The Rants of Issachar

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Back in the Okanagan

I'm back in the Okanagan. Hooray for Okanagan summers and time on the lake.

I'm going to be working at the mill this summer helping Sandy Silvester with the tech stuff in the office. It should be a bit different from being the techie at a school, so I'm hoping I'll learn a lot.

More posts to follow...

:: posted by issachar, 3:39 PM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

Sunday, June 26, 2005

To apocalyptic fantasies...

What is it about apocalyptic stories that people find so compelling?

Ryan turned on the TV this morning before church and Red Dawn was on. A nice distraction while sipping the morning coffee, (thanks to Melissa for the wonderful Starbucks supply), and reading. (Interesting article).

Red Dawn isn't a great movie in the sense of being transcendent or anything, but it's appealing in the same way that The Day After Tomorow is. Life is complicated and it's difficult to know what action to take in every situation. Apocalyptic stories have simple solutions. Fight the enemy. Stay out of the storm. It's not that life is always complicated. Sometimes the correct course of action is a simple one. (Which is not to say that it's easy). The advantage of a story is that the simple solution seems easier.

The stories stick with me too. I still remember reading A Wrinkle in the Skin back in high school and I still pick up The Chrysalids from time to time.

Well it's almost quarter to ten and I've got to go have a shower before church.

:: posted by issachar, 9:43 AM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Friday, June 24, 2005

Down with pennies

The penny should not exist. It has served its purpose and it's time for retirement. A Canadian penny is currently worth 0.81 cents US, or 0.45 UK pence. It's just not worth it. And to make things worse, pennies make your hands smell bad. (Well, all coins do that, but pennies most of all).

We don't need them. I want retailers to start rounding things to the nearest 5 cents. I can't think of a single reason why a retailer couldn't make it stated policy that all transactions are rounded to the nearest nickle.

Would you appreciate it if they did that for us?

(We'll try convincing them to post the after-tax price later)...

:: posted by issachar, 10:10 PM | Permalink | 5 comments | Links to this post

must post...

So I haven't posted anything in close to two weeks. A combination of factors really. It's June, and I teach in a high school, my laptop power adapter broke, so I have to write in front of my desktop in my room if I want to post, and I was getting in a political rut anyway. Besides, Canadian politics are just sad these days.

So here's to more posts...

:: posted by issachar, 10:03 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Update: January 14th 2007.
This obviously didn't work out. I'm not going to be updating this post.

Original Post

These are the the links I don't want to lose, but have to remove from my bookmarks list. Most recent additions first.

None yet. This post was made so my template wouldn't have a broken link.

Friday July 8th 2005
Obviously I'm not using this section very much. Maybe it will never be used.

:: posted by issachar, 10:01 AM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

My postings on other sites.

Update: January 14th 2007.
This obviously didn't work out. I'm not going to be updating this post.

Original Post

Recent postings around the internet... I post as Issachar unless otherwise noted. Most of this is probably quite dull. It's a record for me mostly.

Sunday, October 29th 2005.
This page obviously isn't going to get updated very often. It's just not interesting enough. I guess I'll post new sites here, but I'm not going to mention my comments on previously mentioned boards.

Friday July 8th 2005
I've decided only to post discussion links here. No one-word comments on my friends blogs.

Wednesday July 6th 2005.
Kuro5hin discussion on Scientology

Monday June 13th 2005.
Waving or Drowning

Sunday June 12th 2005.
TPM Cafe.

Saturday June 11th 2005.
Waving or Drowing.

Monday, June 6th 2005.

Pre- June postings that I can remember...
Various places on Museworld.

I'm going to create a post for links to my comments on other blogs. I'm going to keep updating this, so I should be able to get an interesting view on my own conversations in a few years.

:: posted by issachar, 10:00 AM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Poverty & Christian issues...

I've been reading one of Mike Todd's blogs, Waving or Drowning, for a while now. It makes interesting reading. Incidentally, I can't remember how I found that blog, so if anyone else has read it before, let me know. You might help me figure that out. :)

He made a comment about how Christians approach justice & mercy issues today. I made a brief comment and he sent me an e-mail asking me to expand on that. This is what I wrote:

It seems we all hate the liberal/conservative labels, but we continue to use them because they're all we've got.

Actually a good deal of my thinking on the subject comes from domestic Canadian politics, and that carries over into the international. What do we do about poverty in the downtown east-side? In Wally? What do we do to provide medical care to everyone? What do we do about drug addiction?

The "liberal" response as articulated by the NDP is full of compassion. Poverty: Welfare. Medical Care: More money for the health care system. Addiction: Legalization, Regulation and/or safe injection. But then there's the consequences: Welfare: Welfare trap. More money for health care: Our flat-out inability to keep up with the rising cost of late-life care. Legalization etc.: Increasing drug use.

Bringing up these objections gets me dismissed by some as lacking compassion, but I'm not satisfied with solutions that don't work. At the same time it seems like "Conservatives" dismiss the problem as unsolvable. I don't buy that. There are solutions. They're just not simple. And like surgery, they're not always pretty.

For the international scene I think that we need to accept that compassion without results is not particularly valuable. Thinking about the situation in Darfur for the moment. How do we stop genocide? Words won't do it. They might make us feel better, but the fact remains that some people really do want to rape & murder other people. The only thing that can stop them is superior force. We have that. But if we use it we need to realize that we're going to have casualties and we will accidentally kill innocents. So what should we do? For Darfur, I really have no idea.

What about poverty? I believe that debt relief & aid are good, but they're merely band-aid solutions. The only thing that will solve the problem is if they have the same thing that makes the west rich. Working & productive economies. So how do we help them get that? By helping them start industries that can succeed in an international marketplace. Global trade maximizes production, so we need to help them succeed there. One such industry is agriculture. It has relatively low barriers to entry and they have the skills to do it. So where do we come in? We need to eliminate our protectionist subsidies on farming. I don't mean reduce, I mean eliminate. We're richer so we can undercut them easily and we need to stop doing it. Canada needs to get rid of them and import restrictions. The US has subsidies that make ours look small and Europe has subsidies that make the American ones look tiny. I think we should start by getting rid of ours and then putting pressure on other countries to get rid of theirs. This will hurt. Our farmers will suffer and we need to help them. There's no reason to have all the burden of this land on farmers. We spread the pain evenly. Agriculture is not the only industry we need to look at.

So that's just one thought for now. As I said, I don't know how to make a "Conservative" position work, but since "Conservative" economics seem to work, I want to find a way to make them work from Christian principles.

This is in the same vein as something I wrote before, but apparently never got around to posting. Guess I'll have to write it again sometime. Basically I feel the need to explain why I'm a Conservative. It's not because I don't have compassion. It's because I do.

:: posted by issachar, 4:43 PM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

Posting for the sake of posting...

Mood: Feeling much better now.
Listening to: Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams.
Currently: Reading & posting on a very nice Saturday...

Last night was pretty uncomfortable. I've been spending the last few days trying not to go crazy from itchy eyes. I think I've had a summer cold on top of the usual spring-time allergies. Best treated by a lot of sleep, take out from Swiss Chalet, Smallville and re-reading a favourite book if last night is any indication. I'm feeling a fair bit better this morning.

I'm spending my morning (and apparently the afternoon) hiding from all the nasty allergens outside, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, drinking a few liters of coffee & tea, reading, and posting. Pretty much a nice domestic Saturday that no one but me should care about. :)

:: posted by issachar, 2:19 PM | Permalink | 1 comments | Links to this post

Monday, June 06, 2005

My posts on K5 on theology...

That OSC discussion on K5 led to some discussion about the definition of Christianity. Anonymous Lemming said a bit about Mormonism, and Delirium had a few criticisms about my definition of "Christian" being based on the Trinity. I'm not going repeat myself here, as I can't see K5 disappearing anytime soon.

But I will repeat my comment about John Neufeld's sermon I was listening to on the drive back from the Okanagain on Sunday on the first part of the Book of Romans. It's just over a half hour, but seriously, try it for five and half minutes. John Neufeld asked the question "What is Christianity all about". The short answer is: "It's all about Jesus. But when you learn about Jesus, who do you believe? Who will you trust?"

:: posted by issachar, 9:37 PM | Permalink | 3 comments | Links to this post

Fax spam updated...

I've posted an update to my post about fax spam. I got an outside comment, (and an e-mail), after my post became the third site listed on a general google search for the company name.

If you've got any comments and/or advice about that posting, please post there.

I guess google updates quickly. That K5 article on Orson Scott Card is currently the third site listed on a google search for "Orson Scott Card". (Bringing in a few angry comments).

:: posted by issachar, 9:32 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Friday, June 03, 2005

On wireless hotspots in town...

I wrote this up on Wednesday, but as you'll read, I didn't have internet access at the time... Then I forgot to post it when I got home. But here it is now...

I'm sitting at eclipps waiting to get my haircut, so I turned on my laptop to check for wireless net access. One unsecured hotspot, but not a free one. The web-browser takes me to some info on pricing. As a plus, they don't just demand that you have a plan on their little hotspot for access, you can pay with a cell phone account, credit card, paypal, or prepaid. Nice.

But frankly the cost pooches the deal. Six dollars for an hour, ten dollars for a day or thirty-five dollars for a month. That's a little steep, and it's enough to kill the interest from a casual surfer sitting in the salon across the street from the Mailboxes etc. store hosting the hotspot.

Maybe that's the best business plan for them. Maybe dropping the short connection price wouldn't up their volume sufficiently. I don't know, but I do know that I'm not going to be signing on at those prices.

I'm also not convinced that you can make a business of selling internet access in large amounts. Does anyone who already pays for net access at home feel like shelling out much more? Or will they just say "oh I'll wait until I get home"?

I still think the best use of wireless access in this context is an incentive. As in, "buy something and get a code for a half hour's time". The honour system would be cheaper, (as in you're a cheap loser if you hang around outside using the connection), but people would probably abuse it. Starbucks still hasn't come out with wireless for customers yet. For a company the size of starbucks the economies of scale should be very small. Using the wireless is like using the couch. They say "coming soon"... Which I take to mean it's coming 1 month after a major competitor implements it.

:: posted by issachar, 3:13 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Thursday, June 02, 2005

oh... and the Model UN was today...

Almost forgot to mention this. Kevin & I went over to Abbotsford Christian School and did a Model UN with a group of students. I was nice doing the whole UN procedure thing. Our students did quite well too. It's not as much fun as participating, but it's good to help the kids do it too. They did manage to get a resolution passed... I may think the real UN is a corrupted gargantuan waste machine, but the Model UN is fun.

:: posted by issachar, 11:04 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Just a short lull...

Have I really not posted since Sunday? It doesn't feel like it. I've been writing on that Kuro5hin thread on Orson Scott Card about Mormonism and I've done a couple of responses to my posts on Sunday. (Here and here). Well that and I work for a living and occaisionally go out in the evenings. :P Christian and I went out to Martini's on Broadway last night. A very, very good burger. We dropped by Alistair's place too. It looks nice!

I'll be heading up to Westbank for the weekend after the school's graduation ceremony & banquet tomorrow. (Well, if I'm not too tired). Mum's birthday is on Sunday. Hopefully I'll write more on the weekend.

And maybe I'll remember to phone the friends I should have been calling this week...

:: posted by issachar, 11:02 PM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post