Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Anger is Healthy

O.K., I promised no politics until the election was over (or at least well into the judical bitching) but, I just saw this.

Nice to see Eminem picking up where Rage Against the Machine left off.

I return you now, to turn signals.

Click click. Click click. Click click...

It's not hard folks. You don't even have to take your hand off the steering wheel. You can keep one finger from your "pickin' hand" firmly up your nose, hold the wheel with your "drivin' hand" and still flick the turn signal with your fingers.

No, it's not the greatest problem facing humanity right now. No, it won't affect society, oil prices, who sits where around the caucus table or the amount of snow we get. However, the use of the turn signal here in Canada is not optional. It's actually a required part of changing lanes or going around a corner.

So, I'm going to rant about turn signals for a while. I have the feeling that next week, afterTuesday I'll have enough material for a book. Add to that, we have a Provincial election coming up at the end of the month and I'll have enough politics and evironmental and social policy issues to write ad nauseum.

For today then, we'll discuss turn signals.

Some cars have separate orange indicators. On others, they are part of the red brake light assembly. Some cars have a separate stalk near the steering wheel just to turn the lights on and off and on others (like my minivan) you have the windshield wipers/washer, cruise control and the turn signals all sharing one multi-function, plastic stick.

I once asked a guy "Why don't you signal at the corner or to change lanes?". His answer... "Takes too much effort." As I pointed out above, you can still comfortably pick your nose, drive and signal all at the same time. Too much effort my ass. This was the same guy that could surf through his entire 10 disc cd changer while driving. This was the same guy that could drive, drink coffee and eat a full lunch at the same time. Yet, using the turn signal was too much effort.

And he's not alone. I see it daily. Hell, I see it multiple times in a day. I once saw a driver pull up to a red light, come to what could be generously called an incomplete stop and go around the corner without signaling - in front of a cop. Nothing happened.

Maybe I'm a geek (of course I am, I keep a blog), maybe I'm asking too much. But, please use the damn signal.

That way, I could use my horn less.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bad Funny Monkey

So, as much as I enjoyed the John Stewart appearance on Crossfire, I really liked his take on it during last night's Daily Show monologue. He's a smart guy, asking smart questions getting away with antics that a journalist can't - but should - get away with. God help him if CNN offers him a show. Or maybe, God help any sitting or challenging politician.

It's kind of a sureal time right now.

Example: there's snow on the ground and I'm still rooting for the Red Sox (rooting can also be called praying if you like)

In any case. Go Bo Sox. Reverse the Curse. Damn you Bambino.

Monday, October 18, 2004

It's Like Nerf Crossfire

Way to go John Stewart

'nuff said.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Chasing Your Tail

While I'm no conspiracy theorist, I do believe that for various reasons, governments lie to people.

This video currently making the rounds of the web, asks some pretty good questions. Most importantly, if if a plane the size of a 757 hit the Pentagon, where is it? Big planes leave big holes and smoking craters. Big planes get re-built in hangers to find out what went wrong. Big planes leave big pieces of the plane lying around for investigators to crawl over.

Just a thought for your weekend.


Friday, October 08, 2004

The Buck Stops Here

Who said it? Seriously. Where did the phrase "The Buck Stops Here" come from?

Don't know?

A US president. Which one? Harry Truman.

"The Buck Stops Here" sat on his desk in the oval office, facing the door. It's meaning was clear: "I'm responsible for any action that is undertaken by my country. If you can't get an answer to a problem, if you're getting passed around, stop by my office. The passing of the buck stops with me. The Boss. el Presidente. Numero uno guy in charge."

Wow. Personal responsibility from a sitting president. A statement from the guy in charge that if a mistake has been made, he'll take responsibility for it and fix it. Truman would have rather been right than determined.

A far cry from W. Wouldn't you say?

Yesterday, the definitive report from the CIA came out regarding the threat that Iraq posed with its weapons of mass destruction or it's potential to produce weapons of mass destruction. In a clear, concise (and very long) report, it concludes that Saddam Hussein gave up on WMD's and trying to acquire WMD's as early as 1998 and that using the WMD excuse as an excuse to invade Iraq was the wrong decision. "How did the Bush team respond?" you might ask.

Dick Cheney yesterday "Invading Iraq was absolutely the right thing to do and I'd recommend doin it again". Similar comments from the Clown in Chief.

So, for the last year or so, they've shifted from WMD's as being the reason for invading to "Saddam Hussen was supporting global terror, had close ties to the al Queda network and posed a direct threat to the security of the US".

Is anybody going to ask W and Cheney when they are planning to invade Saudi Arabia? (most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis) Is there an invasion plan to roll over Iran? (they are refining fissionalble materials and are publicly on the quest for the bomb) How about this: Is the US 6th fleet parked off the coast of North Korea, ready to level the country? (their nutbar leader is starving his people so he can build more nuclear arms which he's already threatened to use).

When is the buck going to stop on George W. Bush's desk. When will he stand up and say "You know what, we got it wrong. I'm sorry that your kids, fathers, husbands, wives have died in vain". "We will make this right".

It won't. Ever. This administration would rather be certain than right. They'd rather be determined than morally correct.

Let's not go down the road to "But the world is a more dangerous place now."

In Truman's day, there was the rising threat of the Soviet Empire, the real threat of an atomic holocaust and the small matter of ending a world war that had killed 20 million people. He helped create the united Nations, appointed four Supreme Court Justices and, oh yeah, some Puerto Rican Nationalists tried to kill him.

The world has always been a complex place. There have always been foes that want to destroy the country from within and without. Ever since they became the biggest kid on the block, someone has wanted to knock off the US. The difference is, when you have a leader with credibility on the world stage and the ability to stand up and say "we may have screwed this one up", that list of potential foes grows a lot shorter.

Under Bush, that list is longer than ever. I wonder how far a simple "We're sorry, and we're going to make things right" would go.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Verbs is Verbs, Nouns is Nouns

So what the hell does it mean to "fellowship"? Not "I enjoy the company and fellowship of my friends". That makes sense. Fellowship is an intangible thing. A noun if you will.

The other day I answer the front door to some Christian person wanting me to join them and believe something about something - honestly I tuned out after a bit. One of the "perks" of their little church dealy was that they all "fellowship" together.

"Fellowship": the verb.

Hey I know... let's all go to a building and "Apple" together, or we could get some of our friends and "Dumptruck" one another. Why not? It's as arbitrary as "Fellowshipping" each other. Although admittedly, you could use "fellowshipping" as some kind of deviant sexual innuendo.

Why did the Christian youth (and honestly it's the born-again crowd; you'll never hear that from a Catholic Bishop) co-opt this innocent little noun and turn it into one of the most ridiculous sounding verbs?

I can assure all my friends with whom I hang out, climb, drink, golf, mountain bike, ski, drink some more, that we will never "fellowship" each other. I promise. You'd better too.

OK, on to the real point of today's post.

I was nearly run over by a Hummer H2 last night. The fact that I was in my tiny Ford Escort made very little difference, as I'd be as flat as if I'd been walking.

These damn things are everywhere in my city. We've only got 76,000 people living here and yet, last night alone I counted four H2's - two black, one red and the yellow one that almost hit me. Nevermind the $72,000 it'll cost to buy one, how about the incredible amount of fuel you'll go through? How about the threat to public safety you pose while driving one?

A few months ago I read the National Geographic article regarding the end of oil. In the article there was a quote from a woman in the States. She said "I know my Hummer uses a lot of gas but I like the idea that if I hit another car, I win." This vehicle weighs 6400 lbs minimum (8400 max), has 10 inches of ground clearance and an approach angle of 40 degrees. If you're driving a small car and get hit by an H2, it's going to run over you - literally. You'll have a 20 inch wheel in your passenger seat. The mileage is so bad GM doesn't give it on the web site. They give you the tank size (32 gallons) and the range (310 miles at a cruising speed of 40 - 60 mph). So, if all you do is cruise at below highway speed and never accelerate through traffic or away from a stoplight, the best mileage you'll get is... drumroll please... 9.65 miles per gallon.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to how beneficial these things are to the health of our planet. I'll also let you draw your own conclusions as to how the people who own these vehicles feel about the environment and the safety of their fellow travelers.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Boom! Soon?

Didn't go to the farm to help with harvest.
Didn't finish sanding and painting the front door.
Didn't tear out the old moldings on the landing and replace them.
Didn't get the new carpet installed in the living room.
Didn't find the leak in the cooling system on the car.
Didn't get all the laundry done.

What the hell did I do this weekend?

Played outside with the kids on Saturday. Went for lunch with the whole family on Sunday. oh yeah...

Moved 23 sheets of drywall and hardboard from pickup truck, through a backyard, over a kitchen and in through an upstairs window. Then I came home and baked a crumble.

mmmmmm... cruuummmble.

Nothing earth shattering today. No great commentary.

You might want to stay out of Washington State though.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Dem Questions Was Hard

He fumbled. He stuttered. His train of thought went off the track. But mostly, he just looked smarmy and dumb.

Dub the Shrub was so far out of his element during the debate last night it was frightening.
Sure, he's friendly and folksy. Sure, he's the guy who'd buy you a beer if you were feeling bad and needed a hand. Sure, he's the guy who'll give you tax break (if you're in the right tax bracket) and then tell you how the terrorists are going to kill you.

But... ask him a question to which he hasn't already seen the answer and he's out of his depth.
This is a complex world we live in. There are 192 countries and independent states, speaking at least 2,796 languages. There are hundred of forms of government at local, provincial, state, tribal and national levels. There are 5.7 billion people, all of whom have agendas ranging from "where's my next meal coming from" to "the Hummer needs a new set of rims."

George Bush demonstrated last night, that without an aide by his side and a speechwriter at his back, he is woefully unqualified to lead the most powerful country in the world and be an example to the rest of the planet of what they could achieve.

America was once a great country. No really, I mean it. At one time, America was a great country. In the years before the Soviet Union and the cold war, America was shining example to the world of what people could achieve through hard work. Immigrants were welcomed to America with (mostly) open arms. The middle class was a true middle class; hard working, honest, watch out for your neighbours type people. People were taxed fairly, unions worked for the workers and the Presidents were, for the most part, concerned for their entire population.

In the intervening years, America has become the land of "me first" consumers. People want their houses bigger, their cars faster and their food and fuel cheaper. Somewhere along the line, the pre-cold war attitude of "Work hard and you'll succeed" was replaced by today's "I'm owed so give me what's mine" greed.

Special interest groups have direct access to the highest levels of power. The US government holds the rest of the world in contempt; treating other countries - rich or poor - as resources to be exploited, markets to sell to, or vast tracts of land that are harbouring terrorist killers.

In the last four years we've heard about government budget surpluses being squandered, health care being axed, corporate fraud on a massive scale, increased gun violence, religion creeping back into government, increases in racial tension, the Patriot Acts, racial profiling and a total disregard for the environment.

Whew... I feel better. It's out of my system in one cathartic moment. Perhaps the 20 million Americans living without health care coverage could do the same thing. Perhaps the millions of people living with diseases directly related to environmental damage could do the same thing. Perhaps, everybody who lost their life savings to Enron and other corporate scandals could do the same thing. Perhaps every gay couple denied the right to be married could have the same moment. Everybody now, have that release. Get it all out of your system. March in the streets, take to the airways, do what you have to to get your negative energy out of your system.

Feel better.

Now, go fix it. Get elected to local government. Go out and vote for candidates that represent you and not big business. Send Bush, the NeoCon group and Haliburton packing. You'll have a better country and contribute to a better, greener, safer world.