Thursday, August 31, 2006

For Jono...

I can't remember the last time I saw Jono! I've been hanging with Bernie and Paula every Sunday with my man, John, doing the kayaking thing. I've seen Steph and Karl too. We haven't done a group event to include everyone. It is time.

Why am I thinking of Jono? Because I got this in my email today from the urban dictionary and I thought only Jono would fully appreciate this and truly understand the meaning...


Beer which one "discovers" having not known that it was there.
Typically this occurs after a party or family gathering/event and may often
involve a secondary fridge or forgotten cooler. Discovery of said beer
is usually followed by feelings of joy and well being, similar to
finding unexpected money in a jacket one has not worn in some time.


I'll just clean out the fridge, haven't done that in a while... wait a
sec what's this? BONUS BEER! Righteous!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fascism. It's the New Terrorism.

According to this CNN story, "President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq."
Rumsfeld is also using the word. Click here to see a video where he describes the rise of “a new type of fascism'’ and compared critics of the Bush administration’s war strategy to those who were Nazi appeasers in the 1930s.
Merriam-Webster Online describes fascism as:

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Sound like anyone we know?
Perhaps Rummy and Bush mean "fundamentalism," described by Merriam-Webster as:

1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs
2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles, ie islamic fundementalism

I can understand how Bush makes that mistake. He's Bush. D'uh.
But how can such a learned man as Rummy make that mistake? Then again, he might be confused. After all, he's a fascist surrounded by fundamentalist fascists.
So let's recap:
Osama Bin Laden: fundamentalist

Saddam Hussien (r): fascist.
Donald Rumsfeld (l): fascist.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Four Years Ago Today...

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors -- confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth."
-- Dick Cheney, August 26, 2002

Is it crow-eating time yet, Dick?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pluto -- Scorpios former ruling planet

Ok it isn't science but astrology is fun! Be honest, we all take a peek at our horoscopes and some of us may even have had our unique birth charts done.

Each of the 12 zodiac signs is ruled by either a planet — except Earth isn't used — the sun or the moon. This means that two planets, Venus and Mercury, currently pull double duty: Venus rules both Taurus and Libra, while Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo.

Until the discovery of Pluto Aries and Scorpio were ruled by Mars, thus making three planets doing double duty at one time.

With the demise of Pluto being a planet the question is, whose ruling Scorpio now?? Scorpians should be protesting!!! Doesn't this muck up the daily horoscope?? What are astrologers doing?? I suppose Mars could pull double duty again. And if the whole planet definition is changing won't there be more planets and maybe enough to go around for all 12 signs??

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto, We Hardly Knew Ye

Looks like we were wrong all these years -- there are only eight planets in the solar system.
Earlier today, astromers voted on a definition of "planet" that demoted Pluto from a planet to a Kuiper Belt Object.

The decision establishes three main categories of objects in our solar system:
Planets: The eight worlds from Mercury to Neptune.
Dwarf Planets: Pluto and any other round object that "has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite."
Small Solar System Bodies: All other objects orbiting the Sun.
(By this definition, Pluto is now classified as a "dwarf planet," although "dwarf planets" will not be considered to be actual planets. But I digress.)

The new regulations define a planet as: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit." Pluto is automatically excluded from the definition because its orbit overlaps with Neptune's.
This definition is cumbersome and subjective. Clearly, Neptune is not a planet anymore either because if its orbit crosses Pluto's orbit, it hasn't cleared the neighbourhood around its own orbit.
What about other solar systems? Would both planets of a double planet pair (that is two planets that revolve around a point in space as they revolve around a star) not be considered planets because neither has "cleared out the neighbourhood." The other planet of the pair is still there. So even a double Jupiter-like gas giant pair would not qualify as planets?
The previous proposal that saved Pluto, and brought Ceres, Charon and 2003 UB313 into the planet club, worked. Yes, it had the potential to increase the number of planets in our solar system from nine to hundreds, but so what? Some argued that it was flawed because the status of some objects might change over time. For instance, one day our moon would qualify as a planet under the first proposal. Rather than a detriment, this aspect of the proposal demostrated something that we seem to have forgetten: that the universe is growing, expanding and ever changing.
And not as fixed and static as The Group of Eight supporters would have us believe.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bush Admits It -- It's All About Oil

Finally, Bush reveals the truth. As quoted by this LA Times story (Finish What Job?), Bush finally admits that invading Iraq was not about weapons of mass destruction, removing Saddam, helping the Iraqi people, or bringing democracy to the Middle East. It was about oil.

"A failed Iraq would make America less secure," Bush said. "A failed Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will provide safe haven for terrorists and extremists. It will embolden those who are trying to thwart the ambitions of reformers. In this case, it would give the terrorists and extremists an additional tool besides safe haven, and that is revenues from oil sales."

Please note that Iraq was not a "safe haven (for) terrorists and extremists" until the United States invaded.
But I digress.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Can Bush Get Any Less Popular?

According to this poll, Bush's popularity is in free-fall. Among the results:
Just 35 percent of 1,033 adults polled say they favor the war in Iraq; 61 percent say they oppose it -- the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago.
A bare majority (51 percent) say they see Bush as a strong leader, but on most other attributes he gets negative marks.
Most Americans (54 percent) don't consider him honest, most (54 percent) don't think he shares their values and most (58 percent) say he does not inspire confidence.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Iraqis Tougher than Nazis...?

This Ari Berman story in The Nation notes that the war in Iraq has lasted longer than American involvement against Germany in WWII.

Germany declared war on the US on December, 11, 1941, four days after Pearl Harbor. The US announced victory in Europe on May 8, 1945. That's one thousand, two hundred and forty-four days.
We've been in Iraq one thousand, two hundred and forty-seven days---and still the Administration has no exit strategy, no plan for victory and no clue what it is doing. In case you'd forgotten, George W. Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" aboard an aircraft carrier over three years ago.

Bunnies Gone Wild on Campus! (1)

Walking across campus between 7:00 and 8:00 this morning, I spotted (without effort) 74 little bits of unharvested protein. I think that equals an infestation.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

BYOB -- and save 3 cents

I've learnt BYOB doesn't mean Bring Your Own Booze, it is a new term for those of us who are into recycling. It now means: Bring Your Own Bag! BYOB is also the name of a niffy company that makes bags, some with sayings such as: F*@k Plastic. This company will be at the Splurge event in Victoria on September 16 (evening event/$25 ticket) and September 17 (day event $5 ticket at the door 10am-4pm) together with other Vancouver and Victoria small fashion designers, jewellery designers and craft people.

BYOB means cutting down on plastic bags, and although not all grocery stores offer an incentive to not use plastic, Thrifty's does give you 3 cents off your grocery bill for bringing back and using their plastic bags, or if you BYOB for each bag. This last shopping trip I used two returned plastic bags for a total of 9 cents off my groceries. Doesn't seem much. Except consider I go shopping every two weeks, 52 weeks/year divide two equals 26 times I go shopping x 9 cents = $2.34. Ok, still not much that I'm really saving here. But....I found this on BYOB's site and I may not be saving in dollars but I'm making a difference.

Plastic Facts:
Every year, an estimated 171⁄2 billion plastic bags are given away by supermarkets. This is equivalent to over 290 bags for every person in the UK. 171⁄2 billion seconds ago it was the year 1449.
Buy products that are refillable. For example, the Body Shop provides refills in its containers or takes them back for recycling. The recycled plastic is used to make items like nailbrushes and combs
Think of ways of reducing the need for packaging. Don't add extra packaging yourself - a melon, a grapefruit or a bunch of bananas already has natural packaging - does it need to go in a plastic bag as well as your shopping bag, and does that already efficiently packaged dairy product or piece of meat really need another wrapper?
We produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago!

Plastic bags start as crude oil, natural gas, or other petrochemical derivatives, which are transformed into chains of hydrogen and carbon molecules known as polymers or polymer resin. After being heated, shaped, and cooled, the plastic is ready to be flattened, sealed, punched, or printed on. North America and Western Europe account for nearly 80 percent of plastic bag use-though the bags are increasingly common in developing countries as well. Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags. (Only 0.6 percent of plastic bags are recycled.) In January 2002, the South African government required manufacturers to make plastic bags more durable and more expensive to discourage their disposal-prompting a 90-percent reduction in use. Ireland instituted a 15¢-per-bag tax in March 2002, which led to a 95-percent reduction in use. In the early 1990s, the Ladakh Women's Alliance and other citizens groups led a successful campaign to ban plastic bags in that Indian province, where the first of May is now celebrated as "Plastic Ban Day." Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom also have plans to ban or tax plastic bags. Supermarkets around the world are voluntarily encouraging shoppers to forgo plastic bags-or to bring their own bags-by offering a small per-bag refund or charging extra for plastic. Challenge: Try to go at least one week without accumulating any new plastic bags. If every shopper took just one less bag each month, this could eliminate the waste of hundreds of millions of bags each year. Compared with paper bags, producing plastic ones uses less energy and water and generates less air pollution and solid waste. Plastic bags also take up less space in a landfill. But many of these bags never make it to landfills; instead, they go airborne after they are discarded-getting caught in fences, trees, even the throats of birds, and clogging gutters, sewers, and waterways. To avoid these impacts, the best alternative is to carry and re-use your own durable cloth bags.

When 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved. Paper or Plastic? The energy and other environmental impacts embodied in a plastic grocery bag is somewhat less than in a paper grocery bag. But paper is easier to recycle, being accepted in most recycling programs. The recycling rate for plastic bags is very low. So, which is better for the environment? Neither! The fact is that the difference between paper and plastic RECYCLING is small compared with the REUSING bags.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Greenland Glacier Melting Fast

This BBC report indicates that Greenland's ice sheet is melting three times faster than previously thought.
I'd take a second look at buying that ocean-front property you've always dreamed of if I were you.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Rapture's Coming...

...and you can chart its approach on this website...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

An X dealing with Ys

I'm a member of Generation X, the real Generation X (1958-1966), the one Douglas Coupland was writing about in his popular book, Generation X. Although the term was used to define anyone twentysomething, it was tagged onto those of us born at the end of the Baby Boom (1947-1957) who are well educated or well experienced in the work force but who have been unable to move up the corporate ladder, those of us who may have more than one degree but not the jobs to go with our education. Also refer to Boom, Bust & Echo, another book that defines us Generation Xers, or as an Generation Y, go google it! I did:

Coupland first wrote of Generation X in September, 1987 (Vancouver magazine, "Generation X", pp. 164-169, 194: see illustrations below), which was a precursor to the novel and slightly preceded the term "twentysomething". The main character Kevin, 25, is a Canadian "trailing edge" baby boomer who denies cohort affiliation with his older sister, 34, and friends, all boomers. Kevin and his cohorts are all over-educated, under-employed, and pay skyrocketing living expenses, which forces some to move back home to live with their parents (that is, boomerang). Unlike boomers, they were too young to march for peace (Vietnam protests ended with the draft in 1973 with protestors typically aged 16-25) and either were not born or were too young to recall Kennedy's assassination in 1963 (long term memory starting at age 5). Coupland referred to those born from 1958 to 1966 in Canada, or 1958 to 1964 in the United States. As the term Generation X later became somewhat interchangeable with "twentysomething", he later revised his notion of Generation X to include anyone considered as "twentysomething" in the years 1987 to 1991.

And I googled Generation X (1979-2002) too because my office is starting to hire more and more of this group. I'm trying to understand them, I'm having to supervise them and it is annoying at times! This is the generation who had their lives scheduled for them to the max. Some of them lack respect but want respect themselves. These are the kids who expect the corner office on Day1 of the job. These are the kids who will change jobs several times because of boredom. These are the kids who have never had life without email or technology. This is the generation of instant service. Some of them fire off emails to deal with problems cced to management because they don't like the direction a face to face conversation is taking. This is the generation that lacks social skills because they've had conversations mostly in chat rooms or via email.

Sigh...good thing management is made up of Baby Boomers who think Gen X is bad enough and dealing with Gen Y is worst.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cell Phone Confidentiality

The story below is from my own blog...with an update.

I am a cell phone user....there I admit it. I only use it for 1) emergencies ie: Bernie paddles off to Seattle without Paula's knowledge 2) secondary emergencies ie: I'm stuck in traffic and am going to be late 3) phoning my mother when I've found a great deal on (insert: shoes; furniture; antique) to ask her if it is a great deal.

I don't use it continuely due to having mixed feelings about whether it does cause brain tumours and not really wanting to find out that it does.

I don't phone and drive either. It is one of my pet peeves--people who talk on their cell phones and drive. Get off the phone and drive!! Or pull over to the side of the road!! Too many cell phone talkers do not concentrate on the act of driving ie: not signalling that you are turning; or sitting at a red light that turns from green to red again while cars behind are honking and people are yelling at you and you just sit there chatting away on your phone.

Then there is what I call cell phone confidential. A term I reserve for people who walk down the street yakking on their cell phone. I don't need to hear intimate details about your life. I don't want to hear about how you gave the guy you picked up in the bar the best b***j** he's ever had. Keep this for the privacy of your own home or your car (not while driving) or find some quiet place.

Don't bring your cell phone when you work out at the gym. Some of us actually go to the gym to relieve stress, to get away from the office, which includes getting away from the phone.

Today I heard at least three to four different not the radio or someone's itunes, it was cell phones. Last month while sitting in my doctor's office I heard chickens clucking...again someone's cell phone. Which is why I love my Sunday's out on the water kayaking without any noise except nature....actually correct that....sometimes Paula's cell phone rings!!

And finally for those of you who answer your cell phone everywhere: To flush or not to flush?

Why They Hate Us

If anyone in the West needed a concrete example of “why they hate us,” one really needs to look no further than the acts of terrorism being carried out by the Israeli government in Lebanon.
First, let’s be clear. Israel has the right to defend itself. But what Israel is trying to do is affect a political change by using violent action against an unarmed civilian population. And that’s terrorism.
Pure and simple.
And here’s the rub for Arabs. When an Arab country, Iraq, invaded Kuwait, the whole world was up in an uproar! The UN passed resolutions denouncing the invasion, and the West lead an attack to repel the invasion based on those UN resolutions. One of the justifications for the 2003 Iraq invasion was again Iraq’s apparent flouting of UN resolutions. (It turns that they weren’t. But I digress.)
Yet when Israel invades an Arab country, the West seems strangely silent on the matter, except for the US, which has pointedly not called for an immediate cease-fire, only for a cease-fire once Israel has secured its position. (Of course, it’s not like Bush can complain… he’s doing the same thing in Iraq. But I digress again.) Further, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice appeared to actually condone the attacks with her preposterous and naïve comment that the invasion was the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” Israel has occupied foreign territory for 40 years in contravention of numerous UN resolutions, and has invaded Lebanon – again – but the West does nothing but sit back and fret. And there’s not much of that going on, either.
The ultimate irony is that Israel will never achieve its security goal with this action. This is just what Osama bin Laden and his Islamists want. They want to see Israeli and American soldiers stomping over the region like bulls in a china shop. Right now, Israel is doing more recruiting for Al Qaeda than bin Laden could ever hope to do.
For every Hezbollah terrorist taken out in this offensive, dozens of civilian families have suffered casualties and perhaps gained a new appreciation for the Islamist cause. Some may even become jihadists. Burying family members has been known to radicalize people.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Warmer and Warmer...

While the recent local heatwave may have broken, this CTV story notes that Canada has just gone through our warmest winter ever, our warmest spring ever, and we're now in the midst of our warmest summer ever, 2 degrees warmer than normal. Climate change, anyone?