For those who have read my lousy blog in the past, you're aware that I am a passionate supporter of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

I could rhyme off stories for hours, days, of my past in the party, of sitting up in a hospital lounge after an accident when I was 16 years old, and watching with joy the election results in 1984 that swept Mulroney to power, or of my days years later working in a Tory Cabinet minister's office on "the Hill".

Blah blah blah blah blah, and everyone has read the newspapers, so I don't need to say that the PC party is closing it's doors. Which means that currently I'm a conservative without a party. My choices now are to:

a) become a Liberal.
b) become a member of the newest incarnation of the Reform Party.
c) remain a conservative without a party.

I think that for the moment I am going to choose option c, for now.

That bloody Peter Mackay, I actually schemed with his boys against the Orchard kiddies during my 5 minutes back in political involvement earlier this spring. I wish I'd known better.

Anyway, I remain a conservative without a party.

Dump Mackay. Let him join the Ccrappies on his own.

Mackay should know better, and even if not, he should know that he hasn't been party leader long enough to have the capital it takes to persuade party members that this is something we should be doing.

I'm not an Orchard fan, but David Orchard has a valid reason to be upset. The promise made to him was not binding of course, but a promise is a promise and anyone with any decency and honour should get that concept. Mackay said several times during this spring's leadership campaign that a "Unite the right" movement was a no-go. Mackay was chosen party leader 4 months ago by those of us who give a damn about this party, not people who want to toss it into the trash. This will probably be the fastest "dump-the-leader" campaign in the history of Cana.. ..the World.
48 hour internet outage plunges nation into productivity

BOSTON—An Internet worm that disabled networks across the U.S. Monday and Tuesday temporarily thrust the nation into its most severe maelstrom of productivity since 1992.


What the hell is wrong with my computer?

You know how, on Windows XP, if you don't use a shortcut for a while, it disappears from the start bar until you hold your mouse over it to bring it back up?

Well on my computer recently, if I don't use programs for a few weeks, they somehow get uninstalled or something. All by themselves.
The files are still there, but when I run them I get a black box pop up on my screen for a few seconds, not long enough to see what it says though. And no program. Currently I have lost about half of my Office XP applications, so don't send me any Excel documents. I tried to reinstall, but first I got a message saying that I am running Windows 2000 (my computer lies!), then I got one saying that I don't have administrative privileges. Well apparently I do, since I literally built the god-damn thing, put all the all the hardware and pirated software together, and nobody else uses it.

It all started in May when I installed a driver update for my super-expensive sound card. Since then my computer just freezes whenever it wants to. And now this is happening. I'm thinking of just tossing the fucking thing out the window just about now.

I thought it was just me, but here's a testimonial from a computer user, who realizes her computer is out to get her too.
The election isn't going very well for the Tories. I've been avoiding reading Warren Kinsella's blog (see side panel) because I guess I'd rather not know, if you know what I mean.
End of the first week of the election campaign. This campaign has been pretty routine so far. The Liberals went in with a huge lead in the polls and blew it within days.

And now they are in phase 2 of the traditional liberal election campaign, the bluster phase. They are in this weird phase right now where they are slapping each other on the back, bragging and congratulating themselves on their win.

At the same time, they are moving early into phase 3 of the campaign. Usually it's not until the third or fourth week that the Liberals start to desperately retool their campaign platform. This time, it's the end of week 1 that suddenly they are claiming that they don't plan to raise taxes.

Someone should have told their webmaster though, because the old platform is still available for download. Here's a quote from their document on health:

"We will establish a Community Transition Fund, also with
increased tobacco tax revenue, to help farmers
move away from growing tobacco. "

Now perhaps I am misinterpreting the word "increased". Or perhaps they plan to increase their tobacco tax revenue by encouraging more people to smoke. But it sure looks to me like this is a tax increase.

Read the whole document here.
In defense of Vancouver Scrum's right to go on Hiatus

Every now and then, an issue or a moment comes up in this country that touches each of us. There was the Kennedy assassination, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11. This year was no different from any other year that was like this year.

This year, we all held our breaths between July 30th and September 4th, as one of our leading lights, a man we have all come to depend on for inspiration, Ian King, took a hiatus from his blog.

At least we weren't completely unprepared. We'd witnessed this sort of thing as recently as this spring when the Baghdad blogger took a time out to reflect during late March and into April. We all learned that panicking and sending e-mails around the world were not appropriate responses.

When a man takes his manly hiatus, he disappears into another world for a while, one with streets and buildings, and other people. Those of us left behind have to hold onto our memories and the gifts that the departed one gave to each of us, and hope that he doesn't get crushed under a train.

And while none of us particularly cared, the latest Paul Martin hiatus, from July 14 to August 25th also helped prepare us for the loss of Vancouver Scrum. The loss of Paul Martin this summer sort of marked a turning point in the blogging world. It was a moment when old made way for new, and although he has returned to us, things just won't be the same. However he spent his manly hiatus, whether he was sitting on a mountaintop in Nepal meditating on the world, or on some Ralph-Klein-esque drinking binge...
Actually the drinking binge thing is probably more likely since he says in his August 25th blog entry that he thinks he spent his month with the UN secretary General and a former Mexican president...
But that's OK. Maybe he learned something from his time away, maybe the imaginary meetings with the UN Secretary General were a sign that he should try to improve himself, try to become something more than he currently is.

All of these moments however, helped to prepare us all in our hearts for the long days without our Brother Ian. I personally, used the time to make room in my life for other things. I'm moving at the end of October into Toronto proper, and that's something that I might not have been able to do without the strength that I've received from Vancouver Scrum over the past half year.

Anyway, to conclude, because I have to go shopping and because this is the stupidest thing I've written in a long time... well actually that's it.
Smokers, and there are still a large number of them in this province, will be disappointed to hear about McGuinty's tax hike on cigarettes. His plan is to raise the cost of a carton of cigarettes by $10.

This amounts to $1.25 for each pack (before GST). Those of us who smoke are paying anywhere from $8.25 to $9.00 already, after Mcguinty a pack of cigarettes would cost $10 or more.

Think about that. Those who don't smoke are probably wondering what all the deal is, but what you may not realize is that 3 or 4 years ago a pack of cigarettes cost $3.50.

Now an average smoker (pack a day), is paying more than $60 bucks a week (almost all taxes) to do something that is completely legal. Depending on the province, approximately 65-80% of the cost of a pack of cigarettes is tax. The tobacco companies sell their product for a little over $2.00. A tax increase of $1.25 amounts to 60% of the cost of a package of cigarettes before tax. That's a pretty hefty tax increase.

The June 2001 figures for the number of smokers (among people over 15 years of age) in this country are 5.7 million people, or 23% of the population. Essentially one in four Canadians smoke. Assuming that the numbers are fairly similar for Ontario, that's a lot of people who by default are not even going to consider the Ontario Liberal party's message in this election.
Rising Tories catching up to Liberals
Race tightens as 42 per cent back Conservatives

Liberals still lead at 43.5 per cent, NDP at 13 per cent

I don't know how I could have missed this story yesterday. The Toronto Star reports an EKOS poll has the Tories and the Liberals tied for support here in Ontario. Interesting how peole's opinions change when they have to stop picking theoretical premiers, and start considering who they really want to run the province for the next 5 years. Here's a link to this story: link.

This is a situation in which I should just shut up and let the story speak for itself. Enjoy.
Is it a sin to gloat over something I was going to write, but didn't?

T'other day when I wrote my little rah-rah about the premier, I was thinking of writing that like the past several elections in Ontario, we would soon see the Tories overtake the Libs in the polls. But prudence won the day and I held my tongue (figuratively speaking).

Soooo, imagine my complete surprise at today's newspaper headlines. The Globe and Mail had a headline about Liberal numbers slipping. The Sun had a headline suggesting that Ottawa boy Dalton McGuinty, is anti-Toronto.


Ontario Liberals' lead shrinking, polls find

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

E-mail this Article
Print this Article


Related Stories
This could be risky, Ernie
Electoral history suggests that Ontario's party leaders will soon wade into the muck
Pay hike for Ontario politicians deemed unappropriate

True to history's ruthless pattern of the past three Ontario election campaigns, the provincial Liberals are watching their initial lead in the polls melt away.

At the end of the first week of the 2003 campaign, the party's own polling showed a seven-point lead over the governing Progressive Conservatives, about half the advantage polls gave to the party in late August.

A news media poll broadcast yesterday, conducted by Compas Opinion and Market Research, fixed the Liberal lead at five points, suggesting the Ontario election will be much closer than anticipated.

The Compas poll gave 46 per cent support to the Liberals, 41 per cent to the Conservatives and 12 per cent to the NDP, with a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

And although the Compas poll's survey sample is small and therefore its margin of error is large, its findings are mirrored by a second media poll, conducted by Ekos Research Associates, also showing a significant shift in voter support away from the Liberals.

Conservative officials say their own polling shows they are just slightly behind the Liberals.

A precampaign poll done by Ipsos-Reid last month for The Globe and Mail and CTV found 49-per-cent support for the Liberals, 36 per cent for the Conservatives and 12 per cent for the New Democrats.

During a campaign stop in Toronto yesterday, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty told reporters he had anticipated that the gap between his party and the Conservatives would narrow once the campaign got under way.

"I've told the caucus this all along," he said. "I fully expected that the gap would close with the Tories. I never believed that lead. We're going to have a very hard-fought campaign."

A good performance in the leaders' debate can often boost a party's standing. The leaders of the three main parties will face off on Sept. 23, a week later than usual to avoid scheduling conflicts with series finales of popular reality TV shows Canadian Idol and Survivor, and the Genie Awards.

Political scientists and senior executives of polling firms said in interviews that they still felt the "fundamentals" of the campaign favoured the Liberals — more so than in the elections of 1990, 1995 and 1999 when they came snorting out of the starting gate only to see their campaign momentum go limp within a few days.

But as John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos-Reid which polls for The Globe and Mail, cautioned, "It's not going to be over until it's over."

In part, the erosion in the Liberals' lead was expected by academics and poll-takers because of what is known as the Liberal default factor in Canadian political behaviour.

Canadians, when they are not paying attention to politics, tend to say they support the Liberals — both provincially and federally, in the case of Ontarians. When they do start noticing what's going on, some of that Liberal default support breaks loose.

Mr. Wright suggested the evaporation of the Liberals' lead also could stem from shrinkage of the undecided vote, which was abnormally large in August at 21 per cent.

But at the same time, Mr. Wright and other analysts thought Premier Ernie Eves and his strategists had campaigned flawlessly in the first few days, stiffening the backbones of the party's tepid supporters and keeping attention away from the substantive issues of education and health, where voters are so upset with the Tories.

Jane Armstrong, senior vice-president of Environics Research Group, said most Ontario voters were bunching up in the "somewhat satisfied with the government" group, meaning they're not wildly committed to any party. "The Liberals need to focus on the substantive issues, like health, for example, which is where the Tories get the lowest mark from the electorate."

In any event, Mr. Eves has problems of his own, which should remind him of the immortal declaration of Walt Kelly's cartoon character Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

What the polling numbers for the Conservatives don't show is that the Tories' biggest threat on voting day, Oct. 2, is likely to come from their own supporters.

Mr. Wright said the percentage of committed Conservative supporters who actually intend to vote has plummeted since the 1999 election from 74 per cent to 61 per cent.

The percentage of committed New Democrats who are certain they will vote has also dropped, from 64 per cent to 59 per cent. But the figure for the Liberals has crept marginally upwards, from 58 to 59 per cent.

The point is, Conservatives are expected to vote: They belong to the voting cohorts; they're by and large older and richer than other Ontarians and more likely to own property than rent. When they indicate they don't intend to vote, their party has got difficulties.

"They're saying, 'I just can't make myself vote for anyone other than the Tories, but they're not executing the policies I want,' " University of Windsor political scientist Heather MacIvor said.

It explains why Mr. Eves has been musing aloud about not liking homosexual marriage and bringing back the hangman's noose, two areas of public policy outside provincial constitutional jurisdiction but dear to the hearts of Mr. Eves's true conservative supporters.

At this point in the campaign, not a lot of what might be called off-stage survey data looks good for the Tories. The primary reason? Mr. Wright said the Conservatives are suffering from fuzzy-brand.

The party's own supporters are not sure what it stands for, resulting in support going soft in traditional Conservative groups such as well-educated men earning more than $60,000. Support is even melting in the Tory Valhalla of suburban 905.

Half of all Ontario voters believe it is time for a change in government, an important index for pollsters. (Which doesn't mean that half of Ontario voters believe it's not time for a change; a lot don't know or don't care.)

Environics's Jane Armstrong said that three times as many Ontarians declare themselves "not at all satisfied" with the Conservative government as "very satisfied."

In 1999, when voters were asked who would make the best premier, former Conservative leader Mike Harris had a 15-point lead over Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty. In leader preference in 2003, said Mr. Wright, there's a level playing field.

This is the first election where voters are seeing Mr. McGuinty as a seasoned leader, said political scientist Sylvia Bashevkin, director of University of Toronto's Canadian studies program.

"It's also the first time we're seeing issues that can damage the Tories about to be taken quite seriously."

In sum, said Mr. Wright, "the fundamentals have shifted significantly. The Tories are facing big headwinds.

But he also recalled the 1997 Toronto mayoralty election when Barbara Hall led Mel Lastman in decided votes, but Mr. Lastman won. Why? Because property-owners turned out in bigger numbers to vote than renters did. "That's the same constitutency [property-owners] the Tories are after," he said.

yup, here we go. Election 2003 in Ontario. I mean, all the other provinnces have had elections this year, we don't want to be left out.

So, while there were times over the past few years when I was doubting the Ontario Tories, I have to admit that Ernie Eves did a bang-up job during the blackout. Real leadership. Normally provinces don't end up in the sort of urgent crises where that sort of leadership is even required. It's usually the sort of thing that the federal gov't has to deal with.

In the past our crises have been dealt with by the feds. The FLQ crisis.

But leadership does not always have to come during times of crisis. Sometimes leadership shows in a man's ability to build. The patriation of the constitution.

I'm not going to go on and on, because this is already getting pretty corny. And I'm aware that both of the examples that I have given are examples of Liberal leadership. But the common denominator, the thing that connects these moments, is that during these times we were led not by Pierre Trudeau, or Ernie Eves, but by the Prime Minister and the Premier.

During the week after the blackout, when the province of Ontario was living on the edge of a crisis (corny, I know), we were not led by a Tory leader. We were led by "the Premier". Here in Toronto I know that we were all "Ready Aye Ready" to follow him out of the mess that was left in the blackout's aftermath.
A little story. On the Monday night after the blackout, when the Premier was asking everyone to conserve energy, I was working late in my office well after dark. Normally I have a great view of the downtown core from my window, but that night there was no downtown. Just a black void where the skyscrapers of downtown Toronto usually light up the night.

When you vote for Ontario premier this time, forget about parties. The 3 major parties have all had a shot at power in the past 15 years, and none of them destroyed the province.
Instead, this time consider which of these three men, Dalton McGuinty, Howard Hampton, or Ernie Eves, you would be prepared to stand "Ready Aye Ready" for if he needed you the way Ernie Eves needed you during the third week of August.
I'm skipping work today and I haven't shaven. Did some cleaning, checked out some internet porn, posted some rubbish to can.politics.

And drank several cups of really gross coffee. Why can't I make good coffee? It's a curse that I've been living with since I was in university and drank instant coffee in the morning. I'm the same way with spaghetti sauce. Just can't get it right.

Later, I spent a bit of time reading in the bathroom, took a Brampton city bus map with me. Decided to check out the ads. Some great touristy information there. Apparently, and I didn't know this before, but apparently John Logan Chev Olds has Brampton's largest selection of new and used vehicles. Well. Let me tell you. I'm like, so impressed.

Also, later this afternoon I folded a newspaper in half that was on the table, thereby using up only half of the table space as before. I am just so efficient sometimes.

This has been an interesting August. For me, it has gone like this (so far):

Blah blah blah, Grama dies.
Take 4 days off work.

Blah blah blah, computer virus.
Don't come home from work for 3 days.

Blah blah blah (later the same week actually), b-b-b-blackout.
Live the life of a penniless bum from the 19th century for 2 days. Live off couch coins because the bank machines are down and I had no cash. Carry buckets of water up 7 flights of stairs like people in Africa because there is no water in my building. Stink.

The meaning of life is we are here to make babies. That's our primary reason for existing. Once we've accomplished that task, there are very few of us who will achieve anything else that will outlive us. Life is mostly "blah blah blah", with some occasional "then one day". That's why we tend to dwell on these rare moments of horror and excitement, reliving them over and over, in the newspaper and to anyone who will listen to our story of where we were when...

That said, after this month, I'd like some more "blah blah blah"

To make my point: Do you remember what you were doing the morning of September 10th, 2001?
Remember a couple of months ago, when the Yanks claimed to have killed the Iraqi dude named "Chemical Ali"?

If you do, you'll find this story a bit odd, reported in the Globe and Mail today.

Apparently now he's not only dead, he's in US custody.
Words that will always make me think of my grama's house

Lazy Susan
Utility Room

(possibly to be continued)
I have a lot of respect for Warren Kinsella, but on the gay marriage issue, we are polar opposites. Well, maybe not polar opposites, but we disagree. He's fer it, and I'm agin' it.

So, while I wait here for my sister, with whom I'm travelling home to say goodbye to my Grama (see previous post), I thought I'd take my mind off things by answering some questions Warren has asked the anti-gay marriage crowd in general on his website. My answers are not intended to be serious, just something to occupy my mind for the next hour.

Q) a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

A) Just the ones who don't mow their lawns. Invite the rest over for the BBQ.

Q) b) A friend would like to sell his daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

A) Send me a picture and I'll tell you.

Q) c) One knows that one is not allowed contact with a woman while she is in her period of "menstrual uncleanliness" (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how does one tell? Wouldn't it be a bit rude just to come out and ask?

A) Call her husband and ask him.

Q) d) Leviticus 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this does not apply to Americans. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Americans? I could use one or two around the house, believe me.

A) Because eventually a Canadian Abe Lincoln would eventually come along and free them. Can you imagine the crime rate if we had freed Americans living in our cities?

Q) e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to dispatch him from this mortal coil myself? Or can I hire a consultant to do the job for me?

A) Does he mow his lawn?

Q) f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? I am heading to Maine, shortly, and would like to know how to deal with my yearly Lobster Abomination Dilemma.

A) Are lobsters actually "fish"?

Q) g) Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear contact lenses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? Will I be exempt if I get laser surgery, like Preston Manning did?

A) I think that this was probably just an early attempt to prevent or prohibit masturbation. As you suggested earlier, they may have considered it rude for the priest to just come out and ask.

Q) h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they be put to death? Does my male pattern baldness signify God's displeasure with me?

A) I believe that this was the world's first zoning by-law. You'll understand if you remember that the word temple has another meaning in the bible.

Q) i) I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football with my five-year-old son if I wear gloves? He enjoys football a great deal, and those plastic replica footballs just don't achieve the proper degree of spin.

A) No, that's cool. But if you accidentally get hit in the mouth by the football, and then ingest your saliva, you're going to hell.

Q) j) My great-uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife (and mine, I regret to say) by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (a shameful, sinful cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev. 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

A) That's probably not a question I can answer. For a more authoritative opinion, visit this link.

Actually I don't expect everyone to get that last one.
My grama died on a cloudy Friday Morning, surrounded by her children.

She was a teenager during the depression and was married during the war. She’d had 5 children, one of whom had died at birth. She had 7 grandchildren, and was expecting to be a great-grandmother soon.

I can still remember her sneaking cigarettes when I was 3 or 4, thinking that I was too young and I wouldn’t remember. The last time I saw her was on a beautiful spring day, at Easter. The family had gotten together, and we were working on her garden and her pond, getting them ready for summer. She came out and sat down and watched, so I decided to sit down beside her on the edge of the porch and chat. It was the next weekend that the family told me that she was sick. However she was a strong woman, and I guess I expected that she would pull out of it. I held on to that belief despite the alarming e-mails I received over the past few days from my mother.

So this morning when my boss called me into the conference room to tell me that my sister had called, and Merreta May Bailey (maiden name was Spencer) had passed away, I was completely shocked.

The question I have to try to figure out now and over the next few days, is how to say goodbye to someone who has already gone. Hmmm..


Earlier this year there was a big old controversy over the fact that al Jazeera had shown some pictures of dead US soldiers. This led to hacker attacks on the al Jazeera English website, the banning of al Jazeera reporters from the NYSE and NASDAQ, as well as others, and led to the problems that al Jazeera is having right now in trying to get the CRTC to allow cable compnies in this country to carry the Arab news network.

So, blah blah blah, we all know about the Iraq war and all the stuff that happened during and since. No need for me to bore you any more than I have to, so I'll skip over that. Also I'm sure that a lot of the folks who read this humble blog know a lot more about the Iraq war and it's aftermath than I do. Anyway, the aftermath of the war can probably be boiled down to one sentence. Where's the Beef? "Beef" referring to any sort of evidence to justify the US invasion.

According to the Yanks, the Pentagon, and the Bush Administration, showing pics of dead combatants or POWs constitutes a war crime. Earlier this year, the Pentagon talking heads were talking about seeking out those responsible for displaying pictures that showed the faces of dead Yanks and Yank POWs, and having them charged under article 13 of the Geneva convention.

Enter the new fact that the US military today released pics of the dead sons of Saddam Hussein, still apparently considered combatants by the US.

The pro-war folks were all worked up about this stuff in March and April, becoming overnight experts on the Geneva convention. Perhaps those pro-war folks wouldn't mind telling us where in the convention it says that the Yanks are allowed to do this but nobody else is. Maybe that's in article 14?
Just got an e-mail from someone who doesn't like conservatives, and is blaming me for everything from Paul Celluci's remarks to being one of the pro-Bush losers who defend every inane thing that he does.

Obviously this gentleman (I'll withhold the name, as it's obvious that his anger is not at me, but at what he believes I represent) needs to take some time and go through my past entries. However, I did find his first line very interesting:

"Read your article "who is staging who" happened to come across it on the net."

Anyone who reads my blog knows I don't write articles, just semi-connected groups of sentences. When I'm finished writing a post to my blog, the best i usually hope for is that I don't sound like a complete idiot, although I most certainly am one.

Anyways, thank you for the input D.B. You might want to try reading more of my crap before you judge me.
Has anyone noticed a sharp rise in the amount of garbage on the internet lately? It seems like there are becoming more and more web pages that have other stuff attached to them, little programs that want to install themselves onto your computer, or popup ads. A variation of the popup ad is the popunder ad, one that pops up underneath the window you are using, so that it won't be seen until you are finished and close out of Internet Explorer (or whatever browser you're using).
In the US, they are considering legislation to limit or ban spam and telemarketing. Ironically, clicking on that link generates a pop-up. If there are any Yanks reading (or in fact anyone at all...), here's a link you can use to register for the "do not call" registry.

Personally, I have my browser set so that I get a message asking if I want any scripting to run when I go to a page. Usually I click "no", and I'm given a message saying that my current settings may cause the page not to display properly, but so far I've never had a single problem. I prefer this to having stuff happen on my computer that I don't know about. As well I run "ad-aware" frequently to clean off any little programs that have found their way onto my 'puter, and it usually cleans off between 5-50 tracking files or programs that have self-installed each time I run it.

I have high-speed internet, but there are still a lot of people who don't and those folks with their 14.4 modems an their 56k modems cannot afford to have malicious software stealing their bandwidth. Actually it's not really stealing, since most dial-up users pay for a certain amount of hours of internet access, as opposed to paying for a set amount of bandwidth use. As a Sympatico user, I am paying for a certain amount of bandwidth usage, so the folks who are sending me extra little programs that I haven't asked for, are stealing some of my bandwidth usage from me.

I love my computer and I'm sort-of addicted to the internet, and it would be a shame to see the 'net go the way of WordPerfect.
those wacky Franksters

The folks at Frank Forum are well known for being wacky and irreverent. OK that's a bit of a stretch, most people who've come across their playground would describe them wacko and irrelevant, or something similar.

Either way, Frank Forum is a great way to feel young again. Become a regular there, and within weeks you'll be posting like a 10 year old.

Anyway....what was it I had to say about them?...oh yeah. Today one of the "Franksters", as they like to be called, has accused Vancouver journalist and blogger Ian King of plagiarism. This person believes that King "takes ALL his material and analysis directly from this here forum".

By "this here forum", he's referring to one in which a hot discussion has been raging since December on the topic of "Ann Rohmer's Breasts". The latest post on the topic is a collection of anagrams of the words "Ann Rohmer's breasts". Here's the list of anagrams, copied shamelessly from the forum:

*** start quote ***









and my personal favourite:

*** end quote ***

Ok, sure, I have to admit I'm a bit impressed by this list. However it is not on the same level as Mr. King's articles. In fact the Frank Forum post that accused Mr. King of plagiarism is typical of the sort of thing you'll find on Frank Forum. These Franksters want desperately to feel that they are being noticed by the real world. Not long ago, they were accusing the readers of one of the country's newspaper chains of trying to take over their forum.

This group of pre-pubescent 40 year-olds can relax. They don't have to worry about anyone plagiarizing their thoughts, other than me perhaps.
Paul Kariya has willingly given up a $10 million/ year paycheque to move to another team, the Colorado Nordiques/Avalanche, for a salary of less than $2 million per year.

Well, there is more to it than that, but Kariya has proven that there are still players who are playing primarily for their love of the game. I've always said that the majority of NHL players would still play in the NHL even if their salaries were not so outrageous. Most kids growing up dream of playing in the NHL not because of the money, but because it is the NHL.

When I was a kid playing organized hockey, that was our dream, to make it through peewees, then to bantam, midgets, juniors and the high school team, and then on to the big leagues. We never dreamed about playing to get rich.

Of course after next year the NHLPA contract expires and we will likely hear a lot of talk about how hockey players don't get paid as much as baseball players, and we'll see a lot of our favourite players wearing their NHLPA paraphernalia.

We can hope however, that there is a growing trend in the NHL towards playing for the sake of winning instead of for dollars.

And while we are on the topic of players who like big salaries, and since the current Kariya story involves the former Quebec Nordiques, I want Eric Lindros to know that Canadian hockey fans haven't forgotten how he stabbed the fans of the Nordiques in the back, and possibly helped cause Quebec City to lose a powerful hockey team.

Lindros can still go fuck himself.
It's hot in Toronto. My New York Clients say it's hot. My Detroit folks say it's hot there too.

Aren't we a bunch of whiny buggers?

On a normal day I can see Hamilton from my window at work. The lakers steaming across Lake Ontario, the yachts full of people who apparently don't work, and other stuff. But the lake seems to have completely disappeared as the heat causes some weird effect that might be smog or it might just be steam. Either way it's way too hot.

Bloger did some weird stuff to my blog editing page. Now I have no clue how to post anymore.
Summer is good. For those of you who were at your cottages over the past couple of weekends, Muskoka chairs and beers and gardening and sunshine and swimming, you know what I mean.

For the rest of you, you're more than welcome to come up any weekend you want.
More on the morons and the Pact of Evil

The folks at the Sun and the folks that are left at the Post have been busily predicting the demise of the Tories under Peter Mackay since he became party leader earlier this month. These are the same folks who predicted the demise of the Tories under Joe Clark, and who were preparing the burial for the Tories under Jean Charest.

Well. Let me tell you mister. These particular folks usually define a good party leader based solely on how rightish that leader apears to be. However at election time, Canadians usually have other priorities. The neo-cons in this country still haven't figured this out, which is why, election after election, they are left scratching their heads. Now Peter Mackay appears to be leading the PCs away from the Unite the Right thing and perhaps the conservative Conservatives and the Orchard Conservatives will be able to refocus in a way that this party hasn't since at least 1999.

Also, for some reason, these nitwits at the Sun and the Post seem to think that David Orchard won the PC leadership race. Duh.
In case you're fretting about my lack of recent posts, in case it's keeping you up at night and you're beginning to question existence, please don't worry. I'm OK, I haven't been kidnapped and I'm not locked up in a mental ward. I've just started working for a new company, and it's a very demanding job, which at least for now is not leaving me with much leisure time during the week. Of course on weekends you'll still find me in a Muskoka chair with a Labatt's 50.

All the crap that people put on their resumes, for instance "I like a demanding workplace", is crap. At least for me, I'm a lazy bastard. Maybe I should move to the cottage and open up a bait shop. Anything's better than getting up for work before the sun rises *in the summertime*, and going to bed before all the good porn comes on on Showcase.

I just remembered that I wanted to post more about the Orchard-Mackay deal thingy. I want to avoid sounding like I am putting spin on it, because that's not what I've tried to do with this blog. But I am beginning to be of the opinion that it might be the best possible outcome from this past leadership race.

I was very concerned about the aftermath of the leadership race. I am not a huge fan of Orchard or Mackay, Brison or Prentice. Each of these candidates seemed ready to take the party down a road that I didn't want to travel, some towards a closer relationship with the CA, and of course Orchard is a bit too leftish for my taste. But with Mackay as leader, and Orchard having some influence, we can be sure that there will be no talks with the CA in the near future about uniting the ideologues. Also, I like the idea of a union of the left and right, even if it's really just the centre-left and centre-right. And Orchard appeals to certain groups of voters that we have been unable to attract recently.

Anyway, I had to make that very brief, because it's bedtime for Mikey. My bed beckons. Slumber awaits.

Chapter 1
Well congratulations to Bernard Lord are in order. Oh how easy to be negative about a 1 seat majority, but it's a majority. Of course if the NB legislature selects a Tory as House speaker, then that will essentially even the numbers up. Since the Speaker only votes in case of a tie, it looks as if the Speaker of the House in the New Brunswick legislature is going to have the virtual ability to personally decide the fate of pretty much all new legislation. I'm sure there'll be 2 party whips who will want to be his best friend.

Surely at least one or two of NB's Liberals must be getting close to retirement age. Perhaps having their very own personal 18-hole golf course might encourage them to retire a few years earlier than they had planned?

Chapter 2
A strange thing indeed I received in my inbox today. An e-mail intended for someone else, not even sent to my e-mail address. Of course this has become normal practice for spammers, but I don't understand how this one got to me. It's part of a conversation between a Yank and a Canuck regarding a story that appeared on the CNN money website a few months ago, about some French bashing in the States.. Anyway, that's not important, read this:

"Next time they get invaded and occupied, we'll remember not to save their butts. How many americans gave their lives, so that those ungrateful cheese-eaters could have their country and culture back???? Lets hope the united states never forgets this!!!!!! i know i wont! At least the british know who their friends are, and back us up when we need them - good for them. we helped them, now they help us when we need it.
the hotel is NY is only doing that cause they know that no self-respecting person would give those cheese-eaters any money after this. it looks good on them.....keep taking down those french flags mes amis!!!"
** Can you feel the love?

I've resisted the strong urge to reply to these clowns, but it certainly bothers me how the French-haters are revising history to suit their wacky opinion. The comment about the Yanks helping the Brits and the French (and of course many other countries who were struggling against the bad guys in WW2) completely ignores the fact that the Yanks sat out the war until they got smacked in the head by the Japanese. Anyway, I'm not going to get all "analyzy" on this stupid e-mail that landed in my inbox by accident.

Chapter 3

So two guys can get married in Ontario now. Some have already since the Supreme Court of Ontario took the unusual step yesterday of rewriting a piece of legislation (as opposed to striking it down or upholding it).
I usually think of myself as being fairly progressive on social issues, and I support the rights of gays, but this idea is just wrong. It makes me ill. This is not an issue of rights, since the only thing that has changed is the matter of government recognition.

The worst part is that there is no rational argument against the idea of gay marriages. On the other hand there is no rational argument in favour of it either, other than the idea that straight people can marry, so it's become a matter of equality. Of course there is no rational reason to explain why straight people would want to be married either.......

So gay marriage is legal now, does that mean it's right? It is perfectly legal to have sex with a sibling in this country, but I think we would all agree about the total (yuck) wrongness of doing that. What I mean is that the Supreme Court of Ontario has legalized it, but that's all. It means nothing, except on paper and perhaps at tax-time. Gay marriage is still wrong, it's still a more, it's still immoral.

Wow, I almost sound like a member of the Canadian Alliance.

Last thing, since there is an election expected this fall in Ontario, don't be surprised if you get a phone call (at suppertime of course)during the summer asking your opinion on this issue.
Wow. I've been away for a while, because I've recently moved to a new company (Sony), and I'm still in the adjustment phase of THAT. But I took today off, and I thought it was a good idea to write something boring as can be, about last weekend's leadership convention. Oddly my web traffic has picked up while I'm away. Does that suggest perhaps that people prefer me when I shut up?

Nope. I didn't go, even though I was a delegate. It was partly because Mr. Bachand left the race, and the format of the convention meant that as a result my vote was going to be wasted on the first ballot. And it was partly because of the Sony thing. Anyway who cares?

Let's get on to the meat of the matter, the stink in the s***. I probably don't have any insight to offer. So unless you want to read a re-hashing of the week's news, with some idiotic opinion thrown in for flavour, you might as well go.

First off, can anyone tell me what's gong on in the middle east? I've been getting a lot of my news lately in the snippets I get from the little elevator news service thingy (for those of you who don't work in fishtanks that have been stood on their end, I'm talking about a little plasma or lcd display right below the elevator numbers. It shows advertising at the bottom, and headlines and pictures on the top half. Hey, it's better than the old game of "try not to get caught staring at the girl's bum")

The MacKay-Orchard Pact of Evil

The Post and the Sun are agog and appalled. But since the Reform/Alliance decided to go down the road to becoming an ideologically-driven party, the media has assumed that the Tories would eventually follow suit. I think that that was probably my biggest concern during this leadership race, that most of the candidates were somehow planning to change the party into something it isn't. Maybe we got a hint from MacKay about his true colours when he said during the CPAC English debate that the idea of "uniting the right" made us look like a fringe group. That made me feel a lot more comfortable with him, although I still had, and still do have, concerns (we need to get some French into that boy). Anyway, from what I've seen so far, the Post and the Sun are the only ones who are crying foul about the secret pact, and my suggestion to both of those establishments is that perhaps they might want to field candidates in the next Tory leadership choosing thingy.
That's assuming of course, that Peter MacKay doesn't live forever and lead the party until the end of time.

I'm a supporter of the idea of free trade, and I am not opposed to the idea of a review of our free trade policies with the US. I believe that these policies will stand up to review on their own merits. If, however, the review panel (which will include Orchard) can come up with some good suggestions, some amendments to NAFTA, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't at least consider them.

Of course it goes without saying that if Orchard hijacks the review process to forward his personal opinion that we should abolish NAFTA altogether, then the value of the committee's recommendations will be questionable. The PC Party is not going to oppose NAFTA or free trade with the United States.

Anyway, that's about all there is to say about "the deal".

The Nose

Everyone knows that you can't get elected if you have a funny face. Well there are exceptions, Chretien, Mulroney, Diefenbaker, Bush.. but still what's up with Peter MacKay's nose?

I mean, Oh, my, god. Look at that schnozz. It is so big. *scoff* He looks like, one of those guys from that cartoon... He looks like a total dweeb, 'kay?
I mean, his nose, is just so big. *scoff* I can't believe it's just so huge, it's like, out there, I mean - gross. Look!

Great political insight, eh?

That's it for now. Please direct any complaints to here
On Monday the Sun printed a map depicting the routes Holly Jones and her friend took, walking up Symington Avenue, as well as the route Holly took to go home, down the next street west, Perth Avenue.

In 2001-2002 I dated a girl who lived on Symington, and the two girls would have walked right past my ex's house (according to the police map). So I know the area very well. There are back alleys between Perth and Symington, big enough for a car, and lined with the type of tiny, dingy garages you seem to only find in Toronto.

If she had walked south on Perth and wanted to take a shortcut back over to the crosswalk at Symington and Bloor, which is less than a block from her house, there is an alleyway that crosses between the streets just a few steps north of Bloor. We always tell kids the dangers of strangers and back alleys and all that, but I remember when I was a kid I loved to take little shortcuts through back-routes. In a normal world.. well I guess it's not really a normal world when there is at least one person at large in this city who has grabbed a child a few blocks from her home, and done unspeakable things.

Visiting my friends this weekend, their son overheard us discussing Holly Jones, and asked what we were talking about. How do you explain something to a six-year old kid, when it's something that gives even grown-ups nightmares?

To W, and to all Toronto parents: Have courage.

One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to flight better,
Sleep to wake.
Robert Browning (Epilogue--Asolando)
If you see the following post twice, I'm sorry, I have no idea what's up.

Oh, got it fixed. Guess there's no reason to post this now...
The spin is on; the reactions are coming in. Heather MacIvor over at the Star had some things to say about the Tory by-election win in Perth Middlesex earlier this week, in an article entitled "Whither Tories sans Joe?"
Interestingly enough, she doesn't try to answer the question that the title of her article seems to ask. Rather, she writes a long and misinformed tirade against the PC Party. So I've decided to take it upon myself to write some more crap on the subject. What's that, a rebuttal? Of course you'll believe what I say and realize that she's just plain wrong, because you are getting verrrry sleeeeeepy. OK, ready? Here we go (serious mode: on). She should have had someone proofread it prior to sending it to her editor, because some parts of her article seem to (I'm sure unintentionally) prove the case that the Tories are a national party still in a position to govern.

For instance, when she discusses candidate reimbursement (getting your deposit back), she says "Only 3 in 10 Tory candidates qualified for reimbursement after the 2000 election". From what I remember from my involved days, to get your deposit back, you need 15% of the vote in your riding. That is a figure that would be hardly worth mentioning, were it the NDP or the Bloq or the CA in question, because those parties have always been strong in the ridings they've won, and weak in most of the others (the NDP and Tory votes are more uniformly spread than the other two, which partly explains the low number of seats returned). But that is not normal for the PC Party of Canada, just as it would seem absurd if the Liberals only got such a small number of their depoisits back. I should mention here that the one third figure seems a little low to me, but I'm not posting frrom home so I don't have the resources with me to verify her numbers, and I'm using dial-up here, so I'm not going to go searching the net.
The Natural Law Party has run candidates, and I'm sure they haven't gotten any of their deposits back. So what Ms. MacIvor is really saying, is that only one third of Tory candidates got their deposits back, which is a remarkable fact only because the PC Party is one of the country's governing parties.

"the Tories' financial situation is so dire that they had to liquidate the Bracken House Trust in 2001"
This is true. However, what Ms. MacIvor neglects to mention is that since 2001, the party has paid off it's debt and is now building a warchest. When I say "paid-off", I don't mean in the way that the CA did it, by taking the money from it's riding associations with promises to pay it back at the end of 2003. While Stephen Harper may have declared his party debt-free, he still has loans for the same amount of principle as before, however with a slightly lower interest rate. And at the end of this year, he is going to have to borrow from the banks again to pay back the money owed to the riding associations. What a tangled web....

"Of the 10 by-elections since November, 2000, the Tories have won precisely two. If there's a Tory resurgence here, I can't see it."
Ms. MacIvor may or may not be right. At least she's honest when she says that she doesn't know. Without a crystal ball how could she possibly be expected to see the future of the Party?
And 2 out of 10 by-election victories may not, at first glance, seem like a victory. The thing is, that is 20% of the by-elections since the last general election. But when you consider that the Party only has 5% of the total representation in the house, that's a victory in itself. And it's here that she really begins to play around with the numbers.

"Schellenberger actually won fewer votes in his by-election victory than he did when he lost to the Liberals in 2000, although his vote share jumped from 30 to 40 per cent because overall turnout dropped by one-third."
By-elections always have a smaller voter turnout. Stephen Harper won his riding by less than half of the votes that his predecessor, Preston Manning, won in 2000. It's normal.
But what Ms. Macivor wants you to believe is that those almost all of those who didn't vote in last week's by-election in Perth Middlesex, but did vote in 2000, were Liberal and Alliance supporters. She tells you that those two parties were the only ones affected by the lower voter turnout, and that is the reason for the result. In fact all of the parties were affected by the lower turnout, and the only way to compare the numbers with 2000 properly is by the percentages.
Yeah, no if you want those numbers you've come to the wrong website. I'm too lazy to open up Internet Explorer and go to Yahoo. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
And the one thing that stands out in this particular by-election, even perhaps above the Tory victory, is the NDP vote, which rose from 6% to 15%. I read an article last week that suggested that the reason for this is that the "I hate everybody" vote is moving from the CA, and back to the NDP, where that vote has traditionally been parked. These are the people who distrust politicians and all parties, but still get out to vote.

There are always ways to spin political events, but playing spin doctor with numbers is usually dumb. It's just too easy to get called on it by someone who knows the facts. Better to resort to sloganeering (Reform Party), consistent name-calling (Liberal Party Ontario), or wedge-issues (Liberal Party Canada).

Mike Wilson is a freelance moron, with a degree in something from Carleton university in Ottawa (he forgets exactly what). He has written for the diary of Mike Wilson, in which he once begged his future self to send money back to the year 1980, once time machines are invented, so he could attend a concert by the band "the Monks". Other writings include various assignments from 1972 through 1987 when he was based out of the Fenelon Falls Public School, and later the Fenelon Falls Secondary School.
Have a safe May two-four weekend.

I'll be thinking of all of you, when I'm relaxing at the cottage for 3 days....

Tonight we might get to find out who kidnapped Zoe.
The Season Finale of the West Wing is on tonight (7PM not 9), and it's Aaron Sorkin's last episode. I haven't heard if the series will continue under someone else, but here are some suggestions:

-Quentin Tarantino. More swearing, more blood, snappier lines and dancing. Toby finally gets to take out his inner angst by slowly killing off his co-workers, one-by-one, execution-style, while telling pithy jokes about how useless life is. Tarantino is featured as the new Vice-President.

-Michael Eisner. The show becomes a semi-musical. Whitney Houston and Elton John hired on as permanent songwriters. The new Vice President is a talking tea-cup.

-Joss Whedon. A gate to hell opens up under the White House. Teenage girls roam the halls fighting evil creatures. Josh has a mid-life crisis. The new VP is a British punk-rock vampire with a soul named Spike.

-George Lucas. Fires the whole cast and makes a show about the previous administration.

-Steven Spielberg. The USA is governed by two mice. One is a genius, the other's insane. They're laboratory mice, their genes have been spliced. They're Pinky, they're Pinky and the Brain Brain Brain Brain.
President Brain and Vice President Pinky try to take over the world by night, starting with Iraq. Every episode ends with the lines:
"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?"
"Same thing we do every night. Try to take over the world!"
Salam Pax is writing his Dear Raed blog from Baghdad again. It appears they have internet in Baghdad again, if that was the problem. It seems he continued to document the entire war from his perspective, and posted the whole thing when he had internet available. I'll have to wait for a day when I have lots of spare time to get caught up.

Excerpt from March 24:
In the [oh-the-irony-of-it-all] section of my life I can add the unbelievable bad luck that when I wanted to watch a movie because I got sick of all the news, the only movie I had which I have not seen a 100 times is “the American President”. No joke. A friend gave that video months ago, I never watched it. I did last night. The American “presidential palace” looks quite good. But Michael Douglas is a sad ass president.

And in conclusion, he writes:
We didn't do no liberatin' and pullin' down statues to be told, "get in the kitchen and fry those felafal balls, bitch."
Get ready for a wild ride, Iraq.
Well, here's some news that's a bit better.
We won the by-election in Perth-Middlesex tonight.

Congratulations to Gary Schellenberger, the newest Tory MP. Here's the early Globe story.

This by-election was marked by the discovery that Canadian Alliance candidate Marian Meinen had written a letter to an Alberta newspaper, in which she called Ontarians "unthinking masses", because she was unhappy with the lack of CA representation in the province. Vancouver Scrum did a little thing on "the Meinen Affair" earlier this week. If you really want a good commentary on the story, I'd recommend that you go look at his site, because I've got nothing interesting to say about it.

Interestingly, Kent over at Torydraft had this to say about tonight's victory: "We're back". Interesting because I remember David Small uttering exactly the same 2 words while riding the elevator to the Tory shindig on election night in 1997. So it's sort of one of those touch wood things.

Once again, congratulations Gary what'syername.
I got this in my e-mail today, it's quite brilliant. Of course when you're as dumb as I am, even Stephen Harper seems brilliant.
It seems Andy Rooney doesn't like telemarketers or junk mail, and he has some ideas to irritate the companies that are responsible. I wonder if he's given any thought to battling spam e-mail?

By the way, this is Andy Rooney, from the television show 60 Minutes. Not to be confused with Mickey Rooney, the short fat guy from the television show "The Black Stallion", and crappy movies going back to the beginning of the Great Depression.

Andy Rooney's tips for telemarketers and junk mail ...

Three Little Words That Work!!
1. The three little words are: "Hold On, Please ..."
Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.

Then when you eventually hear the phone company's "beep-beep-beep" tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.

These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting.

2. Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?

This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone.

This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a "real" sales person to call back and get someone at home.

What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times, as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call and it kicks your number out of their system.

Since doing this, my phone calls have decreased dramatically.

3. Another Good Idea:
When you get "ads" enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these "ads" with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away.

When you get those "pre-approved" letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope.

Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 37 cents postage "IF" and when they receive them back.
It costs them nothing if you throw them away.

The postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes.

One of Andy Rooney's (60 Minutes) ideas.

Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express.
Send a pizza coupon to Citibank.
If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back!
If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them.
You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing!
Eventually, the banks and credit card companies will begin getting their own junk back in the mail.

Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it ... Twice!

Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea!

If enough people follow these tips, it will work --- I have been doing this for years, and I get very little junk mail anymore.
Boy this blogger thing is slow tonight. In the time it's taken for the page to load up so I can write this drivel, I've visited a whole assortment of other people's pages, and started loading up a page with some Honda Flash video advertisement.

I've had my nose buried in the books getting ready for an interview tomorrow, and it seems I've missed quite a few things. Apparently there was a leadership debate tonight on Ontario's PBS (I forget the name of the network). But there is going to be a replay tonight. No time though, unless I tape it and watch it...whenever. And tomorrow night at 8pm (EST) there will be another debate on Newsworld. Likely it will be replayed at 11PM.

Still waiting for the Honda page to load up.

I got some bad news tonight though. I checked my e-mail, and I had several queries from people asking my opinion on Andre Bachand's pulling out of the leadership race.


So, I browsed my way over to the Bachand campaign website, and yes, Andre Bachand seems to have dropped out of the race today. Well, what's a poor Bachand delegate to do now?
After I finished picking my nose in disgust, I decided to log on to my blog. And that just about brings you up-to-date on what I've been up to for the past hour. How've you been?

OK, it's been half an hour, and that Honda ad still hasn't come up yet. It still says it's loading up though. Try here. Much faster, unless you like to wait for hours. It's up to you.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this incredibly dull and useless addition to the internet, I've been extremely busy, and probably don't have time tonight to comment on Bachand's retirement from the race.

But since Ian asked, I'll go over what happens with my delegateship. On the first ballot my vote is still dedicated to Bachand, since he didn't pull out in time (we've all been guilty of that). However on the second ballot, I am free to vote for whomever I wish. Which, come to think of it, is what would have happened if Bachand had stayed in the race. Nothing changes at all, except that my first ballot vote is wasted.
Realistically though, there is one important thing that changes (for me). Paul Martin... errr I mean Peter Mackay is going to be crowned leader of the party, he's just too far ahead for even a combined effort by the other candidates to conquer him. So I will probably save myself 600 bucks and watch the coronation on TV for free. Maybe I'll spend the money on that great SONY PDA I've been looking at. The only difference is I can't write off an $800 (US) toy like that on my taxes like I could with the convention fees. Or can I......?
Here's an interesting Report on Business article on the subject of spam e-mail.

Speaking of which, here's a website that all Yahoo Mail users should look at. Apparently Yahoo is responsible for a lot of that spam you've been getting, and this page lets you turn the Yahoo-generated spam off.
I don't want to keep picking on Paul Martin about his blog (which he has begun writing to again), because really blogs are personal and probably not fair game for the type of criticisms I've lobbed his way on the topic of his blog.

But I do have one last thing I want to say, and that has to do with a post back in March. March 14 to be exact. On that day he wrote this sentence on his blog:
"I’m also going to try and show better form: shorter blogs, more casual subjects and so forth.".

He hasn't really gotten any more casual in his writing, but he's in the middle of a leadership race, so I'll let him have that one. But instead of shortening up his posts, it seems that his posts have doubled in length since he wrote that sentence.

Not that it really matters. Paul, your blog is a great place for you to get in touch on a more personal level with your constituency. Your April 28th posts seems to suggest that is one of your aims. So why don't you use your blog to tell us about your personal feelings about these "town halls". Were there any questions you were unprepared for? What did you have for breakfast?
I just finished watching the movie Moulin Rouge starring Obi Wan Kenobi (the younger).

Wow. Visually it was just amazing, with a lot of dancey sequences. It's a story(A) about writing a story(B). It gets a bit complicated, as Story B is actually about Story A. And the people in Story A are trying to influence what happens in story B. Basically it's a fun musical, set in Paris in the year 1900. Enough about that.

If you liked the thing they did in the movie "A Knight's Tale", where they threw modern music into an old-timey story (remember the dancey song that morphed into a Bowie song?), then you'll love Moulin Rouge, where the whole movie is full of modern songs, like "Roxanne" by the Police. Some of it was brilliant, like Ewan MacGregor singing Elton John to Nicole Kidman:
"I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world"

Some of it was less brilliant, for instance the part where two guys were singing "Like a Virgin", horribly, to each other.

Anyway, next time you are having trouble picking a movie to rent, this is my recommendation. I promise you won't be disappointed. I haven't loved a movie like this in a very long time.

"So exciting, the audience will stomp and cheer!
So delighting, it will run for 50 years!"
I'm cleaning up my computer, wiping the hard drive and reinstalling everything. I try to do this once a year at least, because while Windows is a lovely operating system, it can become bloated over time, and funny things can start happening. Especially when you abuse your computer the way I do.

Anyway, I may not post much in the next few days while I get all of this done.

I have got one thought to leave you with. What the heck is up with the World Health Organization? I was no happier than anyone else about the travel advisory to this fair city, but it's something they felt needed to be done to control the spread of SARS, and I respect that. What I don't respect is that they allowed a politician to influence them to lift the advisory. Tony Clement is a fine man, and I don't want to knock his contribution. I introduced him to the movie "Bulworth", which he loved. But political considerations should not have been a factor in their decision-making process. Now everytime that the WHO places a travel advisory...
The Delegate Tot-up

Apparently these numbers are still changing for various reasons, like some folks don't want to dance with them as brought 'em. So I guess from time to time it might be valuable to publish the most recent reckoning. Here:

Bachand: 102
Brison: 267
Chandler: 7
Grafftey: 8
MacKay: 1139
Orchard: 702
Prentice: 407
Undeclared: 103

By the way, my last post (below) was very silly, but unfortunately I put in some extra HTML that doesn't work with this blog editor for some reason, the result being that I can't edit or delete the post.

Oh I really hope he came. Did he say for sure he was coming Herb?

You came!! I'm so happy. C'mere, gimme a hug you.

John, you really need to brush those teeth.

It makes me so happy when you lead Dalty..

I can't be Mr. Spock like you, I just can't get this smile off my face. What's wrong, you don't
look happy to see me?

Shibbety Shwa!!!!Whoa John, watch where you're putting your hand.

OK, John, you stay over there from now on.

Will you fix the button on my shirtsleeve for me Dalton?

I'm waiting for the results of my SARS test by the way.

La-la-la la-la-la la-la-la la-la-la la-la-la...

La-la dee-dee da, la-da-da, la-la-la la-la lally-lally la...

I'm so happy that you came Dalt, I really really really am.

John: OK the Square dance is starting now.

Dalton: That's why I came!

the other race
The Websites.

It's now been 912 hours since Paul Martin last posted to his blog. Sometime on Friday evening he will hit the 1000 hour mark.

I decided to look at his links page, to see what sorts of sites Martin (or whomever is responsible for doing his website) deemed important enough to link to.
It's a very businessy website, which I think describes Paul fairly well. When I saw him on Sunday on TV, he appeared to be all business, no smiles. He said nothing interesting, certainly nothing that could possibly get him into any hot water in the press. Still I think that the World Bank and the Romanow Commision links are a bit much.

The main site is visually appealing, it is set up to look like a newspaper front page, along the lines of the Onion magazine. Unfortunately the actual stories are as unappealing as the links site. One of the headlines reads "Martin challenges “conventional wisdom,” asks Canadians to do the same".
What the heck is that supposed to mean anyway? I think that most people who come across his site would probably prefer something a little more human, less dry. Would the opposite of a dry political website be a wet site?

I'm not going to try to coin any new terms, but a "wet site" would be one that contained humour, less businessy, with the intention of gaining the interest of a visitor, so that that visitor will want to look around a bit on the site, maybe click on a few of the links and see what else the candidate has to say. This doesn't mean that Paul needs to start telling jokes, but keeping his blog up-to-date would be a good start. And get rid of some of those links on the links page, the ones that won't be of any interest to the average Liberal party member. Perhaps add a link to Warren Kinsella's site.
Anyway, I'm not here to give advice to Paul on campaigning, I'm sure he's got people on staff who know a heck of a lot more than I do. I should mention that I did like the picture of Paul perusing his dad's campaign stuff at Queen's University. Not really moving, but perhaps it could be described as touching.

Yeah see here's an example of a site that appears less businessy, although I'm sure it is intended to serve exactly the same purpose as the Martin website. Certainly the language is less dry. I'll do the links page again, since I roasted Martin on his links. Basically, Manley's (I keep writing Martin and having to correct it) links are more oriented towards what a casual visitor might be interested in looking at. Newspapers, and even a link to The Weather Network. Those are the things you want to put on a website which is geared towards average Canadians, and average Liberal Party members. It's not as polished as the Martin site, but definitely better suited to it's audience.
Manley's site isn't exactly inspiring either (not that any personal political campaign website ever is), but it's much easier to read without falling asleep. On the downside, the site doesn't have nearly the depth of the Martin site, not as many articles, not much to keep the visitor on the site.

Interestingly, on the site (his non leadership page), Manley has a little video in which he speaks for about a minute. A very nice addition to that webpage, although everything he says is very "fortune-cookie-ish".

Sheila Copps
Well it wasn't very hard to do the Sheila Copps site, her campaign site is fairly shallow, with a grand total of 12 links (and a couple are repeated). The "About Sheila" link leads to her life story. It's the "Sheila's Vision for Canada" that leads to her campaign stuff, there are 7 or 8 documents on that page. The site itself is fairly well done, and in fact it looks like it's probably done by the same folks who did the Manley site.
The language on the site is a lot less dry than the Martin site, and like the Manley site the language is very campaigny.

Now, if I was a Liberal and I had my 'druthers, I'd be trying to get the Justice Minister, Martin Cauchon into the race. He'd be my first choice if I was a Liberal.
This is an e-mail I received from Graydon Sametz, a reader I've been corresponding with. Mr. Sametz is not currently a party member. He had planned to purchase a membership to support David Orchard, but missed the cut-off.

I'm posting this e-mail (with his kind permission), as an alternate point of view on the race to my own. He raises some very good points which I haven't seen raised elsewhere.


Hi Mike,
You know anything can happen at the leadership convention, but I know one of the main goals is to keep the top prize out of Mr. Orchard's hands.
I heard that good old Lyin' Brian Mulroney might run again as PC Leader,uggghh and make Paul Martin, John Turner II, take it with a grain of salt, just rumours floating around. I hope to god that dosen't happen.

I think Mr. Mckay says one thing and means another, of course he is a merger candidate, I saw him here in Manitoba, on one of his stops and he said that in the future we would like to work very close with the Canadian Alliance, Just remember Desperate Times, calls for Desperate Measures if you know what I mean.
Also it seems to me that an "Anyone but Mc Kay" movement seems to be presenting itself, The most to gain is Mr. Prentice, like I said before anything can happen. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

If Mr. Bachand was leader, he would set a strong Tory base in Quebec gain some seats, few in Ontario, Some East, Some West.
Either Peter Mc Kay or Scott Brison as Leader would confine the PC's as nothing more of and Atlantic Rump Party that they are now,
Mr.Prentice as Leader, would make Alberta go PC and maybe kill the Alliance Party, who knows?

Mr. Orchard as Leader, would win a huge amount of seats in B.C and Saskatchewan for sure, his Anti - Gun Control would be popular with, Rural Canadians, people in the Artic, I think, Manitoba would go back to it's old PC roots. He would pick up a few seats in Ontario, Quebec, Martimes, no Majority though sorry,. I don't think he would split the vote with the NDP, Orchard Policies, Reminise the Polices of one John "Dief the Chief" Diefenbaker who we all know what happened in 1958, had a landslide victory. Can History Repeat itself?

Forgot to tell you that I find ( and this is my personal opinion) the CA wants to set up an American style Republic, with it Extreme Right Wing Rethoric, I do understand Governement need to be cut drastically, but Privatzing Health Care and Other Canadian Trademarks, I know those are considered Socialist , but still whenever I needed it , it has been there for me and my family 24/7. I also think the Canadian Alliance, does not want to do what is in the best interest for Canada, very Ideological driven agenda and I can't accept that.

I will watch this By - Election in Ontario on May 12, My Prediction Either a New PC or NDP MP in power, people are sick of the Liberals especially Chretien, People won't flock to the Extremes of the CA.

Sorry for the long E-mail, just got to get alot of things off my chest.
I meant to mention last week that Andre Bachand has announced that he is not part of any ABM (Anybody But MacKay) movement.

Here's the link if you think I'm a big fat Liar Liar Pants on Fire. I'm not really sure I understood the concept of an ABM campaign anyway. Anybody who thinks that Peter MacKay is the worst thing that could happen to this party, has never met me.
not unböring
As Vancouver Scrum mentioned, CTV's Question Period contained an interview with Paul Martin yesterday morning. I was lying on the couch in the "other room" watching and trying not to doze off.
I did find it very interesting that Martin used as a backdrop, a Canadian flag and a Quebec Flag. Is that some sort of a statement on how Paul Martin would deal with the "Quebec issue"? OK, whatever, I don't really care.

Anyway, I just have this question for people who've paid attention to Martin for some time: Has he always been this completely and utterly böring to listen to? I mean gawd, I've never had so much trouble listening to a person speak before.

He seems completely humourless. He speaks like a robot, with no human qualities to speak of. I get the distinct impression that this man dreams in politician-talk. Here's the link to watch the interview online, tell me if you don't agree with me.
I mean, what kind of human being would ever come out with the following sentence?
"..exercise our sovereignty on our coasts, the Arctic being a classic example"
Listen online to Joe speaking to CKNW's Peter Warren, and answering listener questions link.

To save time, I've broken down the show for you, so you can find the segment you're interested in:
SARS: 8 minutes into the show.
PC leadersship: 12:45.
Listener questions: 19 minutes-27:30.

Quote: "I've lived through worse cartoons that that, Peter".
Tory Underpants
(I swear to God I'm not making any of this up.)

Support the PC Party by wearing a pair of Torydraft thong underwear to the convention.

Andre Bachand: "I prefer the thong, I need less tissue to cover what I need to cover."
Jim Prentice: "You won't find me dead or alive in a thong"

Or, try the boxers in sizes Small to X Large.

Peter MacKay: "Definitely a boxer guy. It leaves for more room and comfort”
Scott Brison: "A fighter like me, naturally, I always wear boxers"

So far, no word on what kind of undies Orchard will be wearing. Thank God.

Take a look at the whole product line.
Here's a thought...How about Torydraft SARS masks?

I just love Bachand's response to this question. Someone who can come out with a line like that, is someone who can win debates for us.
We were discussing the leadership debate on a discussion group, and since I still haven't published my little piece on the debate (I really mean to, I still have Peter Mackay to cover and then I'm done), I thought I'd publish this excellent piece written by another Tory.

The Author of this piece is Eric Glubish, and it can be found here.

So does Peter McKay have it tied up or is there an Anbody But Peter movement afoot? If Jim Prentice, Scott Brison and André Bachand can work together and bring on the Grafftey and Chandler teams plus getting the Unite the Right vote by actually working towards an eventual cooperative coalition between the Alliance and us then they could defeat Peter.

Candidates for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative party are ganging up on the front-runner, Peter McKay. Five of the seven candidates participated in a debate yesterday on Politics, hoping to generate some interest in a lacklustre race with five weeks to go before the leadership convention.

Delegate selection has put MP Peter McKay in the lead, with Saskatchewan farmer David Orchard in second place. The two men next in line took aim at McKay during Wednesday's debate. Calgary lawyer Jim Prentice accused him of flip-flopping on the issue of co-operation with the Canadian Alliance. "In Western Canada … you have said that the Canadian Alliance is radioactive and then you've gone to St. Catherines, Ont., … and said that we should run joint candidates, presumably joint radioactive candidates," said Prentice.

Tory MP Scott Brison said McKay lacks vision. "That's what they're looking for, Peter, and they've criticized our party for not standing for anything," he said. Prentice, Brison and a third candidate, André Bachand, are discussing a possible joint attack to try to stop McKay at the Tory convention in Toronto at the end of May.

Some Conservatives have called party headquarters saying they're worried about attending the convention because of SARS. This all according to Newman. If you ask myself, I would say that Toronto could just be the turning point for us Tories and could just be the day we finally make one conservative party as it should be.
Another Tory blog!!!

Mike Watkins, a Prentice supporter from Vancouver, has been writing about the Tory leadership race, and it appears he's doing a much better job at staying on topic that I have been lately. I've been distracted by other stuff, but will eventually get back to keeping everyone up-to-date on the latest poop from the leadership race.

In fact, while I'm here, I may as well post the most recent delegate numbers. These are basically final, although there will be some minor changes as campaigns try to woo delegates into their camp. I've already been invited to meet with David Orchard, but I was going to be "out of town" that day.

Anyway, here.

Bachand 92
Brison 265
Chandler 7
Grafftey 8
MacKay 1130
Orchard 697
Prentice 378
Undeclared 97
This has absolutely nothing to do with politics, but...

October 23, 1993. Watch the Jays win their second world series online, or just watch the 9th. Link

You may need to set up an account to login, but it's free, and you can make up a fake e-mail address.

Wow. You know, I remember those Coca-Cola commercials they were playing throughout the World Series in '93, the ones that went "do-do-do do-do, always Coca-Cola". They always had some little story in the song. Within minutes of the Carter homer, CTV's first commercial was a Coke comercial, and somehow they must have been doing it live because they sang about the events of that game, and concluded with a line about Carter's Home Run.
Nobody else seems to remember this though.
New Fox reality show to determine ruler of Iraq

LOS ANGELES—Fox executives Monday unveiled their latest reality-TV venture, Appointed By America, a new series in which contestants vie for the top spot in Iraq's post-war government. Link

From Wednesday's "Social Studies"

Saying 'yes' to 'no'
" 'No' don't get no respect," contends Kim DeMotte, a St. Louis management consultant and author of The Positive Power of No, to be published in the fall. "There is a terrible cultural prejudice for the word 'yes' and and unspoken avoidance of 'no.' " However, the word "no" has such power, notes The Arizona Republic.

"As Houston clinical psychologist Joe Peraino puts it: 'Saying no is a positive statement. When we say no to others, we are saying yes to ourselves, our dreams, our goals. Saying no does simplify our lives by limiting the number of obligations, activities and promises we make. It reduces stress."
Since our leadership convention is going to here in Toronto next month, I thought maybe a few bits of info on SARS to rest the mind of the worried traveller would be in order.

Dr. Richard Schabas, chief of staff at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ont., wrote an article this week on the topic for the Globe and Mail. He was Ontario's chief medical officer of health from 1987 to 1997.

According to Dr. Schabas:
"The SARS outbreak in Toronto was a hospital-based problem. The vast majority of SARS victims have acquired their infection either directly in a hospital or by infected hospital staff, patients or visitors who infect other members of their household. This hospital-based problem has been brought under control.

There have been very few cases of community-acquired SARS, and there is no evidence of a sustained community spread in Canada.

Toronto's SARS outbreak appears to be petering out. "
OK then...
I just finished watching the leadership debate, if you can call it that. I've never seen anything quite like it before. The format was this: a question was asked, 1 minute was given for a response, then 30 seconds to each of the other candidates. Then move on to the next question. It was horrible.

Consider, Free Trade, one of the most important Tory policies, and one of the biggest points of contention in this debate, was given 2, maybe 3 minutes, shared between the 5 candidates.
I don't know what the plan is for the next debate, but if it's another huddle with Don Newman, I think we should just forget it.

I did tape it, which was good since I got a call partway through and I missed about half. But I will try to go over it and see if anything of note was said during any of the 30 second sound bites.
Got this in my e-mail yesterday. Pretty standard stuff.
André invites you to watch the PC Party leadership candidate's debate this Wednesday April 23rd, at 5:00pm, Eastern time, on CBC Newsworld.

I almost overlooked the significance of the next part (I nearly failed to note it's noteworthiness), having given it only a cursory glance. But, when I perused it again (OK, enough ridiculous words), I found that the next paragraph said this:
The five candidates will be discussing various topics such as free trade, regional development and immigration, as well as the place of women in politics and the death penalty. We invite you to send us your comments after the debate to .

Whoa. Dude. Like, did he just say, like 5 candidates? Don't get me wrong man, I'm no counting nazi, like my girlfriend, but even I know that there OK, whatever.
No wait! 7 candidates!

So like then I decided to smoke another doob, and then do some investigationism into this.

The first place I went was that good old Tory standbye, Torydraft. I can always count on them to know what needs to be known. Here's an exerpt (that means little bits) of a letter sent by some complainy guy named Rob Fricker:
"The following is the text of an email I sent the CBC Ombudsman et al:

To: The President of the CBC, The Ombudsman, Don Newman, David Mathews, Mark Boldutch and anybody else in the CBC that can influence your position on who is included in and excluded from the PC Leadership Candidates Debate on Wednesday, April 23 and early May.

It has come to my attention that you intend to hold a "leadership debate" amongst just a portion of the bonafide leadership candidates and that you are excluding 2 (originally 3) of the candidates from participation." Full text

Now, the Torydraft letter doesn't list the names of those who won't be at the debate, and since I'm feeling all investigatey today, I went to the Don Newman site. The excluded candidates are Chandler and Grafftey.

The Don Newman site usually has a few streamy clips of their past shows, so later I'll be sure to put up a link for those who want to see highlights of the Tory leadership debate.

I've been dying to figure out where the following song comes from:
"Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy too wouldn't you?"
My mom used to sing it when I was a kid, and I've been trying to figure out if it's a real song, or just something she came up with after hitting her head.
Salam Pax hasn't posted anything on his blog since March 24th, because he lives in a city without access to many modern conveniences, like running water, electricity, cable, internet, police, etc. He lives in Baghdad. So while I doubt many would disagree that it's understandable that he hasn't posted for more than a month, what's Paul Martin's excuse?