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July, 2008:

Greyhound bus killing

Dear reader:

After 45 years, there isn’t a whole lot that shocks me anymore. Seen a lot. Read a lot. Heard a lot.

I know that there are some things that happen that defy explanation.

But this is surreal and I am most definitely shocked.

Makes me wonder what has to “unclick” in one’s mind to commit such an atrocity. Was he high on something? Was he a bomb waiting to go off? Did he just have a bad few days? The media will latch on to a reason for this and run with it. Maybe he was abused as a child. Maybe he was off his meds. Maybe he was recently released from an institution. Whatever “reason” is put forth cannot explain such actions.

I am not a spiritual man by any definition and I don’t believe in the existence of a god or of a guiding force. And related to this is my lack of acceptance of the notion of good or evil.

Dunblane, Columbine, Paul Bernardo. Now this.

I may have to rethink the whole “evil” angle.


Stevie Harper is up to his old childish games – again

So Stevie is daring Stèphane to force an election, eh? Just like a schoolboy in the playground, little Stevie is engaging in cheap taunts and dares. This so-called government should be ashamed of themselves!

I can only HOPE that the Grits DO fall for the taunts and call the Reform Conservative party’s bluff. There is no way that the Liberals can win an election with their current leader. But with the economic news showing that the economic output is starting to tank, now might be the time that Stevie and his little friends can be held to another minority. Then, the Liberals can hold a leadership review and install someone who can actually win a future majority. Martha Hall-Findlay, Bob Rae or Gerard Kennedy come to mind.


Paranoia reigns supreme… but….

Seems the media, police and lotsa other concerned folks are all a-tither about a bomb scare that occurred last week when a suspicious looking package was found under a bridge near the Hurdman Transitway Station.

Seems a participant in a modern day version of the old scavenger hunt called “Geocaching” hid the package there as part of this hobby. It was seen, reported to the police, the robot bomb-disposal thing was used, it was blown up and, of course, the police are all a-tither cuz their officers were put at potential risk, it cost $$$’s, blah-blah-blah.

While I am not one to advocate paranoia even in this Age of Paranoia, the person who hid this box in this location should have used a bit more common sense. Given these times when a forgotten backpack on a park bench can trigger a full-force armed response (and with robots too!), we all have to be careful about how we carry out activities like these. I’m not saying that cities should regulate these activities or the cops should be in on every single “cached” item, but this hobby – that is fairly well-organized – will have to do a better job a self-policing if they want to avoid a Nanny-state response.

Finally, I was reading one of the comments made on this story on the site by someone who called this a child’s game and I can honestly say that while its roots may be in a children’s game of treasure / scavenger hunting, this activity is way more sophisticated and legitimate.

If we as a society are to brand these things in such a way (i.e., as kid’s games that sensible grown-ups should not be party to) and assign blame and cost when things go wrong, then all games and activities that could potentially result in a draw on the public purse should be treated in the same manner.

Does the hockey player who takes a puck in the face have to pay for his hospital care? Does the lawn bowler who has a heart attack have to pay for paramedics? Does a jockey who gets thrown from his horse pay for any of these things? Of course not – at least not in civilised countries that have public health care.

Bottom line geocachers – educate and police your players better or you’re going to have a heap of issues to deal with in this Age of Paranoia.


Top water wasters

Interesting piece in Scientific American on how we waste water. Everything from the washing of dishes and cars to the production of biofuels is outlined here as some of the top water wasters.

But this is my favourite one:

10. Wasting Water by Getting “Wasted”
As refreshing and cooling as that beer may taste, it’s likely to leave you less hydrated than you were before you started. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases the frequency of urination (but you knew that already). Alcohol suppresses an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin that tells our kidneys to reabsorb and conserve water. The more you drink, the more the hormone level falls, and thus the more water you lose. Severe dehydration is a big reason why after a hard night out, you end up with a hangover the next day.


And they inherited a $15 BILLION surplus!

The Harperites ran a freakin’ deficit for the first two months of the year!

I hope that this dispels the myth of the Conservative Reformers as being fiscally responsible!

It’s not like they have been spending like drunken sailors as much as they have been incompetent stewards of the country’s revenues sources. Ill-advised and regressive tax cuts, like the ones to the GST, are finally coming home to roost.

I hope that the nation pays attention to this and this blundering plays a role in their decisions at the ballot box next time around!

However, one can’t help but wonder if this is part of a larger plan. Remember that the NeoCons believe that less government is better government. Now they have a bona fide (albeit manufactured) excuse to start cutting programs.

Get ready Canada: you voted for this guy and now we’re all going to pay!


Close call for Quantas fliers

Check out this story!


Er, Wow!

I am BY NO MEANS a monarchist, but this brought real blue blodded tears to fall upon my cheeks.



RBC Canadian Open, 2008

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Hockey Night in Canada theme

Here’s a good candidate for CBC’s HNIC theme contest.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.1407548&w=425&h=350&fv=wid%3D293%26amp%3Bmid%3D271286]


Fannie Mae, Elly Mae, Freddie Mac & Jim-Bob

So, how about the financial sector melt-down in the Home of the Free? ‘tis kinda scary for we Canucks as well since America is one big elephant that rolls over on we little mice every now and then.

Our financial sector, while not completely immune from these troubles, has, in my humbleness, some advantages that their American cousins do not possess.

1) There are fewer of them, hence the Canadian banks are relatively more robust and secure in terms of cash reserves and can absorb troubles times more easily.

2) Sub-prime mortgages were not an issue on this side of the border. And further recent tightening of credit rules makes these schemes even less likely in the future.

3) Our banks don’t have silly names.

It’s this final point that is most critical and is, what I believe, the leading cause of the financial malaise south of the 40.

I mean, what inspires more confidence in the ability of a bank to safeguard your hard-earned funds?:


Fannie Mae


Freddie Mac

The Canadian bank names inspire visions of large iron safes guarded by burly men with lots of guns.

The American names inspire visions of Granny and Jed talking about their cement pond.

Who in their right mind would name a bank something so ridiculous – or anything for that matter… even a hamster would cease running on its little wheel if named Fannie Mae.

We in Canada like to complain about the massive profits that our banks report every quarter. And rightfully so. I’m proud to say that I’m one of those complainers myself. However, large profits – however hard to swallow – are better for our economic well-being than bankruptcy protection.

Maybe one of our well-named pillars of industry could buy out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and then merge them under a new moniker:

Jethro’s Imperial Dominion Bank of Commerce

It just might work.