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Do you speak like an American?

How to tell what kind of an American accent you may have. Pretty cool.
I apparently have a Midland accent – which is another way of saying I don’t have an accent.
I wonder how my Parry Sound expressions, (which still, along with my accent, sometimes come out) like “youse guys” and “…and what not”… would tilt the scale?


Two thousand and freakin’ SEVEN!

How ’bout dat?

Where the hell did 2006 disappear to – or for that matter, 2005 and 2004?

Anyhoo – here’s my first scribbling of the year.

It’s before 8 am and this meek scribbler has been wide awake for about an hour, looking through the window panes out onto a cloudy Ottawa morn. Lots of freezing rain last night. But our travels ended before the precip hit.

Last night, we were at our good friends, Jeff and Brigitte, who proudly showed off their beautiful and (relatively) newly purchased abode. Then we were treated to a spectacular dinner which they obviously devoted much time in preparing and was surely much more than this less than adequate “chef” could ever hope to serve! Even our 3 year old subunit stayed in good humour until it was about 2 hours past her regular bedtime and the antsiness began. Hence our early – and sober – arrival home last night, and my hangover-free New Year’s Day.

We of course toasted the new year and said goodbye to the old, albeit a tad prematurely. And each of in turn had words to say. So – to the purpose of this note, here are my simple wishes for 2007.

  1. I wish for the health of all of my family and friends to stay robust throughout the year. I especially wish for and eagerly anticipate the healthy arrival of our new son in March.
  2. Tangent to the above, I wish that all of my friends and family have reasons to smile more often in 2007.
  3. I, perhaps with great innocence, wish for less hate in the world for this year and each year hereafter. Hate is a scourge that is killing kids, starving nations and destroying hope in so many parts of the world.
  4. I fervently wish for sanity to make an appearance or two in the presence of some of our leaders. Iraq and Afghanistan are two (while not the only) of those places in the world where hate has dominated and leaders – specifically Messrs Harper and Bush – really have to reassess our involvement in these regions and whether it is in the national interests of both countries to sacrifice the lives of our sons and daughters trying to solve problems that a) we don’t really understand and b) are so deeply rooted in hate that many generations will pass before some semblance of civil society emerges.
  5. I wish that the Harperites are turfed out in the election that is sure to be held before year’s end.
  6. Finally *sigh* – I wish that my beloved Maple Leafs win the Cup this year. Please?


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.