Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Gay Marriage

This post from Right Thinking People does a great job of summarizing the anti-SSM position. Of particular note is this portion:

...the Charter is about equality of treatment under the law. This can be achieved by amending legislation and regulations to permit homosexuals to enjoy all of the legal rights and privileges enjoyed by married couples, without either making marriage a Charter right, thereby threatening religious organizations and attacking the preferences of the majority. It would be easy to guarantee substantive equality under the law vis-a-vis marriage for homosexuals, without calling it “marriage” and without making it a Charter matter and subjecting churches to lawsuits, harassment and intimidation.

My question: Why isn’t the Government taking this route?
Good points.

Update: More good points from The Politic on SSM

The House Saga - Part 2

Continued from this post.

We had no choice but to look for another place to live. The search was complicated but the fact that the wife had to go on a 2 week business trip. With only six weeks before we were to move, we needed a place fast. We could not wait two weeks for her to return before starting our search. However, there was no way that I would buy a place without her ok. We are hoping to live in this new house for the next 20 years and raise our children there. I could not take 20 years of her always reminding me of how I made a bad choice.

Since I would not buy without her, we thought I could use the time to see some of the houses and get rid of the unacceptable ones. In addition to looking for what I liked, I had to keep in mind what she wanted. Right now, we live in a townhouse condo. It is a great size for us, but anything more than 2 kids over 5 years old and it would get a bit crowded. Also, our yard is about the size of a postage stamp. She wants to have a garden. All that, combined with my need to build a bunker to stop the government from trying to take our stuff, led us to want an acreage. There were two things the wife insisted on. She likes privacy. Many of the new acreages are in what amounts to large subdivisions. She wanted lots of trees and privacy. Also, she wanted to be as close to town as possible. I am most concerned about buying a quality house, so I was looking towards something newer. We both prefer newer styles, (ie bigger kitchens). Unfortunately, her 2 requirements tend to be mutually exclusive. The closer to town, the more likely they have less land and less trees. Farther out, more trees.

After two weeks of looking I had seen about 60 houses. I have seen about every acreage in the area and I know more about what is available then most real estate agents.

By the time she returned, I had narrowed it down to the best 7. Of those, I had 2 which I liked. The two were not perfect, one was far away from the city, the other was close but not as treed as she wanted. Life is made of compromises. The clock was ticking, it was time to compromise.

Guess what? She did not like any of them. In fact, she hated my first choice. She would not even consider it. My second choice sold the day before she go back.

Back to the drawing board.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I am an Insensitive Jerk

This incident took place because of the cat.

The cat is old. He is at least fourteen, maybe older. The Wife rescued him when he was five, so she has had him for a long time. Lately he has been going downhill. In the last few months he has been snorting and snuffling around, as if he has trouble breathing. He is sleeping more than normal. He has little interest in his toys. And the big sign is his lack of appetite. This is a cat who would almost trip me getting to his bowl at feeding time. In the last 3 months, he has lost about 2 pounds. This is a lot for a 12 pound cat. Anyway, we have long suspected something was wrong. The Wife has been using the internet and came up with a bunch of possible problems, one of them being cancer.

As I have said, the cat is old. We have discussed what to do about him. My feeling is that, as long as he is not in too much pain, we should let him live out his natural life. His quality of life is still good, as far as I can tell. He gets 4 meals a day, almost daily brushing by me, he sleeps almost wherever he wants, can leave the house to sit in the sun or smell stuff, sounds like a perfect cat life. I do not want to put him down. Let him enjoy that for the few months or maybe years he has left. Although he was initially a pain in the ass when we started dating, I feel that he is now one of the family and is entitled to live out his life. However, there is a limit to what we will to for him. The Wife and I have discussed this numerous times and we both agree. A friend of hers had a dog that had cancer. This dog went to cancer specialists and had treatment. When that didn't work, the dog even saw people who specialized in "alternate cancer therapy". These are the ones that give you herbs, wave a magic wand, say prayers, that kind of stuff. Of course, none of this worked and the dog died. Just to give you more of an idea of how far a pet owner can go, the dog was cremated and his ashes sit in a prominent place in the living room beside his picture. We will not go that far. What is the point of spending hundred or thousands of dollars to put the cat through all sorts of pain, discomfort and stress which, at best, may extend his life for a few months, and at worst, make those extra few months a living hell. So we decided, no invasive procedures.

I thought this was very clear. We had spoken about it a few times, we both agreed.

During the visit the cat was weighed, poked, squeezed, had an rectal exam and had blood taken from his neck. I wonder how something very old, possessing the emotional maturity of a 2 year old child in a situation with little control and lacking the ability to fathom what is going on will react? As expected, the cat freaked out. He got so stressed he was panting. The vet stopped trying to examine him as he thought the cat might die of a heart attack (not good for business). At this point we had spent $225 and still did not have x-rays (another $200). The vet could not find anything wrong. Blood tests were negative. With the cat being stressed, the fact we figure he is not long for this world, having no desire to make his life more unpleasant that required, I spoke to the vet. In my crude way, I tried to question the requirement for x-rays. I was not keen to spend another $200 to find nothing. Even if we did find something (say cancer, tumor, etc) we had already decided that we would not get some big operation, so what was the point?

Wrong question. The Wife gets very upset and starts to cry. Now, if you know the wife, you know she is not one to show her emotions very often. Part of what attracted me to her was the fact that she was less emotional and sentimental than the stereotypical woman. She was practical. She did not want a $7,000 engagement ring. She doesn't expect me to romance her all the time. This has, on occasion, backfired on me. When I try to do something nice, like buy her jewelry, she is not as impressed as I would like.

Back to the story. The Wife is crying and is obviously upset. Since she doesn't get that upset very often, I start to get concerned. Since we are discussing something we have agreed upon in the past, (i.e. how we are going to deal with the cat) it can't be about that. The vet leaves and I try to comfort my wife asking her why she is upset. Her reply gives us the title to this post "Because you are an insensitive jerk".

Of course, I do not understand. Further attempts to explain myself only make it worse. I must accept the fact that I am an Insensitive Jerk.

It is a long, quiet ride home.

In addition to being an Insensitive Jerk, I must take the cat back to the vet for the x-ray, which will probably show nothing. Also, the wife is concerned that the vet's feelings might be hurt, as she thinks the vet may mistakenly think that she was crying because he could not do/find anything wrong with the cat. I must explain to him that she was not upset because of that, but because I am an Insensitive Jerk.

The cat and I leave in a few hours. I can't wait.

Update 29 June:

Guess what, the x-rays found.....nothing. However, the blood tests were not ok, he has high levels of potash and sodium in his blood, whatever that means. I guess less salt on his fish and chips....

The vet wants him in early tomorrow so they can look at him again.

Money spent on cat "health care" in the last 12 months:

Sept 2004 - $800
Jun 2005 - - $365 (plus whatever they add on tomorrow)

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Wife just hung up on me!

This relates to the saga of the house.

I was trying to get out of the house yesterday, as I had 3 very important things to do, two of them related to the house and one to a very interesting job opportunity, which I will relate to you in the near future.

So, I am in the middle of changing and the phone rings. It is our morgage broker with a bunch of things he needs to get our morgage. This is a bit of a pain, as I have been trying to get various paperwork for him. This is the second change to what docs are needed in as many days. The bank seems to be jerking us around a bit.

Just as I hang up the phone it rings again. It is the wife. She has two things to do today. She needs to get some basic information from a bank about their services which we are thinking of switching to. This is not that important. The second thing is to get informantion about a morgage she has (monthly payments, taxes, etc). This is very important, as the conditions for our morgage had to come off that day.

When she calls, I will admit that I was a bit frustrated. I had been trying to get out of the house to get this stuff done and the phone kept ringing. She proceeds to start to tell me about her morgage info over the phone so I can call back the morgage guy and pass on the numbers to him. I say that I just got off the phone with him, and why do I need these numbers? We need a copy of the information and I have just been through the morgage documents she left for me and cannot find the info. She says she doesn't have the info on a form and she will have to go back to the bank now, pay $10 for a statement, she is busy at work and just spent a long time at the bank and that I did not tell her we needed a statement, etc.

Here I am trying to get my stuff done and I have to waste my time listening to someone else complain? I have about 10 times as much stuff to do and her complaining is just making it harder to get it done. Now, perhaps I was a bit too sarcastic, but I replied "Oh, so I guess it's my fault?"

Her reply: "Fine" and she hung up.

Was I too sarcastic. Maybe, but come on. This is the year 2005. Does she really think the morgage guy is going to take our word that we owe X dollars? We told him months ago what our general financial situation was. Now its crunch time and he wants to see proof. Did I really have to spell that our for her? Yes, they want proof in the form of D-O-C-U-M-E-N-T-S. The day when a person's word meant something to the banks is long past. Can you imagine me talking to the bank:

Me: I have lots of money so give me a loan for whatever I want.
Bank: Who are you again, sir?
Me: I am Bill Gates. I have billions. Perhaps you have heard of me?
Bank: Yes sir, Mr Gates. Anything you want. No proof is necessary for you, sir!
Me: I'll take one of those candies.
Bank: Here you go, sir.

It's my fault I did not specifically say to her "We need that in writing". I assumed (never assume, it makes an ass of u and me) that the wife would understand that the bank wants PROOF. I guess from now on I will have to assume that things that are blindingly obvious to everyone else may not be to my wife.

Must call the wife at work right now to remind her to breathe.

Update: Delicious! Last night when we met our broker, we had all the right docs EXCEPT the one the wife was supposed to bring. She had to drive back to the house to get it. Of course, it was my fault.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The House Saga - Part 1


This started about a year and a half ago. I guy the wife and I know was looking to sell his cats only kennel. I was getting out of the military and was tired of working for "the man". We considered buying his business. He was a bit dismissive when we spoke to him about it, so we sat on the idea while I considered other options.

About 6 months ago we decided to get more serious. We approached him again and he was much more receptive. We started to make plans and we considered selling my house, as his business is attached to his home and he wanted to sell both. As we spoke to him more, I did not get good feelings about the financial situation. I felt he was not being up front about how much money the business made and I started to question if the deal was something we should do. These questions led to this post, when the wife accused me of trying to back out of the deal and not "finishing" anything.

To anyone who may not know, we decided not to buy this business. The final straw came when, after telling this guy several times that we wanted to see proper financial statements (and he would just show us his wife's tax return), we have a lunch meeting for him to give us the statements. Much to our surprise, he pulls out a real estate agreement and proceeds to start filling it out with how much we are going to pay, the conditions, etc. We had given him conditions and more info months ago and he was to use it to write up an agreement which I was then going to take to our lawyer. Yet it was down to crisis time and he still had not done this stuff. That, plus him constantly telling me I did not need to see financial statements, I did not need a lawyer, etc, finally was too much to bear. Actually, I would have ended the whole thing sooner, but the wife wanted to do it, and it took me a while convince her that the alarm bells screaming in my head should be heeded.

This decision put us in a bit of a bind. We had put up and sold our house as a sign of good faith and fully planning to move and take over this business. Now we had an agreement to sell, no place to live and 6 weeks to find something.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Funny stuff from the Arch Enemy

Not to give my arch enemy more traffic, but he has a good summary post on the Darwin Awards.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Crazy Lefties are Everywhere

Its not just the famous lefties, such a Howard Dean, that engage their mouth before using their brain.

I had quite the experience the other day. I was standing on my lawn talking to my neighbour "Gary". He is a recently retired oil patch worker and is not very interested in politics. In fact, I could not even get him to come to a condo meeting to vote for me when I ran, even though he supported me. He has views on politics, but he one of those guys who worries about himself and doesn't stick his nose into other peoples business. A Libertarian who doesn't know he is one.

As we are standing there talking about something, this handyman drives up, gets out of his truck and begins to talk to us. He is 66 years old and is used on occasion to fix things around the complex. He knows the complex better than anyone. How do I know this? Because this is the first thing he tells us.

I have lived in our condo for 8 years and Gary for 12 years. I was also on the condo board for over 1 year. I do not recognize this guy. Not to say that he is lying, but he is not one of those guys who everyone knows. He just comes up to us, interrupts what we are discussing and starts telling us his life story, not so much as an introduction. He does not know me well enough to do that and I find it a bit rude. To add to the rudeness, it is one of those one way conversations, where he talks and requires no input from you. I can take that. My mother taught me to be polite to people, especially my elders, even if they do not give you the same courtesy.

However, then he goes in politics. Bush is evil, those damn Americans, blah, blah, blah, blahblah.

Why do people do this? Are they dumb? The last thing I do when meeting someone new is start talking about controversial topics with someone you just met (or in this guy's case, didn't even meet yet). I mean, you don't go up to some person you just met at a party and start talking about how the
Joooooooossss are ruining the world. Though it is fun to watch when one person pipes up and says "I am Jewish".

I did something like that once, where a guy made some joke about my mother. You know, one of those dumb jokes you are always hearing black comedians make. After he was done, I looked him in the eye and with a straight face, said "My mother's dead". Of course, she isn't, but you should have seen the look on the guys face. He almost fell over himself trying to apologize. But I digress.

I think it is a lefty trait to assume that your views are so correct that everyone agrees with them. The wife does this as well. Just a few weeks ago we are meeting our real estate agent to look at houses. We meet her at this big church in Sherwood Park. Now, most of you Ontario types think that Alberta is populated with these huge churches a la Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. Nothing could be further from the truth. Alberta may seem to be more Bible thumping than Ontario, but big church bible thumpers are rare, at least around Edmonton. But I will admit, this church is big. It does have a school and community centre attached, which accounts for most of the size, but it does convey that born again Christian, hallelujah type religious thing. I noticed this too, but being polite and having just met this real estate agent, I am not going to mention anything about it. Not so the wife. We get in the car and the second thing out of her mouth is some comment about the crazy religious people and their crazy big church. Well guess what. The real estate agent, although she does not go to that church, belongs to the same religion and goes to church in Fort Saskatchewan.

Back to the old guy. Once he starts going off about Bush and the war in Iraq and how the damn Americans push us around, I just about lose it. I mean, this is Alberta. This is the last place in Canada where you would think a guy would assume everyone would agree with his lefty views. This in not downtown Vancouver, ffs. So, I decide to take him to task. What I usually do in these situations is take on a position which doesn't directly contradict their assertions, but takes it to an extreme. So I tell the guy that I think Canadians are wimps. It's our own fault for letting the Americans push us around and we should build up our army, invade the bastards and nuke the hell out of them. Teach them a lesson, yes sir.

I would have been more satisfied if his jaw had dropped and he stared at me dumbfounded, but the guy just kept going. I don't think he really wanted, or needed for that matter, me around for him to talk. About this time my neighbour broke in and started to ask the guy what work he was doing, etc, thereby saving the conversation from degenerating further.

If one Lefty learned to engage brain before opening mouth, my good deed was done for that day.

Now if the wife would only learn.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Beginning of the End for Libs

Liberal MP Pat O'Brien has left the Liberal Caucus to sit as an independent over what he perceives to be a rush to pass SSM legislation without adequate consultation.

Perhaps I am wrong. There are some Liberals who have ethics.

Mr. O'Brien is not leaving over the sponsorship scandal or the bribing of opposition MP's, but its a start.

Note that he was in talks with the Conservatives and on that, we have this quote "In the end, I felt that it was not enough for me to move to the Conservative Party".

Seems a bit ambiguous. Not sure how I would take that statement.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Deep Throat

With the revel that Deep Throat was the No. 2 man at the FBI, W. Mark Felt, there has been a lot of discussion about Watergate. I must admit, I have no deep knowledge about the subject, but have probably know more about it since my degree is in History and I focused more on Western histroy.

The majority perception about events in history are rarely true, as I found out from research I did on the Vietnam War. As an example, due to the media attention on draft dodging, I always thought that it was a huge problem for the US Government and I guessed that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands burned draft cards. However, history matches our perception. For example, if I remember correctly, there were only between 100-200 draft cards burned during the war, far less then I thought based on my perceptions from movies.

I mention this because it marks the start of my skepticism towards "facts" that our society takes for granted. Watergate is one that I have always been suspicious. The general feeling, from my perception, was always that Nixion was an evil man and that two heroic journalists had managed to root out this corruption. How much of this is true. It appears Deep Throat (Mark Felt) may have been motivated by anger at Nixion for passing him over for the top FBI job after Hoover died and not because of some great love of his country.

For a more typical view on this event, try this article

Here are a few people that have a more, shall we say, non-PC view of Mark Felt:

This article by Mark Steyn

And this by Adam Yoshida

Or this

Update: More on the effects of Watergate on Journalism in this post at Captain's Quarters.

Some Misc Stuff

A few sites that I consider interesting:

Adam Yoshida always has a take on global events sure to be different from the mainstream.

Blame Bush is very funny (at least I think he is trying to be).

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Paul Martin should resign

I am calling on the Prime Minister of Canada to resign.

The professionals seem to always say it better thank I can. Andrew Coyne has this excellent column on the Grewal tapes.

On the criminality of the situation:

...we have a right to expect more of people in public life than that they should not actually commit any crimes. ... it is abundantly clear (assuming the tapes have been accurately transcribed) that they were flouting the intent of the law. They were promising “rewards” -- Cabinet appointments, diplomatic postings, Senate seats, all were discussed -- to the Grewals if they abstained from voting against the government in the confidence vote.

Who is responsible:

...It was not, then, cash on the barrel. It was a promissory note, backed by the full faith and credit of the Prime MinisterÂ’s chief of staff -- and by extension, the Prime Minister himself. [emphasis added]

And on what the government minister should have done:

...Ethically, they are forbidden, not only from making explicit promises of public offices in exchange for an MPÂ’s vote, but from any tacit understanding to that effect; they are required, not only to refrain from deliberately creating such an impression, but to take care that they do not do so inadvertently.

The conclusion:

By whatever standard, they have failed in their duties. Their final responsibility, accordingly, is to submit their resignations, at least pending the resolution of opposition complaints to the ethics commissioner and the RCMP. If they will not do so of their own accord, it is the Prime MinisterÂ’s responsibility to demand it of them. And if he will not do so, or give a fuller explanation of his own involvement in this squalid affair, then it is his resignation that should be demanded next.

I say it is too late. As the Prime Minister, Paul Martin should do the right thing and resign due to his failure to uphold the standards of ethical behaviour required for Members of Parliament within his CabinetcaucusCacus. Mr. Dosanjh should also resign for his part in this affair. In addition, it is clear to me that the "rewards" and the procedures for dealing with the aftermath were used with others who crossed the floor. Therefore, I call upon Belinda Stronach, Scott Brison and Ujjal Dosanjh (again) to resign.

You heard it here first.

Update: Let it Bleed seems to agree and points out a story by Chantel Hebert where she states that Liberal solidarity may be crumbling.

Spin...What the Liberals do best

More examples of media bias.

Note this article in the Globe and Mail. While the first paragraph is about how PMPM is ignoring calls for resignations, the second talks about how "allegations that the tapes are doctored are disturbing". Of course they are disturbing. Anytime someone like the Prime Minister claims something is doctored when it is not, is very disturbing. Note that PMPM says the claims are disturbing, not that the tapes are doctored.

A Conservative MP says the Libs tried to bribe him, everyone ignores it. A Conservative MP has tapes of Libs tiptoeing around a discussion about buying his vote, and the story is about how there is no clear proof. The Libs say the tapes are doctored without offering any proof other than their say-so and doctored tapes is the main thrust of the story?

Seems like we need a Canadian version of FOX News just to provide some balance.

Update: Why is there media bias? Is it a big conspiracy? Read Lorne Gunter's explaination here. It makes sense to me. However, since people will always have some sort of bias or identify more with one side or the other, the only solution is one that is used in our courts everyday. The adversarial approach. We need media in this country that are unapologetically right wing to counter the hidden left wing agenda of the present media (not counting you, Mr. Gunter, or AC).

When the cat is away......

The wife is away for 2 weeks on a business trip.

I am actually enjoying myself. When the wife is here, we have to have dinner. Dinner to me is grabbing something from the fridge, say 3 frozen burritos, nuking them and covering them with salsa. The wife does not think this is acceptable. Dinner must include a side dish and some sort of vegetables. I can also let the house get a bit disorganized. Usually she is the one that contributes most to that disorganization. With her gone, it is not as messy and I can avoid that "you did not clean anything today and you are still in your pajamas" look, which I always get when she returns from work.

However, I think the cats are starting to miss her. Well, one of them anyway. The younger female cat doesn't care much for people, so she probably doesn't care, but the male is a different story. He is older and today started to bug me for attention. He usually sleeps all day, moving from one spot to the next. Today he started begging for more attention than is usual. I had to spend an inordinate amount of time petting and brushing him, speaking it soothing tones and telling him "Don't worry. Mommy will be back soon." If I don't, he will constantly meow and try to rub against me until he gets what he wants. I hope kids are not this annoying.

The cat likes to drink water from the dripping bathtub (It is actually quite funny. He gets the water in his nose then snuffs and snorts like some old man). If he gets too annoying, perhaps I can arrange a little "accident" involving the tub and water.

The cat has a new favourite spot, which is right beside the desk where I type this blog. He is already settled in and snoring away like my father.

I think I need to get out of the house.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

More on the Grewal Tapes

Check out this column by Andrew Coyne on the tapes. If you have any doubt on how the Liberals operate, this should dispel it.

Did anyone see the CBC last night? They are so pro Liberal it makes me sick. Peter did that "interview our own reporter" thing and the "questions" he asked seemed like something off the desk of the Liberal Communications department desk. Their main point was that, actually, nothing was offered.

AC does a great job destroying this point in the above column.