here for the girls, and it's a good one," she said.

Suspicious, he asked, "What percentage do the girls get?"

"Out of every hundred dollars, the house gets twenty and the girl gets eighty," she answered.

"Well! That's more like it!" boomed George, looking around. In the corner of the room he spied a drop-dead gorgeous redhead in her early twenties. Excitedly, he pointed and said to the madame, "I want her."

The madame smiled again. "I'm sure you do," she said, leading over to him a grey-haired old woman in her nineties. "But Ethel here has seniority, and it's her turn!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

And I Thought I Was Technologically Challenged!

Hands up if you know someone like this...

Tech support : How can I help you?

Customer: I'm writing my first e-mail.

Tech support: OK, and what seems to be the problem?

Customer: Well, I have the letter 'a' in the address, but how do I get the circle around it?

And this...

Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend has placed a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.

And now for a variation on a theme...

A woman customer called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer.

Tech support: Are you running it under windows?

Customer: "No, my desk is next to the door, but that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his printer is working fine."

Thank you, Richard.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

What I Think of the Proposed Handgun Ban


Follow a tale of two cities...

...a few easy-to-read statistics...

...and some encapsulated news items.

If the above links aren't convincing, let's go pure fantasy:

I am a citizen, and you are a burglar (we're really fantasizing here, guys -- I know that none of you reading this are burglars. But just in case, keep reading). You have decided to target my house for your next "shopping" spree.

At the last moment, you find out that I have a loaded weapon in my possession, and that I know how to use it.

You gonna change your mind about robbing my house? No?

How about that you also find out that I am willing to use the weapon should you decide to enter my house illegally. Are we still on?

Let me just add this... If I shoot and kill you in defense of my home and person and my family, I will probably be arrested and go to jail for a couple of years. Where will you be? Did I tell you that I'm an expert marksman? I don't miss my target.

A couple years in jail versus being killed by you makes a good trade as far as I'm concerned. I'll take the jail time. And, knowing the "justice" system in Canada, I probably won't even spend that long there.

First offense, upstanding and (until now) law-abiding citizen, time served waiting trial -- oh, yeah...I can see me spending not much time behind bars at all.

Because I'm not going to avail myself of bail. My family is smart, and can fend for themselves for a couple of years until I get to trial. We're not rich, but we're okay. And where I live, there are conjugal visits.

And the taxpayer is going to be footing the bill for a couple of personal medical thingies that I'd like to have done. And I go to the head of the line, being in jail and all. Your family is paying my bills. Ironic, isn't it?

I can also upgrade my education and maybe get some trades training in areas that are reserved for guests of the Crown, so that when I get out, I'll be getting an even better job than I had before.

And where are you? Still dead, with no hope of coming back to life. Your family is still blaming everyone but you and themselves, and/or wondering what went wrong.

Me? I'm now "rehabilitated," and reunited with my family, enjoying my life with renewed health and vigor.

Thank you for playing.

Next fantasy...

Where Does Your Candidate Live?

At this point in time, there is no legal requirement for your political representative to live in the riding he represents. It follows that candidates for the position are also not required to live in the riding.

In other words, the person who is going to make decisions on your behalf does not have to be your neighbor!

I think this lapse in geopolitical sense ought to be changed.

There are four candidates listed for my riding (CPC, NDP, Green, and Christian Heritage), and as far as I am able to tell, not a single one of them lives here. Maybe if and when the Liberals wake up, they'll field a candidate that actually has a local address.

Party and political rhetoric aside, I want a candidate/representative who, when I want some personal attention, is actually within reach! I want to be able to walk down the street, or take a short bus ride, and walk into an office and get some personal attention. I want to be able to take someone's hand, look someone in the eye -- even an office assistant! -- and say, "I have a concern I would like you to address."

One of the neatest things about having Chuck Cadman as my MP was that you could meet him for breakfast at his favorite local coffee shop. Politics and philosophies aside -- and he and I disagreed on a lot of things -- he was accessible!

So talk to the candidates in your riding. Ask them where they live. If they don't live in your riding, find out why not. And don't let them slide by with an answer like, "Well, I've lived [wherever] for a long time, and I've got a lot invested there." Honestly, I heard a candidate say this once, several years ago. He got elected, unfortunately, and was only heard from again when he needed something else from the residents of the riding -- money or a show of hands at one of his town-hall-type meetings.

If you're going to represent me, you'd better live where I live. I want you to know from experience that we live in a high-crime neighborhood. I don't want to have to spend your valuable time as well as my valuable time explaining the facts of criminal life to you. I want to be able to pose a question without in-depth foreshadowing, and have you respond quickly because you know exactly where I'm coming from. I want to be able to reference a local news item of concern and get your response without your having one of your elbow-tuggers whispering the background details in your ear.

If my neighborhood is not good enough for you to live in, it's much too good to have you as a representative.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Pertinent Words

Politicians should be changed regularly, like diapers, and for the same reason.

--Richard Davies, Welsh biblical scholar

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


(h/t DazzlinDino and Candace)

Pogo, we have not only met the enemy, we keep electing the bastards!

Put this story next to this story on your screen.

Got it?

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

When are we, as a country full of supposedly-adult, supposedly thinking-for-ourselves citizens going to wake the fuck up?

Dazz has a petition linked to his site -- go sign it here.

Me? I'm learning hand loading.

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Little Johnny's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station where they saw pictures, tacked to a bulletin board, of the 10 most wanted criminals. One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person.

'Yes,' said the policeman. 'The detectives want very badly to capture him.'

Little Johnny asked, 'Why didn't you keep him when you took his picture?'


A popular airline recently introduced a special half rate fare for wives who accompanied their husbands on business trips. Expecting great feedback, the company sent out letters to all the wives of businessmen who had used the special rates, asking how they enjoyed their trip. Letters are still pouring in asking, 'What trip?'

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Go Ahead -- Make Me Happy!

Found in my e-mail:

Prime Minister Paul Martin, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale, and Revenue Minister John McCallum are flying on the Executive Airbus to a gathering in British Columbia when Martin turns to Goodale and says, chuckling, "You know, I could throw a $1000 bill out the window right now and make someone very happy."

Goodale shrugs and replies, "Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people happy."

Not to be outdone, McCallum says, "Well I could throw a hundred $10 bill sout the window and make a hundred people happy."

The pilot rolls his eyes and says to his co-pilot, "Such arrogant asses back there. Hell, I could throw all three of them out the window and make millions of people happy."

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Living At Ground Zero?

I can't say I'm thrilled with the choices to vote for in this election so far. The NDP candidate is the only one with name recognition -- and while I like her in person, I despise her politics (yes, I know how to separate the personality from the philosophy that is being wished on all of us). She was, however, a friend of the Cadman family, and therefore stands an excellent chance of getting Dona's endorsement. Dona's endorsement is worth mega votes!

The CPC candidate is a political virgin. Not likely to generate much interest. There's still a lot of anti-Harper feeling around for the way he treated Chuck Cadman. And the locals have long memories (we call it "bein' folksy").

The Greens are running someone whose name rings a local bell, but it's a very low profile name.

Never heard of the Liberal candidate.

And so far, that's all we've got. No Rhinos, no Natural Law, no Marijuana, no Libertarian, no...nobody really interesting.

Maybe I'll just go to Florida for the rest of the winter. This one's gonna be a yawner...

Tasters' Choice -- Drug of Choice?

In a comment to a recent post done by DazzlinDino, with regards to the three main federal parties and their stands on the "drugs problem" we apparently have in this country, I mentioned that I would look for an article on the dangers of caffiene.

Well, I found the article -- and it's in a print book. I have no scanner, and I really don't want to go through the hassle of getting copyright from one medium to another. And you don't want to buy the book (it's an herbalist's version of the PDR, it's expensive, and the article is one page out of 500 -- you don't want to buy it!).

Next best thing? Run a search. And I found even better information than what was in the book. Check out the pics at the top of the page to see what caffeine does to a spider's ability to spin a web...

The idea was that, if coffee were just now being introduced to the world, it would never in a million years get past our definitions of dangerous and addictive. Caffeine would be a controlled substance, available only by prescription, if at all. We would be invading countries like Costa Rica and Brazil for the sole purpose of wiping out their cash crop. Coffee shops would be as scarce as opium dens. And politicians wouldn't be hanging out at Tim Horton's before heading in to the House to vote on legislation.

Then, on top of the problem with just the caffeine, I also found some reference to other dangers. When a coffee plantation grows their trees, they use a variety of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and synthetic fertilizers -- some of which are banned in North America and Europe because they are so toxic. But American (and possibly Canadian, as well as European) chemical manufacturers gladly sell these chemicals to coffee growing nations where the health laws are so lax. Then we buy those chemically-treated alkaloid-laden crops of beans, and we fuel our mornings (at the very least) with them.

But that's another post -- possibly in the future.

And now, having warned you about the detrimental effects of your morning java, I have only one thing further to say on the subject:

Don't decaffeinate me -- my heart will stop!

Waffles Not On the Menu Anymore...

...and neither is Doogie McCallum.

Radio news at 0100 hours this morning says that former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum was too late in filing his papers, and as a result, he has been disqualified from running as the Tory candidate in Gurmant Grewal's former riding of Surrey - North Delta.

Naturally, the deposed mayor is blaming his disqualification on everything except himself. He especially seemed piqued that Grewal didn't resign sooner, giving him (McCallum) more time to file.

These excuses courtesy of someone who is supposedly politically savvy and experienced...

Janus! Doogie! Ya want us to wipe yer *chin* fer ya, too?

LMFAO! This definitely calls for a celebration...

**Update** Apparently, the radio news I heard was a couple hours old (but, hey -- sometimes ya just gotta nap, y'know?), and CKNW has this brief script:

Newton-North Delta to be ho-hum campaign
Dec, 03 2005 - 10:30 PM

SURREY/CKNW(AM980) - The Conservative nomination won't be as exciting as first anticipated in the riding of Newton-North Delta.

Only one candidate filed nominations papers in time: Phil Eidsvick of the BC Fisheries Survival Coalition.

Former Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says he raced to have everything in order, but couldn't get it done in such a short time frame, "The time lines were so tight, that um, you know you wonder why they were so tight. You can't beat them. You know, you can't, in two hours, fill out a 35 page document including a criminal record check. You can't do that. It's virtually impossible."
McCallum says he's disappointed he's missed out on a chance to run for federal politics.

Anybody got a crying towel to donate to his cause?

**Added Information** (h/t Buckets -- check update on his post)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Canadian Blog Awards -- Round Two Now Open

The finalists in each category have been calculated, and now is the time to vote for your favorite bloggers.

You may vote once per day until Friday, 9 December.

The results will be posted on Sunday, 11 December.

Decisions, decisions...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Drunk or Stupid? Take Your Pick

When I heard about this news item, at first, I thought that Dan Russell (CKNW) was having a little joke with his fans. I shoulda known better. Dan doesn't do "humor."

First, let me say that I wish Jiri Fischer all the best. There's another news item that says he's had more heart trouble, and for a young guy with a hockey career about to be terminated for health reasons, that's gotta be heartbreaking -- no pun intended. But I don't think the doctors are going to let him continue.

But what are the NHL schedulers thinking? Or drinking?

The game in Detroit was about 12 1/2 minutes into the first period, with Nashville ahead 1 - 0, when Fischer collapsed at the bench. Game stopped. So far, so good. Need to reschedule.

Two possibilities that I (and apparently everyone else) could see: reschedule for Detroit, leave the score as it is, and restart the game for 47 1/2 minutes (plus overtime if needed); or, reschedule for Detroit, wipe out the score as if it had never existed, and schedule a full 60 minutes.

The first option would allow Predators Johnson, Suter, and Upshall to keep their points. I mean, how likely is it that they'll be able to play it exactly the same way again, right?

The second option would just plain wipe the slate clean and start again, giving the Detroit fans a whole new game to make up for the one they missed through no fault of their own.

So -- what's this? Reschedule for Nashville. Start the clock over again. Keep the score at 1 - 0 Nashville.

Not only are the Detroit fans being cheated out of a home game, but Wings now have to go to the opposition's venue, with the opposition already a point up on them (and with home rink advantage), and they have to re-play that 12 1/2 minutes!

Excuse me while I go find me a baseball bat...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

May I Please Have Some Syrup With That Waffle?

h/t Buckets


Here in Surrey, BC, we just had a civic election whereby we unloaded some political deadwood in the form of our now-former mayor.

Emperor (as he apparently liked to be known) Doogie McCallum went down like a pole-axed steer to challenger Dianne Watts, a former SET teammate.

It was not a friendly battle. Actually, it was a lot like a warm-up for the vitriolic federal fight that's just getting under way.

Licking his wounds after the fact, Doogie announced that he wouldn't be entering federal politics.

Guess again...

Somebody close to Stephen Harper better warn him that if he takes McCallum on to fill Grewal's now-vacant seat, the Tories are gonna be in for a whole lotta you-ain't-seen-nothin'-yet!

And We Think Elections Are Nasty In Canada...

Election Violence Kills One in Egypt

h/t Sandmonkey Check the photos he's got posted!

MANSOURA, Egypt - Violence wracked the final round of Egypt's troubled parliamentary elections Thursday, as police opened fire on crowds and used nightsticks and tear gas to bar voters from entering polling stations in opposition strongholds.

At least one person was killed and 60 were wounded, said Mohammed el-Ashqar, a campaign worker for a leftist opposition candidate.

Although voting proceeded without violence or intimidation in some areas, voters were met at the polls by lines of police in towns where ruling party candidates faced stiff competition from the opposition. The only people allowed through were those who said they would cast ballots for President Hosni Mubarak' National Democratic Party.

(Emphasis mine. Read the rest of the article here.)

And we think we got troubles...