Archive for March, 2006

Atheists Make Me Cringe

March 16th, 2006
Comments Off on Atheists Make Me Cringe

Being a practicing Agnostic, a great undecided in the poll of life, people like this make me cringe:

A student group wants to do away with prayer at the University of Toronto’s convocation this spring, saying it is “disgusted” that graduates have to listen to words like “Eternal God” during the process.

“The prayer refers to God as the source of power, hope and aspiration,” Toronto Secular Alliance president Justin Trottier said yesterday. “As an atheist, that’s a depressing source of aspiration. It takes away from individual, personal effort and attributes it to a deity.

The U. of T. students complaining of the word God in their convocation ceremonies are probably better off skipping the ceremonies altogether. Much of the customs they will witness and engage in are mediaeval in origin and have much to do with God.

The ceremony itself, the “convocation for the conferment of degrees” – convocation itself means a calling together – has been done , and called that since the beginnings of universities.

A student attending convocation wears a gown in the university colours. This gown is modeled after the same gowns worn by students of past eras. In the Middle Ages the gown would have been worn as every day clothes, often the only outer clothes the student would own. He would use it to keep warm in the unheated university. The gown itself is insignificant to the ceremony, it is the hood they place over your head that means something. While our atheist friends think they have gone to school for the degree, it is the hood that they are truly being honoured with today. It confers placement upon them, shows them to the world as graduant, instead of mere student. It signifies ascention within the university structure, and the student will kneel in front of the Chancellor to receive the hood, as the Chancellor is superior to them. Sure hope the students atheists aren’t also socialists.

In mediaeval times a grad student had earned the right to wear the hood, and would have done so as every day clothing. It may have been the first hat that the student had owned, and the right to study with warm ears was earned by virtue of the first degree, while poor undergrad students would have worked with frosty lobes.

Of course, their student ancestors studied God, that is what the university was formed for in the first place, because to have knowledge of God was to know God. Without the God that the U of T atheists find so disgusting, higher learning wouldn’t exist. In those early days they would have been studying for the church, to find God, not to eschew Him. That is why the gown they will wear so closely resembles a priest’s vestments or a Monk’s robe: because they are. The garments worn by church officials and the garments worn by students and academics evolved from the same churchly roots. Taking God out of the wording of the ceremony will hardly take Him from the ceremony itself. The students should remember as they receive their degrees, they are dressed as Priests. God will be ever present in their day, whatever their beliefs.

Debates like this make me think that the university should make a course on University history and traditions mandatory before graduation. That way those who might be offended by those traditions can stay home and have their degree conferred upon them by Canada Post. Alas, then they wouldn’t have the opportunity to prove how little of value they got for their education.

Personally, if I was their mediaeval history professor, I would retroactively fail the lot of them!


Rock and Roll Hall of Mediocrities

March 16th, 2006
Comments Off on Rock and Roll Hall of Mediocrities

I’m reading away about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, in which Blondie’s Debbie Harry is fighting with the rest of the band, and I’m thinking “Who the fuck invited Blondie anyway?” Was Diesel busy? Bo Donaldson and the Haywards previously booked?

Blondie had one successful album with two moderate, forgettable singles on it. None of the songs have made a lasting impression on the rock/pop world. None of them where even that good. Yet they make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Fellow inductees Lynyrd Skynyrd had fans who put together a petition to get them in. They got over 4000 signatures. This is a band who, when you say the words Southern Rock what you mean is “Bands that sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd,” a band that defines a genre and they need a petition from their fans. Yet if you say “Bland New Wave Bands with Sultry, yet not overly attractive lead singer,” Blondie still doesn’t spring to mind.

In a year when Blondie, The Sex Pistols and Miles Davis make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the question needs asking: Is every band worthy of the title already in? And is it worth continuing with this farce?


Follow The Leader

March 15th, 2006
Comments Off on Follow The Leader

The Liberal Leadership race is getting interesting before it begins, with Stephane Dion declaring French a must, Bob Rae tilting the race leftward and Paul Martin’s name being bandied about.

Back on February 3rd, I suggested French Proficiency would be a requirement for Liberal leader.

This Party is not going to elect a unilingual English leader. They would elect Lucien Bouchard before they would go with someone who answers a simple French question with “En Anglais, sil vous plait?”

This actually lead to my first (and only) MSM link, when Katherine Fletcher from the Calgary Herald linked to the above article. That was then. Today, Stephane Dion said it would be “unthinkable” to elect a leader without French:

Can you imagine that at the next debate in French among the leaders in the election campaign the Liberal leader will not be there, while the Bloc, the Conservatives and the NDP will be there?” Mr. Dion asked during an interview. “This is unthinkable.”

Unthinkable, untenable and highly unlikely. But if your excluding Mlle. Stronach and M. Brison from the race, who then? How about Paul Martin? Yes, that Paul Martin:

OTTAWA — A small group of Quebec Liberals is trying to get former prime minister Paul Martin to take another run at the party’s top job.

And why would our man run again, for the job that is still technically his?

“With all due respect for potential candidates, it remains that the best one is the MP for LaSalle-Emard, the Right Honourable Paul Martin,” wrote Sylvestre, who openly called for then-prime minister Jean Chretien’s resignation in 2000.

The guy who took them from majority to minority to opposition in 2 short years (2 years 2 months, I believe) is the best potential candidate? The guy who, last we saw him was doing his best Homer Stokes impersonation, yelling “Is you is, or is you ain’t, my constituency?” at his campaign stops? Are we beginning to fathom yet how bad things are in Liberal land?

But who are these other potential candidates? There are, as far as I can see, four serious candidates at this time – Belinda Stronach, Scott Brison, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. Not one of them was a Liberal when Paul Martin took over the leadership of the party. And lets face it Stephane Dion is right, without French you don’t stand a chance. Add in that Scott Brison has been linked to the income trust scandal, and he is dead in the water. Back on February 3rd, I stated that Belinda’s response to a question in French “En Anglais, sil vous plait” pretty much sums up what I think of her chances: “No, there’s not much point really…”

That leaves Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. Ignatieff has the problem that he has been labeled the ‘next Trudeau.’ How can anyone live up to that label inside the Liberal party. Add to that he is a relative unknown, and completely untested , and I think he won’t win.

Which brings us to Bob Rae. Bob wants to unite the left, which is remarkable because he left it in tatters here in Ontario ten years ago. The NDP and the unions still do not trust each other after what Bob Rae did to them back in the early 90’s. And he simply cannot win in Ontario.

I was talking to my mother-in-law today who likes Bob Rae, voted NDP, often votes Liberal, and she agreed, he wouldn’t get a quorum of votes in Ontario. When North America was recovering from the recession in the early 90’s, it was getting worse in Ontario. Soft Liberal Ontario voted for possibly the farthest right politician to hold office in Canada in 30 years after Bob Rae.

There used to be a joke you would hear in the early 90’s “I can’t wait until this recession is over so I can start hating my job again.” People would say it when you asked how they were. You’d hear it at the convenience store, instead of complaining about the weather, Ontarians took to complaining about the economy. That is the baggage Bob Rae is carrying around.

So maybe it’s true, maybe Paul Martin is the best of the potential candidates. Not a thought that can make too many Liberal’s happy I would think.


Picture of the Day – Wind Blown

March 14th, 2006
Comments Off on Picture of the Day – Wind Blown

Sophist’s Saga for Tuesday March 14th, 2006

March 14th, 2006
Comments Off on Sophist’s Saga for Tuesday March 14th, 2006

The Sophist?s Saga:

Had a conversation with a young man today which began “not that I would ever do this but…” I knew then that something interesting was coming. He continued enquiring about people who throw “bottles, with pieces of paper that are on fire sticking out of them.” I then engaged the young man in a ten minute conversation on Molotov Cocktails: How they work, what they do, what they don’t do, why they are called Molotov Cocktails &tc. I left the conversation hoping I had just encouraged a young man with knowledge, not a revolutionary in burning down my home.

The Sophist?s Saga updates every Tuesday and Friday.
Please forward the Sophist’s Saga to all who you think may enjoy it.

The sophist?s on-line presence is at:

Next Sophist’s Saga: Friday March 17th, 2006

You received this e mail because you are subscribed to the sophist?s saga. To unsubscribe, e mail to with the word unsubscribe in the subject header.
If you are not a subscriber but would like to be, send an e mail with subscribe in the subject header.


Singles Scene Updated

March 13th, 2006
Comments Off on Singles Scene Updated

My Canadian music related site, A Singles Scene, has been updated with a new mission:

Cambridge: Home base. Cambridge is made up of three sections, each once it’s own entity, each with it’s own areas and downtown’s. Combined, Cambridge still amounts to three distinct sections that only just tolerate the political connection they share. … the factory outlet mall in Galt, close to as Deep South as you can go and still be in Cambridge. At the same location is a fairly large antique market, called SouthWorks.

SouthWorks is one very large store, with a multitude of small stalls… the prize: Canadian singles.

It is been a few years since I have been here but I know they have records, I can almost smell it; today there will be a find. You simply cannot have so much junk in one place and not have a Poppy Family 45… the complete search


Afghani Commandi

March 13th, 2006
Comments Off on Afghani Commandi

Typical bloody CBC. If this isn’t biased, what is. Stephen Harper makes a surprise visit to the troops in Kandahar, and in the first paragraph the CBC makes it look like the PMO bungled the thing:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is visiting Canadians in Afghanistan, says he wants to get as close to the front line as possible while minimizing the danger.

But with hundreds of Canadian soldiers on patrol outside the main base in Kandahar, he may have some trouble finding the line.

Got that, bungling fool, good intentions and all, can’t even find the soldiers. What bloody arrogance.

Anyway, this is a nice story and I am not going to let the CBC ruin it. This is a feel good story in many ways. For a first foreign visit, it stresses the importance of the Afghani mission to the PM. It makes Jack Layton look that much whinier because Harper did not Consult Jack before Martin and Cretien put the troops in the field.

And most importantly, it gets Harper out of the mansion during March Break.

As I sit here typing on day one, with two bored kids running amuck behind me, I think, the man might just be a genius.


Stephen Harper: Hockey Dad

March 13th, 2006
Comments Off on Stephen Harper: Hockey Dad

This one is almost 2 weeks late, but I saw it for the first time this morning.

This is going to be an enduring image, Stephen Harper and a flank of RCMP officers, mini-vanning poor Ben to his hockey. All the guys on security detail arguing over who gets to carry the stick, who’s got the bag. Very Monty Python.

Even Air Farce might manage funny with a skit in which 4 RCMP officers argue all the way to the rink over who carries what, arguing in the lineup at Tim’s. Stephen driving, Ben beside him, both looking uncomfortable at the argument going on behind them. Finally a brawl in the parking lot of the arena, while Stephen and Ben walk away carrying the equipment themselves.

They could cut that skit when they all sit in the coffee shop – it stopped being funny 10 years ago, if it ever was funny.

h/t Alberta Tory


I Love My Wife

March 12th, 2006
Comments Off on I Love My Wife

She really is a wonderful woman. But you know, somedays she just seems that much better.


Abajo Fidel

March 12th, 2006
Comments Off on Abajo Fidel

You know what I love about these dictating thugs? How easy it is to piss them off. Take our buddy Fidel (please :-)), and of course his buddies .

One such buddy is at a World Baseball Classic game between Cuba and the Netherlands in Puerto Rico and he sees a guy behind home plate with a sign that says Abajo Fidel (Down With Fidel). This “Top Cuban Official”, one Angel Iglesias, vice president of Cuba’s National Institute of Sports, jumps up and yells Boo Hoo and tries to take away the sign. Problem is, Puerto Rico has more respect for free speech than that. Police take away Mr Iglasias and sternly (I hope) lecture him on free speech. Yaa Puerto Rico:

“We explained to him that here the constitutional right to free expression exists and that it is not a crime,” police Col. Adalberto Mercado was quoted as saying in El Nuevo Dia, a San Juan daily.

And how are they taking it in Cuba? Like an Arab at a comic book store.

Fidel got his people to take to the streets calling it counterrevolutionary provocations:

The brouhaha gathered steam Friday when Cuba’s Communist Party newspaper, Granma, called the sign-waving “a cowardly incident.” Cuba’s Revolutionary Sports Movement exhorted Cubans to demonstrate in Havana late Friday, saying U.S. and Puerto Rican authorities were involved in “the cynical counterrevolutionary provocations.”

The Cuban Baseball Federation, in a statement released Friday in San Juan, said authorities failed to provide security and preserve the spirit of the sporting event, and “evidently had no intention of doing so.”

Oh well Fidel.

Story here.

h/t Wonder Woman.


Picture of the Day – Ice in the Aqueduct

March 12th, 2006
Comments Off on Picture of the Day – Ice in the Aqueduct

This week on my i-pod #4 – David Gilmour Returns

March 12th, 2006

First confession. I am not a big Pink Floyd fan. Don’t turn them off when they come on, but rarely put them on myself. I have just never been a fan of the over production, to perfect music. I especially have never understood the fuss over Dark Side of the Moon, although it clearly touched millions of people. If anything Wish You Were Here is my favourite of the Floyd’s.

Lately however, I have begun to appreciate them more than in the past. I put the main albums on my MP3 and have spent sometime listening to them. The Wall really is excellent, and Dark Side of the Moon, when you get past the production, is very bluesy in it’s own way. Still not a freak, don’t lie awake at night dreaming of a reunion, but I like them more so now than when I was young and they were hot.

Which brings me to Floyd guitarist David Gilmour’s new opus On An Island. There was a fair bit of hype about this album, so I decided to get a copy and see how I felt. I have been hearing the first single and title track On An Island lately and didn’t mind it, so here I am.

This is a nice album, not outstanding, but nice. The sound is clearly Gilmour, the unmistakable guitar playing could come from any Floyd Album. And there are hat tips to Floyd material throughout. I have heard suggestions of Run Like Hell and Us and Them for example. But overall, the album very much reminds me of Wish You were Here, without the 30 minute piece.

Not surprisingly, it is a very polished album. The production, the song crafting and the musicianship are all of the highest caliber. I am especially fond of Take A Breath, which is clearly a Wall era style song, and the cool bluesy This Heaven, which sounds like it could be an Eric Clapton piece, a good Eric Clapton piece too.

Overall, I like On An Island. Much like Floyd the music never blows me away, but there’s not a bad song in the bunch, not even close. Worth having, worth listening to. If you are a Floyd fan, even just a so-so one, consider this a recommendation.

This Week on my I-Pod

Joanne’s Journey

March 12th, 2006

One of the tools of the blogger is Site Meter. It not only tells us how many visitors we get, but it tells us a bit about who visits. Some of the most useful information is in the “Recent Visitors by referral” page, which let’s me know how you, the reader of At Home in Hespeler, got here. (click on picture below for a screen shot of “Recent Visitors by Referral” page)
Yesterday, a new referral turned up a couple of times. On wandering over to Joanne’s Journey I found myself listed on a post about her favourite blogs:

Once you start blogging, you begin to look at others’ creations. It’s kinda like an artist going to another painter’s exhibition. But there are a lot of blogs out there! Almost too many.

However, I have stumbled across a few favourites, and here they are. I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list over the next little while…

At Home In Hespeler is a cute site by a Dad who seems perplexed by his family’s antics. Brian hails not far from my home town in Southern Ontario. He also waxed poetic on the art of blogging, and how gratifying it is to have an audience.

Joanne started blogging around the same time I did, and I had an agreeable time reading her musings. Having others enjoy my writing is great, having good writers themselves enjoy my writing is even better. Joanne falls in the latter category.

Thanks for the link and kind words Joanne; I hope you dont mind a new fan.


Sophist’s Saga for Friday March 10th, 2006

March 10th, 2006
Comments Off on Sophist’s Saga for Friday March 10th, 2006

The Sophist’s Saga:

I was talking to a young man today who was complaining that he wouldn’t get to his families cottage again this winter. When I enquired why he liked going in the winter, he explained he liked walking on the lake… I know someone with a messiah complex when I see them.

The Sophist’s Saga updates every Tuesday and Friday.
Please forward the Sophist’s Saga to all who you think may enjoy it.

The sophist’s on-line presence is at:

Next Sophist’s Saga: Tuesday March 14th, 2006

To subscribe to the Sophist’s Saga, e-mail to with the word subscribe in the subject header.


Picture of the Day – Winter Berries

March 9th, 2006
Comments Off on Picture of the Day – Winter Berries