Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

28 February 2005

Thank ₤µ€λ!


Metro put in 33 hours of overtime this week & so is one tired puppy. So just a brief thank-you to the millions of Canadians who told Paul Martin to avoid the US Missile 'Fence.

On the radio following the day of the decision, a US general explained that people in the US were "bewildered" about the general lack of enthusiasm for Star Wars Deux (or is that "Duh"?).

"After all" he said "It's not like we were asking Canada for anything."

True. Apparently we were being asked for no money, no strategic committment, and not even a scrap of land to launch missiles from.

So why are they so upset that we, having been asked for nothing, promptly gave them what they'd asked for?

Well, it's because of what the current guy in the Big White House needed desperately--Legitimacy. George the Second needs a partner so that he can validate having canned the SALT and ABM treaties for a plan that, as I have pointed out before, doesn't ₤µ€λing work.

Meantime, whatever consequences may befall us from refusing to participate in this exercise in avoiding negotiations, being hit by a US missile seems unlikely. And given that no-one else with missiles is pissed off at us at the moment . . .

(By the way--that "second failure" is actually the third or fourth.)







23 February 2005

Commenting on Comments


I notice that someone feels a)nauseous and b)that the terms "SO" and "technically married" may be inappropriate.

For the first, my suggestion is Gravol. As to the second:

"The SO" is my term for the person who (for god knows what reason) puts up with me, and loves me (I think), and whom I love in return (as above). I originally chose this reference as a way of avoiding names in this blog (and ducking the embarassing fact that the SO's name occasionally slips my mind). At that time I began referring to this person as my "significant other". That site, by the way, cropped up through a search for "the other"--I wonder why someone so obviously into animal rights would create a collage of the especially delicious ones?

"Technically married". Um, well; that's what we are. We have said no vows, had no ceremony. But we've been living together for long past the statutory period at which a couple may be considered common-law partners. I plan to waltz through life with the SO, and to one day (hopefully at least another eighty years or so in the future) be found dead on my side of the bed on a pleasant sunny morning.

So "technically" we're hitched.

But perhaps my complainant is correct. Maybe it's time for a new & cool nickname for the SO--something with snazz & pizzazz. I assume that "the ol' ball & chain" won't do, then?


  • Plus ca change . . . The caption translates as "Repeat after me: The security of the US is threatened in Central America". Don't I recall hearing something of the sort about some other place?






  • 20 February 2005

    Oh--Nearly Forgot to Mention


    Yesterday I was at a great big grocery store. I queued up at the 12-items-or-less till. The young woman behind the till was obviously a bit tired, but smiling gamely. She totted up my bill. Three family-sized chocolate bars and a bottle of water (everyone needs a healthy breakfast, but lunch is pretty much up to you).

    "$8.25" she said pleasantly.

    "Uh," quoth I "The chocolate bars are 3 for $5.00." The water was $1.40 or so.

    "Oh."

    There followed some confusion. It turned out that the sign had been left up from a special several days prior, but Canadian law demands that the retailer gives you the advertised price. The clerk rang up the purchase again:

    "$3.12" she said brightly.

    I stared at her for a minute. Then when she showed no sign of realizing what she'd just done, I paid up and left.

    There's only so much I have to do to feel like I'm being honest. I alerted her to the problem. About her mathematical ability I can do nothing.







    The Broads From Bountiful


    A delegation from the BC community of Bountiful has gone to Ottawa to reccomend that the Feds up the age of consent from fourteen to sixteen.

    Accepting advice on sexual behaviour from polygamists? Isn't that like taking table manners from Hannibal Lecter?

    The unreformed Mormon church isn't even legal in Utah. The official line is that polygamy was quietly dumped to avoid the social strains of trying to support several wives on one salary.

    This is where Stephen Harper almost starts to make sense. He claims that if gay marriage is legalized, as I hope and expect it will be this year, then the next thing will be polygamy, then say, NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association) weddings. I have a friend who follows this logic and worries that legalizing gay weddings will lead to people petitioning to marry their pets.

    (My gut instinct is "let 'em". Most people treat their pets better than other people anyway, as far as I can tell. And a marriage where "till death do us part" is seven years or so surely has a better chance of sucess.)

    But here there be huge logical flaws: Let's dismiss the silliest notions first.

    1) Marrying pets: Most importantly in this society (where we discriminate against arranged marriages perfectly acceptable in other times and places) is that an animal is incapable of informed consent to the marriage.

    2) NAMBLA: Is essentially a criminal association for paedophiles. This comes back to age of consent and I'll get to that in a minute.

    3) Polygamy and polyandrous marriages.
    Mr. Harper is trying to class social behaviour with sexual behaviour. Humans are clearly born homo- (and presumably bi-) sexual. There's no rational debate on this point because the only coherent counter-argument is that the Devil makes people pretend to be gay; and like any purely religious argument, it should be ignored in modern jurisprudence.

    No-one is born polygamous--that is, no-one is born married to several people. Certainly we all are attracted to more than one person (as far as I can tell this applies equally to males as well as to females) otherwise how would marriage be even possible, given how small a segment of the population of the Earth we meet in a lifetime?

    "There was a man who never was.
    This tragedy occurred because
    his parents, being none too smart
    were born ten thousand years apart."

    --Dennis Lee


    But being unstoppably attracted to people of the same gender is a far cry from being attracted to more than one person. Both are normal sexual behaviour. The difference is that most modern societies have concluded that the social part of marriage should be limited to two people. Which appears to stop nobody.

    Marriage is a choice (unless of course, you're gay, then you have to settle for second place: "civil unions"), and society has decided that while you can choose to get married (unless of course you're gay), you have to live with the consequences of only one marriage at a time.

    Being gay isn't a choice.

    Legalizing gay marriage would recognize that a certain number of humans are attracted to their own gender. Legalizing polygamy would simply legalize a type of behaviour that all adults feel from time to time, and complicate it by turning perfectly respectable affairs into lifetime mistakes.

    One of these things carries a heavy social cost, the other none. Guess which is which?

    Personally, I think it might be better if the government cleared out of the bedrooms of the nation entirely and simply decided to recognize only individuals and registered partnerships, rather than something called marriage. But we have decided that in addition to its obvious benefits forcing oneself to pretend to be nearly, or at least comparatively, celibate for one's entire life should carry a consolation prize too--civil recognition.

    This may sound odd coming from someone who's considering taking the long walk himself, but I at least have a choice.

    On the Age of Consent
    I'm opposed to changing it for the same reasons I support gay marriage. It has proven impossible to stop teens from having sex. Our laws account for the fact that a fourteen-year-old may not be giving informed consent by having tight safeguards around who a fourteen-year-old may have sex with. In Canada, if the age gap between you is over three years, and the person on the other end is under 18 or so, you'd better have his or her signature on a consent form.

    Why mess with it? Unless we're throwing a bone to the boners.







    19 February 2005

    The NHL season's over. Yeah. Whatever.


    The least unexpected headline of the year . A group of millionaires is whining about being gouged by a group of billionaires who are whining about not getting enough bang for their multi-million bucks.

    The salary cap as they were considering it was never going to work. The League is bound by rules which say that enough dissenting votes can shut down any agreement--I believe the figure is six or eight votes.The players made an offer at $49 million in total salary outlay per team, with bonuses for teams earning more money.

    One problem--or more precisely eight problems: There are at least six teams that didn't pay out that much in salary last year in the first place. So how are they likely to vote?

    What I want to see here? Simple. Remove the teams from Anaheim, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Carolina, and Nashville, and send them to St. John's, Charlottetown, St. John, Quebec City, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon, where the fans would GET IT. Bettman is partly responsible for turning the Quebec Nordiques into a cup-winning team--by getting them sold to Colorado.

    By the way--who the hell's bright idea was it to put a Denver-based team into a division titled "Northwest"?

    The other, slightly more interesting alternative is to expand the NHL to Europe. Make it the IHL; then we could have the International Hockey Organization for Players.

    If the owners want more bums on seats (instead of on the ice) they need to adopt two strategies: 1) Get real players--not multimillionaires who get ten grand per game to warm the bench if they're feeling peaky. 2) Drop the damn ticket prices! You could do this by firing a few multimillionaires.

    Hell, if I could scare up the cash, I'd go to Regina at four AM. I'd sit by a frozen pond on the coldest day of the year, and every time a seventeen-year-old turned up for before-paper-route practice I'd offer him fifty grand a year to play for my new team. Then I'd charge twelve bucks a seat, six for kids, and watch the fans roll into my new rink.

    And the first time someone wanted my star forward for $1.8 million per year, why I'd let him go with a smile. And when he was playing in Russia (during the next lockout) I'd point him out and say "He got his start with me."

    Not that the owners are alone in being Δ1¢λheads. A BC Lions player (can't recall who--could be Carl Kidd, linebacker) just re-signed to the Lions for $100,000 per year. Canadian football, always a major- though-second-string sport, is exciting and spectacular. The average NHL salary is $1.8 mil. The CFL has a cap. But I can't recall the last time they cancelled a season.

    The last sport to have a mass temper tantrum was baseball. They lost roughly thirty percent of their audience in the US--where baseball is programmed into the genes of every young shaver along with mom, apple pie, and the boy scout motto. Sorry about the MIDI. Try this instead.

    How's hockey going to do in Tampa Bay, Carolina, etc after this? Whattaya think?

    Moving the Panthers to Iqualut would have several good effects: It'd bring jobs, create community spirit, and give the kids something to do on Saturday nights besides huff gas. By the way: To understand how well hockey does in Florida, consider that the site linked to above is the highest Metacrawler hit for "Florida Panthers".

    Quote of the week:
    "If women ever achieved men's levels of arousal would anyone get any work done?"
    --Georgie Binks







    14 February 2005

    Saw "Sideways" tonight.


    The SO and I tend to feel that Valentine's day is something of a Hallmark holiday. We know our relationship is special and don't feel pressured to mark it on any given day simply 'cause we're told to.

    Nontheless we went to see Oscar-nominated "Sideways" tonight, following a romantic dinner at a restaurant chosen by the SO for its ambience and haute cuisine.

    I loved it. The two protagonists represented the best and worst of what men are. The SO observed that it was the female equivalent of a guy getting to listen in to the bathroom chatter that goes on in the ladies'during double dates.

    Didn't have to work today, so for a special day the SO and I spent hours helping an old army friend who's now a care aide (and desperate for a job--contact me if you have any leads. She's also a former truck driver and security guard.) construct and send out her resume and cover letters.

    This friend had her first kid at eighteen and her first divorce around a decade later. And I somtimes used to wonder whether I should feel sympathetic because of all the bad choices she'd made or whether I should envy her for getting all the lousy crap over and done with early.

    Now I know which side I come down on. It's sometimes tough enough for me to find the mortgage every month without having to feed two small mouths as well.

    The BLive blog , written by one of my best friends (and worst enemies--it's a complicated relationship) hit the ether waves today. I'm still paddling in the shallows of the software, but learning as fast as my "very little brain" (to quote the bear) allows.

    Meantime I'm considering how to tell a potential client that what he really needs is exactly the opposite of what he really wants. More on this later, perhaps.

    Happy VD to all.







    12 February 2005

    What a Week.


    What a couple of weeks, actually.

    The Molson-Coors merger has had unintended but cruel consequences for myself and the SO. Due to their combined (and market-share-losing) might, they have been able to offer the cheapest (not best, just cheapest) deal to the new owners of our Local.

    So we arrived to celebrate the SO's mumble-mumbleth birthday, to the rude shock of having a decent range of beers including Okanagan Springs' 1516 Lager (a highly superior product) replaced by a rack of panther pee.

    Molson Canadian is tolerable on tap. But Coors Light is simply kidney abuse without reason. The best thing to do with it would be pour it straight into the toilet, eliminating the middleman.

    For dark beers, the bar now offers selections which contain so much caramel colouring that, but for the presence of alcohol, they should be called colas. Guiness and Kilkenny are still served, but by the time of writing I'm sure they'll have eliminated them too. Not that I wanted to buy them at bar prices anyway.

    The house wines were eliminated from the menu just prior to the weekend. No new vintage has been selected. The owners clearly have some moral or philosophical objection to drinking alcohol--or at least to people enjoying doing it.

    So I expect a reasonably pleasant time searching for a new bar with tolerable service, decent atmosphere, and real beer. Fortunately we live within stones throw of at least four bars.

    I continue to work on the BLive blog. The launch date is Monday, February 14th. Not sure why, but that date wrings a ball. Perhaps the SO knows?

    The SO was responsible for giving me the finest gift a man who's technically married could ask for. Two weeks back, in a grand gesture she'd planned for days, she hauled a bottle of vitamins from her purse and plonked them onto the table at our former favourite watering hole (see above). They were prenatal vitamins. By this gesture, the SO indicated to me that she was willing to put aside her personal and massive misgivings about the whole idea and try to have kids with me. Whether or not we succeed, or even get past just considering it, remains to be seen. But the intent is important.

    How does one say thanks to someone for that sort of thing? I can't think of a way. I can tell you that one thing I especially love about her is her forthrightness and integrity. She has a core of rock and iron which makes for a great foundation.

    That's enough sloppy sentiment for now.

    I've been talking to someone about rewriting his website, and received great approbation when he said "So can you bring it in under $2000?". I estimated the job at five hours' work. The trouble is, his ex-partner has stolen the current web site, it seems. And I'm not quite certain what if any copyright protections apply (to already-stolen preperty on the 'net?).

    Meantime, in between BLive and long days at my other job, I sleep. That's it, really.

    I'll keep you posted as events warrant. Be good for now--or better yet, don't get caught!