Monthly Archives: November 2014
I like shopping or more accurately, I like certain kinds of shopping. I don’t enjoy shopping for myself very much. I’m a touch impatient and I tend to treat shopping for myself the way some guys treat sex. I go in, get it done and get out. I have a lot more respect, not to mention time, for the more intimate moments than I do in shopping for myself.
I find it almost as frustrating trying to shop for my grandchildren. I love them both dearly and truly enjoy giving them gifts but selecting those gifts can be one royal pain. It’s all battery-driven, electronic, Disney or super hero character after another. It’s so difficult to find actual toys, that I sometimes think I’m in an electronics rather than a toy store.
Still, I accept that toys have changed since my daughter was the same age as my grandchildren and there isn’t much point in whining about it. Life goes on but it does seem at times that you almost need a degree in economics, electrical engineering, physics, computer programming or some combination of the three to umderstand and select the right gift.
And for God’s sake, don’t forget the bloody batteries, a USB cable and power charger which are almost never included. Continue reading
It’s only a few weeks to Christmas and preparations are well under way to celebrate the season. Homes are being decorated inside and out, stores are full of on sale gift suggestions, Christmas trees are being put up and at our place, the infamous Santa Claus collection is starting to occupy every available space in the house.
Even the dogs are required to wear Santa hats (Maggie is merciless at Christmas and we aren’t even there yet). There are twelve days of Christmas – or Christmastide as it used to be called – and they don’t start until Christmas Day.
I don’t mind even though it’s not the way my family practiced Christmas when I was a child. It’s become a tradition now though and the dogs wear their Santa hats with bemusement. I told them it could be worse, Maggie could have dressed them up as two of the wise men.
Traditions are wonderful things. They provide a foundation upon which we build our lives. They provide continuity from one year to the next and can be more than a little reassuring and satisfying but traditions change and evolve. Continue reading
I wrote this post in November 2011 in response to a comment made in an email exchange with an Occupy protester in England. It is as true for me today as it was the day I wrote it.
“England shirt poppy thing: what diff whether these joyless overpaid spit-roasting thickoes wear a mark of Remembrance or not?”
Occupy protester Continue reading
Justin Trudeau is not fit to be Prime Minister. I know this because I read it every day somewhere in the mainstream or social media. The reasons are varied and many but two key factors get mentioned more than any other; he was a teacher and he inherited some money from his father.
I’ve been voting in elections for more years than I care to acknowledge and I haven’t always been successful at voting for the best candidate so I’m always open to anything that will better help me evaluate those running for office.
Quite honestly, it had just never occurred to me that former professions or family inheritances were factors worth considering; if it had, I would have dismissed Rob Ford as unqualified for his political office because he inherited a fairly hefty chunk of change from his father and didn’t do much before taking a job in sales at his father’s company,
Foolishly, I thought he was unqualified because he is a self-indulgent buffoon. Continue reading
“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.”
“Freedom will destroy itself if it is not exercised within some sort of moral framework, some body of shared beliefs. . .”
There’s an easy way to tell the difference between a major threat to our national security and a minor one – rhetoric. The more bellicose the rhetoric by our political leadership, the less danger they perceive from whoever it is they are condemning or in terms of political fallout.
That shouldn’t be taken to mean that there are no serious threats, even the most stupid among them (and there is a serious competition to earn that title) can identify and understand that there are; but the level of accusatory rhetoric is dependent the source and nature of the threat to economic or political interests.
Developments this past week underscore how international affairs as it is being practiced by world leaders.
Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has gone to China to foster – or more accurately, to repair – relations with China that he damaged early in his first mandate. He was successful in getting a couple of billion in new trade deals and the support of the Chinese government in creating a currency hub in Toronto.
At some point, he will also mention that he discussed the issue of human rights violations although it will be the trade deals that will be the only evidence of anything having happened.
‘’Human rights violations” is one of those wonderful catch-all phrases our current politicians like to use because it seems filled with meaning and principle but is so vague on specifics as to obscure the necessity of doing anything.
It’s a way to legitimize lusting after trade and economic benefit from repressive but economically strong nations. Despite how often they meet to discuss trade and human rights violations – it is only trade on which any progress is made. Continue reading
“War on terror’ is a misnomer. It would be like calling America’s involvement in World War II a ‘war on kamikazism.’ Terrorism, like kamikazism, is a tactic.”
I don’t like war. It is an ugly, brutal business in which too many innocent people are slaughtered and that has unpredictable and uncertain outcomes. I consider war to be the ultimate failure of civilized people to resolve their differences. Nevertheless, I understand and accept that sometimes there is no other option but to go to war to defend against tyranny and those who are threat to the lives of others and the security of peaceful nations.
I also believe that there is no reason to fight war other than to win it. I believe that if if you are forced to war, then you need to commit whatever resources are available to you in order to achieve victory – not for glory but for self-preservation and the preservation of others.
Canada has gone to war for the third time in a decade and in the same region of the world. Now we have joined a coalition of reportedly 59 other nations to combat ISIL; an armed force of fewer than 40,000 fighters that are storming their way across Syria and Iraq with sociopathic efficiency.
Decades of conflict in the Middle East – thousands upon thousands dead and the world’s leaders seemed to have learned little to nothing from that waste of human life. Continue reading