Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No Dessert For Me

On infrequent forays out to dinner with friends, I invariably hear at least one of them say, "No dessert for me, thanks. I can't afford it." And they usually lean back in the chair and pat a belly covered tautly by a shirt on the verge of ripping open from the strain. Can't afford the calories.

Now it's possible to say that and mean, literally, that you can't afford the dessert!

Is it too late to become a pastry chef?

Rapist On The Move

No need here for "alleged" and "suspected" terminology. Paul Callow is a convicted and confessed rapist, who even tried to rape a nurse while he was in prison for the entire twenty years of his sentence.

This past week, he moved into the Newton area of Surrey, straight from his erstwhile cell.

Apparently, he has had enough of the warm welcome he received here, and he has moved to New Westminster, just across the Fraser River from us.

He was known as the "Balcony Rapist" in Ontario, where he committed his crimes. When he was sentenced, he was shipped out to BC for incarceration. Ontario don't want him back, and I can't say I blame them. We don't want him, either, but the fact is that he was born in BC, so he's ours by default.

After New Westminster gets finished throwing him a welcome home party, he might find that it's gotten a little too warm for him there, too.

Heads up, fellow BC babies! This badass is on the move until someone permanently stops him from moving altogether.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's NOT About Religion!

Seems like every time someone hears something they don't like, these days, they go into a snit and whine about religious discrimination. It ain't always the case. Matter of fact, it's very rarely anywhere near the case. But that doesn't stop the whining.

Two recent instances...

A teenage soccer player was prevented from playing by game officials unless she removed her headscarf. The officials cited safety as a reason; the girl and her teammates think it was religious discrimination; and the girl's mother confused the issue when she said, in part, "...It's just a piece of cloth that's on her head, and the way she was wearing it, it was tucked in her shirt ..."

Just a piece of cloth? In that case, there should be no reason to kick up such a fuss. Why not take it off, play the game, and put it on again later? No big deal, right? Just a piece of cloth?

But "the way she was wearing it..." Ah, yes. Go take a look at the picture on the link, and look at the way she's wearing it. And next time you're out and about, take a look at the next woman you see wearing this headscarf, and look at how it's being worn.

In order to keep it in place, it's wrapped and tied around her throat.

Scenario: Scarf-wearing girl on the field with the others, playing, and as sometimes happens during a scrum, she ends up on the bottom of a dogpile. In all those flailing arms and legs, one stray limb accidentally gets tangled in the scarf. The owner of said limb tries to free herself by pulling on her limb. The scarf tightens, and starts to strangle its wearer. More pulling, scarf gets tighter. If she tries to yell for help, will anyone hear her one choked-off voice among all the others going at full throttle?

Alternate scenario: She's got the ball and she's heading hell-for-leather up the field toward the goal, and an opposing player -- trying mightily to catch her from behind -- reaches out and grabs a handful of scarf. If this scenario goes really badly, she could end up dead from a broken neck.

This is not a religious issue. It's a safety issue. But the religious hysterics want you to think otherwise.

And then there's James Cameron and his documentary (?) on the discovery of a tomb that might contain the bones of Jesus and his family, which might include wife-and-kiddies.

A Catholic spokesman says: "Every Christian knows that Jesus, the son of God and man, died and rose again on Easter Sunday."

Well, no, that isn't strictly true. There are a lot of Christians who think that Jesus...his very existence...was less real than allegorical. That he never actually existed as one person, but as an archetype, much like the Greek and Roman and Egyptian gods, from which Christianity takes so much else of its structure. That his teachings are simply stories made up to illustrate the point of how the leaders of society wanted their followers to behave.

And another Catholic spokesman (and by the way -- where are the spokesmen for the Baptists and the Methodists and the Presbyterians and of the Christian world? Or are the Catholics the only ones allowed to talk? Or maybe they're the only ones who think they have something to lose?) had to jump in with, "There are some people interested in destroying the faith of others and that's not good."

Well, if it were true, it wouldn't be good. But that's not what's going on here.

Archeology, like all discovery sciences, is simply a method of determining history. With what they find in a dig, archeologists are able to put puzzle pieces in place, hoping to explain the past and link it to the present. Everything they find is a piece of the puzzle. Every piece of information takes us a little closer to a conclusion in the quest for the answer to the ultimate question: Who are we?

Religion, on the other hand, starts with a conclusion. Puzzle pieces that can be made to fit that conclusion are kept and held high, paraded around for the world to see in a never-ending PR campaign to win converts for both their bodies and their money. Those pieces that lead in another direction are squashed, demonized, ridiculed, or legislated out of existence as "heresy." And lately, the best weapon against knowledge that threatens the promulgation of religion is the cry of religious discrimination.

Remember my point about Jesus' being an archetype? If Cameron has actually found something that might prove that Jesus was actually a real person at one time, with historical, rather than hysterical, roots, you'd think Christian leaders would be bouncing off the walls in excitement, instead of whining about how anti-Christian he is. Don't they want their "lord and savior" to be proven to have been a real historical person? Now who's being anti-Christian?

But we don't yet know what the dig is going to show. In the middle of all this uproar from the religious crowd, they're glossing over a very important point: we don't yet know what the scientific conclusions are going to be! This is one piece in a puzzle. There will be more to come.

This is not a religious issue. It's a knowledge issue. But the religious hysterics want you to think otherwise.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Toldja So...

It took a little longer than I originally thought it would, but Harper has finally moved to silence John Cummins.

"Conservative whip Jay Hill said he had no choice but to remove Cummins..."

Held a gun to your head and threatened to pull the trigger, did he, Jay? Kidnapped your wife and kids and held them hostage until you kicked him in the teeth?

"Cummins was replaced by rookie Alberta Tory MP Blaine Calkins."

Oh, great. Not only is Blaine an absolute tyro (which explains a lot -- he'll be less likely to try to think for himself) in government, but he's a computer geek! Who better to run fisheries than a computer geek?

Now...with whom do I have the ten dollar bet regarding the signing of John Cummins' candidacy papers?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Links For Your Reading Entertainment

I've added a couple new blogs to my sidebar, near the top.

I Serve Idiots is done by Ryan, who works in the food service industry (in old-fashioned terms,he's a waiter). Read about his mis-adventures with stupid customers who make unreasonable demands. Or would it be unreasonable customers who make stupid demands? Oh, how I wish blogging had been an option back in the days when I was in the food service industry!

Birth Pangs is new, a group blog, and its unwritten mission statement seems to be to raise the blood pressure of right-to-lifers and those who propose that fetuses be declared citizens (and personally speaking, I'm having a difficult time imagining a fetus standing in line at the passport office, but oh well...). High satire -- looking like it proposes to do for women's issues what Landover Baptist does for religion. Damn, but I hope they're able to keep up with the great start they've made! Even their sidebar is funny!

Go. Read. Comment. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Obscenity Defined

Obscenity: general noun: slum landlord/wannabe Calgary politician; specific noun: Alnoor Kassam

Why? Because charging $2500 to $3000 monthly rent for a "living" space that measures less than twenty-two-and-a-half feet by twenty-two-and-a-half feet is the financial goal of the Calgary "entrepreneur"-turned-mayoral-candidate!

And he's doing it by forcing out his current tennants by raising their rents so high that they simply cannot afford to keep living in the barely adequate "apartments" (that's technically the term, but that small a space is actually closer to a closet than an apartment, dammit!) in which they now live.

One of the current tennants is a 79-year-old man who has been there for 20 years. He very likely survives on a pension. Where's he going to live now? "On the street" seems a likely answer. And that's a death sentence at his age.

Two things need to happen here. The first is that Calgarians get off their comfortable asses and run this societal leech outa town. The second is that Albertans in general need to get hold of their brand-new, shiny, still-under-warrantee, hardly-broken-in-yet Premier, and tell him you want him to do something constructive and immediate to remedy this situation!

And next summer, after you've all seen to the fair administration of Justice, you can introduce a new event at the Stampede.

(H/T Candace)

Monday, February 12, 2007


Goddamn! that hurts!

Thanks, Cait. I think...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Devil's Advocate

Washington State's Defense of Marriage Alliance (WA-DOMA) is putting the cat among the pigeons. They have come up with Initiative 957, which will appear on ballots in Washington state in the upcoming November election, and it is the first of three Initiatives that they hope to have made into law:

"The first would make procreation a requirement for legal marriage. The second would prohibit divorce or legal separation when there are children. The third would make the act of having a child together the legal equivalent of a marriage ceremony."

Now, I hit the roof and ping-ponged off the walls when I read that. For my efforts, I got a headache and bruises. When my spring-loaded reaction allowed me to calm down and read further, I almost suffocated from laughing that long without taking a breath:

"By floating the initiatives, we hope to prompt discussion about the many misguided assumptions which make up the Andersen ruling. By getting the initiatives passed, we hope the Supreme Court will strike them down as unconstitutional and thus weaken Andersen itself. And at the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric."

Has anyone read Taylor Caldwell's novel of the future The Devil's Advocate? Boiled down, the premise is this: If you want to free a people from slavery to the State, you must subjugate the people, and keep subjugating them, putting on more and more pressure until they get fed up and rebel against the authority they have been raised to obey without question. In this way, you can free them by forcing them to cut their own chains. This is much more effective than simply giving them freedom. They will treasure it much more if they have to earn it. The caveat to this tactic is...don't expect to live through the process.

WA-DOMA is essentially using Devil's Advocate tactics in order to gain precisely the opposite of what the proposed legislation states. But I don't expect that many people will understand that until it's too late. I hope.

" the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric."

Catshit and feather coming up...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Do Something Manly

Damn near fell out my chair laughing.

And I don't even like Snickers!

WYSIWYG? Not Always

And, when it comes to politics, almost never.

The good news is that we have a national topic of political conversation with which to occupy our time until the next election. Which, may it please the gods, will be soon.

But...Garth Turner as a Liberal?

What was he thinking?

Well, for one thing, according to CPoC MP Peter Van Loan: "I think he made clear his reasons for joining the Liberal Party: He wanted to raise money to fight and(sic) election, and he wanted to sit on a committee. I think those reasons speak for themselves as a motivation."

And from another article: "...he couldn't sit on parliamentary committees or issue tax receipts for donors."

And, if you think about it, those are not bad reasons for belonging to an established political party. They are excellent reasons. But fercrissake...Liberal?

Well, let's take a look at his options, shall we?

Go back to the CPoC? I think he would have preferred to do just that. And, if Stephen Harper weren't the leader of that party, it might even be possible. Matter of fact, I'm willing to bet on its happening in the future, after Harper loses an election and gets turfed as party leader. But it ain't gonna happen in the here and now...and Harper is the reason it won't happen. He could allow it. But he won't.

Join the Bloc? Not legally possible. The Bloc does not exist outside Quebec. Last time I looked, Garth's riding of Halton is in Ontario.

Become a Green? There is no Green. This might have been his choice if the Green party existed in Parliament. But it does not exist, so being a Green is no better than being an independent. Worse, actually -- if he had decided to go Green, he would not only have to adhere to a party platform with which he might not always agree, but he'd still not be able to sit on committees, raise money to fight an election, or issue tax receipts.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... *inhale...hold...exhale slowly...whew...feeling better now* Next question?

Social Credit? Um...see Green. It will give everyone an indication of my age when I tell you that I remember the SoCred party...

So. What's left? Not much. Liberal. That's it, fellow babies.

Am I disappointed? You bet I am. I was hoping that, like Chuck Cadman, Garth would run as an independant and win. I wanted him to be a pioneer in parliamentary reform and help in setting precedents that would allow for independant MPs to sit on committees and et cetera and so forth. I desperately want to see the ass end of the locked-in party politics that are hobbling this country. I was looking for a reason to get active in politics again...something in which I could believe and work for. So yeah, I'm disappointed.

So why doesn't he run in a by-election? you ask. A lot of people -- bloggers -- are demanding exactly that. And it seems to be a reasonable ask, especially considering that Garth himself is on record as being against floor-crossing without a by-election.

So ask yourself this: Who's gonna pay for a by-election? And who's gonna pay for the general election that will follow so closely on its heels? Because there will be a general election soon, you know. If you've been paying attention, you gotta know that Harper has been put on notice recently.

And then there's that little detail of who's gonna call the by-election? Do you know who controls that?

Stephen Harper. That's who. And he can take his sweet time about it, too.

"If I resign immediately, the prime minister can leave my voters held hostage for up to six months without a by-election and without an MP, which could well mean they’re not represented at all until after the next election. Excuse me if I do not trust Stephen Harper, but I don’t."

Me neither. I'm not picking on Harper, though. I also don't trust Layton or Dion. Duceppe doesn't even hit the radar with me.

Having been up to my eyebrows in politics in the past, I'm not at all surprised by Garth's move. Disappointed, as I said, but not surprised. I even understand all the unexplained details and behind-the-scenes deals (and count on it -- deals were made!) that the media doesn't report (sometimes because they don't know for sure, and sometimes because they've been busy making their own deals).

Politics is a blood sport. We who engage in it are all gladiators of one kind or another. As a seasoned veteran, though, I'm fed up with the deck's being stacked against the citizens without whom the system would die an overdue death. So I'm pretty much gonna sit this one out. I reserve the right to bash a noggin or two once in awhile if it invades my space, but that's about it. I'm saving my strength for the day I actually get to fight to defeat partisan party politics altogether.

Y'all go ahead. You can't win, but have fun while you can.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Light Up Your Life

When I was a kid, just learning to navigate my neighborhood on my own, I was taught a simple little rhyme to remind me how to be safe:

When walking at night
Wear something white
Carry a light
And you'll be alright.

It's a simple little rhyme. But then, it was a much simpler time. These days, it takes more of an effort to make yourself visible to drivers.

I think one of my favorite items on this site has to be the lighted bras. Quite the selection to choose from. It's a bit sexist, though, isn't it? I mean, we're leaving out half the population if they don't make lighted codpieces, too. Especially considering that I've seen news/fashion articles in the press recently touting tights for men. And the word "tights" is truth in advertising!