Oct 29 2014

I Am Intolerant Of Your Intolerance, Sir

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel after reading and watching this, but when it was over I was left a little more proud of humanity than I was when I started, so nice job, random Hamilton bus stop people.

In the wake of Nathan Cirillo’s shooting death in Ottawa, a Mississauga-based filmmaker staged a “social experiment” in downtown Hamilton to see how people would react to overt racism against Muslim people.

In the video, a man named Zakaria Ghanem is dressed in a traditional Muslim gown called a Dishdasha or Thobe, while another man, Devin Giamou, berates him in public and says he wouldn’t feel safe getting onto a bus with him.
Then the reactions pour in from other people waiting for the same bus who don’t know the whole thing is staged.

Here are those reactions.

They say they didn’t have to edit any racist arseholes out of this, which is pretty cool if true.

What I don’t understand though is the statement that they didn’t expect that to happen. You’re dealing with issues of racism and extremism and the possibility that somebody on either side might lash out violently didn’t enter your mind as even the quickest of passing thoughts? Like…duh!

But that bit of dipshittery aside, nice video.

Oct 29 2014

Pope Francis Seems To Talk Sense A Lot

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve probably gathered that none of us here are the biggest fans of the religion thing. I think I can speak for Carin when I say that much of the time it seems like a lot of what organized religion offers is poorly disguised racism, discrimination, intolerance and even downright silliness.

But that said, this Pope Francis fellow seems pretty alright. It’s not easy to enact institutional change in even the smallest, most progressive of organizations under the most ideal of circumstances, so he deserves some respect for even giving it a shot when his institution is the Catholic church, the views of which even the dark ages look at now and then and go “What the fuck, guys?” It’s sad that things as obvious as gays are just as human as the rest of us keep running up against opposition, but good on him for continuing to stir that pot among others.

Pope Francis says the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real, and God did not wave a “magic wand” to create the universe.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church said Tuesday that current scientific theories concerning the start of the universe and the development of life are compatible with church doctrines – a landmark declaration for a religion fraught with conflict over literal translations of the Bible.

Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City on Tuesday, Pope Francis urged Roman Catholics to embrace current scientific theories as “required” methods to understand existence. The pope’s suggestions fly in the face of more traditional views that read the Bible as a literal record of the creation and development of the world.

“When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Pope Francis said.

But Pope Francis suggested on Tuesday that such theories still rely too much on God as a supernatural force who breaks the laws of nature. Instead, Francis said God “created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”

You know what? I can deal with that. Maybe I don’t believe that Sky Guy built humans from scratch, but if you want to believe that something spiritual beyond our understanding is helping you along the way and has a hand in making you the person you are, have at it. I can make that compromise, especially when even the Pope is at the point where he’s giving a little.

Oct 29 2014

Opinions Needed On A Christmas Present

So…I need some guidance from folks with functioning eyeballs, or maybe someone who has owned one of these before. I asked Twitter, but nobody responded. I don’t know if it was because the tweet got lost in the shuffle or the image was so ugly that no one dared tell me so, but there it is.

I got an email from the Blind Mice Megamall about a sale they have on just in time for Christmas. It’s for some musical Christmas decorations made by the San Francisco Music Box Factory. I thought this might be a great part of a Christmas present for someone. My only problem is I really can’t get a good fix on what this thing looks like. They describe it, and it sounds awesome, but…well…I’m just not sure. They didn’t give me a sound sample, which is sad since this is the *Blind* Mice Megamall, and sometimes you can get a good sense of something by listening to it. I know I can be deceived, but at least if I could hear the way the tunes sounded, I could decide if it sounded pleasant.

So, I ask you.

A Christmas tree with dogs on it? Or something?

Would you want this in your living-room?

A wreath of dogs I think, with lights.

How about this?

Would you prefer one over the other? Or are both horrible disasters?

Here are the descriptions I have.

Holiday Dogs Lighted Tree Figurine by San Francisco Music Box Factory
The perfect holiday gift for every dog lover you know! The San Francisco Music Box Company brings you the Holiday Dogs Lighted Tree Figurine, featuring several adorable dogs through out a snow covered Christmas Tree. Bring the holiday furry fun to your home this Christmas!
Plays 8 Assorted Christmas Tunes
Hand Sculpted
Hand Painted
Mini LED Lights Throughout Tree
For Decorative Purposes Only (Not Intended for Children)
Requires 3 AA Batteries (Not Included)
Length: 6.75 inches
Width: 6.75 inches
Height: 10 inches.

And then there’s this one.

Holiday Dogs Musical Wreath by San Francisco Music Box Factory
This Holiday Dogs Musical Wreath is the perfect addition to any dog lovers home! Featuring several adorable dogs on a traditional wreath wrapped in red and gold ribbon. Activates with sound or touch allowing your guests to be greeted with fun lights and 1 of 8 assorted holiday songs!
Plays 8 Assorted Holiday Songs
Hand Sculpted
Hand Painted
Requires 3 AAA Batteries (Not Included)
For Decorative Purposes Only (Not Intended for Children)
Length: 11 inches
Width: 11 inches
Height: 3 inches

So you see, there’s still room for these things to be downright ugly as sin. Parts of the description make me think they are, but other parts make me think it might be nice.

So the big question. If you got one of these, would you put it up? Or would you put it in the box of decorations you only trot out when those obnoxious family members come over for dinner to prove that you really really do like their gift?

Hmmm…now I’m looking at the whole category, and I’m wondering if a candle-holder is a safer option. Or maybe the globe. the whole page is here. What do you think? I just settled on the dogs because the person I had in mind likes dogs, and they said something recently that made me wonder if this might be a good idea, but maybe something else would be better.

As you can see, there are a lot of what sound like tacky options, and some hmmm maybe better choices. So I really feel like I’m taking a gamble.

I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder…but…I’d like to have as close to an objective opinion as I can so I don’t give the most obnoxious gift ever.

Oct 27 2014

This Might Get Jian Gho-Messy…

Um, what a day yesterday. I’m scrolling through tweets…and…huh? Jian Ghomeshi? Fired? Huh? Suing the CBC? Huh? Where in the world did that come from? He was just taking some time off for personal reasons. And then Jian Ghomeshi put up his own statement saying why he thinks it happened, and…then things got interesting for sure.

I shouldn’t do this, but I can’t resist. Soundtrack time…just take the S off.

King of Spain

Oh look, what’s that? The gates of hell? Opening up and I’m being dragged in?

I’m still just sort of confused and my head is spinning…but apparently there’s a massive screaming outcry. I get it, he’s Jian Ghomeshi, everybody loves him.

But but but…

we don’t know all the facts yet, as this story points out.

So before we condemn the CBC, why don’t we just sit back and wait? We don’t know where the guilt or the innocence belongs.

I gotta give CBC credit for reporting on it this morning…let’s hope they can keep things even-handed as this goes along. It sounds, from a few accounts, that things are kinda awkward, kinda stressful and kinda weird there this morning.

And that song will be in my head for the day.

Oct 27 2014

Just A Drunk Ol’ Boy…

Were you to ask me what sort of person would do this, my answer would be either a drunk guy or a Floridian. In this case, I’d be right twice.

Authorities say Travis Ryan Royal of Dunnellon was seen dragging a 48-inch, flat-screen television toward the front door of the Wal-Mart at 9570 SW State Road 200 just before 2 p.m. Friday. When stopped, he told store employees he had paid for the item and needed the security tag taken off, according to Marion County Sheriff’s Office reports.
Royal, who was reportedly heavily intoxicated, then wandered over to a display holding fried chicken and ate $3.67 worth of food, reports state.
When asked where he was going with the television, Royal said he was going to take it to a restaurant inside the store to watch the “Dukes of Hazzard,” according to reports.

For his sake I hope the Marion County Jail has televisions, because that’s where he’s sitting in lieu of $25000 bond after being booked on a charge of grand theft.

Oct 26 2014

Please Vote Tomorrow. To Help You Out, Here’s All The Waterloo Region Candidate Info You Can Handle

Municipal elections can be confusing beasts. Here in Kitchener Waterloo, for instance, we have on the ballot a mayor, 2 councils (city and regional), a Regional Chair and whatever your flavour of school board. You cast one vote for Mayor, one for ward representative on your city council, one for Chair of the Regional Council, up to four votes for your city’s representatives on Regional Council and up to 4 votes for your area’s members of the Waterloo Region District School Board. That’s a lot of people, and it can be hard to keep them and their agendas straight.

Thankfully, the local newspapers have, for the most part, done a pretty good job of letting us know who everyone is and where they stand on the important issues around here. So if you still need to make some decisions, here are some links that may help.

These are the Kitchener Post’s candidate profiles for everything but the school board, which are in their own section here.

The Waterloo Chronicle has also been profiling candidates, but if you can find them in compiled form you’re a better man than I. At the best of times this lack of organization sucks, but considering that both of those papers are owned by the same company it’s especially lame. Get it together, Waterloo! You’re supposed to be the centre of the tech universe, for god’s sake!

The Cambridge Times has breakdowns of the election races in their Hot Topics area, plus a special section for all things election.

The Record, our area’s biggest paper, has an alphabetical list of everyone running for everything. I appreciate the comprehensive list of profiles, but organizing it by race and municipality would’ve been nice.

Finally, if you’re around here and wondering where to vote once you’ve sorted everyone out, WRVotes.com has everything you need. There are links there that will take you directly to the election pages on the websites of your respective cities. I assume you know where you live, so figuring out where to go from there shouldn’t be too difficult.

Carin and I voted in advance as she mentioned after we did so, but if you haven’t, please do get out tomorrow. Every election is important. The federal ones have the power to screw up your country, The Provincial ones can screw up your particular slice of the country and these here municipal ones can screw up your back yard. No, politicians aren’t perfect, but I’d rather choose the folks I think are going to screw things up the least in all those places, if nothing else. Hopefully you do, too.

Oct 26 2014

What Kind Of Wine Goes With Peanut Butter Cups?

Whether you’re a mom, a dad or a fat guy buying loads of the stuff because you can get away with it this time of year without people looking at you sideways or asking a bunch of questions, chances are you’re going to be snacking on some Halloween candy in the not too distant future. And since we’re all adults here or at least kids who know where the adults hide the liquor, it’s important to know how to enjoy two of the world’s greatest creations together as one. So in that spirit (See what I did there?), here are 7 Wines to Sip with Your Favorite Halloween Treats.

There are suggestions here for Kit Kat, Hershey’s Kisses, Candy Corn which is horrible and I don’t know how people eat it, Snicker’s, Sour Patch Kids, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and even one of my favourite candies of all time, Skittles!

Candy: Skittles
Wine: 2010 Royal Tokaji Mad Cuvée from Hungary ($20)
This dessert wine — with notes of “pineapple, apricots and honey” — pairs nicely with each sweet flavor of the Skittles rainbow.

Bottoms up, and bottoms expanding.

Oct 25 2014

No, This Isn’t A Scene From A Movie

Here’s a video describing the final exchange of fire between the ottawa shooter and the Sergeant-at-Arms.

So I guess this is why there were pictures going around on Twitter saying “Don’t mess with the Sergeant-at-Arms.” Yeah I’ll say. Holy crap! He’s some kind of gun ninja!

I feel sorry for the librarian…that must have been just a smidge freaky, here comes a bullet, right into your desk.

Yeah, no question about that, that gunman wasn’t gettin’ up.

Oct 24 2014

Everybody Get Your First-Aid Certifications

I saw this story detailing the efforts of people trying to save the fallen soldier at the war memorial, and it was very powerful, not only for the obvious reasons, that these people ran into danger to try to help. But it also drove home the point that everybody who was trying to help him had first-aid training, so worked as an efficient team, and knew what to do. Sure, he didn’t make it, but at least they gave him the best chances he could have, a lot better than he’d have with a panicking, dithering mass of confused folks. This reminded me that I should really update my first-aid, again, and find a way to have it not just be a dim memory, because you really never know when you might need it.

I still can’t get over the senselessness of it all, and I think about the honour guards back on duty there today. In their heads they probably know it’s not going to happen again…but…shiver.

Oct 24 2014

Jesus Take The Meal

One of the more creative dine and dashes I’ve seen comes out of Lawton, Oklahoma. Well, I guess it’s not as much a dine and dash as it is a dine and sit there hoping for the best, but you know.

Police say Kristi Rhines ordered several alcoholic drinks and food at El Chico in Lawton but later said she had no way to pay for them. She told managers her husband was on his way to pick up the tab. 
When asked about her husband, she told them she was legally married to Jesus Christ, but had no marriage license. She also told management that Jesus would be able to walk in and produce U.S. currency to pay for her bill.

The Lord, either because he was busy answering the prayers of others or doesn’t exist, was a no show.

Rhines, who’s bank balance I’m guessing must have been option 2, was subsequently booked into the Lawton City Jail on a fraud charge.

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