Sunday, September 28, 2008

Democracy And All That

The Year: 1758

The Place: Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Event: The Birth of Democracy in Canada

Pretty cool, no?
Well, I thought so, but apparently they didn't quite get it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


What's one of the worst things you can do to a person living with dementia?

How about changing the environment? The total living environment, unexpectedly, without any notice.
More than anything else, people with dementia in residential care need to feel safe, secure, occupied, at home and connected to their former lives."

Ms McCann said that in what for these residents is a frightening and sometimes bewildering world of much uncertainty, they need to be helped negotiate a familiar environment that is supportive, makes sense and resonates of home.
Think of it this way ... what if a giant hand were to suddenly and unexpectedly reach down into your home, pick you up and plop you down in a different home? Oh sure, the new "home" may be just as adequate to your needs on an objective basis as the old one but ... how well do you think you would cope?

I can't really blame the hospital. Much as I might like to. I mean Mom has been moved to about six different rooms in just under three months. But I know they are just doing what they need to do. And one of the moves was caused by a shift of the majority of the inpatient units from one floor to another in order to facilitate renovations.

But. This last move. Believe it or not, words fail me ...

Mom has been doing so well mentally for the past month. Quite frankly, we didn't expect her to make it through the summer. She had been losing the battle with MS (multiple sclerosis) over the past year. Struggling with the dementia. And then diagnosed with cancer this past February. She had lived with us for a little over a month in the early summer. But about a month after going into the hospital in the beginning of July, she was doing very poorly. And the doctors told us to expect maybe another week or two.

But once again she bounced back. At first it seemed like she would recover when company would come, only to crash hard each time afterwards. But for the past month, mentally, she has been doing so well.

When I was up to see her yesterday morning ... it was one of those times of really having Mom back again. I really miss my Mom, even though I see her every day. I miss her because even though I physically see her, I can't talk to her the way I use to. As my Mom. To really discuss things with her. The good. The bad. The worrisome. But yesterday, she was so right on.

Then I got a phone call in the afternoon. Mom wanted them to call and tell me that they had moved her to another room. Quite frankly, I really didn't think that much about it. Just another room move. So I wasn't planning on going up that night but when I unexpectedly found myself near the hospital that evening, I decided to drop up.

I was very glad I did. And left there very upset.

If Mom had been an 8 or 9 mentally on a scale of 1 -10 that morning, she was a 3 that evening. The move down the hall had taken that much out of her. In her former room, she was next to the window. There are two patients in each room and we are always pushing for a "window seat". Because when you are in there for the long-term, being by a window can make a huge difference. Especially if your roommate who has the window likes to keep the curtain between the two beds closed.

Well, this had been one of the better rooms Mom had had. Right by a window which looked out on a small garden set in the middle of the hospital buildings. She had a beautiful view of roses and bushes out that window. And of course, the ledge to put pictures and plants on. Plants which could actually grow. Because they were next to a window. I had bought her a beautiful cyclamen and brought in a couple of African violets she had been growing in her own little house. And they loved that window.

So. New room. Next to the door, not the window. All her stuff packed up and shoved in the closet. And Mom terribly sad and confused. I felt her frustration. It was like a physical presence. It became my frustration. And it seemed like the best, the only, thing I could find to help her was to tell her that no matter where they put her, I would always find her. That was guaranteed a small smile and she would respond "Yes, I think you're right".

I did my best to reassure her. To put some of her stuff back out. To tell that she would get use to the new room and would feel better in a few days. And hoped that I was right.

When I went back up today, she was a little better. A little. But she still had this air of sadness and confusion about her. And I wasn't there more than five minutes when she started falling asleep. Which is something she does in phases. So even though I know that it doesn't necessarily "mean" anything, it still hurts. Because it leaves me with a sense of loss, a sense that she is slipping away from me yet once again.

My brother is suppose to be back for a visit next week. And it's highly likely that she is simply "recharging her batteries" as we tell the Blue Jay. Conserving her energy until he comes. I hope so. I pray it's so.

But once again, I walked out of that hospital with some a palpable sense of frustration. Of sadness and loss. Of wanting to have someone to strangle, but no one being there.

Just Because I Can

And I think it's kind of cool.

Just remember ... it's better to die than to look bad. Or, apparently, in this case, sound bad.

Funny though, I don't remember ever actually seeing this. Anyone?

H/T to Cardoso at Lex's

Tit For Tit .. For Tat

First it was an attempt to ban a 'pro-life' t-shirt at a Virginia high school [circa 2004].

Then a teenager was in trouble for a t-shirt where the words, "International Terrorist" framed President Bush's picture. [Also circa 2004]

Now an 11-year-old Colorado fifth grader has been suspended from school for wearing a t-shirt to school that read, "Obama a terrorist's best friend". Oh yeah, did I mention that dad intends to sue?

Debate the legal ramifications all you want but ... Why Can't We All Just Get Along?!1!

H/T to R. Enochs, Esq and The Volokh Conspiracy

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Politics of Pre-Natal Screening

I have intentionally avoided much comment on the US election. Trying to be a good neighbour and all. After all, it's really not my business (other than as an affected observer) and it's all too divisive anyway.

Until today, that is. My attention grabbed by the headline, "U.K. Mother Murders Daughter Because "Embarrassed" by Disability", I really didn't expect to find much more than the usual macabre story of a parent unable to "cope" with their child's disabilities. Takes all kinds to make the world go around, as they say. Too bad it's the innocent children who pay the price.

I certainly didn't expect this particular political spin.
This trial, which is still in progress, comes during a week in which the devaluation of children with disabilities has been very much in the media spotlight, thanks largely to Gov. Sarah Palin's much publicized decision to carry to term her son Trig, who has Down's syndrome.

Prominent bioethicist Wesley Smith recently commented on the media bias against Palin, and says it occurs in part because, "Palin is viewed as 'the other,' symbolized by her and Todd's (Palin's husband) loving acceptance of Trig."

Smith said he hopes that the unconditional love the Palin's show to their son Trig will be an example for a world that is evermore justifying murder of the innocent.

"I hope that people will decide to emulate the Palins in their unconditional acceptance and love for their beautiful son, Trig," said Smith.
Well, gee, I hope so, too. But, I'm still not sure I see the connection. Fortunately, Patricia E. Bauer's blog makes it a little clearer:
Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), says he is concerned that abortions in the case of Down syndrome may decline as women follow the example of Sarah Palin. Palin’s infant son Trig was born after she received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

From the Globe and Mail:

As a vocal opponent of abortion, Ms. Palin’s widely discussed decision to keep her baby, knowing he would be born with the condition, may inadvertently influence other women who may lack the necessary emotional and financial support to do the same, according to Lalonde.

Dr. Lalonde said that above all else, women must be free to choose, and that popular messages to the contrary could have detrimental effects on women and their families.
Things that make you go Hmmm. Is it possible ... could it at all be related to this?

Yes. Yes, it could. And it goes something like this. Last year, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Board of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists issued a recommendation that all pregnant women be offered screening for Down syndrome. Sounds good, right? Until you consider the fact that statistics point to over 90 per cent of pregnancies diagnosed with Down syndrome being terminated.

Which leads to the question of just what exactly parents whose pre-natal screening show that their child will have Downs Syndrome are being told. And perhaps more importantly, what aren't they being told?

It's one thing to say that "It is estimated that 90 percent of women in Canada who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome decide to abort their pregnancies". But it's completely another matter to ask how informed and real that choice really was.

I must confess that when I was first put on to this issue earlier this year by the Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society, I had trouble seeing a real issue. Until I stopped to actually think about exactly what type of information was being provided to parents as part of this screening service.

It's no real secret that doctors generally paint a very dark picture of life with Down syndrome during prenatal diagnoses. In fact, it's this very situation which has led to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society challenging the ethical implications of the recommendations by the obstetricians’ group. And to the currently circulating Petition for a Prenatal Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act. A Petition I have wrote more extensively about here.

Now let me make two things clear here.

First of all, unlike some of the commentors here, I don't believe that this is an issue of 'socialized medicine'. No matter how fun and easy it is for our American friends to go there in a hurry. After all, the best defence is a good offence, as they say. But that would likely serve as better fodder for another blog post.

No, I see this is an issue facing many different countries with different health care systems today. And I think these doctors are, for the most part, motivated by what they feel is 'doing the right thing'. Not so much for the sake of the health care system or the the cost to society, but for the parents.

The poor, poor parents.

Remember, it wasn't that many years ago when (nearly) all challenged children (be it physically or mentally) were placed in institutions immediately at birth. As societal values slowly change and technology rapidly advances, many (including the medical professionals) are left scrambling to play catch up. Some, perhaps, at a quicker pace than others.

Secondly, I am not for one minute advocating that every woman pregnant with a child with Down syndrome, or any other disability for that matter, should be or is obliged to carry that child to term. We all need to remember that as a society we have a hell of a long way to go in providing proper support and services for individuals with disabilities and their families. It is not an easy row to hoe, not always an easy life to live. And yet many, many will share you with the positive ways their child has impacted not just their life, not just their family's life but the lives of all those they touch.

But here's the thing ... if we believe in a right to "choose", if we are ever going to give more than lip service to that concept, we must never forget that the key word is choice. As in making that extra effort to ensure that the choices are promoted in a fair and valid manner. Which means giving giving people all the information they need to such a life-altering choice.

But getting back to Sara Palin, in the words of Krista Flint, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Association:
“We know overwhelmingly the message families get is ‘Don’t have this baby, it will ruin your life,’” Flint says. “And I don’t think people would look at Sarah Palin and see a ruined life. Regardless of politics, I think it’s a good example.”
So love her or hate her (and God knows there's enough of both swirling around the blogosphere), you have to give Ms. Palin credit where it's due ... she might just be bringing into light an issue that has for too long been in the shadows. And that, no matter what your political persuasion, has to be a good thing.

As an aside, it's interesting to note that Dr. Lalonde has apparently attempted to clarify his previous remarks. According to the L.A. Times,
Doctor Lalonde's point of view should not have been portrayed as a concern that the number of abortions would decline but rather, as expressed in the Globe and Mail, that women would be influenced by Gov. Palin's decision to keep Down syndrome children that they were neither emotionally nor financially prepared to care for.
Which is a good thing, I suppose. Particularly when you consider that one of the principal precepts taught all physicians is "First Do No Harm".

Update: Just in case anyone continues to labour under the false belief that this is a 'socialized medicine' issue. It could just be that Canadian doctors are being more up-front about it, is all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Interesting Take

I've always liked this song, despite it's seemingly political take.

But I found this at Pipecleaner Dreams this morning and it made me stop and think. Even though it's hard to interpret the 'war' reference any other way, it never hurts to realize that perspective is everything.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What He Said

About the style and substance of our federal election, after checking out the various parties' websites:

I didn’t go any further because I’ll be honest; this stuff ticks me off. It’s like kids in a playground sniping at one another. Back and forth, back and forth, each refusing to listen to the other, any reasonable discourse drowned in the din of one kid trying to top the other through volume rather than content.

Maybe that’s why Harper said Parliament was dysfunctional. Too much static, too little clarity. But here’s the funny thing; if, as Prime Minister, he’s supposed to be the guiding light and voice of reason to mediate and resolve these conflicts, can we assume then he just didn’t get the job done?

In fact, he pulled the plug because he didn’t think it was working - at least to his advantage - took his ball and went home.

Bottom line? We need a grown-up to step in and set things right because even children are taught that nonsense like this is intolerable. Attack ads and character assassination do little to define the issues for the voting public. They are essentially a distraction that occludes what’s important and it’s clear that’s exactly what this bunch wants.

I agree.

'All Things Considered, Not A Bad Deployment ...'

Great news, this!

Despite a disappointing second place finish in the Milbloggies, CPT G of Kaboom fame has much to be celebrating ... apparently as a result of the much-deserved media attention resulting when Kaboom was shut down, our favourite [former] blogger received quite a few emails from both publishers and literary agents inquiring as to whether he would like to turn his blog into a book.

I am pleased to report that our good Captain has now signed with New York literary agent William Clark and begun the hard work of revising, editing and adding to the blog material. He hopes to have it ready for publishing houses within the next few months. So how cool is that, I ask you.

For any poor, lost souls that aren't yet acquainted with Kaboom, I can only offer my deepest sympathies. And yet, thanks to Google, you have a second chance. Everything lives on ... and on... and on ... on the internets. So check it out.

And enjoy The Killers while you're at it. Gee, I've missed hearing that music.

So Congratulations, CPT G.

In the words of Kaboom frequent commentor, Grandpa ..."All things considered, not a bad deployment, a book deal and a fiancé." Except he forgot one thing, that should read ... "a book deal, a promotion and a fiance". No, not bad. Not bad at all, sir.

But our work here is not yet done. One blogger published, one to go.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Credit Bureau Pays Out ... To You?

So this is interesting.

Apparently, TransUnion credit bureau is on the hook to provide either a cash settlement or free credit-monitoring services to millions of consumers. This as a result of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit claiming that TransUnion violated state laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it sold lists containing personal and financial consumer information to third parties for marketing purposes.

TransUnion, of course, denies any claims of wrongdoing on its part. Which is par for the course in the case of a negotiated settlement. But that, really, is neither here nor there.

Because consumers (this might well be you) have until September 24, 2008, to register for benefits under the settlement. As of August 22nd, about 380,000 people had registered for the credit monitoring services, cash payment, or both, out of 150 million potentially eligible consumers.

Which leaves me sitting here, wishing I was an American right at the moment. Because only consumers who had an open credit account or an open line of credit from a credit grantor located in the United States are included in the class action.
The Settlement Class is defined as: All consumers who had an open credit account or an open line of credit from a credit grantor located in the United States at any time during the period January 1, 1987 to May 28, 2008. The term “Plaintiff Settlement Class” shall include, without limitation, any classes asserted or certified in the Andrews Action and the Frey Action. Excluded from the Plaintiff Settlement Class are (a) Defendants and their predecessors, affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors and employees, (b) counsel for any of the Settling Parties in these Actions, and (c) any and all judges and justices assigned to hear any aspect of the Actions, along with their staff, the spouses of the foregoing and any children residing in their households.
Might that include you?

You might want to check it out.
And remember, you only have until Sept. 24th to register.

H/T to GeriLaw

Can't Wait

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Law School Musical

Come, now. I know I've warned you before as to what too much law school might do to ya but ... it wasn't really that bad!

And on the plus side, at least you got to enjoy yourself while doing in your liver... As far as I can tell, the only people who party more than law students are naval aviators!

H/T to ~ sorry, Eddie, but I just had to steal the post title, too!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I had never heard this song or seen this video before. But I came across it today and despite my previous comments about being unable to watch any visual reminders of that day, this video struck a real chord with me.

The date may have passed but the sentiments will always remain the same.

H/T to Lindsay at USO Girls

Thursday, September 11, 2008

'In A New York Minute'

In a New York Minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute
Things can get pretty strange
In a New York minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute

So goes the song. And how true it is.

Given that this is the first time I have blogged about the anniversary of September 11, 2001, I really wasn't sure which route to take. I have seen a close friend profoundly and, I believe, permanently changed by the events of that day. Seen how it affects her everyday interactions with the world. I could write about that.

Or I could write on and on about my own feelings on that day, and for months afterwards, all the while in tears. It still surprises me, in some ways, how the strength of the feelings and sensations garnered that day remain so close to the surface for me seven years later.

I remember, even at the time, having trouble explaining the depth of those feelings to some American friends. Because it hadn't happened in Canada, they presumed that I couldn't really "get it". And perhaps they were right. Up to a point. But as I tried to explain to them at the time, it was like watching a terrible, unthinkable tragedy happening to your next door neighbour's home. So even if your own house remained unscathed, your psyche didn't. It was the next worse thing to it actually happening in your home.

To this day I refuse to watch any movies or documentaries concerning the events of September 11th. I refuse to look at any still photographs. They instantly transport me right back to that day of incomprehensible horror and pain. It's not that I won't look because I would rather forget. It's simply that I can't allow myself to physically and mentally relive that time again.

And yet, amazingly, out of the horror, one positive thing has also stuck with me since that fateful day. Something which, at the time at least, gave hope and not pain.

It was the sense that the horror was shared. It was the strength of the outpouring of emotion from around the world. The compassion, the empathy that people from around the world felt and expressed for the people of the United States. As we sat glued to our television sets, unable to tear our eyes away from watching the same horrific images over and over again, at the time it seemed as if the whole world stood in support of America. That we would do anything we could to support and help it, that we could agree with almost any action it took in the horrible aftermath.

Of course, I very quickly learned to pay attention to the inhabitants of what might as well have been a whole other "world", people who rejoiced in the tragedy of that day. But at the time, it felt as if all the 'civilized' world, at least, were united in this common tragedy.

And I am deeply saddened and troubled by the fact that we have all gone off in so many different directions since then. Not that the rest of the Western world should have to play cheerleader for every action taken by the U.S. since that day, not that we all have to agree with everything the American government and its people decide to do, but that we have lost that sense of outrage and shared humanity that united us so strongly at the time.

It's truly sad that so many of us have lost that sense of compassion and empathy, of being united in a common cause. Or experience. Or perhaps it's some other word that I cannot quite touch at the moment. But I know it was there. Just as surely as I know we have lost it in the intervening years. And that, I think, is another tragedy born out of that day.

So, no, I will never forget September 11. 2001. I will never forget the horror of it all. I will never forget those many who lost their lives that day or the families and friends they left behind. I will never forget that there is true evil in the world and that I saw it in action, with my own eyes, that day.

But neither will I ever forget what it felt like to see so many united in our humanity. Or what it feels like to lose that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ending The Debate About The Debate and Not Going To War Over The War

Amid mounting public outrage over their exclusion of Elizabeth May from the televised election debates, Conservative leader, Stephen Harper, and NDP leader, Jack Layton, have backed down. The big boys will now let the new kid on the block into the room.

Or, in the words of Layton, "This whole issue of debating about the debate has become a distraction to the real debate that needs to happen".

So right that, we wouldn't want to be distracted by the whole debate over the debate, would we? And it's not like this decision would have anything to do with the very real fear that you might just actually pay for those 'business as usual' 'old boys club only' tactics this time around, would it?

In other news, Harper has set 2011 as the 'end date' for Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan. Although the Afghanistan mission had been extended to 2011 earlier this year, with a shift to emphasizing priorities of reconstruction and development in the region, Harper had never clearly come out with accepting that as a troop pullout date. In fact, he refused to do so. Until now that is.

And although some might consider announcing such intentions to the world at large at this point to be irresponsible, we must remember that we are currently in the midst of an election campaign.

"I think people have to realize that there's an election going on, and there's going to be a lot of promises," said Steven Staples, president of the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute, a public policy think-tank.

"He's likely to say whatever he can to win a majority," he told

No. Really?
Who would have thunk it?

What Would You Have Done?

Ashley's mom, at Pipecleaner Dreams, posits this question after sharing her experience of a group of middle school aged boys in a grocery store who started singing "Once upon a time" (apparently a reference to the Tropic Thunder movie) while snickering and laughing at her deaf/blind daughter.
I don’t feel like I handled the situation very well, but I also don’t know what I should have done differently. Do you have any suggestions for me?
It's a tough one and quite frankly, I don't know the answer. Although to me, it's obvious (realizing, of course, that others may disagree) that something had to be said or done. But what exactly?

Ashley's mom let them know that she understood their reference and told them "to stop immediately.” When they walked away snickering, continuing to look back at her daughter while performing a sing song of “Once upon a time…Once upon a time….once upon a time…” she followed them down the aisle, proclaiming that her daughter is beautiful and asking how they thought their mothers would feel about them at that moment. Although the boys were getting angry, at this point, one of the group insisted that the others leave the store with him.

The best response I can come up with at the moment came from Amazing Grace, a commenter at Pipecleaner Dreams who suggested coming back with "Once upon a time there were these three boys who were very mean and said really stupid stuff . . ." except that I'm pretty sure my 'Once upon a time' would have been a fair bit nastier.

So, dear reader, I pose you the question ... 'What would you have done?'

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Ever wonder what this blog is really about?
Well, recently at least and according to Wordle ...

... it's this!

H/T to Lex


It would appear that Prime Minister Harper and his party are afeard. Of a gurl, nonetheless.

Why else these bullying tactics to keep the leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, from the televised election debates? I am no particular fan of the Greens ... although I have voted for them once or twice on occasion (more as a vote against the others), the chances of my voting for them in this election are slim (as in slim to none). But that is not the point.

The point is that this suppose to be a democracy. And if the leader of a separatist party for whom only those resident in Quebec can choose to vote is part of the national televised debates, then why not the leader of a national party, fielding candidates in 306 of a possible 308 ridings, whose ranking in the polls has been steadily increasing? Who now has it's first sitting member of Parliament?

Although the network consortium stated that " ... three parties opposed [the Green party's] inclusion and it became clear that if the Green party were included, there would be no leaders debates", it is only Harper who has come out clearly against May's inclusion and stated that the Conservatives would not participate if she was included; neither the Liberals nor the Bloc have threatened to pull out if the Green party is included in the debate. Which leaves the NDP ~ who apparently have been unable to decide whether or not they would boycott the event. Which, although it pains me to admit, doesn't really surprise me.

So let's field test a few propositions here.
  • The fact that Stephane Dion agreed not to field a candidate against May in her riding (actually a relatively common practice) may have put Harper's nose out of joint a notch or two, but does not make the Greens the Liberals' candidates or proxies in this election.
  • In fact, if anything, May and the Green party could actually hurt the Liberals, it being suggested that they might split the anti-Harper votes into even smaller fragments due to the environmental issues.
  • If it's the current situation that actually presents a legitimate concern for Harper, I wonder why he (and the rest of them, including the Liberals) have consistently opposed the inclusion of the Green party in all previous debates.
The question is, should any one (or even two) political parties be able to decide who we, the Canadian people, are allowed to hear debate the issues in this election?

And, by the by, does anyone actually believe for one moment that any one of the parties would dare not participate in the debate if it were to go ahead with the others?

May has threatened to take this issue to the Federal Court. Good for her.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Beatitudes for Special People

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech, for you help us to know that if we persevere, we can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places and ignore the stares of strangers, for in your friendship we feel good about ourselves.

Blessed are you who never bid us "hurry up", and more blessed are you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us, for often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who ask for our help and realize our giftedness, for our greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you who help with the graciousness of Christ, for we often need the help we can not ask for.

Blessed are you when, by all things, you assure us that what makes us individuals is not our particular disability, but our beautiful God-given personhood that no handicapping condition can confine.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your understanding and love have opened doors for us to enjoy life to its fullest and you have helped us believe in ourselves and valued and gifted people

H/T to Doorkeeper

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Air Show That ... Wasn't

I tried to go to the Nova Scotia International Airshow this year, I really did. My brother, a true airshow fanatic aficionado even timed his latest visit so he could attend with me.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Oh, we were there all right, ready and waiting. Unfortunately, the airshow was not quite meant to be. The show, originally scheduled to be held over two days, was knocked back to Saturday only due to the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Hanna. It was scheduled to start at 10:00 and end at 3:00 (only flying, no static displays this year due to ongoing work on one of the runways at the Halifax Int'l Airport). But the skies were still empty at 12:30 due to a persistently low ceiling.

We finally got to see a Sea King Helicopter shortly afterwards (minus the planned skydiving), followed eventually by American stunt pilot Pete McLeod and the SnowBirds (but only a partial low-level show due to the continued cloud coverage). Three Harvard Heritage aircraft were literally on the apron ready for take off when the game was called by the tower -back to IFR which meant no more flying for the airshow set. So, yeah, that really sucked. Go. Home.

It was good to see the SnowBirds, even though it was just a partial show, not much more than formation flying. Unfortunately, I missed most of Pete MacLeod's short performance by fiddling around with my camera. However, my brother did buy me a very cool CF 18 Hornet T-shirt. Which was as close as I got to any F 18s yesterday, they didn't make it up in the air at all.

So, yeah, kind of depressing. But the good news is that I did finally figure out my camera (now realizing that I could have gotten much, much better shots had I actually used the zoom lens that I didn't even realize I had until late last night ~ DUH!) and the Yarmouth International Airshow is on for next weekend.

Tempting, very tempting, I must say. To think I might actually make it to a real airshow someday ...

Although I have many, many gorgeous shots of plane pr0n available on my computer (borrowed from others), I give you these small, simple offerings, taken by my own camera, on the first occasion of my actually having witnessed such sights. Click on the first snap of the SnowBirds for higher resolution.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kudos To Justice Cromwell

Highly credible rumour would appear to be correct.

Which, although I must admit to not usually having much use for the man, good on him, says I.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

He Believes ... Do You?

'Tis the season for political speeches.
Personally, this is the kind I prefer.

H/T to Pipecleaner Dreams

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Canadian Political Humour

Only in Canada would a federal political party have this sense of irony ... although the "official" declaration is not expected to be official for a few more days, it is pretty well pegged that Canadians will be going to the polls on October 14, 2008.

Yep, that's this October 14th. The minimum length of a federal election campaign is 36 days. Only in Canada, you say?

The reason I find this so ironic, you see, is that after listening to what has felt like a year long American election campaign, we in the Great White Up will commence our campaign some 10 months later than the Americans began their fun and games and still manage to complete it over three full weeks sooner than them. Although I must admit that short and sweet is more the way I prefer my elections ... I don't think I could handle in being invested in what feels like a year long campaign, the way many Americans seem to have been.

And I must confess that I am a little concerned that this just might give some Americans a complex, thinking particularly of those who have already noted that Canada Day comes before July 1st and how we celebrate our Thanksgiving before the Americans celebrate theirs. It's not easy playing 'mini-me', trust me.

Oh yeah, the other little piece of irony not to be lost in this story is this - in calling this election, Prime Minister Harper is actually ignoring his own "fixed election date" legislation. Legislation passed by his government shortly after taking power, touted as a necessary democratic reform in order to " ... stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar simply for partisan political advantage". Right. Got that. So pleased to see that there's none of that going on here.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on Harper. After all, the poor man does fees that he is in an ungovernable minority government situation. This despite the fact that the last session of Parliament was said to be "one of historic stability for a minority government that saw its legislation sail smoothly to passage."

Call me silly but I tend to see it this way ... We pay you (well) to do a job. The rest of us have to work so what makes you guys so special? Just sit down, be quiet and get to work, will you?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Movie Night

Blogging has been light around these here parts lately ~ no wonder perhaps, given that my house seems to have a perpetual revolving door lately. This has been gone on for the past six months or so. It's just that the number of revolutions appears to have increased dramatically recently.

Last Sunday, my sister-in-law and niece arrived for a visit. My niece flew back home Friday morning. The same Friday as my brother landed in Halifax. Unfortunately he landed approximately three hours before his luggage did. Making for a bit of a late night. Then after spending a day during the touristy thing in and about Halifax harbour on Saturday, my sister-in-law left to go home Sunday morning. As for my brother, well, he will still be here for another week. No wonder I have a headache...

Seriously though, the company is nice. If a bit disconcerting at times. The 'adults' in the house (as we're loosely known) went to the movies tonight. And what did we grace our great intellect with?

Tropic Thunder.

Yep, one and the same. Of the recent infamous 'Campaign to End The "R" Word' fame.

Yeah, about that.
  • General impression of the movie ~ stupid
  • Humour factor ~ some parts were funny but in general, see comment above
  • Use of the 'R' word ~ somewhat annoying but much less offensive than what followed

It's funny how after all the hype about the use of the word "retard", personally, I found the portrayal of Simple Jack much more offensive. It was an extreme characterization, really a caricature of itself, perhaps, and I have to admit that it turned my stomach somewhat to hear some in the audience laughing at the portrayal.

Let's face it. Hollyweird does not exactly have a stellar record when it comes to portraying people with disabilities. But when I think of some of the movies referenced in Tropic Thunder, itself (Forrest Gump, I am Sam and Rain Man, for example) as well as some others that come to mind (Radio, The Other Sister, There's Something About Mary and Pumpkin Head), it strikes me that at least those movies didn't seem to so blatantly go out of their way to insult this segment of the population. Well done or not (and many are certainly debatable), at least they didn't so overly turn my stomach.

So is that really what you think of my child? And so many others? Trust me, I know many, many mentally challenged people and that is so not how they are. In fact, they wouldn't consider stooping to anything so stupid and pathetic. Quite frankly, they're much too classy.

But ... and here's the bigger thing ... I think it's really unfortunate that the disability community has given this movie as much publicity as it has. Just as an example, I probably wouldn't have even went to see it if I hadn't read what I had. It piqued my interest enough that when my brother suggested it, I agreed. But frankly, I think it's a stupid movie that would likely to die it's own stupid death a lot faster were it not for the extra publicity.

And, unfortunately, I think it's just another example of the disability community shooting itself in the foot. As I mentioned before, there was a previous movie (whose name I now misremember) which received a similar reaction from the disability community and when I viewed some of the clips, I really couldn't see what the big deal was. The world is often not as we wish it to be but I suppose that I would rather save my energy for advocating about some of the bigger problems we face.

No, Virginia, sadly enough there is no 'right to not be offended'. And my fear is that by pushing too hard in some of the wrong places, there will only be a backlash against those for whom we advocate.

Oh yeah, one more thing ... I can honestly sat that the absolute best part of the movie was when they were rolling the credits at the end. And no, I'm actually not being sarcastic, they showed some great footage and played some good music right at the end.

Dance on, Tom.