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the west wing

I’m in Washington DC…

… and lines from my favourite all time TV show keep coming back to me…

And right now, I hear a helicopter coming in low heading in the direction of the White House…

JOSH: Victory is mine! Victory is mine! Great day in the morning people. Victory is mine!
DONNA: Good morning, Josh.
JOSH: I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.
DONNA: It’s gonna be an unbearable day.

Bartlet: My daughter asked you out?
Charlie: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: I should have locked her in the dungeon.
Charlie: I don’t think you’ve got one sir.
Bartlet: I could have built one.

Sen. Arnold Vinick: [closing remarks at Republican Convention] My commitment to strive to be worthy of the example of the great men who have gone before. Presidents walk in giant footsteps. They have magnificent legacies to uphold. I stand here on this day and put my name forth, as one who aspires to their example, who will daily make that sacrifice, who will honor not just the office, but the people that office serves. *Their* President of these United States of America.

Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlett: I was watching a television program before, with a kind of roving moderator who spoke to a seated panel of young women who were having some sort of problem with their boyfriends — apparently, because the boyfriends had all slept with the girlfriends’ mothers. And they brought the boyfriends out, and they fought, right there on television. Toby, tell me: these people don’t vote, do they?

C.J. (approaches) They sent me two turkeys. The most photo-friendly of the two gets a Presidential pardon and a full life at a children’s zoo. The runner-up gets eaten.
BARTLET: If the Oscars were like that, I’d watch.

MARGARET: Red meat has been found to cause cancer in white rats. Maraschino cherries have been found to cause cancer in white rats. Cellular phones have been found to cause cancer in white rats. Has anyone examined the possibility that cancer might be hereditary in white rats?

And, the best of the best…yelling at the ceiling in a cathedral:

Bartlet: You’re a son of a bitch, you know that? She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver, what, was that supposed to be funny? “You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” says Graham Greene. I don’t know whose ass he was kissing there ’cause I think you’re just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman, a warning shot? That was my son! What did I ever do to yours but praise His glory and praise His name? There’s a tropical storm that’s gaining speed and power. They say we haven’t had a storm this bad since you took out that tender ship of mine in the north Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. You know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. Doesn’t even carry guns. Just goes around fixing other ships and delivers the mail. That’s all it can do. Gratias tibi ago domine. (I give thanks to you, O Lord.) Yes I lied, it was a sin, I’ve committed many sins. Have I displeased you, you feckless thug? 3.8 million jobs, that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, thirty million new acres of land for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we’re not fighting a war, I’ve raised three children. That’s not enough to get me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a deo pio? A deo iusto, a deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem. Tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui. Officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem. Am I really to believe that these are that acts of a loving God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you. You get Hoynes.

I’m going to climb the steps of the Congress  building today.


Friday miscellany: Fake Debates, The Jungle Book, lingerie football, and maggots. Yes, maggots…

Oh man, what a week…where to begin?? Let’s see…

The debates et les debats pretty much a downer for all, eh? I mean, they weren’t really debates but scripted stump speeches designed to get a few sound and vid bites into the news cycle, right?

Not like these (fictional) Presidential candidates squaring off against one another! This was a true (yet, fake) debate!

The irony of this milestone moment in TV history is that Alan Alda is a staunch liberal playing a conservative and Matt Santos is a staunch conservative playing a liberal. Brilliant. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I miss that show.


Saw an awesome show last night at Pleasant Park P.S.! The grade 6 class put on a production of The Jungle Book and it excelled in every way! The acting, the costumes, the makeup… I had to keep reminding myself that these were mostly 11 yr olds. What talent! And considering that this is a feeder school for Canterbury H.S. – one of Canada’s best arts high schools – this was only the beginning for many of these kids.

A big thanks to all of the staff and parent volunteers who made this possible. What committment!

Didn’t see our Trustee there, though.


I have already said my piece on bi-weekly garbage pick up. It really shouldn’t be that difficult for most Ottawans to make the transition, but a comment made by Councillor Diane Holmes this week made me shake my head.

During the debate before the final Council vote she said something like “just leave the green bin lids open and let the birds eat the maggots and get their protein“…


Someone should have briefed the good councillor on a couple of things… like the mess that birds would make if left to tear into your organic waste… and like there is a reason why the bins have lids in the first place…


Speaking of waste management, I ask the following: the next time that recycling collection contracts are let by the City, could a clause be inserted into the contracts that says something like:

“Collection staff will do their utmost to not leave a trail of paper, plastics and metal recyclable materials in their wakes as they proceed on their collection routes.”

I mean, I know you’re in a hurry. But gee… do you always have to leave such a mess?


Lingerie football. Who knew?


And back to politics for a moment… what really went on at my old alma mater this week? Did a Con staffer REALLY try to take away a ballot box? I need to see more details about this to come to a full assessment, but on the surface it appears a though this was a legitimate polling station and that the CPC had no right demanding that the ballots be turned over.

But the Cons must think they have some kind of case as they have asked Elections Canada to nullify all of the ballots cast that day… stay tuned.

GUELPH  No votes cast Wednesday in a special ballot at the University of Guelph should stand, according to the Conservative Party of Canada.

The party wrote Elections Canada on Thursday to request that none of the votes collected during the U of G session be included in the final tally of votes in the Guelph riding. The letter was sent by lawyer Arthur Hamilton, of Toronto-based law firm, Cassels Brock.

The move has generated considerable controversy at the university, home of the first youth “vote mob” encouraging students to vote.

In his letter, Hamilton alleges the polling station was illegal and also that partisan election material was present at it, which is a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

The polling station in question was located on the main floor of University Centre, where approximately 700 students cast sealed ballots.

Elections Canada media advisor James Hale said this was the third election during which the University of Guelph held a special ballot on campus. And this is the first time it’s ever been challenged, Hale said.


Finally – check this out as an example of über political correctness... hell… I’m an atheist but don’t have a problem calling these things what they are any more than I have with the word “Christmas”. It may not be something that I attach any importance to, but others do… geez-Louise…


Back to the Citizen – one more chance.

This past weekend, a young guy came to my door selling introductory subscriptions to the Ottawa Citizen. It was a good deal and I’m not committed for more than a few months at a rate of a few bucks per week.  So, I said yes to give it another chance.

I did previously have a subscription and kept it for several years till one day I decided that the rag wasn’t good enough to line my green compost bin!

And I wonder how long it will take me to reach this same decision. Every now and again, I am reminded why, a couple of years back, I cancelled my subscription to the Ottawa Citizen.

At the time, I was angry at and tired of the editorial board’s über-Christian, David Warren and his constant rantings about his born-again-ness and how Christians were fighting along the side of Dubya for morality, the free market and the American way… all being interchangeable in the mind of “Father” Warren.
It’s not that I mind a good theological debate. My views on the subject are pretty well-defined and have been honed over the years. I grew up in a decidedly non-Christian household that to a large degree shaped how I think today. Later in my teens, I performed a thorough and critical examination of the world’s major religions to see if I had missed something and that perhaps I could find a path that would enhance and complete my life experience.
Nope – what I found was a good basis upon which to launch many arguments against religiosity and for secularism. And I remain of the same mind to this day.

It’s also not that I think that having a system of religious beliefs is a bad thing at all. Indeed, if it gets you though life and it’s many pitfalls, by all means – believe! But don’t impose your system on me or my kids. And DEFINITELY do not make me subsidise religious institutions… although taxpayers most sickeningly do so. Witness the tax-free status of churches and the utterly wasteful duplication in Ontario’s Catholic / secular school boards!
Nevertheless, a system of spiritual beliefs works for some. I am reminded of my favourite episode of the West Wing where President Bartlett, after his lifelong assistant and confidante is killed in a car accident, stands in a church wailing in Latin against the absurdity of the death and how a righteous and kind god could ever allow such a tragedy. In the end, though, he finds strength in his beliefs and this helps him through the loss.
However, I digress.

My point is this: The Ottawa Typo-Master is a private enterprise that is free to write as they wish within certain parameters of decency and acceptable behaviour. But they go overboard when opening and unashamedly advance their evangelical Christian beliefs in the guise of “reporting”.  Their flagrant support for the Conservative Reform party is one issue – after all, they are not the only rag to do this – but issues of spirituality and the touting of one weltanschunng over another is completely out of order in our diverse, and yes, highly secular country.  The other side of an issue should always be addressed by a major Canadian newspaper in the name of balanced reporting and addressed not just as an afterthought but in a thorough and fair manner. There are atheists, humanist and agnostics in their readership who couldn’t care less about the Pope’s views on abortions.

Truth be told, I have been buying the Saturday paper for the New York Times crossword – cheaper than buying the New York Times.

So we’ll go with this for a while and see how fast it takes me to tire of the evangelising!