March 29, 2005

Other: From the Woman Herself

Whoever wrote this is doomed to burn in eternal hellfire.
Good company, I suppose.

Provided by the brilliant Billmon.


posted by Thursday at 8:27 am 2 comments

March 28, 2005

Sex: Geek(9) Sex(20) Galore(7)

This, I think, will tell you all you really need to know about me:

Thursday's Rules for Strip Scrabble(tm)

1: At the end of every round, the player with the most points is the winner. All other players must remove one layer of clothing - excepting jewelry and glasses (yum)!

2: You lose a round if you have the lowest score for the round, even if you couldn't play because you exchanged tiles or because play ended.

3: Once a player is naked (excepting glasses and jewelry), if they are the loser of a round they must do a "favour" for the winner. The maximum time this favour may take is 60 seconds. No article of clothing may be removed, dislodged, or relocated in any way for this favour.

4: Words with sexual connotations (agreed on by all players - go ahead, convince them!) are worth double points.

5: If any player scores a body part, they get a kiss on that part (or its closest surface area) from any other player of their choosing.

6: Winner takes all (on)!

The wife and I think this is a comprehensive set of rules, but if you can think of others, jot 'em down!


posted by Thursday at 7:39 pm 0 comments

March 27, 2005

Science: Finally, They Concede!

The editors of the heretical magazine, Scientific American, have finally admitted the basic unfairness of only using science as the basis of their reporting.

BlondeSense carries their confession in full here.

Now, if only they could admit that the world isn't round. It's actually shaped like a giant burrito - even bigger than these.


posted by Thursday at 10:46 am 0 comments

March 25, 2005

Politics: Putting it all Together


The US has recently passed a Senate bill in the House to limit malpractice lawsuits at $350,000. Terri Schiavo got $750,000 in her suit, of which about $40,000 remain. Her assets have been well managed, but her medical costs have been more than the interest: it now costs about $80,000 per year for her care.

Medicaid is going to be cut by $15 Billion over the next few years. A large portion of Ms. Schiavos drugs are covered by Medicaid.

"Chapter 7" Bankruptcy (individuals who are liquidating all their assets except "exempt property") and "Chapter 13" Bankruptcy (aka "reoganization bankruptcy", for individuals who have a predictable income, and are refinancing their debts into a more manageable form) have been toughened by the new reform laws, and are now far more difficult to use. "Chapter 11" Bankruptcy (corporations resturcturing finances and avoiding onerous liens) was left alone.

The government is stepping in to prevent the husband of a brain dead woman from letting her die.


If your doctor is careless, and feeds you a drug cocktail that gives you an aneurism, stroke, or seizure that leaves you brain dead, your family can get up to $350,000 from them for your care. If you can't get medicare, that will keep you alive for what, five years, give or take? Assuming you can swallow, it would be illegal to pull your plug, euphemistically speaking. Leaving your family on the hook for however long you last.

This is if you didn't have any surgery, experimental (like Ms. Schiavos) or otherwise. The only person I know that needed open heart surgery in the States paid out $300,000 for it after all was said and done. That settlement doesn't look like much now, does it?

If your family can't afford a care facility to look after you, they can try it themselves (until they snap, anyways). This means at least one person in the household (other than you) without employment. They chose not to look for work, so they don't get welfare. Your house gets mortgaged, the family cars become the family car, and Hello, credit cards!

By the way: an amendment to the new bankruptcy bill to stop predatory practices by credit card companies, like random rate increases, 20%and higher interest, late fees, renewal fees, et al. was soundly defeated. As was an amendment to limit credit card interest to 30%. Enjoy!

How exactly do these bills, passed or proposed, help any consumers? In any way? More to the point, why the hell does anyone support these twats?


posted by Thursday at 6:10 pm 0 comments

Religon: I'm Good Enough, But for Where?

Something a little lighter (I have a serious need to cleanse my palate after all the Schiavo reading):

Here is a handy little test for those of us who aren't quite sure who qualifies for Heaven and who doesn't. It calls itself the "Are You Good" test, but actually it's not about being good so much as it is about getting into Heaven.

I'm not.

I am so unqualified for Paradise it's funny. Not that it's funny, of course, what with Hell being, uh, Hell and all. The only thing I'm NOT gulity of on this list is murder.

With this in mind (and weighing heavily, I assure you), I decided to see just where I'm going to end up, acording to Dante Alighieri:

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Bummer. Dis is a nasty old place, what with the demons running around and all. But I'll probably end up in a sarcophagus to burn for all eternity, anyways.

Oh, wait...

If I'm a Heretic, doesn't that mean I don't believe in this crap?


posted by Thursday at 4:16 pm 0 comments

Politics: Terri Schiavo Redux

You have to hand it to Bill Frist.
He anunciates very clearly for a man with his head up his ass.

He spent " hour or so..." looking at a home video of Ms. Schiavo, and came up with a diagnosis. Not only did he not examine her in person, is he unqualified to make any judgement on her neurological function: he was, after all, a heart surgeon not a neurologist. He apparently spoke to a neurologist, and managed to find one who would like the noteriety of "saving" Ms. Schiavo; kind of like finding a doctor who disputes any smoking-cancer link.

But first and foremost, Frist is a politician. ( Here's some proof of just how much the Republican Party cares about this issue.)

You could see the flop-sweat cascading off of him when he tried to defend incorrect information being taught by abstinence-only sex education programs during a George Strombopolous interview. He didn't want to say they were wrong, because those programs were being taught by a conservative religous contingent, and if they lie to kids it's okay: at least they vote correctly.

But this is insane. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (who compares his massive ethics troubles with the Schiavo case) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert decided (with Senate Majority Leader Frist) to subpoena Ms. Schiavo and her husband. They are to appear before the Health, Education, and Labor committee of the US Senate on March 28. Nothing like a little more grotesquerie, eh? Makes for good television. It is illegal, of course, to prevent someone from appearing at a Senate committee they have been summoned to, meaning if she's not alive at the time, those responsible can be charged with obstruction. But of an anti-climax, isn't it? I expected at least manslaughter chages.

They don't actually expect this to happen; but if it did boy, could this backfire against the Republicans. If it's shown live, and not as an edited videotape, it could well simply be Ms. Schiavo sitting unresponsive in a chair for two hours, which is her normal state. Of course, every twitch and blink would be declared proof of sentience by her parents and siblings, and the tape (carried live on C-SPAN) would be edited down to twenty seconds of Hi-Lites(tm) for stations around the world.

I'm not just picking on Frist as an opportunist in this case. He deserves it, though: in a book he wrote in 1989 (try to get past the cat-killing stuff), he advocated changing the defenition of brain death to include anencephalic babies for organ harvesting. Personally, I support that view, just like I oppose his interference in Ms. Schiavos case now. I think such a decision can only be made by the family and the courts. (Why the courts? Because a neutral party is needed in any issue this emotionally charged.) So his bleating that he is "pro-life" and embraces a "culture of life" rings rather hollow.

President Bush gets a big old heaping of derision, too. Flying out to "Save Terri!"(tm) was grandstanding at its finest: faxes move far quicker, but don't look as good on television. And of course, there's this brilliantly ironic quote from him: "If there's any doubt, one must always err on the side of life." He claimed that this was an "extraordinary and unique" case.

Okay, so he's not up on his medical history, either. This is a surprise?

Never mind his death row history, never mind his penchant for war: this guy has some seriously screwed up priorities. A law he signed, for instance, in 1999 that allows a hospital to remove a customer (you'd rather the term "victim"?) from life support if the HOSPITAL decides there is no hope for improvement. It's a cost-saving measure: the families don't have a choice. Oh, don't worry, it's not right away: the family can transfer the customer to another facility, if they can find one.

Now, there are people who are pushing to "Save Terri!"(tm) by any means possible, including using the army. I'm not kidding. In my other Schiavo post, there's a "Tin Hat" link, which connects to a page with all sorts of special folks proposing special things and telling special stories about this case. With a few lucid exceptions (definition for Bill Frist: it's not Terri), these folks are freaks, and not in a good sense.

If only these folks noticed that the current government of the United States is trying to cut at least $15 Billion from Medicaid. I hate to argue numbers in cases like this, but that's going to affect a lot more people than one family in Florida.

But I guess it doesn't make for very good television.


posted by Thursday at 2:05 pm 1 comments

March 23, 2005

Politics: No Such Thing as Bad Publicity...

Oh, my.

Oh my, oh my, oh my!

Thanks to The Gazeteer and to Kayber Toss.

But thanks especially to Wal Mart (that's a phrase I never thought I'd say) and Marvel Comics.

Oh my.


posted by Thursday at 12:26 am 6 comments

March 22, 2005

Other: About Schavio Pt. I

Terri Schiavo is a very special case.
We know this, because our TVs tell us so.

Actually, the only reason that Ms. Schiavo has suddenly received this much attention is that the Republican Party in the United States wants to reestablish support of the Conservative Christians, whom they believe will support their position. They feel they have to, because they haven't been living up to their promises, so that group believes. After all, he hasn't optlawed abortion (yet) or amended the Constitution of the United States to ban Gay Marriage (yet) and he tried straddling the fence with stem cell research, all promises to the religous right during his last campaign.

So the President flew back to Washington to personally sign the insta-bill that appeared in congress, the sole purpose of its existence being to let Ms. Schiavos parents appeal to a different court, this time in Atlanta. He didn't need to fly - it actually would have been quicker if he hadn't. A fax with the Presidents signature would have been binding, but that doesn't make for good TV. So.

Here's the story: Terri Schiavo has been in a near-vegetative state for fifteen years. She can breathe on her own, but needs a feeding tube. Her mind, medically speaking, has rotted away: there are literally holes in her brain. She was undergoing "fertility services" in 1989 when she had an adverse reaction and her heart stopped. In the several minutes it took for help to arrive, anoxia set in, irreperably damaging her brain, and she slipped into a coma. She was intubated and brought to a hospital. Without this emergency medical intervention, she would have died within the hour.

Her husband has requested that she be taken off of life support, ie. the feeding tube to be removed. Not a quick of painless death, assuming none of the nurses decide to "snow" her under, and it could take as long as two weeks for her body to die.

In 2003, a court judge appointed a Guardian Ad Litem to the case. What this person does is examine and evaluate what the person in questions intentions might be or might have been, had she the ability to understand or communicate them: Ms. Schaivo can do neither. The Guardian found that both the husband and parents of Ms. Schiavo did exemplary work in trying to restore her state of mind. After two and a half months of hospital stay (she was no longer in a coma but had not regained consiousness) and four more in non-response to "aggressive" therapy, the family (parents and husband) tried home care next, staying with her in shifts at her parents house. Burnout set in after three weeks. Her husband then took her to California where she received an experimental "thalamic stimulator" inserted into her brain. After several more months of therapy, and with no response, they returned to Florida.

Through all of this, every report came back negative. The only responses she had were reactive, not cognitive. The was alive, yes, but there was no evedence that she could think, and no pattern of communication. For three more years, with her husband as her guardian, she was in a 24-hour professional care facility where the administrator remembered him as being tremendously demanding in the level of care his wife received.

In 1994, Ms. Schaivo contracted a urinary infection. Her husband (in consultation with her doctor) decided not to treat it, and added a "do not resuscitate" order to her care. The care facility challenged this, and he dropped the order and she was treated.

Ms. Schavios parents tried to remove her husband as legal guardian, a case that was dismissed with prejudice, meaning a case that is "dismissed with good cause", and it is not allowed to be retried in that jurisdiction.

In 1997, the husband decided to request that the feeding tube be removed. A Guardian Ad Litem was appointed, who concluded that though all indications were that Ms. Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state (no chance of improvement), her mother claimed she made "special responses", never witnessed or recorded by others, and as her husband stood to gain $700,000 his argument was not compelling enough for the tube to be removed.

One problem: he had offered to divest himself of all claim to that money, and the Guardian neglected to mention this fact in his decision. One other problem: several other factual and chronological errors were found in the report. That Guardian Ad Litem was later removed.

Here's where it gets really, really ugly.
I mean REALLY ugly.
You've been warned.

In 2000, a judge hearing the case ruled life support to be terminated. The family demanded this reversed, claiming the husband was not only inadiquate as guardian, but had cheated on his wife while she was in the care facilities. In actual fact, the family had encouraged him to begin dating again back in 1993. In turn, the husbands brother and brothers wife claimed that, after two seperate funerals, Ms. Schiavo told them that she would NOT wish to be kept alive without a fully functioning brain.

During the trial, the family mambers, while agreeing that she was in a persistent vegetative state, described the lengths they would go through to keep her alive:

What if she got diabetes, not an uncommon thing in inactive people, and contracted gangrene? Then they would amputate the limbs; all of them in necessary.

What if she had heart disease? They'd have open heart surgery performed.

What if she had told you she wanted to die? They'd keep her alive anyways.

The family lost the case, and the feeding tube was clamped shut in April, 2001. Two days later, the family filed (and received) an injunction. Another review happened, which the family lost. The feeding tube to be clamped again that October. The family filed another injunction, and a panel of five experts (two from each side, one from the court) with "excellent pedegrees of medical trraining" examined, recorded, and reported on Ms. Schiavos status.

The representatives for the family provided mostly anecdotal, rather than scientific, evidence. The tube was clamped again in October 2003. Bush stopped that with special session of the legeslature, only this time it was Jeb, the Governor of Florida. He signed a new law stating that if the person in the persistent vegetative state can swallow food, they cannot be removed from life support.

Then the family changed their mind about Ms. Schiavos condition, and have stated they would NOT have kept her alive if the conditions mentioned in the previous trial occured. They insisted that there was hope for her recovery, that they have had medical professionals tell them just that.

I have no doubt that there are people telling them that they can "fix" her. Special chants, creams, super-secret medical procedures from Atlantis, burning herbs, "smudging", and (of course) lots and lots of prayer have probably all been offered as hope to this family. If I hear another person claim that pseudoscience doesn't hurt anyone, I'm going to break their fucking legs.

And let's not forget our favorite tin hat brigade.

The political side is up tomorrow.


posted by Thursday at 9:05 pm 0 comments

March 20, 2005

Politics: Invent Your Own Commentary

So I was out for a walk with my dog this morning, and saw a "BC Liberals" bus.

It was idling on the side of the road, with no driver and spewing out dark blue smoke.

Don't even have to make a joke about that scene.


posted by Thursday at 10:12 am 0 comments

March 18, 2005

Other: Guilt, Anger and Justice

With the Air India flight 182 trial reaching a "Not Guilty" verdict, the most expensive and extensive trial in Canadas history has come to a close. Justice Ian Bruce Josephson has decided that the key witness in the trial was simply "not credible", and that he believed her to be lying in court. In truth, she did tend to act like she had seen too many courtroom dramas on TV (bowing to one of the accused and delaring her undying love before testifying), but there were other flaws in the prosections case. Having the secondary witness being paid $400,000 to testify, for instance, which is always a problem when rewards are offered for information. His testimony, Justice Josephson said, "bordered on the absurd" and the Justice considered him a liar.

There is, of course, plenty of anger to go around: over 300 people died in one of the worst terrorist attacks in history. There were more than 70 relatives of the dead watching the final day of the trial. They were outraged, and in obvious pain over the decision. They had hoped for a conclusion to their loss; if not closure, then at least a small sense of justice being done. They were denied that chance.

Greif can cause many foolish acts, and statements, so some of the accusations of racism or government conspiracies are to be expected right now. This doesn't make them valid, nor does it make the anger laughable. What is disappointing that some members of the government are calling for an investigation into the investigation. An inquiry why this case didn't... What, exactly?

For instance, here's MLA David Heyer, the son of a journalist who wrote about Sikh extremism (and was shot and killed in 1998):

"I'm shocked. I was looking for some closure, but this is no closure. I think it also sends a message to terrorists: in Canada you can blow up an airplane, kill innocent human beings and nothing will happen to you. After almost 20 years, nobody has been held accountable for this."

And Conservative leader Stephen Harper:

"If we do not have a successful prosecution in the end, I believe it is essential we have a public inquiry."

"I'm not in a position to hand down a verdict … I can't challenge the verdict. I can simply say because of more than 300 dead Canadians, justice has not been done."

What the last sentence means, I have no idea. More important is the first: if someont goes to trial, it is because they are believed to be guilty. Note the italicised word, it's important. Some cases will be decided for the prosecution, some for the defence. In either case, it will be decided in a court of law, not by public opinion. As journalist Salim Jiwa said, there simply wasn't enough evidence there to convict the two men on trial.

As for a retrial or appeal, if the prosecution can find legal reason in Justice Josephsons 618 page reasoning for his judgement, they can go ahead. But Josephson is well known for the completeness of his verdicts, and the odds of finding a weakness are slim.

Mr Heyer may be speaking from emotion, rather than reason, so I will give him the benifit of that; but stating that this "...sends a message to terrorists..." that in Canada they can do what they want is simply wrong. Terrorists weren't huddled around a TV screen somewhere in the mideast, eagerly awaiting this verdict: these people are willing to die for thier beliefs, not go to trial for them.

As for others with accusations of racism, would this even have come to trial if that were truely the case? The total cost for the investigation and trial is well over $100 million. The investigation took almost twenty years to come ot trial. If those involved wanted it to disappear, it would have.

The biggest problem for investigators was that CSIS had been split off of the RCMP only seven months before this attack happened. In those seven months, most of the resources that would normally be inherent in collation and information storage was being fought over in intercene battles between the two forces. Some information got lost, some was collected and collated very slowly. Some wiretap tapes were destroyed, but they would have been inadmissable in any case.

So an inquiry will do what, exactly? All the names that are going to be revealed have been by now. Is it simply a case of seeking retribution, demanding blood be spilled metaphorically or otherwise to appeal to the crowd? Keep arresting people until one is found guilty?

Justice Josephson made his decision after a year of trial. His reasons are far better informed than any opinion I could hope for from the pundit class. His decision was based on reason and on the rule of law.

Other systems have been tried: this is the best we have. Whether the population at large feels it was the right decision or not, the process has already been through its own trial, and we've accepted it. I am sorry that the families of the victims did not get the justice they had hoped for, but we cannot allow the courts to be another victim, this time of public opinion.


posted by Thursday at 8:21 pm 3 comments

March 16, 2005

Politics: A Lack of Showboating

Just so I have this straight:

The Conservatives decided, en masse, not to vote on the Federal Budget. It was an astounding coincidence, given Harpers repeated promise that the members of his party could "vote with their consience" in the House. Unless, of course, voting for or against social laws or programs is to be an open vote, but voting for or against the ability to implement any social laws or programs is not to be considered for an open vote. With them stepping out of the way, both the NDP and BQ could do some "block" voting themselves, showing how tough they were without the risk of triggering another election. The Cons would have been blamed for it, losing them a little popularity with the easily annoyed, the Bloc would have been happy to screw the Feds (of whatever party), and the NDP have nothing to lose.

Interesting thing with the Cons sitting on their hands for the budget vote: Harper said he loved the budget on February 23, saying it had a lot of "Conservative priorities" contained therein. But as an appeasement to the easily deluded, they wanted to maintain the appearance of being opposed, while not actually letting any of his party members vote against it.

Of course, with all the little back and forth with votes leading up to the budget (including this amusung psyche-out by Gilles Duceppe), posturing is the practice of the time. Personally, I consider the budget "good enough", in that while it didn't do everything I would have liked (and did a couple things I'm not terribly fond of), it dosn't do too much damage. Pretty typical of a minority government budget. Most of it being back-loaded is also hardly a surprise: "We have to be here in five years to make sure this happens!" The Libs are going after the military vote with that extra $12.8 billion, hoping to drain them from the Conservatives; and after the social left with the (rather clumsy) $700 million for the provinces to set up day care services.

Now, I do like both of these changes, but good lord I can see why the provinces wouldn't be pleased with the Day Care bonus! There are absoloutely no plans in place for anything of the sort, and $700 million is not going to cover the cost of start up. Perhaps more on that later. I'm not too happy with the continuing decrease in corporate tax rates in addition to the elimination of corporate surtax: the surtax can go, but the corporate tax rates are already far below those in the US, so if it was going to be a draw for businesses moving North, they already would have.

What's got my interest right now is the concept of free votes in parliament. This sounds like a fine idea, and support for it would seem obvious, right? Seriously, who could be opposed to a very direct Democracy, the votes of those representing their constituents...


I think we begin to see the problem. The constituents usually vote on the basis of two factors: the party, and the individual. Or a negative vote, trying to keep "those bastards" from getting in, but let's put that aside for now. When the voter is a little savvy, they will be paying attention to what the potential MP or MLA is promising to deliver. If, on the other hand, the voter tends towards party lines, then they could well end up with someone who is from the party they say they support, but actually has quite different ideals. A classic example is someone who supports the Liberals federally, and thought that the Liberals of British Columbia were the same. Well, their mistake.

At its most extreme, you end up with the so-called "Southern Democrats" in the US. The big break happened during Johnsons presidency, when Johnson succeeded Kennedy and pushed hard for civil rights, pissing off a lot of the racist white south. Accordingly, many Democrats openly declared themselves opposed to Johnson, but as the Republicans were already there, they decided to oppose him from within his own party. It was, to them, the only choice if they wanted another Democrat in the white house. Years later, you end up with this freak being a keynote speaker at the Republican convention, despite being (theoretically) a Democrat.

So is it actually better to have a completely free voting parliment, or more reliablw party-line voting? In Canada it is perhaps slightly less noticable, as there are more viable political parties available with four on the left (centrist, far, french and whoa!) and one (for now) on the right; but many MPs would argue that they should be allowed to vote however they want on whatever issues arise. Fair enough.

I think the best use of the Whip is this: keep track of what got each MP elected. If they didn't campaign particularly hard, then they got in on the party ticket, and have to vote along party lines. If, on the other hand, they promised the electorate that they would behave in very specific ways, then they should be beholden to those promises.

Or else another whip could be used...


posted by Thursday at 2:30 pm 0 comments

March 13, 2005

Sex: When Bragging's Inappropriate

Inspired a little, perhaps, by the previous post...

I've never really considered the relationship my wife an I have as being a particualrly exceptional one. To me it comes easy, so it doesn't warrant much thinking about. And yet when it is compared to many others I have seen, heard about, or been a part of, it does stand out a little. Go fig. Having divorced parents when you're young is interesting, but a brother who's four years older (and far more charismatic) than you going through puberty et al can provide quite the education about relationships.

We've been doing a fair amount of hand-holding for others recently, what with one friend who has a husband who's away; another whose husband's a jerk; and a third who has had more than her share of rough patches in her private life. Not much to be done in the first case, except to counsel patience and let her have the occasional conversation with adults (she has small children). The third case we doctor according to her needs at the time (the wife makes a fine, fine martini). The rather flip response we frequently give her is that she needs someone to love her like she actually deserves to be, rather that how she thinks she deserves. Low self esteem has always been a bugbear of hers. The second case, however, got us to thinking.

She's more my wife's friend than mine, but as I've gotten to know her over the years I've certainly come to care for her too. Following her marriage from day one, I can say without a doubt that that relationship is better off dead. Yet, there is no doubt that he was quite devoted to her. I'm not going to get into gruesome details, but even with his love, this marriage should stop ASAP. But why? Can someone who still loves you be wrong?

You, in the back! Knock off the cynical laughter! That's not really the question. The question is: what is love? Is there an answer? Well, of course: Jenny and I love each other immensely; I love my family (well, most of it); we love these three friends. So wherein lies the difference?

Haven't the slightest. Yet. But we're working on it.

What we've got so far as critical factors are these:

1) Self knowledge. With this has to come acceptance of who you are, flawed psyche (or not) and all. Knowing when you're putting a mask on is the only way you can take it off again.

2) Courage. Trickier to define, we've come up with this: you not only take your mask off when you're with them, but it never occurs to you to put it on. They accept you as you are, better of worse. This doesn't mean they won't nag you about the dishes, but it's a noodge rather than a kvetch. For those whose Yiddish is a little weak, think of it this way: a noodge is what your mother does to encourage you to be a better person. A kvetch is what your mother-in-law does to make you worthy of their child. Best test I know of courage: you can be massively, terribly, stupidly silly with each other, and they won't think any the worse of you.

3) Ego. You have to consider yourself worthy of being loved, or it's just not going to make you happy. Apparently, sometimes this crops up after the relationship has started. I've read that in a coupld of novels. And seen it in the occasional movie. Otherwise, I'm not so sure.

Hokay, so that's what your resposibility is to bring to the table. What comes out of a good relationship?

4) Joy. Simple word, that; but the best I've found. I'm far happier with Jenny than without, and it's not so much that I regret her absence when we're apart, as I am delighted when we're together. Side note here: we've both agreed that if ever this isn't the case, we should get divorced. Not harsh, but logical: why would I try to stop her from leaving if she is happier without me?

5) Comfort. (Comfort and Joy? Are you kidding me?) This comes gradually, but at this point there is nothing I fear Jenny knowing about me. I know how I have to behave keep her around (mostly it's: don't lie to her), and she wants to be here. That confuses me slightly, but I'll take it. She, on the other hand, has no qualms saying "Honey, I want to learn how to tie people up and I've bought some rope..." to me. Knowing about your Significant Others desires before they get sprung on your is a lot better in every case, and far more fun that her being afraid to tell me. Sure, I'm still judgemental; but there's a lot more I'll be accepting of from Jenny than from pretty much anyone else on the planet, so she knows whatever she's thinking, she can tell me. I can likewise tell her my own thoughts, however odd they may be. And that is a great comfort to me.

Is there more to love than these? Oh, probably. But I think a lot of the fluff that surrounds the word is based on romance, rather than love. And romance, you'll note, is nowhere on the list.


posted by Thursday at 3:59 am 0 comments

Why I liked the Oscars this year. Yes, I wore my tux: as one female friend of mine (who wasn't at the Oscars) put it: I was a Ken doll for the night. To quote Warren Zevon: poor, poor pitiful me. Posted by Hello


posted by Thursday at 2:48 am 0 comments

March 09, 2005

Politics:I've Been There! I've Been There!

This is funny:

British Columbia passed, in 2004, a silly thing called the Safe Streets law. This rather moronic bit of prejudice is the same, in malicous spirit, as the Ontario law from a few years earlier. It makes the streets safe for the most vulnerable: you know, the homeless, the mentally ill, the impoverished, the addicted, those forced to live and/or work on the streets to survive.

And if you believe that...

The MLA backbencher that brought it into law, Lorne Mayencourt, probably doesn't think he's an utter ass. He probably thinks that by spending five nights "homeless", he has sudden empathy for those who actually live on the streets, like his spending five days as a McDonalds employee made him poor.

At least he made the effort, or at least an effort, to know what the poor go through, unlike the Priemier, who I seriously doubt talks to anyone making less than $100,000 a year, unless it's to give his order.. (The guy has apparently never been told that anything is wrong with his policies, despite the damage to those actually vulnerable...) So why be on Mayencourts case? Because he thinks his pathetic bit of experience qualifies him as an expert on poverty. As far as he can tell, people are homeless because they don't have a home - case closed, problem solved. What other reasons could there be, after all? All he had to do was life outside his home for a few days in August, and he knows what it's like. It wasn't a problem for him, why is it for others?

In Ontario, the slashing of the social safety net was accompanied by draconian laws against the poorest people, and there was a backlash. In Vancouver, there's going to be much the same. Mayencourt himself has been attacked, and reported the incident to police on March 2nd. If he's surprised, he shouldn't be: his district includes Vancouvers West End, the poorest area in the city. Needless to say, his constituency office windows were broken a couple of weeks after he introduced the bill. So doesn't this prove that the homeless are violent psychopaths who can't be reasoned with? Clearly, real people need to be protected from such degenerates... except that by far the majority of assaults involving the homeless was against the homeless.

The cost of housing on the West Coast is already the highest in Canada, as a percentage of income, and the government has cut the minimum wage to $6 an hour *ahem* "training wage".

So what exactly does the Safe Streets law do? Not much, really: it stops you and I from having to listen to someone beg for their survival if we're in our cars, or at a bus stop, or waiting for the crosswalk light to change. Of course, it makes the sidewalks a little prettier for the delegates from the IOC when they take a look at our progress with the olympic venues, and that's what's really important, isn't it? What this law allows is the police to remove anyone that is undesirable from sight, and put them in jail instead. Las Vegas does much the same thing, with loitering and public drunkeness being enforced laws only if you don't look like you can afford to gamble.

Don't want to give the tourists the wrong impression, you know.


posted by Thursday at 3:52 pm 6 comments

Other: Bonehead Rulings We Have Known

Okay, tell me how this makes sense:

One Mister Cheickh Bangoura, late of Ghana now of Ontario, is suing the Washington Post for a story they reported on in 1997. The story involved an official of the UN being accused of financial and sexual improprieties while on the job in West Africa. In 2000, Mr. Bangoura decided that his reputation was being tarnished in his new home because of the story, and launched a $9 million lawsuit.

Why three years later?

Because, he claimed, people could still read the story on the Post's web site. Here he was, trying to start a new life, and these ghosts from the past were still hanging around to torment him. Now, the funny thing is, to read the Washington Post archives, one needs a membership or money to access. The Post has a grand total of SEVEN on-line subscribers from Ontario, and only one has ever bothered paying to see the story that references Mr. Bangoura's past.

No matter: the potential that people could read the story was somehow damaging to his reputation. Makes me wonder who the one person who looked up the story was, eh?

Now, the expected response from the judge (as it would be from most people) should have been to tell him to suck it up. He was removed from the UN Drug Control Program because of "misconduct and mismanagement", according to the UN themselves. So if he was going to sue anyone for libel, it should be the accusers. More importantly, how on earth could a court in Ontario have any form of jurisdiction over a publication in the United States. It doesn't make sense. Right?

Apparently not.

The judge decided that since the internet "arrives" in whatever location you choose to access it from, tose locations are more relevant than the actual point of publication. This means you can sue anyone from anywhere, which means that some enterprising countries with very strict publication rights could become a new destination of choice for frivilous lawsuits to be filed. And some of the poorer ones could change their laws to suit (so to speak) these suits. For a certain percentage, of course...

But even outside of this, lets face it: limiting what stories can be printed on the net is going to massively restrict what information will be available to the population at large: there's a whole lot that I haven't looked at in the world, and the vast majority of it I'll never get around to, but I'd like the chance to do so.

If this suit succeeds, it won't be a case so much of rewriting the history books: it will instead limit what goes into them in the first place. Right, wrong or just plain stupid, information should never be limited by fear.


posted by Thursday at 2:57 pm 0 comments

March 03, 2005

Motorcycles: Surprise

So as I was driving home from the ferry today, I started to feel... tense. It was unexpected, as the day was finished for work, and I was going to my wife and food and beer (both also courtesy of my wife). There is a bit of road called Osborne Bay, rather twisty and newly paved; that's folowed by Herd Road, which travells through a few kilometers of farmland; the last half of the trip has the 100 km/h #18 highway, wide with a startling sunset this time of year.

I noticed the speedometer creeping up past Speeding and into Stupid. Time to ease up on that, then. I turned up the music - A3s "Exile on Coldharbour Lane". Brilliant stuff.

What in the world / has come over me...

The tension started in my shoulders, that peculiar ache of unsued muscle, a push that meets no resistance. My hands were travelling loops around the steering wheel, trying to twist its hard plastic cover when they were still long enough to get a grip. My feet twitched up and down, impatiently flicking through ghost gears.


Woke up this morning / Got yourself a gun...

Knowing what the problem was didn't seem to help much. My body was positioned wrong. I felt it twisting in the seat, writhing under the belt.

Your monkey's messing with bad medicine / So you feed it with a Jones

It knew: you fit astride and engine, not behind one! What kind of seat lets you move side-to-side, instead of forward-and-back?

The only conclusion: riding is a drug, and I was jonesing in a bad way.


posted by Thursday at 6:07 pm 0 comments