The Rants of Issachar

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Quote of the day...

"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."

Sometimes credited to Kristian Wilson or Karen Price of Nintendo.
Authorship claimed by British Comedian Marcus Brigstocke.


:: posted by issachar, 6:56 PM | Permalink | 6 comments | Links to this post

Pope Benedict XVI

That was quick. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI.




:: posted by issachar, 6:27 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Desmond's Birthday...

Desmond turned 26 today. We had a party at the house and Michelle made some fantastic food. I'm going to miss his pasta when I move out.

We watched Spanglish. Very good.

And it's way too late. I have to go to bed. Why does Blogger not work when I have time to post, (and I've got something in my head), but works fine when it's half past midnight and I have to work in the morning?

Also, I just started reading Blue Like Jazz. Apparently a lot of people have heard of Miller. Well he was new to me a few weeks ago.

Goodnight.


:: posted by issachar, 12:23 AM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Desmond's Birthday...

Desmond turned 26 today. We had a party at the house and Michelle made some fantastic food. I'm going to miss his pasta when I move out.

We watched Spanglish. Very good.

And it's way too late. I have to go to bed. Why does Blogger not work when I have time to post, (and I've got something in my head), but works fine when it's half past midnight and I have to work in the morning?

Also, I just started reading Blue Like Jazz. Apparently a lot of people have heard of Miller. Well he was new to me a few weeks ago.

Goodnight.


:: posted by issachar, 12:23 AM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Well my respect for Paul Martin continues to go down. He's been giving us a preview of his election strategy and it seems to be basic fear-mongering with a dash of paranoia thrown in.

Apparently there's a secret conspiracy between the Bloc Québécois and the Conservative Party. Speaking to Liberal MP's and Senators Mr. Martin had this to say: "We will expose the unholy alliance between the Bloc and the Conservatives". Are tin-foil hats complimentary when you become Prime Minister now?

Apparently this comes from the fact that both the Conservatives and the Bloc think the Liberals shouldn't be running the country. How strange for an opposition party to think that there should be a change in government. Has Martin actually bothered to look at Bloc or Conservative policies? On most issues the Bloc has more in common with the NDP than with the Conservatives. I'm looking forward to the next diatribe about how the NDP and the Bloc formed an unholy alliance to keep Canada out of Iraq.

Martin's argument seems to be "The Bloc wants to bring down the Liberal government. How dare the Conservatives not support the government?" That's right up there with "Adolf Hitler liked puppies. Do YOU like puppies?". Please...

I guess I can't really blame him because the tactic works. Canadians are frightened sheep who will believe the FUD. But even if it might work it's not Prime Ministerial behaviour. It's weasel behaviour. That's fine if your only hope for government is the lesser of the weasels.


:: posted by issachar, 3:44 PM | Permalink | 4 comments | Links to this post

Facetious words at work...

So I'm going to continue to repeat the news I hear on the radio until someone tells me it's annoying.

News 1130 had a short story about a 911 operator in Texas. He's listening to a call from a woman saying her 12 year old daughter can't be controlled. (911 does parenting tips now?)

So the guy asks her: "So would you like us to come over and shoot her? Maam... Maam are you there?"

Apparently that's not considered funny. I got a chuckle though...


:: posted by issachar, 3:39 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Kirpans in school

I was listening to "On the Coast" on Radio1 this afternoon on my drive home. Priya Ramu was interviewing a woman who represented the World Sikh Organization which has intervenor status at the Supreme Court hearing over a student wanting the right to carry his Kirpan at school despite the school's ban on weapons. (I think it's an elementary school). Sorry, no more details that I remember. I e-mailed the program to ask if they had any info online.

What struck me was the annoying sidestepping and question dodging that the woman was doing. The issue isn't that complicated. Sikh's want to carry Kirpan's everywhere as it's an article of faith for them. The school doesn't want students carrying knives at school. That's the problem. So find a solution.

One example of the dodging was when the host asked if the school was concerned that other students would see it as okay to bring a knife to school if the Kirpan was allowed. The woman responded that the Kirpan wasn't a knife and that if the Kirpan was used properly, (carried in it's sheath for instance), it's not dangerous. She also said that a sheath was not a knife for some reason. Well obviously it's not dangerous if it's used properly. The Kirpan isn't intended for stabbing students. The school's concern is obviously about precedent and the possibility that the Kirpan might be used improperly. Such as another student taking the Kirpan and misusing it.

What was completely lacking from the womans statements was any suggestion on how the school's concerns might be satisfied while still satisfying the requirements of Sikhism. For instance, could the Kirpan be carried in a sheath that was stiched up tightly so that the Kirpan couldn't be removed without cutting away the stitching? What about putting a lock on the sheath? What about a dull blade? I have no idea if these ideas are acceptable in Sikhism, but I would have thought that a person who's explaining the issue on the radio would be more interested in showing willingness to satisfy the concerns of the school board. It seems a little too much like "I won't give an inch no matter how reasonable that giving inch might be" behaviour.

Are we surprised that school officials are a little leary of allowing something in a school that would be seen as a weapon by many people? That a school board might not want to be seen as soft on weapons in schools in this day and age?


:: posted by issachar, 9:00 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

How healthy is our democracy?

Carla's blog entry on the recent federal poll numbers had a comment about the Conservative party and the recent failed Conservative ammendment that would have killed the governments gay marriage legislation. Leaving aside the whole gay marriage issue, I want to comment about the way the vote went down in the house.

The Liberal party was against the amendment as it would kill their bill.
The NDP was against it as they see gay marriage as a civil rights issue.
The Bloc Québécois was against it.
The Conservatives were for it because it was their bill.

But the breakdown of the votes tells a different story.
34 Liberals voted against their party.
4 Conservatives voted against theirs.
3 Block MPs's voted against their party.
1 NDP MP abstained. (Bev Desjarlais)

Now that's the way democracy is supposed to work! MP's voting the way they think! Whipped voting just gives us democracy by cabinet most of the time and that's very unhealthy for our country. I don't care what you think of gay marriage, you should be in favour of free votes for our representatives.

And shame on Jack Layton, Bev Desjarlais and the NDP caucus. Bev, you said you were voting against the government bill so why not vote in favour of the amendment? You had your party colleague Peter Stoffer backing up your right to vote your mind (even though he doesn't agree with you) and you let yourself get steamrolled into hurting our democratic system by a leader who doesn't believe in free votes by elected representatives.

As a sidenote: Why did it take only the first google hit to tell me about the Liberals voting against the party, but more searching to tell me about the Conservative and Bloc MP's voting against their party positions? Incomplete news is irritating.


:: posted by issachar, 7:44 PM | Permalink | 5 comments | Links to this post

blogs...

It's funny to read a someone else's blog post that you know is about you, but doesn't mention you by name. Well I suppose it's only good-funny if it says nice things. :P


:: posted by issachar, 6:38 PM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Prince Charles

Continuing the grab bag of random thoughts I had while I was travelling to the Okanagan this past weekend...

Charles should never be King. The man just isn't fit for the job. It isn't because he married Camilla. While Camilla is divorced and Prince Edward renounced the throne in order to marry Wallace Simpson an American divorcée, marrying Camilla isn't Charles disgrace. It's the fact that he had longtime affair with Camilla while he was married to Princess Diana. There's good reason to believe that he was involved with Camilla before he married Diana and that he continued his relationship with her as though his marriage to Diana didn't exist.

Now there have been plenty of British Monarchs throughout history who have been unsavoury, but the fact remains that times have changed and we expect better behaviour from our royals today. The Monarchy has been reinvented as some sort of "First Family" for Britain and to a lesser extent the former colonies. This job doesn't require them to be perfect or to be the best family in the world, but it does require that they don't act as Charles has. I'm not even going to get into the fact that he has an amazing ability to come off as a wet blanket. Prince Charles also has a total lack of media skills that seem to be an essential requirement of the job.

I've been a fan of the monarchy for most of my life. I'm a firm believer in democracy, but I do love the history and the poetry of a constitutional monarchy. But still I wonder if we'd be better off without the monarchy than let Charles be our King.

Prince William may not make a perfect King either, and certainly he's imperfect like all men. Still he hasn't disgraced himself yet and if Queen Elizabeth II died tomorow, he'd be old enough to ascend to the throne. I hope a decision is made to skip Charles in the line of succession and make his son King.

Having said all of that, the marriage is a done deal. May their marriage last the rest of their lives and be a happy one.


:: posted by issachar, 10:07 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Kelly Ellard.

I also want to note that I heard today that Kelly Ellard was found guilty today in her third trial for the murder of Reena Virk (pictured below) when she (Ellard) was 15 years old.



Sad world...


:: posted by issachar, 9:59 PM | Permalink | 24 comments | Links to this post

Spammer gets jailtime.

So here's one of the things I typed up while I was offline...

I like to listen to CBC radio on long drives and I was listening to a story on Friday about guy in Virginia who got sentenced to 9 years in prison for 3 counts under Virginia's new anti-spam law. Each count has a maximum penalty of 5 years, so he was facing a maximum of 15 years in prison. Forging the routing information was apparently a big part of the offense in his case.

Now I hate spam as much as the next guy and spammers belong in that special class of loser who think that the rules of polite society don't apply to them and they can send you all the junk mail and junk faxes they want while they phone you at home to explain why you really need to buy their product or service. Selfish way to make a living and it should be against the law. (Well apparently it is in Virginia).

Still, 9 years in prison seems excessive. There are murderers who spend less time in jail than that. I would have thought that 8 months in jail and a huge fine, (maybe confiscating every red cent the man has), would be more appropriate. Spammers are motivated by money so take their money away. Of course you'd have to sentence him to 2 years to get him to spend 8 months in jail, but whatever...


:: posted by issachar, 9:54 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Lazy about blogging...

So I've been get a little slack in my posting. I get ideas about what to write when I can't post. (Such as right before work) And I end up typing them up when I'm not online. So then they're sitting in notepad and not on the blog. Brilliant.

Also, what's with people who can't argue without insulting people? Posting on the internet is a great way to get attacked, but I still wonder if some of the people online think at all about what they've read before personally insulting someone else.


:: posted by issachar, 9:49 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Friday, April 08, 2005

Canadian Politics...

oh man...

So I was listening to CBC radio as I'm driving in to work this morning and they're talking about the provincial election that's going to be on May 17th. First of all I'd like to point out that unlike most Canadian elections, this election date was fixed and we've known it was going to be on May 17th 2005 since the government was elected. For those of you who didn't notice, the sky hasn't fallen and BC hasn't joined the southern country just because we did something they also do. Fixed election dates are an obvious attribute of a democracy that isn't trying to give the encumbant yet another advantage

I'm not going to get in to the worrying the commentators were doing about how the NDP was messing up their chances to beat the BC Liberals, but I thought it was worth mentioning that they made a side comment about the Director of the CBC being "the penultimate job in Canada" and "more powerful than the Prime Minister". They were joking, (I think), but I found it telling nonetheless. It's a little too close to true to be funny. An appointed director of a government run media outlet having that much power is not very funny.

They also seemed a bit dismissive of the Greens. Apparently their environmental policy is okay, but all that libertarian stuff and "right wing economics" doesn't sit well with the CBC.

So that was the morning radio. I get into work and I look at the front page of the Globe and Mail. The headline reads "The Smoking Gun" in big bold letters and inside there's a condemnation on the pathetic attempt at a publication ban and another column announcing that "This is as bad as Watergate". The sad thing is that I don't find any of the information in the Gomery inquiry surprising. We knew this. The Globe seems to think that this will seriously harm the Liberals. I'm not sure. People seem quite willing to put up with corruption in the government.

I haven't actually had a chance to read the articles, but since lunch is just starting, I'll go have a look.

So far I think the best summary I've seen of the Gomery mess was Jonthan's comment on The Potent Pew.

This is just a two part equation:

1. 1. $250 million of taxpayers' money was lost by Liberal mismanagement.
2. 2. Some of that money was "mismanaged" back into Liberal hands.

It's really that simple. They're either corrupt or incompetent. Either way they're a lousy government. The corrupt people need to go to jail and the party needs to clean house and make sure they can't "mismanage" money like that again. Saying "we'll make sure we don't do it again" doesn't cut it. Stop creating slush funds and wrapping yourself in the flag to justify it. It's a hugely stupid leap of faith to trust them until they do. Oh, and they might actually try paying back the tax money that was mismanaged into their campaign funds. Just a thought...


:: posted by issachar, 1:04 PM | Permalink | 5 comments | Links to this post

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I have a place to live...

So I'm not going to be homeless at the end of the month. w00t!

I'll be in Langley near the corner of 200th & 72nd. Nice setup with a bunch of guys in a house. (Sounds familiar anyway). As an added bonus I'll be living about 6 feet from a Starbucks. Well not quite. There's no wireless internet in there though, so they won't get excessive business from me. Anette's idea about moving in with the other single teachers at the school will have to wait. I don't think I'm enough like John Ritter to pull it off anyway.


:: posted by issachar, 9:10 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Zach Braff

So Dave told me a while ago that Zach Braff has a blog. I got curious and decided to go looking for it. While doing that I checked imdb and it turns out that today is his birthday. So everyone wish the very funny Mr. Braff a very happy 30th birthday. (Caleb: Thanks again for introducing me Scrubs!) I haven't heard of many celebrities blogging. (The only other one I know of is Wil Weaton).

I find it really interesting to read other people's blogs. Following the trail of links can lead you to some very interesting places. Celebrity blogs seem to be a strange blurring of worlds somehow...


:: posted by issachar, 9:58 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Monday, April 04, 2005

Blogs and the media...

Well slashdot has had two stories recently about blogs that have picked my interest.

The first was a story that San Fransisco was going to attempt to regulate blogging. It seems like slashdot was blowing things out of proportion, (gee I'm shocked), but one of the posters brought up an interesting point. Blogs could have a serious effect on elections. The mess with bloggers catching Dan Rather on 60 Minutes in that badly forged memo scandal, is the strongest example I can think of. Combine this with campaign contribution limits and you have a problem. If a blogger creates a web page that has a large influence on an election, how do you regulate that? My hosting company is Canadian and I use my own name, but I could just as easily be hosted in the States with a pseudonym. How exactly do you enforce election spending limits with the internet in the picture? I don't think you can.

The second story was today about a blogger in the US breaking the Canadian publication ban on the Gomery Inquiry. Of course that gave us link the the blog that broke the ban in the first place. It's fairly obvious that Canadian publication bans simply don't apply outside of Canada. So is there any point to having a publication ban when we can easily get our news from outside the country?

Also does anyone else think that we're having an awful lot of publication bans these days? I didn't pay as much attention to this sort of thing when I was a kid, but I was pretty interested in politics and I simply don't remember having this many publication bans. It's like they've suddenly come into fashion right when they're becoming unenforceable.

Anyone have any thoughts?


:: posted by issachar, 10:45 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II died today...

I just want to mark the Pope's passing in my blog. My entire adult life I've thought of him as one of the best leaders the Catholic Church has had. I pray that God gives the cardinals wisdom as they choose his successor.

Pope John Paul II
May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005




:: posted by issachar, 6:19 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Panama Trip Summary

Okay... I've procrastinated enough... It's high time I actually finished writing about my Panama trip. It's actually April 4th, but I'm not changing the blogger time.

I'm sure no one cares at this point, but I'm mostly writing this so I'll be able to remember what I did six months from now. The way my memory was failing today at work I'm beginning to suspect there's aluminum in the water. So here's some photos.... Keep reading below if you want the summary of our last two days...

Typical Tourists... Start at the Mira Flores locks at the Panama Canal. I didn't know this before I went there, but the there are no water pumps. They just keep draining fresh water out of the lake. (No corrosion that way).







We had a nice hotel room. This is the view from the room.



More later... I've got to go have dinner.


:: posted by issachar, 5:45 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post
So anyway...

When we last left our heroes, they were fighting the evil sunshine creature and his minions of scantily clad surfers. Believing their mission was not yet fulfilled they returned the next day to brave the dangers of the beach...

The weather was a bit overcast and it rained a bit, but we did get some sun as well. If it had been blazing sunshine I probably would have come back bright pink. As it was I managed to get a respectable tan. :) We also figured out that we'd been misinformed and the actual competition didn't start until that day. The day before had just been the warm-up. It was a better show than the day before and it got better and better as the day went on. Unfortunately, we had to leave early as we had a plane to catch at 4:30. Missing the plane back to Panama City would have been more than a little unfortunate. We went back to Hotel Angela picked up our bags and headed out the airport where we got to sit and wait. And wait and wait, but that's airports. Although this is the first airport I've seen where the local soccer pitch is just off the end of the runway. Games don't stop for landings and takeoffs and the soccer players must be trustworthy in Bocas as the pitch seems to be inside the airport security fence.

The flight back to Panama was as loud as coming in, but we did see some container ships waiting for the canal as we flew into the city. We got back to the hotel and Dad headed out to do a last exploration of the city while I sat down to do some reading and enjoy the view. (Guts were still not 100% at this point). We watched the British national soccer team on the big TV at the restaurant which is cool when you've got serious soccer fans around you. (Although they were a bit bummed by Panama's loss in the previous game to Brazil).

We flew out the next morning for Atlanta. Nice flight with a repeat of the movie we saw on the way down. The strangest thing was the airport. Yes there is an airport whose security area has less interesting things than Toronto. There were about a dozen liquor and perfume shops and not one book store or news stand. There was a place that sold candy called "Kid Trade" seemed to be targetted at kids that had a small shelf of magazines, but for some reason they had porn mixed in with their single copy of Rolling Stone. (And this is place is called "Kid Trade"?) Weird... Atlanta is a great airport for stuff, and I was just fine there. Unfortunately our four hour layover turned into a six hour layover. (Dad didn't miss his connection to Kelowna). I read a lot and got a copy of Wired. The next flight had another repeat movie. Bummer.

Thank you to Liz for picking me up at the airport! And thanks to both of you for letting me crash at your place. Driving up that night wouldn't have been that much fun.

Well that's the trip. I wonder what I should do in July? :P


:: posted by issachar, 5:44 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post