Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tis the season! Merry merry.

The big day is tomorrow, the gifts are wrapped, we head out soon to Grandma Janet's house for lobster souffle. Mmm, lobster. She keeps threatening to stop making it, but happily has not made good on those threats.

I hear the pope has equated homosexuality with destruction of the rainforests. Hmmm. Is he equating trees with penises? Probably not - he doesn't want to cut down trees, but only wants penises up if they are ready to make babies. I still figure we got the go forth and multiply thing down quite well, thank you very much, and can move on to another goal. Love thy neighbour gets my vote. I love Christmas, despite being an atheist, but I do get annoyed at those who think their way is the only way.

Of course, that's what religions do - claim their way is the only way, so please tithe to us. Why are they all so down on gays? Why do celebate men in dresses seem so threatened by intercourse? What's wrong with birth control? Why do fundamentalists get so uptight about science, specifically evolution? How much wood could a wood chuch chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

So, tomorrow we will unwrap gifts under our pagan tree, eat turkey, enjoy being with our families and not go to church. Most of our traditions come from the pagans, celebrating the return of the light. Turns out a big party is way more appealing than a day in church. So happy solstice, enjoy whatever traditions you have. I will!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silly news

Our local paper has proclaimed the imminent arrival of snowmaggedon - even though the actual article notes we won't get much snow. This is our over the fold front page headline. Aren't there more, um, relevant and important stories to report? Like the proof that our friends to the south have a government that approved torture, at the highest levels?

Snowmaggedon is a fun word. Not headline-worthy unless we're actually getting above average amounts of snow, but fun. Torture is not a fun word. Are the editors trying to keep things light before Christmas?

Time to develop and market a "Free Lynddie England - Arrest Bush" t-shirt. You could have a whole series, given how many people in that horrific administration participated in approving torture.

The argument that torture could prevent a 9-11 is demonstrably false. Nothing prevents an individual being tortured from lying, and doing so convincingly, or telling partial truths that mislead. The evidence I've read shows any form of torture to result in individuals telling their abusers what the abusers want to hear - which isn't the same as providing reliable intelligence, the supposed goal of such heinous treatment.

The only good thing I can see about torture is that it lets us use many synonyms for really bad.


Did I mention wrong? It's that simple - torture is wrong. Always. In all situations. Are there degrees of wrong? Well, there are certainly degrees of culpability. Those authorizing and directing it may be more or less culpable than those carrying out orders, but I'd argue the more senior individuals should be held as ultimately accountable.

Free Lynddie! Arrest Bush! They executed individuals after WWII for the same tactics. I don't think execution is acceptable either, but prosecution is essential to start reinstating America as the leader of the free world. Right now it's a sorry pit of immorality at the highest levels. Thanks Shrub. Have a crappy Christmas. It's what you deserve.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'd like to apply for a job, please

Several attractive positions have recently opened, and I'd like to be considered for each of them, based on my qualifications.

1. Spouse of Madonna. I understand the last one worked for 8 years, and received total compensation of $95 million. My husband and I have agreed that we could share this job, which would allow us to provide superior service in meeting her needs.
2. Canadian Senator. There are 18 positions available, and I am applying for the Ontario based ones. My qualifications include Canadian citizenship, an ability to sound very indignant as required, willingness to participate as an unelected stuffed shirt, excellent literacy skills and superior bullshitting prowess.
3. US Senator from Illinois. Qualifications: I have absolutely no links to Blagojevich or Obama, therefore it would be a relatively scandal-free appointment. See 2 above for other qualifications, excluding the first one. I realize my lack of US citizenship could be solved if I am first given position 1.

Thank you for your kind consideration. I look forward to hearing from and working with you for obscene rates of compensation, totally incommensurate with my qualifications.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strikers of the world, untie!

I like words that, when misspelled, make other words. Call it inadvertent silliness. Unite and untie. Santa and Satan.

Isn't the word union about bringing things together? A union of heart and mind. But labour unions seem to be about division. Labour and management. Closed shop. Picket lines you can't cross. Our side and their side.

Unions have done great things in the past that brought us all benefits. Things like paid vacation. Paid sick leave. Not getting fired for not sleeping with the boss. Weekends. Health benefits. Pension plans. Working conditions that won't kill you. Clearly some of these are more important than others...but the least important reason I've heard is the right to pick your shifts. Um, if you're in a service industry, aren't the required hours dictated by the needs of those you are serving?

In this instance, the strikers are the bus drivers of Ottawa, a well-paid group by most accounts. 300 of the 2200 union members took the trouble to vote, and 98% of them elected to go on strike. Those 300 were largely senior union members, who are the ones who get first pick at...choosing their shifts! So now all of their colleagues are unpaid, in the cold and likely to be subject to abuse once the buses return to service. How can only 300 people vote, in a matter that directly and immediately impacts them? Was it hard to vote? Was it an open ballot, so only those in favour of strike action felt comfortable voting? Did you have to vote in some odd location? I smell something fishy. Old fishy. Old, smelly, mercury-laden fishy.

In the interim, I have combined car pooling, abandoning husband carless and walking to reach my place of employment. My daughter missed a day of school, but that's because we were snowed in - and quite frankly, a day of school missed isn't going to impact her. She has a long walk home. The boys walk both ways, as mommy stole the car. I was late for work, as I had to drop off dd (darling daughter) at school, and she had to do her hair before we could leave.

Things the strike has impacted for me personally.
1. 3 hours late to work yesterday - scrounged ride from neighbour
2. Scrounged ride most of way home yesterday, long walk on unplowed sidewalks
3. 1/2 hour late today, long walk from parking spot in cold weather (yes, I'm being a wimp)
4. Burned an extra 3 litres of fuel, contributing additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. I don't think that's why it's raining on Monday, but still...
5. My children walking long distances when traffic is heavy

They really need to change some rules around striking. One has to be that a legitimate strike vote requires a minimum level of participation - greater than 14% - in addition to a majority of those voting. 300 out of 2200 is ridiculous. I'm sure most of those less-senior drivers would like the senior driver perks, but they may also want a paycheque before Christmas. Unions. They should rename them dividers, that's what they do.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Conservatives step in own rhetoric

They didn't like the smell and are trying to wash it out, but the odour remains...

Our minority government, elected just a few short weeks ago, has SNAFU'd mightily. Harper asked for an election, claiming parliament was unworkable. Well, he's now guaranteed it'll be unworkable. He failed in his bid for a majority, despite a truly lame duck liberal leader, and now may lose his leadership as well as his position as PM. Such fun!

Pundits everywhere are thanking the Harper led government for a wealth of material, possibly leading to larger paycheques in the holiday season. Not enough to stimulate the economy, and certainly not the stimulus Harper may have planned, but far more enjoyable to watch than, say, bridge repairs.

Ottawa's actually had not one, but two bridge repairs broadcast live on TV. And people say this city is dull.

I wonder if Harper's idiocy and arrogance will hurt him as much as the expression "wide stance" hurt Republicans? Amazing what you can learn from conservatives. I had no idea airport washrooms were a hotbed of sexuality. Clearly I haven't lived.

I wonder if the coalition looking to replace the minority government will realize what they are getting themselves into? You'll have 3 parties, 2 of which could never form a government, 1 of which is hated outside Quebec, led by a leader best remembered as the guy a puffin pooped on in a commercial. They can't possibly increase their support under those conditions, can they? Even if the liberals manage to elect a new leader that has some credibility (Ignatief, please), that isn't likely before May as they seem too rigidly organized to figure out something sooner. By May, Dion, Layton and Duceppe could become 3 of the least liked figures in Canada, assuming they last that long. Dion looks beyond smug in the latest photos. He has nothing to lose. Neither does Layton. Or Duceppe, either, really.

Our government is revolting! No, really, it is absolutely revolting. Thanks for the entertainment. I'd far rather read about this than criminals furthering their political ends through murder.

Good news on the stock markets - a 10% loss is hardly worth anything!

On the home front - we have Wii'd. Now we need to balance. And that can wait until after the shopping insanity ends. Next acquisition? RC Skunk. Connor has decided he needs one. Why?

I bought silly pens. They are intended to be impossible to borrow. One claims to be from a pedophilia clinic - from perv to normal in 30 days! The rest aren't as funny. Here are some thoughts on pens I wouldn't want to borrow:

1. Fungal infection clinic - clear up those nasty sores fast!
2. Free STD testing, open 24 hours a day! Drop in and drop your pants anytime.
3. Laxative lovers anonymous. Free group enema sessions nightly.

Insult of the day - evidential idiot. Can be used accurately for creationists and intelligent design "theorists", or anyone who uses the word theory when they clearly mean hypothesis.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Silliness is the opposite of insanity

There's too much insanity in the world. Look at Mumbai/Bombay, where it looks like religious whackjobs have decided their ideology is more important than people's lives. I think they should be called thugs and criminals, not terrorists - terrorism has an appeal that criminality may lack.

On the silliness side, our brilliant government has decided that if they can't win a majority government following the rules, they'll change the rules and starve the opposition of cash. This is their response to the worldwide economic fiasco. It'll save all of $20 million every 4 years or so. And, not inconsquentially, make it more likely they'll win the next election with an actual majority government, as they have proved far better at fundraising. Now, I think the opposition should focus on getting better at fundraising, it's not like setting up a website that accepts donations is beyond today's technology, but they also need to shape up as who in their right mind would support a lame duck leader like Dion?

Is religion, on the whole, bad? Hard to decide, and it really shouldn't be given all religions claim to teach goodness. So at the least religion is one justification people can use to do bad things. There are others - I disagree with atheists who claim religion is the sole cause of much evil, like the inquisition, holocaust, war, etc. If it hadn't been religious differences, the whackos among us would have found other justifications. Mao and Stalin used political ideology. I can't make ideology silly right now. Some ideologies are silly, but their practitioners tend to cause too much harm.

OK, I will try to make ideology silly.

Conservative ideology - government is bad. Vote for me.
Liberal ideology - it's not your fault. Unless you're a conservative.
Creationist ideology - I didn't evolve! Try not to agree, please.
Fundamentalist Islam ideology - women are too hot, so we wrap them in cloth. Does this mean they acknowledge their penises are stronger than their willpower?
Papal ideology - I am infallible. So were my predecessors. But I'm sorry about the whole Galileo thing. And the concordat with the Nazis. Bad connection to our boss, I guess.

Fingers crossed, India and Pakistan will work together to root out criminal wimps bent on attacking civilians to make a point.

Insult of the day: Nipple totalitarian (for a breast feeding fanatic - and yes, boob is best, and I am glad those days are well behind me).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More snow!

The white stuff continues to fall, albeit slowly. Cheers me right up, it does.

The "holiday season" is upon us. Lots of midwinter festivities coincide with the winter solstice, which makes sense as you need a big party to celebrate the return of light. Celebrate what you want, but it all started when we got fed up with the dark and partied when we saw the days were getting longer, even if only by a couple of minutes.

I know where Christmas and many of its symbols come from - the tree, the manger, Santa, gifts, lights. But where does the Easter Bunny come from? The holiday marks a state execution and subsequent miraculous revival and physical liftoff into skyland. Where do we get a bunny hiding chocolate eggs from that? Did Jesus hide eggs in his tomb? Did he breed rabbits at any time? I thought he was a carpenter. Clearly my theological shortcomings are significant.

I keep meaning to read the bible. But the beginning is really dull. Genesis. All that begetting. I think the only thing we've achieved from that old and often miserably translated book is the go forth and multiply bit. That we proved really good at. Time to move away from that, and onto something useful, like treating people well. Assuming you want to follow an old book, which many seem to inclined to do. I am also ideologically impaired. I like silliness, but it's not exactly an ideology. I dislike ideologues. Thinking is better than reacting based on dogma or ideology. In my opinion. Which is, as noted, uninformed by theological or biblical knowledge. I do, however, possess a high degree of knowledge on Monty Python skits and movies. So I know about the killer rabbit, just not the Easter one. The killer one is a lot funnier, and you don't have to spend a small fortune every Spring buying stuff to convince small children that a giant rabbit snuck into the house and hid eggs.

This is the first year all my kids are skeptical of Santa. My youngest can't figure out the logistics. How many people live in the world? He visits them all? The same night? How? He's always been a skeptic.

Silly things people do because of ideology.

1. Tell men in dresses bad things they've done.
2. Communion - tell me it isn't ritualistic pseudo cannibalism.
3. Funny hats. What religion doesn't have them? Hats, headgear, whatever - it seems popular.

Asshat is one of my favourite insults, although I've never used it. I just like how it sounds. Asshat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I realize, given the title of this blog, it should perhaps be psnow, but there is a line between silly and stoopid which that crosses.

It is snowing. I love snow. More is better, even though I hate driving in the stuff. I paid over $1,500 last year in snow-related car repairs, and that was without any collisions. Did you know - and I didn't - that if you overheat your engine by repeatedly spinning your tires, you can crack the manifold? This results in a very bad smell as coolant leaks all over the snow/ice/meltwater from spinning tires. It also results in a very expensive car repair - even more expensive than that miraculous invention, the snow tire. I do know snow tires work. I just didn't buy any. See fourth last word in first sentence for how this should be discribed.

Lines I really like:
Republicans only care about children until the cord is cut. (from Margaret and Helen's blog)
The reasonable man seeks to adapt himself to suit the world. The unreasonable man seeks to adapt the world to suit himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. (Shaw)
There's no proof anywhere that life was meant to be serious. (I forget, and will look it up)
Sir, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea. (Lady Aster)
Madam, if I were your husband, I'd drink it. (Sir Winston Churchill)

Oh, to have a mind that quick! It must make life fun. And frustrating.

Now for some economic predictions for 2009. If you wish to use these to make money, take the direct route - send it to your favourite charity, then invest the tax refund in government bonds or, better still, your highest-interest debt.

1. The markets will go up, and down, and people will freak out either way.
2. The US will run a big deficit. Really big.
3. My request for a bailout will be declined. Apparently I am not too big to fail. Should I give up exercise?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Psyllium, psychiatrists, psst

I have nothing more to say about running, particularly about my running, and really I just don't have enough to say on any one topic to have a specific blog.

My head is pulled 2 ways now.

1. The economy sucks, so Christmas is a frivolous expense
2. I have kids, Christmas is not optional

The kids want items approaching the GDP of a small country - really small, like Lichtenstein. But well beyond my willingness or ability to fund. What is a peavey amp? Why is it better than the one we bought last year at the pawn shop? Isn't the guitar loud enough now? And how is a distortion pedal different from a wah-wah pedal different from the knobby bits on the guitar that should have some function? Do philosophers ask themselves these questions, or just tell their offspring to piss off?

The middle child wants a Wii. Wii wii wii all the way home. A Wii seems kind of cool, but we already have a PS2 with Guitar Hero and Rock Band. And other games I don't play, but they seem to capture much of his time and effort. Unlike school, which captures his attention only when he is forcibly confined in a desk - now immediately in front of the teacher, as she has figured out his ability to do as little as possible while seeming quite diligent. I can see his future CV:

Serious rock drummer seeks low-input employment to fund video game habit.

Some grade 7 done

Able to work under constant supervision, if nagged continually
Kick ass drumming skills

Does this sound like a child who deserves a Wii? Do any of us deserve a Wii, when 40% of the world's population lacks even a basic latrine? Yet somehow I can't envision my children's faces lit up with joy at the knowledge that mummy spent the Christmas money on outhouses for slum dwellers in the Congo.

I once seriously considered purchasing a sheep for a village in my husband's name. That was back when our daughter called him Daaaaaad. He's the only man I know whose instinct, when given the choice between finishing a beer and chasing a sheep, is to choose the latter. Really, in our neighbourhood it should never be a choice, it's not like we live in the country, yet he did end up chasing and tackling a sheep that had escaped its owner/future BBQ chef. And he did injure himself most seriously, and there was much laughing. So for a while anything sheep themed was funny.

Zoe has requested a chicken in her name for a village. Not as an alternative to a gift, as an additional one. My aunt has decided to help the poor. She is extremely rich, so this should not have been a recent decision for her. She has decided to help the poor by telling us all to buy our children livestock for the third world. I don't know what she wants us to buy her - wool sweaters instead of cashmere?

To Wii or nNot to Wii, that is my question.
Whether tis nobler to provide foodstuffs for starving children or, in the name of greed, purchase it?

I am now plagiarizing from myself. Exerpt from e-mail sent, expressing the thought that perhaps my children would accept poetry in lieu of gifts.

Ode to a 9 year old boy on Christmas morn.
Oh Westley, how the sun doth reflect off the snow and make thy cheeks sparkle. How the tears from the giftless tree gleam in the morning light. Oh, how thy does dentest the floor with thy rage, tis truly a sight to behold.