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    Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    Blog of the Week - Perspectives of a Nomad

    Stardate 5388.2

    As a member of the BlogExplosion community, I can feature a site each week or rather, Rent Space for the blog featured.

    Perspectives of a Nomad

    This week, I am featuring a very interesting Blog from a fellow that has done a lot of travelling around the world, and experienced many cultures and events.

    "I am a person who has lived in many distinct cultures throughout the world, and as a result I have gained some different perspectives on world events that shape our lives. These are my perspectives!"

    I find this particularly interesting as I also have travelled quite extensively around the world and have witnessed many great and strange experiences. He is currently running a "10 Greatest Dangers to the Western World" series and his first post on the matter is "The Conflict Between the West and the Middle East" is up in 5 parts! Very interesting stuff to be sure, so stop by and have a read!

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Betraying Democracy for Greed

    Stardate 5383.9

    Well, really, that's what it's all about, and in Western civilization, Capitalism reigns supreme, even over almost every other fundamental belief we have. I find it disheartening that the media has taken a leave on the "Honourable" David Emerson. So I am taking it on myself to rehash a little...

    Yes, there were others before him. I am talking about the "Honourable" David Emerson however, so if you can't deal with that, stop reading now. This is a guy who overwhelmingly defeated the Conservative candidate in the Vancouver Kingsway riding, as a Liberal. A mere two weeks after winning his seat, he betrayed every one of those voters, and jumped on a juicy scrap from the plate of H-Dog and his Conservatives, who are very busily lying to the Canadian public about their one biggest campaign promise, and that is "Standing up for Accountability" or otherwise known as cleaning up Ottawa.

    But let's have a little recent history on the "Honourable" David Emerson's campaign, and how blatant his post-election betrayal really is. These quotes are from a fundraiser on January 16th, one week before he won his riding...
    “Let's just ask ourselves whether Canadians want the Conservative kind of change: every man for himself, the strong survive, the weak die. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Taxation to benefit the rich, to take from the poor. Elimination of a child-care program that'll help young Canadians become productive members of our work force in 10 or 20 years regardless of their economic or social status.”
    Well it looks to me like he saw himself as the weak and poor, and betrayed his constituents and took the "every man for himself route".
    “‘Turn your back on First Nations, Metis and Inuit.’ That's what the Conservatives are saying. ‘Let's have another look at the Charter. Let's restrict some people's rights under the Charter, but let's have property rights under the Charter.’”
    He needs those property rights now, especially considering the hike in pay he likely got after being appointed as the "Honourable" Minister of Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway...
    "They've created a platform that's mushy, that's under-costed, and non-specific about where the money is going to come from. And what they do, once they're in office, is start to cut social programs, start to run a deficit, start to raise taxes. I've seen that with every Conservative regime that I've ever encountered, and I've been in public service - involved in public policy - for over thirty years.”

    Looks like the personal experiences of the "Honourable" David Emerson have really paid dividends when it comes to his convictions.

    “Let's not forget - softwood lumber was a victim of Brian Mulroney throwing it off the table, because the Americans didn't want it included in NAFTA. And it's only now, with Paul Martin, that we have stood up to the Americans on softwood lumber.”
    Of course being from BC, the "Honourable" David Emerson most likely is quite intimate with the forestry industry, so I could see why he stood behind Paul Martin and his standing up to the Americans on the matter. It is good to see that his integrity is in the right place. Not to mention H-Dog's increasing ties with Mulroney, even as we speak.

    So how does a man that a mere one week before an election was so opposed to the Conservative "Vision" sell out and switch sides only two weeks after winning the election?

    Oh yeah, Capitalism rocks, even when democracy suffers.

    *** UPDATE ***

    I spoke to soon. CTV is reporting about how the "Honourable" David Emerson is bubbling with confidence, saying he would most likely win another election in his riding, running as a Conservative. All I can say, is that if the same folks voted for him again, they deserve him...

    Sunday, February 26, 2006

    RIP Don Knotts

    Stardate Unknown

    RIP Don... 1924 to 2006

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    LARPers and the cops; beyond D&D

    Stardate 5363.2

    I have played Dungeons and Dragons in many forms since grade 7 way back in 1980. Whether it is the classic TSR (er I mean Wizards of the Coast) game or some other system such as ICE's Rolemaster, either classic table top or on the PC, it has always been entertaining and thought inducing. It is the sort of game that folks scoff at, yet they are the folks that have never opened their imaginations wide enough to even consider how fun it could be.

    Some people actually play RPGs (role playing games) as live action! These are called LARPs and they are really very popular. This is something I have never been into, but there are instances when they go too far, taking the game too close to reality.

    This is a clip (click on the image) from Reno 9-11 that features some LARPers explaining to the Police why he shot his buddy with a crossbow. The end sequence is priceless. Sadly, it may actually be clips like this one that turn people away from the game itself! After all, no sane person would run around dressed up in a medieval costume... well except half the planet every Halloween, and nobody would shoot their buddy with a crossbow, just to prove a point, though drunkenly shooting your hunting buddy may be fine in some circles...

    I often wonder how many "normal" people, or mundanes as I like to call them, watch movies like Braveheart or Robin Hood, and thoroughly enjoy them, but when given the chance to quite literaly play that part in an adventure or more aptly put, a storyline, balk at it as if it was some sort of Satanic disease! Of course it isn't, and though a few folks like the guys in the video take the game a bit too far for my tastes, I would encourage anyone to use the game as a tool to help their kids (or even grown ups) expand their knowledge of history, mythology and many other aspects... it is great for spelling, organisation and math on the fly. It encouraged me personally to explore many realms of history and the desire for artistic expression was greatly increased, either through sketches, or painting miniatures for play and collection. In fact, unless you are already a mentally unstable person, I can think of NO reason why I wouldn't consider playing the game. Of course those same unstable people could be Postal workers, tennis stars or even worse, telephone sanitizers, so the game is irrelevant.

    After all, how many people play these games on their computers already? You know, Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft... So like this advert says... "If you're going to sit in your basement pretending to be an elf, you should at least have some friends over to help..."

    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    Canada Humbled

    Stardate 5360.1

    Well, the picture just about sums it up. Yeah, that's Kasparitis taking out Gagne with a great hip/butt check.

    For a team boasting so much talent, I wonder how they even made it into the medal round. After losign 2-0 to Switzerland, I decided that something was terribly wrong. Finland is a tough and fast team, and they pretty much skated circles around our guys. The Czech game was lucky I think. Takign a 3-0 lead into a third period where Canada only got 2 shots left me feeling surprised they actually hung on to win. The game today featured a Canadian squad with slow feet, lack of motivation and a few bad penalties. After Russia finally scored, the guys didn't seem as desperate as you would think they ought to. Sure, there were a few tense moments around the Russian goaltender, but frankly, you couldn't find the drive, determination and desperation that you would normally associate with a team about to be eliminated.

    In the games I saw, dump and chase strategy doesn't work when you get beat to the puck more often than not.

    I wonder at the wisdom of putting checking role-players in the lineup like Draper, and guys like McCabe and Pronger. Where were some of our youth? You know, the guys near the top of the NHL scoring race, like Eric Staal, Sidney Crosby or Jason Spezza? Where was one of the toughest and most talented young defensmen in the league in Phaneuf?

    Canada was beaten for many reasons. I think one was skating. I think another was certain choices for the team. Maybe a touch of arrogance in there too...

    Brodeur was a bright spark, but then goalies don't win games when you get down to the nitty gritty, they only help. A few goals go miles when it comes to winning however...

    Canada vs Russia

    Stardate 5358.9

    This is the classic International hockey rivalry. I remember way back to when the dreaded Red Army team would come on tour across north america... Everyone was terrified of them. Fast, skilled and evil commies to boot. Henderson's goal still rings out as the classic clincher in any of these meetings, but the game today should be just as exciting.

    Too bad I am stuck at work. Go Canada!

    Some snow for the Olympic spirit

    Stardate 5358.2

    After a weekend boasting nearly +15 celcius a week and a half ago, we dropped to -33 and now we are getting the snow that Torino has been getting. I guess it isn't so bad really, as we have had an awesome mild winter. Of course with the Olympics and all that, it is nice to perhaps feel like winter for a while, though I still hate it...

    Speaking of the Olympics, our hockey team is facing off against Russia today in the quarter finals. Good luck boys. And try to keep the toes out of the crease. I was watching the Switzerland game and the Finland game last weekend and I thought the rules and officials were half brutal. I saw guys get penalties for going for a rebound and barely touching the goalie at all, and also for having a toe in the crease. Oh, and don't hit too much. You'll make the Europeans cry :D

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Selling US security to the Middle East

    Stardate 5354.9

    I cannot get my head around the idea that George McChimpy is insisting on allowing a State owned company from the United Arab Emirates to run 6 major ports in the US, including New York, Miami, Baltimore, Ohiladelphia, New Jersey and New Orleans... In fact, he is threatening to VETO any congressional attempt to block this deal... Even Frist, the Senate Republican Leader thinks it is a bad move, as far as security goes at any rate.

    Wow, and I thought King George was mentally challenged before this came up. He must be making some amazingly amazing deal with the UAE to get mitt-fulls of their oil... after all, the current outfit running the show is British.

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Blog of the Week - I'm From the Government; I'm Here to Help

    Stardate 5333.8

    As part of the BlogExplosion community, I can advertise or promote another member's blog for a week. This week, I have chosen the blog of an interesting fellow, who I may not see eye to eye on politically, but then there is a lot more to life than politics...

    I'm From the Government; I'm Here to Help

    "Serious & Satire from the only Red~Headed, Blue~Eyed, Freckle~Faced, Left~Handed, Colorblind, Guitar Pickin, Harpoon Blowin, LDS, WI National Guard Retired, Army Vet on the Net!"

    Ted's site is great when you want to get in depth with music especially. Just today in fact, he has done a huge review of "Van Halen: Live Without a Net". Not that he is all about rock but he is often all about music. He also tackles some politics with a slight right slant, and many other interesting things.

    Go read :)

    Ice Demons possessed my car

    Stardate 5333.3

    Last Friday, it was nearly 15 degrees celcius. This morning, it was so cold at -33 celcius that my car let out a demonic scream when started that only the Ice Demons of Tartarus can produce. I fear my car is possessed and there is nothing I can do...

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Domestic spying docs to be released

    Stardate 5329.6

    A federal judge has ordered the US Justice department to respond within 20 days to requests by a civil liberties group for documents about King George's domestic eavesdropping program. The group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center sued the department under the Freedom of Information Act.

    This can only be a positive step in stopping the illegal spying program.

    Ezra Levant is endangering our peacekeepers

    Stardate 5328.5

    Thanks to Cerberus for this letter posted on the Shotgun by Shawn, a Canadian soldier currently stationed in Afghanistan, regarding the Western Standards reprinting of the hateful cartoons that have made more headlines than Dick's hunting accident.

    Mr. Levant, I am a Canadian soldier. I have friends serving in Afghanistan. I'm gonna keep this simple.

    We're fighting an insurgency in Afganistan. Unlike a traditional war, the bad guys are hard to find and kill.

    Canadian soldiers rely on sympathetic local folks to tell us all about the bad guys. Without the goodwill of the locals, life is bad. The locals happen to be Muslims. Are you with me so far? Good.

    The Afghans who provide intelligence to us will probably hear about a Canadian magazine publishing the cartoons. They may get mad at us. They may stop telling us about the bad guys, or actually help them to target us. Still with me? Good.

    Your "freedom of speech" spin is crap. You publish an obscure regional pamphlet. The controversy raises your profile, and (you hope) your income.

    While you flog your alleged devotion to "Canadian Values", remember that this may blow up in your face. You've earned it.

    In Afghanistan, far from your safe little office, other things may be blowing up in the faces of my comerades because of your idiotic stunt.

    You have endangered them all.

    Posted by: Shawn 15-Feb-06 8:07:01 PM

    Personally, I have to draw the line on Ezra's so called "Freedom of Speech" excuse when it comes to something as ugly, hate mongering and stupid as this. There is absolutely no way a sane person would have acted in the way that Ezra Levant and his hate-mongering magazine have done without any thought about the consequences of their actions.

    UN to US: Shut down Gitmo

    Stardate 5328.2


    American authorities should release all prisoners in the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or try them in a court and shut down the prison, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday.

    Of course, the US will not comply. They cite intelligence reports and the fact that the UN representatives will not go and visit Gitmo for reasons. The UN will not visit the Gulag because the US has refused access to private interviews with detainees.

    Who else has refused to comply with the UN before? Hmmm.

    *** UPDATE ***

    Well who would have ever guessed? The US is rejecting the call to offer a fair trial to the detainees and shut down the prison. In the words of everyone's favorite White House spokesman Scott McClellan...

    "These are dangerous terrorists that we're talking about that are there."

    He seems to have forgotten that they are "suspected terrorists" and that if they are in fact actually dangerous terrorists, then they can go to trial and be charged and justly be incarcerated. This is bloody ridiculous.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Abu Ghraib: The Continuing Saga

    Stardate 5325.2

    I think most readers are aware of the past history involved with Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. In fact, most of the perps have been slapped on the wrist for their physical, sexual and mental abuses they performed on many detainees at these facilities. These abuses had included many perverse acts, and much worse, including the famous picture of Private England and the prisoner on the leash.

    This picture shows burns and torture marks allegedly inflicted by US soldiers in 2004.

    It seems an Australian news agency, Special Broadcasting Service, has released a slew of new pictures and video depicting more of the same abuse and humiliation that the US captors did back in 2003.

    Images of naked prisoners, some bloodied and lying on the floor, were taken about the same time as earlier photos that triggered a worldwide scandal and led to military trials and prison sentences for several lower-ranking American soldiers.
    Many of the images broadcast by Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, including some that appear to show corpses, were more graphic than those previously published. One of the video clips depicted a group of naked men with bags over their heads standing together and masturbating. The network said they were forced to participate.

    Naturally, the US admin has condemned the release of these pictures, saying they will only serve to inflame anger already directed at the recent beating of Iraqi youths by British soldiers, not to mention the comic scandal that is slowly brewing out of control. Indeed, they have a very valid point but it is a little late to be trying to ease tensions that would have never risen if they had stayed out of Iraq in the first place.

    There were nine soldiers convicted in the previous case, all of whom were low level soldiers. They received punishments ranging from discharge from service to ten years in prison. However, the Bush administration, after investigating itself as usual, still found no blame with any senior officers or administration, despite pleas from Cheney and others to allow CIA operatives the "option" of torture...

    People can complain and suggest that this is what happens when Muslim extremists chop the heads off of captives, but frankly, I think that the US should not become as the enemy when dealing with them. They have continuously maintained that the Geneva convention does not apply to these "detainees" and refuse to call them Prisoners of War, even though they themselves, will talk of "being at war" and the "War on Terror" until they are hoarse, but that doesn't wash with me. Many of the prisoners have been released now, but with secret European prisons, and the shipment of detainees to other "suspect" locations for interrogation, who knows if these inhumane and sadistic abuses are still going on.

    Other images showed what appear to be dead bodies, as well as wounded people and prisoners performing sex acts. SBS said the bodies were of people who died at the prison.

    The SBS also showed photographs of a bloodied cell block and the corpse of a man it said was killed during a CIA interrogation.

    Torture is not a civilized value. I would say American, but idiots will pour out of the woodwork proclaiming loudly that a Canadian knows nothing of American values. Frankly, if they think torture is an American value, they are truly deserving of the hell some of these soldiers and extremists alike will find.

    Olympics - Viking metal style

    Stardate 5323.2

    One of the "newer" bands I listen to a lot now is a Swedish metal band called Hammerfall. They have just released their 5th album (not including live stuff) and also a music video that they have filmed with the help of the Swedish women's curling team.

    So to get in touch with the Olympics viking style, check out their icy version of "Hearts on Fire" (WMP or Quicktime). I chuckled watching them slip around on the ice, and considering I am not a curler, it was still entertaining!

    Apparently, this has been played on television in both Canada and Norway so far... Time to start watching our Canadian boys win gold in hockey anyways, starting with the 7-2 win over Italy!

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    Stand up for Opportunity er... Accountability

    Stardate 5319.0

    "Stand up for Opportunity" more likely. It seems the big top priorities of the Tory party got a bit bungled already.

    Before I go further, I agree with many readers who suggest that Liberal and NDP outrage is a bit hypocritical with regards to the "Honorable" Mr. Emerson's recent floor crossing. The same outrage should really be shown towards Stronach and the rest. Of course now, that doesn't matter much. The fact of the matter is that this has just occured literally days after being elected.

    One of Harper's big selling points in his campaign was to "Stand up for Accountability" and to clean up the government. One of the first moves he makes is to bribe a Liberal back-bencher to defect to the Tories, with promises of riches, fame and power. Maybe not fame, but definately a very nice and cushy Ministerial package. This particular situation is almost laughable in it's sillyness.

    Now, Emerson is suggesting that he would back floor-crossing legislation. What a joke. It took him a whopping 14 days to switch sides after crushing the Conservatives in his riding. In fact, he continues to suggest that partisan zealots and party operatives are "spinning the media" with regards to his treachery. So he would support such legislation but has no intention of running in a byelection at present.

    Harper is surrounding himself already with people of the highest character and ilk. Good job H-dog!!!

    Enriching Iran

    Stardate 5318.2

    There are many many viewpoints about this, and the last posting drew quite a debate amongst readers (which is great). I think one thing that most people can agree upon is that Iran should not enrich their own uranium and most definately should never aquire the materials needed to construct nuclear weapons in any form.

    Of course, the headlines this morning suggest that in fact, Iran has resumed it's uranium enrichment against the will of many nations of the European Union and the UN. Now I don't want to necessarily draw comparison with Iraq, because I think the situation is very different this time around. With Iraq, there was no solid intel on the WMDs or any of the other claims that King George cited as reasons for the invasion, and in fact, it was known that the weapons were only an excuse and that the admin had already decided to go to war.

    So Iran is different. They are flaunting their enrichment without apparent concern of the repurcussions, despite an agreeable offer from the Russians to enrich uranium for them for use in a nuclear reactor and against the will of most western nations including China. At present, they have decided to ignore the demands of the IAEA and go ahead with small scale enrichment. Why not full out? In the words of a member of the Iranian Supreme Council,
    "We need time to have 60,000 centrifuges".

    In other words, they appear to have no intention of stopping. Negotiations with the Russians have been halted indefinately, and as equipment is built, the process will only go faster. So again, what do we do? I suppose I could ask this every week. Sanctions are weak at best, and only serve to punish the people and solidify their prejudice against the sanctioners... Force? I am not sure if this is a great time. With the cafuffle over religious cartoons (and rightfully so) on top of the already thinly stretched tension in the Middle East, conflict is one of the last things I can see beign productive...

    Remember my poll on the sidebar. Go ahead... vote :)

    Monday, February 13, 2006

    Guns don't kill people, Dick does...

    Stardate 5314.9

    Okay, maybe he didn't but he sure could have!!! At least the lawyer friend Vice President Dick Cheney shot while hunting should be okay, sans some facial tissue. The White House is taking heat over not reporting this to the press, as it took a private citizen from a nearby Texas ranch to make the news known...

    Now I wonder how many people Dick has shot or killed indirectly?

    Emerson should resign

    Stardate 5313.4

    The third protest in only a week outside David Emerson's Vancouver-Kingsway riding is only the start of the public's apparent outrage at his move to switch sides only weeks after being elected as a Liberal candidate. There is also an online petition with over 20,000 names going around.

    I wrote about this earlier and got feedback ranging from ideas that he should resign or at least pay back the $97,000, to comparisons with Stronach and others, to people attempting to make me look foolish over the use of a word (though in the end, the only foolish person is the fool who doesn't check facts LOL)...

    I am still of the belief that he should resign. One protestor said, "I think he committed a moral fraud in crossing the floor, especially right after the election". I agree completely. He could have waited for some time at least, before betraying the 20,000 people who voted him in as a Liberal candidate.

    If you agree, go sign the Online Petition right now! Of course, greed will most definately stop him from doing the right thing on his own. After all, he would have been a back bencher as a Liberal.

    *** UPDATE ***
    Happy Jack seems to be against the floor crossing fiasco as well. He wants to introduce legislation that would force turncoats to run again...

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Stop Sedimentation

    Stardate Unknown

    Well, I have been away for a few days, attending an Erosion and Sediment Control seminar put on by the Transportation Association of Canada. It was interesting and a good thing to consider for work when I am designing roads... Good stuff, if a little dry at times :D

    Beautiful out there today, so the family is heading off to the lake for a picnic :)

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Blog of the Week - Haunted House Dressing Comics

    Stardate Unknown

    As a member of the BlogExplosion community, I can "rent" out advertising for another member once a week. I had a good selection of bidders this week, and in the end, for somethign a little different, I picked the blog of writer Jeremy Shipp.

    Haunted House Dressing Comics

    Previously, I hosted Jeremy Shipp's writing blog as a featured site of the week, and now, he is back with a new blog, featuring his photo comics. If the jokes are anything like his usual writing, then it is more than worth the time to stop by and check them out!

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    Crossing the floor... Traitorous MPs

    Stardate 5288.2

    This has happened before. Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals after a noisy disagreement with Stephen Harper. Well, now, only a few weeks after the election, the Vancouver Kingsway riding winner, David Emerson has switched parties, leaving the Liberals whom he was elected with for the CPC. I see several problems here. First, the Liberals want him to repay the $97,000 in campaign funds that they had raised there which makes sense. Not only this but there were approximately 300 volunteers that helped him get elected. Wow. So there is a rather large difference between the two cases in my opinion.

    The much larger problem lies in the fact that the people who voted for him placed their votes for the Liberal party. They didn't want to be represented by the Conservatives. So now he has betrayed the trust of the people who voted him in. I think there should be a by-election to see if he will win as a CPC candidate. There is nothing else for it.

    The Vancouver riding voted for him with an overwhelming 20,000 votes compared to only 8,700 for the actual CPC candidate. Of course, the package given to him by the Conservatives, was so attractive that anyone would have jumped ship and betrayed their voters... Minister of international trade, minister for the Pacific Gateway and minister responsible for the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Winter Olympics.

    I am glad that someone with his low character has switched sides. He deserves to be in the CPC as far as I'm concerned. Too bad the people who voted for him got stabbed in the back. So how about that by-election?

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Paying for bombs with education

    Stardate 5283.2

    Bush released his new budget. The new $2.77 trillion plan will reduce government funded programs to help with massive deficits. Almost one third of the 141 programs targeted deal with education.

    Of course, there is an increase in spending on the War on Terror, causing more cuts to medicare and education.
    “My administration has focused the nation’s resources on our highest priority — protecting our citizens and our homeland,” Bush said in his budget message.
    So supporting the arts, education, health care, parent resource centers, drug free schools and many other social programs are not the highest priority? They are so worried about balancing the deficit that these programs will be cut but the mighty war machine will get a boost to be sure. The proposed hike in military spending is up by 6.9%; another $439 billion in fact. Even the tax cuts made permanent now by the King George target mainly the rich, leaving the poor with little help left except to join the army perhaps...
    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that the budget was “filled with pages of giveaways to special interests and cuts to those who can least afford it.”
    Sounds almost similar to the budget and proposals put forward by the newly elected prime Minister Harper up here in Canada. Let's hope his arctic ice warriors from the sky don't end up costing us our arm and leg, and the future of our children. Sounds like the future of American children is in trouble already...

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    4 things with 4 answers...

    Stardate 5278.7

    Well after a fun filled weekend that left me with no time to write, I will start the week with a fun meme thing that finally made it's way to me. Basically, there are 4 questions about me and 4 answers for each question. I was tagged by Verbena-19 so now I must answer the questions and decide if in fact, I am going to continue this by tagging 4 others...

    What are 4 vehicles you've owned?

    My very first car was a 1977 Ford Granada, back in high school. It lasted for some time before succombing to a thrown rod. After that, I went quite some time without a vehicle, and finally, I settled on a 1978 Pontiac Grande LeMans. This was a great car that was sold to me by my step-father, and lasted quite some time. Rust began to take control and eventally, I sold it to a fellow who didn't even want to test drive it. After that, I bought a 1984 Oldsmobile Regency 98, that my wife found as a great deal. It is still running good and is a very smooth ride. The 4th will have to consist of various bikes I suppose... my favorite being my orange banana seat bike I had when I was a kid.

    What are 4 jobs you have had?

    This is a tough one as I have done a fair variety of things over time. Presently, I work for an engineering firm, designing and drafting local roads and highways. I have done this for nearly 5 years now, with a fair bit of mixed experience in the field in the past. I find it satisfying and challenging, and far superior to having to toil away outside in the cold! I have also been a supervisor in the shipping department of a magazine distribution plant where we had to stack totes of magazines on skids, weigh and wrap them and load them on trucks to go all over western Canada. A forklift accident pretty much ended that line of work for me. I have also worked in the oil patch as a well tester. This involved a lot of sitting on my ass, but the actual work (when we had to do it) was very crummy. Always in a hurry, and it seemed it was either muddy and crummy out or else it was freezing cold and crummy out. I had a great job once when I was younger too, working in a hotel/bar as a prep cook, bartender and DJ. It was really fun, but I found that I ended up spending far too much time there, and nobody really wanted to listen to heavy metal anyhow :D

    Where are 4 places you've lived?

    I have moved around a fair amount, including living overseas. When I was a wee boy, I lived in Whitehorse, way up in the wild frontiers of the Yukon, normally haunted by only the brave Canadian Kilted Yahksmen... Of course after that, I spent many years living in either Calgary or central Alberta. I also spent 4 years living in Mbabane Swaziland, in southern Africa where I attended the wonderful Waterford Kamhlaba UWC school. This was an excellent experience for our whole family and offered us the chance to travel and see a lot. I spent several years living in British Columbia, which was very nice, though my favorite spot is still Nelson BC... Now I live around the Red Deer area, and plan on staying for quite some time.

    Name 4 vacations you've taken...

    Well this is kind of a neat question I suppose. I have seen a lot of places, but I guess I can say that I really enjoyed our trip to Egypt years ago, as well as a great holiday in Interlaken Switzerland. I have also vacationed in New Zealand (with a brief visit to Australia) and nowadays, I enjoy camping either locally or in British Columbia with my family.

    As for tagging others? Well frankly, I just don't know who has and hasn't been tagged, so tough luck!

    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    The Iranian Agenda

    Stardate 5258.8

    Iran. This is a problem that has been going on for some time now. I am of very mixed feelings about this entire situation, partly because I oppose the build-up of nuclear weapons by any State, but also because Iran, for all intents and purposes, seems to be playing a game with the IAEA and the UN Security Council, as if goading them into hasty action.

    The scene is old news now. Iran claims they need the ability to have nuclear power, but the US and European Union believe that Iran wants to create weapons with such knowledge. In light of the ridiculous comments that are continuously spouted and then refuted by the Iranian Prime Minister with regards to the destruction of Israel and the denial of certain aspects of documented history and the Jewish peoples, it is little wonder that very few people believe they seek nuclear power only. If indeed this is the case, then they should be willing to have any or all monitors in place to oversee their progress.

    I also believe that when nations with more stockpiles of nukes than I have miniatures start demanding that smaller nations be banned from such technology is not a correct way to go about business. When you think about the Middle East and Oil, it seems that in many cases, the US and other big hitters will inevitably get what is in their best interests. This is proven time and again and the only way this can be changed is if these countries have nuclear capability. I was saddened to see Pakistan and India have their sparring match with testing bombs, and now other countries, especially in Europe and even Israel, are desiring weapons like this as a "self defence" against terror ridden states like Iran. Well as it turns out, we have seen this happen before, and it almost brought the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust on several occassions.

    The Nuclear Arms Race began after World War II, and saw the US and their arch nemesis, the Soviet Union, both frantically build bigger, better and more powerful bombs as a military deterrant in the Cold War. This is also what happened with India and Pakistan to a much lesser extent, though the effect is identical. If more countries are allowed to develop these weapons in order to gain the respect of the super powers, then we are starting a buildup of deterrant weapons again. Since everyone claims they will not use such weapons, there is little logic in building them, unless they want clout when dealing with the big boys, or they are in fact going to use them. Realistically, a country with even a small number of these weapons must be dealt with in a different light... There is always the chance that weapons developed in a country like this could fall into the hands of even more terrifying people, though this is a possibility in any state.

    So what to do about The Iranian Agenda?

    Simply put, I think any sort of military force, even if sanctioned by the UN, will result in an Islamic uprising the likes of which even Allah hasn't seen... Iraq and Afghanistan are already hotbeds, and in most of those areas, a peaceful outlook is only a dream in the distant future, so an invasion or bombing of Iran would only fuel the fire of anti-westernism rampant in the middle east, especially if led by the US.

    Stopping the flow of western aid into a country like Iran is likely not goign to achieve much. I doubt much of foreign aid money actually reaches the people who need it anyways, so a tactic like this is only a token solution. Sanctions tend to punish only the civilian population, and in the end, they are likely already living in a state of poverty. Whether or not economic sanctions work is another story. When Hitler invaded Poland, imagine what his response, and in fact, the German people's response would have been to modern day economic sanctions... Well, they would have invaded France even faster most likely. All these sanctions seem to do is create even more anamosity towards the people applying the sanctions, and the end result is basically opposite of that intended. Sanctions against apartheid South Africa in the '60s most definately did not work and the end result of democratic change there was driven by other internal factors.

    The best and easiest way to deal with a situation like this would be through diplomatic means, however, when dealing with a leader that seems to be either insane or openly defiant like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this can be most difficult! So what can be done?

    How would you deal with the threat Iran is posing?
    Leave them alone
    Keep playing their game
    Economic Sanctions
    Internationally agreed upon military force
    Other military force
    They can't do anything to me so I don't care
    This is very complex and I don't really know

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Blog of the Week - My Waisted Life

    Stardate 5254.7

    As a member of the BlogExplosion community, I feature a blog each week that is worth having a read over. This week, I have a new tenant who is quite popular in the community...

    My Waisted Life

    "How wasted do you have to be not to be able to spell waisted correctly?"

    Madbull as he is known, writes about a great many things, especially the ever growing blog community. He is a Belgian fellow living in Brighton England. Stop by and check out his latest rantings :) At any rate, he is a stand up guy so say hello!

    Habs Watch - Who wants a goalie?

    Stardate 5253.2

    You can't win games in the new NHL when your starting goalie lets 5 goals in on 10 shots in the first half of EVERY start. I don't know what Theodore's problem is, but he has got to go. I know it isn't always the fault of the goalie, but if you want to be a star and get paid like that, you had best play like a star. After all, many times have we seen a star goalie do wonders for a crappy team.

    Not to start rumours, but is reporting that Olivier Michaud has been reassigned to Hamilton in the AHL from Long Beach in the ECHL. Could be the start of some goaltending changes? Only time will tell, but they don't exactly have a lot of time left this season...

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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