Archive for June, 2006

Top Ten Reasons To Cheer For England

June 29th, 2006
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1. Winston Churchill cheered for England.

2. Adolph Hitler didn’t.

3. It’s named after the most popular language on earth.

4. The Captain’s wife looks like this:

5. The Coach’s girlfriend looks like this:

and this:

6. Stephen Harper looks like he could be an English fan.

7. Jean Cretien doesn’t.

8. It’s both and eng and a land.

9. Their flag is the Cross of St. George. St. George slew a dragon!

10. English fans don’t block my drive home when they win.


Now That’s a Quagmire

June 28th, 2006
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Remember all the talk about Afghanistan being a quagmire? Iraq?

For a good look at a real quagmire how about Caledonia?

Steve Janke has some disturbing e mails on his site, here & here. The bottom line is this could explode over the weekend, and it’s time to ask, where is the leadership?

Meanwhile there is a significant risk that this problem could spread. For some time the natives have been claiming title to ten kilometers from the banks of the Grand River. This graphic has the area affected.

Click on Image to see full size

As you can see Brantford, Kitchener, much of Waterloo, Fergus and my beloved Hespeler is on their hit list (for that matter, Toronto is not safe). Who will be next?

And who will stop them? Certainly not Dalton McGuinty – too busy I guess. One thing that has become clear in the past month or more, is McGuinty is clearly in over his head (or is that “not up to the job”) with this whole leading thing.

But Indian affairs is a Federal responsibility, and the time has come (and gone) for the Feds to step in. Somebody has to take a leadership role, preferably before there’s any more trouble – and if Steve Janke has it right (and he admits he may not), that trouble is days away.

Read the stuff on Steve’s site, read this from Dust My Broom, examine the above picture. This issue becomes bigger and bigger, and the time has long gone for some problem solving.

Iraq and Afghanistan? Bah! Caledonia: Now that’s a quagmire!


Hey, look who’s 40…

June 28th, 2006
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In my top five all time list of favourite movies, you’ll find Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (Actually, it’s probably in my top five books as well).

I can’t recall seeing a John Cusak movie in which he is bad, but it is for bringing Hornby’s Rob Gordon to life that I wish him a happy 40th birthday.


Dissing Toronto

June 27th, 2006

I don’t much like Toronto, I think it’s a dirty, out of control city in a death spiral.

Brian’s comment in his “I am Afraid” column prompted the reply from Jim “Thanks for being so constructive”. I say give your head a shake.

I used to work in downtown T.O. and I think the conditions are worse now than 15 years ago. But it doesn’t matter what we say. Because we don’t live there.

We could sit here all day making suggestions on how to improve the condition of the city. But it wouldn’t matter. Because we don’t live there.

Until the people who live and vote in Toronto force their elected officials to stop whining about how it’s some other level of governments fault/responsibility/duty and start fixing the problems things will continue to go downhill. If things don’t get fixed, vote them out and bring in someone who will fix it.

Sticking out your lower lip and pouting about criticisms isn’t going make anything better.


England 1 – Ecuador 0

June 25th, 2006
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Mr. Posh Spice, David Beckham scored on a free kick at the 60 ,minute mark to give England a 1-0 victory over Ecuador.

The victory moves England into a quarter-final match with Portugal next Saturday (Canada Day) July 1st. Broadcast begins at 10:30 on TSN.


I Am Afraid

June 25th, 2006

You will note, if you pay any attention to these things, that the I Am Not Afraid banner and link has been pulled from my sidebar. The reason for this is the change in the campaign from I Am Not Afraid to United We Are Toronto.

I am not Toronto, I don’t much like Toronto, I think it’s a dirty out of control city in a death spiral. I was with the concept of I am Not Afraid as a means of saying I will not be cowed, I will not be intimidated. I am not, however, Toronto.

I hope the day goes well, I wish them all nothing but the best; if I was in town that weekend (I won’t be), I might even go to the game. But I won’t be a proactive supporter any more.


Go England

June 23rd, 2006
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I opened my mouth over at Let Freedom Reign, and spoke poorly of the Edmonton Oilers back in the early days of the Stanley Cup Final. My fellow blogger KnightofGoodMrIronMan called me on that, and being a defenseless Ontarian in matters of hockey, I challenged him. Without confidence, I picked the Carolina Hurricanes to win Game 7, and said I would put the Edmonton Oiler flag in my sidebar if the won. He had to put a Leaf flag on his blog if they lost.

He, wisely, turned me down. Since the Edmonton Oiler banner will not be going on my sidebar, there’s room for an England flag, until they lose a game at the World Cup, or win it all. Sometime this weekend, I will get the flag inserted into my sidebar, and until further notice this site is cheering for England.


Happy Birthday To…

June 22nd, 2006
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He has appeared in over 80 movies since his celluloid debut in Clay Pigeon in 1971, and written songs for such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Ray Price. His song-writing credits include Sunday Morning Coming Down and Help Me Make It Through the Night, yet he is most noted as a performer.

But it is because he wrote the incredible Me and Bobby McGee that I wish Kris Kristofferson a happy 70th birthday today.


Sheila Comes Clean

June 21st, 2006
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Speaking of the Toronto Sun, Sheila Copps officially resigned from politics today. Not in so many words, but she wrote a column declaring the virtue of high taxes:

We “celebrated” Tax Freedom Day five days earlier this year — this past Monday, nationally — according to the Fraser Institute. On their website, they proudly proclaim Tax Freedom Day as the day “Canadians started working for themselves.”

Borrowed from a neo-con American think tank, the idea has been trumpeted by the institute as a way to draw attention to the total tax burden faced by Canadians. Most of us feel we probably pay too much in taxes and a “freedom day” is a simple way of signalling that enough is enough.Presumably, the earlier in the year we achieve tax freedom, the better off we are.

The whole notion behind “tax freedom” is to highlight the high cost of government with absolutely no context or background. The institute also studies the quality of public and private education in several jurisdictions. Presumably, some of those hard-earned tax dollars actually go to support the teachers who provide the education that we deem so crucial. But “Tax Freedom Day” doesn’t address the quality of those services.

Likewise, the calculation lumps social security, pension and hospital taxes together with income taxes and the so-called “sin” taxes. Even include royalties on natural resource revenue are included in the calculations. …

The deterioration of public infrastructure is visible all around us. Across the country, water treatment is insufficient or non-existent. Not a week goes by without boil-water advisories being issued in rural and remote communities. Major urban areas are choked by increasing traffic levels unmatched by public transit investments.
the earlier in the year we achieve tax freedom, the better off we are…

First off she disparages the idea of tax freedom day by a) calling it an “Borrowed from a neo-con American think tank…” b) declaring that “…the calculation lumps social security, pension and hospital taxes with income taxes and the so-called “sin” taxes. Even include royalties on natural resource revenue are included in the calculations [sic]. c)””Tax Freedom Day” doesn’t address the quality of …services.”

On point a), so what? American’s can’t have a good idea? “…neo-con American” is nothing more than a pejorative term. Like saying the ACLU is an American commie organization. Have a criticism of where this comes from Sheila? Lets hear it. But “American neo-con” is meant to create an emotional response in your readers, not an intellectual one. Ask your editor the difference if you don’t know.

On point b) the short response is of course it covers all of that. The design of this measurement is to let Canadians see how much of their income, how much of the countries wealth, is being gobbled up by government. It shows the size of government in a way that is easy to understand without a degree in economics. Only someone who doesn’t want Canadians to know how big and cumbersome their government has become could object to that. Sheila, of course, objects.

It is point c) where she makes most of her argument and, like a lot of bad arguments, it takes a simple truth and incorrectly attributes cause.

“The deterioration of public infrastructure is visible all around us.” Yes it is, a simple truth. The problem is, she then goes on to associate this deterioration with lower taxation. However, there is no correlation between high taxes and high public service. Over the last thirty years, taxation has gone through the roof in this country, while public services have gone in the toilet. The very (very!) modest tax decreases Canadians have seen in the past decade have not caused the deterioration of public services. Bad government for the last thirty years has caused a deterioration of government services.

I would argue even, that higher taxes result in a deterioration of public services. Here’s why. More taxes result in bigger government, who then branches out into and ever-greater number of services. As they do, they focus less on services already provided. The roads are deteriorating not because Mike Harris cut a few taxes, but because government doesn’t care to fix the roads any more.

In business, companies often expand into areas that are separate from their core area of expertise: note Microsoft going into game machines. When companies get in trouble the first thing they do is get out of those areas of their business that are not directly related to the bread and butter of their business. American car companies used to make motorcycles, boat engines and various other non-car items. As they have at different times faced financial challenges, they have shed those areas to concentrate on building cars. Even today, they are getting out of non-core areas of their business, such as the parts business, where they can.

So it goes for government. The bigger it gets (represented by an ever larger share of the nations wealth), the less focused it becomes and the more services suffer.

Frankly, when I pay between 45 and 50% of my income to various levels of government, those governments shouldn’t be crying poor, and they shouldn’t be always looking to cut services due to affordability. The problem Ms. Copps is not that we don’t pay enough, the problem is too many politicians piss away ever more money on idiotic ideas like free flags and the CBC.

But hey, the next time Sheila asks for your vote down there in Hamilton East, remember she believes that you need higher taxes! And don’t complain when you get what you ask for.


How to make a Coffee Fly

June 21st, 2006

Sitting at work yesterday, and I grabbed a coffee and opened the Toronto Sun. Flip a page, sip, flip, flip, sip. Bigger sip, page, page, big sip, mmm, little sip, page, page take a nice big sip, read:

Brian Gardiner of At Home in Hespeler ( finds the dark lining in the silver cloud of what we thought was a pretty light sentence for Chuck Guite yesterday:

AdScam honcho (or patsy depending on you point of view), Chuck Guite received 3.5 years in prison for his work during the $250-million sponsorship scandal…

That half-year of the three-and-a-half years is significant for two reasons. One, he will spend Christmas in prison, not being eligible for day parole until mid-January. Two, he will serve a full year before being eligible for parole in mid-August 2008…

Poor Chuck! The Liberals spend years putting soft-hearted (judges) on the bench, and when one of them finds themselves in the prisoner’s box, they get the one tough guy. Sorry, Charlie!

PSHAAA! Flying Coffee.

That’s twice, The first time it was a carefully made Latte of my own creation when Joanne’s Journey made the Best of the Blogs feature.

Henceforth I have a new rule: No coffee in the mouth while reading Best of the Blogs.


Picture of the Day – Cheltenham Badlands

June 19th, 2006
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Throwin’ The Book At Chuck Guite

June 19th, 2006

Adscam honcho (or patsy depending on you point of view), Chuck Guite received 3.5 years in Prison for his work during the $250-million sponsorship scandal.

It must be stated that he will “likely be eligible for day parole after serving one-sixth of his sentence, and may apply for full parole after he has completed one-third.” That half year of the three and a half years is significant for two reasons.

One, he will spend Christmas in prison, not being eligible for day parole until mid-January.

Two, he will serve a full year before being eligible for parole in mid-August 2008. (Note: I’m extrapolating and mathing-up these numbers. They may not be exactly right).

Had he received a three year sentence, or some lame three years less a day, then both of the above would not be so.

Poor Chuck! The Liberals spend years putting soft-hearted putzes on the bench, and when one of them finds themselves in the prisoner’s box, they get the one tough guy.

Sorry Charlie!


Picture of the Day – Backyard Pitch and Putt

June 18th, 2006
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I’m Back Baby!

June 18th, 2006

I have returned from a 350KM, 3 day bike ride to Parry Sound and then 3 days R&R at The Sound. My leg muscles returned to functionality sometime Friday, after a somewhat gruelling 150KM day Wednesday. But after passing through Bala and seeing the “Parry Sound 52 sign”, I was making it that night come hell or high water.

Riding that kind of distance, your mind wanders. Without further ado:

What I learnt:

“Just because people say something is crazy, even if it is crazy, that’s no reason not to do it”

One of my favourite lines, courtesy of Bloom County, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood,” has some truth to it.

It may be true that it’s the journey, not the destination, but By God! There’s nothing wrong with getting there.

Dalton McGuinty is right, the Oak Ridges Moraine should be saved from development. Alas, he is wrong as well, and broke that promise too.

By the way, for a good long time I did a picture of the day series here. I stopped because I kept forgetting to put one up, not because I ran out of pictures. I now have a pile more, and will start again with a picture of the day, for the next week or two they will be from my trip.

and finally:

Addendum to the Bible : On the eighth day He created the insufferably stupid. And they would be called Assholes, and they would drive stone trucks.


Losing My Mind

June 11th, 2006
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If you could choose, in your least lucid moment, something to do on a holiday, what would it be?

Liberal Party Leadership Convention?

The Escape from Alcatraz Triathalon?

Run With the Bulls? (or did I cover that already with the Liberal Party Leadership Convention?)

The new years day Polar Bear Swim?

In the spirit of the above, and with bats squealing in my belfry, I jump on my bicycle tomorrow and ride to Parry Sound Ontario, some 350 plus KMs away.

Due to space, weight, electricity constraints I will not be bringing any computer with me. Due to time constraints, I don’t expect it to matter.

Me, the fresh air, the road and the F*&^&*ing trucks. What a way to spend a holiday. (At least I’ll be 1975 stylish in my new Led Zeppelin bike shirt – left)

As you go about your business this week, think of me not going about mine and remember, your day could be a lot worse; and mine probably is.

Me? I’ll be thinking of my all time favourite line from one of my all time favourite movies, Young Frankenstein:

[Froederick and Igor are exhuming a dead criminal]

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: What a filthy job.
Igor: Could be worse.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: How?
Igor: Could be raining.
[it starts to pour]

(feel free to give me your favourite movie quote in the comments section. Ron, you go first:

Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?)

I’ll see you all in a week, enjoy!