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Showing posts from February, 2006

The question that dares to speak its name

Bravo to the nineteen Catholic priests in Quebec who are daring to criticize the Church's stand against same-sex marriage and the ordination of homosexuals.
We all know what the Catholic Church believes about gays and lesbians. That Pope Benedict's first policy announcement would bar men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from the priesthood only confirms it, although that phrase "deep-seated" is open to some question. How deep in the seat do you need to go before you're confirmed gay, I wonder? Of course, the encyclical notes that it "profoundly respects" such people, which is a real hoot.
One of the things that turned me against Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular was this, you'll pardon the expression, deep-seated attitude that it's somehow possible to "love the sinner while hating the sin", to use their oft-repeated words. When the "sin" is not some trifling peccadillo but instead is a matt…

The Week That Was

Another busy week here in the Breadbin.

Our grocery chain is going through some very big changes--a complete overhaul of the electronic side of our business--and I have been selected to serve as an in-store trainer and facilitator.

They think I'm computer literate. Ssssshhhhh!

There are three kinds of things in my world: the things I care about and have no problem doing; the things I care about but struggle to do; and the things I don't care about at all. Modern computing falls firmly into that second category.

I used to be, well, not a crackerjack hacker by any means, but pretty comfortable with computers. That was back in the days when you had to learn their language. For many years, of course, computers have forgotten they ever had a language, but they've come no closer to learning Human. It's all gooey--or is that GUI?--to me. As I have said many times before, I don't speak Picture.

As with all second-category stuff, I have coping strategies to make me seem more com…

Mobile homes

Amidst looming civil war in Iraq, a Canadian couple brutally murdered in Cancun, Dubya's insistence that the United Arab Emirates should control American seaports (???!!!) and assorted other tales of calamity, I turned to this week's issue of Macleans in an effort to escape...only to be confronted with this on the cover:

"Flat screens. Wi-fi. Mini-fridges. iPod docks. Seats that heat, cool and massage.



Christ, I don't know what scares me the most out of all that. I mean, I can put warfare, random murders, and impending terrorism (does Bushie actually think any good can come out of ceding control of his ports to a country known to harbor terrorists?) --I can put all that out of my mind. With difficulty, granted, but I can do it.
But sooner or later I'm going to have to leave the house and travel on roads...roads filled with people who think they're in their own living rooms.
It's bad enough as it is now.
Those of you…

Cartoons revisited

I've been trolling around the blogosphere, and it seems these Danish cartoons continue to take up a lot of people's time and effort. The argument rages: free speech or provocation? Blasphemy or meaningless scribble?
Herewith, my final word on these things--at least until somebody issues a fatwa on me.
I've heard just about enough people saying variants of "I believe in free speech, but...."
No, you don't. You either believe in free speech, or you don't. For speech to be truly free, it must not be limited--by definition!--to things of which you approve.
This saw cuts several ways. Many human rights tribunals have trampled on people's right to free speech--to say out loud, for example, that the Holocaust was a fable. In a truly sane society, we would issue no sanctions on people who said such things, merely expose them for the fools they are. For no matter what they may believe, there is enough documentary evidence to the contrary.
Likewise, in a country wh…


It was a fine day for a miniature golf tournament: isolated flurries, with a windchill around -25.

Golf is one of those sports that I will never be able to play, and there's no sense in telling me otherwise. For one thing, I am almost completely lacking in co-ordination: if I ever hit the damned ball off the tee, it'd be a miracle, and if the ball actually did something other than burn a few worms, well, Satan would be handing out the ice-skates. I used to add in my poor eyesight, but let's face it: my maximum drive would still be well within visual range.
But mini-golf? Hell, the first hole I ever played, I got a hole in one. Of course, it all went downhill from there, but I'm at least somewhat competent at the game. It's nice to know there are things like mini-golf and pool and darts in the sporting world: they save me from being a complete waste.

This particular tournament was put on by the Palmerston Legion, of haunted house fame, and had been on our docket since…


You know what gets my goat? People blathering about our sickly, suckly medal total at the 2006 Turin Winter Games.
But before I get into that, you know what almost gets my goat, before I grab it by the horns and snatch it back at the last second? People who insist on saying these games are coming to us from Torino. The CBC, injecting a little snobbery into its should-have-been-privatized-long-ago coverage, is among the worst offenders.
Look, I know the place is called Italian. But I speak English, damnit. I know of no Shroud of Torino. Spielberg does not have a Oscar-nominated movie entitled Munchen, with or without the umlaut. In 1968, the Games was held in Mexico City--only if you lived near there did you bother calling it Ciudad de Mexico.
So, are we agreed? Turin.

Now, if you check the medal standings as of this writing, you find Norway leading, followed by Russia, Germany, the United States, and...hey, there we are! Canada, eight medals. Not too shabby, says I, althoug…

For my wife, on this Valentine's Day

And Every Day...

I've never felt this way before
I miss you and I love you more
than I could ever hope to show,
and every day I'll tell you so.

I'll tell in words, I'll tell in deeds
I'll tell you as we plant the seeds
of life and love: they're ours to sow,
and every day we both will know.

We'll know that love is ours to share.
We'll know it is forever there.
And through the years our seeds will grow,
and every day, my love, we'll go...

We'll go to places yet undreamed.
We'll go to places often deemed
to be where streams of kisses flow,
and every day the breeze will blow.

The breeze will blow us joy and cheer
and laughter, and a fleeting tear
and Life will lead both high and low
and every day, new rows to hoe...

I love you, Eva, don't forget
I haven't even started yet
to demonstrate so that you'll know:
But every day, I'll tell you so.

--written for Eva before we married: I mean it even more now.

Hockey Day In Ken-ada

At long last, the day I'd been waiting for ever since October: the Leafs versus the New York Rangers at the Air Canada Centre.
My dad had procured some very good seats for us and presented me with the tickets all the way back at Thanksgiving. I promptly hid them in my underwear drawer. Anyplace else, I figured, I'd lose them.
He had taken me to the Air Canada Centre once before: March 17th, 2002, against the New York Islanders. (Dad: Next time it'll have to be the Devils: then we'll have covered New York City!) We had sat about twenty rows from the tippy-top of the building then. Although there are no bad seats at the ACC, some seats are definitely better than others: these promised to be.

Everybody at work seemed to be a bit envious. Well, one guy wasn't. Jeff asked me what I was doing this weekend. "I'm going with my dad to a Leaf game", I wheedled. "WRONG ANSWER!" he yelled.
"What are you, some kind of Habs fan?"
"Naw. I just …

Oil The World's a Stage

How many people actually sit around thinking that if their eyes are open, they're probably looking at something that was made with oil?
(Yes, Peter, I know you do.)
So do I. In fact, this disquieting thought meanders through my brain quite often lately. I mean, everything has something to do with oil. Even if it's something that wasn't made directly from oil, chances are the machine on which it was made has some connection with black gold.
Have we not, as a civilization, put all our eggs in one basket? What happens when that basket gives out? I, for one, have little interest in surveying the giant omelette that was once our whole world.
There are conflicting reports on just how long the oil supply will last. But it's a pretty safe bet that we'll see the end of oil within a generation or two. And I think we've long passed the point where we could adapt easily to a world without oil and everything it's been made into.
There are alternate energy sources out there.…

Value judgments

The German State of Baden-Wurttemberg now requires new immigrants to answer thirty questions concerning their attitudes on a variety of issues. The test is specifically designed to filter out Muslims whose beliefs may not be compatible with prevailing German standards.
Although this exam is in written form, an applicant's answers do not summarily decide his or her allowance into Germany. That's a good thing, because some of the questions are a mite tricky.
Like this one: "What do you think about the following statement: 'Humankind has experienced nothing worse than democracy'?"
No less an authority than Winston Churchill said that 'Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." I myself sometimes think democracy is a great deal less than it's cracked up to be. The problem I have with democracy is simply this: a body temperature near 37 degrees Centigrade is all that's required …

Take that Divine Light and...LIGHTEN UP, ALREADY!

Is this offensive?

How about this?

For every one of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons that have inflamed Muslim sensibilities, I can show you three dozen like the one above. Many come out of Egypt, but they originate all over the Arab world. In appease-at-all-costs Canada, it's very rare that we get a glimpse of the kind of hatred endemic in Muslim culture: hatred of Jews, in particular and the Americans, who are seen as Jewish protectors, in general.
You have to understand that in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, it is general knowledge that Jewish people are monsters who flavour their Seder meal with the blood of Arab babies; that the Jews run the world; that the only good Jew is a dead Jew. Kids are given this nonsense with their mothers' milk.

By publishing the first cartoon on my blog, I am taking a risk. By stating that to some degree I agree with the sentiment behind that first cartoon, I am doubtless increasing it. The Danish Embassy in Syria has been torched, there have been world…

Super Bowl? Toilet Bowl...

Just got in from shovelling the driveway. If you look at Environment Canada's Kitchener-Waterloo website, it'll tell you we got 20 mm of rain yesterday. I'm here to tell you that that was pretty heavy, white rain. More like 20 cm worth, actually. It was so heavy that it was nearly impossible to shovel. What I actually did, most of the time, was scoop and carry.
I'm sore, I'm stiff, and I'm definitely out of practice when it comes to shovelling snow. This marks only the second time this season I've had to do it.
Global warming? Well, my little piece of the globe is warming, that's for sure. So far this winter, we've had exactly three days with below normal temperatures. The thermometer hasn't touched -20 yet; I rather doubt it will. I am a bit concerned about July, though. The first half of last summer was almost unbearable. I'm hoping we don't see a repeat.


If there's anything I care less about, I can't think of wh…

The Story of Ken, Tim, and Joe

I said yesterday that I'd have more to say tomorrow, and now tomorrow is today, and whatever I was saving yesterday to say today has evaporated. Luckily, something else took its place.

This morning, for the first time ever, I had a coffee before I left the house.

I know what you're thinking. Huh? Isn't this guy, like, 33 years old? And he's never had coffee in the morning? I call bullshit. Well, I'll be 34 on Monday, and it's the plain truth. Until a couple of years ago, my coffee intake had been limited to a sip or two every decade like clockwork: nope, this still tastes like crap.

Taste is supposed to be 80 percent smell. So if you like the smell of something, I figure there's an 80 percent chance you're going to like the taste of it, too. I like the smell of roasting coffee. But every time I tried to drink it, I'd be confronted with that 20%. Blecch.

If you're wondering how I ever woke up in the morning without java, I'll tell you. Even if yo…

Buncha random mutterings

Okay, Gomery 's out with his recommendations to avoid another AdScam. I was pretty impressed that he asked ordinary Canadians to contribute their ideas for same--but I didn't. Contribute, that is. My ideas are kind of radical: I doubt he would have looked at them.
Here's an example: why does the government have to advertise at all? They're the GOVERNMENT. Their job is to GOVERN. It certainly isn't to SELL us stuff.
Anyway, Stephen Harper says his Accountability Act dovetails very well with Gomery's proposals. I'm not so sure we need more rules. I think what we need are a very few, very clear rules, strictly enforced. Rules beget red tape. Enough of that and your government comes to a shuddering halt.
Moving right along...
I got to work today to discover a letter waiting for me, detailing an automatic distribution from our warehouse that was to arrive starting tomorrow. Reason: Super Bowl weekend.
Great idea, I thought. Okay, granted, I probably should have g…