Tuesday, January 31, 2006

If You Can't Take Criticism...

...then you must see yourself as being perfect.

That which is perfect need not grow, adapt, or further evolve.

If you do not grow, adapt, or evolve, your reasons for existence are essentially over, and you die.

This philosophy applies to institutions, cultures, religions, societies, and people. But let's leave people out of it for the moment. I don't know any who are perfect -- especially the ones who tell you that they are.

But there are religions -- no, let me rephrase that -- there are some members of religions who cannot and will not accept criticism of their religion, no matter how tongue-in-cheek that criticism is. There are people who are eager to take offense when none if offered. There are people who are eager to engage in purely wild-childish temper tantrums with unholy glee, ready to incite riots and advocate murder, on the flimsiest excuse of being offended. The two religions with the worst offenders in this area are Christianity and Islam; and their offending members are known as fundamentalists by other members who wish to impose a great distance -- and wish to be seen doing so -- between themselves and the lunatic fringe of fundamentalism.

I would be happy to comment on the Christian fundamentalists, if it weren't that I found someone else who seems to be already right on top of it. Go read this post by Le Sommelier -- and bookmark the blog, because I have a feeling this is only the beginning...

And, since I'm not Muslim, and have been learning about Islam only within the last twenty years or so, I feel distinctly unqualified to comment too deeply about their lunatic fringe, as well. There are those Muslim bloggers who are qualified, though, and I hereby refer you to: Alhamedi Alanezi, Sandmonkey, Big Pharaoh, and The Arabian Knight, to name but a few. Each of them has links on his sidebar that can keep you reading forever, if you're so inclined.

"So," you might be wondering, "what brought all this on?"

Take a look:

Denmark faces international boycott over Muslim cartoons

From the article: "A biographer of the prophet had complained that no one would dare to illustrate his book, and the newspaper challenged cartoonists to draw pictures of the prophet in a self-declared battle for freedom of speech."

Got that? A writer wanted to illustrate a book, but he couldn't find an artist to do it for him because Muslim artists were afraid of the law that prohibits portrayals of Muhammed; so a Danish newspaper printed some visual editorials on Freedom Of Speech.

That was four months ago.

The ensuing stink caused by those who chose to be offended is now causing ambassadors to be withdrawn (and how I wish Dubya would do the same with Wilkins -- but that was another post), death threats made towards hitherto uninvolved parties, flags to be burnt, boycotts to be legislated (!), sabres to be rattled, and howls of "cultural terrorism!" to be flung into the rotating blades of the culture of religious righteous indignation.

Oh, yeah. And one former US president, who also isn't qualified to comment, to condemn the cartoons as being "against Islam." (Psssst! Bill: Bullcookies! Take a lesson from what Monica didn't do -- keep your mouth shut.)

The truly hideous aspect of this story, though, is that the Islamic lunatic fringe wants the Danish government to punish the offending newspapers (how? fire the editors? shut down the papers? behead the cartoonists? Trust what you read from the Muslim bloggers -- the fundies actually not only think this is possible, but they are demanding it!). The Danish government can't do that, and has said so several times, but the lunatic fringe refuses to believe it.

You see, Islamic newspapers don't have freedom of speech. Therefore, no one else should have it, either. No one else should be allowed to have what Islam doesn't have. And never mind that Sharia law is only supposed to apply to Muslims who choose to follow it -- nobody should be allowed to break that law, Muslim or not. So say the lunatic fringe.

They mean you and me.

And they are so deadly serious about being offended that they seem to be on the verge of declaring actual -- as opposed to virtual -- war on those of us who have what they don't want us to have. That would include things like a sense of humor and freedom of speech.

Suddenly, the system we live with seems a whole lot more -- tolerable. Not perfect, by any means. I don't think I'd like "perfect." But definitely tolerable.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Why Airliners Need Rear-View Mirrors

Or, you could also caption this one: "When they say 'Friendly Skies,' they don't mean that friendly!"

Or perhaps, "Mind if I play through?"

Or...pick your own caption.

(H/T Drudge)

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Do Not Watch This Video!

But... If you do have to watch it, whatever you do, don't listen to it!


I'm not making this up.

If you'll notice that in the picture, her hands are clenched into fists, I can tell you -- from not having followed my own advice (see above) -- that she was literally trying to punch the song into submission!

Aretha is spinning so fast, she is about to launch herself into becoming one of the world's newest satellites.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Look Who's Lookin'

Check the look on the face of the babe holding the sign, in the face of the opposition...

Yes, the one holding the sign is a babe. Well, a female, anyway. Maybe "babe" is stretching the wish a little far...

Now, those girls are what I'd call healthy!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wilkins Go Home!

Who is this guy, David Wilkins, anyway?

Oh, I know -- he's the American ambassador to Canada.

Actually, he's the American embarrassment in Canada. He just cannot keep his goddam mouth shut!.

David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said his government opposes Harper's proposed plan to deploy military icebreakers in the Arctic to detect interlopers and assert Canadian sovereignty over those waters.

"There's no reason to create a problem that doesn't exist," Wilkins said as he took part in a forum at the University of Western Ontario in London.

Ah, Davie boy -- we're not creating a problem. We're forestalling one. There's a difference.

"We don't recognize Canada's claims to those waters... Most other countries do not recognize their claim."

Really? Would you care to name those other countries? And if you do, would they come forward and confirm your statement? Or would they call you a liar?

And as for your not recognising our claim to our own waters -- you wouldn't recognise your own twin brother if you couldn't gain an advantage from it.

Wilkins said he doesn't think that kind of military buildup is necessary in the Far North.

Now you're a military expert? Or are you an engineer?

Wilkins also said he expects less anti-American sentiment from Harper's minority government, and added that he called Harper to offer congratulations on his election victory.

Expects? Expects? You've got more goddamn nerve than I'd want in a toothache! If you want less anti-American sentiment, try exercising a litttle courtesy, like most of your countrymen, instead of insisting of being the prototype Ugly American.

And after your president called Stephen to congratulate him, I'm sure your phone call was given due attention. Possibly by some staffer. A temp. One can hope.


Now, what it looks like we have here is some form of distraction-in-progress. And I want to know what is really going on.

See, little kids do what Wilkins is doing -- their own juvenile version of Wag The Dog -- distract and deflect. Parents have seen variations of this from the dawn of time: kid swipes a toy from the store and sticks it in his pocket, then forgets about it. Come laundry time, Mom starts going through all the pockets before putting things in the washer. Kid sees this and remembers the toy. Panics.

"Mom, you don't have to look through my pockets! There's nothing in there!" And when Mom finds the stolen contraband, kid tries a new tactic. "Oh, that's not my shirt, Mom! I don't know whose it is! Toy? Not mine! I don't recognise it! Must be some other kid's! There's no problem here!"

Wilkins is acting very much like a little kid in a similar situation.

But why? What is happening 'way up north that Wilkins (and, if he can be believed, his boss) is afraid we're going to find? We want the icebreakers there to detect interlopers. Could it possibly be that the interlopers are already there, without our permission and knowledge? Could they be American interlopers?

You know the damned Homeland Security thing has gotten away from Congress and is totally out of control.

So what is really going on? Hmmmm?

Oh..yeah...Wilkins? Your mother is callin' you!

Mother Church vs. Father State

An on-again- off-again courtship; now the question is: who gets responsibility for protecting the kids?

Of church, state – and abuse
Bill would require priests to divulge confessions

The Diocese of Manchester opposes the bill, saying it would interfere with religious freedom without making children safer.

Well, that's going to be the primary question, isn't it? Would requiring a priest to break the seal of the confessional in this situation actually protect any children?

What it would do -- the first time -- would be to help catch that one guy and maybe put him in prison for the next two hundred years (the Americans take this a lot more seriously than our Canadian Injustice System does). So, this law would protect any future victims of this one guy.

But how about the victims of any other molester? What would this law do?

If the priests actually uphold the law (and there would be damn few of them) and turn in the molesters, the result would be forseeable: molesters would stop confessing (well, the Catholic ones will -- the non-Catholics won't give a damn about the law in the first place).

Dying unshriven will put you in purgatory for an extended period, while the heavenly immigration authorities check your background. You can then make your case directly to the Supreme of Supreme Courts, and, after a suitable pennance, you get to heaven.

Having your priest turn you in will put you in hell immediately. While you are still alive. And you will never escape.

Can everyone see the obvious, here?

And here is an interesting twist to the already thorny problem: Catholic priests are subject first and always to the dictates of the Vatican. The Vatican is a sovereign state, with embassies all over the world. Each priest is therefore a representative of a foreign power on American soil. Do they not enjoy diplomatic immunity?

Ah, what a fascinating problem this is going to be! Never mind that there will be cries of religious discrimination -- because as far as I know, the Catholic and Orthodox churches are the only ones that seal their confessionals (other churches have a sort-of "confession," but unlike the Catholic church, they don't make it mandatory). Therefore, there will be a great hue and cry about the proposed law "targeting" Catholics.

If this were a mystery book, at this point I would probably skip to the last page and find the solution to the mystery. As it is, this is more like the old Saturday-afternoon-movie-matinee-serial-teasers, and we're all gonna have to wait until the next installment.

And What Was Their First Clue?

Democrats and Republicans both adept at ignoring facts, brain scans show

I guess we could also include Liberals, Conservatives, NDPers, Greens, Heritage, and oh, everybody in politics, eh?

Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.

As my friend, Howlin' Hobbit says, "No shit, Sherlock!"

And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.


Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.

I wonder if they tested the area of the brain that differentiates between telling the truth and telling a lie... Omigoddess, what am I saying? These are politicians we're talking about -- for them, there is no differentiation!

"The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person (read: politician) can learn very little from new data," Westen said.

Well, I guess that explains everything...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Another Friend For Beautiful Joe...

VPD loses a long time K9 in the line of duty
Jan, 25 2006 - 8:50 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) - Vancouver Police are mourning the loss of one of their canine members.

The dog ‘Nitro’ was killed Monday night while trying to catch a couple of car thieves.

He caught up to the pair as they jumped onto a freight train in New Westminster.

Nitro grabbed one of the men, but slipped and was run over by the train.

Constable Tim Fanning says the dog will be missed. “Very sad, very sad, but he went out in a hail of glory,” Fanning said.

Nitro had been on the force for nine years and was due to retire shortly and live with his handler.

This is the only print version I can find of this story, and it's on the CKNW website. Whoever wrote it took political correctness too far and kept referrring to Nitro as "it." I corrected the copy. And this is the only picture I could find; maybe later there will be an updated version.

Nitro was a fully-fledged member of the Vancouver Police Department. He, like all canine Members, has a rank: Police Dog.

And what the news blurb on NW's website does not say is that he got his man -- the perp jumped for the train, Nitro grabbed a mouthful of him and pulled him off the train before slipping and falling under the wheels.

Small comfort to his partner and family, but because he was killed in the line of duty, Nitro rates an Inspector's funeral.

UPDATE: The "print" news came in this morning, Thursday, January 26, 2006.

Happy Birthday To Ye, Rabbie!

For those of us who are not culinarily challenged, a recipe.

And, bonus -- this recipe is from the late Jeff Smith -- the Frugal Gourmet himself!

Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, remains a highlight of such suppers. Though traditional recipes include a sheep's pluck (the heart, liver and "lights," or lungs), such ingredients aren't easily available. In fact, the FDA doesn't consider sheep lungs fit for human consumption, so even legally imported haggis doesn't contain it. There are, however, reports of traditional Scottish haggis being smuggled in.

Pluck not FDA approved? And Jeff did not have room in any of his cookbooks for the old-fashioned, traditional haggis, made with pluck. But it's amazing what you can find when you want to...

Actual Scottish Haggis - how to make it

A champion Haggis should be firm and slightly sticky, with no tendency to dry out or crumble too much. Most traditional Scottish butchers sell their own home made Haggis and guard the recipe fiercely. Ours is from the Glasgow Cookery Book from around 1926.

Be aware that this recipe includes lungs and windpipes and other things that don't tend to appear in cut out 'n' keep recipe cards. If you want to avoid these gruesome bits or aren't allowed to eat them (hello, America!), try the Haggis-lite recipe instead.

(Ignore people who tell you to put a rock in with your simmering Haggis then throw out the beast and eat the rock - they are Phillistines with no sense for the finer things in life.)


1 sheep’s pluck. i.e. the animals heart, liver, and lights (lungs).
Cold water.
1 sheep’s stomach (empty).
1lb lightly toasted pinhead oatmeal (medium or coarse oatmeal).
1-2 tablespoons salt.
1 level tablespoon freshly ground black pepper.
1 tablespoon freshly ground allspice.
1 level tablespoon of mixed herbs.
8oz finely chopped suet.
4 large onions, finely chopped.
(lemon juice (or a good vinegar) is sometimes added as well as other flavourings such as cayenne pepper)


Wash the stomach in cold water until it is thoroughly clean and then soak it in cold salted water for about 8-10 hours.

Place the pluck in a large pot and cover with cold water. The windpipe ought to be hung over the side of the pot with a container beneath it in order to collect any drips. Gently simmer the pluck for approximately 2 hours or until it is tender and then leave the pluck to cool.

Finely chop or mince the pluck meat and then mix it with the oatmeal. Add about half a pint of the liquor in which the pluck was cooked (or use a good stock). Add the seasonings, suet and onions, ensuring everything is well mixed.

Fill the stomach with the mixture, leaving enough room for the oatmeal to expand into. Press out the air and then sew up the haggis. Prick the haggis a few times with a fine needle. Place the haggis it in boiling water and simmer for approximately 3 hours.

This, and other traditional (and some modern ones, as well) recipes can be found here. I thought very seriously of trying to delete all reference to *vegan haggis (for Sweet Andrew's sake, what would be the point of vegan haggis?)* -- but I couldn't figure out how to get to the source code...



(H/T Bourque)

I'm going to let you all read this stuff on your own.

Report made pursuant to request by Mr Yvon Godin, Member for Acadie-Bathurst for an Inquiry in relation to Mr Gurmant Grewal, Member for Newton-North Delta and The Honorable Ujjal Dosanjh, Member for Vancouver South

Buckets will very likely do a detailed analysis of this report. He is already doing yeoman work, keeping all the lines (as well as the facts, the rumors, and the just-plain wishful thinking) straight.

The Lone Independant

Shock jock to focus on local issues as country's lone Independent MP

Mr. Arthur, the controversial radio host known around Quebec City as King Arthur, is going to the House of Commons as the only Independent MP.

Looks like Chuck really started something...

"I was so impressed by Mr. Cadman," Mr. Arthur said. "Could there be a better example that an Independent is someone immensely closer to his constituents than someone who votes for the interests of a party?"


He said he didn't intend to heed some of the Commons rituals.

Well, he has already refused to heed one of this country's most time-honored rituals -- he didn't get the blessing of an official party before he ran -- and won -- his seat!

Andre Arthur's story is not that of Chuck Cadman's though. Chuck was already known and loved by his constituency before he was dropped from the party by his leader -- Stephen Harper. He was persuaded to run as an independent, and to the surprise of very few who knew the entire story, he won by a landslide. Thumb to the nose for the CPC -- Surrey North declared independence!

And in a way, Andre Arthur's move is a little gutsier. Except as a radio "shock jock," he was a complete unknown to the people who elected him. No political record. Not much of a platform. Just plenty of balls and attitude. Thumb to the nose for the Bloc -- Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf has just declared independence!

And now for the Question: Now that two MPs have been elected after running as Independents, what is it going to take to get the rest of the country off the party wagon?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Would You Trust An Iranian? Ask An Iranian!

Caution: extreme satire! Please swallow whatever food/drink you have in your mouth. Then place all food and drink items safely away from your keyboard and monitor. Now, click the link...

Why should the West not be alarmed about Iran getting the nuclear bomb?

Because the current Iranian government does not wish to stop Israel with its nuclear weapons. It wants to stop its opposition groups.

Why should the West be alarmed about Iran getting the nuclear bomb?

Because one must be alarmed with whatever happens in Iran...

Ebrahim Nabavi, an Iranian journalist and writer, is author of the prison memoir "Sallon 6" (Nashr Ney, 2001). He was jailed in Iran for publishing political satire, and since 2003 has been writing in exile from Belgium.

(H/T Sandmonkey)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Not Exactly A Mandate...

...but we have a new government. A CPC minority. As of this writing, with possibly a couple of re-counts, there are twenty or twenty-one seats between the CPC and the Liberals.

All that has happened is that Harper and Martin have switched places. For awhile.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. We, as a country, are taking Stephen Harper for a "test drive." Kick the tires, blow the horn, test the throttle response. But we, as a country, also made sure that the brakes are in good working order.

That Alberta went solid CPC does not surprise me. That the CPC lost ground in BC also does not surprise me. That an Independent won in Quebec -- that surprised me. Apparently, a former radio "shock-jock." I'll have to check into this more later... Maybe the Rhinocerous party didn't completely disappear, after all.

I was listening to John McComb and Norman Spector, on the radio, talking about the results, and Norm made a comment that makes perfect sense, once you think about it...

Canada is a fragmented country. We are a country full of opposites. And the opposites don't trust each other to govern evenly. Tonight, the two fragments that split the vote were the Rural, who went for the CPC (and yes -- Calgary and Edmonton may be cities, but they are definitely Rural), and the Urban, who went for everyone else. Urbanites clearly do not want the CPC to perform any right-wing social engineering on them. Rural folk don't want anyone else to tell them who they have to allow to live next door.

So, it's over for -- what? -- a year? Eighteen months? Time to wind down, catch our collective breaths, and then start gearing up again for another election. Because there's always gonna be another election.

That's the interesting thing about living in a country that calls itself a democracy.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

A review...

I went to see this movie Friday, and I've been trying to formulate a quick-and-easy review ever since. Quick-and-easy it's not going to be, though. It's not a quick-and-easy movie.

It runs two-and-a-quarter hours, so timewise, you'll definitely get your money's worth -- that is, if you think any movie is ever worth the $11.00 price of admission!

Okay, let me tell you what bothered me about this movie: Ang Lee is a better director than he shows us in this movie, so what happened to his much-vaunted talent here? And I want the editor's head on a platter. I'm almost a charter member of Nitpicker's Guide to the Galaxy, and any director and editor that can take a perfectly wonderful story and turn it into uneven mash is gonna catch hell from me!

The opening scene is confusing. The two "cowboys" (and gimme a break -- this movie starts in 1963 and ends in 1985 -- we still call them cowboys just because they wear jeans and hats?) meet for the first time; but the way they avoid looking at each other makes you think that they've not only met, but they're already involved and trying not to admit it, even to themselves. I honestly thought the projectionist had the wrong reel, for awhile.

And there are a couple of flashback scenes that have no bracketing -- no way to let you know you're seeing a flashback (fade-in/out, voice-over echo -- whatever it takes to say: This is a flashback).

Okay, bitching over for now. Just so you know. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll be ready for the unevenness of it. Now, for what I liked about it...

Oh, just about everything else. No, it's not a cowboy movie. Jack and Ennis could have been stevedores or lumberjacks -- any two guys from small town America in 1963. And that's part of the key -- small town America. Not city guys. Not sophisticated and worldly. Both very much a product of their environments, and each caught in his own confusion about what he feels versus what he's been taught while growing up.

Is it a "gay" movie? Well, it's about two guys who have an on-again-off-again sexual relationship over the course of twenty-two years (and more "off" than "on" I might add), while at the same time, both being married-with-children. Does that make it a "gay" movie?

I don't want to be a spoiler, so I really don't want to be too specific about the storyline. But there is a (flashback) scene in which Ennis tells Jack about being a very small boy (I think around six years old), and his father having dragged him and his slightly older brother out into the desert one night to "take a good look" at the mutilated corpse of a neighbor of theirs who had been beaten to death because it was thought that he was homosexual. That scene, somewhere in the middle of the movie, actually sums up the homophobic attitude that the two of them grew up with. It foreshadows why they have to be so damned careful.

So, why aren't they careful?

After the first summer they spend together, up on the mountain, it's four years before they actually see each other again. Jack comes from Texas to Wyoming. On seeing him, Ennis grabs him into a fierce embrace. They think they're unobserved. But Ennis' wife, looking out the window, not only sees, but understands. She says nothing to him, though, until many years later.

That was the scene at which I knew I wasn't going to be looking for happily-ever-after. Because although Jack kept suggesting that the two of them pool their resources and get their own spread somewhere, Ennis kept backing off, wanting not to stay involved. And yet, Ennis could not help but be careless when Jack was around.

There are some places to cheer in the movie -- like the Christmas dinner when Jack has finally had it up to his ears with his domineering, I-can-insult-you-in-your-own-house-because-you-work-for-me father-in-law, and he tells the old bastard to siddown and shaddap! Much to everyone's surprise, the old bastard does exactly that -- and Jack's wife has this neat little cat-got-the-cream smile around her mouth; and you see her chin tilt up a little with new pride in her husband. Jack's mother-in-law continues to look like she's sucking on a lemon, but you have to wonder if the old bugger got an earful from her, too, after they got home.

Scenes to cheer or laugh about are few, though. It's a very tension-filled movie. If you're a compulsive nibbler under stress, buy three tubs of popcorn -- the extra-large size.

I've heard this called a "chick-flick," and I don't know why. Nothing soft and romantic about it (at least, that's what I'm led to understand defines a "chick-flick").

Would I see it again? Oh, yes. Although I still think Ang Lee fell down on the job, and I want that editor run outa town on a rail -- after his head is delivered to me on a platter. Bottom line is that it's a good story.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. Go see it for yourself.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Send Your Message of Support...

...to the Canadian soldiers recently wounded in Afghanistan: Private William Edward Salikin, Corporal Jeffrey Bailey, and Master Corporal Paul Franklin -- as well as their families.

Follow this link to Candace's post for the background and details of what everyone except our own government is doing to help our guys in uniform on overseas duty.

Leave your prayers, your thoughts, and your best wishes for these guys in the comments section at the bottom of Candace's post. She and MaryAnn will make sure your messages get to our soldiers.


UPDATE: Apparently, Private Will Salikin has his own blog. I found it by doing this, and following the links.

And if you go to this site, you can get updated information on the conditions of all three soldiers. There are probably lots of similar sites out there -- this is just one of the ones I found.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Subliminally Cute...

Take a break from the serious and head-aching campaign stuff for a few minutes and go check out this site.

Warning: It is a spoof, a satire. Bring your sensahumor with you, 'cause it's gonna skewer both the Tories and the Liberals...

(H/T CanadianTruth)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Scattered Thoughts...

From my e-mail (apparently, I have some shy readers):

"Government is not reason. It is not eloquence.
It is a force like fire; a dangerous servant and a terrible master."
-- George Washington --


An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."

He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."

Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

Ah, ya gotta love the logic of an engineer, right?

Thank you, Coz...

Hot Diggity, DOG Diggity

Boom! what you do for me,
It's so new for me,
What you do for me.
Hot diggity, dog diggity,
Boom! what you do for me,
When we're dancing all night!

If the video does not start just by clicking on the link, click the "Play" button.

(Couldn't resist filking the lyric a bit.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Polygamy, Polyandry, Polygyny, Polyamory

This post by Tim at TABaker resurrected an argument that first appeared 'way back during the discussion about same-sex marriage (he's not the only one bringing it up, but I'm picking on him because I read him on a regular basis, and he does good blog).

I have never, ever understood the propensity for otherwise normal, thinking, and feeling human beings to try to micromanage one anothers' lives.

Pierre Trudeau, on perhaps the only issue where I agreed with him, said that the government does not belong in the bedrooms of the nation.

I'm going to go him one further.

Your neighbor does not belong in your bedroom, either!

Unless you and your neighbor are involved in a fully consensual, adult relationship, of course.

Key word here is "consensual."

This is the news item that has been re-sparking this rant-fest. I'd call it a debate, but you don't bring emotional rhetoric into a proper debate, and most people can't seem to keep emotion out of it.

First, let's change the word "polygamy" to "polyamory" and what happens? You change the focus a bit. Polygamy is defined as one man with several wives, and popular myth is that he is the Lord And Master and they are all his Slaves.

Polyamory is the practice or lifestyle of being part of more than one long-term, intimate, and, often, sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.

I did a Google search on polyamory and found a Wiki entry that pretty much has all the information I'd been looking for. This is unusual, because the nature of Wiki is that it can be editted by anyone with a password (I'm an editor in a different arena), and so can be slanted by the individual entering the information. Whover it was that did this entry has all their ducks in a row, and all their emotions tucked safely away from the facts.

Okay? Okay.

Canada does not recognise polygamy or polyandry (one woman with several husbands -- and I have to wonder if she would automatically be seen as a slave to the group, or would you see her as cracking the whip on all of the men?). The terms "wife" and "husband," are legal terms, and are defined in the provincial marriage acts. You may have one or the other. You may not have more than one, and you may not have both.

Why does it feel like asking for a cookie before dinner?

But polyamory is here, and has been here for a long time. People involved in poly relationships (they are NOT "swingers," they'll have you know) tend to keep it to themselves and just go about their lives minding their own business. They keep it quiet because they know that their neighbors just can't wait to start minding their business for them.

I don't like blanket-thought. I don't like the homogenization that happens when something like the controversy at Bountiful pops into the news. For one thing, the community at Bountiful is being seen as a religion-based community. And if it is religion-based, that's fine. But poly relationships are not usually based on religious beliefs.

In this article from a year ago, one wife from Bountiful left the poly community and took her children with her, citing abuse.

I particularly noticed that she left without having to fight her way out, and her children went with her, also without her having to fight for them. This is abuse? Slavery? She got tired of being there and left. Nobody stopped her from leaving. What the hell is the big issue, here?

Her complaints were refuted by other women in the same community: "In October 2004, the women of Bountiful dismissed claims that they had been brainwashed and needed to be rescued from their husbands.

"Their statement came after eight women in British Columbia launched a complaint with the human rights tribunal on behalf of the Bountiful women."

And go to the bottom of this article to get my point: "Linda Price, a Creston resident who has followed events in Bountiful, calls it 'Canada's dirty little secret.'

"'If anybody cares about children, they should be concerned about this,' she told CTV Vancouver.

"While the children protest this assertion, Price isn't buying it. 'They're brainwashed,' she says. 'They're going to tell you they're happy.'"

Linda Price is a perfect example of your neighbor who wants you to live your life according to her wishes. If she were a vegan, and she saw you eating meat, she'd very likely try to bring your children into the equation. And if your children say they, too, like meat, she'd acuse you of brainwashing them. She has no regard for opinions that disagree with her own.

Sadly, she is not alone. She is only one of millions of people who want you to live your life according to their values.

She and those like her are not going to be happy until they've managed to get into your bedroom and dictated how you may live, whom you may love, and how your children are to be raised. Anything that does not comply with their narrow view of the world will be railed against with vitriolic vituperation.

So, for those of you who are not interested in entering into a polyamorous relationship -- good for you. Go ahead and live your lives according to your values. Just please have a little respect for those who have different values.

And for those of you who are in a poly relationship -- good for you. Live long and prosper. And try not to take it too seriously when those of us who disagree with your lifestyle tend to run off at the mouth/keyboard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

On The Endangered Species List...

...Freedom of Speech!

A couple of items have caught my eye, both thanks to The Religious Policeman.

The first one was in a post he did on Sunday, January 08, 2006, entitled "Anonymous Blogging Guide." Alhamedi's blog does not link to individual posts, so you'll have to scroll around until you find this one. As you love what's left of your freedom of speech, it's worth your time to read what he says.

In that post, he links to this article that names five countries in the world where you can go to prison, or worse, for blogging (and then helps people in those countries set up blogs that are as anonymous as it's possible to be). Incredible, no?

Incredible, yes!

Never happen here, right?

...*not so fast...*

In the comments on that post, one of Alhamedi's commenters sent in this link to a news item that just may have been overlooked by most of the MSM.

Blogging has now joined the ranks of possible criminal activity in the good ol' USA, if you blog anonymously:

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.


To grease the rails for this idea, Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and the section's other sponsors slipped it into an unrelated, must-pass bill to fund the Department of Justice. The plan: to make it politically infeasible for politicians to oppose the measure.

The tactic worked. The bill cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate unanimously approved it Dec. 16 (2005).

Go read the whole article. Then ask yourself if you need to worry.

I can imagine that a lot of you are saying, "But I'm not blogging anonymously, so I don't have to worry."

Two thoughts: Think of this as only the first step! And then, will the time ever come when you might want to make anonymous comments on whatever forum in order to hide your identity to protect your job or your family?

And, as Declan McCullagh asks, who gets to define what is meant by "annoy?"

I can also imagine that a lot of you are saying, "But this is Canada, and the law only applies in the United States."

For you, I have two words: Marc Emery.

But you know what little bit on info I found to be the most amazing? I found this news article on a link by an anonymous commenter on a post by a blogger in the United Kingdom!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Jeez, I take the weekend off, and everybody gets busy on me... DazzlinDino wants me to tell the world how weird I am.

I'm not weird. I'm quite sure there are lots of people in the world with naturally tartan hair.

Five weird things about me? Okay, okay; but don't say I didn't warn ya:

1. I don't like to talk on the phone. Matter of fact, I hate talking on the phone. I don't even own a phone. Ya wanna talk to me, you e-mail me.

2. I have a large flat-screen TV, but I don't watch television. I got rid of cable about ten or twelve years ago, and I don't miss it. I don't even own rabbit ears. I watch movies, though. Lots of them.

3. About those movies -- I've seen some of them so many times that I've got the scripts practically memorized. Top Gun. GI Jane. All About Eve. Independence Day.

4. I collect "useless but interesting" trivia. Like the fact that the Titanic would never have made it to New York even if she hadn't hit the iceberg. She had been on fire since before leaving Southampton, and the captain knew, but he left port anyway, figuring they could put the fire out once they were at sea. He was wrong. And did you know that one of her four smoke stacks was false? It was only there for the esthetics. It wasn't functional.

5. I not only read the labels on food packages, but I understand what all those arcane ingredients are. And why they're not good for you. Sometimes I buy them anyway. I have a really hard time turning down cheese nacho chips, even though the cheese isn't, and the corn is genetically modified. YUM!

Is there anyone left to whom to pass the tag?

Well, the Caribou Kid has been lookin' real serious lately. Take a weirdness break, Rick!

And Cycles is taking the election rhetoric to heart, too.

And let's bring SandMonkey in, all the way from Egypt (and if you haven't seen his blog yet, do go and visit for awhile -- he does some wonderful posts!).

Weird away, men!

Friday, January 06, 2006

We're Gold!

Canada blanks Russia for junior gold

Canada won the world junior hockey championship on Thursday in Vancouver, capping an unlikely undefeated run with a 5-0 win in the final over Russia.

Justin Pogge of Penticton, B.C., earned his third shutout of the tournament...

Ah, a goaltender with a solid-looking future. Justin, I would really like to introduce you to your future!

Not that I don't love the Canucks, but Janus' Gates, guys, ye're turnin' a rut into a canyon!

Separated At Birth?

Relax -- no photos, no outside-your-species comparisons!

But I found both this story and this one over at Drudge today...

Interesting how the Wahhabists and the fundamentalist Christians are always on the same wavelength when it comes to slamming and damning their opponents in the name of whatever diety they're cozy with today (said deities also seeming to be of the multiple-personality types).

I wonder what kind of bedfellows they would make...each one doing his best to steal the covers, while at the same time accusing the other of hoarding...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish...

Someone sent this to me, unattributed, as an urban legend of enormous magnitude. I have no idea whether it's fact or fancy -- it's damned entertaining!

At the 1994 annual awards dinner given by the American Association for Forensic Science, AAFS President Don Harper Mills astounded his audience in San Diego with the legal complications of a bizzare death. Here is the story:

"On 23 March 1994, the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and concluded that he died from a shotgun wound of the head. The decedent had jumped from the top of a ten-story building intending to commit suicide (he left a note indicating his dispondency). As he fell past the ninth floor, his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast through a window, which killed him instantly. Neither the shooter not the decedent was aware that a safety net had been erected at the eighth floor level to protect some window washers and that Opus would not have been able to complete his suicide anyway because of this.

"Ordinarily," Dr Mills continued, "a person who sets out to commit suicide ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he intended. That Opus was shot on the way to certain death nine stories below probably would not have changed his mode of death from suicide to homicide. But the fact that his suicidal intent would not have been successful caused the medical examiner to feel that he had homicide on his hands. "The room on the ninth floor whence the shotgun blast emanated was occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing and he was threatening her with the shotgun. He was so upset that, when he pulled the trigger, he completely missed the wife and the pellets went through the window striking Opus.

"When one intends to kill subject A but kills subject B in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of subject B. When confronted with this charge, the old man and his wife were both adamant that neither knew that the shotgun was loaded. The old man said it was his long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her - therefore, the killing of Opus appeared to be an accident. That is, the gun had been accidently loaded.

"The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's son loading the shotgun approximately six weeks prior to the fatal incident. It transpired that the old lady cut off her son's financial support and the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would shoot his mother. The case now, becomes one of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus."

There was an exquisite twist. "Further investigation revealed that the son, Ronald Opus, had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten-story building on March 23, only to be killed by a shotgun blast through a ninth story window.

"The medical examiner closed the case as a suicide."

Pass The Excedrin...

(H/T Buckets)

I'm trying -- I really am trying -- to figure out how this could have been an honest mistake (it's cached -- the website itself is now blank). I'm having a really hard time figuring out how Nina Grewal's web page got posted to John Spovieri's web page. It's not like they're next door neighbors, as far as constituencies go; indeed, they're half the country apart.

And their initials aren't at all similar -- NG and JS.

What they have in common is that they are both CPC candidates. Is there something I'm missing? Like, do they maybe have the same webmaster, and he somehow got them mixed up?

Help me out, here, people...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Nineteen Eighty-Four?

There is a really interesting technology emerging these days -- indeed, it has been emerging for some time, now -- and it wants to go home with you. It wants to live with you, and keep you company 24 hours a day.

Then it wants to tell its owner everything you do, everywhere you go, and everything you wear. It wants to tell what brand of toothpaste you use and how often you use it. It wants to announce your clothing size, your favorite colors, and your choice of underwear. It will be able to snitch on your favorite snack foods. It can, and will, target you for specific advertising based on what you purchase at any store and bring into your house.

It's called RFID. Also known as spychips.

This is the technology that you've seen advertised whereby you can locate a pet or child by having them wear a tag around the neck or wrist. The embedded chips in the tags act like locator transmitters -- a little like GPS. Useful, no? I mean, what parent or pet owner wouldn't want to be able to breathe easier, knowing that if your loved ones go astray, you can simply call the locator operator and have the darlings returned to your loving arms?

That was the first hook.

Next came implanted chips, called verichips. These are inserted under the skin. The advantage is that the tag won't be lost if the collar or bracelet breaks and falls off. Just a quick little incision, done with a local anesthetic, and the chip is permanently attached to the body, yes?

Um...no. Since they are just under the skin, they can be removed almost as easily as they are implanted -- the only difference would be the type of anesthetic used. Once thought to be a better way to keep track of felons on work-release or parole than those bulky ankle bracelets, it has now become apparent that a sharp knife and a bellyful of alcohol can allow the felon to disappear.

Those same verichips, however, can also be planted deep in the body cavity to the point where voluntary removal could be dangerous -- even life-threatening. The American government is giving serious thought to having its military troops implanted with verichips. Much easier to track down captured troops so you can effect a rescue. Much easier to locate bodies in a war zone so you can bring them home for a proper burial. Definitely much easier to follow anyone going AWOL so you can drag his sorry ass back to the stockade for some quality time on the rock pile.

And the military troops are not allowed to say, "No, thanks."

But, when the troops leave the military, the chips are removed, right?

Not a chance.

And there is an example of how a civilian population will be introduced to the concept of complete and total surveillance, 24 hours a day, by Big Brother, aka Your Government In Action.

And just because we're in Canada, don't think we're safe from this.

But about the chips that follow you home...

Several retailers, along with several manufacturers, have already begun experimenting with RFID product chips. These started out to be used for in-store inventory control, which was fine. As long as it stays in-store, there should be no problem.

But marketing companies soon caught on to the thought that if they could track items after they left the store, and find out who was buying them, they could target those consumers for specific other products in their advertising campaigns. They could see their jobs suddenly getting a whole lot easier...

The biggest problem was now one of convincing the consumers to have readers in their homes.


Scanners that "read" the code in the spychips. You know those upright posts you walk between on your way in and out of the stores? Those are readers. If the alarm goes off, it means the reader has scanned something it thinks has not yet been paid for (and sometimes it's right). It's a great way to cut down on shoplifting. But getting them into someone's home?

Any large appliance or piece of furniture can be turned into a reader. Fridge. Stove. Entertainment center/cabinet. Bed frame. Dresser. Hell, even a door post can be a reader. All it has to be is a permanent or long-term fixture in the home. In the bathroom, there's a choice -- toilet, sink, bathtub.

This isn't going to happen overnight. But it is going to happen. The time will come when, by law, all new houses will have to have readers built into them, just like all cars have to have seatbelts installed.

Your retailers want to know what you wear, what you eat, what you drink, where you go, what movies you rent/buy, what music you listen to, what library books you check out (oops -- that's the government that wants to know that), what books you buy, what and where you drive, what's your favorite color, do you wear boxers or briefs or thongs, what's your weight/height/ethnicity -- and yes! they can tell all that!

Your government just wants to know everything it wants to know, and never you mind why they want to know. Homeland Security has everything under control...

Quoted from the linked article in Mother Jones:

MJ: How might the government use this technology for homeland security?

KA: Depending on your politics, you may attend a peace rally or a gun show or a talk by a Muslim cleric or a union meeting or a particular political rally, all of which are protected by the First Amendment. But in the RFID world, federal agents could attend that meeting with a hand-held reader hidden in a backpack, mill around long enough to capture a couple thousand RFID numbers associated with the people at the meeting, upload all of that to a central database, cross-reference it, and figure out everybody who was there.

Also, once you’ve got the private sector wielding all of this technology, they are at liberty to sell that information to the federal government. At that point, the government does not run a foul of Constitution restrictions for essentially spying on its own citizens. There are a lot of private sector-government partnerships in sharing of this information once it’s been gathered, and we anticipate that there will be more and more of that in coming years.

The emphasis in that last paragraph is mine.

You may already be carrying the spychip around with you. It may have been implanted in store "loyalty" cards -- you know, those discount/membership cards from Safeway and Save-On?

If you bought shoes at Wal-Mart, you are very likely wearing the chips.

If you wear Champion sports gear, you are definitely wearing the chip.

If your new television is a Philips, like mine, you might have a chip (I found mine and got rid of it).

A friend of mine who is quite familiar with eschatology and biblical prophecy has dubbed this technology The Number Of The Beast. It is said that you will not be able to buy, sell, rent, travel, or hold a job without being implanted with it.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, January 01, 2006


...to 2006...

Toronto gun violence claims another life

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.