Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another reason Dion will lose

If there is one thing I love to hate, it’s political rhetoric. Every politician uses it, providing fine comedic fodder for late-night talk show hosts. Then there are some politicians who think their constituents are so stupid they can say anything. This is Stephane Dion. (accent on the first e, pronounced Stefan)

The leader of the Liberal Party was in our part of the country a few days ago, the same part of the country represented by MP Jim Flaherty. That would be Canada’s Finance Minister, the Honorable Jim Flaherty. Now, believe me when I say Mr. Flaherty is a dufus in his own right, and I quake with fear at his ultra-rightwing political ambitions, but he is Finance Minister and everyone likes someone with that kind of clout in their corner.

With that kind of opponent, you have two basic strategy’s, treat with respectful kid-gloves, or come out swinging a bat. Dion chose a Louisville slugger, and like the once mighty Casey, he swung out.

The line: If elected Prime Minister I promise to do what Stephen Harper will not, I will fire Jim Flaherty.

Applause. Applause. Yeah! Way to go!

Uh…Wait a second.

Are you saying if Jim Flaherty was doing a good job, you would keep someone NOT in your political party as Finance Minister?

No. Of course you’re going to fire Jim Flaherty and every other Conservative. Duh.

What bothers me most about this idiotic statement is the timing. Making it in Flarehty’s riding, his very backyard, while the guy was in the state of Louisiana, in court, at the trial of some nutbar who had threatened his life.

Dion is that kid we all knew, the one who called you names from across the street then ran when you took a single step in his direction. He is also using the world’s current economic strife as fodder, blaming Harper for the financial meltdown experienced by every country in the World, raising the specter of Brian Mulrooney, even though these Conservatives are miles away from that PC Party of yesteryear. The man is struggling. He is thrashing water in the deep end. He never should have been made leader of the Liberals and the only good thing that will come from this election is he will likely resign from the position and allow someone with more competence to take over.

It’s a shame, really. Dion is running on a strong Environmentalist platform, though that doesn’t mean much until you put into practice.

In the meantime, it will be four more years of Harper. Personally, I liked his tenure as PM, but that was with a minority government where he had to make everyone happy all the time. This time around the Conservatives are looking at a majority government, free to do what they want, and though they have hidden it well, the Conservative roots are still the old Alliance Party, and a wonkier bunch of bureaucrats you’ve never met.

Wow. That was a lot. On a more personal note, we took my oldest daughter to the Emergency Room last night thinking she had a concussion. Thankfully, it turned out to be an ear infection. Still, made for a long night.

That’s it for now.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Not the End of the World

The CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has come online, shooting a beam of light around a tunnel some 27 km around, and despite the predictions of most armchair conspiracy doomsayers, we are still here. Of course, the workings are way more complicated than I could possibly understand, but suffice to say this was a culmination of 20 years of work, invented technology, and carefully calculated guesses. Congratulations to CERN and all those involved.

I watched TV last night. I watched a show called, "Fringe," starring that guy from Dawson's Creek. Somewhere down the line the show's producers discovered they had way more than an hour's worth for a premiere, but less than two hours worth. Amazingly, instead of chopping the show into unrecognizable bits, they televised what they had. And it was the right decision. "Fringe," a mix of Heroes, with a touch of "I, Robot" (the movie version), and stomach twisting "CSI" graphics. Copycat show, maybe, but the writers took all that was good from its predecessors. "Fringe" isn't perfect. Some of the stunts were a little over the top. But it did have a few classic lines, my favorite being from the literally mad scientist, Dr. Bishop on the genetic similarities between cows and humans. (Not accurate but the gist is there) "When experimenting for humans, humans are best, unless you want milk, then you really want a cow."
Should be the slogan for the Dairy Council.

Another show I watched, though only a portion because of "Fringe's" unusual length, was "True Blood." Though I only saw a portion, the premise is the the Heroin, Sookie, can read minds and she lives in a Louisiana town that Co-Eds with vampires. The show ended with Sookie, waiting for a date she arranged with a newcomer vampire, getting jumped by some guy and girl and getting the crap kicked out of her. Luckily, the show was on The Movie Network, Canada's version of HBO/Showtime, so "True Blood" will be shown plenty of times this month. So far the only thing I don't like is the casting of Anna Pacquin as Sookie. It isn't so much her acting but that gap between her front teeth. She looks like she's been chewing tobacco all her live and squirted the juice between her front teeth. Yuck.

Okay. That's it for now.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What's that funky smell? Must be an election.

So, it isn't bad enough we Canadians have to put up with coverage of the US presidential election, now we have to deal with choosing our own leader. Unlike the US, where I believe the choice is going to be really, really close. The choice in Canada is fairly clear. Better the devil you know, than the used-vibrator salesman waiting in the shadows.

The only real race is going to be a three-way fight for second between the Liberals, former rulers who held onto the country's coffers too long, the New Democrats, Canada's conscience who couldn't govern itself out of a wet paper bag, and the Bloc Quebecois, a party whose sole purpose is to destroy the country.

And America brags about freedom of speech.

As a moment of irony, the very first election I saw littering the landscape was for the Green Party dedicated to saving the environment.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What I Did For My Summer Holidays.

This will probably go down in family history as the summer that wasn’t. Even the beginning was ominous, with our yearly trek to Haliburton and the in-law’s lovely cottage. One hour from home and we hit the first of the countless thunderstorms that plagued the summer months on an almost daily basis. That alone wouldn’t have been so bad if the temperature got above the thirties, but it didn’t and the water really wasn’t warm enough for a wuss like me to swim.

The rest of the summer didn’t exactly go downhill, but kept a steady line below the level of ‘officially summer’. Sure, the nights were pleasant for sleeping, and plenty of rain kept the grass green, but new by-laws for weed control also equaled tons of dandelions and ragweed to keep my nose running pretty much 24-7, and mosquitoes in the middle of the day? Come on! This ain’t the Russian tundra.

For us summer ends with a trip to some exhibition or venue of equal status. This year we went to Canada’s Wonderland, formerly Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, formerly Canada’s Wonderland, formerly a nice meadow north of Toronto. Wonderland is similar to, say the Six Flags type theme parks in the US. Again, a disappointment, but then that just might be because I’m old. Passing through metal detectors just to get into the park, having security guards rifle through bags looking for contraband namebrand products, (no food or pop in the park, please), waiting an hour/ride for some 30 secs of thrill. Bah.

Now, I was willing to go through all that, because I understand that’s just the way it is at Wonderland. BUT! To have a single attendant to load passengers, check for safety, run the ride (all of 30 secs), wait for the ride to come to a complete stop, unload passengers by unlocking safety belts using a key only the attendant has, then repeating the process, well, sorry, that part is just a bit ridiculous. For God’s sake, Wonderland, you’re charging 10 bucks for a burger, fries and pop, you gotta have some money kicking around to hire an extra minimum wage summer student to make things run a little smoother.

Like I said, I’m just getting old.

And that was it. Nothing overtly exciting. Writing has been sporadic. Nothing new on the publishing front. It was fun to have the kids together, though I’ll never admit it to them, bwahahaha! And, of course, Kat had three weeks off, which was cool, but otherwise . . .

Oh, I did manage to get the garage cleaned out, and we had a general getting-rid-of-all-that-extra-crap-that’s-been-in-storage-forever. When that’s the highpoint of your summer, you know it sucked.