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Friday miscellany…

… the “Ah!”, edition.

Saturday is Gun Appreciation Day in the U S of A!

No, this isn’t an Onion article.


Like a million monkeys hammering in a million keyboards, something coherent might eventually pop out. Such is the case with the Ottawa Sun in this article which argues against the forced inoculation of health care workers.

Don’t misunderstand, I get the shot each year, as do my kids. It works. Period. And I’m a real whiny sick guy.

But, unless it is a condition of employment that is clear to the employee before they accept an employment opportunity, demanding them to be immunized after that point is just not right… and a slippery slope.
So Uncle Tony Clement got indignant with a protester back in my old hometown. The Pres of the local NDP association called him out on a couple of things as did a few others at the protest held outside his New Years levee.

One protester asked Clement whether there was any Native consultation regarding Bill C-45. “We consulted Canadians. We had a consultation called a federal election,” Clement answered. “What I find is there’s a lot of misinformation about (Bill) C45. C45 still maintains a respect for the environment-“ “It’s an anti-democratic act-“ Mobbley interjected. “You’re very good at interrupting, aren’t you?” Clement fired back. “If you’re going to interrupt, you’re being very disrespectful, civil discourse is what people in Canada want. If you cannot participate in civil discourse that you don’t deserve to govern.” At that point, voices were raised, one protester demanding Clement stop, “talking to us like we’re children, please!” Apparently fed up, Clement wished the group a “Happy New Year.” Still being interrupted by one protester, he walked up to the man, addressing him face to face. “I’ve got 56 per cent of the vote in the riding sir,” Clement said, then heading back inside the restaurant hosting his levee.

Civil discourse! Of COURSE! And the CPC is such a good role model for civil discourse, isn’t it?

And here is the latest example of the CPC version of civil discourse:

Publicly calling a reporter out for being “controversial” only because said reporter was asking some hard questions about Dean del Mastro’s campaign spending? That’s controversial? That is “doing his JOB”!

OTTAWA — In an unusual, if not unprecedented personal, public attack against a journalist, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office has questioned the credibility of one of the two reporters who first broke the story about alleged election spending irregularities by a Conservative MP. Harper’s office issued a statement through embattled Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s office Thursday in response to an Ottawa Citizen/Postmedia story published Thursday reporting that RCMP officers had stepped in to help Elections Canada investigate the MP’s 2008 election campaign spending. The PMO’s statement, sent to a newspaper in Del Mastro’s Peterborough, Ont. riding, referred to Postmedia’s Stephen Maher as a “controversial reporter.” The statement read: “It is worth keeping in mind that Postmedia recently retracted a story written by controversial reporter Stephen Maher because it made false claims against a Conservative riding association.” Maher’s story, published in November, was about donations to Conservative party donors in a Montreal riding. It was not retracted but was subject to a clarification under the label ‘For the Record.’ In a confused back-and-forth Thursday, Del Mastro’s office first said that the statement had come from the Prime Minister’s Office, and after initially refusing further comment, the MP later changed his mind. “They’re my statements,” he told the Peterborough Examiner. “I did not write them. I agree with them.” >

Classy. And very civil.


Re: Lance Armstrong. Is it over yet?



While I really don’t understand…

… why the Lance Armstrong thing has touched a sensitive chord for so many people, his coming-clean has inspired me to follow his lead and publicly admit to the following:

– As far back as the mid 1970’s, I engaged in blood doping activities. While the performance enhancing effects of the substances in question acts were, um, questionable, the fact remains that I may have ingested substances that may have aided my performance in Grade 11 American History and Grade 13 English Lit. I apologise to Mr. van der Valk and Mrs. Cardwell.

– As a child of 12 or so, I had a .22 that I used now and again to shoot at tin cans, trees, and the like. One day, I intentionally took aim at a chickadee, fully expecting to miss as I was a very poor shot. I did not. The bird was murdered. By me. I humbly beg the forgiveness of the bird’s family and PETA.

– When I was a kid, my parents made my brother and I trek to the end of our 500 metre long driveway in the evening to pick up the newspaper. I often bullied my little brother into doing this and then told my parents that I, in fact, fetched the paper. I apologise to my parents and my brother for this.

– I once drank a tequila shot in the wrong order – lime, salt, tequila. For this, I am utterly ashamed. I beg the forgiveness of Agave farmers everywhere.

– In 1982, during my Psych 201 mid-term, I deliberately and intentionally looked over the shoulder of the student next to me to see what she filled in as an answer to

Hans Selye coined this term to describe a common biological response pattern to prolonged or excessive stress.

I apologise to Trent University for doing this. And I apologise to the student from whom I disgracefully stole the answer.

I hope these heartfelt apologies bring some closure to those who I have wronged.

Now that all that is out of the way, I am supposed to inform someone named “Oprah”. Anyone have her email?


Friday miscellany…

Dead explorer and #ihategarybettman edition!


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.


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?


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.


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.



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


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


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!


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?