Monday, June 30, 2008

Two Sad Days In The Blogosphere ...

The date was Friday, June 27, 2008.

The day that LT G posted about "A Tactical Pause" - the day when LT G told us that, as he put it, due to a rash posting on his part "and decisions made above [his] pay-grade", he had been ordered to stop posting on Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal, effective immediately. No, not the much feared OPSEC violation, but rather "a series of extenuating circumstances" the result of which was his May 28th post entitled “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” not going through "the normal vetting channels."

In the words of LT G

It’s totally on me, as it was too much unfiltered truth. I’m a soldier first, and orders are orders. So it is.
LT G was always very careful not to violate OPSEC, you see, with a disclaimer on the blog advising, in part,

And no worries, Spooks. The author is not going to shatter the crystal vase that is OPSEC, because his CO proofs everything that is posted. He thinks the author is special, but in a very different way than Momma G thinks the author is special.
So go read the offending post. If you dare. Too much truth, indeed.

The second sad day was today, Friday, June 20, 2008.

The day that City Girl, LT G's newly-minted fiance, told us that LT G got the order from his chain-of-command to delete his blog. No longer posting wasn't good enough. And the pause apparently was more than tactical. And although City Girl's kind offer to do her best to keep all his loyal readers up-to-date on the happenings of LT G and the Gravediggers is much appreciated, it doesn't change my initial thoughts when I first read of this ...

Major Suck. Major Foul.

LT G always said that the purpose of his blog was to serve as a means of communication between himself and his family and friends. But if it brought "a bit of clarity to the American people about Iraq, the nature of soldiering, or war in general, that'd be pretty cool, too". I have no hesitation in telling the LT' that his secondary objective was clearly and cleanly accomplished. And not just for the American people.

I was first put on to Kaboom by FbL at Fuzzilicious Thinking. And was almost immediately hooked. As I commented on more than one occasion, his writing gives gave an amazing window on what's happening in Iraq that most people just would not have had without his blog. It's really too bad that his superiors weren't smart enough to see the value and importance of that. Because it's a real loss, not just for the blogosphere, but also for the American military and what they're trying to accomplish in Iraq.

So soldier on, LT G. Stay safe and keep your men safe. Keep on writing. And never, ever lose your slightly off-centre take on life that, ironically, seems to give you such clarity.

And please know that many will be thinking of you. And missing you.

Update: So the good LT G is now Capt. G. The plot thickens ...

Just So You Know

We've taken a lot of heat lately concerning the Mark Steyn/MacLeans human rights complaint. So I thought it was only right to let you know.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission dismissed a hate speech complaint against Maclean's magazine on Friday in a decision the complainants blamed on "inappropriate political pressure."
Just to be clear, that would be the complaint claiming that an article written by Mark Steyn, entitled "The Future Belongs to Islam", made a number of statements and assertions that were likely to expose Muslims to hatred or contempt.

So, in other words, the system can and does work, as I've said before.

For those interested, you can find the Commission's entire decision here, courtesy of MacLeans. As best as I can tell, a decision has not yet been rendered in the British Columbia case. You know, the one that was live blogged. So for that, we wait.

Funny, though, I almost think that many will be disappointed in the result, despite protesting otherwise. The last thing in the world they want to do is admit that the human rights system can and usually does often work properly. No, they want the worst possible, most outrageous, decisions. To prove their supposed point and have more ammunition in their fight to scrap the entire system. Because, just as many might argue that the complainants in the Steyn/MacLean's complaint had their own agenda, they too have an agenda at play.

Which is why I think that perhaps something else good has come out of this controversy. Apparently an independent review of the Commission's approach to hate speech on the Internet has been launched by the Commission's chief commissioner, Jennifer Lynch.

And I actually think that is a very good thing:

And so the debate Elmasry sparked has become less about media attitudes toward Islam and more about the balance between free speech and hate speech, and whether Canada's federal and provincial human rights commissions can rightly weigh it.
The last time Canada's human rights hate speech law was examined in depth was before the advent of the Internet, in a 1990 Supreme Court of Canada decision about the operator of a neo-Nazi phone-line. In that case, the prohibition on messages that are "likely to expose" identifiable groups to hatred or contempt was judged to be a reasonable limit on the Charter guarantee of freedom of expression. But the extension of the law from telephone lines to the Internet in 2001 has resulted in a whole new ballgame.

So, let's give it a look, says I. Give it a tweak here and there. Even overhaul the entire system if need be. So that it continues to work as advertised. Namely, to protect the rights of all Canadians not to be discriminated against on the enumerated grounds. But for those with a problem with even the concept that the government should have a role to play in protecting individuals from being discriminated against, too bad says I.

Oh yeah, about that "inappropriate political pressure" comment ...

Faisal Joseph, lawyer for the CIC, said the dismissal was predictable, given the political climate and the campaign against the commissions themselves.

"We are not surprised at the decision in light of the inappropriate political pressure that has been brought to bear on the commission and that has prompted the commission to set up an internal review of its procedures under (the hate speech section of the Human Rights Act)," he said.

Well, I guess that's not surprising, I suppose. After all, they always say the best defence is a good offence.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smile, Ethel ... and Oscar

Came across something rather cool in yesterday's Chronicle Herald ... a pair of ospreys (Ethel and Oscar) and their lone offspring online with their own personal webcam. They make their home near a lake somewhere within the Halifax Regional Municipality. Apparently, despite the webcam, these little twitters would still like to maintain their privacy.

This is mom and dad's second season online. Last year they laid three eggs, but the smallest chick was killed five days later and an owl killed the remaining two weeks before they would have taken their first flight. Talk about reality programming - many watched the sad event happen online. We're all wishing the family better luck this year.

You might want to share it with your own young'uns. Let their imagination take flight, so to speak. But it can take a while to get the signal so just be patient.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We're Famous

There's been quite a few movies filmed in Nova Scotia over the past few years, from Simon Birch and Dolores Claiborne filmed in Lunenburg, Pit Pony and New Waterford Girl filmed in, of course, New Waterford, Outlander, K-19: The Widowmaker and even portions of Titanic. The latest?


Filming was going on this past Sunday in a farmer's field in (very) nearby Blomodin. Beautiful spot that. Apparently Hilary Swank (as Amelia) was on the set but, alas, Richard Greer (as her husband) was nowhere to be found.

Then they were off to to Convocation Hall at Acadia University in Wolfville. The building filled in for an eastern United States college where Ms. Earhart made a presentation in 1928. Since all the buildings in that quad were built around that time and still have the original chairs, staging, all the woodwork and atmosphere (including a light fixture on the main floor which was a gift from the class of 1928) it should, indded, be the perfect fit.

We're famous, I tell ya. Famous.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Believe ...

... in guardian angels.

Really. I do. Well, okay, not really. Or I should say, not that way. It's not like I'm an airy-fairy kind of person.

But when it comes to Mom ... yeah. Most definitely. I do.

Last November I relayed the story of our little adventure when Mom came home from a trip to my brother's. And how when I picked her up at the airport, she fell. Twice. Outside. In the parking lot. At night. When I was by myself with her. In the dark. Dead weight. Yeah, that was fun.

But the amazing part was the man who came from nowhere and picked mom up. We got her across the roadway and she went down again. So he picked her up again and we got her sitting on one of the concrete abutments. He suggested that I get the car and bring it to them. Before I could really contemplate the dilemma of leaving mom with this stranger, no matter how helpful he had been, an older couple appeared literally out of nowhere wanting to help. So I left mom with the three of them and got the car. Guardian angels, all three of them, I tell ya.

I had my latest experience yesterday. In the past few weeks Mom's balance and walking have gotten really bad. I mean really, really bad. And I suddenly realized on Thursday that she needed a wheelchair. If not a wheelchair, most definitely a walker. We had already picked her up once off the floor once when she fell in the middle of the night. And I was seriously afraid of her falling again.

I was discussing this with one of the home care nurses yesterday when she told me that she had a walker which someone had left her and she lends out to people when they need it. Not only could we borrow it but she would bring it to me after work that night. Which was really very, very nice of her. Especially when you consider that she lives about a half an hour's drive from us and after working all day, she went home, got the walker and brought it back to us.

And thank the Lord she did. It's a really nice walker, one of those quite expensive ones with the seat on it. Which, in case anyone was wondering, works quite well as a wheelchair even though it wasn't quite meant to be used that way. But it was an absolute life-saver last night. And this morning. And today.

I am going to have to bite the bullet and put Mom back in the hospital. She fell again this morning (trying to get out of bed) and had me up a lot last night. Because I am the only one in the house who can help with her personal care when home care isn't here. As in I had to leave in the middle of my grocery shopping today to come home and help her. If you get my drift. And it's already killing my back. I knew that eventually Mom would become 'total care' but I never believed it would happen so quickly. But I guess I can only do what I do can do.

Still, my point is ... guardian angels. For my Mom and I. Thank the Lord.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


They say justice is blind. Or at least she is suppose to be. But I'm pretty sure if you took a poll, you would find that the majority of people believe otherwise.

Back in February, I wrote about Karissa Paige Bourdreau, a 12 year old girl from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia whose body was found outside of town, by the side of the river. At the time, the police were tight-lipped on the details, only saying it was murder.

I was astounded at the quick spread of rumours as to what, exactly, might have happened to Karissa. Many were sure that her mother, Penny, was to blame. Even with no objective evidence from any credible source to that effect. People seemed to think that they just "knew". I reluctantly admitted that perhaps, unthinkably, we might eventually find out there was some truth to these rumours but that without one iota of credible evidence, I refused to even consider such a thing.

Fast forward four months. Karissa's mother has been charged with the first degree murder of her daughter.

The latest rumour? That Mom's live-in boyfriend, Vernon Macumber, will also be charged. This despite the fact that the police are saying that they aren't looking at any more suspects and that both the boyfriend and Karissa's father will be key Crown witnesses.

They say that a mother killing a child as old as 12 is almost unheard of in Canada. Martin Daly is a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. He said he and his wife, fellow psychologist and professor Margo Wilson, were taken aback when they heard Penny Boudreau had been arrested and charged with killing her daughter Karissa.
There are just a handful of murders of children by their mothers in Canada each year, he said. About half of those involve infants killed in their first year of life, "and these are perpetrated primarily by poor, young, single women who have no social supports and didn’t want to be pregnant."

Most of the remaining murders involve preschool-aged children.

Mr. Daly said those are mainly carried out by severely depressed or even delusional women and often as part of a suicide in which the mother may think she is rescuing her child.

"The incidence of homicides by genetic parents of either sex, but especially by mothers, diminishes steadily with the child’s age, such that cases involving victims over about six or eight years of age are almost vanishingly rare," he said.

Mr. Daly said it is also unusual, though not unheard of, for a killer to try to cover up a murder and pretend to be distraught. And when that happens, he said, it tends to be in cases where either the father killed the child or both parents acted together.
Well, if nothing else, Penny can certainly put on a good show. She was publicly and openly heartbroken when Karissa first went missing. As any parent would be. And equally distraught, apparently, at her recent court appearance.

So what happened?

I recently heard someone question why, if Penny hadn't "wanted the kid", she hadn't just given her to her father? As I understand it, Karissa's parents were divorced and she had been living with her father. It was only within the past year that she had moved in with her mother.
Mr. Daly and Ms. Wilson wrote that "psychological studies of murderers have repeatedly found a much higher proportion of insane killers among those who murder kin than among those who kill non-relatives" and that "it does appear that identifiable psychiatric syndromes are relatively prevalent among killers of kin."
It strikes me that we may never know the whole story as to what really happened, why Karissa's life was ended so tragically at such a young age. But I do know that if and when this matter ever proceeds to trial, there won't just be a family or a community closely watching. There will be an entire province, even a large part of the country trying to figure out what really happened.

In the meantime, I can only repeat my earlier thoughts.
Sleep peacefully, Karissa. And to your family, friends and schoolmates, my deepest sympathies. And my sympathies to all of us who live in a world where we could possibly think, even for a moment, that Karissa might have met her death at the hands of her parents.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Tale of a Lunenburg Teen

Jordan Corkum is 17 years old. He doesn't spend his weekends at the local Mall, at the beach or even hanging out with friends. In fact, he doesn't spend his weekends doing much of anything. And his summer is looking the same way ... pretty bleak. Why?

Jordan is in a wheelchair. And his mom doesn't have access to a wheelchair accessible van. Or any other vehicle for that matter. So Jordan's outings are limited to walks. For as far as and in whatever direction his mom can push him in his wheelchair.

But thanks to Jordan's bus driver, the family might just get some much-needed help.
Lisa Tanner, who drives Jordan’s bus, has spent every school day with the Cor­kums for the last year. But it wasn’t until Ms. Tanner had a conversation with the Corkums about her weekend that she really understood what life is like for them. “I was talking about running my three kids around here and there and I mentioned the beach or something and said have you been there lately," said Ms. Tanner. “She was . . . no and that happened a few times when I would mention places, and then it donned on me. They don’t get to go anywhere and that’s not right, so I decided then and there that we’re getting them a van."

Ms. Tanner has been on a mission.

Her goal is to raise enough money to buy the family a good, used wheelchair ­accessible van.

After several fundraisers, about $8,000 has been raised, which Ms. Tan­ner said is good, but nowhere near the $20,000 she expects that she needs for the purchase.
“I really wanted to have this for them by this summer, but I guess as long as we do get it eventually, I’ll certainly be happy," she said.

"She’s a very dedicated mom who’s doing this all on her own, so she really just needs a break. She hasn’t had an easy go of it and she deserves some help."

Ms. Corkum said she is trying not to get her hopes up but can’t help day­dreaming about the simple things, like going to the beach or even just taking Jordan to the Bridgewater Mall for the afternoon so he can hang out.

“It would make Jordan’s quality of life so much better," she said. “He’s like a shut-in and he’s only 17. He sees the same four walls and the same two faces way too much. He’s already missed out on so much and there are so many sim­ple things that he just shouldn’t be mis­sing out on."
There is a trust fund set up called Wheels for Jordan Corkum at TD Cana­da Trust for donations. And although more fundraisers are planned, help is needed to keep the momen­tum going.

Two thoughts come to find.

First of all, thank God for the kindness of virtual strangers whose eyes can be opened to really see the lives of others and what role they might play in helping them.

And but for the grace of God ... one thing I've learned living in the world of disabilities is that no matter how bad you might think you have it, you can always find someone living in a more difficult situation. All you need to do is open your eyes, stop gazing into your navel and really look around you.

So if you consider yourself, your children, your family to be 'lucky' in the grand scheme of things, maybe there's something you can do to help Jordan and his family. Maybe even help him make his very first trip to the beach. All you need to do is make a trip to your nearest TD Canada Trust office.

If the spirit so moves you ...

Monday, June 16, 2008

They Are The Champions

We had the pleasure of attending the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Provincial Games this past weekend. And what a pleasure it was!

It was absolutely impossible not to join in the fun. The smiles and laughter of the athletes is completely contagious. You can't help but look at them and smile.

They have an amazing spirit and, to me, the Games are the best example of what true sportsmanship really should be. Sure, everyone cheers like crazy for their favourite athlete or team, but it's not all over, time to go home once gold, silver and bronze have placed. The cheering and applause continues unabated for fourth, fifth and sixth ... even seven, eighth and ninth ... no matter how much longer it might take for the last athlete to reach the finish line.

That spirit is perhaps best summed up in the athletes' oath:
Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
That old Queen song, 'We Are The Champions' kept playing over and over in my head this weekend. And with good reason. They, each and everyone of them, truly were are the champions. And I, as a spectator, was honoured to share their weekend.

You can find a short history of how the Special Olympics came to Canada here. I am just so grateful that did.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I've been tagged. Twice in the same day, it would seem. By both Sara at Balancing Act and Kris from Reflections by Kris.

Ah, friends, what would I do without them?

The rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?
Umm, would you believe that I have absolutely no idea?
Let's see. The girls were 10 and 7 years old. And I, no doubt, was running around in circles pulling my hair out. Working part-time at two different jobs, one for a lawyer and the second for the Barristers' Library. Other than that, I have nary a clue.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
Get my mother to the nursing home where she will be spending the weekend.
Get the Blue Jay to her neuro appointment.
Get everyone else packed to go away for the weekend.
Make an appointment for the Blue Jay to get new orthotics (not going to get done today)
Get to bed early for once ... ha ha

What are five snacks you enjoy?
Just about anything chocolate
Lays BBQ chips

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
Travel. Travel. And travel some more.
Give lots and lots of money to various charities ... hey, I'm a billionaire, I can afford to!
Take flying lessons
Take up hang gliding
Start up a law practice dealing exclusively with legal issues faced by people with special needs

What are five of your bad habits?
Too much time on the 'puter ~ fortunately, I don't actually blog at work, I only read blogs while working
Not calling my friends often enough
Not getting to bed early enough
Being impatient with my kids
Trying to do too much

What are five places where you have lived?
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Calgary Alberta
Sydney Nova Scotia
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

What are five jobs you’ve had?
Daycare worker
Cashier at Woolco
Articling in a law firm
Associate lawyer with my best friend from law school
Legal Analyst

Who, who, who shall I tag?
Who shall my victim be?

Punky D at Take Five
FbL at Fuzzilicious Thinking
Gerri at Absolutely True
Rick Lax at Lawyer Boy
Mother of Shrek

Well, I'm off to wreck havoc in the lives of these poor unsuspecting souls, heh.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too Good Not To Share

John LeSieur's six year old grandson has autism. And like many parents, grandparents and caregivers of such children, Mr. LeSieur felt that his grandson was more capable than he sometimes appeared to be. In fact, he felt that with the right tools, Zac could and would want to use the Internet. Being a software designer, he decided to design that tool.

Meet the Zac Browser!
The Zac Browser greatly simplifies the experience of using a computer. It seals off most Web sites from view, to block violent, sexual or otherwise adult-themed material. Instead it presents a hand-picked slate of choices from free, public Web sites, with an emphasis on educational games, music, videos and visually entertaining images, like a virtual aquarium.

Other programs for children already offer that "walled garden" approach to the Web. But LeSieur's browser aims to go further: It essentially takes over the computer and reduces the controls available for children like Zackary, who finds too many choices overwhelming.

For example, the Zac Browser disables extraneous keyboard buttons like "Print Screen" and turns off the right button on the mouse. That eliminates commands most children don't need anyway, and it reduces the chance an autistic child will lose confidence after making a counterproductive click.

Children using the Zac Browser select activities by clicking on bigger-than-normal icons, like a soccer ball for games and a stack of books for "stories." The Zac Browser also configures the view so no advertisements or other flashing distractions appear.

"We're trying to avoid aggressive or very dark or complicated Web sites, because it's all about self-esteem," LeSieur said from Las Vegas, where he lives. "If they're not under control, they will get easily frustrated."
The best part is that through the generosity of Mr. LeSieur, the Zac Browser can be downloaded or run directly from this site for free.

That's not to say that the Zac Browser will work for every autistic child. The autism spectrum is so wide that a particular pattern of abilities or impairments experienced by one autistic person might be reversed in another. However, the approach of limiting distractions and using the software as a confidence-boosting tool would certainly appear to be on the right track as many autistic children tend to do best with educational materials that make unnecessary stimuli fade from view.

I found it interesting that the Washington Post article noted that some autistic children enjoy Webkinz, where kids care for virtual pets. Not surprising to me, others find chat rooms and instant-messaging a lower-anxiety way of socializing than talking to someone in person.

One HUGE advantage is that the Zac browser is free, while many assertive technologies cost upward of $5,000 and work only on specialized devices. Ask any parent, put the label of "special needs" on anything and the cost astronomically sky rocket. So thanks Mr. LeSieur. Bravo Zulu.

But that we all had we had access to software designing grandparents!

H/T to Pipecleaner Dreams

Humour For Lexophiles

  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

  • Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
  • Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
  • To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
  • The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
  • When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
  • The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.
  • The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.
  • The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
  • A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.
  • A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
  • A wi ll is a dead giveaway.
  • A backward poet writes inverse.
  • A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
  • With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
  • A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in linoleum blownapart.
  • A calendar's days are numbered.
  • A boiled egg is hard to beat.
  • If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
  • When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
  • Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One Armed Wallpaper Hanger Person

Yep, that's me ... busier than a one armed wallpaper hanger.

Or so it seems at the moment, anyway. Heck, you know it's getting bad when you don't even have a day to go to work next week.

The Blue Jay only goes for follow-up appointments at the IWK twice a year now. Which is a hell of a lot better than how it use to be. But what are the chances that one of those appointments would be scheduled in the same week as her every second year neuropsych testing? I tried to call and reschedule the neuropsych testing. No problem, I was told. She could have another appointment in six months. Uh huh. Maybe not.

So we're off to the big city come Sunday to spend the night at the house built by the red-headed clown. In town (hopefully without the clown) all day Monday. Back in Thursday for the second appointment. And then back again Friday for the weekend. Special Olympics, you know. Very cool that. This kid swims like a fish.

Not to be outdone, Kit Kat has her dance recital this weekend. One show Saturday and two on Sunday. Sure. I will get right on that.

But hopefully somewhere in the midst of all that, I might get a chance to post on something semi-interesting. After all, hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

This Is Your Drinking Horoscope

ARIES (Mar 21- Apr 19)
Drinking style: Impulsive Aries people like to party and sometimes don't know when to call it a night. Their competitive streak makes them prone to closing-time shot contests. They're sloppy, fun drunks, and they get mighty flirty after a couple of tripples. Getting Aries people drunk is a good way to get what you want out of them, should other methods fail. Aries can become bellicose when blotto, but they will assume that whatever happened should be forgiven (if not forgotten) by sunrise. They can be counted on to do the same for you -- so long as you haven't gone and done anything really horrible to them last night, you sneaky Gemini.

TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20)
Drinking style: Taurus prefers to drink at a leisurely pace, aiming for a mellow glow rather than a full-on zonk. Since a truly intoxicated Taurus is a one-person stampede, the kind of bull-in-a-china-shop inebriate who spills red wine on white carpets and tells fart jokes to employers, the preference for wining and dining (or Bud and buddies) to body shots and barfing is quite fortunate for the rest of us. This is not to say that the Bull is by any means a teetotaler -- god, no. A squiffy Taurus will get, er, gregarious (full of loudmouth soup, some would say) and is extremely amusing to drag to a karaoke bar when intoxicated.

GEMINI (May 21 - Jun 21)
Drinking style: Gemini's can drink without changing their behavior much-- they're so naturally chatty and short-attention-spanned that it's just hard to tell sometimes. They can amaze you by conversing with finesse and allusion, then doing something unbelievable in an extremely
advanced state of intoxication, like puking in your shoe. Gemini's possess the magic ability to flirt successfully (and uninfuriatingly, which is very tricky) with several people at once. They like to order different cocktails every round -- repetition is boring -- and may create a theme (like yellow drinks: beer, sauvignon blanc and limoncello) for their own amusement.

CANCER (Jun 22 - Jul 22)
Drinking style: Cancer is a comfort drinker -- and an extra wine with dinner or an after-work beer or six can be extra comforting, can't it, Cancer darling? Like fellow water signs Scorpio and Pisces, Crabs must guard against lushery. Cancers are brilliant at ferreting out secret parties and insinuating themselves on VIP lists -- and, in true Hollywood style, Cancers are never really drunk; instead, they get "tired and emotional" (read: weepy when lubricated). But there's
nothing better than swapping stories (and spit) over a few bottles of inky red wine with your favorite Cancer. Even your second-favorite Cancer will do. The sign also rules the flavor vanilla, and you'd be adored if you served up a vanilla vodka and soda.

LEO (Jul 23 - Aug 22)
Drinking style: Leo likes to drink and dance -- they're often fabulous dancers, and usually pretty good drinkers as well, losing their commanding dignity and turning kittenish. Of course, they're quite aware they're darling - Leos will be Leos, after all. They generally know their limit, probably because they loathe losing self-control. When they get over-refreshed, expect flirting to ensue -- and perhaps not with the one who brought them. But Leo's not the type to break
rules even when drunk, so just try to ignore it (try harder, Cancer) and expect a sheepish (and hung over) Lion to make it up to you the next day.

VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sept 22)
Drinking style: Cerebral Virgos are compelled to impose order onto their bender. Their famously fussy quest for purity could lead to drinking less than other signs, sure -- but it could also lead to drinking booze neat, to sucking down organic wine or just to brand loyalty. They
rarely get fully shellacked -- but, oh, when they do! Virgo's controlled by the intellect, but there's an unbridled beast lurking within, and they let it loose when walloped. It's dead sexy (and
surprisingly unsloppy). As one Virgo friend used to declare, "I'm going to drink myself into a low level of intelligence tonight." A toast to the subgenius IQ!

LIBRA (Sept 23 - Oct 23)
Drinking style: "I'm just a social drinker," slurs Libra, "it's justthat I'm so damn social." Libra loves nothing more than to party, mingle and relate to everyone. Whether dipped in favor of Good Libra (with Insta-Friend device set to "on") or heavier on the Evil Libra side (they are little instigators when bored), the Scales can really work a room. Charming as they are, Libras are notoriously lacking in self-control, however, which can get them into all sorts of trouble --
including wearing their wobbly boots waaaay too early in the evening, flirting with their best friend's beau or even blacking out the night's events entirely. Oops!

SCORPIO (Oct 24 - Nov 21)
Drinking style: Don't ever tell Scorpios they've had enough, for they'll smirk at you and quietly but intentionally keep tippling till they're hog-whimpering drunk, out of 100-proof spite. Scorpios like to drink, and screw you if you have a problem with that. Most of them see the sauce as something to savor in itself, and not as a personality-altering tool - though if depressed, self-loathing Scorps seek total obliteration. But generally, they're fascinating drinking pals, brilliant conversationalists and dizzying flirts. They also remember everything -- especially what you did when you were blitzed. Only drink with a Scorpio who likes you.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
Drinking style: In vino veritas -- and, for Sagittarius, in booze blurtiness: When buttered, they'll spill all your secrets and many of their own. Tactlessness aside, Sagittarius is just plain fun to drink with. This is a sign of serious partying (what else would you expect from the sign of Sinatra, Keith Richards, the Bush twins and Anna Nicole Smith?). They're the people who chat up everyone in the room, then persuade the entire crowd to travel somewhere else -- like a
nightclub, or a playground, or Cancun. Good-natured hi-jinks are sure to ensue (including a high possibility of loopy groping; spontaneous Sag is a brilliant booty call).

CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
Drinking style: Capricorn is usually described as practical, steadfast, money-hungry and status-thirsty -- no wonder they get left off the astrological cocktail-party list. But this is the sign of David Bowie and Annie Lennox, not to mention Elvis. Capricorn is the true rock star: independent, powerful and seriously charismatic, not too eager to please. And if they make money being themselves, who are you to quibble? But just like most rock stars, they're either totally on or totally off, and they generally need a little social lubricant to loosen up and enjoy the after party, especially if they can hook up with a cute groupie.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 1)
Drinking style: Aquarius and drinking don 't go together that well(except for water, that is). They have an innate tendency toward know-it-allism, and if they get an idea while sizzled, they're more stubborn than a stain or a stone. If they're throwing a party or organizing an outing, however, they're too preoccupied with their duties to get combative and they make perfectly charming drunks in that case. Fortunately, they're usually capital drink-nursers. They also make the best designated drivers (if you can get them before they start raising their wrist) Aquarius is fascinated by drunk people and capable of holding interesting conversations with soused strangers while sober.

PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20)
Drinking style: If you're a Pisces, you've probably already heard that you share a sign and an addictive personality -- with Liz Taylor, Liza Minelli and Kurt Cobain. Not only do Pisces like to lose themselves in the dreamy, out-there feeling that only hooch can give, but they build
up a mighty tolerance fast. Who needs an expensive date like that? On the other hand, they're fabulously enchanting partners, whether in conversation or in crime. With the right Pisces, you can start out sharing a pitcher of margaritas and wind up in bed together for days. The phrase "addictive personality" can be read two ways you know.

Anybody care to guess my (drinking) sign? You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine. Or perhaps I should say, guess mine accurately and I'll let you buy me a drink. Cuz I'm just nice like that.

Live Blogged?!

As pointed out by Lex, the hearing of the human rights complaint against Mark Steyn and MacLeans magazine’s is being live blogged. Which, by itself, is probably worthy of a post. But I won't go there right now, except to say that given it's going to be a five day hearing, I would tend to be concerned that both the blogger and the reader might find themselves falling asleep on occasion.

What's that you say? You want to know what I think?

Funny you should ask. Because in addition to my previous somewhat-related comments ...
  1. I think it's fascinating. The whole process.

  2. I think that it's rather telling that the complainants chose the Human Rights Commission as opposed to launching a court action for defamation or some other cause of action.

  3. I think that although Human Rights Commissions have a valuable role to play in Canadian society, this is most definitely not the proper forum to adjudicate this type of dispute.

  4. I think hope that, despite that because of the above, the complaint will be dismissed.

  5. I think that should things go the "wrong way" for MacLeans, they will definitely fight it up the chain to the very top, which will be a very good thing.

  6. I think that the whole "kangaroo count where proper rules of evidence do not apply" argument has been done to death. No doubt by many who wouldn't recognize "proper rules of evidence" if they landed on their heads.

    It's true that the BC Human Rights Tribunal, like many administrative tribunals, has been given the power to make their own rules of evidence. And although the ones set out here are admittedly sparse, the point is that, contrary to popular opinion, the Commission has not been given carte blanche to just "make things up" as they go. The entire procedure has to comply with the rules of natural justice.

    In other words, a court has to find that the process was fair. So what, exactly, was their point?

~ Final thoughts ~
  • Whichever way this case goes, it will most likely (unless decided on some obscure technical point) be very precedent setting in Canada.

  • A good friend of mine has been know to say that "Common sense is the least common sense of all". I'm hoping betting that she will be proven wrong in this case.

  • "PS - Not with a bang, but with a whimper" - don't count us out, Lex. It ain't over 'til it's over.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kind of Cool

It's rather low-key, for the most part, under the radar. But I like it. Where else could I stand on my own personally-designed soapbox to hold forth on politics, humour and my life? Yeah, it's my blog.

But like I said, it's rather low key. Emphasis on "low". As in, it averages a little over 500 unique hits per month. So I thought it was rather cool when sometime this past Friday, the blog spiked through 1,000 hits for the month of May. Hey, it's only a doubling of past performance.

Of course, I do realize which side my bread is buttered on. I owe it all to Carrier, I do. Or more accurately, to Carrier through the auspices of Neptunus Lex and Chris Altice. So, thanks guys! It's much appreciated.

Now, how will I ever make that happen again?**

* *Who says most blogs are written by people with narcissistic personalities?

Amazing Figure

Wow! Here's something definitely worth writing home about.

Now if only they (and we and us) could bring that same type of "improved security" situation to Afghanistan. Did we ever get those extra Marines, by the way? Because if anybody's listening, I think we sure could use them.

H/T to Lex