Monday, July 31, 2006

Aidan Lumley

This is my 100th post since I started my blog. Although this normally would be a celebretory event, I would like to dedicate this post to Aidan Lumley.

Background information:

Aidan, you were loved, and we will miss you

December 05, 2005

Aidan Lumley January 6, 1985 - November 27, 2005

Early in the morning of Sunday, November 27th, Trent student Aidan Lumley was shot to death on the streets of Montreal, shortly after exiting an after-hours club in the city.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMany people have heard various rumours over the past week about a Trent student meeting a violent end, but the who’s, where’s and when’s have certainly become the subject of uncertainty. Although not everyone knew Aidan Lumley well, the nature of Trent’s relatively small, close-knit community has ensured that by the time this article is in print, it will be news to few. One of the unique advantages of attending a small university is the ability we all have to make an impression on our fellow students. No one did this better than our friend Aidan.

As an active member of the swim team, a regular sight on campus and a frequent patron of Peterborough’s various pubs and clubs, few have been unfortunate enough to have never seen his mischievous grin. On the swim team, he was a strong competitor and a welcoming, encouraging presence to novice swimmers, easy to spot wearing his Speedo and leather jacket on the pool deck. Aidan had an incorrigible love of country music, demonstrated best through his uncanny renditions of various country divas’ hits. He had an impressive collection of cars for a university student, including a Trans Am, a Mustang and a motorcycle. In addition to these, and perhaps oddest of all, he and a few friends had a limousine, which became the focal point of many evenings out with his closest friends. It was on these occasions that Aidan was most himself, and it is fitting that Aidan’s last night was spent with friends. One can’t hope to do justice to a life, even one cut unjustly short, on a single page, but hopefully this will give an impression of the way that Aidan affected those around him, and the blow that his death has been.
Aidan, you were loved, and we will miss you.

Allison Hayward

For more details about the night's events, the McGill tribune has an detailed account from what is known to have happened.

I knew Aidan because I lived with members of the swim team in second year. We hosted a Hallowe'en party in 2004 and where I met Aidan for the first time. Although, I didn't know him very well, his death has affected me. I get really upset with someone my age being dead. Dead. I can't even fathom what that even means. The fact that his murder is still unsolved is also very upsetting.

To this day, his death still brings tears to my eyes, because of how senseless it was, shot in the back twice outside a bar.

Very tragic indeed.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weapons of Math Instruction

This got me laughing, I hope it does the same for you.

At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney general Alberto Gonzalez said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement.

He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Gonzalez said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute values. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'there are 3 sides to every triangle'." When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

Hat Tip: Dark Blue Tory

MMmmm Soldier Eats

I don't know that many people who are interested in an article that talks about the difference between American and Canadian military meal rations. But I've had my share of IMPs (Individual Meal Packets) and know how gross they are.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - When the going gets tough, the tough trade rations. After weeks in the field, Canadian combat and support troops become sick to death of their packaged rations.

The "rats," as they are known, come in brown paper sacks packed with tear-open boxes and pouches.

Soldiers eat rations for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And while the Canadians appreciate their coalition counterparts for their roles in the multi-national force, they are deeply grateful for what comes out of their ration boxes: something other than the same old chow.

"Whoever made that enchilada is a god," says Cpl. Brian Gibson, who prefers the U.S. "meals ready to eat," or MREs, to the Canadian "individual meal packages," or IMPs.

"You don't get as much, but you eat everything in it."
At a British patrol base in Helmand province, Canadian troops set up their encampment on the fringes of the British and other coalition forces for two nights, after the Brits had run short on rations while under fire virtually every day and night for two weeks.

Each evening the Canadians spent at the base, the same British soldier came by with some none-too-hearty U.K. ration packs, hoping to make a trade.

Cpl. Shawn Hofman has little love for the measly British meals, but he felt sorry for the food-deprived paratrooper. "They don't get re-supplied that often. They were freakin' eating scraps," Hofman says.

Hofman traded three Canadian meal packages for one three-meal British package that's supposed to supply all the days' meals but is about the size of one Canadian ration pack.

"Their rations suck," Hofman says.

But it's a country renowned for its cuisine that sends its troops to war with the least-appetizing meals, according to Cpl. Wes Spencer.

"The worst rations are the French rations," Spencer says. "I wouldn't give it to the Taliban — I'm sure there's a law somewhere in the Geneva Convention against slowly poisoning the enemy."

Although IMPs suck, they do create memories. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
On my first cadet exercise, I once spilled my Hungarian Goulash on the shirt I was wearing and I remember the stain form was in the shape of the Blair Witch symbol (which had just come out a couple months prior). The other cadets were pretty spooked about it.

Another memory I had was on Army Cadet Challenge. I was the team's leader and we were given the new IMPs with new meals/menus (Very exciting). For breakfast I got the luck of pulling Cheesomeletet and Salsa. Being a WO, I was the highest ranking, and so last to eat). I opened it up and showed my CO, he called over one of the other Capt's urging him to call an ambulance because we had a lung that needed to get to a hospital.

My favourites were beans and wieners, beef ravioli, and mac and cheese. The rest were nasty. I can't imagine living of them. I thought the food on the exchange in Quebec was bad!

IMPs used to have a shelf life of 10 years, but now according to this website, it's down to three.

Out Games: Out of Touch?

So this may be my ignorance, but I really don't understand the Out Games. So I've looked into it. According to the website,

The Event: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sport has the power to transcend culture, nationality, religion – in essence,“difference”. It levels the playing field; not just in sport,in life. It brings people together in a way unlike any other activity, breaking down barriers and building bridges.

From 26 July to 5 August 2006, the 1st World Outgames will do just that,bringing together lesbian, gay,bisexual,and transgender (LGBT) athletes from around the world in unprecedented numbers for a celebration of sport, culture and human rights.In the spirit of true inclusiveness, the Outgames are open to all,regardless of sexual orientation; all are welcome to participate.
Then, from 30 July to 5 August, the Outgames sport programme will offer competitions in 35 disciplines, with events for everyone from seasoned athletes to recreational players. The culture programme will bring participants together for 6 distinct musical, dance and social activities. Expertly organised events in world-class venues – get ready to shine!

The list of sports seem to be the same that all heterosexuals can participate (other than Outsplash...not sure on that one)

And the goals of the program are:

The Participants
The plan established provides for 16,000 participants in sports, culture and the conference.

Based on the principles of Participation and Celebration, Respect and Fairness, Innovation, Diversity and Empowerment (PRIDE), the games welcome everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, age, gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, physical challenge, political beliefs, physical ability, athletic/artistic skills or HIV/ health status. There are no minimum athletic standards to qualify for the Outgames. The only requirement is the desire to support the ideals of the Outgames. People with specific needs or disabilities are integrated as full-fledged participants, volunteers, officials and spectators. By accepting the Outgames' challenge, all Outgames participants automatically become winners.

The Outgames are a safe and accepting environment where participants may express themselves openly and enjoy the camaraderie and rewards of sport, culture and art. In fact, the experience can be the highlight of a lifetime!

As individuals, participants celebrate personal achievement; as a collective, we experience group solidarity and celebrate the diversity and scope of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Through the athletic and cultural activities of the Outgames, stereotypes are challenged and barriers broken down.

Ok so that's great and all, but I don't understand the big kafuffle KD Lang is making about Harper not making an appearance:

MONTREAL -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen to "support intolerance'' by refusing to attend an international gathering of gay athletes, singer k.d. lang said Friday.

lang was critical of her fellow Albertan for failing to support the World Outgames, which is expected to attract up to 13,000 gay, bisexual and transgendered athletes when it begins Saturday.

"It's a sad statement that the national leader of a country that's one of the most progressive countries in the world chooses to support intolerance,'' she told a news conference at the Olympic Stadium.

But lang added that the gay community shouldn't take Harper's absence personally.

"It's our job to see that as an unfortunate ignorance, rather than as a statement against us,'' she said. "It's just that he hasn't got there in his heart.''

I'm sorry, but K.D. you're way out of touch with reality. Just because a PM doesn't show up to an event with gay people doesn't mean he's intolerant. If the PM was from the Liberal party and was unable to attend, would there really have been this much attention on the PM not being able to make an appearance?

Why is it that if Harper doesn't show up to the Highland Games that the Scots don't make statements that hit the newspapers. Or if the PM does not attend the World Lacrosse Championship or World Inline (both held here in London this summer and two summers ago) he's not labelled "ignorant". But if he doesn't show up to an event with gay people he's labelled a "intolerant"? or in liberal terms: anti-gay.

Shane at The High Places has an interesting perspective on it as well:

I mean, really. It is ignorant for the Federal Government to show up grinning at the stupidly concieved [sic] “Outgames“? I don’t think so. We are talking about an event for people who have no handicap, who should have no reason why they cannot compete in the Olympics, having their own “special” olympics. What were they thinking in making this up? I mean it creates a perception that homosexuals have some kind of handicap that prevents them from competing with heterosexuals. It also creates a perception that homosexuals are not welcome to compete at the Olympics. As far as I know, they are. If they weren’t you can be sure that homosexuals everywhere would be protesting the “bigoted” IOC for forbidding their participation. Since that isn’t happening I think I am safe in saying they are welcome.

I know the issue is deeper than this because of the 'human rights issues' and the issues faced by homosexuals of feeling like outsiders in a "heterosexist" world.

Let me be clear, I believe that homosexuals are born that way, and I believe you can't help who you are attracted to, but I am getting tired of the "gay" events that taxpayers and politicians have to support or they are criticized.

We don't know the exact origins of sexuality, therefore people are also entitled to their beliefs (religious or not), and it is a sensitive issue. I think the key is mutual respect. As with same-sex marriage, there needs to be mutual respect. As stated,

In regards to a “separate but equal” partnership registration, a Law Commission in New Zealand states,

This is not to require gays and lesbians to be content with an inferior, second-class institution. Toleration of diversity is a two-way street. If there is available to same sex couples a system of registered partnerships conferring rights and obligations virtually identical to those resulting from marriage then gays and lesbians should be prepared to acknowledge that they are not harmed by a legal code designed to avoid giving what may be seen as gratuitous offence to those for whom matrimony is a holy estate (Kitzinger and Wilkinson, 2004:180).

Unfortunately, the GLBT community, they are making a lot of demands for their respect but not considering that they truly do not have a right to make many of the demands that they make. More on this later.

I wrote a 30 page (9000 word) paper on SSM in the Spring, so I know a lot of the issue, but can't comment on it all right now.

Hat Tip: The High Places

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Celebrities DUIs

In 2006 with all that is known and shoved down our throats about drinking and driving, call me naive, but I'm actually shocked with the number of celebrity DUIs I heard about today.

First I heard about Chad Kroeger (lead singer of Nickelback). I thought to myself. Wow I like your music, but you're just stupid.

Then I heard about the whole Mel Gibson fiasco. Don't even want to comment on that one.

Now, London Knights (OHL team) coach has been charged with drunk driving.

To Jump or Not to Jump

It may be insensitive, but someone's got to ask the question: why didn't any of these skydivers jump out of the plane?

SULLIVAN, Mo. (AP) — A small plane carrying skydivers crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday, killing six people on board and injuring two others, authorities and witnesses said. Early reports indicated the plane may have struck a telephone pole before hitting a tree, Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said. It crashed about 10 feet from a house.

Four people were dead at the scene and two more died at St. John's Mercy Hospital in Creve Couer, hospital spokesman David Downs said. One of the injured was in critical condition and one was in serious condition, Downs said.


The plane, a DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, had taken off from the Sullivan Regional Airport in eastern Missouri a short time before the crash, said patrol operator Ken Tretter.

The plane was making a skydiving flight for Quantum Leap Skydiving Inc., said Mark Lacy, safety and training adviser for the company, which is located in Sullivan. There were eight people aboard, he said.



Suggestions for Quebec City Attractions

I will be on a business trip August 11th-12th, but will have the day to roam Quebec City. Any suggestions of attractions or things to do (other than taking pictures of the Chateau Frontenac) and eating in one of the many European style cafés. Any suggestions?

Ethanol vs. Oil Debate

Believe it or not, there was something good on The National. A report on the ethanol debate. [Watch from 41:15 to 52:15 (needs Real Player)]

A couple months ago I watched a segment on Dateline about Ethanol in Brazil and how wonderful it was. But I wondered if it was too good to be true about Ethanol. The CBC's National actually had a balanced perspective on the issue of Ethanol. There is no transcript, but I've highlighted the major claims/points:

-The narrator/reporter asks an important question: "But could our modern economy run on Ethanol?"

-John Riley is an agricultural economist at MIT and has studied the Ethanol debate for 25 years. "When you look at the current situation. The idea that somehow fuel ethanol will be a major replacement for oil demand, it's really not plausible."

-Ethanol has never really taken off because oil has always been cheaper.

-With all the investment in the ethanol industry will it become the a bigger part of the energy picture, but enough to end dependence on oil? The experts say, No.

-Will ethanol lower the prices at the pumps. Experts say probably not.

-But what about environmental costs? Is ethanol better for the planet? To answer that you have to do the math. It's called the Life Cycle Equation: Ethanol's life cycle begins with solar energy, the sun, the grow the plants. The plants also suck harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But crops need fertilizer and water which means adding chemicals and using fuel for tractors. And then more fuel to harvest the plants and then truck them to the factory , which also uses power to turn the crops into ethanol, which cannot be moved by pipeline, so it will have to be trucked to the fueling station, where it can finally be put into a car. So add it up comparing energy in with energy out, most experts agree there is only a modest gain.

-There are also land use concerns. In Brazil, where ethanol from sugar cane makes up 40 per cent of fuel used. There is concern about cutting down the Rain Forest to free up more land. Even if every bit of arable land in the world was used to grow crops for ethanol it would still only meet a fraction of the worlds energy needs.

-Scientists also say there is hope in genetically altering plants so they can grow faster and can be made into ethanol easier.

Thousand Year Old Book of Psalms Found in Ireland

A thousand-year-old Book of Psalms has been discovered by a construction worker in a bog in Ireland.

The eagle-eyed worker was using a backhoe to dig up potting soil in central Ireland last week when he spotted the leather-bound book.

Experts called to the site were amazed to find an ancient Psalter Book of Psalms lying in the mud. The archaeologists won't say exactly where the book was found until they are finished investigating the site.

About 20 pages long and written in Latin, the book has been dated to between A.D. 800 and 1000.

It is the first early medieval text to be discovered in Ireland in 200 years, the archaeologists say.

The book was found open, perhaps rather portentously, to Psalm 83, in which God hears of nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel.
The book is now being stored in refrigeration at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

So far experts have been concentrating on studying the page that was left exposed.

Next they have to identify the safest way to turn the pages without damaging or destroying them. It may be many months before scholars get to see a new page.


Source: National Geographic

Strange New Disease: Morgellons

Dr. Gregory Smith wants people to know it's not all in his head. According to the Gainesville, Ga., pediatrician, white fibers have been burrowing into his skin for the past two years, making him feel like he's under constant bombardment from insects or cactus needles. Shine a black light on these fibers and they'll fluoresce blue, he says, just like something you'd see in The Twilight Zone. He describes looking into the mirror one night, only to see one burrow down into his eye.

"Yes ma'am, I was a little bit distraught," recalls Smith, 58, who says he can no longer work because his mysterious ailment has also robbed him of his memory and neurological function.
For Smith, and some 4,000 people across the nation who claim to suffer from similar symptoms, it's the reaching out that has been problematic. The disease, called Morgellons after a reference in a 1674 medical paper, isn't officially recognized by the medical community...No one knows what causes Morgellons and no one knows how to cure it.

But Smith and his fellow sufferers are itching for answers. That's why they've pressured the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to assemble a team of scientists who will determine whether this disease is in fact for real. The 13-member team is expected to share their findings within the next two months.

Read the rest

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Booo Bike

The title refers to my tricycle and how I pronounced 'blue' when I was a child. Today I bought a new "booo" bike:

After going into every bike shop in London I finally found a bike that I liked for the price I wanted to pay. This actually was the first bike I test rode, and it's the same one to which I ended up coming back . Now I just need my order to come in and I'll have everything I need to get going.

With work slowing down too I will finally be able to enjoy this. But I also need the weather to cooperate and stop thunderstorming every day or be less humid. Going out for my first ride tonight :-)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nice Rack

I have been going to every bike shop in London in search for a full suspension bike. As George and I were coming out of a shop today, George opened the car door for me, and some guy rode by on a bike and yelled: "Nice rack!" My jaw dropped and I was ready to see what George was going to do about it. "Isn't he going to say anything," I thought to myself. I finally realized the guy was talking about George's bike rack on the back of his car.....I guess hte world doesn't revolve around me...and my rack ;)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Boys Aren't Alright

I have previously commented on my thoughts on the importance of men, how they are being left behind in a women obsessed society.

When I heard about this article I had to read it. Unfortunately it was behind a subscriber wall. Normally, I just say, oh well, and don't read the article, but the teaser was this:

Ontario's Trent University is proud of its undergraduate focus and small-town feel. On its home page is a picture of a happy-looking Asian guy — a double-minority student. Maybe one reason he looks so happy is that he's got his pick of girls. Trent's gender ratio is 60 to 40 weighted toward the girls, which is typical for campuses across Canada.

So I signed up for the 14 day trial. Since I go to Trent I was very interested in reading the rest:

Graduation rates are even more lopsided, because more men than women drop out. Universities remind me of that Jan and Dean beach song: two girls for every boy.

Do we have a problem? Or is the famous boy crisis just a lot of hype?

A lot of hype, say some. Sara Mead, author of a new U.S. study called The Truth about Boys and Girls, argues that most boys are doing better than ever. And if the girls are doing even better than the boys, so what? “While most of society has finally embraced the idea of equality for women, the idea that women might actually surpass men in some areas (even as they remain behind in others) seems hard for many people to swallow.”

Ms. Mead's study made a giant splash. “Talk of the boy crisis is a diversion,” wrote New York Times columnist Judith Warner. She blames overwrought upper-middle-class parents who push their kids too hard for the alleged crisis. The real trouble with their sons is emotional and behavioural, not academic. Besides, achievement gaps by race are bigger than achievement gaps by gender. The boy crisis is really a crisis of race and class.

The backlash was probably inevitable. The “boy crisis” has boosted a lot of careers and sold a lot of magazines, just as the “girl crisis” did in the '90s. “The ‘boy crisis' offers an attractive way for conservative pundits to get in some knocks against feminism and progressive education,” said Ms. Mead.

So what's the truth?

The truth is, boys have been lagging behind girls for many years, and the gap seems to be growing. Once upon a time, that didn't matter. Now it does. “Basically, boys are flatlined,” says Judith Kleinfeld, director of the Boys Project at the University of Alaska. “They aren't keeping up with the demands of an economy that relies increasingly on highly technical skills.” In one international test of literacy skills, 15-year-old girls in Canada outperformed 15-year-old boys by 30 per cent. Among black kids, girls go on to postsecondary education at twice the rate of boys.

“Many boys, especially working-class boys, get caught in what I call ‘the trap,'” Prof. Kleinfeld says. “They take a high-paying job, maybe even $20 an hour, working the forklift at night at Wal-Mart. Then they injure their backs, have a lot of debt on their truck, and no skills to fall back on.” Not surprisingly, the boomerang generation — young adults who still live at home — is overwhelmingly male.

But Prof. Kleinfeld's research shows that boys of every background have fallen behind. Among the white sons of college-educated parents, reading skills have dropped dramatically. In one national achievement test, 23 per cent of such boys scored “below basic” in reading and writing at the end of Grade 12 (compared with 7 per cent of the girls). This means they can't read a newspaper or simple instructions —and they're the advantaged kids. The test was American. Are Canadian kids so different? I don't think so.

You've heard all the arguments why boys are falling behind, so I won't repeat them. But consider your average high school. This is a place where adolescents are required to sit for hours at a time without squirming, where compliance, neatness, rule following and politeness are rewarded, where males make up the smallest percentage of teachers in 40 years, where adult females drone on about subjects that have no relevance to your daily life, where good literature is anything by Toni Morrison, where normal male competitiveness is interpreted as deviance and horseplay as sexual harassment, and a sizable percentage of the male inmates have been labelled special ed or behavioural from an early age — i.e. deficient. Is it any wonder so many boys think school is hell?

Judith Kleinfeld's right. We do have a problem. And instead of trying to change boys, maybe it's time we tried to change the system.

I excelled in school, my brother did not. He was "diagnosed" with A.D.D. at age 7. We lived in Ottawa at this time. My mother did not want to put him on medication, especially because of what it did to his appetite. But the school eventually won.

When we moved from Ottawa to London my mom neglected to tell the school about it to see if it really was the teach/school or Tyler really needed help. Less than a month in, the teacher called my mom at home inquiring if Tyler had ADD. Problem was he was 7 years old.

The boys aren't alright. Another example of this is my observations and experiences as a coordinator for an exchange program this summer. Usually this program attracts females, usually applicants are 80-85% female. I chose 3 males and 3 females for the exchange. I got 6 females in return. Out of the students I sent, there have been issues with two of them, both male. Their problems are social. When I interviewed them, I didn't believe them to be perfect candidates (my girls were), but they were like your typical teenage boy: a little awkward, weird, unsure of self because of bodily changes.

The two issues that have come up with the boys are their behaviour. One is withdrawn and doesn't interact and the other is nerdy to the point of annoyance to others. Both of these boys have father figures, but I have observed them to be much like thier fathers.

What should be done about our boys? I haven't a clue, but I see there is a problem, and something needs to be done.

Toque Tip: Gay and Right

Monday, July 24, 2006

Can't Light Up? Drink Up Instead! Eau de Nicotine

Wow! Crazy stuff in the news today. Consider this:

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAre you a smoker feeling left out of society? Don't you hate having your hair and hands smelling like smoke? Want to have the convenience of your drug fix in the palm of you hand? Buy Nic Lite Today!

On a hot day, a tall glass of refreshing nicotine
Canadian Press

TORONTO — Canadian smokers may soon have a new alternative to lighting up a cigarette to soothe their need for nicotine — and it comes in a bottle.

Nic Lite, a lemon-flavoured, water-based nicotine drink that contains four milligrams of organic nicotine — equivalent to the amount of the drug found in two cigarettes — may soon be landing a spot on store shelves on this side of the border.


Health Canada spokesman Paul Duchesne said the product would be labelled as a natural health product but isn't approved for sale in Canada.

“Health Canada will only authorize for sale those products which it deems of high quality and safe and effective for over-the-counter use,” Mr. Duchesne wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

I guess this would really take the stigma away from smoking. But isn't a habit of relying on a bottle for your fix the same thing?

Source: Globe and Mail

Shopping with Big Brother: Available Now

Sick of taking the time to write out a grocery list, but to forgeting it at home? Wouldn't it be helpful to have a friendly reminder so that when you bought pasta, it could remind you not forget to pick up the sauce. Not only, not forget the sauce, but introduce you to a new variation you wouldn't have tried before.

A silicon chip in your Viagra pack reports back to Pfizer on how much you took, and when. You fetch the last Coke from your chip-tagged fridge and your TV airs a Pepsi ad. Your phone company combs your trash for the chips you've cast off, selling the data it finds to marketers. And when you pick up pricey pasta at the supermarket, a screen on your shopping cart flashes an ad for a high-end sauce to go with it.

Science fiction? Not at all.

The plans to "spy-chip" your fridge belong to Procter & Gamble, which has a second patent pending to track consumers in-store. American telecommunications giant BellSouth has a patent pending on the garbage-picking. NCR is behind the shopping cart ads and also holds a patent on "automated monitoring of shoppers" at grocery stores. As for Viagra, like OxyContin, its manufacturers are already tagging bulk bottles at the pharmacy (packs of Diovan, an antihypertensive, are actually tagged individually).

Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is surveillance technology at its finest -- cheap, invisible, infallible, ubiquitous -- and privacy advocates abhor it. Silently, without even a bar code beep, RFID reads and records people's behaviour and inventories their possessions.

Thanks to microchips in our clothes, computers, furniture we can be sure that we will be watched with the utmost scrutiny all in an effort to make money off you. Doesn't this sound like a great idea?

Scary times.....

But I guess these micro chips aren't very different from a company rep in a store giving you a sample, prompting you to buy the product (especially with the 20 cent off coupon!). It's definitely a 21st century approach to marketing.

Also I'm sure those 'rewards' cards track your shopping habits. And of course there is when you pay anything by credit card. Don't forget being tracked when you drive(licence plate), watching TV (how do they determine ratings) and of course there's the spyware in your computer. At least Microsoft asks you if they may record anonymous information about your usage for purposes to determine how they can :serve me better". Sadly this is a reality in our society.

Now if this could help deter thefts of big ticket items like lap tops, plasma TVs, car stereos etc... I'm sure people will be more open to it. For me it doesn't make a difference. I don't care if people are watching me. In fact, I rather not know about it (Hawthorne Effect). I have nothing to hide and will continue to live my life. If these types of items proliferate, I have faith in human ingenuity to sell anti-RFID/chip devices. I mean come on burning and downloading CDs, DVDs more normal than actually paying for a CD these days.

Source: Globe & Mail

Try to Parent with Big Brother

Wow. I couldn't believe it when I read this article. I actually thought it was a joke, but it's actually a real article. We live in scary times. After the whole beer and popcorn comments back in the fall, I wonder what the Liberals would do if state-run day care really did exist?

The home life of every child in the country is to be recorded on a national database in the ultimate intrusion of the nanny state, it has emerged.

Computer records holding details of school performance, diet and even whether their parents provide a 'positive role model' for 12 million children will be held by the Government.

Police, social workers, teachers and doctors will have access to the database and have powers to flag up 'concerns' where children are not meeting criteria laid down by the state.

The 'children's index', which will cost the taxpayer £224 million, will even monitor whether youngsters are eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, whether they go to church or are struggling to get good marks at school.

One assessment records whether a pre-school child is in day care - suggesting that those who are looked after by their mothers at home are not conforming to the state ideal.


The Government handed itself sweeping powers in the 2004 Children Act to record basic information of all children in England and Wales, based on information from the register of births and child benefit.

The Act followed the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie - whose neglect by her aunt and her boyfriend was missed by social workers.

Section 12 of the act limits information to name, address, date of birth, gender, a unique id, contact details of parent or carer, school, GP practice and other practioners dealing with the child.

But the Government wants to extend the records to include detailed assessments of a child's life.

Ministers insist it will act as an early warning system to highlight children at risk.

The database has already been piloted in 12 local authorities and the Government plans to make it nationwide from next year.

It will try to introduce a regulation in Parliament in the autumn - allowing it to become law with barely any scrutiny by MPs.


There is even a Wikipedia page on this!

Toque Tip: Jesse Gritter

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lorrie Goldstein Hits it on the Nail Again!

Another gem from Sun reporter, Lorrie Goldstein. I love his sarcastic/satirical writing style of making fun of current events. I commented on another one of his great articles when he wrote about the Ryerson and Margaret Somerville fiasco in June. A sample:

Memo to: The Parliamentary Press Gallery

From: Your Supreme Commander

Re: Ongoing Journalistic Jihad Against Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Status Report

Dear Colleagues:

Greetings from myself and the other executive members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery (PPG).

I hope you are enjoying the summer.

As required by Bylaw 45069484235, Chapter 2, Sections a, b, c and d, Subsection ii and iii of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Constitution (Revised Statutes, 2006) I am required to report on the PPG's continuing efforts to bring Prime Minister Stephen Harper to his knees in the face of the mighty Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Frankly, folks, things are not going too well.

You will recall that the prime minister undermined our early resolve to prevent him from choosing which PPG members he would talk to at PPG press conferences by the diabolically clever tactic of choosing which PPG members he would talk to in one-on-one interviews.

Since, as you know, most of us would sell our firstborn for an exclusive interview with the prime minister, the PPG's resolve on this issue has been somewhat compromised.

Actually, we pretty much collapsed like a house of cards.

I am also unhappy to report that public reaction to our announced boycott of the Prime Minister's press conferences has not been exceedingly positive. Typical of the many emails our office has received was this one: "Who do you navel-gazing, pasty-faced twits think you are?" And that was from my wife.

To test whether this anecdotal evidence of public disapproval of our journalistic jihad against the prime minister is widespread, your executive has commissioned a poll by the respected Ottawa market research firm "Opinions 'R Us."

The question to be asked is: "Do you support Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his dictatorial attempts to muzzle the noble Parliamentary Press Gallery, thus destroying the cherished Canadian institution of freedom of the press?"

We will let you know the results once the survey is done. We are waiting for the Liberal leadership convention in order to have easy access to a large sample of unbiased and enlightened Canadians. Either that, or we'll just poll anyone who's voting for Bob Rae because, frankly, I've always wanted to ask those folks, "what the hell are you people thinking?"


Click here to read the rest. Very funny read!!!

I would World Peace?

If I had the power to change the world I would want (everyone together now): "World Peace". The typical response. Despite the world events right now, I really hope these ladies are more creative tonight in the Miss Universe Pageant.

I'm not really a fan of beauty pageants, but Miss Canada won last year, which was pretty cool. Very slim chances of us winning two years in a row, I might take a gander, but I think my brain would thank me if I didn't watch it.

Overheard in an NDP constituency Office

I had to wait until my event was over before posting this. This event occurred on Tuesday July 18th:

But first a little background information. The Summer Work Student Exchange is a federal program and was started by an MP. In the Spring I recruited students to be a part of the program and selected the best six to become participants. At the same time in francophone regions in Canada, coordinators selected students to come to an anglophone part of Canada to have the opportunity to use their second language in a work environment. In July these students trade homes with a student from a francophone region. They work with local NPOs and participate in cultural activities on the weekend.

On one of the weekends, we have a day set aside called 'Volunteer Day' where students give back to the community that has opened its doors and hearts to them during this exchange. The charity chosen by the SWSE executives was Breakfast For Learning ( As a coordinator I had to plan and implement an activity that would raise money for volunteer day. I also had strict guidelines imposed by the organization: It had to be cheap, it had to be fun, and it had to have the ability to work rain or shine. I chose to do a pancake breakfast.

It was really hard to find a community space in which to hold this breakfast. So I called my local MP. We had previously met when I introduced myself to her as the coordinator for her riding and I told her about the program and why as an MP it's important for her to know about it. She was also my English teacher in high school (the worse English teacher I had actually). When we were desperate, and considering having a car wash or BBQ instead I called my MP (and assistants) to ask their advice about community space and they offered their office.

Fast forward to last Tuesday:

Today I was doing a recce of the venue where I will be holding a pancake breakfast for my Volunteer Day with my exchange students. My local MP has opened their constituency office to us to hold our pancake breakfast. As I was taking note of the number of chairs and tables and looking at their kitchen facilities I overheard a phone conversation by one of the constituency assistants. Now, this conversation isn't verbatim because I didn't write it down until about 3 minutes after it was said, when I got the idea to write about it here. The constituency assistant here is in his late 20s early 30s

Constituency Assistant: "Nah, forget the cottage, there are things there that have to be done."

Other person on the phone: [...]

Constituency Assistant: "We live in exciting time, man."

Other Person: [...]

Constituency Assistant: "No, we'll bring the government down this fall. No question about it!"

I Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting have to give the guy credit. He is very dedicated in what he does. But when I heard him say that, my jaw dropped and I turned around staring and then rolled my eyes. They have no clue sometimes. Why bring the government down just for the sake of it? Harper is doing a damn fine job. Look at all he did in the first few months of office and how the Liberals so little in their 12 years in office. Why bring the government down? Like Canadians really want another election. No clue......

The other funny thing was, during the breakfast I was speaking to Irene (yes I'm on a first name basis with her). And I was telling her my future education plans (finish my undergrad and do MA in Sociology) and she told me that next time I'm in London to call her office and we'll have lunch. Me. I have been invited to go out for lunch with an MP. Pretty cool, except I didn't vote for her, and don't agree with any of the. But it's always good to keep bridges, because you'll never know when you need them.

Another MP story. I came to my new house in Peterborough to drop off my first and last cheques and my roommate's dad was there. Right off the bat he asked me, I forget how he worded it, but basically asked me who I voted for (but in a polite way). I sheepishly said, 'Conservative'. "ok, you're alright then" he said with a laugh. He was the MP for Norfolk-Haldimand in the 1980s.

I'm very much interested in politics, and in high school people said I would be good for it because of my social skills and being on the debate team. Maybe one of these days I will bite the bullet and run.

Would you vote for me?

Why Don't People Read?

George and I take trips to Chapters in our spare time. We go to a bookstore for fun. We are sick sick people. I guess when you don't drink alcohol or do drugs you need something as a "fix". I really am addicted to buying books. It's pretty sad. Being an avid reader, I was pretty shocked when I saw these statistics:

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.

--Jerrold Jenkins.

I don't know if I believe these stats because they are pretty high, but who knows...

Toque Tip: Bound by Gravity and Para Publishing

Support Our Troops Magnetic Ribbons

George and I are thinking of starting a pool to see how long it takes for George's "Support Our Troops" Magnetic Ribbon to be stolen off his car in the Trent University Parking Lot.

I heard about this site: offers any Canadian resident a free magnetic yellow ribbons to show their support for Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, around the world, and at home. I started this site after my ribbon was stolen from my car. It was then I realised that someone needed it more than me, so I thought perhaps there are others that really need a ribbon too.

The offer is 100% free - You don't even pay for postage. However, once they are gone they are gone unitl I recieve enough donations to add more.

As for Trent U, I give it 4 days.

Men & Women and the Family

Add this to the never ending list of books I want to read.

This article in Newsweek talks about a new book, out next month, about the female brain:

To write the book, Brizendine melded her rich clinical experience with thousands of research studies other neuroscientists have conducted over the past 10 years. Her conclusions will seem like common sense to some and nothing short of heresy to others: she not only discusses the biological reasons girls gravitate to dolls instead of trucks but tracks the hormonal imperatives at play when a teenage female becomes obsessed with text messaging and shopping. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingShe describes the neurological reasons why women think about sex less than men but, in their drive to produce genetically superior babies, may be having more extramarital affairs than their frustrated husbands might imagine. She also explains how changing brain chemistry can prompt a postmenopausal woman to forgo marriage counseling and dial up a divorce lawyer instead. Her ideas are certain to spark controversy from some doctors and social scientists who think books like this undercut women and reinforce old gender stereotypes. Examining the biological underpinnings of gender difference is bunk, these critics say, because there aren't many. Last year prominent psychologist Janet Hyde examined decades of studies that compared the emotional and behavioral lives of men and women and concluded that most differences between the genders were statistically "close to zero." "There is no gender-difference phenomena to explain," she says.

I hope there is another book that follows called The Male Brain, because I need a manual to figure them out sometimes.

On a more serious note, I think this book is important for the feminist types who insist that there is no difference between men and woman and then try to raise their children androngynously:

The myth of the androgyny ideal. For much of the history of Western civilization, differences between men and women were widely recognized and even celebrated. As late as the 1950s, social scientists largely accepted that men and women had biological differences that produced behavioral differences. Men and women, it was thought, formed a natural complementarity wherein each sex supported and strengthened the other. This idea was so ingrained that, for much of this century, educators routinely reinforced male and female distinctiveness and sex--role behavior.

But beginning in the 1960s, our recognition of gender distinctiveness gave way to the ideal of androgyny. Out of a concern for greater social equity, androgyny advocates preached that men and women ought not only to be treated exactly the same, but to behave the same as well. Social psychologist Sandra Bem was particularly influential in spreading the gospel of androgyny, arguing that persons freed from traditional sex--role behavior would be better adjusted, more adaptive, and psychologically healthier. By 1980, according to a survey published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 72 percent of mental--health professionals described a "healthy, mature, socially competent" adult as androgynous.

The ideal of androgyny found fertile soil in the field of parenting advice. Experts jettisoned the complementary model of childrearing and exhorted mothers and fathers each to parent in exactly the same way. According to many parenting gurus of the 1970s and 1980s, mothers and fathers should parent so that a child would neither know nor care whether it was mom or dad in the room.

Androgyny became the basis of the New Nurturing Father ideal, in which a good father was defined as a man who shares equally in all childrearing activities from the moment of birth. The New Nurturing Father was expected not only to cry at movies, but to change precisely half the diapers and fix his baby's formula as adeptly as he could fix a flat tire.

This view is now deeply ingrained in American culture--especially among social-service providers. At a recent workshop I conducted on restoring fatherhood, I was lectured by a social worker that it is not just incorrect, but dangerous, to use the word "father." The correct term is "parent."

The androgynous father has proven to be an awfully uninspiring model for most men. And no wonder. Essentially, the androgynous message says, "Fathers, you are doing it wrong. To be a good father, you must be more like mother." The result: fatherhood has been feminized, and the father is disappearing from the home.

This article continues about family and parenting and the history of changes in the late 20th century, exposing the myths of parenting 'trends' and demonstrating how the moonbats got control of the family.

The myth of resilient children. A final idea that contributed to the decline of fatherhood in America was that children are resilient. For much of human history, children have been seen as requiring tenderness, affection, and protection from the adult world. This view of childhood as a time of innocence and vulnerability led to the prevailing cultural virtue that parents in troubled marriages ought to stay together "for the sake of the kids." This does not mean that divorce is a recent invention; indeed, divorce has been a part of mankind's experience throughout human history. But it did place a natural braking mechanism on impulses to leave one's spouse, which helped to keep divorce rates relatively low.

As pointed out by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead in her recent book The Divorce Culture, this view of childhood posed a problem for the divorce advocates in the 1970s. If children were vulnerable to stress and disruption, how does one divorce without feeling guilty? The answer: Children are really more resilient than we think. Divorce, and its consequent father absence, may be painful at first, but the children will get over it. They are, after all, just children.

Some even went further to suggest that divorce can be a self--actualizing experience for children. In their 1974 book The Courage To Divorce, authors Susan Gettleman and Janet Markowitz argued that "divorce can liberate children," and can lead to "greater insight and freedom as adults in deciding whether and when to marry" and to "break away from excessive dependency on their biological parents." Similarly, in his 1973 book Creative Divorce: A New Opportunity for Personal Growth, therapist Mel Krantzler stated that divorce provides "an ambiguous, expanded experience that moves kids to better adjustment in a society that is highly ambiguous and expanded."

The propagation of the "resilient child" myth was extraordinarily successful. By 1977, 80 percent of respondents to a national survey disagreed with the statement, "When there are children in the family, parents should stay together even if they don't get along." Divorce rates nearly tripled between 1960 and the early 1980s, as adults found a way to avoid their guilt about walking away from unsatisfying marriages. Today, nearly a million children a year experience the "liberating effects" of divorce.

The themes laid out in Whitehead's article were further refined and expanded in a series of compelling articles and books, including Life Without Father, by David Popenoe; New Expectations: Community Strategies for Responsible Fatherhood, by James Levine and Edward Pitt; FatherLove, by Richard Louv; and especially Fatherless America, by David Blankenhorn. Particularly influential was a Wall Street Journal article by Charles Murray entitled "The Coming White Underclass." Murray dramatically and compellingly broadened the perception of father absence from merely a "black family problem" to one that was quickly encompassing all of American society.

I'm really starting to feel like an academic now because when I read this article, I recognized names that were mentioned, because I had done some research on the subject going all the way back to OAC!

In OAC I took a class called Families in Society and I really enjoyed it. for our major project I chose to do it on Cohabitation VS. Marriage: Do People Cohabitate Because They Fear Divorce? I primarily used a study done by Popenoe and Whitehead (two people mentioned in the above article).

I received a 92% on the project, and, the class as well as the project really got me into Sociology. It is now one of my majors in my undergrad, but will also be the department in which I do my Masters in 07-08. Family and Society is a great controversial topic in which I would like to learn more about, as growing up through the public education system, my teachers, would share their liberal views. I remember thinking in my Society: Challenge and Change class that Androgynous parenting is good and that's how I was going to parents. I was naive and not as strong in my critical thinking skills as I am now.

Work Update

I've passed the half way point for my exchange students but I will start to be able to blog more because all the major weekend activities are finished, and everything else is pretty much done.

Smooth Sailing Ahead....

*knocks on wood*

Therefore I should be able to return back to regular blogging including special regulars like: "Bizarre Human Custom" and "Flashback Friday".

Stay Tuned.

SUNDAY FUNNIES: Bush, G8 and the Middle East

I'm a big fan of comedy shows. Anything from stand-up to late-night shows makes me laugh. Everyone loves a good laugh so I will regularily post the "The week's best late-night laughs" which I read out of the London Free Press.


President Bush has a new plan to fight global warming. We're going to invade the sun.

It was so hot today down in Washington, D.C., Bush said, "Maybe there is something with the global warming s---."

President Bush is back from the G-8 Summit over there in Russia. The G-8 Summit went very well. Today the world leaders announced they are still very close to finding a replacement for Star Jones.


I was flipping through the latest issue of O Magazine when I had my own personal "aha!" moment. It happened when I read the interview with Oprah and best friend Gayle King, where they announced they are not gay. As Oprah said in the article, "I understand why people think we're gay. There isn't a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women." Even Oprah's friendships are on a higher level than everyone else's!


Our fearless leader caused quite a stir at the G-8 Summit when microphones captured him in an unguarded moment, saying, "See, the irony is that what they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over." Naturally, the media is making a big deal about the President cursing. Do you know how lucky we are that that's all that was caught? I'm impressed the President was on topic. Some of Bush's other comments were less focused: "I'm not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk too long."


Today, the Vatican condemned Israel's attacks on Hezbollah. Which was a good thing, because yesterday, Jews and Muslims worldwide were asking, "What do the Catholics think?"

One thousand Americans were evacuated from Lebanon aboard a cruise ship called the Orient Queen. Evacuation should go twice as fast once the Orient Queen is joined by its sister ship, the Asian Flamer.

The heat wave is striking Europe. In Ireland, there were record temperatures and power outages. It's the first time Irish blackouts weren't caused by alcohol.


President Bush was recorded using a four-letter word at the G-8 Summit in Russia. At first everyone thought he had mispronounced "Shiite."

Press secretary Tony Snow says when Bush was told he was recorded saying a four-letter word, he rolled his eyes and laughed it off, which is ironic. Bush is now reacting to himself the way everybody else does.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'll Have The Shrimp Instead

Friday, July 21, 2006

Comment on the Evacuation of Canadians from the Middle East

I have taken some time to reflect on the situation in the Middle East. I would like to comment on the alleged "Canadians of Convenience" that have been portrayed in the media.

The media has given a voice to the disgruntled people. You probably have many quotes like this:

Among those waiting, Roy Taffoli, a 60-year-old university professor, said, "This is another human catastrophe. Never mind the Israeli bombs. It's the Lebanese sun that's going to decimate these people. People are going to start falling like flies out here."

(Side Note: Lol it makes me laugh that even in a middle of a crisis, the liberal-left media look for and found a University professor to have their perspective.)

Then we hear completely ungrateful and sickening comments like this:

Meanwhile, planes carrying the first wave of evacuees arrived in Ottawa and Montreal on Friday, and some had harsh words for the government.

"It was inhuman what they did," said Tania Elia, who arrived in Montreal. "People were on the boat, one over each other. People were vomiting."

Another evacuee said she was "ashamed to be Canadian" and regretted the apparently arduous journey.

"If I knew that it was going to be like this, I would have stayed in Lebanon under the bombs," said Roula Karbash. "It would be easier."

Or the people who complain they didn't know what was going on. Doesn't "Need to Know" basis mean anything to you?

[Isreal's] Ambassador Baker refused to go into any detail about possible safe passage travel plans because, he said, Hezbollah "can't be trusted to honour any type of arrangement that would enable safe passage.

"We don't want the Hezbollah to try and provoke some type of event which could jeopardize those arrangements."

Asked if he believes Hezbollah would deliberately target fleeing foreigners to create an international incident, Baker said: "Absolutely."

I would like to question if these negative comments are a true reflection of the people and the situation. I think the media has a lot to do with the tone of the people who are waiting to come to Canada. I believe in the positive heart in people and I also given them the benefit of the doubt of their gratefulness. I'm sure with the heat, lack of food and water and chaos that is going on will make anyone cranky and you'll want to voice your complaint if given a microphone. Call me naive, but I truly think that these people on the ships and planes on their way to Canada (note I do not say 'home') are grateful that they were evacuated

It is a fact that our media has a left slant, but I question if people are truly that ungrateful, or if the media is doing. Sure there are a few ungrateful. But I wonder if the media is looking for all the negative stories because it sells better and it makes Harper look bad, even if he's doing absolutely everything he can possibly do. I think the media is giving a real disservice to Lebanese people for portraying them as whiners and complainers. I believe this isn't how these people feel. When I turn on blogs or listen to radio shows there are many many people who call in with family overseas who profusely commend and thank the government.

I find it disgusting the way politics are being played in a crisis situation like this. The Opposition gLiberals point their finger and criticize the Conservatives that the evacuation isn't moving fast enough, but don't turn the finger they are pointing on themselves for the years and years of hallowing out of the military equipment. What more are you to expects? Our ships and submarines sink or catch on fire and our helicopters crash. We don't have our own equipment we have to get loaners from other countries.

Although this should reflect positively on the Prime Minister, I'm sure a part of it IS a photo opportunity, but Stephen Harper isn't an evil man, and it annoys the hell out of me when the media or opposition parties don't give credit when credit is due.

Take a Look at this Globe and Mail poll:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What more could have Harper done? For Canada we have the most citizens there (>40,000), we're the furthest away and we have ZERO equipment (thanks to the past Liberal governments who hallowed out our military and left us with no (working) ships, helicopters etc....

I wonder what this poll would look like if the media was full of all the positive stories, reunions and incredible things the government has done with very little time, organization and logistical equipment.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Military Recruitment: Waiting and Waiting

Military's recruitment methods slammed
Forces' lack of responsiveness scaring off many talented people, Ombudsman says

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Television ads attempt to lure young Canadian men and women to join the Forces with promises of action and exciting careers, but Canada's defence ombudsman says the welcome is not always so warm for those who actually try to enlist.

Yves Côté says he is concerned about the number of people who have told his office that they quit the recruitment process, or were about to quit, because of an unsatisfactory experience during recruiting.

"The Canadian Forces must improve the quality and timeliness of the service provided to applicants to ensure that it does not routinely lose the services of talented Canadians interested in a military career," Mr. Côté told a news conference yesterday as he released a report on recruitment problems.

He cited the case of a doctor who decided to join the military.

"He said he went to his recruiting forces and said, 'I would like to live this kind of life, this kind of challenge.' This, at a time, as we all know, that the Canadian Forces is facing a huge shortage in terms of medical doctors," Mr. Côté said.

But "the recruiting centre didn't have anything good or positive to say to him. He went away and called back a couple of times after that and said, 'What is happening on my file?' and they said, 'We'll get back to you.' "

Eventually, the young doctor was forced to find another way into the military through an officer friend.

That should not happen in a period when the Forces are in the process of trying to expand their numbers significantly, Mr. Côté said.
There were four majors areas of complaints fielded by his office:

A lack of responsiveness on the part of some recruiters

Excessive delays in the process, particularly in terms of medical and security checks

Difficulties experienced in transferring between the reserves and regular forces and vice versa

Some people skilled in trades, where there were large shortages, were promised big bonuses for enlisting, only to find that the bonuses evaporated after they had been processed because the shortages had disappeared.

"The recruiting system can do better, and must do better. It must become more responsive to the people who are seeking a career in the military," Mr. Côté said.

"Simply put, it must become a 'client-focused' service if our military hopes to attract the best and the brightest Canadians."

He recommends, among other things, the development and implementation of a national reserve recruiting policy.

"The ad hoc system currently in place," Mr. Côté said in his report, "is neither efficient nor is it adequate to meet the needs of the Canadian Forces."

I definitely attest to a terrible process of becoming enrolled. Although I had my papers in to become a CIC officer (with the cadets) I waited and waited and waited. I had my applications and all my documentation in by October 2004 but it wasn't until July 2005 that I received a call for an interview. By that point I had already lost interest out of frustration with the wait and problems with the local cadet corps with which I was working. The corps with which I was working didn't understand the difficulties of being a student, and that as a unpaid staff member, school came before cadets. I had scholarships to maintain, and thankfully I didn't lose them that year. I really want to know, what takes so damn long for the application to be processed? A part of me still wants to be in the military, especially after my experience with working with these teenaged exchange students. I will comment on this after they leave.

Do We Look Like The Taliban?

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Canadian troops narrowly missed death and serious injury when an American jet dropped a 225-kilogram laser-guided bomb on their position earlier this month in an incident frighteningly similar to the friendly fire attack that killed four Canadian soldiers in 2002.

Soft ground prevented a bloodbath, soldiers said of the incident the military has kept quiet.

Pte. Rob Adams, who was kneeling five metres from where the bomb landed and was completely engulfed by the fiery flash, received a concussive head injury. He was airlifted by helicopter to hospital at the coalition's Kandahar Airfield base.
Although 17 Canadian troops were within 45 metres of the blast, and shrapnel splinters up to a half-metre long littered the farmer's field where the laser-guided bomb hit, nobody died. But nearly a dozen soldiers were blown through the air.

"We heard it coming. What went through my head was, `I can't believe they bombed us,"' said one soldier who had been standing just over 10 metres from the impact point.

Another soldier, 25 metres away, was smashed so hard to the ground that the edge of his helmet was pushed in. He is still suffering severe headaches from the July 8 incident.
Had the ground been harder, the three closest soldiers would be dead, and several more severely injured, soldiers said.

"It was soft dirt, so (the bomb) went way deeper than it should have, and the blast went straight up," said one non-commissioned officer.

The crater measured about three metres deep and two metres across.

The near catastrophe occurred around 7 a.m. midway through a chaotic 12-hour battle in Pangawayi, 30 kilometres west of Kandahar. The pilot of the A-10 Warthog ground-attack jet mistook the Canadians for Taliban, the NCO said.

"He's coming in fast, he's coming in low, he's in the middle of a war zone, and he made a wrong call," the NCO said. "That happens. Those guys cover us a lot."

Source: National Post

Thursday, July 13, 2006

RIP: Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on, if not join the majority and do nothing!

I'm a Student: Woe is Me

I read this article today that shares my views of not feeling sympathetic towards to college or University graduate:

CBS News recently ran a profile of Jason DeBonis and Katrina Lust, two medical students facing a "mountain" of student loan debt when they finally graduate and start their careers.

At first blush, the couple seems sympathetic. We see their tiny apartment. We see them eating modestly, and we see the foreboding amount of money the couple will have to eventually pay back — more than half a million dollars.

But take a closer look. In the report, the two are drinking Starbucks coffee, a pricy habit for a couple so worried about expenses. In another scene, we see a bottle of water on the table where they're eating a modest meal. But it isn't tap water. Or even bottled water. It's Vitamin Water, one of the more expensive brands of water on the market. Between them, the two have attended Columbia, NYU, and MIT, three of the most expensive schools in the world.

And the couple has planned a destination wedding in Jamaica.


There are some serious economic issues here. The problem is that Kamenetz and her supporters don't quite grasp the extent of them. Student loan debt is a problem, as is the spiraling cost of higher education. But these problems have been caused by the entitlement culture. Giving more government money to students will only make them worse.


One of the most irritating topics is the whine of the student debt. As a student I work really hard to afford my education. My parents didn't give me a dime and I have managed to stay almost debt free, with myself owing probably around $5000 after I graduate with an Honours BA.

It hasn't been easy, but I have been smart about my money. I took out an OSAP loan, but I invest my OSAP. It's interest free! Also I've taken out a line of credit. When it comes to paying my loan back I already have a plan. OSAP is prime +2% while my line of credit is only prime +1%. You got to be smart about your money, otherwise you will drown in debt.

I've also had many scholarships. I received over $6000 in scholarships just in my first year of University. This isn't because I've had a 90% average. I applied to everything I thought for which I could remotely qualify. There are so many scholarships out there and some even go unawarded because no one has applied. If I've had to write an essay, I made the time to do it. I also do what any good citizen should is give back to the community and volunteer my time somewhere. This also really has helped me in being awarded scholarships.

Lastly, I have maintained an 80 per cent average through University. This has been the most difficuly of them all. Surprisingly, in my third year I overloaded my courses (took 5.5 when you're only allowed to take 5) and came out with the highest average so far in University!

I am a bright and intelligent woman, but I'm no genuis. Studying, writing papers and staying on top of readings requires good study habits and dedication. We all love to procrastinate, nap, talk on MSN or go to a kegger, but for those who work hard, it does pay off. Therefore I have no sympathy for the college or University grad that claims "woe is me I have a $30,000 debt. When will the (sugar daddy) government save me". Or: "down with tuition fees." Prices go up. Deal with it. (PS Economics should be a required course because much of my generation hasn't a clue how money, government, and economy works).

I worked through high school, I worked through University and I work through the summer, two jobs if I have to. Do I have an iPod? Nope! A portable DVD player? Nope! A CAR?! NO!! Do I eat well? YES! Another thing that annoys me is the student whining about how they can't afford good food. Yes, when you buy pizza on campus it's 3$ and a sandwich is 6$, but make a sandwich from home! Don't buy french fries, or Kraft Dinner. Spinach is 99 cents! Other veggies such as Asperagus go on sale often enough. And invest in a deep freezer!

The problem with Generation Y (my generation) is the culture of entitlement they are used to being spoiled by their baby-boomer parents. Unfortunately, hard work, isn't an important aspect of our culture anymore. Many of my peers are constantly looking for ways to make things easier, taking short cuts. I'm disappoined in my generation. Although I'm sure we're bright and we'll do great things. As a cohort, we are not as hardworking as previous generations. Especially the cohorts that lived through the depression, and other economic downturns of the 20th century. We have enjoyed major economic success and are used to getting everything we want, when we want. It has to stop, but I don't think it is possible.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Warning: Culture of Fear in Canadian Newspapers

I open up my National Post headlines email this morning, and I couldn't believe the repetition and fear in all the headlines! Looks like there was a shortage of thesauri last night!

National Post Daily Headlines

Top Stories

Friendly meeting
George W. Bush will spend much of his 60th birthday on Thursday in White House meetings with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but it's doubtful the U.S. president will worry how much his Canadian counterpart spends on a gift.

Missile tests further isolates North Korea, Bush says
U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday rejected any possibility of holding direct talks with North Korea over its nuclear program and sought a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the secretive regime for its tests this week of seven ballistic missiles.

Tories warned early automatic prison terms won't work
The new Conservative government, within days of taking office, was warned by senior federal bureaucrats a central election pledge to impose new automatic prison terms won't deter crime nor protect the public, internal documents obtained by CanWest News Service reveal.

U.S. soldier warns Canada likely faces a long stay in Afghanistan
Canada's three-year commitment in southern Afghanistan will likely be a lot longer unless Afghan soldiers and policemen can be trained in sufficient numbers to replace them.

Whistleblower: Tories promised payment if they won election
The sponsorship whistleblower who was a star Conservative candidate in the January election says the party promised him compensation for damage to his career if it won power.

Financial Post

Athabasca costs leap 50%
CALGARY - Partners in the giant Athabasca Oil Sands Project warned yesterday that inflation has driven costs of a planned expansion 50% higher -- well past the $11-billion mark.

Three-way alliance could be dud, observers warn
Industry observers warned yesterday that the benefits from a large-scale partnership between General Motors Corp., Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. may prove illusionary.

Resistance persists to softwood deal
WASHINGTON - The softwood-lumber agreement signed by Washington and Ottawa continued to draw fire from both sides yesterday, with some provinces vowing not to accept the deal in its present form.

Consider yourself warned!