Friday miscellany…

Dead explorer and #ihategarybettman edition!

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Every now and then – though rarely – The Head Robot of this fair land does something that I actually agree with.  It hurts to admit it, but yes. It is true.

Such is the case with Stevie’s announcement that he is throwing oodles of cash at an expedition to find the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin’s ships, the Terror and the Erebus

Sure, it is as much a political decision as a historical quest for knowledge one. The CPC wouldn’t sneeze if there wasn’t a political advantage to be gained by it. But in this instance, so what?

The Franklin expedition and its fate has fascinated me from a very young age and I welcome the possibility that we may finally learn of the fate of the journey.

Additionally, this is a symbolic “stamp” on the Arctic to signal to the Russians and the U.S. that Canada is serious about its claim to the territory and its waters. This will be important in the coming years as counter claims over parts of the Arctic pick up in intensity.

So there you have it. I agree with the CPC on this one item.

That hurts.

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Looks like there may be yet another lock-out of NHL players and that the season is again in jeopardy.

The main issue that divides them is far from complex.

“We believe we’re paying out more than we should be,” said commissioner Gary Bettman. “It’s as simple as that.”

Of course, the NHL Players’ Association doesn’t quite see it that way.

Rich owners and rich players. Bad combination. And we the fans may well be left out in the cold once more.

Remind me why there is an American in charge of the NHL?

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There is a right way and a wrong way to use a beach towel.

You think your beach towel is just some colorful barrier between your ass and the sand? Wrong. That water-wicking blanket is actually an intricately designed instrument, fine-tuned to provide you with the best possible poolside experience. And here’s the thing: It’s entirely possible that you’ve been using it wrong all along.

The beach towel is not just an oversized, elaborately patterned bathroom towel, used to dry you off any which way. It has two distinct sides, designed for two very different purposes—and one side has absolutely no business in the bathroom.

The things that one learns through Facebook.

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Lance Armstrong. Sad story. Blows up his integrity for sure.

But given his past contributions to cancer research, I refuse to condemn him. I know that this isn’t about cancer, it is about cheating (maybe). But being that this is my ‘hood and I make the rules, I can freely declare how I see it.

And I really and truly believe that he may be innocent of all charges and that his refusal to appeal to the next step of the process may simply be that he is tired of fighting this fight. I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Others, perhaps justifiably, will do no such thing.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said. He called the USADA investigation an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said. “The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today — finished with this nonsense.”

USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong’s decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.

Go ahead. Flame away.

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I am REALLY PUMPED ABOUT THIS!

And will be downloading it as soon as I get home tonight.

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Wanna check out an interesting and well-written blog? Check out The Winding Path. It’s always an interesting read.

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Finally, some comments from an expat living in Missouri on Todd Akin’s absurd “rape” statement.

It’s hard to compare the political scene here in the U.S. or even Missouri with either Canada or Saskatchewan. Here, I consider myself a Democrat, but in Canada, I would lean somewhat left of the NDP.

I never felt threatened, however, from either Liberals or Conservatives. I had friends encompassing all parties, and we’d often talk politics with many common threads.

A common element often was our care and concern for others…our neighbours as well as those who are vulnerable. I find as Canadians we have much more tolerance, and are more open to diversity between parties, and my experience was that religion did not play a part in those politics.

I can honestly say that in Canada, I didn’t know whether a school board member was from a certain political party, or what church they belonged to. It certainly didn’t matter. But this is something that is all encompassing in American politics.

Maybe it is a good idea that Mr. Akin doesn’t step aside. He’s now given a huge boost to his Democrat rival Claire McCaskill for the Senate seat. If Mr. Akin loses, he’ll not be able to go back to representing his district in Congress. It could be goodbye for Todd Akin. Actually – maybe his comments were a good thing!

I have been told by friends and colleagues before about the role that religion plays in the States – be it in politics, education, or who you invite over to a BBQ. And that is simply not the case here in Canada. I imagine there are communities in rural western Canada where it plays a role… but certainly not to the degree it does in backwaters like Missouri.

I am outspoken in my criticism of Ontario’s Catholic school system and I do not at al hide the reality that I am an atheist; though one who does respect the right of others to believe what they will. Respect, yes, but understand? Never. Yet if I were to again run for some level of political office, I cannot envision these views costing me an election. A few votes? Of course. Even here there are some who would judge me solely on my views of religion and it attendant institutions, and they would vote accordingly.

However, I have the feeling that in some parts of the States, I would not only have little chance of success campaigning for any public position whatsoever, but once my views were to become public, I would be branded as a pariah.

Yet another reason for being thankful for the biological happenstance that saw me born in Canada and not the U S of A!

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One last note. After re-reading this post, I realized that it could be interpreted as a bit of an anti-American rant! Please believe me when I say that this was not intentional. I don’t usually plan the contents of my Friday Miscellany entries. They are pretty much free form and reflect whatever is on my mind on that day or what I have read or have discussed with others.

So. Yeah. No anti-Americanism intended, OK?

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5 Comments to “Friday miscellany…”

  1. Dave says:

    I look at Lance like I do Ben Johnson. Sure according to the rules of the day Ben Cheated. Turns out though that he and his coach were also correct as eery other finalist in the race has eventually been shown to have been cheating too. If Lance did drug and I think he probably did he did no more than everyone of his main competitors. We are decades away from the time when a world champion level athlete in any sport can live a “healthy lifestyle” and prosper. I don’t care if it’s drugs or not if your training requires that you be surrounded by coaches, doctors, masseurs, chiropractors, therapists of one sort or another, nutritionists, etc, etc, etc, then your lifestyle is spinning out of control. I never had anything like that amount of interaction with repair people till I was diagnosed with cancer.
    As for agreeing with Harper on anything if we want to do better than him then we have to be willing to accept that there may be some good ideas coming from him on occasion. When this is true we should say so and accept the good idea and rant only when we honestly disagree ( most of the time) not reflexively reject what he proposes just because it came from him.

    • trashee says:

      Hiya Dave!

      Re: agreeing with Harper – and I, ahem, have done exactly that!

      One should not reflexively diss an idea from someone with whom you do not usually agree simply “because”. And both sides of the spectrum are enormously guilty of that on a regualr basis.

      I, Trashy Of Ottawa, have boldly risen above the fray! Woo-hoo!

      BTW, how ya feeling these days?

  2. John Shipley says:

    Friday comments back at ya!
    As for Lance Armstrong I don’t see the evidence being presented as legitimate. He passed all the tests they ever threw at him and it seems he is being judged based on emails and testimony from others who have admitted cheating themselves (Landis, Hamilton). There is a also a contingent that just doesn’t believe someone could be so dominant and not be on something. He may well be guilty but I am not seeing the evidence yet.
    As for the difference in attitudes in the U.S. and Canada, I saw this all the time when I was traveling for work there for the better part of 3 years. Religion is everywhere especially in the midwest and southeast. I learned early on to keep my religious and political views to myself as it wasn’t worth it to get into it down there. I was talking to a couple once in a hotel bar and they said their son was in Iraq and I made the “mistake” of saying that I guess he must be disappointed to be fighting a false war since there were no WMD’s. right away I knew I had made a huge mistake. They told me that their son had personally found WMD’s in Iraq. What was I to say to this? the husband got very hostile toward me and the wife whispered to me that it might be best if I left. I did. Lesson learned. Also learned that it doesn’t pay to talk about healthcare in certain circles. General belief that if you can’t pay for it then you don’t deserve it even if your life depends on it! Serves you right for not working harder!

    • trashee says:

      I’d have a very hard time keeping my mouth shut and would likely be lynched by angry evangelical Baptists!

    • According to quotes in the BBC they have testing evidence of blood doping/boosting going back a few years.

      it’s worth noting that it was very hard to test for blood boosting (remove a pint or two of blood now, put it back in a month or so, just before competition to increase your red cells and move more oxyten) until pretty recently.

      It is my understanding that USADA does have credible evidence of that… but we’ll never know because LA has given up the fight, so the USADA never gets to present its evidence.

      My feeling is that Lance is using some masterful gamesmanship.

      Consider: Option 1 – Lance innocent, evidence faked/no good… by fighting it, he could really put a dent in USADA when word got out. Hell, he might even get a settlement to shut up. Athletes in general will get a bit of vindication. Will rock the sports world. By not fighting it, Lance loses, evil cabal wins because nobody gets to see what scumbags they are. This does not seem like a reasonable solution for a guy who was seemingly a fighter.

      Option 2 – Lance guilty, evidence faked/no good … by fighting it, he could ridicule USADA by showing how they trump up evidence, even if he finally gets nailed on an acutal valid piece of evidence. Will rock the sports world. By not fighting it, Lance loses (but probably would anyway), and the evil cabal wins because nobody gets to see what scumbags they are. Again, this doesn’t seem like a good choice because by fighting it there is a chance he could win.

      Option 3 – Lance not guilty, evidence is valid … If he fights it, he pimp slaps USADA for trumping up the charges when the evidence shows he’s not guilty. By not fighting it, he loses everything. This would be the worst POSSIBLE choice.

      Option 4 – Lance guilty, evidence is valid … if he fights it, he loses everything and completely validates USADA. If he drops it, he leaves a small shred of doubt in some people’s minds while the evidence is hidden from the public, thereby not being validated. Sure, he loses, but not quite completely and can still claim he was persecuted, thereby scoring a small win while damaging USADA.

      To me, it seems that logical conclusion, based on my observation of the situation from the media is Option 4. He’s guilty, he’s caught, and it is most expedient to bury it quickly before someone really pins the tail on him in a public way.

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