Thursday, January 28, 2010

Under The Weather

So much to post about it. Such little energy.

What's a girl to do?

It was pointed out to me that the recent post in which I expressed my pride in the Canadian military's efforts in Haiti did end with a bit of cliffhanger. Somewhat intended, to be sure. It's just that I didn't intend to leave it hanging this long.

I finished Sarah Palin's book and the same intrepid soul who pointed out the cliffhanger has suggested that I post my final thoughts. Which I'm okay with that but ...

Then there was a nice piece in the Jan 19th edition of the Chronically Horrid (alas, too old to access now) concerning foreigners' attitudes towards Canada's seal hunt - something about them eating horses in Europe. 'Twas to be aptly titled "Hypocrisy".

And from the darkest corners of my mind something about climate change. And our upcoming Purple Day events.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little stroll down memory lane because, for now at least, I'm afraid that's all you're going to get.

I am officially ill. Sick, as they say.

Afflicted. Ailing. Below par.

Aka feeling awful. Feeling rotten. Feeling terrible. Indisposed. Infirm. Laid low. Off my feet (that one is very fitting). Out of sorts. Peaked. Poorly. Run-down. Unwell.

Did I, by chance, mention under the weather?

And so, until I get this under control, I'm afraid I might be a bit scarce. But hopefully not for too long.

Until then, I bid you a (temporary, to be sure) fond farewell.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I still want to will finish the second part of that Proud post.

But first this.

Seven days before the Haitian earthquake, a baby girl, Elizabeth, was born. When the earthquake struck, her family’s concrete house collapsed, leaving the new-born trapped under tonnes of concrete. She lay there for eight days, presumed dead.

Until Wednesday, when she was pulled from the ruins by a searcher from France Aide Urgence.

"It was the Colombian firefighters who put a mark on the building to say that there was probably a victim, a child, in this house," Mr. Lampert said.

. . .

"And after, we give the baby to Colombian rescue, because it’s a symbol."

The French team could only find Elizabeth because of the Colombians, so they gave her to them.

. . .

The Colombians rushed the child to the United Nations compound and gave her to Canadian medics.

Maj. Annie Bouchard, commander of a medical platoon with DART, Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, worked on Elizabeth with several Canadian medics.

"The baby was a bit dehydrated and cold and a bit hypoglycemic as well," Maj. Bouchard said. "Her blood sugar was really low."

They gave little Elizabeth some oxygen, put her on an IV drip and a vital signs monitor, and stabilized her. They asked some Sri Lankan peacekeepers to drive them to the Hopital St. Michel, where an American pediatrician was working.

"On the way to the hospital, the ambulance bottomed out," said Master Cpl. Richard Paul of Halifax, a senior med tech with DART.

"They lost the spare tire and bent up the frame. At that point, we decided we’d walk into St. Michael’s. It’s about 200 metres."

So the Canadians walked down the broken streets of Jacmel holding the baby and the IV and monitor and delivered her to the American and Haitian medical team there.

"As soon as the IV kicked in, and a little stimulation, she started to cry and pee," Maj. Bouchard said. "It just made our day. When she started to cry, everybody started to smile."

Navy Lt. Christine Crawley of Vancouver said it was a great feeling.

"Everyone was working together: Colombians, Canadians, Americans, Haitians," she said. "It was incredible."
Perronneau Ronald, cousin of 18-day-old Elizabeth Joassaint
adjusts the little girl’s blanket as she sleeps in her crib
at Hopital St.Michel de Jacmel in Jacmel,Haiti, on Friday.
Elizabeth was rescued after spending days buried under
tonnes of rubble. Photos by TIM KROCHAK /Staff)

Now what do you make of that?
Mr. Mellet, who held little Elizabeth when she was pulled from the house, said there are two lessons to take from the story.

"All the time, all the time, espoir (hope)," he said. "Espoir. And when a lot of teamwork, and a lot of countries, work together, the possibility is very important. It’s a lesson. It’s a lesson."


A lesson for the world.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I can honestly say that I am proud of the Canadian military (I can just hear the gasp from some of my faithful readers). Whether it is in their UN peacekeeping work (note the rumblings of discontent from other faithful readers), in Afghanistan or now, in Haiti.

I am proud of the crew of the HMCS Athabaskan, who after a six-day journey dug in on Tuesday in Laogane, a small city just west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to help by setting up medical tents and providing badly-needed medical supplies and medical care with insufficient equipment.

Sailors from the Athabaskan worked like dogs in the hot sun around the clinic all day, pitching in to set up shelters for patients to escape the heat, providing security, carrying patients and helping translate for the unilingual medical volunteers. They even built a shower so the medical staff could bathe in privacy. And, in typical Canadian style, promised to bring them a cooler of beer from the ship. Then, too cap it off they delivered a baby Tuesday night.

I am equally proud of the crew from HMCS Halifax, who cleared a road and an airstrip and started to deliver supplies in Jecmal, on the south coast of Haiti.
CANADIAN volunteers who opened a medical clinic in a field next to a ruined school on Wednesday and treated several hundred desperate patients in the blazing heat, cleaning infected wounds and mending fractures that have gone eight days without care.

Unlike several other emergency medical clinics in Leogane, where doctors are forced to do amputations without anesthetic, the Canadians have personnel capable of doing nerve block anesthesia so terribly wounded Haitians were treated with far less pain.
But they haven't stopped there.
CANADIAN SAILORS and soldiers have established a beachhead of hope in the port city of Jacmel, cleaning up, delivering aid, medical care and even toys, and laying the groundwork for a more ambitious effort in the weeks ahead.

Sailors from HMCS Halifax and members of DART, the military’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, have taken over the concrete pier and waterfront lot in the shadow of the ruined town, where lovely French colonial buildings have fallen to rubble.

They have cleared streets of debris, dug latrines for Haitians living in a new shantytown, delivered medical care in unbelievably chaotic conditions and extended a runway and are working to establish a proper medical clinic.

On the first day ashore, three sailors worked so hard clearing concrete rubble with their hands that they collapsed from heatstroke.
I am proud of the 200-plus Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) which received the call 12 hours after the quake and immediately deployed to Port-au-Prince with a reconnaissance crew . And precious little idea what they would be in for when they landed.

I am proud of Quebec's Vandoos, which complemented the 500 soldiers aboard the Halifax and the Athabascan. The Vandoos are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next December, and many of the troops preparing to leave for Haiti are volunteers who've just returned from the war. This new contingent, tired but happy to be helping, brings along engineering units, and almost enough medical staff and supplies to man a field hospital. In the blistering heat Thursday afternoon, they were sweeping the grounds to get ready for the medical clinic that DART will set up.

I am proud that Hercules cargo aircraft that are flying in supplies and personnel, even though the airstrip isn't really big enough for the aircraft. When chainsaws used to cut back trees got fouled by palm wood, the sailors ended up cutting them with bowsaws. Perhaps that is why they're now known to the locals as the Canadian lumberjacks.

And apparently I'm not the only one proud of the quick response of the Canadian Forces.

IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti, the Canadian Forces have deservedly earned themselves glowing praise and helped to inspire a sense of nationwide pride.

When they’ve been in need of it in the past, I’ve been the first one over the boards, dropping the gloves and pounding on their helmets, but in this instance I’m prepared to give credit where credit’s due, to both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay. They were uncharacteristically quick off the draw in pledging large-scale aid and mobilizing a military response effort.

What was even more impressive was the fact that our heavily engaged armed forces, which are supporting both the expeditionary force in Kandahar and the Olympic security operations in Vancouver, were able to mount such a major effort so quickly. Within just hours of the tragedy, the reconnaissance party from the Disaster Assistance Relief Team was airborne and en route to Port-au-Prince.

The highlight of the rapid response, however, was the deployment of Canada’s new C-17 heavy-lift aircraft. Their tremendous cargo capacity enabled the air force to transport two helicopters, complete with ground crew and equipment, to Haiti and begin ferrying out hundreds of Canadian nationals seeking evacuation home.
Which leads to me admitting that this one of those rare occasions when I am even almost proud(sorry, that one is a bit hard to swallow) of our current Conservative government. Both for its quick reaction (or at least getting out of the way of the Armed Forces) and increase in desperately needed aid to Haiti.

And, of course, I am proud of my fellow Canadians for doing what they can.

And yet, through all that pride I can't hlep but wonder ...

(to be cont'd)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Search of Common Ground

I am currently in the midst of (about half-way through) reading Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue" at the moment.

I'm reading it because I can't quite get a 'read' (pardon the pun) on Ms. Palin. I don't usually watch Oprah but I did watch the day she interviewed Palin. Interesting enough but I still don't really know what to think of her.

She definitely ain't stupid, I can tell you that much. But she definitely does seem different in some way I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's something in her way of speaking, I'm not sure.

I do know that a lot of people (including most of the media) seem to have ganged up on her and I don't get exactly what that's all about. I think it is true that a lot of people are scared of her but once again I am stuck as to the why.

I posed this question to the nice young guy who works behind the counter at our local Fair Trade coffee shop last week. He never sees me without a book and commented on what I was reading.

Knowing, just knowing, how far to the left of the political spectrum he is, I couldn't help but engage the conversation. I must say that he was more level-headed than many I hear (than again, I think most Canadians are); I think he actually paid her a compliment at one point. But when I mused about people being scared of her, he not only agreed but admitted he was.

When I asked why, he said it was because of her values. Ignoring the amusing point that values are generally considered positive attributes and not something that should create fear, I pointed out that we all disagree with different people on different things but that doesn't usually engender the reaction Palin gets.

Anyway, I am reading the book precisely because I can't get a read on her. The fact that I have made it half-way through speaks for itself in a way - despite the fact that I am an avid reader, I don't can't seem to read non-fiction. Perhaps I get enough "reality" in my work, I don't know, but for the most part I seem unable to force myself through any book that isn't fiction. This one is taking some time but I am making it through. I think maybe because it is told in a rather 'folksy' (for lack of a better word) style, a story told rather like a story, if you will.

And so it occurs to me that if I ran the world, it would be screwed up in totally different ways I would like to make the book mandatory reading for many.

Although my gut is telling me that I will still have that uneasy feeling of being unable to get a 'read' on Ms. Palin after I finish the book, I do appreciate hearing her side of the story on some of the slams things that were brought up during the campaign (such as the alleged book burning, creationism v. evolution in the schools and the infamous 'Trooopergate') and I think it's only fair that people give her a chance to have her voice heard. And then make up their minds.

I know the book (as does the author) tends to engender extreme reactions on both sides (you either love it or you hate it) but for those in the middle and those tempted to quickly write her off if any way possible, might I suggest you read the book first. Then vilify away, if you must.

Reading earlier tonight about Sarah's pregnancy with Trig brought tears to my eyes (an easy enough thing to do on a topic close to my heart). I have posted before about how moved I was by the video Palin made for Special Olympics (which, by the way, I found another copy!) and some of what she speaks of in the video is repeated in the book.

But I was also reminded of a newspaper piece written by Rick Lavoie during the US Presidential election with his thoughts on Governor Palin's promise to be a champion for "special needs families" because she "knows what they are going through".

He shared that response at a Learning Disabilities Conference I attended last year. It too touched my heart. Yeah, yeah, I know; I have a very touchable heart. But you have to give the man credit. He did hit the nail right on the head.
As an advocate for families of handicapped children for over three decades, I have taken a special interest in the role that Trig Palin is playing in the Presidential campaign. Trig, now six months old, is nominee Sarah Palin’s son. He has Down Syndrome. Governor Palin often tells her audience that she will be a champion for “special needs families” because “she knows what you’re are going through.

With great respect and empathy, I must say, “Sorry, Governor, but you don’t.” You will…someday. But not now. Not yet.

Trig is – and always will be – a blessing in your family’s life. But, Governor, your journey has just begun. You will understand…someday. But between that day and today, there will be a lot of other “somedays.”

Someday…you and your family will spend stressful hours in a hospital waiting room while Trig undergoes corrective surgery. The doctors will call it “routine” … but that characterization will seem foreign and insensitive to you.

Someday…a relative or “close friend” will suggest that Trig not be brought to a holiday function because “it may be too much for him to handle.” Your relationship with that person will never be exactly the same again.

Someday…all the students in his class will be invited to a birthday party…except Trig.

Someday…some stranger in a store will stare at him and ask an insensitive and intrusive question. Startled, you will give a bland response. But for several days after the incident, you will generate great and clever retorts that you “should have said." (By the way, you won’t be able to recall these “clever retorts” the next time this occurs).

Someday…your adorable daughter who stroked Trig’s hair during the GOP convention will grow into adolescence. Trig will embarrass her in front of her friends and she will tell you, “I hate him! I hate him! I hate him!” (…she will feel guilt-ridden after her rant and will cry herself to sleep that night).
You can read the rest of it here. And might I suggest that you do.

Meanwhile, I will get back to that book. And I will let you know what I think when I finally get through it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

List Mania

Okay, so this is old.
But I figure if I posted it before, way back in the way back, nobody will probably remember anyhow. I know I don't.

And admittedly it's just a little begged, borrowed and ... all right, maybe stolen.

But I don't think Unkawill will mind.

Everything bolded - I have done:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with wild dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain - drove through a few

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive

05. Been inside the Great Pyramid

06. Held a tarantula

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (and shower); come to think of it that might have been with the same someone

08. Said “I love you” and meant it - Haven't we all?

09. Hugged a tree - that's me; a reformed tree hugger

10. Bungee jumped - absolutely, positively no desire

11. Visited Paris - once upon a time; and I have the pictures to prove it!

12. Watched a lightning storm - or two or three dozen

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise.

14. Seen the Northern Lights
- whaddya expect? I live in Canada for heaven's sake

15. Gone to a huge sports game.

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa

17. Grown and eaten your vegetables - my mother was a gardener, she was

18. Touched an iceberg

19. Slept under the stars - ah, there's nothing like passing out in your tent in Greece

20. Changed a baby’s diaper - changed way too many baby diapers

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon - now that would be cool

22. Watched a meteor shower - Hell, I've always just wanted to see a meteor. Even one.

23. Gotten drunk on champagne - I was a cheap drunk in high school (and beyond) - Andre Baby Canadian champagne ... is that stuff even real champagne??

24. Given more than you can afford to charity - on more than one occasion. Which reminds me, it's something I should be doing again.

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope

26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment - Not me but I had a roommate who was a lot like that

27. Had a food fight.

28 Bet on a winning horse.

29. Asked out a stranger - does just picking one up count?

30. Had a snowball fight

31.Screamed as loudly as you possibly can -
I do that often; usually in the car but last year, it was just walking down the street

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse

34. Ridden a roller coaster -
I hate roller coasters but my brother loves them and always managed to talk me into going with him when we were kids. And sitting in the back seat.

35. Hit a home run

36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking - yeah, that's my standard dancing move

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day

38 Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment - many, many times. I just wish those moments weren't so fleeting.

39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states - haven't even made all 10 provinces.

41. Taken care of someone who was drunk - and most of those people have returned the favour.

42. Had amazing friends -
lucky there; I still do

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country - danced (like a fool) with many strangers in many foreign countries; did I ever mention my trip to Europe after my first year of college?

44. Watched whales - now this is ridiculous, I only live a couple of hours away from where they go whale watching and I've never made it. Yet.

45. Stolen a sign - I'm sorry, I think maybe it was a Yield sign. But I had accomplices help.

46. Backpacked in Europe - see above

47. Taken a road-trip - many as a kid with my family and the most recent in 2006 when Mom, the kids and I drove to Florida. Yep, that's right. Drove.

48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach - I'm sure I did this in Europe, but in all honesty I was too drunk to really remember

50. Gone sky diving - and we all know how that turned out!

51. Visited Ireland

52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love - ah, my life story

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them - oh the things I have done with strangers; just don't tell my children, please!

54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow - shameful'; me being a Prairie girl and all

56. Alphabetized your CDs And cassettes and albums and Books - repeat after me: Too. Much. Time. On. Your. Hands.

57. Pretended to be a superhero - still do on occasion. But that's our little secret.

58. Sung karaoke

59. Lounged around in bed all day - God, how I wish I could. This would be (one of) my fantasies.

60. Played touch football - with our dog, a collie-wolf mix

61. Gone scuba diving - snorkeling?

62. Kissed in the rain

63. Played in the mud

64. Played in the rain -
I think I see a theme going here

65. Gone to a drive-in theater -DUH!

66. Visited the Great Wall of China

67. Started a business - I guess, assuming that's what I have at the moment

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken -Yeah, how do you do that?

69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight - how's about Never Played D&D??

72. Gotten married - Been there, done that, doing that

73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party - or two or three. And been kicked out of two or three.

75. Gotten divorced - I suppose I should try not to put that on my to do list

76. Gone without food for 5 days - now that would be improvement, I'm sure!

77. Made cookies from scratch - hey, I have kids ... whaddya expect?!

78. Won first prize in a costume contest - when I was 10

79. Ridden a gondola in Venice - tres cool

80. Gotten a tattoo - No, but I've went to the Tatoo

81. Rafted the Snake River

82. Been on television news programs as an “expert” - I've often said that I play a lawyer on TV; does that count??

83. Gotten flowers for no reason - are you kidding? I have enough trouble getting flowers when there is a reason

84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas

86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark

88. Kissed on the first date - Yeah, about that. Probably not the best idea.

89. Gone to Thailand

90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone - does my basement count?

92. Buried one/both of your parents

93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently

95. Performed in Rocky Horror

96. Raised children - actually better make that "Raising children"

97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour

98. Passed out cold - thank God it didn't ask for a number!

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over - no, but I am considering something like that at the moment

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery

104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived

105. Wrote articles for a large publication

106. Lost over 100 pounds - I suppose if you added up the lost and gains maybe

107. Held someone while they were having a flashback

108. Piloted an airplane - Microsoft Flight Simulator?? Shall we count crashes??

109. Touched a stingray

110. Broken someone’s heart

111. Helped an animal give birth

112. Won money on a T.V. game show

113. Broken a bone

114. Gone on an African photo safari

115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears

116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol - no, but I would like to

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild

118. Ridden a horse - It's not fair; I was horse crazy as a kid; would have killed to own one. Now I pay to give my daughter riding lessons. While I sit there and watch.

119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet

121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon - I was at the Grand Canyon. Once. Briefly.

122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours - if only!

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states - sure but in my case, that's probably not that big of an accomplishment.

124. Visited all 7 continents

125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days

126. Eaten kangaroo meat

127. Eaten sushi - on the to do list

128. Had your picture in the newspaper - I'm famous, I tell ya, famous!

129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about - I would like to think so but ...

130. Gone back to school - for a while there, it felt like I was never going to leave school

131. Parasailed - would be nifty

132. Touched a cockroach - yuck; no thanks

133. Eaten fried green tomatoes - hate fried tomatoes; green or otherwise

134. Read The Iliad - Now why would I want to go and do that??!!

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - Haven't quite made it to Sarah Palin status yet

137. Skipped all your school reunions - So far... but there is a Law School one coming up this fall...

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language - That can work fairly well. Or be an absolute unmitigated disaster!

139. Been elected to public office - I did consider running for the school board once upon a time.

140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream - long, long ago in a land far, far away

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care - something very similar, with Mom

143. Built your own PC from parts

144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you

145. Had a booth at a street fair Gun Shows,Flea Markets - no, but I've bought a lot of junk at that. Actually they're great places to buy books (the flea markets, not the gun shows)

146. Dyed your hair - do highlights count?

147. Been a DJ

148. Shaved your head

149. Caused a car accident - AR, AR, AR, no doubt a few more of those than I would care to admit

150. Saved someone’s life

So there you go. Now you know.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Picture Worth 1000 Words

This Chronicle Herald cartoon seems to say it all today.

Proving once again that perspective is, indeed, everything.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

'All Some of These Things That I've Done'

Sitting at Lex's late last night, grinning like a fool, watching this, reminded me that I hadn't posted anything much on our trip to Osh Kosh last summer.

The cool thing is ... now I don't have to. Just. Watch. This.

Cuz the video really says it all. It was just like that.

And to the music of The Killers - All These Things That I've Done makes for a sublime experience.

How I love that song - I totally associate it with Lt. G's blog, Kaboom. So after watching the Osh Kosh vid, if you're in the mood and have the time, might I recommend you sit down with a pot of coffee, a six-pack of beer or whatever else your poison might be and read through the Kaboom archives.

Excellent time home, that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prorogation By Twitter?

Our federal government has definitely been taking some (much deserved in my humble opinion) heat lately over its decision to once again"prorogue" Parliament. Heck, there's even a 'Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament' Facebook group ... make of that what you will.

And apparently it's even grabbed the world's attention (including China's), with the British magazine, The Economist, accusing Harper of stopping inquiries into allegations of torture of Afghan prisoners and suggesting he is guilty of "naked self interest.", along with this caustic slap.

CANADIAN ministers, it seems, are a bunch of Gerald Fords. Like the American president, who could not walk and chew gum at the same time, they cannot, apparently, cope with Parliament’s deliberations while dealing with the country’s economic troubles and the challenge of hosting the Winter Olympic games. This was the argument put forward by the spokesman for Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, after his boss on December 30th abruptly suspended, or “prorogued”, Canada’s Parliament until March 3rd.
The first time around, Harper (He of the premature prorogation) was attempting to short-circuit an upcoming non-confidence motion that the minority government was not expected to survive.

This time, depending on who you ask and who you believe, it could be about "getting away from the constant pounding that Defence Minister Peter MacKay and the government is taking over allegations of the torture of Afghan prisoners after they were handed over to Afghan authorities" or it could be just another example of good governance.

The new session has been billed as a way to focus on repairing the country's economy.

"Our priority in the new session of Parliament will continue to be rapid and effective implementation of Canada's Economic Action Plan to benefit communities, workers and businesses," Harper said, in a written statement. "We are already looking ahead to future challenges. These include restoring a balanced budget once our economy is fully recovered and building a strong foundation for our economic future."
Either which way, Harper has now said that he's considering making prorogation (is that even a real word??) an annual event; sort of like a giant "reset" button for Parliament each year.

Do you think maybe Harpers been looking longingly south of the border for a little too long? Then again, perhaps He should take a lesson from that little gaffe, seeing how well that how that was received politically out and as how He seems a little bit "overcharged" with himself and his own power.

The problem with premature prorogation (yep, that's what I wrote) is that it has even bigger effects than disbanding the Special Committee on Afghanistan, currently examining allegations of the torture of detainees and giving Harper the chance to appoint five new Conservative senators, creating a Conservative majority in the upper house when Parliament resumes.

It also kills any pending legislation.

And that right there (in addition to the lack of respect it shows for Parliamentary proceeding) is my biggest problem.

Annual premature prorogation, indeed. Trying saying that five times quickly.

Proposed legislation can take a long time to work its way through the Parliamentary process, what with first, second and third readings, the committee process and debate in the House. Then it's off the Senate for more possible amendments. And even after all that, it awaits Royal Assent from the Governor-General.

A fair number of bills introduced in one sitting of Parliament are carried over the next session and even the next before they finally become law. But when Parliament is prorogued, all outstanding bills die on the order paper. Meaning they have to reintroduced and start the entire process all over when Parliament deigns to sit again.

Which is exactly what has happened to the Conservatives' own bills on consumer product safety and harsher sentences for drug traffickers this time around. And which they (in all their wisdom) apparently plan to reintroduce in their original forms. Next time around.

That Harper is actually threatening considering doing this on an annual basis as a way to more "efficiently" run government is a flagrant abuse of Constitutional power and, in my mind, only shows his contempt for the Canadian people who elected (by however small a margin) him and his part to actually run this country. Not as a dictator but in the well-established democratic Canadian tradition and process.

Take heed, Mr. Haper - the job we elected you and your party to do most assuredly does not include closing down Parliament whenever the hell it suits your political fancy.

And although I think Dan Leger is more than a bit unfair in castigating the majority of Canadians for hypocritically getting upset about Harper's latest actions while not giving a damn about Parliament while it's actually sitting, the Chronicle Herald does get one thing right - the casual manner in which Harper dealt with this most recent prorogation (leaving the announcement to his spokesman and phoning it in to the Governor General rather than calling upon her in person, as tradition dictates) only goes to additionally show (if one needed more evidence) how much respect he has, not just for Parliament, but for all Canadians.

What’s next? Prorogation by Twitter?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Folllow The Leader

Moseying over to Kris' place this morning, I came across her post on Shelfari - a social networking site for book lovers might be the best way to describe it, I suppose.

It allows you to build a virtual bookshelf of books you have read, are reading and would like to read; rate your books and share them with others; check out others' recommendations and even join groups of readers with similar interests.

Social networking sites have most definitely not worked for me in the past.

I joined Facebook after relentless non-ending continued urging from a few friends, and had a bit of fun with it for a short while but soon grew bored.

I found the most interesting feature to be my friends' updates - one friend, in particular, could craft some hilarious updates in the confines of a line or two. Other than that, I joined the Support the Canadian Military group, scribbled the occasional note on the occasional wall; spent a fair bit of time taking care of my 'pet', wandered off and patted others' pets to earn money to feed mine and decorated for Christmas (this would have been a couple of years ago).

Shortly after that I discovered blogging and my visits to Facebook became fewer and further between. Until I stopped going completely. And when it looked like someone might have hacked my account, I made a quick exit.

Blogging was so much more interesting and fun; there was absolutely no comparison in my mind. And, amusingly enough, when I closed my Facebook account, I had the same number of 'friends' as when I started three or four months previously. I just couldn't get into that aspect of it; it just wasn't my thing.

But I am an avid reader, no doubt about that.

So I decided to join up. How long will I last?

We shall see, I suppose.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gone Fishin'

Or, at least, the blogging equivalent.

My brother is back for a visit this week (arrived yesterday, leaves Sunday) and his wife will be showing up tomorrow.

So between the movies, the Play Station games, the eating out, the Play Station games, the board games, the drinking, the chatting ... I seem to be a mite bit busy. To say nothing of the working and errands I should be doing.

But fear not. I shall be back. Eventually.

In the meantime, I will share this. We went to see Avatar tonight.

Absolutely amazing visuals. You could pretty much put aside the whole story/plot and it still would have been worth the price of admission. Just to see the visuals. Incredible enough, I think, that someone actually thought of it all, let alone created it.

Now I know there's been some thoughts expressed out there that it's all about pantheism, an attack on Christianity, perhaps? Sorry, I think someone missed the boat there. I mean, I can see where they saw the pantheism but I really don't think that's what the movie was really about.

Interestingly, both my brother and the Kit Kat saw is as being about how we take care of (or don't) the environment; do just we rape, pillage, take what we want from the earth? Or do we see that there's something more there?

And I can see where they get that from. But I don't really think that's what it's all about, either.

It may well be an element of what they were getting at but for me, what I saw ... it was politics. Another anti-war, anti-Iraq movie. Too many references like these to be coincidental, says I. (Not exact quotes but close enough.)

We built them hospitals and school, offered them education and food.

You want to win their hearts and minds, don't you?

This is why we're here, because this little gray rock sells for twenty million a kilo.

It's shock and awe time.

When people have something we want, first we make them the enemy. Then we go in and take what we want.

There were a lot more but you can get the point.

And yet (surprising even to me), I still highly recommend it. The story didn't turn me totally off (most of the time) and it was well worth it for the technology.

Anyway, I must run. Until we meet again.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

MMC Top Video Picks From 2009

Continuing with the theme of blogging in 2009 (not that I thought it was a particularly good year but it just seems to fit my mood at the moment), I have decided to [re]share with you some of my favourite posted videos.

This one shouldn't be too surprising. I am, after all, a Canadian.

But I must say, Thank God for Lex and the flying videos he shares. What would I do without him (and FbL)? Well, stop turning green every so often I suppose.

And, me being me, I figure it's always good to be able to kick back and laugh at ourselves, no?

Then there's Remembrance Day. Each and every one, I return to Telly Kelly. Beautiful. Touching. So true.

And saving for last, those issues I feel so strongly about.

In that vein, I see that unfortunately one of my favourite videos has been removed from YouTube. Made by Sarah Palin for Special Olympics, I found I could watch it over and over.

It's not that I'm particularly a fan of hers (although I did recently purchase her book at a very good price and it's next on my to-read list) but I love watching and listening to her talk about her infant son and their hopes and dreams for him, not just in Special Olympics but in all aspects of his life.

And what clearly shines through (at least for me, perhaps because I so know how true it really is) is how Special Olympics will give that child and so many others like him so, so much.

A place to belong.

A place to excel.

A place where he will find true friends.

A place where he is valued for who is, not just what he can or cannot do.

A place where he is just like everybody else. Just another kid having fun as kids are meant to do.

So yeah, it's pretty special to me. Too bad it has disappeared.

At any rate, there you have it. My video picks for 2009.

And now, perhaps, just perhaps, it's time to move on to 2010?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Another Year in a Blog

It's New Years Day, eh?

And since I am feeling the pressure to write something ... anything really ... we're going for a repeat of last year.

It's the first sentence of the first post for each month of 2009.
December - Good day.
My computer is in for service (and we all know what that's like) so I am using the one I have relegated to the girls down the basement.

November - Forgive me, please, but I am feeling like I am just a little bit lost in the twilight zone at the moment.

October - Apparently the Supreme Court of Canada docket is ripe with freedom-of-the-press issues this fall.

September - I put off blogging about this particular issue because, quite frankly, it troubles me.

August - I do believe I'm in love.
That's all.

July - I AM Canadian.
And Proud of it.
And yet, today, that pride is tinged with sadness

June - D-Day. The invasion of Normandy.
We have heard those words bandied around a lot today as the 65th anniversary of the "liberation of Europe".

May - My brother is determined to teach me to fly. Okay, not for real (how cool would that be?) but on the computer, play station or some other reasonable facsimile.

April - As much as the word "retard" does personally bother me (and believe me, it does), I must admit that I do rather think that this campaign to "Ban The R Word" is a bit misguided.

March - It's funny how life forces you to go on. Whether you actually want to or not.

February - Yeah, I still have more to say on the Karissa Boudreau story. That will come later. Hopefully tomorrow. But for now, I'm afraid, you really need to colour me green. A deep, dark shade of green. Check this out.

January - Dear Lord, please give me…
A few friends who understand me and remain myfriends;
Yeah, okay, I cheated just a bit on some of them.
So, sue me. Go ahead. I'm sure I can find a lawyer. Laying around somewhere.

Know what else I noticed?

In 2009, I blogged 129 posts. Okay. I guess.
Except that in 2008, it was 254 posts.

Yeah, almost double. So whaddya make of that now?