July 28, 2008

Lake Cowichan - Panama City = Three Days

Funny thing:

Not having any warning that I am going to a Spanish-speaking country, I am desperately trying to muddle by. Being from Canada, French keeps bubbling to the top of my mind whenever I try to speak, and that is NOT helping.

But why the heck is German coming up second? I took that course for all of six disjointed months, and it is helping less than the French, as you might imagine...

At least I know why my writing is so stilted: I have no idea how to produce an apostrophe on this keyboard. It is just a fit of luck I managed an ampersand.


posted by Thursday at 3:44 pm 0 comments

July 21, 2008

Death in the Family

Please stand by.


posted by Thursday at 10:23 am 0 comments

July 17, 2008

Happy 40th!

Forty years ago, the pope (not the current one, of course) declared that sex should be used for procreative purposes ONLY with his Humanae Vitae encyclical, banning the use of the pill for Catholics.

Oddly, in a move that was supposed to increase humanity, the percentage of religious folks turning away from Catholicism since that announcement has increased instead...

May I suggest a Catholic worth listening to on the subject?

The Religion Report.

He's a smart man who is truly curious about how (and what) people believe, which makes for some great interviewing. Even if he is Australian.


posted by Thursday at 8:43 pm 0 comments

July 16, 2008

How's Your Math?


We just got an offer from Master Card, along with three pre-printed cheques. You see, I can use these cheques, but instead of the money coming out of my chequing account, it’ll come off my credit card at the low, low Promotional Annual Interest Rate of 3.99%!1

Writing cheques? How cute! That’s positively old-timey!2

The only down side is that I have to use the cheques by September 30th, so I guess I’d better hurry, eh?3 They do mention a charge of 1% for using the cheques4, but that’s small enough.5

Sounds like quite the deal, in any case. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to invest in some water-powered cars…


1 Doesn’t mean what you think: actually, you only get this rate for one year, not every year, so we can get away with calling it “annual”.
2 But great for people who aren’t used to using a credit card. You know, new fish.
3 Good Boy. Be quick now!
4 Minimum $7.50. Your maximum limit is what, $2,000? Guess it won’t be 1% then.
5 You won’t even notice. Because you’re an idiot. You know that’s $7.50 for each cheque, right?


posted by Thursday at 5:22 pm 0 comments

God: "Americans? Meh."

By now, you've almost certainly heard about professional basball player Josh Hamilton's story: it's been repeated a few times through the year, plus his amazing performance in the home run derby at this year's All-Star Game has put it on regular rotation in the usual media circuit.

One odd moment was when one of the announcers (Rick Reilly of ESPN, apparently) decided to announce that it was "a bad day to be an atheist" because of Hamilton's success.

This, of course, meant that God decided to have (let?) Hamilton hit a new record for home runs in one round of competition for a little good PR.

On the down side, it also meant that when Justin Morneau won the competition - and, coincidentally, scored the winning run of the 15 inning marathon game itself - God must have turned his back Hamilton.

Either that, or He decided He actually likes Canadians more; and just between you and me, I think I know the answer to that one.


Alas, the idea that Canada is beloved by God does not hold: to wit.


posted by Thursday at 1:09 am 0 comments

July 15, 2008

That Stuff Will Turn You Blind!

...Or at least into a bad driver.

We've all heard of the U.S. Army considering homosexuality a mental illness; but how about Italy deciding that being gay will reduce your driving skills? That little fit of stupid cost the country $150,000+ dolars, and frankly, it doesn't look bad on them.


On a side note, the gay population where I live is pretty much out and about - any one that's still closeted is there for private reasons rather than public ones - but I was still a bit surprised when I dealt with perhaps a dozen gay customers (most of them couples) within an hour at work yesterday. I don't normally have that many customers in an hour, never mind gay ones.

Was there a memo? A sexuality-specific treasure hunt? An official "Gay Day of Renovation"?

Hey, whatever brings in customers, but if this happens next Monday morning between ten and eleven, I'm going to be a little weirded out.


posted by Thursday at 4:53 pm 0 comments

July 14, 2008

And May I Say, A Hearty...

..."Fuck You!" to Duncan Hunter, the ranking member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

Why so indelicate? Here's why:

"The Fallujahs of the world, the Ramadis of the world that require heavy combat and lots of fire-fighting capability - those are the places the Americans go. The other countries tend to go to the so-called peacekeeper zones, where they have fewer fire fights and less contact with the enemy."


"Hunter argues that gays do not belong in the U.S. military because American troops need to be hardened warriors, unlike soldiers in the 15 NATO countries where gays serve openly."

And here's why.

Is there a reason for people this stupid to be in office?


posted by Thursday at 7:11 pm 0 comments

July 13, 2008

Brilliance Runs Amok!

As mentioned two posts ago, the Catholic League has been encouraging their supporters to get PZ Myers fired for threatening a cracker. As a result, Myers has received insults, pleas, and death threats from Bill Donahue's more... enthusiastic followers.

And in typical fashion, have shown just how ignorant and pants-wetting terrified they are by demanding better security when they come within 150 miles of Myers' home. In case he... what, exactly?

Wow. Just... wow.

Nothing like highlighting your own persecution complex, eh Bil?

On the down side, no one is more dangerous to the innocent than those who are terrified: they lose all rationality, swamped by fear, and lash out at anyone who is near them.


posted by Thursday at 1:25 am 0 comments

July 12, 2008

Gotta be Proud of Something

So, how do you follow up a summit where your employees have described one of the guests as being

"one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice" and "a political dilettante"?

How about poking fun at your inability to do anything about your outstanding pollution record? That sound good?

Anyone, anywhere, still think this guy is an appropriate leader for the world's most powerful nation?


posted by Thursday at 11:18 pm 0 comments

July 11, 2008

Crackers For Crackers!

Everyone's favorite Catholic Nutbag Bill Donohue has decided that crackers are sacred, and some more so than others. So much so that someone making fun of them should be fired from his job, sent hate mail, and threatened with death:

"Four of them have included death threats, a personal one day record."

...As PZ Meyers said. (You should read his posts, then perhaps send a note of support to the President of his school, President Robert Bruininks.) And that was just to him, never mind what the student has had to deal with since this hyperbolic stupidity erupted; threats to take the cracker back, mail damning him to Hell, threats of death.

But the real crime was that a student went to mass, accepted the Eucharist, and then didn't swallow. That's right: he walked out of the church with a communion wafer in his mouth and went home.

This was, of course, tantamount to kidnapping. Seriously:

"Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family."

Gosh, I can't imagine why it is I have a difficult time taking religions seriously.


posted by Thursday at 8:43 pm 0 comments

July 09, 2008

It's The Small Things

Today's conversation with the local auto supply shop:

"Hi, I don't suppose you remember that spark plug I asked you to bring in for the Moto Guzzi?"

"Uh, when was that?"

"Couple of weeks back."

"Lemme just lookya up here... Here we go! Yep got it here."


"In fact, we got four of them."

"I only asked you to bring in one."

"Well, you've got your own shelf here, now."

"Heh. Your faith in my tuning abilities warms my heart."

(Laughs) "So how many would you like?"

"Um. Four."

May I say that you should avoid old Italian bikes if you have a fear of wrenches. They're relatively easy to work on, sure: so long as you continue to work on them. Well, she's worth it.


posted by Thursday at 12:30 am 0 comments

July 07, 2008

Generalized Stupid

If you've somehow noticed a certain something political going on in America of late, you're not alone. The general election is several months away, yet some people are already talking about it.

Well, if you haven't noticed, you may not want to look: there's another four weeks of this sort of stupid...

"Everyone has a right to breathe clean air. This is a really bad idea for the Obama campaign. If everyone starts to enforce his right to breathe clean air in the presence of swarthy young Muslims, Obama might lose an important part of his electoral base."

In what possible world this is considered acceptable, I just don't know. The target audience for this piece is... what, exactly? Someone who thinks: Obama is a Muslim; that Muslims stink; and that wanting breathable air is a bad thing. If the phrase "swarthy young Muslims" makes them feel scared/sweatily aroused, so much the better.

But wait! There's more!

How about everybody (and whining) noticing that John Edwards is rich, but for some reason ignoring that fact when is comes to McCain? Sure, you've heard about his divorcing his model-wife (after her car crash and recovery) to marry his multi-millionaire wife, but why is it that no one bothered to notice that the big difference between Obama's tax plan and McCain's is that McCain would save himself over $350,000 per year with his plan, and only about $5500 under Obama's. Obama himself would save $50,000 if McCain's plan went through, but only $6000 under his own.

But it's okay, as McCain will save all the money from that went into the Iraq war for the deficit - starting just as soon as they've won it:

"The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction."

And speaking of McCain's future, how about that potential Vice-Presidential pick, Governor Bobby Jindal? You know, the fellow who signed into law the Louisiana Science Education Act, allowing school boards to add "supplemental materials" of their own choosing when science classes discuss evolution, cloning, and global warming.

Gosh, I wonder why those subjects?


But going from the ridiculous to the sublime, we find the return of the Federal Marriage Amendment - this time, introduced by ten senators (with the intention of banning any chance for gay marriage, yes again) who have some interesting company: David Vitter, of diaper-wearing-while-visiting-prostitutes fame, and Larry Craig, He of the Wide Stance in Toilet Stalls.

All told, a fine representation of the Sancitity of Marriage, no?


But my favorite new fit of stupid is the government's interest in eliminating what's left of air travel in the United States:

"A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers."

Yup, you read that right: passengers would have to wear a bracelet that could give them an electric shock, "completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes".

This is arguably the stupidest idea in the "War Against Terra(tm)" since randomly intimidating bank customers. And it will likely be just as effective.


posted by Thursday at 7:48 pm 0 comments

July 06, 2008

Must Be Cultural...

I'm trying to picture a visit from the Prime Minister of England to little old Victoria, a city close by that has been accused (sometimes affectionately) as being "more English than England". Tea at the Empress, for instance, is massively overpriced and an essential experience, preferably once.

And now I'm trying to picture said Prime Minister loudly proclaiming his joy at Captain Vancouver establishing England in North America; and how England had grown larger as a result of his expeditions; and how there is an English spirit in British Columbia.

And I would have joined the chorus as he was laughed out of town.

Because if you'll excuse me, England is a part of our history. You know, our past. Thanks for the contribution of your legal system and all, but we can take it from here. And we have. Don't get me wrong - Britian is a fascinating place, and London is a world class city for excellent reasons - but at this point, we've got our own thing going along quite happily.

So why is it when Quebecers hear that same speech from the Prime Minister of France, it merits polite applause rather than open derision? Perhaps they are becoming too English and are simply being polite about it.

Well, to each their own.


posted by Thursday at 7:33 pm 0 comments

July 01, 2008

...And Four Months To Go.

Brad Reed at Alternet has compiled his own list of the Ten Lowest Points of the Bush presidency, and it's a solid list. Having it forwarded by what's NOT on the list is even more impressive, though:

"But for those of you who insist on seeing your least favorite moment get its due, here is list of every honorable mention I could come up with: warrantless wiretapping; Valerie Plame; Scooter Libby's sentence commuted; Bush believes Rafael Palmeiro is innocent; soldiers face neglect at Walter Reed; signing statements; the Kyoto treaty ripped up; loyalty oaths; the fake turkey; a staged teleconference with troops, staged FEMA press conference, extraordinary rendition, support for junk science; endorsement of neo-creationist "intelligent design"; inaction against global warming; record oil prices; record budget deficits; record trade deficits; record number of Americans without health insurance; two recessions; no-bid contracts; bin Laden still at large; the Federal Marriage Amendment; stem cell research vetoed; waterboarding ban vetoed; "Last throes"; "Old Europe"; "It's hard work"; "Bring it on"; "Yo, Blair!"; "I'm the decider"; "I'm the commander guy"; "I'm a war president"; "This is the guy who tried to kill my dad"; "So?"; "Let the Eagle Soar"; John Bolton; Kenny Boy; Harriet Miers; John Roberts; Sam Alito; Blair talks Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera; Cheney shoots some guy in the face; the Military Commissions Act; Jose Padilla arrested and held without charge or access to counsel; endless tax cuts for the rich; let's waste a shitload of money by sending people to Mars and let's hire some Heritage Foundation staffers to rebuild Iraq."

My personal favorite is the moment (for me) that sums up exactly what this administration has been all about: serving the troops.

Just follow the "Fake Turkey" link above to see the full story; but the crux of it is that the turkey is a fraud. There was nothing edible or sustaining in what Bush was giving the troops, yet they proposed to love him for it, and those who knew what he was giving them were kept as far away as possible.

Which reminds me of the astounding stupidity of loyalty oaths that people were forced to sign if they wanted to attend a Repulican convention...

How long does it take to plan an invasion of Iran?


posted by Thursday at 9:51 pm 2 comments

Out of Touch

Those elitist few, losing track (or never caring) about what the common man wants; the disconnect between them and the majority being so complete that they cannot fathom what may drive the populace, but can only stand to one side, bewildered by the happy crowds marching past, certain that the hordes are dooming themselves.

Sadly, they shake their heads at the idiocy that surrounds them, passes them, leaves them distantly behind.

But soon they huddle together, the pitiful, abandoned remenants of an archaiac phiolosophy, and convince themselves that they are, in fact, the majority - after all, there's no one else around, is there?

In short, 95% of moviegoers loved WALL-E; a special few didn't.

Oh, sorry; did you think I meant liberals?


posted by Thursday at 9:03 pm 0 comments

Props to Satan

This is poat #666 for me, so I couldn't let it pass by without giving the Islander his due...

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posted by Thursday at 9:00 pm 0 comments