In mathematics, an ‘X’ is an unknown quantity. In plumbing, a spurt is a drip under pressure. Combine the two and you have an X-spurt or as it is more commonly known; an expert. Increasingly, we are surrounded by self-professed experts; unknown drips under pressure who have been working overtime to make a mess of the world in which we live.
To be fair, some of them are just cynical greedy buggers who are in the ‘spurt’ business for the cash. It may not make the nonsense they impose on society easier to deal with but at least it’s honest. Under the right circumstances, who knows how many of the rest of us might not become a Spurt if there was enough cash being presented.
The Spurts that really get under my hat, however are those who are true believers in their own expertise. Their faces glow with earnestness as the light of Jesus shines from their eyes and a constant flow of stupidity flows out of the mouths. They are folks that tend to worm their way into positions of influence (often at great public expense) and then proceed to take themselves far more seriously than we take them. Continue reading
Conservatives will be happy to know that I don’t want to talk about being conservative or even about Stephen Harper today. I’m too distracted by other things to get into that right now.
I heard the weekend weather forecast this morning. Continue reading
Towards the end of the 17th century and continuing on into the 18th, a new intelligentsia emerged. They were The Enlightened and they gave birth to the Age of Reason; a period in which traditions and superstition were challenged by new ideas, scientific thought and the rise of individualism.
Philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau along with science researchers like Isaac Newton were joined by hundreds of other intellectuals, writers and scientists in an explosion of new knowledge that still affects western society today.
Just as it was in the 17th century, we are seeing the emergence of a new group of Enlightened only they are not philosophers and scientists. They are celebrities, activists, revisionists, media pundits and their self-absorbed followers. Continue reading
There are three kinds of stupid in the world.
There are those, who through no fault of their own, have inherited their stupidity from their parents or have had a random stupidity gene pop up from an ancestor who was the village idiot back in the Middle Ages. These folks are merely imbeciles and mildly annoying, especially when they are standing in front of you at the cash rooting around looking for coupons or asking the cashier how to operate whatever it is they’re buying once they get it home.
My favourite example of this group was the gal who phoned in to an open line radio show to complain about the fact that the local government was putting deer crossing signs in the wrong places. They were putting them on the busiest part of the highway causing the deer to cross where it was most dangerous and they could get hurt or killed. She suggested that the government put the signs on a quieter stretch of road where it would be safer for deer to cross.
I hope the signs reminded the deer to look both ways before crossing the street. Continue reading
It is truly a fine day in the neighbourhood. The sun is high, the temperature is autumn cool – light jacket weather and the leaves are just on the edge of starting to change colour. It is a picture perfect fall day and we’ve been out enjoying it at the farmer’s market and running errands. Somehow, running errands on a day like this doesn’t seem quite so tiresome. On a day like this one could almost begin to believe that everything is alright with the world but, of course, that would be delusional and a sign that self-medication is probably not a good idea.
I grew up with autumn days like this – same temperature range, same seasonal transition and I’ve been around for more than just a few years. Nonetheless, in the past 25 years, we have been threatened by climate change. I know this because everyone from David Suzuki and Elizabeth May in Canada to Al Gore in the States have been preaching the gospel of impending doom for quite some time – and making a good buck at it too, I must say.
I probably should have considered fear mongering as a career path in my younger days. It seems to pay handsomely. There are just so many government grants and tax-payer funded credits, it’s virtually impossible not to make a good living at it and that’s not to mention all those great conferences in far away places. Continue reading
It’s funny how social activists usually protest against the only things that have a credible chance of achieving the activists’ goals.
You can’t just sit around and make protest albums all your life; eventually it comes to the point where you have to do something.
Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane)
My daughter turns forty next year (I got married at 11) and I’m having some difficulty accepting that. I’ve never minded my own age, in fact, I’ve always felt that whatever age I was at any point in my life, including right now, was pretty much the perfect age for me. But suddenly realizing that your little girl is about to hit forty is a bit of a blow to the illusion of immortality. Perhaps it snuck up on me because she still looks like she’s barely thirty.
I’m getting older.
There. I’ve said it out loud and for about the first time in my life. Now I’m going to have to admit that the grey hair at the temples and in my beard isn’t something that makes look distinguished, it means I’m getting old.
When did that happen? Continue reading