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December, 2006:

From – more barbarism

Some of the executioners taunted Saddam and shouted slogans from radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Saddam attempted to mock him, uttering his name before he was hanged, Haddad said.
“The moment he was hanged, I walked out of the room,” he said.

Iraqi security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, who witnessed the execution, said Saddam was “a broken man” and showed fear before his death. He told CNN some of the witnesses and one of the executioners danced around Saddam’s body in celebration.

Despite U.S. forces being on high alert in the wake of the execution, there was no sign of a feared Sunni uprising in retaliation and the bloodshed from civil warfare was not far off the daily average — 92 from bombings and death squads.

The U.S. military announced six more service-members — three soldiers and three Marines — were killed Friday.


Saddam Hussein to hang by end of day tomorrow

All they need now is a western sunset, a posse and John Wayne.

Barbarians. Freakin‘ barbarians.

America and Iraq – maybe centuries apart economically and technologically, but in this instance at least, their senses of social justice are on precisely the same page.



Dana Carvey and Gerald Ford

Found this on the Google vid site:
Hee – hee. This is funny – Dana Carvey at his best.


Christmas 2006

Those of you who know me at all are well aware that my own belief system does not really cross any of the traditional paths.

It is not that I have anything personal against Islam, Christianity, Hinduism et al, but none of them have ever appealed to me. In fact, I find it difficult to believe how any of them can be appealing to anyone at all.

I just don’t “get” it.

But – it is an important day for millions of folks on this green and blue rock and in Canada, we are fortunate to live in a democracy that cares not and judges not a person based on their beliefs but on the strength of their character (Thanks, Dr. King).

So what does someone like me do at this time of the year and what are my wishes.

Well, I tell the lies like so many parents before me and deck the halls and eat the bird, etc. etc. Around the Solstice, I’m a walking and talking contradiction.

But I do wish people a Happy Christmas and wish peace to all.

And in these dark days when our climate is rebelling against abuses past and present and young men and women are dying in wars and children are dying and starving in too many parts of the world, we need all of the wishes for peace and good fortune that we can find.


Penguins may be on the move?

So now that the Isle of Capril group did not get the slots license in Pittsburgh, the Pens’ days there may be numbered.

So – if they do move, where do they go?

There have been all sorts of rumours about possible relocations to places like Kansas City (yeah – sure – wasn’t this tried before) and that hot-bed of hockey traditionLas Vegas.

The NHL VP Bill Daly acknowledged that Canuck cities would be considered if the Pens moved… but do we really think this will happen? Despite the NHL’s brays to the contrary, Gary “the mouse” Bettman has shown time and time again a preference for U.S. expansions and has pooh-poohed new Canadian entries. He is stuck in this wonderworld of hockey jingoism thinking that it is only a matter of time before hockey in the U.S, becomes more popular than, let’s say, lawn bowling.

It is time that the NHL admit that the unchecked expansions into cities like Atlanta, Columbus, Phoenix and Florida have been mistakes and start refocusing energies into getting franchises into Canadian Cities where the fan support will be unwavering.

Places like Winnipeg, Quebec City, Halifax and Hamilton spring to mind.


What is old is new again…

Richard M. Nixon, 1969
“Let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”

G.W. Bush, 2006
“You know, I think an interesting construct that Gen. Pace uses is, ‘We’re not winning, we’re not losing.’ There’s been some very positive developments, And you take a step back and look at progress in Iraq, you say, well, it’s amazing — constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East, which is a remarkable development in itself”


What the…?

It’s 6 days before Christmas.
The grass on my lawn is actually getting greener.
It’s still warm enough to allow me to wander about without a hat.
The permafrost to the east of Hudson’s Bay is melting.
Polar bears in Russia can’t sleep.
The west is being buffeted by destructive wind storms – along with snow and rain.
And still there are folks who think climate change to be a myth?
Crawl out of your caves and look around you.
This is scary.


Teachers, schools and the evils of hugging

Some say that erring on the side of caution is the best and only good policy.

Some also say that those in the teaching gig are big on good policy and short on good sense.
Here’s a story about a good student in a school in the east end of Ottawa where good policy is high on the charts and good sense is extinct.

She’s Popular. Lots of interests outside the class. The teachers like her. Good grades.
In short – no problems and little to worry about.

This teen had a really bad congestive cold for a couple of weeks and her parents found a good remedy – Cold FX – man, it really seemed to work. So, the concerned parents followed the directions on the bottle and sent some of the tablets with the teen to school.

Turns out that was VERY bad idea. Somewhere on the same scale as Hannibal Lecter bad.
The first clue came when a condescending message was left on the kid’s Mum’s cell – a vice-principal (remember them?) sniffingly informing the mom of the need for a doctor’s or parent’s note needed in to allow the teen to take a pill at school.

Fair enough – gotta make sure that the rascals aren’t sneaking crystal meth or crack onto the premises, eh?

(Aside – Though the Dad ( a good friend of this meek author) was told by one of the teachers a few months prior that the biggest problem at the school were the girls who wore midriff baring shirts. That was it. The worst he had to offer. No blades. No powder. No harassment. Nuthin.

It was seriously considered that the kid should be moved to a school that more closely reflected urban reality.)

So – the kid gets called to the office and is lectured on the above.

Mom and Dad’s fault for sure. After all, they should have read up on this stuff and clued in that the 21st century Puritan reality was in play.

Their bad.

But that’s not good enough – her locker and backpack are rifled through in search of the elusive stash. The rent-a-cop (er, Vice Principal) et al standing to the side waiting fore the moment of Glory when it is discovered that this 13 year old is the REAL criminal mastermind behind 9/11!

Remember I said that the kid is really not a problem. Popular. Good grades. Good heart. No freaky issues. All’s well. Etc.

That was Wednesday.

Now, this kid likes to hug her friends – boys or girls, it doesn’t matter. She likes to hug. This kid doesn’t need ecstasy to feel warm and cuddly. Her friends are dear and she likes to show it. Her parents think this is better than hitting her friends.

Turns out that hugging is a crime.

John Lennon would be barfing if he heard this.

So – the VP or some teacher on duty sees her hugging a friend, warnings are given. The kid sees nothing wrong with her actions and is sent to the office yet again. She comes by this rebelliousness naturally as her Dad was constantly in trouble with the Man. A real bad ass.

Did I mention that only the week before, her naive Mom and Dad sat in the home room of the school hearing about what a great kid their daughter was. How big a help she was around the class. How well she has caught onto French in immersion.

And so on.

Wow. If only they knew that their saintly offspring was not only guilty of possession of an over the counter cold medication containing ginseng BUT she was also found culpable of *gasp* HUGGING HER FRIENDS!


This meek author has had his issues with those of the teaching profession over the years. And, eerily enough, I turned out to be a very productive member of the community called Canada and with degrees out the ying-yang and kids and staff and… wow… howthehelldidthathappen?

The thing is – and I say the following with apologies to my sister and sister in law who are teachers – the vast majority of the school administrators I have met and by default the teachers as well (I estimate the number to be about 200) possess qualities that are, let’s say, annoying? No – how about pretentious…. hmmm give me sec – I’m searching for the term.

I can name at most 6 of them who had a positive influence on my development. Most just went through the motions or worse, actively tried to prevent me from reaching my potential because (gasp again), I was a helluva lot smarter and wittier than they.

Many, many of those so-called “teachers” I have crossed paths with over the years are not at all comfortable in adult situations and feel the need to compensate for this feeling of isolation by lording superior over those folks that they can easily lord over.

The kids.

Here is the irony in the situation I have described above.

The day after this teen is reamed out for hugging, she and her classmates are sent to a day session on how to defend oneself.

Fine. Yes. It is a weird world out there sometimes and this is not a problem.

But isn’t it a little odd that in a 24 hour span she is told on the one hand that showing your friendship in a physical way is taboo but are strongly encouraged to “not hold anything back” and beat the crap out of the guy in the padded suit?

Suddenly home schooling seems to be a saner path.


Harper is toxic!

Not a bad move, really.
Beginning a process that should have been done long ago,
What I am talking about is the announcement this week by the Harper government that they will begin studying the effects of hundreds of different known toxins that are part and parcel of many of the products we consume in Canada.
The stuff that makes no-stick frying pans “no stick”. The chemicals that enhance the flexibility of certain plastics (I think these ones are what make Wal Mart and other low end retail outlets have that chemical odour) plus hundreds more very commonplace chemicals are to be rigourously tested and analyzed in light of their effects on human health.
Why is this a great move?
Well, extensive domestic and international literature have already documented several of these targeted substances as toxic and the government, in its role as a guardian of its citizens’ general health, should be obliged to do this work,
The second reason is purely political – some astute staffer somewhere (likely in the PMO) realized that they were been beaten badly on the environmental portfolio… especially with Dion as the new Liberal leader. This is an area that has not been specifically addressed by the Grits, so why not try for a win on at least one front.
Much as I am against most of what this government says or does on any given day, I have to give them a thumbs-up on this one!
And THAT hurts!


National Portrait Gallery
Check it out.

The Harperites want to locate the “national” portrait gallery in Calgary.

And the word on the street is that it will be hosted by a big oil company.

Nothing against big biz or big oil but I just can’t picture a name like the Exxon Smithsonian.

Porking it to the max Stevie!

It belongs in Ottawa and should get the bulk of its funding from the feds.

This is a no-brainer.