March 28, 2010

Super Duper Natural!

For those of you not from my beloved home province of British Columbia, we had an advertising slogan for many years:

"Super, Natural British Columbia"

Those folks who believed in mysticism and the occult (yeah, there may be one or two out on the coast here) could pretend there was no comma; hikers and outdoorsy types could leave it in; and photographers could have a magazine to keep their pictures in.

(It wasn't our official slogan, which was "Beautiful British Columbia"; a perfectly nice thing to say about one's home, and one that's tough to argue with. Frankly, this place is gorgeous! But I live here, was born here, and choose to remain here. But if rain isn't your thing, you might think otherwise...)

But the Local Liberals (that would be the Conservatives in any other province) decided that the slogan just wasn't obnoxious enough, opting instead for "The Best Place on Earth!"

No, seriously.

There's a petition to stop the province from using the arrogant (and, for a region that relies heavily on tourist income, stupid) phrase going around; but I always prefer to use reasoned and logical argument to back up my points. The shouting and hissy fits come later.

The best reason to return to our old slogan is tag line is simple: it's accurate, and becoming more so every day. What could possibly be less "natural" than someone acting as a caretaker in our provincial parks? Clearing hiking trails of deadfalls; making sure toilets are available to tourists; having firewood available so fewer drunk campers wander into the woods wielding hatchets... You know, the guys who do this sort of thing:

"Park Rangers are responsible for delivering park's programs, protecting park's visitors and resources, and compliance based enforcement, as well as maintenance of parks facilities and equipment."

(Taken from Ministry web site)

All horribly, horribly unnatural I think you'll agree. So they were done away with.

Not all of them, of course! No no, that would be crazy! There are 970 parks and 13.5 million hectares of total protected area to watch, after all: surely there will have to be, say, 50 or so rangers? Yeah, that should do it. After all, if you let all of them go, there could be vandalism, poaching, litter strewn about, crap piling up... And what kind of signal would that send?

Well, never mind! This year, after two years of cuts to staff and services, the province is taking the bold step of increasing park fees for the third time since 2001. Oh, and cutting the budget by another 10%.

But that's okay! As Environment Minister Barry Penner says,

"B.C still has a "fantastic" parks system and attendance was up last year. "We do a visitor satisfaction survey each year and our approval rating is more than 80 per cent," he said."

Which means that they can go to hell for a few years, and who's going to notice, right? Why, 80% is almost an A in school, and who wouldn't be happy with that?

I suggest Minister Penner's not taking all the credit he could be: if cutting the number of Park Rangers in half results in an 80% satisfaction rating, then surely eliminating them completely would produce a rating of 160%! Math doesn't lie!

And then, when all of the protected areas are finally free of any management at all, we can finally call them truly Natural.


posted by Thursday at 3:12 pm 0 comments

March 24, 2010

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright

So now that Tiger Woods is back to playing golf, I'm just going to skim down the pertinent facts of his time off:

A staggeringly successful, athletic, globe-trotting young man (who happens to be one of the richest in the world) is revealed to have had several affairs. This is revealed to the world when his wife hits him with a golf club and smashes the window of his car as he tries to escape. He, concussed and unable to steer, crashed said car.

Then his sponsors decide to either drop him or pressure him into getting back together with his wife after counselling to cure his problem.

To clarify:

His problem is that he has sex with women.

Her problem is that when she gets angry, she physically attacks him with a club.

Can anyone please tell me why the Sam Hill he'd want to stay in the marriage?

If you had heard this story being told about Serena Williams (she had affairs and was beaten for it by her husband), would any sane person have encouraged her to stay hitched to the guy?


posted by Thursday at 6:53 pm 0 comments

March 22, 2010

A Day of Announcements

Yesterday, the President of the United States finally managed to drag his country kicking and screaming (and howling and moaning and wailing) into the modern era.


While the bill that passed is a mediocre amalgam of government and business that makes ManBearPig a thing of beauty, it's a step in the right direction, even if it's on the wrong path. A single-payer option really is the best (and cheapest) way to go for national health care, but that would have left insurance companies out of the loop for their biggest profit-producing teats. Still, some of the worst excesses of those same companies has been curtailed, which makes for an easy rebuttal against Republican attacks, if the Dems care to use them.

"I'm destroying the country, am I? Well how could you be in favour of pre-existing exclusions on children? Huh? Huh?"

The Republicans have sworn vengeance against those Democrats who are in supposed "risky ridings", but so what? What would they have done if the Democrats didn't pass the bill, donate money to them? Let them run unopposed? Didn't think so. The Republicans did everything they could to avoid any form of compromise, any appearance of there being a discussion, or contributing in any way to any kind of health care bill at all, so now they're pissed about not having a say? Too bad!

Of course, you could always ask the people what they think...


Also yesterday, an announcement was made of lesser importance nationally, but great importance socially - at least for one person. James Randi (he's The Magic Man in the links on the right, there) decided to come out as gay. While it's not a big surprise to me, the reasons he had for keeping that part of his identity a secret are finally not enough to outweigh his desire to live beyond his self imposed secret.

A long time magician and front line battler against fuzzy thinking and "woo-woo" beliefs, Randi has decided that he had enough of keeping such a huge part of himself hidden in a secret compartment out of sight of the public. While originally the 81-year old had been silent due to social pressure (as many other celebrities did), even as being gay became more acceptable to the public at large, he had built a career out of alienating mystics, mediums, "zero-point energy" con artists and other charlatans as well as established religions and decided that those people would use his sexuality to discredit his work.

Most famous for his appearances with Johnny Carson (himself an amateur magician) on The Tonight Show debunking the abilities of Uri Geller and exposing the supposed healing abilities of Peter Popoff as utter fraud, he has drawn the ire of many people who make a lot of money off "true believers" over the years. Now, he feels that announcing he is gay is not going to be giving those people any more weapons than they've already tried using against him.

Who knows? Perhaps the idea of someone being a "former gay" can now apply for the $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge!

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posted by Thursday at 10:51 am 0 comments

March 21, 2010

Out and In

Evidently, employers don't care for it much when you point out they're being bone-headed. Who knew?

So I've been fired from my latest job (again) for the usual reason: insubordination (again). I seem to have made a habit of behaving "inappropriately" (ie. showing an apparent lack of respect) to my superiors, looking over my employment record. Funny how I never get fired by my co-workers or through customer complaint, but so it goes.

I guess I should be more afraid of being poor, but I'm just not. Unfortunate personality trait, or just finding the wrong employers? Tough for me to tell, really. I've quit as many jobs as I've been fired from at this point, so I'm thinking self employment may be my only option. We don't quite have the money to open a locksmithing shop, so let's see what's up next. I'm looking to get on with the library here as a casual, so there's hope for me yet.


posted by Thursday at 11:15 am 0 comments

March 19, 2010

Sometimes, It's Hard to Argue

Talking to a co-actor on the weekend, and he was bemoaning the "fact" that Canada wasn't a capitalist society.

"Um, actually we are," I said, thinking about working for money, owning a small business, families inheriting from one generation to the next.

"Not even CLOSE!" came the reply, muttering something about high taxes.

**Here's your "End of Capitalism"! You know you want this to happen!**

Now, there's a lot of things to think about before responding:

1) I'm going to be on stage with this guy, and he's never acted before, so he's already nervous enough without going on tilt;
2) he's been on Unemployment for several months;
3) he's in a government program teaching him how to start his own business;
4) did I mention he's starting his own business?
5) he's got kids, meaning he gets free schooling and medical care for them from my taxes, plus he's getting a tax rebate and child credit for them.

So, how to respond? Alas, in person the first point takes precedent over whatever argument I might have in rebuttal. I like the internet that way: here, you can be who you actually are.

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posted by Thursday at 5:00 pm 0 comments

March 15, 2010

If I Were in Movies...

...I'd be so dead by now.

Things I've found following strange noises in the woods:

1) A tiny waterfall I didn't know was there;

2) an otter;

3) a bee's nest in a fallen log;

4) a beaver;

5) a bear;

6) a branch that fell seconds ago, with the bushes it hit still moving;

7) a bwoodpecker;

8) an owl getting harassed by dozens of crows (twice);

9) a young couple smoking dope and making out (smile, wave, move on);

10) spiders engaged in a mating ritual. No, they weren't making noise, but I'm easily distracted when I'm outdoors.

When I say there's nothing in life that isn't interesting, I mean it. I absolutely love living in a temperate rainforest in a small town. There's stuff I don't have the opportunity for that I would in a city, but so be it: the Significant Other would hate city life, so here we are. And a darned fine here it is.


posted by Thursday at 12:04 pm 0 comments