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
Is it really only Tuesday?
It seems later in the week somehow. Perhaps it’s because it has already been quite a week in words and not just the usual bellicose rhetoric from the left and the right. There’s been some really creative, if not just a little bizarre, use of language over the past little bit.
My favourite headline of the week so far is “Amphibious pitcher makes debut”. It takes a very special talent to be able to pitch a baseball on land and under water. It is a talent rarely, if ever seen before. Perhaps it’s because amphibious doesn’t mean having the ability to pitch left or right-handed. That would be ambidextrous which you would have thought a reporter for Associated Press might have known and if not him – certainly his editor.
Apparently not but then amphibious and ambidextrous are easily confused. They both start with the letter ‘A’ and they both have lots of other letters in them so I can sympathize that it can be all too easy to confuse the two. Besides, considering the state of language these days, I’d put money down that a significant number of readers didn’t catch the mistake. Continue reading
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization; it expects what never was and never will be.
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan. Martin Luther King, Jr.
While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.
Henry David Thoreau
WE tv has announced a new reality show to air sometime in 2015 – Sex Box. Based on a British reality show, the premise is quite simple. Contestants enter a big box on the stage, have sex and then relay their experience to a panel of sex expertsl when they emerge hot and sweaty and covered in the glow of momentary celebrity.
And you thought western society couldn’t sink any lower. It is too laugh at such naivete!
The developed world has become a cartoon of itself; a caricature of civilization. We have the most advanced technology the world has ever known. It grants free access to all of the world’s collective knowledge but we are one of the least-informed societies in generations. We use this advanced technology to play games and to verbally abuse each other over everything and the more trivial the issue, the better we like it.
We reserve our greatest outrage for the least important issues. Continue reading
Language legislation is utterly insane and is designed to encourage bigotry. There is no precedence anywhere for unity being enhanced through a policy of two official languages.
For my non-Canadian readers – a little background before we start.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. Their status was written into law in 1969 with the Official Languages Act; a somewhat misguided attempt to placate the province of Quebec which is predominately French-speaking. The government of the day thought, based on recommendations from the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, that promoting both languages to equal official status would end talk of Quebec separation and make everyone feel happy and egalitarian.
Less than a year later, all hell broke loose in Quebec during what is now called the October Crisis. The Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) an extreme Quebec nationalist group, kidnapped Quebec Cabinet Minister Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross. Mr. Cross was subsequently released but Pierre Laporte was murdered and his body left in the trunk of a car which only goes to prove that it isn’t just Islamic Jihadists that are barbaric.
The Mayor of Montreal and the Premier of Quebec both called on the federal government to implement the War Measures Act which basically suspended habeus corpus and allowed for arrest and detention without warrant. Literally over night, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa awoke to armed troops in their streets.
It remains the only time in Canada’s history that anything even remotely resembling martial law has ever been imposed in this country.
By the end of 1970, 24 FLQ terrorists were in prison with four convicted of murder although that didn’t end the nationalist/separatist cause. The province of Quebec went the other way, all but outlawing English and holding three referendums asking Quebecers for a mandate to separate the province from Canada. Each time, the citizens of Quebec rejected the separatist option.
Canada has spent more than $100 billion implementing official bilingualism although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand why. The federal government operates in both languages and Canadians have the legal right to interact with their government in either language. All documentation must be produced in both French and English which has been a bonanza for translators and has significantly increased both the cost, and the time it takes, to produce those documents.
I suppose it would be all worth it if there had been some marked improvement in the bilingual capacity of Canadians but there hasn’t (unless you count Mandarin). The simple fact is that after four decades and $100 billion, the number of Canadians who are functionally bilingual (French and English) has increased by a paltry 2% and that number is as much the result of shifting birth rates and immigration.
There was a pro-life demonstration on Parliament Hill yesterday which drew the usual accompanying pro-abortion counter-demonstration. Sometimes I believe that the two groups are actually joined at the hip and are like opposite sides of the same coin. One couldn’t exist without the other.
It was all the usual stuff but one thing I will say about the pro-abortion side is that some of its members really know how to spice it up a bit. A couple of the demonstrators decided that the best way to stand up for what they see as women’s rights was to go topless and use their breasts to make their point.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m happy to encourage women on both sides of the issue to feel at liberty to promote the cause with bared breasts. I’m very egalitarian that way – or is it shallow?
The bared breasts were only a momentary distraction for me – I had forgotten my glasses so everything was kind of fuzzy. What really caught my attention was the message one of them was delivering.
“Stay out of my vagina!” Continue reading
“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”
During the late 17th century, a new movement among intellectuals began to emerge. It emphasized reason as a means to challenge traditional ideas grounded in faith, superstition and convention. It sought to advance knowledge through the interchange of ideas, healthy skepticism and a scientific method. It was revolutionary using logic rather than opinion or obedience to dogma to arrive at conclusions and was unafraid to test its conclusions against newly emerging evidence.
It was called the Age of Enlightenment and Reason or sometimes simply The Enlightenment. Continue reading