Saturday, September 30, 2006

Teacher Leaves Millions to Charity

I would like to introduce you to Roberta Langtry. She was an elementry school teacher in Toronto and spent many years helping autisitc children. She never married, no children, and lived a very simple life in a one-storey house in East Toronto.

Roberta died last year and it is only because of her death have I learned about her. I was struck by the headline of "Teacher kept riches secret, then left charity $4.3-million".

Her full net worth will likely never be known, but her estate executor, the great nephew of Sir Robert Borden has revealed that she made a number of large anonymous donations to individuals "down on their luck". She was never suspected to be the one that gave a cheque to someone for 25,000 because of the simple life she lived. She drove an old Volvo.

Yet even in middle age she was already well off because in 1973 she approached Mr. Borden, then an executive at a Bay Street stockbroker, and asked him to manage her $500,000 in savings, a sizable sum in the days before high inflation eroded the value of money.

Mr. Borden, whose great uncle was the former Prime Minister of the same name, remembers Miss Langtry made a prescient investment call by buying shares of IBM in either the 1940s or 1950s, and kept the stock in the high-tech giant until she died.

But other than that, Mr. Borden said he had her put most of her money into safe bond investments and solid Canadian blue-chip stocks, such as those of the banks and insurance companies, that appreciated nicely over the decades.

Miss Langtry had a bit of a gambler's streak and sometimes wanted to invest in companies involved in anti-pollution work, but Mr. Borden said he had her limit these more risky ventures to a conservative 10 per cent of her portfolio.

Roberta Landtry is leaving the Nature Conservancy of Canada 4.3 million. The NCC is a charity that buys environmentally sensitive land and turns it into nature reserves.
When staff got the call they were listed in the will, they at first believed it was a mistake.

But there was no mistake, and Miss Langtry's legacy is being feted by the conservancy, which is issuing a news release on the donation today. It plans to use the money to buy more wetlands and help safeguard the Oak Ridges Moraine, a pastoral rural area north of Toronto that Miss Langtry held dear and is the subject of large-scale conservation efforts in the province.

Miss Langtry was passionate about the environment, but didn't seek recognition for donations she made to the conservancy while she was alive. Starting in 1988, she gave about $5,000 to $10,000 a year.

She declined invitations to events the organization held to showcase properties it helped preserve from development. Ms. Kim said she would, however, call the conservancy if she thought mailings to donors were too glossy. Miss Langtry called this a waste of money and wanted something more plain.

This woman is an inspiration to us all. It is a shame no one heard about her until after her death.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WACKY WEDNESDAYS: Harper Compared to Hitler

This will begin a new feature at A Step in the Right Direction of Wacky Wednesdays focusing on rants of professors. I have a professor for one of my classes that never ceases to amaze me with the stupid, rhetoric, leftist, rants.

As a good student I am I take notes when my professors are speaking. They tell us about their experiences, their wisdom and other crap that shouldn't come into a classroom. This professor, every single week, will find a way to bring Bush, the war (Iraq or Afghanistan) or the environment.

I will continue to take notes in this class, but now I've starting a ranting journal to keep track of all the wacky things he says. You would think I am talking about a politics or perhaps a sociology class. Nope. This professor teaches Psychology Qualitative Statistics.

In this week's installment of professor rants. It's too bad Trent is so small that I can't record his lectures (or if I had a disability in which I could have an excuse to record them). This week I "learned":

-Humans are a stupid race

-Professor refers to Harper's address to the United Nations: "Canada's rightful place at the forefront"

-How did Hitler convince the entire country of Germany that his way was the right way? With propaganda and speeches like "Germany will take its rightful place...."

Stay tuned next week!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blog Down

Computer is off to the doctors. No, it doesn't have a virus, but as I previously described something is seriously wrong. I won't be online until the weekend.




In the year 5000 CE archeologists and anthropologists are investigating the civilization known as North American circa 2000CE. one discovery has puzzled anthropologists for months. The discovery was the remains of what this society refered to as "hair gel". The remains were found in a well preserved bottle found in a time capsule.

On the bottle was written the directions for use. This "gel" is a sticky-like substance applied to the hairs on the head. According to magazines and other media articfacts found in the time period it had different uses between genders. For males it was used to make hair stick up and for females is was used to fix loose hairs down in place. According to evidence found, more males than females used it, and were around the ages of early adolescenats to the agehood of 30. Its purpose, however, still remains a mystery. There are many theories though by many of the anthropologists on site.

One theory is that the "gel" had religious or cult like symbolism. This theory believes that "gel" was used to prvent the person's soul or mind from escaping their bodies. The strong argument of this theory is based upon the age of the users. It is known that many males and females in this age group of 15-30 years of age are known for rebelling and not following the path suggested by their elders. Perhaps there lies a correlation between rebelling and hair gel as it could have been a preventative measure for those who stray from the path. The weakness of this argument is that there has been no evidence found in surviving artifacts that mention the importance of this gel linked to cult or religious followings.

The second theory is that "gel" is thought to have power in it, to give people strength. It is a valid argument since it is known that almost all people of this civilization desired power. The whole in this argument is that too many young people had access and used it. There has been no other evidence recovered of people ceasing the need for power at age 30, it seems to be a life-long struggle or goal. In additionm it seemed to be mass produced and therefore easily attainable for a very low cost to almost any person in this age group.

The last thoery anthropologists have come up with is that "gel" is a cultural fad. The strong premise of this theory is that it is known that this civilization was very vain and their appearance was very important to them. The weakness of this arguemt, however, is that this usage baffles anthropologists. None of them can understand why a society that is so vain ha people voluntarily put a sticky substance in their hair.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sharpie 1 Sharon 0

Hopefully I get a response, or this will do something about it. Attention Students: Does anyone know a good highlighter company? I think I've tried them all and either they dry out of run out of ink.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to you today to express my disappointment with you Sharpie Accent Liquid Highlighters. As a University student, I do a lot of reading and high lighting during the year. I have found that any highlighter I have used in the past dries out after long reading sessions.

This school year I decided to purchase expensive highlighters, thinking that they would be higher quality and would last longer. I was sadly disappointed. Although I love your Sharpie markers, your highlighters are not up to par. I could not get through one week worth of University reading before TWO of the five highlighters were out of ink! These were supposed to last until Christmas.

In a couple weeks, all of my highlighters will be out of ink and I will have to buy new ones. You can be sure that I will not be considering the Sharpie brand in the future. Sadly, I expected better of your company.



Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tolerance is a Two Way Street

Rex Murphy always gets it. Too bad other don't. Tolerance is a two way street. You can apply this to many social issues that are facing Canada today. For example, same-sex marriage:

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.
(Law Commission in New Zealand found in Kitzinger and Wilkinson, 2004:180)

On the issue of the Pope's "offensive" comments:
Most of the Pope's address was a nuanced exploration of the relations between reason and faith. A good sense of the tone and nature of his talk, which is readily available in full on the Internet, may be taken from this sentence, which contains, as I see it, its central thesis: “Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?”

Hardly a red-flag item, even for the most excitable bull.

It was a few words of that address, which were cited by His Holiness to assist in the illustration of an elegant argument, a quotation from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, that ignited, or at least has been the occasion for igniting, a great storm across parts of the Muslim world. The quotation and the words leading to it are these: “he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

That one-sentence quotation of an ancient emperor, from an otherwise quiescent address, has set off a fury of anger and outrage. Churches were attacked in the West Bank, there have been demonstrations, and the Pope reviled as another Hitler or Mussolini.

Pope Benedict has invited Muslim envoys for talks, and has twice expressed his regret for the reaction to his lecture, but — and this is not the same thing — he has not apologized for his talk. Nor should he.

The fury in the Muslim world following the Pope's talk seems similar in two respects to the greater fury that followed the publication of those now famous Danish cartoons. The first similarity is that the volume and spread of outraged response gives every evidence of having been mobilized or concerted. That there is here, in other words, a “determination” to display outrage, less as evidence of profoundly wounded religious sensibility, than as political leverage against the West.

Not that I question some Muslims may well have taken deep offence in both instances, but that the offence taken has been magnified, and perhaps manipulated, for secondary motives.
[T]he rhetorical violence visited on Christianity and Judaism (“apes,” “pigs,” “crusaders,” “infidels”) by various Muslim spokespeople is both fervid and frequent, and in some of its expression, utterly eclipses in its ferocity and deliberateness either the bywords of the Pope here, or the famous cartoons.

Tolerance, like its elder, respect, is very much an equal current that flows between two parties. I cannot see how burning churches — as happened in the West Bank — or crude attacks upon, and threats against, the Pope, provide a foundation to calls for “greater sensitivity toward Islam.”

There are precious things in the West, too, two of which are freedom of speech and critical analysis. Storms of outrage, and almost predictable violence after every perceived slight, leaves me feeling that the cardinal values of the West will wait a long time for a portion of that respect that parts of the Muslim world insist upon, immediately and in full, as their due.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Red Friday Rally at Parliament Hill

The exact numbers aren't out. Some estimate a couple thousand attended today's rally at Parliament Hill. If I was closer to Ottawa (and let's face it....had a car) I would have loved to have been there.

From links from other blogs and forums I have gathered it was a good rally. Check out here, here, here, and here to what people had to say about it.

Sadly, in Peterborough and on the campus of Trent University I saw three people wearing red, and I have no idea if it was a coincidence that they were. The really sad thing was that I was on campus ALL DAY 9AM until 4PM. PLus I work on campus and I seriously counted the number of people who came into the office. There were THREE people all day. I was wearing red, but not ONE person in my lecture this morning (of about 70) was wearing red.

I'm sure if they had free buses like they did for the Quebec referendum, I would have been there. If it comes to that in a parliament vote, I would hope that something like that would be organized to get as many people out there as possible!

Stupid hippie school....graduation in a couple months. Off to Ottawa, where I belong (I grew up there and left when I was 10 and have always wented to move back).

UPDATE: Not much media attention on the rally. Couldn't find one article about it in the G&M, but National Post did have one.
UPDATE 2: Officialy Screwed was there and has his video camera.

A Soldier's Poem to Jack Layton

Ole Jack Layton ~ Thoughts From A Soldier

Dear Jack Layton,

You sit there in your quiet home
No fear is in your heart,
You sleep soundly certain that
It won't be blown apart.

Your children they can go to school
And play out in the park,
They've never seen a bomb explode
Heard air raids in the dark.

They've never seen dead bodies
Piled up on the street,
Your wife, she won't be beaten
Treated like a piece of meat

You are free to form opinions
Read any news print you can see,
You enjoy your rights and privileges
In this country wide and free.

The reason you can live like that
Is because I fight your wars
I fight and push the enemy back
I keep them off our shores.

I am here and you are there
Pretending you know best.
Well Ole Jack now listen close
While I get this off my chest.

You have the right to criticize
You have the right to complain
You don't have the right to drag me down
In a stupid political game

The thing about your rights Ole Jack
The part you can't comprehend
Is you work in the very system
The democracy I defend

I stand on fences around the world
Protecting those that need it
It is not for you too determine Jack
Whether or not it's worth it.

Ask the people in Afghanistan
If they want me to stay,
Women and children depend on me
You say just walk away.

I don't need your changing policy
Trying hard to not lose face
What I need is you behind me
Helping protect this place.

You know its hard to do this
When I Think I'm all alone.
I hear stories of young punks
Pissing on memorial stones.

I read the papers over hear
And they tell me what is said.
Canadians are losing faith
I can't get it through my head.

You say that it is hopeless
It really brings me down
Don't tell my mother we're losing
Spread that rumour around.

I'm doing good, were winning here
But no-one will believe
Because we are way over here
Where no one there can see.

Women here can work you see
Children starting school.
We built a working government
We've broken Taliban rule.

We are so close to winning this
It's not too far away
History will show that we
Were in the right to stay.

When that brilliant day arrives
Victory you'll claim is ours
You'll forget you said to run away
Forget you are a coward

On that day just thank me
For my courage and my trouble
Find another place that needs help
And send me on the double.


written by Josh Forbes
Calgary Alberta Canada

Souce: Adler Online Blog

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gun Control: It's the Culture, Stupid.

Last year, one of my fellow Trent students was shot and killed outside a bar in Montreal. His family is advocating for tougher gun control legislation, and understandable so. The vicitms' families of the Montreal shooting are demanding tougher gun legislation.

But we can't make legislation based soley on emotions. Emotions cloud issues and people can have irrational judgement making decision based on emotion.

Here's an appropriate example. Here's a CTV web poll taken AFTER the Dawson College tragedy.

Aside from the fact that web polls are completely inaccurate, this shows 70% of these people taking a very strong stance on an issue based soley on emotion. I wonder what this poll would have looked liked one day prior to the tragedy.

Tougher gun control is not the solution. And people don't get this. It's cultural. Although Bowling for Columbine proved to be a sloppy cut and paste mockumentary, the main point was that comparing Canada and the US with the use of guns and murders, it was the culture, not the number of guns or amount of laws in place.

The guns used in the Dawson College shootings were registered. I was completey disgusted with Jean Charest to use this tragic event for political debate with Harper about the gun registry. Charest used only his emotions and ZERO logic and failed to realize that these regisitred guns did not prevent Gill from going on this killing rampage.

A commentator at Dust my Broom provides an excellent example on why it's cultural:

Switzerland is a very safe and peaceful nation, where every male citizen is required BY LAW to have an automatic rifle and at least 200 rounds of ammunition at home at all times (unless he is at the range or training with his military unit).

I don’t recall ever hearing about rampaging Swiss men running through schools or public places firing at other people, but I also have seen the statistics that suggest Switzerland is one of the safest places to live on Earth.

Wide availability of firearms and ammunition (far more powerful than can generally be purchased in Canada or the United States) in the hands of European White Males is not a recipe for disaster, but the factors which allow the Swiss to maintain their freedom and dignity has little to do with weapons and everything to do with a culture which stresses duty, responsibility and accountability for their own actions.

It's easy to blame this tragedy on gun legislation or border control. But, that is how a child reasons: Man A killed Man B with gun. What killed Man B? The gun.

There was a lot of child-like reasoning in the papers surrounding this tragedy. But we need to reason like adults and look at other nations and cultures and see that more gun laws will not prevent tragedies like this but rather a cultural change that stresses responsibility, caution, and respect for guns, needs to take place.

It's become cliche, but it's true. Guns don't kill people, People kill people.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Computer Problems

So I just wrote this really long lost on the new CF ads, and then my computer crashed. I am very heart broken. I have to jet to class, but I will try to reconstruct it tonight.

In the meantime. I need computer help.

Since this summer my computer has taken to sporadically turn off and then make this omnious sound: "eee ooo eee ooo eee ooo eee".

Yeah. Not good.

I know it's not software. I've had the computer for three years and I've already replaced the power supply once. It's a build-computer from a ma and pop shop but should have some good components.

It's a AMD Athelon XP 2500+ 1.84GHz 512RAM

Now I'm sure it's an overheating problem because I'm bad and leave my computer on ALL THE TIME.

I do use a dust can on it religiously and vaccuum it out twice annually.

After my computer does this, I turn off the power bar and turn it back on. Reboot the computer and it's up and running fine.

This problem has happened in London and Peterborough and I've changed the power bar and the sound still happens.

If anyone has any advice or specific diagnosis: ie. it's the motherboard, it would be much appreciated.

P.S.: Also I've already backed everything up on CD, so if it decides that it doesn't want to turn back on again, I'm good to go.

Young Adults: Brave and Courageous

I read a thoughtful column about youth and the Montreal shooting and by Christine Blantchford. As a student, I know that much of what she says is true.

TORONTO — I live across from the University of Toronto's main campus downtown, and for as long as I've been here, I watched the same scene unfold every fall — the parents come in their loaded-down cars, with their lovely wide-eyed teenagers and sometimes a sibling or two, and thus begins for everyone involved the process of letting go.

There are a few hours, or a day or two, of schlepping the kid around. There are trips to Ikea, often, to outfit the new room or apartment; to the nearest grocery store for the first big shopping for all the heavy stuff; to Staples and computer stores and the like. Then comes the teary goodbye at the car, and the son or daughter goes off to start real life, and the parents drive away, hearts in their throats, with fingers crossed.

It's all any of them, any of us, can do. It's all that was ever possible or ever will be.

To survive young adulthood — when the human animal is at once trusting, adventurous, reckless, naive and sure of his or her own invulnerability — has always been a crapshoot. All of those parents who just weeks or days ago were dropping off the mini-me at one campus or another, all of us who made it through safely — we know. We know you always had to be lucky because we know what we did and that we were lucky.
It is true that on mornings like this one, after the shooting rampage of yesterday at Dawson College in the heart of downtown Montreal, the world feels a more dangerous and violent place now than it did. It may even actually be that way. But teenagers always had to be lucky to make it through. That most of them do is because they are strong as horses, adaptable, resilient as rubber. Did I mention, lucky?

I have no children, which may be why I am unabashedly romantic about them: I didn't have to wipe bottoms, change diapers, clean up sick, tolerate adolescent temper tantrums or worse, endure that period of being tolerated as a particularly stupid brand of adult.

There are many young people, most now in their early 20s, in my life — nieces and nephews, some of whom have lived with me or do now, and godchildren, and their friends, and my friends' children — but by the time I get to know them well, they are already well-formed by years under their parents' tender care, and are astonishingly articulate and accomplished. I know many others, just a little, from my job — the young privates and corporals I met in Afghanistan are just the most recent bunch.

I find that the older I get, the more universally beautiful the young appear to me. There seem no dumb ones, no unattractive ones, no less-than-generous ones.

On my television screen yesterday, there they were again: That boy with the blood on his T-shirt (he'd helped a wounded friend, who was shot in the leg, I think) who was such a marvellous eyewitness; the composed one who spoke of the teacher who had been such a terrific leader, and got the students in her class to push desks against the door, all of them stunned that such a thing could happen on their campus, to their classmates, in their city. Of course they were shocked: They're teenagers, twenty-somethings: Sudden death should be a stranger.

Yet even so — with so few details known yet about the shooter or what happened on the street outside the college and in its pretty atrium and cafeteria — it's clear that for all the panic, many of these students and teachers kept their heads.

Within hours, all the new-but-familiar sacred cows were being raised by politicians, experts and reporters: There should be more regulation upon gun ownership (since it appears the shooter's weapons were registered); with reference to television and mass media, the violence-begets-violence argument; the over-arching need for the college to bring in counsellors and social workers for students and staff; the predicted debate over whether Canada's college campuses ought to have airport-style security and the like. I heard no one say it, but surely the Web will come in for its share of blame.

Yet it seems to me that most often, these school shoot-ups, as dreadful as they are, have no single “root cause” and probably no fix, let alone an easy one. I'm not sure that even the rampage seven years ago, at Columbine High School in Colorado, where the two shooters were obviously troubled outcasts who even made a video in which their carnage was conveniently foreshadowed, could have been prevented, for all the terrible self-immolation that followed among their families and teachers.

There exists in our corner of the world the view that somehow, all bad things ought to be preventable. If only it were so. If only all the young could grow old. But it has never been that way. That poor girl who died yesterday, the eight who are in critical condition in hospital, weren't lucky. Perhaps it's best to think of these occasional gunmen, in their spooky clothes, as the modern equivalent of the truck wheel that flies off on the highway — another freak, if not of nature, of something just as unmanageable.

With crossed fingers: It's still, in the end, the best most parents can offer. It's why they're the bravest people.

I'm taking a course on The Risk Society, and often youth are painted as a big RISK. I mean smoking, drinking, sex, parties, debt, high-risk lender, inexperience, prone to mistakes and misjudgements, and the list goes on. We can surely understand why we, as young adults, are considered a big risk. But Christine's article paints us in a different light, and I really appreciated that.

Gossip Tree: Peter McKay and Condi?

Usually I don't care about gossip, rumours and I plug my ears when I hear the words: "Brittany" "K-Fed" or "Paris". It's just trashy, brainless and stupid.

However. When it comes to politics, I guess I've become more lenient. You know, it's more intellectual. Well, sorta.

Now, I'm not one to start or continue rumours, but in the Canadian or political world this is JUICY. Thanks to Paul Wells for digging this up!

Hat Tip: KerPlonka

UPDATE: This is what we're talking about

Weird Google Searches

I was randomly perusing my sitemeter, curious about the people who visit my blog.

I see my regulars, the person from California with no IP address, the person from New York who always visits Girl on the Right before coming to my blog, the person from the Bank of Canada who spends hours on my blog during business hours.

Some people happen onto my blog from their Google searches. What site meter does is tell you what they searched in Google to make them come to your blog. Usually I can see how they came onto the blog because of their search terms, but this one really confused me. Not just because that this combination of words led them to my blog, but rather, I haven't a clue what the heck they are looking for.

Click on image if you can't read it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Man Cheats Death

Absolutely incredible!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BIZARRE HUMAN CUSTOM: Breasts, Sex and Violence

This entry is more a bizarre North American custom instead of a bizarre human custom.

Today, my stats prof (British) told us that pornography to them, in Europe, is very violent movies. Movies like, Kill Bill are very popular in North American culture, present company included. My favourite movie is Boondock Saints and my favourite TV show is Stargate SG-1, both very violent.

Another interesting point is the cultural phenomena of violence versus sex in our culture.

Sex, is a natural form of expression of love. It is expected that human beings engage in sexual contact. It's free, it's natural, it's legal (in most senses), and it doesn't hurt anyone (debatable as well, but not the point).

Whereas, we see violence we see glorified in TV, movies, video and computer games. But kicking the $#!+ out of someone or killing someone is illegal.

Our culture has it so backwards. We allow violence on TV and give out children play guns, or they play make-believe guns. While some become outraged if there's a scene that's a little too hot and heavy, because we need to "think of the children".

Another funny cultural thing is breasts in general. Boobs are just fatty glands that feed our young, but in our culture, breasts are revered and are an actually turn on to men. But we're all socialized to think that way.

Do you think you can convince a 15 year old boy (or these Starbucks puritans) of that though?

Optimist Realist has pointed me to this Starbucks story which inspired me to write this BHC entry:

Thirty-five years after the first cup of Starbucks was sold, the java giant is returning to its artistic roots. During September, Starbucks' cups are sporting the original logo, a familiar mermaid. But for some, the sketched depiction clearly showing the mermaid's breasts is a little too much skin.

Hat Tip: Optimist Realist

Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 Project: I Remember Dwight Donald Darcy

Today on this fifth anniversary of 9/11, I, along with thousands of other bloggers will be posting our tributes for Project 2,996.

Started by Dale Challener Roe, Project 2,996 honours the victims of 9/11 through 2,996 volunteer bloggers who write a tribute post, celebrating one of the lives of the 2,996 who perished on that day.

Today I remember Dwight Donald Darcy. I want to tell you what I have learned about him.


Dwight Donald Darcy, 55, was the senior attorney at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He resided in Bronxville, NY with his wife, Veronica, and sons, Kieran and Ryan. He is also survived by his sister Joan D. Sorgi of Darien, CT; his brother Keith T. Darcy of Pound Ridge, NY; his aunt Claire Menagh of Manhattan; his uncle George Kindermann of New London, NH; and several nieces and nephews.

Dwight was a Bronx native, graduated from Fordham Prep, Fordham University, and the Fordham University School of Law. He began his legal career as an Assistant D.A. in the Bronx in 1971, and joined the Port Authority in 1977. While at the Port Authority, Dwight specialized in labor relations, serving for many years as the Head of the Labor Relations Division.

Dwight was very active in charitable works in New York City. He served as president of the Catholic Big Brothers of NY, as well as, the president of the Parish Council of St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville. Dwight was also voted a life member of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of NY, and made an affiliate member of the Marist Brothers for his many years of service on the board of Mt. St. Michael Academy in the Bronx.


"We kind of grew up together at the authority," said his friend and colleague Jeffery Green, the general counsel for the authority's legal team, made of up 75 lawyers. "He was very calm and logical and had a good sense of humor," Green said.

Outside of work, Darcy followed his favorite sports teams: The New York Yankees, the New York Giants and college basketball teams, Green said. "He was a devoted father and sports fan. He was a very big Yankee and Giants football fan. I would see him at the games."

Darcy had a way of winning people over. "Everyone who met him liked him. He took pride in his work and his family. He was a really good individual," Green said.

I received an email from someone who knew Dwight. They had this to say:

I first met Mr. Darcy in 1968. I was a Freshman at Mt. St. Michael Academy, a private Marist (Catholic) High School in the Bronx, NY. Although he had a Law degree, Dwight Darcy started his working life as an English teacher at the “Mount”. I had him for English 1 that year. I was very interested in history, and Mr. Darcy made it a point, during his lectures, to not only teach the fine points of English Grammar and Composition, but also expounded on American and World History, to which he added a large dose of Morals and Ethics. I was always fascinated by the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and made it a point to have discussions with him on these topics, even outside of class hours. He was an excellent role model, and I considered him an inspiration and mentor. He was a dynamic and dedicated teacher, and he had a profound effect on me. He is one of the few teachers I ever had, that I truly remember with fondness.

When I heard that he left teaching to practice law for the Port Authority, I knew that he was really following his true love, which he considered the true arena of human interaction. But I knew that future students would lose the opportunity to meet a truly remarkable person.

On 9-11, I was overwhelmingly heartbroken to learn that he did not survive the attack. It seemed like a horribly cruel injustice. Here was a man who was so kind, so dynamic, so profound, and so cognizant of the needs of others, who was caught up, with so many unfortunate others, in the effects of incredible madness and evil, and the result an overwhelming hatred of all mankind. I really could not believe it had actually happened. But I remember him with honor and respect, and with a deep sense of loss.

I hope this helps in illustrating the truly excellent person that he was.

Michael Cutrera

Opera was one of his great loves, Veronica Darcy said, and the couple frequently attended performances at the Met and the City Opera with groups organized by Mr. Darcy's Fordham University alumni group and by the New York Athletic Club, where he was also a member.

Like many others who were there, Dwight lived with the memory of the 1993 WTC bombing. It bothered him for years, said his wife, Veronica. "Every time there was a bang, he would jump," she said.


Dwight worked on the 66th floor of the North tower. Although I was unable to find specific details of what happened to him, Michael Cutrera, may have known:

There is an interesting postscript. In late May 2003 I was traveling by train from Philadelphia to Chicago. During dinner, in the club car, I overheard a woman, who was sitting at the table behind me, telling her traveling companion that she worked for the Port Authority, and that she was at the WTC when the 1st plane hit on 9-11. I turned around and introduced myself, and asked, that if she didn’t mind talking about that horrible day, if she knew Dwight Darcy. It turned out she did know him, and that she worked in his department. I asked if she knew any details about his fate on that day. She told me that he had had foot surgery in the weeks prior to the attack, and that his foot was still in a cast. She thought that, because of his limited mobility, he could not negotiate the stairway and therefore could not escape the tower. I asked how she herself survived. She stated that she was a heavy smoker, and had gone to the ground floor for a cigarette that morning, and so was standing on the sidewalk in front of the WTC when the plane struck. My first comment on hearing this was that despite their well-deserved reputation for causing bad health, this one particular cigarette had in fact actually saved her life that day.

Dwight, may you Rest in Peace.

To Dwight's Family, I am sorry for your loss. I really liked being a part of this project because although I didn't know Dwight, through researching his life and doing this tribute really made me wish that I had known him. I'm sure he is greatly missed and will continue to be remembered on this fifth anniversary of his death.

Sources: New York Times,,

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Radio-Canada Journalist Suspended For Supporting the Troops

So supporting our Canadian soldiers and own mission now is controversial? I think 50 years ago in the US the opposite was true for Vietnam. Blame the hippies for this one.

While I agree her open letter to the troops does indicate she cannot be objective on the issue, at the same time, we know that everyone has an opinion and that no one can truly be objective, impartial and unbiased on ANY issue. It's simply impossible. Kudos to Ms. St-Pierre for being honest with her opinion that, frankly, in Quebec is in the minority.

I believe we have the right to question, criticize and debate the mission, but always ALWAYS support the troops. They aren't the ones making the decisions of what Canada does and where we go. They do what they are told, they go where they are told to go.

I want to start wearing my poppy now, even through it's super early. Last year my blog, when it was over at livejournal, sparked a debate between commentators about wearing the poppy.

Toronto Star Reports:

OTTAWA (Reuters) - One of Canada's top television reporters has been suspended from her job for praising the country's military mission in Afghanistan, the company said on Friday.

Christine St-Pierre, a veteran Ottawa correspondent for French-language public broadcaster Radio-Canada, wrote an open letter to Canada's 2,300 troops telling them to ignore mounting criticism of the mission.

Five Canadian soldiers were killed last weekend, prompting ever louder calls for Ottawa to review the mission. One opposition party wants the troops to come back next February, two years ahead of schedule.

"We owe you all our respect and our unfailing support ... dear soldiers, your tears are not in vain, your tears are brave," St-Pierre wrote in the letter, which Montreal's La Presse newspaper published on Thursday.

Radio-Canada suspended her for breaching internal regulations that stipulate employees are not allowed to express their opinions on controversial issues.

"Ms. St-Pierre infringed a number of Radio-Canada's journalistic rules ... she has been relieved of her functions for an indeterminate period," said spokesman Marc Pichette, adding that the broadcaster was investigating what had happened.

St-Pierre told La Presse she knew she had gone too far and said she could no longer be objective when it came to reporting on events in Afghanistan.

"I don't think I'll be covering this story again," she said

Read French (primary source) article about in in LaPresse here

Friday, September 08, 2006


Today I am wearing my red Support Our troops T-shirt. I bought it at the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) on the base in London. You can order yours through your local MFRC, CANEX or some MP's offices. I believe the Peterborough MP's office is selling Support Our Troops Tshirts, but I don't think they are red.

With all the NDP and Bloc hoopla, recently in the media, such as calling our troops "terrorists", I believe now is the most important time to show your support to our troops.

This can be in the form of wearing red on Fridays, buying a Support our Troops yellow ribbon car magnet or pin, writing about the troops in your blog, sending a postcard to the troops, writing a message online to the troops, keeping them in your prayers, contacting your MP or writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Here's some more information from CFRA:

The campaign launched by wives of Canadian troops in Afghanistan encourages Canadians to wear something red on Fridays to show support for the troops and their families.

When CFRA issued a public call this week, Ottawa Police chief Vince Bevan and Deputy Chief Sue O'Sullivan immediately ordered ribbons and pins for officers to wear today. OPP officers and Canadian Border crossing guards are doing the same. Mayor Bob Chiarelli distributed an email to all city staff urging themn to wear something red today as well.

Those wishing to purchase official "support our troops" merchandise can do so via the Canadian Forces Exchange (CANEX) network here!

Additional information about support programs can be obtained via The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Layton is The Wizard of Oz?

I know everyone loves picking on the You've Got to Be Kidding Party but it's just so EASY. Stephen Taylor has posted the NDP draft resolutions that they wish to implement (in their wildest dreams).

This Ottawa Sun editorial does a nice job of summarizing some of the wacky NDP proposals. I don't know what's worse, the fact that these resolutions were leaked to a Conservative blogger or the fact that these are real propositions.

Leafing through the 300-odd pages of draft resolutions mischievously posted on the website of Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor (, most people not currently in hallucinogen therapy may be excused for wondering if Jack Layton is really the Wizard of Oz.

Left up to the NDP grassroots, to paraphrase, what a wonderful world it would be.

First and foremost, Canada would immediately withdraw from Afghanistan. (But before that, a bunch of Dippers were yesterday forced to withdraw wording in a resolution that referred to Canadian troops propping up "a U.S. puppet government of human-rights abusers, drug traffickers and warlords ... and ... acting like terrorists, destroying communities, killing and maiming innocent people.")
While they are at it, the Dippers would get on the phone to George Bush to demand the U.S. withdraw from Iraq. Shivers in the White House.

Oh, by the way, Mr. President, while we've got you on the line, Canada is walking away from all of its major trade agreements with the U.S. and the rest of the world: NAFTA, GAT, the WTO -- you name it, the NDP hates it.
But let's not stop there. In the land of socialist dreams, the NDP "is committed to implementing social ownership" (read nationalization) of just about every major economic sector including banking, health care, insurance, manufacturing and (gulp) mass media.
Forget about arming customs guards and demanding passports at all Canada-U.S. crossing points -- the NDP would put the border in the hands of "local communities."

In the Utopian Canada of NDP grassroots, pot smoking and hookers would be legalized, mandatory prison sentences would be outlawed, and we'd all take to the streets every November in a special national "Day of Remembrance" for transsexuals.
Every riding would elect two MPs -- a man and a woman -- to ensure gender equality in parliament, and the country would be declared a republic, in part because "Queen Elizabeth II was not born nor has ever lived in Canada."
All in favour?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Maj.Gen. Lewis MacKenzie +1 Jack Layton -7,912,368

UPDATE: I've put up the entire article as I've managed to get behind the subscriber wall.

This Globe and Mail article gives Jack Layton a nice (deserving) kick in arse:

The Afghan mission is not a failure
There's 'tradition' and then there's getting the job done, says retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

As the leader of a party that has little chance of governing the country, the NDP's Jack Layton can accept the political risk of holding up a mirror to the government's decisions and occasionally acting as our national conscience. On the subject of Canada's role in Afghanistan, however, I fear he is dead wrong and am left to wonder if he is following the polls and playing domestic politics on the backs of our soldiers.

Mr. Layton says that he and the NDP support our soldiers but question the wisdom and achievability of NATO's mission in Afghanistan. And, having said that, he goes on to say the mission is the wrong mission for Canada and is, at the very least, unclear. I can only assume Mr. Layton's call for a withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2007, to pursue more traditional Canadian roles involving mediation and negotiation, is based on a widely held myth that we are better than the rest of the 192 nations in the United Nations at the dated concept of "peacekeeping."

Peacekeeping between states that went to war and needed an excuse to stop fighting worked relatively well during the Cold War and Canada played a role in each and every mission. Mind you, at the height of our participation in UN missions during the 1970s and '80s we had a maximum of 2,000 soldiers wearing the blue beret deployed abroad in places such as Cyprus and the Golan Heights. At the same time, we had 10,000 personnel serving with NATO on the Central Front in Germany, armed with nuclear weapons, ready and waiting for the Soviet hoards to attack across the East German border. Peacekeeping was a sideline activity. We did it well, along with others such as Sweden, India, Norway, Brazil -- but it was never even close to being our top priority.

The other Canadian myth that might have influenced Mr. Layton's ill-timed call for our withdrawal is the oft-quoted description of Canada's policies being "even-handed," "neutral" or "impartial." We never take a stand for fear of upsetting someone. But the facts surrounding even our exaggerated peacekeeping role explode this troubling myth. For example, in the approval process preceding the very first UN lightly armed peacekeeping mission -- stick-handled by Lester Pearson through a hesitant Security Council in 1956 -- Canada voted against the British and French and, by default, sided with Egypt. We took a stand.

To suggest, as Mr. Layton does, that we should pull out of the Afghan mission next year and return to our more "traditional" roles ignores one compelling fact. There will be no significant capability for any nation to carry out those "traditional" roles of nation-building in southern Afghanistan until those who are committed to stopping such undertakings are removed from the equation.

In other words, by leaving, we would be saying to the remaining 36 nations on the ground in Afghanistan, "Hey guys, this is getting pretty difficult. We have decided to leave and go home, but don't worry, when the rest of you have put down this insurrection and things are peaceful, we will return and offer our vastly superior skills in putting countries back together. So please, call us as soon as the shooting stops -- for good."

For all those who, like Mr. Layton, say the mission is imprecise, unclear, without an exit strategy, etc., let me disagree and say that to a NATO military commander the mission is crystal clear.

It is to leave Afghanistan as quickly as humanly possible -- having turned the security of the country over to competent Afghan military and police forces controlled in their efforts by a democratically elected national government. Sounds pretty clear to me.

Retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie was the first commander of United Nations peacekeeping forces in Sarajevo

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Boondock Saints 2: Coming Soon!!!

I can't pick one movie to be my favourite. There are so many to list. However near the top of the list would be The Bookdock Saints.

In first year of University we were obsessed with this movie. I watched it countless times and downloaded all the incredible music. I also downloaded all the songs from Troy Duffy's band, Boondock Saints. Too bad all that friendship went downhill after a big fight and Duffy being an asshole.

I have just heard (being very out of the loop of the movie world) that Boondock Saints 2 is looking like it's going to happen! Saaawweeeeeeeeet!! There are some legal bugs to work out, and most of the cast is returning (except Willem Dafoe :-( ) and they have funding from Fox. Here's an idea of the plot from Agent DVD:

Legal issues have stymied a much-desired Boondock sequel, titled All Saint’s Day. Five years have passed and the MacManus brothers are hiding in Ireland. When they’re framed for the murder of a priest back in Boston, the brothers return for vengeance.

Also, here's an interview with Norman Reedus:

DRE:How is Troy Duffy doing?

NR:He’s doing great man. I’m not really at liberty to say what the status of Boondock Saints is but I can say it’s good for the sequel. There was a whole lot of stuff that needed to get cleared up and he got it cleared up, which is great. But he’s doing really good. He just got this new house, he’s got a new car, he’s getting married. I just went over there for a barbecue last night.


DRE:Will you and Sean [Patrick Flanery] been the sequel?

NR:Yeah we will. We’re going to introduce a third saint who is helping us. I think [David Della] Rocco is coming back in a dream flashback. The script is really great. I know Troy has done a lot of changes on it but the last script I read was amazing.

Although the movie likely won't come out for a couple years, this is one movie I am willing to see opening day!

Of course I have to finish this post with:

And shepherds we shall be, for Thee My Lord for Thee. Power hath decended forth from Thy hand so our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command. And we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

Hat Tip: Robert Philips

Saturday, September 02, 2006

No Homework? Big Problem

I read this article about homework and was quite interested. Many of my colleagues in University want to be teachers, I don't, but this still interested me.

The author writes about two books she read that are about homework. Specifically, they are arguing against homework:

Both books cite studies, surveys, statistics, along with some hair-raising anecdotes, on how a rising tide of dull, useless assignments is oppressing families and making kids hate learning.
Most of that increase reflects bigger loads for little kids. An academic study found that whereas students ages 6 to 8 did an average of 52 min. of homework a week in 1981, they were toiling 128 min. weekly by 1997. And that's before No Child Left Behind kicked in. An admittedly less scientific poll of parents conducted this year for AOL and the Associated Press found that elementary school students were averaging 78 min. a night.
Too much homework brings diminishing returns. Cooper's analysis of dozens of studies found that kids who do some homework in middle and high school score somewhat better on standardized tests, but doing more than 60 to 90 min. a night in middle school and more than 2 hr. in high school is associated with, gulp, lower scores.
Educators, including Cooper, tend to defend homework by saying it builds study habits, self-discipline and time-management skills. But there's also evidence that homework sours kids' attitudes toward school.
Kohn's solution is radical: he wants a no-homework policy to become the default, with exceptions for tasks like interviewing parents on family history, kitchen chemistry and family reading.

The rule of thumb I have always known is 10 minutes per grade, which the article does cite. But I question the statistics and findings. For example, they state the average kid in elementary school having 78 minutes of homework per night.

How is this 78 minutes of homework measured?

From the start of sitting at the kitchen table, to the time that they put their books away?

I've tutored kids before and babysat many times. A kid can't do homework for 78 minutes straight. Hell, I probably couldn't do it without at least one break.

Another problem that leads to this much time spent on homework is, school classes have become larger, and thus teachers have less one-on-one time with students. I'm sure everyone remembers the one kid who always took up all the teachers' time.

Now I got by ok, because I was pretty smart and always a straight A student. In fact, I remember when the teacher finished teaching the lesson I would re-explain it to the kid next to be, because they didn't understand.

This growing ratio between students and teacher puts the onus on the parents at home to fill in the gaps, answer questions. But with dual-income families and running kids around to various after-school activities, at the end of the day, there is often not often the opportunity for a lot of quality time with your child. Instead it's spent fighting over homework.

I believe this could be reasons why homework seems to be taking 1-2 hours per night. I question the measurement of time spent on homework. A kid who gets straight As because they are on top of assignments and use their time wisely in the classroom likely doesn't take 2 hours on homework per night, while the kid who has trouble with reading or math, may have to ask siblings, parents or call a friend (or in this day in age, message a friend on MSN) for help, where I can see how it would take a student 1-2 hours to complete homework.

The authors of one of the books has a radical solution. Ban homework.

I haven't read these books, I don't have any children, and I'm not a teacher, and therefore have no qualifications to have an informed opinion on it. I can only reflect on my own experiences. I question the solution of banning homework.

What's going to happen once students are in high school or college/university? Learning can't always be done in the classroom. A child needs to learn time management and discipline on their own with homework. As long as the homework isn't busy work. There needs to be meaningful lessons, and actually point this out to students. You know, at the end of some story books you have 'The moral of the story". Well there also should be at the end of every single homework assignment "The lesson of the assignment". Homework cannot be just busy work because a teacher is too overwhelmed with being a social worker or too lazy to look outside their handbook/lesson plan guide.

I remember teachers changing the policies on late assignments. First, instead of losing 10 per cent per day for a late assignment. It was handed in one the due date or you get zero. (You could ask the teacher for an extention but never the day before it was due). Then it changed to you were not allowed to get a 0 (zero) and that you had until the last day of classes to hand everything in.

Homework isn't the enemy. Stupid busy work from the teacher is. As long as homework has a purpose I think it is still useful for students to complete.