Friday, April 29, 2005


It seems kind of obvious or trite, but if you haven't figured out my position on environmental and economic issues by now, then refer to the above diagram (which I stole from mec.ca). Simply, for the sustainable development of our planet, the ecological impact of what we do has to take precedence over the economic impact of what we do. I don't think many people believe that. Posted by Hello

The crazies

I think I'll start up a link section to some "right wing" sites. I hate affiliating myself with a wing or a point of view, but these folks seem to want to label themselves, so I have to play along.

Anyway, I think it's (as Doubleday's Suzanne Herz once said) important to know what our enemy is thinking. And the guy who runs this "organization" is about as crazy as it gets.

http://www.anxietycenter.com/

Thursday, April 28, 2005

More proof, as if we needed it

A new study from NASA's climate change experts have decided that, once and for all, global warming is, in fact, happening. Just in case y'all didn't know.

Interestingly, there's at least one guy out there who thinks global warming is a good thing. Of course, this imperious yet short-sighted view, one which once again places humankind above and beyond its ecology, is typical of people without a genuine concern for our effect on our planet.

From chaos, order

So much to say, so little time.... or more appropriately, a lot of things on which to comment, and no focus with which to do it.

In randomness:

- I've been getting a lot of "why are you a vegetarian?" questions lately. Another long, thorough explanation is necessary, but to sum up: if you can contribute to less horror, suffering, and killing, why not do it?

- This election thing is freaking me out. Thankfully, it looks like the polls have settled in a little, and people aren't so eager to hand the reins over to Harper.

- Free speech. I've been at workshops all week long, and some of them relate to free speech, equality, and the like. I was reminded of the age-old (and Simpsons-esque) definition of freedom: "I can swing my fists in freedom - in any way I like - until the moment they contact your nose." Makes a lot of sense.

- Lot of debating about religion, specifically christianity. Man, does religion ever drag me down. The way it is used, the way people wield it like a weapon, makes me sad.

- When did Mike Mulrooney turn into a red neck? "Instituting the GST doesn't make him the worst we have ever seen... paying for deadbeats to live the good life in Canada costs money. " And later, "I hate the fact that my tax dollars have to go to the treatment of the gamblers, the wellfare that a lot of them are on."

I do agree with him, however, that I "would never defend Brian Mulroney, he is responsible for Ben Mulroney. Neither of whom are related to me. "

- Jason Baker, on the other hand, is back on the bandwagon. Maybe I'll add him back on my blog links. He gives me a shout-out for the ANWR talk - good to see politicians haven't lost their sense of humour.

I recently heard a stat that said if you weren't a voter by the time you turned 25, you'll likely never be a voter. Maybe Jason can change that around for himself. Either way, Jason, there is such a thing as a "no one" vote - it's called spoiling your ballot. What it says to the politicians is, "This is important enough for me to get off my ass and come down to the polls to do, but I'm so upset with all of you that I'm not voting." It's one of your options, as is this: instead of voting for a party, vote for a candidate. During the next election, talk to all 4 (or more) of your local candidates, and decide which one would make the most difference in parliament.

Further, think about how you might feel if Harper is our next Prime Minister and he wins by a few hundred votes. Maybe you'll feel guilty for not voting? And you think this can't happen? Think again - think about Florida in 2000.

Regarding Jason's blog entry on Video Lottery Terminals - "VLT's especially, are basically scams to take your money. 90% of people are at a loss instead of gain." In fact, 100% of these people are at a loss instead of a gain, if they play long enough. All lotteries, gambling games, and sports betting games where there's a "house" are rigged so that the house always - always - wins in the long run. Lotteries are nothing but tax for the math-illiterate.

And this post: Statistically speaking, that same little old lady who was upset about being searched likely voted for a government in favour of more stringent airport security and the eradication of terrorist threats overseas. The irony is rich, and I feel no sympathy.

- On to Mark's ramblings: Mark, you're upset about laws prohibiting smoking in bars... how do you feel about smoking in public? Further, if Mike Mulrooney is going to be upset about paying taxes to support welfare cases, he should be much, much more upset about the fact that fully 50% of his tax money goes toward health care - a huge drain on which are cancer patients. (An aside, the Ontario Surgeon General sees obesity as a big a health care cost as cancer in the next 50 years. Stay in shape, people). However, I will say that I recall reading about a study that showed people who are "addicted" to gambling actually suffer physiological withdrawal effects when they no longer gamble: in essence, they are addicted to the passtime because they actually have a neuro-chemical response similar to that of any other type of addiction. Can't remember when or where I read that, though.

- Finally, after I've ripped everybody up, just like to remind everyone that this year is the 50th anniversary of Einstein's death and the 100th of the year when he made his first big impact on the world of physics. A quote from one of the smartest and most respected people to ever live:

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

Monday, April 25, 2005

not to get all religious...

...but, this article is a little disturbing.

If you haveb't signed up for thestar.com yet, do it. It's free and they don't spam you, at all.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

a little something

I had a chuckle at this, from the Canadian Press:

"The pre-game national anthems were not sung after the singer, Caroline Marcil of Montreal, tried twice to complete the Star Spangled Banner but forgot the words each time. Finally, she decided to go back toward the dressing room, presumably to get the words, but when she returned to the ice the carpet slipped out from underneath her and she fell on her rear end. It was then decided to proceed with the opening faceoff without the singing of either anthem."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Yikes!

Just catching up on the news when CBC broke in with a story that Paul Martin will address the nation tomorrow evening. It seems he's very concerned with his party's falling poll numbers, the sponsorship scandal, Liberal party members defecting, and a looming call for an election.

On the one hand, the Liberals must pay for the foolish corruption that has only just surfaced with the sponsorship mess.

On the other hand, however, if Stephen Harper is to be our next Prime Minister, then count me out.... out of the country that is - all the way to Antigua. I pity the 30 million people I'll leave behind while Harper drives this country further toward fundamentalist, socially-backwards ideology.

These are indeed scary times for Canadians. Who are we? Who are our allies? What identity do we have? What's our place in the world? And what sort of government do we want?

In other thoughts:

If there needs to be change, it needs to be in the world, not in the doctrine

-archbishop of Quebec

That's exactly the kind of religious tolerance I'm looking for if I ever decide to return to the church in which I was baptized.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mark's blog

Further to the little note at the bottom of my last entry, check out Mark's blog.

http://marks-soapbox.blogspot.com/

He's a funny and well-written guy. Very smart. That pope stuff cracked me up.

How the bicycle can save the world

Today was a beautiful day in Ottawa - 24 C, which must be a record temperature for April 19th.

I biked to and from school today, which is a total distance of 11 km. In general, I can average about 23 km/h on city streets, and so I spend about 28 minutes on my bike every day to and from school. On country roads where there are no stoplights, I can average about 28 km/h.

This is the time of year when bikes are everywhere. In this city, where the winters are long and cold, people can't wait to drag their bikes out of the garage. It's a glorious site.

There are a few dedicated and hard-core souls, however, that bike in this city all year round. (I am not one of them, if you are wondering. I put the bike away from January to March.) These folks brave all weather extremes and icy conditions, and it is inspiring.

I love the bicycle. I think it is one of the most important inventions in our history. And, although its glory has certainly faded since its late 1800s invention, I think that, in North America, it could become important again.

What are some of our problems, we North Americans who have grown fat off our land?

Climate change - hey, it's no secret that fossil fuel consumption is a huge factor in climate change. I dare you to stand on a street corner before you go to work one morning and count the number of cars that go by with only one person in them. Just do it for a minute or two. I did it one day and I counted 38 out of 41 cars with just one person in them. Imagine if these folks were riding bikes instead?

A looming energy crisis - if you believe that we are in for a rude awakening when the oil runs out, consider this: the bicycle is the most efficient mode of transportation on earth (not counting sailing, but that's a little impractical). For every kilometer driven, a bike needs 22 kilocalories of energy input. Compare that to the whopping 1160 kilocals needed to move a car. A bike is 53(!) times more efficient than a car, and these numbers don't even factor in the amount of energy used to refine and produce gasoline.

North Americans are fat - This is another one of those poorly kept secrets. We all could benefit from more exercise. Those of us who work long days "don't have the time" to fit a gym session into our schedule. So instead, make your daily commute your gym session. Ride a bike for 40 minutes a day, 5 times a week, and you'll get all the exercise you need.

Road rage - Ok, hardly a major problem, but when I worked in Toronto I used to spend 45 minutes every afternoon, stuck in traffic, and wondering what I did to deserve such a horrid life. Then I started to bike, and I was liberated. And what a great way to relieve workplace stress... had a bad day? The anger will ooze out of you during that sweat session on the way home.

What else:

Takes too long? Get up a little earlier, you slug. You'll get more exercise if your commute is longer.

Costs too much for the gear? You could buy a commuting bike and all-season gear for the cost of 2 car payments. $1000 and you're setup for life.

What about those days you need to bring lots of stuff? Take a cab, or take public transit.

Sweaty when you get there? Buy a face cloth and a towel.

Need a suit at work? Bring all your clothes for the week on Monday and bike Tuesday thru Friday. Or, just get extra-large pannier packs for your bike and stuff 'em in.

Don't have time? Read this great article.

I love the bike, as you can tell. I also love the fact that there are now careers like "urban planner," so that any new communities we build will have built-in sustainable development and smart transit .

Just for the record, in case you think I'm a hypocrite, yes, I do drive a car, but now that the weather is nice, my wife and I use it only for groceries. It's a goal of mine to live close enough to work such that I can bike to work 3 days for every 1 day I drive.

PS - looks like my buddy Mark has hopped the blog-wagon. He's a very smart guy, so read what he writes. You'll probably learn something.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bovine Spongiform

You've heard all about political incorrectness. How about biological incorrectness? That's Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE), or as must of us call it, Mad Cow. It was named BSE because the disease slowly eats away at the brain, causing it to look like a sponge.

You see, a while ago (not really sure when), ranchers and factory farms starting feeding cows to cows - that is, dead cows would be ground up and fed back to live cows. It seems this would allow the live cows to grow faster, thus getting them "to market" faster. Feeding cows to cows, who are natural herbivores, is about as natural as, oh, say, humans drinking the milk of another species.

(One of my friends says, "oh yeah, calves can drink their mother's milk, but they've also got 5 stomachs to digest it all. How many have you got?")

Anyway, with all the transgressions an evils brought to us (read Fast Food Nation for a history) from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - both hidden and exposed, this one has got to be near the top of the heap.

CBC has broken a story about a possible USDA cover-up of two cases of Mad Cow appearing in a New York abbatoir. It seems that those crazy-ass people who worked in the slaughterhouse thought the cows had Mad Cow, but when the veterinary in charge tested the animals, he didn't test critical portions of the animals' brains. This testing is the most accurate to determine if BSE is present.

Later, when investigators went to look for the animals' brains and have them re-tested, critical portions of the brains were missing..... Anybody having a JFK flashback, here?

"So when I subpoenaed the state department asking to perform an autopsy on the president's brain, you know what they told me? That the president's brain was missing."

Thought that was kinda funny and a bit scary, too.

I also wondered how a veterinarian could actually work for the USDA. Aren't these guys trained to help and save animals? All they really do is take bribes to "certify" that a plant is acting humanely.

That's all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Social Regress

Still in blog holding pattern here, but there are a couple things out there that caught my eye recently.

First, this poll conducted by The Toronto Star: I don't often care much for aligning with official party politics - I'm not a God person, so I'm not conservative, and I dislike unions, so I'm not an NDPer. I think the Liberals must pay for their corruption, and while I love the Green party and have voted for them in the past, I really don't think that they are ready to govern.

But the latest poll is pretty scary. It looks and sounds as if we'll have an election coming soon here in Canada. If that's the case, Stephen Harper looks to be a lock for next PM of our country. Like I said, I don't care much for aligning with parties, but I can feel pretty strongly about aligning against them - and I fear what might happen if Harper comes to power.
Remember, this guy is just an (old) Alliance (which used to be Reform) party guy. He's far more conservative in his social values than the man who sold the real Conservatives (McKay) down the river.

Look at what Bush has done in the US with social progress, er, regress. Individual States have the right to legislate against same-sex unions, 13 States are trying to remove Evolution from their school curriculums, and the state and the church are once again ruling as one.

Anything that moves Canada closer to that social model is simply a bad thing. A very bad thing.

In other thoughts, this week marks the 25th anniversary of the start of Terry Fox's historic and simply amazing run across much of Canada. Each day older I get, the more his accomplishments amaze me: the man ran a marathon every day on one leg, and in the end he ran more than 5,500 kilometres. And I can barely get off my arse on the weekends to run around the block.

For facts on Terry, go here.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

This is a little bit distrubing. I have taken both Bextra and Vioxx in the past year.

http://www.cbc.ca/cp/business/050407/b040780.html

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Is this not a cause for profiling?

A friend of mine sent me this.... read through it and see what you think.

HISTORY TEST - Is this not a cause for profiling?

Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple choice
test. The events are actual cuts from past history. They actually
happened!!!

Do you remember?

-1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by
a. Superman
b. Jay Lenno
c. Harry Potter
d. Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by
a. Olga Corbett
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

3.During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old
American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6.In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver
trying to
rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7.In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9.In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill' s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10.On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles
to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into
the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the
passengers.Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11.In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Nope, .....I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you? So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winning and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone because of profiling.

Let's send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds and other dunder-headed attorneys along with Federal Justices that want to thwart common sense, feel doubly ashamed of themselves - if they have any such sense. As the writer of the award winning story "Forrest Gump" so aptly put it, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Come on people wake up!!!

Keep this going. Pass it on to everyone in your address book. Our Country and our troops need our support!

You think any of those questions were biased or intended to lead the reader to a certain way of thinking? Maybe I'll write one of those little quizes for Christians, or perhaps for just plain ol' Americans.

It's pretty scary to think of (considering that this forwarded email made it all the way to me) the massive number of Americans this must have reached.

By the way, I didn't forward it on.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I'm in Blog Survival Mode here

For all you faithful readers (yeah, all two of you), my apologies. I'm just producing the bare minimum while my world explodes with work. So until my life settles back into a more reasonable pace (after the school and moving is finished), I'll be back on blog-track.

For now, here's an article - short and informative - sent to me from my friend Duane (whose blog I'm still waiting to read.... hint, hint....).

Carnage on ice

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Hitting "Next Blog"

Every now and again I hit the "next blog" icon at the top of this blog page. It randomly sends me to someone else's blog.

Sometimes they are interesting, and sometimes they are not. One day, I stumbled upon this person's blog.

The author and I got into a little disagreement about religion, and some of that is chronicled in the "comment" section of both our blogs.

Anyway, his comments reminded me of a something Sigmund Freud once said:

"Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires."

Is religion instinctual? Do we naturally seek to place the power of that which we do not understand in the hands of some self-created entity? I think so, anway.

(That's just an explanation for some of the weird comments on this page).