Thursday, March 31, 2005

I chose to pay for the network where "Liberal" is a cuss word

Last week I had to decide after three months of viewing Fox News Network for free whether or not I would pony up the extra cable fees and keep Fox News Network on the home dial. Two things happened in the last 24 hours that convinced me I made the right decision. Last night I caught the last 15 minutes or so of a CBC Fifth Estate episode on what I suppose was an expose on right wing media bias in American news suitably titled Stick and Stones.

My only comment concerns CBC interviewer Bob McKeown who must be either a great actor or incredibly naïve if he is moved by Al Franken’s teary tirade on his patriotism and then shocked almost into an epileptic spasms by Ann Coutler’s reaction to Big Al’s tears. I am with Ann on this one, and me thinks that maybe Bob McKeown has had a few too many sensitivity training courses. What he really needs to do is go spar a few rounds with my son in the ring or get himself a good anatomy book so he locate his balls.

Which of course leads me back to a question I have been mulling in my mind for sometime; why do we need a publicly funded CBC in this country? I may not agree with the creation of the CBC in the first place, but I have lived in some of those remote areas of Canada where the only option for television or radio news/entertainment to be had was the CBC; so I have experienced first hand a somewhat practical benefit - better than nothing. But that was a good 25 years ago. In today’s day with easy and affordable cable, internet or satellite access; the CBC has no place. If anything, the CBC has no business operating as a publicly funded business in direct competition with privately owned and operated Canadian media companies. If Canadian artists could create for the CBC - then there is nothing to stop them from creating for Canwest, Alliance Atlantis or Sun Media group and its time for the government to return my family’s forced/fleeced contribution to its rightful owners - ME.

The final incident that convinced me I made the right decision concerning Fox was while watching Fox & Friends this am. Two demonstrators/supporters of Michael Schiavo were being interviewed. No doubt the decision to interview this dynamic duo on the air was made for the sake of fairness and balance. I ask you; where else but on Fox News Network would I learn that the American Communist party is demonstrating on the behalf of Michael Schiavo and they support without reservation his right to murder his wife? Certainly, not on the CBC.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pimping the Mac

I can comprehend the potential value of what celebrity endorsements can do for a product. No doubt sales of Trimspa soared after Anna Nicole Smith revealed less of herself. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that MacDonald’s will be paying several high profile rappers $5 a song every time the song is played on the radio if the lyrics mention the phase "Big Mac". But I just can’t get my mind around the sound of Fifty Cent rapping in rapture about a Big Mac. It certainly doesn’t make me want to eat it – I might crack out or break out in tattoos.

(tipped off by Neale News)

Red Ensign Standard XVlll

The Red Ensign Standard has been raised once again from Tipperography:
I love America and I love Americans. I believe the world owes this country and its people a tremendous debt of gratitude for incredible sacrifices they have made to give us much that is good. Instead they receive mostly sanctimonious, self-righteous carping from those who believe themselves to be above the difficult work and who also lack the resources and strength to do it. So I will return to Canada and Canada will become a more grateful country. The difference I make may be epsilon, but epsilon is greater than zero.

And this is what brings me to the Red Ensign Brigade. Before we decided to return to Toronto I had decided that should we stay in America, I would have to give up the Red Ensign bloggers. Although browsing through the blogs, reading the opinions and learning what everyone is up to is interesting, I’m afraid the reports on Canadian political issues only serve to get me a little too over-excited. The Canadian political scene can be interesting, but it is also largely inconsequential and irrelevant to anyone not living in Canada. On the other hand, it has also been incredibly refreshing to get political commentary from this group. I would have despaired greatly at the thought of going back to a place represented uniformly by the CBC and The Globe & Mail. But the Red Ensign bloggers let me know that there are other Canadians (some living in and and some, like me, living outside of Canada) along with a few citizens of other places with ties to Canada who care about this country and who have found a way to give a voice to the viewpoints that don’t come down from on high.

I cannot characterize them all as having the same perspective that I have. (Just take a look at a few of the links.) But they are all different voices and they all have a lot to say. They are the “other Canadians” and they are Canadians making a difference. I hope I have done justice to them with this week’s standard.

Tip, you have dispensed justice to us all. I am a day late and a blog short. For some mysterious reason my blogspot has been refusing my commands so I also owe Tip an apology for being late with this posting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Chicken Little Crosses Lines

I completely missed this one in my morning perusal of the Jerusalem Post:
A thorough analysis of the Koran reveals that the US will cease to exist in the year 2007, according to research published by Palestinian scholar Ziad Silwadi. The study, which has caught the attention of millions of Muslims worldwide, is based on in-depth interpretations of various verses in the Koran. It predicts that the US will be hit by a tsunami larger than that which recently struck southeast Asia.

"The tsunami waves are a minor rehearsal in comparison with what awaits the US in 2007," the researcher concluded in his study. "The Holy Koran warns against the Omnipotent Allah's force. A great sin will cause a huge flood in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans."

Silwadi, who is from the village of Silwad near Ramallah – the home of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal – is not a world-renowned scholar. He said he decided to publish the findings of his research "out of a sense of responsibility because what is about to happen is extremely shocking and frightening."
It is interesting to note that doomsday scenarios really do cross religious, ethnic or cultural lines and bring with them - their own special twists. Really makes me believe there might be something to this archetype business.

(tipped off by Little Green Footballs)

Schnadenfreude Moment

To all those who aligned themselves yesterday with Sponge Bob Square Pants against the combined forces of Dr. Who, Star Trek and myself. I say-- READ THIS AND WEEP!

(tipped off by James at Hammer into Anvil)

Haram Alekem

This is too rich for words. The Globe and Mail is reporting that a speech being given today by Dr. Daniel Pipes at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, has some student groups and faculty members in an "uproar". Over 80 professors and graduate students have banned together to protest Dr. Daniel Pipes speech at University of Toronto with an open letter pointing out that Dr. Pipes has a "long record of xenophobic, racist and sexist (speeches) that goes back to 1990"; though I personally would to love examine the evidence of the alleged record of Dr. Pipes’ racism, sexim and xenophobia.

Apparently "hate, prejudice, sexism and fear-mongering" do not have a place on campus unless you are the Arab Student Collective or the Institute for Women’s Studies & Gender Studies at University of Toronto; then you can sponsor and/or host all the "Israel = Apartheid Week's" on campus that your heart desires.

To the 80 professors and graduate students who signed that open letter of protest and to Ahmad Shokr, organizer and public bullhorn of the Arab Student’s Collective, I say "Haram Alekem" or shame on you!

(tipped off via Neale News)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sponge Bob is a blight on Western Civilization

I have a confession to make. After being subjected to three unrelenting days of Sponge Bob Square Pants by the youngest son; I loathe Sponge Bob more than I ever loathed Barney. At his age I was watching Dr. Who and Star Trek - so why can’t he?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

When everything old seems almost new again

Another day, another bombing in Beirut reports Yahoo News:
A bomb set off a raging inferno in an industrial area of a mainly Christian neighborhood of Beirut on Saturday, injuring at least three foreign workers. Antoine Gebara, mayor of the northeastern Beirut area of Bouchrieh, said the explosion was caused by a bomb placed near the buildings in an industrial area. "It appears it is an explosive charge that was placed there," Gebara told Lebanese Broadcasting Corp.

"They must love us — we got it twice in a week," he said referring to an explosion in the nearby predominantly Christian neighborhood of Jdeideh last Saturday that injured nine people. A bomb on Wednesday killed three people in a Christian commercial center. Witnesses said the blast on the eve of the Easter holiday occurred three hours before Catholics were to head to a midnight Mass.

No group is claiming responsibility for the attack and the Lebanese government has failed to date to find any culprits in any of the bombing attacks that have been carried out in the pre-dominantly Christian neighborhoods of Beirut in the last two weeks. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that the government is actively searching for those who are responsible for this attack. It certainly is starting to appear that there are those in Lebanon who simply long for the old days and will do anything to re-create the past. No doubt those responsible for these current attacks regret that this time Arafat is deader than the proverbial door nail.

The shots that broke the camel’s back in the past was a sniper attack on Phalange affiliated Christians attending mass at the Church of Notre Dame de la Deliverance in Ain El Remmaneh neighborhood of East Beirut on April 13, 1975 which resulted in 4 dead. That attack coupled with the government of Lebanon’s self-imposed impotence to take decisive action or offer protection to the Christian community of Lebanon from the PLO caused the rise of Christian paramilitary extremists groups who felt compelled to take justice into their own hands and retaliated by hijacking a bus and executing 26 Palestinians. That act sparked an open armed confrontation between Phalange and PLO supporters in the streets of Beirut. As the conflict continued and gained momentum no one was allowed to sit out the dispute as fighting erupted throughout the country. Especially vulnerable were towns with mixed sectarian populations who were forced to seek safety with their religious/ethnic groups.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Things that make me grateful to be a Canadian

Now that I seemed to have opined my way into the religious right’s lunatic fringe but I still know my limits. Even I would protest this kind of religious activity if the religious tried to institute it here. Taken from the Toronto Sun:
NINETEEN Filipino cops facing dismissal or suspension atoned for their infractions by flagellating themselves or volunteering to be crucified during yesterday's annual reenactment of Jesus Christ's final hours.

The Central Lauzon police command gave officers who had been absent without leave or who had neglected their duty a novel option: Redeem themselves -- and keep their jobs -- by joining the Lenten rites, said regional commander Chief Superintendent Rowland Albano.

Flagellation or crucifixion just seems a little over the top for taking a day or two off work or even falling asleep while on duty.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Now for something completely different

To quote Oscar Wilde, "I can resist anything but temptation" which makes me a sucker for these silly quizzes.

I am a Jack Russell Terrier.

What breed of dog are you?

(tipped off via The Corner)

Good Friday: The more things change; the more they remain the same.

As I write this on the Christian Good Friday, I am listening to the news on the Terri Schiavo case and the last ditch pleas of her family and supporters to save her life. The biblical ironies that this modern day represents simply overwhelms me. Once again, it seems that we are called to account.

There are those among us who claim there is no moral high ground. They have eyes but cannot see a path that leads to either right or wrong. They wash their hands from judgment and pass the towel to others to do what they will to execute the decision of the court. Once again, on this day there is another Mary who is forced by law to do no more than bear witness to her child’s slow death that the judges among us have decreed the law allows.

And to you who cannot see any difference between paths I would say this; never say let it be said that you were not warned that we will be judged by how we treat the least or "other" among us.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Boots Across the Border ll

Talk about will wonders never cease. The Immigration and Refugee Board has handed down its’ decision on the asylum application of US Army Deserter, Jeremy Hinzman. The Board ruled that Hinzman fails to meet the criteria and therefore his application for refugee status under Canadian law has been denied. Taken from the Toronto Star's report:
In a written ruling released today, the Immigration and Refugee Board said Jeremy Hinzman had not made a convincing argument that he faced persecution or cruel and unusual punishment in the United States. There was no immediate comment from Hinzman but his lawyer, Jeffry House, said he would ask the Federal Court to review the decision.

Yada, Yada. Now, when will he actually go – as in, "don’t let the door hit you on the way out" – go?

Canadian War Heroes

Considering today is the big day that the Immigration and Refugee Board’s decision on the case of US Army deserter Jeremy Hinzman will be handed it down; it somehow seems appropriate that I bring your attention to the literary debut by a young Canadian writer, Giancarlo La Giorgia called Canadian War Heroes. The book covers the war of 1812 right up to the current War on Terror.

I received an email last night from Giancarlo bringing my attention to his blog and in particular; a posting he wrote called To Live and to (Almost) Die in East End Montreal concerning his boyhood exploits with danger. I don't know Giancarlo or his family but after reading it I instinctively sympathize with his mother. No doubt the two of us would find much common ground.

This weekend was scheduled to be the annual Easter book buying binge and I am hoping that I will be able to buy Giancarlo's book on Canadian War Heroes. Hopefully, I can find it in Chapters or Indigo. Lord knows, I need a tonic after reading about this award for achievement.

Another "Apartheid Wall" is built in Jerusalem

I read this story in the Jerusalem Post and I started to snicker:
The British Consulate's Arab neighbors in east Jerusalem are outraged at a security barrier being erected at the insistence of the British government to protect its diplomats, saying it reminds them of Israel's security fence in the West Bank, which Britain opposes.

The new barrier, consisting of several concrete slabs resembling those used by the IDF to seal off Palestinian villages and cities, is being built down the middle of Ragheb Nashashibi Street, narrowing the suburban-like street to half its width and forcing it to become one-way. The street is located in the fashionable Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

Sources in the Jerusalem Municipality told The Jerusalem Post that British officials had originally demanded that the entire street be closed to traffic for security reasons. However, the request was turned down following protests from neighbors, the sources said. The new barrier is twice the size of similar walls erected around the United States's two consulates and information center in Jerusalem. Moreover, those barriers do not extend into the road.

So who is going to take the British to task? Who will bring a case against the British and their wall before the International Court of Justice? After all, the British were quite vocal in condemning the Israeli’s for their "security fence". I cannot wait to see the British defend their wall in the middle of a prominent Arab/Palestinian neighborhood. The depth of modern hypocrisy does appear to have no appreciable limits.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Is that urine on my Blog Spot?

I read the following post at David Medienkrtik’s blog today:
There are 42,000 German weblogs. World wide there are 14 million weblogs, Iran has 65, 000 blogs.

He opines on the Top 10 Reasons Why Germany has Less Blogs than Iran but I really think it has to do with the fact that any culture that feels the need to create this and use it to cow their fellow citizens into submission can’t handle the freedom that blogging represents.

It is only a matter of time before "Beam me up Scottie!" won't be a joke

Things that make me go ‘humph’ but this is really just too cool for words from Israel 21C:
A new version of a biomolecular computer developed at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - composed entirely of DNA molecules and enzymes - outdoes even the fastest of its kind, performing as many as a billion different programs simultaneously.

Previous biomolecular computers, such as the one built by a joint team from the Technion and the Weizmann Institute of Science three years ago, were limited to just 765 simultaneous programs.

Current computers consist of metal, plastic, wires and transistors. The manner in which they process information is called linear because they conduct one computation at a time. In the latest generation of computers, biological molecules replace all the components. One advantage of these biomolecular computers over linear computers is their ability to simultaneously carry out an enormous number of complex operations.

This new biological computer is also autonomous; it processes calculations from beginning to end without any human assistance. Other biomolecular computers require humans to analyze and decipher results and perform intermediate tasks at different points in the process before the computer can complete the operation.


One of the most promising applications for such autonomous molecular computers would be the encryption of images. Images could be encrypted on a chip containing the equivalent of 41 million pixels so that deciphering them would be impossible to those without access to a secret key comprised of several short DNA molecules and several enzymes.

Everyday it seems that we are one step closer to the Star Trek Zone where the possibilities are endless and only limited by one’s imagination.

(tipped off by Israellycool)

Even in Jerusalem

Even in Israel, the court choses life says this editorial taken from the Jerusalem Post today.
The Schiavo case meets none of the stringent criteria applied in Israel. Her condition isn't terminal. She can survive for many years, which is perhaps what troubles her estranged husband, who has a new family and children with a common-law wife. Schiavo left no living will and the Florida courts were swayed merely by the husband's contention that she had spoken against artificial life support after viewing a sad movie. Finally, the position of a husband who hasn't visited or cared for his stricken wife and has "moved on" wouldn't be preferred here over that of distraught parents who beg for the right to nurse their daughter.

Reverence for life dominates Jewish tradition. The late Jewish philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz wrote vehemently against "so-called mercy killings. To whom are we showing mercy? To the unconscious patient who may sense nothing, or to ourselves, liberating us from the physical and emotional burden that the patient's continued existence causes?... If we accept the notion that under certain circumstances the taking of human life is no crime, we may find the world swarming with pitiful human creatures whose termination is desirable. We must not yield to the argument that death is better than some unfortunate individuals' lives."

It is indeed hard to imagine an Israeli court ruling like the one in Florida in a case such as Schiavo's. True, preserving life can sometimes risk prolonging suffering in a way that a patient would not choose. But our judicial system is right to be wary of an even greater danger, that of granting a license for the elimination of incapacitated people, especially on the say-so of people who can hardly be trusted to have the patients' best interests at heart. Whatever complaints we may have about our judiciary's inclination toward overreach, we must admit that here the Schiavo case would have likely evolved very differently.

Perhaps, it is because so many in Israel have long memories of the time when a state imposed death by starvation. And for the record; it was not pretty or even painless. The federal court has denied an appeal from Terri’s parents to have her feeding tube re-inserted. According to those judges who voted to allow Michael Schiavo to legally pursue the murder of his wife unhindered by the court; these words must ring particularly hollow:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Unless your Terri Schiavo. Then your only right - is the right to die.

The Rebel Yell

Jay from Shiny Happy Gulag does not post as often as I would like but when he does - he is always worth reading. Check out this insert from Schiavo and Ofermod:
Again with those EEEEVIL right-to-lifers. Thanks for telling us — twice, in case there were any scintilla of doubt — that you believe people have no right to life, and that you think people who disagree with you are a bunch of morons who deserve nothing but derision and marginalization.

Now I know exactly where you stand. You are the enemy, Ms. Jacobs. You are the Viking on the causeway, and I, being less sporting and more responsible than Beorhtnoth of Essex, am not prepared to give you one single inch of ground.
I'll tell you what I'll do instead. I intend to go down fighting, taking whatever medical assistance I can get to keep me alive. I've struggled with chronic illnesses all my life, and I haven't given up hoping for a cure — or for a chance to do something useful in spite of my illness. Spontaneous remissions occur even from the worst diseases. Miracles, though you scoff at the very word, do happen. And cures for the gravest conditions are developed every year.

Life is not 'Survivor', Ms. Jacobs. We have no right whatsoever to vote each other off the island. I know perfectly well that the preservation of my life is very low on the list of society's priorities; if it were left up to a vote, I would probably be among the first to die — though not, thank God, as high on the list as poor Terri Schiavo. Given your cavalier attitude towards human beings, your self-righteous willingness to inflict grotesque suffering on them in pursuit of a misguided and monstrous principle — 'the right to die', indeed! — it may be that your death would be no less desired by the great mass of the human race than Ms. Schiavo's or my own.

Go read the whole post. And for the record, in case there is the slightest doubt in anyone’s mind, I will stand with Terri and Jay, any day and everyday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Steyn on the Culture of Death

From today’s Daily Telegraph column:
The hyper-rationalism of post-Christian Europe turns out to be wholly irrational: what's the point of creating a secular utopia if it's only for one generation?

Kill the Pope

Maybe we have evolved so far from a culture of life that its time for the debate to start on whether the humane thing to do is remove water and nutrition from the Pope. Who among us would choose his fate? He’s old, frail and disease ridden. He falls victim to every passing virus. There are times when the simple act of breathing taxes his frail body. Why just recently he needed tubes to clear his airways. He is barely able to walk or talk for any appreciable length of time. He often has to relay on others to carry out his duties as head of the largest Christian organization in the world. He is merely the echo of his former self. Where is his quality of life? There is no release from his suffering or cure except through death. Surely, its time to remove him from this mortal coil and end his suffering? Would it not be the humane thing to do?

Update on the Terri Schiavo: CNN has just announced that AP is reporting that US District Court Judge James Whittemore has ruled that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube will not be re-instated. No doubt he made his announcement after his breakfast.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

About those shootings

I bet the IDF and the Border Police are thanking their lucky stars today that Abu Mazen went to Cairo to negotiate with Palestinian terrorists to secure a period of calm for the Israeli state.

Canadian Values

I have long been puzzled why Health Care is alleged to be a Canadian value. This Newsday article clears up the confusion for me.
An estimated 4 million of Canada's 33 million people don't have family physicians and more than 1 million are on waiting lists for treatment, according to the Canadian Medical Association. Meanwhile, some 200 physicians head to the United States each year, attracted by lower taxes and better working conditions. Canada has 2.1 physicians per 1,000 people, while Belgium has 3.9, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Health Care is not the value; patiently waiting in line for health care is the value. Canadians value waiting patiently in line so much so that as a nation we have ensured that every Canadian regardless of need, creed, race, sex or sexual orientation can be assured of a place in the line going nowhere fast. I have said it before and no doubt I will say it again: when you consign your fate to the government, you become nothing more than a bystander in your own life.

(tipped off by Neale News)

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Shots Across the Bow?

I haven’t posted a great deal on Lebanon and that has been a conscience decision. The situation is so fluid and so novel in some respects for Lebanon that it is hard to see how it will all shake out in the wash. I remain hopeful but I am guarding that hope.

Today from the Jerusalem Post I learned that a car bomb has gone off outside an 8- story apartment building in a pre-dominantly Christian neighborhood in Beirut. Nine people have been injured and so far there have been no claims of responsibility by any individuals or groups. Lebanon has a large criminal underground so it is still plausible that the bombing could have a criminal rather than political motivation though in light of recent events it would appear somewhat unlikely.

It is important to note that the Lebanese civil war did not have one clear quick ending but was a process that was spread over a long period of time. Many would point to October 1990 attack in Beirut on General Aoun, (leader of the Christian South Lebanese Army) at the Presidential Palace by the Syrian air force as the beginning of the end. But the ending lasted another 10 years until the total removal of Israeli Defense Forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000 which caused the final collapse of the (pre-dominantly Christian) South Lebanese Army. Hezbollah rapidly advances in southern Lebanon and takes control of region. In 2001, Syria carries again carries out significant troop deployments to enforce the peace.

Friday, March 18, 2005

There is no Right to Murder your Wife

The Globe and Mail reports on the efforts of US politicians to keep Terri Schiavo alive against the wishes of her husband. Make no mistake; this is not a 'right to die drama' but a case of the right to murder your wife. Terri Schiavo is not on life support. There are no machines keeping her heart beating or air flowing through her lungs. I need my arms and hands to feed myself; in Terri’s case, she needs a feeding tube or she will starve to death. I would not hesitate to call death by starvation a cruel and unusual punishment. If you starved the family cat, dog, or child to death; you would be charged with a criminal offence.

I have really no more to add than what I have already said in September 2004 except that my prayers then and now remain with Terri’s family who are so valiantly trying to keep her husband from legally murdering his wife; their daughter and sister.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

When the Song does not remain the same

If there is one gift from the Lord that I feel is ultimately divine in origin; it is music. Art should produce emotion or inspiration and when that Art is music; it has the ability to transport the human heart so that the presence of the divine can be felt to the marrow of one’s soul.

Collapsed Catholic that I am, whenever I read the Christian bible or use Christian biblical references I tend to use the King James Version of the protestant bible. I do have a standard modern English Catholic bible but I find the language cold and sterile. I am not a big poetry fan but I find the language of the King James just sings off the page when I read it wherein the Catholic Standard English version just puts me off reading it which very well may be the point.

When I was pregnant with my last child it was a particularly troubled time in my life. I thought my heart was breaking. Then one night I had a dream that I gave birth to another son and in my dream I named him Isaiah. I woke up from that dream and name just seemed to echo like the notes of a song to say. I straight away went to search the Prophet Isaiah in the King James Version. My eyes were immediately drawn to the verse that reads: I will give you beauty for ashes, and for those that mourn I will bring you the oil of joy. Now that verse refers to the messiah returning to Zion and Isaiah means the Salvation of the Lord. My Isaiah Sender has been the oil of joy and he has given me nothing but beauty for ashes. Though there is a part of me that wished I had read the entire section before I sent in his birth registration as Isaiah does seem to share the same fiery temper of his namesake which ultimately led to the Prophet’s incurring the wrath of King Manasseh who commanded that Isaiah be seized and put into a hollow log and sawed in two for preaching against taking on the evil ways of others.

All of which brings me to this discovery in the Daily Telegraph:
For readers of the Bible confused by its archaic language, such as its use of the term "stoned" for a form of execution rather than the effects of smoking dope, help is at hand. One of the world's most widely read Bibles, the New International Version, has been modernised by a team of 15 American and British scholars and is published today.

Gone is the word "aliens", which the academics thought was invariably associated in the minds of the younger generation with extra-terrestrials. It is replaced with "foreigners". Even the term "saints" is deemed to be too "ecclesiastical" and has been banished, to be replaced with "God's chosen people". The Virgin Mary is no longer "with child"; she is "pregnant".

And, to the dismay of traditionalists, who will suspect a feminist agenda, "inclusive" language has been introduced throughout. Where the original read: "When God created Man, he made him in the likeness of God"; the new version says: "When God created human beings, he made them in the likeness of God."

For those unfamiliar with the punishments meted out in Biblical times to blasphemers and adulterers, the new version is also helpful, changing "Naboth has been stoned and is dead" to "Naboth has been stoned to death".More than 45,000 changes - about seven per cent of the text - have been made. Even the title has been changed to Today's New International Version.

In Judaism, there is a strong prohibition to changing one word of the Torah. It seems a shame that Christianity which owes so much to Judaism cannot pay heed or absorb this lesson. The inherent danger of changing scripture for the sake of vernacular fashion which by its nature is here today and gone tomorrow risks that the message will be lost or changed far beyond the scope of the original intent. That is the way of the lost and tone deaf.

If we continue down this road I can foresee a time when there will be a hip-hop bible and when the Angel asks Mary if she will consent to bear the child instead of answering: "Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord", she answers: “Yo, I'm G-d bitch." Just doesn’t quite have the same effect does it?

(Tipped off by A Black and White World)

Blog Links

There is one thing I have been remiss about it; it is linking to some very good blogs that for one reason or another that have not managed to slip onto my blogroll. Shannon Davis and Colby Cosh are just two examples of who should be on the blogroll. I read them fairly regularly, and yet, they haven’t made the blogroll until recently. I don’t always agree with them but there are worth my time.

All I can do is offer apologies and make sure to link to link them up. But it occurs to me where there are two there are probably many more so I have decided to do is set a public blog policy. If you are blogging away and think that I have for whatever reason overlooked your blog send me an email with your URL. I promise to check you out and even if I disagree with you but still think you bring something to the table of discourse - I will put you on the blogroll.

If you send me an URL and I don’t add you to the blog, take it as a sign that I am either too busy or that I fundamentally disagree with you enough that your blog is not worthy of my official notice. That doesn’t mean I won’t visit your blog now and then. Whenever I feel the need to lightened up, see how the other side blogs or just go slumming; I use someone else’s link to visit My Blag who always manages to provide gutter style comic relief.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Who wants a Trophy for Christmas?

I read about the Trophy in the Jerusalem Post and I bet it could make the Armorer's Christmas Wish List at Castle Argghh:
The IDF has revealed a revolutionary new protective shield system for its armored vehicles that intercepts and destroys missiles and rockets with a shotgun-like blast just before they hit. The system is called Trophy and was shown in public for the first time during this week's arms fair at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds during a conference on Low Intensity Conflict sponsored by the IDF's Ground Forces Services.

The Trophy was developed by RAFAEL together and Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Group and General Dynamics. Known as an "active protective system" (APS), it is seen as a major milestone in weapons design since it in theory reduces the need for heavy armor for vehicles. "Until recently, APS systems such as Trophy were considered science fiction," said Eitan Yudilevich, corporate VP Marketing and Business Development for RAFAEL. "We've made them a reality. "We've made them a reality. Armored fighting vehicles equipped with Trophy will benefit from improved survivability and overall effectiveness."

According to RAFAEL, the system works against all types of guided anti-tank missiles and rockets, including the ubiquitous rocket propelled grenades. The company said the system includes four flat-panel antennas and a search radar that are mounted on the armored vehicle. They can detect incoming projectiles from 360 degrees and calculate their approach. Its computer then determines the exact moment and angle to fire its neutralizers (small metal pellets like a shotgun blast).

Canadian Passport Recall

It is in the Jerusalem Post that I have learned that the Canadian government is recalling all passports issued to Canadians that list Jerusalem, Israel as the city and country of birth. Apparently, it is the opinion of the Canadian government that Jerusalem is not in the Land of Israel and people who are born in Jerusalem are a people without a country of origin.

I am so thankful that once again, the Martin Fiberal government has cleared up 3,000 years of historical confusion. Shame about that British census data of 1905 or the population records of the Ottoman-Turk empire showing the majority of citizens in Jerusalem were Jewish even in 1838 – long before Herzl’s Back to Zion movement.

Oh well, I guess that makes the capital city of Israel; non-existent?

Gender Based Pricing: When governance becomes rule by Nanny

Via Polspy I learn that nothing is safe when McNanny rules the roost in Ontario. MPP Liberal Lorenzo Berardinetti is introducing a bill to make gender based pricing illegal. The National Post reports:
He has introduced a private member's bill in the Ontario legislature to outlaw "gender-based" pricing. Berardinetti says his bill would make it illegal for women to be charged more for similar products and services than men. It will be debated April 14th.

If passed, the bill would prevent Ontario businesses such as dry cleaners and hairdressers from charging different prices for men and women. Fines of up to $50,000 would be imposed on anyone having gender-based prices for products and services. The newly-married politician says he didn't realize the extent of gender pricing until he went shopping for clothes with his wife. He noticed clothes made for men were invariably cheaper than those for women even though they were the same brand.

Talk about thinking with your dick. Sometimes I am absolutely aghast at the lack of thinking that goes on at Queen’s Park. There are just so many issues with the concept of this bill that I don’t know where to start but I do know that this is one marriage I don’t envy. If Beradinetti really needed a “women’s issue” to flog and score brownie points with the wife; why couldn’t he do something that might have value like investigate why pantyhose/nylons fall apart usually after the first or second wear?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Eat an Animal for PETA Day

The day has finally arrived. The Third Annual Eat an Animal for PETA day is here. I had a great feast planned for today. All the preparation for today’s feast had already been laid. I had the time to be able to cook an 8 course meat meal as I am on vacation for the week with the children. But as the saying goes; the best laid plans of mice and men (or internet connection) often go astray.

I started the vacation with a trip to the Butcher of Prague (aka dentist/dental surgeon) for a small routine procedure. I have subsequently learned there is no such thing as a small routine procedure. Every visit with the Butcher of Prague is incredibly complex and often extremely painful once the freezing wears off. He does offer prescription drugs which are effective for the pain but also make me extremely ill.

He tells me I am so lucky to know him as he not only strives for perfection but he is an artist as well. He wishes he could find the same level of competence for his own dental needs. He believes that the standards in the West have fallen so far that he is now forced to return to Prague to have dental work done. I have also learned there is no such thing as one visit to the Butcher. One visit turns into two which turns into three. One cannot rush great dental art….

Unfortunately, the Butcher does not fully understand the need to celebrate today with meat. It would interfere with his art. He suggests that I need to return to my roots and eat borscht or kasha instead, and if I am very good I can have a little schi too. I really blame no one but myself. I was referred to the Butcher by my favourite Romanian dentist. She advised him that I was a widow with three children so he should go easy on my wallet.

When I first met the Butcher he asked how it came to be that I was widowed at such a young age and what ever happened to my husband. I told him he had a heart attack. I find that I am extremely uncomfortable with the intense sympathy often offered by strangers and issued a glib comment to defuse the exchange of our meeting. Unfortunately, I told him that I figured it was the sex that killed him. I had no idea that he was single and lonely. He now tells me that I should get myself another husband and if I want one to last I should stick to my own kind and get a Czech. It has not yet dawned on him that although my father's family came from Minsk and can be considered Eastern Europe, Minsk is not really close to Prague. Nor does it seem to change the conversation when I tell him that I am not ready to dating. After our first meeting I always arrive and leave under escort by either the Last Amazon or my sons.

So today, the feast has to go on without me, and is cooked under supervision of the Last Amazon which means it can be very good or its George’s takeout chicken for the children. So today, eat an animal not only for PETA but myself as well.

Red Ensign Standard #17 Rises

Rue at Abraca-Pocus, one of the newer Red Ensign Bloggers has raised Red Ensign Standard Vol. #17 in a way that others can only dream of doing.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

I blog bad things about liberals so you don't have too

I was blog hopping this morning when I read "Go Thou and blog likewise" at Rick’s Miscellany citing a link for biblical advice for bloggers. I busy skimming and missed the point of the post. I bite thinking the link was a handy site for biblical references and then read this post.

I now realize that my choice is clear if I am to keep blogging. I must not skim other blogger's posts and I will remain a collapsed catholic for life.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Stiffling Dissent begins early in Trudeaupia

When I first entered the working world the first newspaper I read with any frequency was the Toronto Sun. I’d buy it every morning on the way to work. It was easy to read on a packed streetcar. In those pages, I finally found voices such as Barbara Amiel, George Jonas, Peter Worthington that articulated my own sense of frustration with the world around me. In the pages of the Toronto Sun I found not only my first job in Toronto but my first flat, TV and stereo.

If I don’t read the Toronto Sun on a regular basis any more it has more to do with the fact that my interests have widen beyond the scope of a local city newspaper. The motto of the Sun was the little paper that grew but I always have thought of it as the little voice that grew.

I was checking the online edition today and this story caught my eye.
IT SEEMS censorship is still a dirty word, especially when it's spelled S-U-N. Grade 10 student Jessica Bolzicco, 16, said she was inundated with calls yesterday from media and family friends after the Sun published her account of being docked 22% off a current affairs assignment for using news clippings from this paper.

But she still had time yesterday to enrol in a new publicly funded Catholic school, effectively ending her career at St. Thomas of Villanova College in King City. "This was the straw that broke the camel's back," said her mother, Anna, noting the family was considering a move before the censorship incident. Jessica said she was feeling good but tired after getting up early to field calls and conduct interviews on talk radio.

The Sun also got dozens of e-mails and calls, including letters sent to the principal of St. Thomas of Villanova. Rolf Gube, an IT manager, asked the principal to "kindly reconsider" the student's situation. "I would also encourage you to pick up a copy of the Sunday Sun. The op/ed section is an intelligent and enlightening read, the most unbiased in the city," he wrote.

Still others, like Corrections Canada employee Gabe Viscardi, called to say their children had a similar experience. Viscardi said his 11-year-old daughter was forbidden from using the Sun in a Grade 6 current affairs assignment recently at St. Timothy elementary school in Mississauga.

Say what you will about the Toronto Sun but it has given a consistent articulate voice of dissent to the local residents of Trudeaupia for more years than any other Toronto paper and I cannot imagine the utter gall of anyone who considers themselves an educator who would deliberately engage in any punitive action against a young student for utilizing the Toronto Sun. What I want to know is if the teacher penalizes you 22% for using the Toronto Sun; how much do you loose for the Western Standard or the Wall Street Journal or even the National Review?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Bambi does not live in my world

Bob at Canadian Comment has a post called But Seals are Cute. I don’t have more to add on the issue of celebrity endorsements of the anti-seal hunt organizations but his post struck a chord with me.

Let me get my bona fides out, front and centre. I once had a seal coat. It was the best coat I ever owned. I bought it second-hand at a church rummage sale in Holtville, New Brunswick for $2 in 1981. It was 35 years old when I bought it and it lasted another 5 years before the pelts eventually dried up so badly that the coat was splitting beyond repair. The only downside to owning a seal coat is that seal coats are heavy but unlike the high end rodent furs such as minks, seal coats do not have to be babied. Seal coats can be worn in the freezing rain and you will stay warm and dry without damaging the fur. Furthermore, seal coats do not shed like the dog furs of coyote or wolf do.

I tried to replace my seal coat with another seal but by that time the anti-seal/fur fanatics had so ruined the market that even the wholesale furriers on Spadina Avenue were no longer purchasing any furs but farm fur coats. Hence, I had to settle for mink instead. Say what you will, and I have worn all the alternatives to furs coats; down-filled, wool, the new synthetics like polar fleece but nothing, and I do mean nothing, suits the Canadian climate as well as fur. Nothing will keep you warm like a fur coat in -30C or colder than a fur. It also does not require over a 100 plus years for a fur coat to biodegrade back into the environment unlike a coat made with a synthetic shell.

My grandfather was a fur trapper. He raised five children by trapping and working as a wood’s guide. He trapped my grandmother a bear coat that saw her through more winters than I have lived. After my grandmother died, my mother and my Auntie’s took my Grandmother’s bear coat and had it made into 5 teddy bears. In that way my grandfather’s labour of love was shared equally between his daughters.

I have a grey tabby cat named Rogue and I really like this cat, but he owes his existence in my home and my life because of his mousing abilities. If he had no mousing ability I would not live with a cat. The downside of living in a 19th century townhouse is the rodents have too many ways in and places to nest. When the pest control specialist advises that the only way to keep the rodent population under control is to either demolition the building and start again or get a cat; one gets a cat.

I had a Shetland Sheepdog named Mistress. Not only did Mistress protect me and guard my property, she also herded the children when we were out. No child could step more than a few feet away before Missie herded the child back to me with either a nip at the pant bottoms or a pull on the pampers. Furthermore, Missie did not like fighting. Fight in front of Mistress and she would drag you down and bark in your face.

I have eaten beef, deer and moose on occasion. I have killed and plucked chickens. I have caught and gutted fish. I wear leather shoes and have leather clothes. I have marveled at the majesty of a bull moose, respected the power of bear, and the feral beauty of a wolf. I have cared for all my pets and I made sure that their physical needs were met before my own. I am grateful for the bounty and variety the Lord has provided but at the same time I will not place an animal on equal par with the value of a human life. It is time that we all take a deep breath and realize that Bambi exists only in the realm of make believe.

The Mask is lowered

I have never subscribed to the notion that the communists in China could now be considered a benign force nor have I subscribed to the belief that the forays made by the Communist People’s Republic of China into the world economic markets would be a force for freedom or liberty for the people of China. So this report from ABC news came as no surprise:
BEIJING Mar 8, 2005 — China unveiled a law Tuesday authorizing an attack if Taiwan moves toward formal independence, increasing pressure on the self-ruled island while warning other countries not to interfere. Taiwan denounced the legislation as a "blank check to invade" and announced war games aimed at repelling an attack.
The proposed anti-secession law, read out for the first time before the ceremonial National People's Congress, doesn't say what specific actions might invite a Chinese attack.

"If possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ nonpeaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Wang Zhaoguo, deputy chairman of the NPC's Standing Committee, told the nearly 3,000 legislators gathered in the Great Hall of the People.

The innate danger of a sleeping giant is that at some point the giant wakes up.

(tipped off by Neale News)

Memo to PA: how not to win friends and influence people

There is an article online at the Jerusalem Post wherein PA officials are “decrying the growing anarchy and chaos” in the West Bank and Gaza. I don’t mean to make light of the rapidly deteriorating security situation but I find the pathology of PA officials who blame everyone except themselves for creating and fuelling the Rule by Thugery more than a little ironic; especially when their own little interoffice rivalries have a tendency to get more than a trifle out of hand:
In Ramallah, a PA General Intelligence officer was shot and killed during an armed clash between rival security forces Sunday night. The victim was identified as Fadi Jabareen, 23. Eyewitnesses said the clash erupted at Manarah Square in the center of the city. They said Jabareen was shot in the stomach by another security officer and died of his wounds in the hospital.

Palestinian policemen who rushed to the scene arrested one suspect. The victim's friends and relatives surrounded the police vehicle in which the suspect was sitting, fired several shots in the air and beat the suspect. They were driven away by the policemen, who also fired into the air.

A PA security source said the clash started when an officer from the PA Civil Defense Force accused the victim of staring at him in an awkward manner while he was walking in the street. The two exchanged insults and then opened fire at each other, the source added.

West Bank General Intelligence chief Tawkif Tirawi urged his men to display self-restraint and warned them against taking the law into their own hands.

Which all goes to show that a thug by any other name remains a thug.

Some guys have all the luck

I think to myself – why can’t he live in my riding and be my MP. Instead, I get stuck with this guy – and just in case you ask; I have never voted for him.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Vanity Fair

I was reading headlines at the Drudge Report and this blurb captured my attention:

VANITY FAIR editor Graydon blames the cover models for his magazine's flagging newsstand sales in a recent interview.

The drop, he said, was the result of three covers in a row featuring men at the end of 2004 -- Jude Law in October, Johnny Depp in November and Leonardo DiCaprio in December. "The simple fact is that women tend to sell better than men on our covers," he said.

Monday's NEW YORK TIMES notes in the last half of 2004, newsstands sales of VANITY FAIR plunged 22.5 percent. Carter may have found a way to improve those sales with the cover of the April issue, which features three models in white bikinis. "Meet the New Wave of Eastern European Supermodels," the headline reads. Carter was not available for comment.

About a year ago I use to buy Vanity Fair regularly. I thought of it as a “People” magazine for grown-ups. I found it a good barometer of pop life – not cutting edge but modern popular life. I stopped purchasing the magazine when the Anti-Bush rhetoric seemed like the only agenda of the magazine and it was so in your face that I could no longer stomach paying to read it. Recently, I was talked into buying an edition for the first time in a long time as my oldest son wanted to read about the latest Star Wars movie that was being featured. I had supposed that I was one of a few that found the Anti-Bush agenda off putting but in light of the above I suppose I wasn't as alone as I thought I was.

When denial is institutionalized

Time magazine is carrying an interview with Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen:

TIME: Now that you've been elected, your progress depends on your cease-fire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Islamist groups opposing peace. How secure is it ?

ABBAS: I concluded a truce with Hamas when I was Prime Minister. After I became head of the Palestinian Authority, I conducted talks with them, and they accepted without any pressure on them. It is a democracy. We have to deal with them accordingly.

TIME: But when they launch suicide-bomb attacks like the latest one in Tel Aviv?

ABBAS: They said they are not responsible and they'll stick to the cease-fire. All of [the Islamist factions]. Even those that are in Damascus.

TIME: Who was responsible, then, for the Tel Aviv attack?
ABBAS: It was individuals. We arrested five. If you ask me who is responsible, the Israelis are responsible. The bombers came from the suburb of Tulkarem to Tel Aviv, crossing the wall. So who is responsible? The wall and the Israelis.

TIME: Hamas won seats in municipal elections in January. Now the P.L.O. has an opposition?

ABBAS: This is proof that they are going to be a political party, which is good.

TIME: Israelis and Americans are shocked to think Hamas could be in your parliament.

ABBAS: Why not? They should be in the parliament. They will share responsibility. Israel has more than 33 political parties from right to left and in between.

I am so glad that he cleared those points up. Now there cannot be any confusion, it’s conclusive; the Jews did it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Is HBC the preferred stock of Registered Liberals and/or Power Corp?

As the boys would say - does this ever blow:

At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Canada's athletes were the envy of the world, not just for their athletic prowess, but for their funky team uniforms. Their Roots-designed team jackets and poor-boy caps quickly became must-have fashion items for fans, foreign journalists and athletes.

Today, Roots co-founder Michael Budman is trying to figure out how and why Hudson's Bay Co., perhaps best known for its tried-and-true Hudson Bay blanket, beat out his company in its bid to outfit Canada's team -- not only for the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, but all the way through the 2012 Summer Games.

"Was I surprised [by Hudson's Bay's eight-year deal]? Yeah," said Mr. Budman, after HBC yesterday was named the official outfitter for the Canadian Olympic Committee with a winning bid of more than $100-million. "[I was surprised] because we were trying to get involved in the conversation [for a longer agreement] and we were always told, 'It can't be discussed.' "

Officials from both the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Vancouver organizing committee said HBC was picked from among 12 companies asked to submit bids when Roots's agreement with the COC expired last December.Making the final selection were representatives from the COC and the Vancouver organizing committee, although a merchandise expert was also consulted.

However, Mr. Budman remains mystified. "We were asked to bid on 2006 for the Canadian Olympic team in Torino," Mr. Budman said from his Toronto office. "We think we put in a phenomenal bid, but we weren't chosen, and we were not allowed to bid beyond 2006."

Dave Cobb, vice-president of communications for the Vancouver organizing committee, said the decision to negotiate a long-term agreement with HBC was a strategic one. The company will produce everything from parade wear to podium wear to toques, scarves, gloves and luggage, with all products sold nationally in the company's 550 department stores, including the Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters.
Why anyone in their right mind would chose Hudson’s Bay Company athletic wear over Roots? If there is one thing I know, its athletic wear. I have been forced to buy enough of it over the last 25 years. I have one Roots sweatshirt that has lasted for over 20 years. It might be a little frayed around the edges but there is certainly a few more years of wear in it. I have never bought any kind of clothes at the Bay or Zellers that can last 2 years; let alone 20. I might pay a bit more at Roots Canada but I get value for my money, plus style. Not to mention Roots Athletic wear just feels and looks damn good. Zellers is just not going to cut it and they sell cheap athletic stocks too.

Maybe Roots Canada didn’t get the memo on how to operate a business in Gaff-anda and so do not comprehend the full implications of giving to the Liberal party of Canada.

By the way, guess who is dressing the US Olympic Team on Parade for 2006?

(Tipped off by Neale News)

24 Hours of Peace in the Time of Hudna

After the Tel Aviv nightclub bombing in Israel the Palestinian Authority received much praise internationally for their condemnations of the attack on Israeli civilians, and for their resolve to keep to the "peace process" moving forward despite interference by "foreign agitators". Now that a few days have passed, I thought I would do a tour of the Israeli papers and see how the peace partners are getting on in the last 24 hours. Ynet News reports.
Israel Defense Forces troops uncovered a weapons lab in the West Bank containing large amounts of explosives and parts to build Qassam rockets.

Meanwhile security forces in Jerusalem were on high alert after intelligence information suggested terrorists may attempt to carry out an attack in the capital.

The lab, which belongs to Hamas, was discovered by elite troops in the village of al-Yamon, next to Jenin. The entrance to the lab was found inside a welding shop, a few meters underground.

A Car bomb went off last night in Nablus:
A car exploded about 1 A.M. Thursday morning not far from a group of Jewish worshippers visiting Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus. No Israeli soldiers or Jewish worshippers were wounded in the blast, but a Palestinian mother and her four children were taken to a local hospital with shrapnel injuries, Palestinian security sources said.

The blast damaged adjacent cars and nearby buildings. A Palestinian security source said a local cell of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of the mainstream Fatah faction, had claimed responsibility for the incident.

About 500 worshippers were visiting the site after receiving permission from head of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command, Major General Yair Naveh, and they were being escorted by IDF troops during their visit.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Palestinians were firing on IDF positions overnight in Gaza:
Palestinians opened fire at an IDF position in Gush Katif on Thursday. According to Army Radio, no injuries or damage were reported.

The left-wing Haaretz Daily weighs in with this report on IDF/PA relationship:
As opposed to its reaction to the situation in the West Bank, the IDF has expressed relative satisfaction with PA security commanders in the Gaza Strip. For the past several weeks, the numbers of incidents has been extremely low - between two and three a day.

I suppose all things are relative afterall. Hararetz goes on to report that on:
Wednesday, security forces foiled a planned suicide bombing with Jerusalem as the intended target, security sources said.

Earlier this week, a car bomb containing some 200 kilograms of explosives was discovered and safely detonated by troops in the West Bank. The bomb was believed to have been put together by the same Islamic Jihad cell that sent the bomber on Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, a motorcyclist was lightly wounded by Palestinian stonethrowers on the Jerusalem-Modi'in highway near the village of Khirbet el-Masbah, Israel Radio reported. Several cars were also damaged.

Debka reports:
Israeli 24-hour dragnet by special forces-helicopter picks up West Bank Palestinian suicide bomber heading for target in Jerusalem district Wednesday. He was hiding in Holocaust Martyrs Forest NW of capital.

East of Nablus, Fatah terrorist Rabiya Ibrahim Abed detained ahead of planned suicide attack.

On Wednesday, the current master of Israeli denial, Shimon Peres made this statement:
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said Thursday that the Palestinian government of Mahmoud Abbas is on the right track, despite last week's Tel Aviv suicide bombing and other attempts by Palestinian militants to torpedo a fragile truce.

My cynicism rears its ugly head and suggests that the road map to peace is nothing more than an anatomy of train wreck waiting to happen.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

When Biology is Destiny

When I entered motherhood I had just so many fine ideals and theories of raising the most perfect children. The first resolve to drop off the radar was cloth diapers. I wasn’t going to use those environmentally toxic unfriendly disposal Pampers or Huggies. That resolution ended after the first sleep deprived week at home. After that - Pampers all the way, Baby!

I threw out the baby books that I had been given after the first week of breastfeeding. All those promises/warnings of “don’t be surprised if you experience multiple orgasms while nursing”. Hey, I was always up for multiple orgasms which was no doubt why I had three children in four years but the reality is only a dominatrix could think that the initial stages of breastfeeding’s could produce an orgasm. Even after the extreme pain vanished there was never the slightest chance of orgasm which leads me to speculate that other people have a much more bizarre sexual life than I could possibly imagine. And if the books were will filled with such utter rot about breastfeeding; I wasn’t willing to chance the rest. I figured I was better off on my own instincts, and if all else failed, there was always my angry GP, Dr. Freddie.

I was not ever going to allow my children to play with toy guns or encourage aggressive play, and if I had a son; by golly, he could play with all the dolls or Barbies his little heart desired and then some. I never bought toy guns but I was taught by my first son that everything is a weapon. And I do mean everything. To this day, I never understood where he got the idea of stripping the Barbies down to the buff, bending them over and sticking them feet first in the front of his pampers to use as his six-shooters. Who would have thought it was the daughter and not him that ended up being the top shot?

I was forced to acknowledge that time-outs could not be the only form of discipline with a toddler after the Last Amazon was interfering with her younger (18 month old) brother’s Lego Mountain. After she destroyed his mountain, he just hauled off and nailed her with a right jab in the eye as I stood stunned just a few feet away. Without a word from me, he walked himself into the time-out chair and grumbled on and on. Every once in a while he would turn around, raise his fist in the air and issue baby gibberish threats to the Last Amazon. She never again interfered with his Lego Mountain.

I was also forced to acknowledge by the time I had two sons that the male mind really does approach problems differently than the female mind. Before I had the second son, I put down the differences between the male and female minds as all due to the socialization process. Two sons tipped the balance. It’s like this; the bookcases looked cool to climb to the Last Amazon. She tries once when my attention is on other matters; falls and deduced that it was a bad idea. The sons’ perceive the bookcases as a mountain to be conquered at all costs and they are prepared to pay any price to crown themselves King of the Bookcases. See the bookcases, take the bookcases; or die in the attempt. It did not matter how many times they were thwarted or injured, they refused to give up. Each time they went into the assault with the premise that this time it will end in triumph.

In the course of raising two sons less than two years apart I was forced to develop the “voice”. My mother referred to it as that “awful Sgt’s voice” and was appalled when I used it to enforce rules or order. She came for Christmas one year when the Last Amazon was about 4 and a half and insisted that she wanted to take the children and I out to a nice lunch at a “real restaurant” (no McDonald’s for her) and I was not to use the “voice” under any circumstances. She would show me how to control the children without the voice. Right off the bat, I insisted it was a bad idea and pointed out that she had no experience in raising sons but she insisted she knew better than I and she had forgotten more than I had learned.

Off to the Olive Garden we went. Within 20 minutes the boys had taken total control of the restaurant and were in a free fire zone. Despite her best efforts, she could not mentally or physically control the boys’ ability to run, use their throwing arms, dart, squirm, or drop and roll. She conceded defeat and demanded I used the voice in a loudest voice I had ever heard her use. Within seconds of using the “voice” I had them and every other man in the room sitting straight in their chairs with their hands folded in their lap. That was the last time we went to a restaurant until the children were significantly older. She also gave me a free pass with the voice from then on.

One of the biggest challenges I have had to face has been the issue of fighting. This is where I just might have to concede defeat. I never forgot one of many melees when Montana was about 3 years old. I was explaining patiently that fighting is bad, wrong, bad, and he turned to me and said, “But, Momma, I like to fight, fighting is fun.” Ah, I thought, now I have got him, and patiently explained that when you fight you can get hurt, and you don’t like to get hurt do you? He lifted his soft brown eyes into mine and very earnestly said, “No, I don’t like getting hurt but I sure do feel a lot better when I hit’em back! In the end, I was forced to rely on that old parental standby, superior fire power triumphs all. You fight, I fight you. That worked fine until he went off to school and was no longer under my eye.

We have lived in this 19th century townhouse in the downtown eastside of Toronto for the past 10 years. There are many advantages to living here but the one downside has been that the Catholic School he attends is also a feeder school to three of the toughest housing projects in the city. I was forced to reach back into my childhood and make him learn the kid’s rules of fighting. Don’t fight girls, any one younger or smaller, anyone with glasses, physical impairments, and don’t ever throw the first punch. That worked more or less okay. He never started a fight, though he never did learn the art of standing down or walking away. It also made him a big hit with the girls and younger kids. Anyone pick on a girl or a younger child and Montana was in their face, ready to go.

During my son’s early years his father kept me calm, sane and out of jail. I remember one call from the school when I was informed that my son had been injured in a fight and I should pick him up and perhaps seek medical attention for his injuries. Turns out, he was playing with his friends when another little boy just came up and clawed him down the face over his eyes for no reason. Apparently, after the little boy clawed him, Montana threw him on the ground and pinned him down till the bell rang. Montana went to class and was sitting in the back with his sweatshirt hood over his face. The other little boy went to the principal to report that Montana threw him on the ground. The principal called Montana’s teacher and asked her to send him to the office. It was at that point the teacher realized Montana had blood running down his face. It all worked out in the wash. The little boy was suspended for fighting and Montana’s faced healed up but I was ready to call the boy’s parents and give them a good what for… was Montana’s father who held me back. He sat me down and explained that this is how boys bonded. They beat each other up and then became best friends and I should just chill myself out. He very patiently explained that he had beat up all his friends at one point or another and today; they would die for each other. Frankly, I thought it was the daftest thing I had ever heard. The thing was, he was right. Within a few weeks the two of them were fast friends and remain so to this day. Over and over again this scenario was repeated and Montana’s collection of friends grew and grew. The strangest part is that they are some of the nicest boys you could ask for. Helpful, polite, respectful, hardworking and yet, they all love nothing better than to make fun of each other and pommel each other senseless the minute grown-ups eyes wander off them.

All of which brings me to a decision I made last week. I got the dreaded call from a new principal. Montana had been fighting at school and was suspended for one day. The worse part, at least in my mind, was that for the first time in his life he started the fight. He was fooling around with one of his friends, they were calling each other names and Montana gave his friend a shove, the boy shoved back. Montana shoved harder and the boy hit his head. Then he punched Montana which turned out to be the punch that crossed the line from horseplay to fighting. Thank the Lord that neither boy was hurt, and they both have had a turn washing my floors and walls. And yes, they are still friends.

I admit to being a little more than angry and frustrated myself. Partially it is at a school system that won’t allow boys any physical activities where they can blow off steam. No football, soccer, hockey, baseball, dodge ball, or any other kind of game that “promotes aggression” or the “possibility of injury”. Volleyball and cross country running are all well and good but they are seasonal, and frankly, to a lot of boys; it blows. I do understand that not all boys are the “physical” sort but more are than not. While I realize no parent wants their child injured; it just seems that by denying that boys really do need a way to physically deal with aggression, you set them up for horseplay which eventually leads to fighting. How can anyone expect boys to spend all recess at the wall or standing around chatting about the weather?

This time I don’t have Montana’s father to steady me or give me the dreaded whacked male perspective, and quite honestly, I cannot begin to fathom what his advice would be. So I am left to muddle on my own on what to do with son and his love of fighting. I thought about enrolling him in a martial arts program. He did take karate when he was younger but he really didn’t like it much; not enough of challenge and he complained that they really didn’t fight. So what I did was call a boxing club. I took him to the club on Saturday to register him. At first, the coach was reluctant to register him and wanted to give him a week to think it over. The coach’s mouth dropped when I told him that my son didn’t have a choice. He loves to fight and I want him to do it all in the club and not in school. What was supposed to be a half hour session turned into a three hour ordeal with a different coach every hour. They didn’t let up on my son. Every once in a while a coach would pick up a water bottle and squirt water in his mouth. He was in constant motion. By the third hour, Montana entered the ring and watching him spar with a coach I saw an expression cross his face I had never seen before. He never looked so mean, and yet, so utterly euphoric. That thought caused a chill to run down my back and I was struck that perhaps I was watching biology being made destiny.

Near the end of the session, the first coach sits down besides me and tells me that they will take care of him at the club and boxing can be a great life. He’s traveled all over the world by boxing. Frankly, I thought that the coach should have made ducking a punch a bit more of a priority than he obviously had in his own career and made a note to tell Montana to make it a priority. When the coach finally called my son out of the ring he asked me for the school telephone number and the principal’s name. He warned my son that if they find out he’s fighting in school he will be suspended from the club. I would have thought Montana would be exhausted (I know I was from watching) but no, he was walking on clouds.

He’s been back twice this week and each time I have had to go drag him out of the gym when he failed to come home when he was expected. I try to comfort myself by saying there are worse things; it could be drugs, drinking or even floozy girls. But no matter how hard I try; I don’t understand the appeal of bashing someone over and over again, but then again, I loved ballet.

Is nothing sacred anymore?

The London Free Press reports:

Rolling up the rim on your Tim Hortons coffee might win you an SUV but critics say the environment loses. Tim Hortons customers across Canada began peeling back the lips of their takeout coffee cups Monday as the fast-food giant began its Roll Up the Rim to Win contest for another year.

Some environmentalists weren't pleased, however. They say the contest that has become almost a Canadian ritual since its introduction in 1986 promotes waste and propagates littering.

People buy more coffee during the contest and often carelessly toss out the non-winning cups, said Don Dick, Alberta director of Pitch In Canada, a national non-profit organization concerned about the proliferation of packaging and its effects on the landscape.

"If they want . . . people to buy their product, there's better ways to go about it," he said.

Gee, call me old-fashioned but I have yet to buy anything at Tim Horton’s because of the Roll up the Rim contest though it has made me check the rim before I tossed the cup in the garbage. Why are enviromentalists all such saps as human beings? Imagine trying to party with a roomful of David Suzuki wannabe's!

(tipped off by Neale News)