blog*spot

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

  Guilty Westerner Disease and ROTK. Victor Davis Hanson has a great article up on the strange self-hatred that seems to guide the reasoning of the leaders of left-wing thought. He doesn't pull any punches:
Our Western intellectuals are sheltered orchids who are naive about the world beyond their upscale hothouses. The Western disease of deductive fury at everything the West does provides a sort of psychological relief (without costs) for apparent guilt over privileged circumstances. It is such a strange mixture of faux-populism and aristocratic snobbery. They believe only a blessed few such as themselves have the requisite education or breeding to understand the "real" world of Western pathologies and its victims.
He goes on to ask some very good questions, such as why does Europe largely oppose democratic and inclusive Israel, and why does anyone treat globetrotting, jet-set, anti-globalization gurus seriously?

The Western disease is on full display in this review of the Return of the King in Maclean's.
I felt I'd been through a fundamentalist crusade in which the forces of light, and the West -- a lot of earnest, attractive folks with blue eyes -- go to war against dark and ugly races. I half expected to hear Onward Christian Soldiers on the soundtrack.
This guy can't turn off his sophisticated and enlightened view of the world long enough to enjoy the story of various peoples banding together to prevent hordes of inhuman monsters from destroying their way of life. Reading between the lines, you can determine that the reviewer's real problem with the movie is that he feels those who are not quite as clever as him might be seduced by some of the ideas that the movie puts forth quite boldly. Ideas such as your duty to defend your civilization, that bravery in the face of impossible odds is a noble thing, and that there are some things worth dying for.

He probably also detests Aragorn's line, "Stand, men of the West!".

Friday, December 26, 2003

  Babies' First Christmas! Michelle was working the overnight Christmas eve shift at the emergency room, so I was alone when Max and Talia awoke at about 6:30. Without Mama to give them that first calming nurse of the day they can be pretty testy, so I climbed into my clothes without showering and quickly got them dressed and downstairs for some food. Alone with cranky, hungry children seemed a strange way to start Christmas, but things would improve.

After Michelle got home (and Max and Talia got their dose of Magic Milk) we cleaned up for our guests and dressed them in fancy clothes. Just look at our adorable little guys!

And here they are again with their Oma and Opa:

After all the tedious present unwrapping, Michelle treated us to her fantastic roast goose with prune stuffing:

Not as good as my lamb with kumquats last year, but still quite extraordinary.

Here's the crowd from last night. On the floor from left to right is Cam and Cleo, Michelle's sister and her husband here from Prince George, and Rene, Michelle's travel-bum brother of no fixed address. Seated from left to right are myself, the harried father, Max Max (looking quite exuberant), Michelle (also looking exuberant), Talia, and Oma Marjolein and Opa Robert. Behind the camera is Tu Yen (spelling?), Rene's old roommate (but no longer now that he's homeless).

I meant to write more but these pictures will have to suffice. This Christmas was pretty calm but I suspect next year will be a bit different.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

  Merry Christmas! I apologize for the lack of posting in awhile, but it's been crazy around here for the last few weeks. The babies are getting better at crawling and it seems a constant battle to prevent them from dangerous mischief.

(Speaking of dangerous mischief, Talia was just standing up and inching along the coffee table when she grabbed the bowl of oranges and learned the hard way that it would not support her weight. She is now howling away...)

Anyway, everyone is coming here soon for Michelle's roast goose. I'll try to post a cute photo of the kids later today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

  Holiday excursion idea! Driving around at night in a double-decker bus with your friends checking out the Christmas lights! Alcoholic beverages will be served! Does this sound like fun? Think again.

Friday, December 19, 2003

  The law of the good and the law of the right. I read this terrific article at Tech Central Station this morning and have been thinking about it all day. It's a very interesting way of looking at the strange political landscape of today that I hadn't thought about before. Great fuel for a long philosophical discussion over a few bottles of wine.

Monday, December 15, 2003

  Photoshopped Saddam Roundup! There's been quite a few photoshopped pictures of Saddam floating around the blogosphere the last couple of days. Nothing like mocking a cruel former tyrant...

Here's a typical one -- Saddam as a itinerant.

And then we have Saddam Claus (or is it Santa Hussein?).

I laughed quite a bit at this one. I think it probably captures Jacques' REAL reaction to Saddam's capture. (Scroll down for the picture.)

This one is really scary. (click on the 'altered appearance' link.)

And there's this amusing collection illustrating the life he was living before he was captured. Enjoy!

(From Instapundit and Dave Barry's Blog.)
  Saddam cares for his people. Some revealing quotes from the ace of spades in Time magazine:
When asked “How are you?” said the official, Saddam responded, “I am sad because my people are in bondage.” When offered a glass of water by his interrogators, Saddam replied, “If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage?”
He must have been holding it in for some time...
  Another million dollar idea. My ideas for the Feeding Collar and Imobilizer were turned down by both Graco and Evenflo. "That's absolutely barbaric!", was what the woman at Graco said, if I recall correctly. Oh well. I didn't let that setback get me down and now have another idea that should net me those elusive tall dollars -- Baby clothes made of Swiffer fabric! Dress them up, let them crawl around for a couple hours, and your floor is swept! Then just drop the clothes in the washer! I'm gonna call Procter and Gamble right now...

Sunday, December 14, 2003

  Martin signals he intends Canada to remain in the Axis of Weasels. Paul Martin has made his first international policy comments today on the capture of Saddam, and sided with the Weasels. "What's important is he be tried before a tribunal that is just, that is credible and that has international recognition," he said. This is diplomatic codespeak for saying he prefers flying the fucker to The Hague, giving him a carpeted cell and access to the media, and letting the UNicrats decide what to do with him. He said this knowing full well that the US is already working with the Iraqi Governing Council to set up a tribunal run by Iraqis.

I really, honestly thought he might have more sense. But the Liberal instinct to follow the same misguided policies Chrétien followed is too strong, I guess.
  They Got Him! Saddam Hussein has been captured in Tikrit. Alive. Right now CBC radio is spinning this as an unjustified political win for Bush and Blair. Unjustified because they still haven't found any WMD, which was (according to the clever people working for our state broadcaster) the only reason offered by the coalition for liberating Iraq. The more things change...

UPDATE: I'm still listening to the CBC. I have to say that the rest of the news coverage was pretty good, it was only the snotty London correspondent that had to drench the story in her editorial bias. But now I'm listening to Michael Enright interviewing a "Peace Studies" professor, who is actually pretty knowledgeable and fair. I can't say as much for Michael Enright though, he's talking about the capture as a "propaganda coup" and has mentioned (as if it were common knowledge) that the pulling down of Saddam's statue a few months ago was "choreographed".

Friday, December 12, 2003

  Today's the day! I can't believe this day has finally arrived. We get rid of Jean Chrétien today! I would have preferred that he left in a humiliating electoral loss, but I'll take this anyway. I'm not too hopeful about the new guy, but he's at least started out okay -- getting rid of most of the ancient, sycophantic seat-warmers that Jean had installed in cabinet.

In celebration of this event, I have dug up from my archives this soundclip of our former great leader attempting to communicate. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Mark Steyn has dug up some great old columns about Jean. Well worth a look.
Tall and tan and old and wrinkly, the boy from St. Maurice goes walking and, when he passes, each one he passes goes: "Aiiiiiiiiii!"

Thursday, December 11, 2003

  Finally! The pictures from Paraguay! Well, I promised I'd eventually post these pictures from my September travels, so here they are. Exotic, dangerous Ciudad del Este. This first shot is taken from the bridge going into town. Obviously, I took this shot as I was leaving because as I entered I was much too busy hanging on for dear life to take pictures.

The next shot is of a typical street scene. Unfortunately, it doesn't really capture the insane bustle of the town, but it's the best I've got.

Here's my wine connoisseur friend trying to prevent his jaw from dropping at the quantity and quality of wine available at the Mona Lisa.

And it's not all drugs, guns and money laundering in Ciudad del Este, they sell vegetables too!


Monday, December 08, 2003

  Those witty tax people. I was in tears from laughing at this response from a tax official to an angry taxpayer. Best quote:
You can rest assured that "sucking the very marrows of those with nothing else to give" has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn't render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.
Okay, so it's not a real letter. It's still pretty funny.
  My world is shrinking. Much as I would love to write a long screed on one of the many, many things that piss me off, or perhaps a love note on something that makes life worth living, I haven't the time. Babies, babies, babies -- that's my life right now. Four walls and a lot of toys. I'm not complaining; my little isolated world can be just as frustrating and wonderful as the rest of the world. I'm not missing all that much.

Am I?

Talia is crawling now, though not very well, and Max dabbles in this activity a bit too. You might think that new mobility would mellow my little girl, but you'd be wrong. She's just as restless and quick to anger as before. She's got at least three teeth coming in right now, so I guess she's allowed. Max still just likes to sit and take everything in. Thank heavens for little boys. I've mostly baby-proofed the main living area, building a gate for the stairway and a little fence to protect the woodstove. But they'll find some way to get into trouble, I'm sure.

Here's a pic from this morning:


Friday, December 05, 2003

  A barbarous consumer wasteland? Still unconfirmed. I'm working hard to keep on top of that trampled shopper story I mentioned last week. I seems the woman and her sister have made a bit of a career out of stunts such as this. If the 'trampling' turns out to have been a scam, will all those clever people -- who are always so quick to believe the worst about the masses (and Wal-Mart shoppers) -- take back their pontificating nonsense? Just asking.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

  Get Fuzzy in Canada. My favourite comic, Get Fuzzy, has been visiting Canada for the past couple of weeks in an blatant attempt to get syndicated in new papers. Start here and keep following the Next Day link. Best line: "The government is secretly putting dog hormones in the water supply in an attempt to make Americans mindlessly obedient."

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

  It's official: Canadians are the world's biggest suckers. Russia now appears to be unwilling to sign the Kyoto Protocol, officially killing the deal due to lack of international support. Nonetheless, Canada will attempt to bind our economy to the treaty, even if nobody else does.

The deal negotiated by Canada in the Kyoto Protocol was a very bad one. European delegates dominated among the formers of the document and managed to work in very favorable terms for themselves. For example, the year chosen as a baseline for carbon emission levels was the year before Britain shut down its very dirty coal-fueled power plants. Europe is allowed to 'pool' their emission levels, so all of Europe basically started with credit for substantial cuts -- without having to do anything. As well, there are no provisions in the Accord for accounting for growing populations. Europe, with a declining population again comes out on top, while our growing country pays more. Canada also didn't manage to get credit for the massive carbon sink our forested nation is.

The US and Australia realized Kyoto was stacked against them and wisely rejected it. Europe makes only token contributions. 'Developing' countries such as China and India are largely exempt, and now Russia has skipped out. Canada says it will comply -- even though the treaty will not become international law due to the lack of countries complying. What suckers we are!

Global warming may or may not be real, but even if it were, the Kyoto Protocol would have almost no effect, even if other countries were pulling their loads. Our country, which has already spent C$3.6 billion 'studying' the issue, and is the same country that spent over C$1 billion in an attempt to count firearms, is going to try to regulate all chemical combustion occurring in our borders.

Madness.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?