Saturday, November 29, 2008

OK, Let's get some perspective here...

It is only stuff. They have lots of it to sell.

That is the most polite and reasonable response I can give to any story that starts with this paragraph:
A Wal-Mart worker has died after being trampled by a throng of shoppers shortly after a store opened Friday on Long Island in New York State, police said.
This is insane! No sale is that good! Nothing is that important to buy! REally people, get a life!

ANd why on earth do stores need to open at 5am (or earlier, one ad we saw was for 4am) anyway! Don't get me started on 24 hour shopping...

ETA (Dec 2): A story I saw today suggests that part of the problem was that the worker was placed at the door because he looked imposing but had no training in security/crowd control (I wonder how many retail workers have crowd control training?). But this misses the point. HE shouldn't have needed such training. Even with 2000 people lined up is it unrealistic to expect that they could act in a civilized manner?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Good Laugh

This came in my e-mail this morning. And I laughed so much I had to share it. The original source (and some other pieces in a similar vein) is here

Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy;
Stunning Break with Last Eight Years!

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect
Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established
over the past eight years through his controversial use
of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance
on CBS' "Sixty Minutes" on Sunday witnessed the
President-elect's unorthodox verbal tic, which had Mr. Obama
employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every
time he opened his mouth. But Mr. Obama's decision to use
complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries
with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many
Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of
the University of Minnesota, some Americans might
find it "alienating to have a President who speaks English
as if it were his first language. "Every time Obama opens
his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says
Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk
of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using
complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find
itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate; subject, predicate;
we get it, stop showing off."

The President-elect's stubborn insistence on using complete
sentences attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics,
Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. "Talking with compete sentences
there and also too talking in a way ordinary Americans like
Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can't really do there, I
think needing to do that isn't tapping into what Americans
are needing also," she said.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How do We Celebrate?

Hat tip to Sue

Food Prep 5

Songbird provides us with this week's Friday Five. She writes:

In a minor domestic crisis, my food processor, or more precisely the part you use for almost everything for which I use a food processor, picked the eve of the festive season of the year to give up the ghost. A crack in the lid expanded such that a batch of squash soup had to be liberated via that column shaped thing that sticks up on top.

Can you tell this is not my area of strength?

Next week, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. I need your help. Please answer the following kitchen-related questions:

1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it? We included a processor on our wedding registry. And we use it relatively regularly (especially compared to some of the other wedding gifts we got...)

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).) Ours doesn't really have any fanciness to it. The one thing it does have that we have never used is a dough blade.

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?
(And isn't that color delightfully retro?) We have a hand-held mixer. Last time I used a counter top model was my mother's, how do I say this, "well-aged (and well used)" mixer.

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much? We have a hand blender that we used to mix formula when the girls were that age. Beloved would like a blender.

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most? Ummmm, I guess I would have to say my hands. I love kneading bread dough, rolling out cookie dough, etc.

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it? We didn't pull them out last year but we have a set of Christmas dishes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Well Worth a REad

I just finished this book.

It is an interesting study of the Trinity in relationship terms, of the nature of human relationship with God (and vice versa), of healing from tragedy and guilt. There are parts of the theology that I would agree with. There are parts that I would argue with. But that is the nature of a good book isn't it?

I would love to read and discuss this book in a group setting. Maybe I will suggest it as a study here. Maybe it would be a good book for the RGBP to discuss????

At the end there is mention that some want to make this into a movie. I sure hope they don't. The beauty of this book is that it allows you to see it for yourself. A movie will merely literalize it. Mind you a big part of me honestly wishes they never made Lord of the Rings into a movie. Good books deserve a better fate than to be movie-ized (no matter how well done the movie). I also wonder what the Star Wars epic would have been like had it been a book first...

Or maybe I am just old-fashioned and biased towards the movie my mind makes while reading a good book :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Intentions

But a flawed action.

Ontario is introducing new regulations regarding young drivers. Note that I said young drivers not new drivers. Therein lies one of the biggest flaws of the regulations.

Now I understand that new drivers (who are generally young) tend to have higher accident rates. That is why I wholeheartedly support schemes such as Graduated licensing. And yes younger people (and some older ones) tend to focus more than they should on loud music or visiting with friends than the road at times. But these regulations appear overly onerous and I am not sure they meet the spirit of equal rights legislation. I doubt a Charter challenge would work because driving itself is not a right, but the regulations do single out an identifiable group for special treatment under the law, which seems to go against the intention of the Charter.

Among the regulations:
  • Anyone under 21 must have a zero blood alcohol reading. -- I can support this one in principle but why onloy for one age group. Either drinking is legal or it isn't. Either a certain level is allowable (and I am all in favor of lowering that level from .o8) or it isn't. AGe is not relevant. SO a 2o year old goes for a drink after work or has a glass of wine with supper and then has to wait around for an hour until going home???????
  • Young drivers caught speeding (at any speed over the limit) get a 30 day suspension for a first offence. THen 90 days for a second. Then a revocation of license (and start again in the graduated licensing system) for a third. -- Again, why just young drivers? I support stronger penalties for speeding. But this seems a little over-the-top for any age.
  • New drivers under 21 can only have one other teenager in the car with them. -- and in a rural area with no other transport available?
Needless to say there has already been some backlash. Like this for example And I have to think that the complaints are partially well-founded.

YEs there have been tragic accidents invovling young people and speed and lots of people in the car. Same with older people. But these regulation (IMO) go too far. And I am not sure they really teach what is meant to be taught...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

That Was Fun! --------NOT!

About 30 minutes ago Beloved and I are sitting in the living room and suddenly hear a loud CRASH from the bathroom.

Princess had decided she wanted to look in the mirror and so had climbed up onto the diaper pail. Said pail either then spilt down the side and fell or fell and split open. Water all over the closet called a bathroom (6 ft by 6 ft, tub included). Water running out onto the hardwood hall floor (another good reason not to have carpeting :) ).

WE throw some towels down to stop the water running everywhere and get it all sopped up. THen take them down and start the washing machine and then wash the floor. Luckily there were few diapers in the pail and no really poopy ones! And as it happens the floor was desperately in need of washing.

Friday, November 14, 2008



1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day? Nope. To tel the truth I have no recollection of being in a congregational setting where All Saints/All SOul's ws made a big deal. SOmetimes it is mentioned in conjunction with Halloween but never truly celebrated. However I remember a very powerful All Saints worship while at seminary (not actully what was said or done, just that it was very well done).

2. How about Veterans' Day? It was discussed with the children and they did poppy discussion and crafts in Sunday School. THen a mention in prayers.

3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break? Not a holiday for us. Kids were in school and I was taking part in worship, Legion visiting (including free beer!) before doing my regular Tuesday afternoon stuff. Oh and I spent Monday morning going to the schools with the Legion as well.

4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces? Not particularly.

5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on? None really. The remembrances and connections seem to come naturally and randomly....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Nomination I Can Certainly Agree With...

Wht would you do with a toy that can be a tent pole, or a sword, or a rifle, or a cane, or a magic wand, or a sceptre, or a divining rod, or a fishing rod, or a slingshot, or...?

WEll a toy that adaptive has to be in the toy hall of fame of course!

Even if it is really just a stick

As someone who laments the lack of toys that require/facilitate imagination I applaud the choice.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Five -- See you in the funny papers!

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!

1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child? Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes (teenager when it was out), For Better and For Worse, Doonesbury--yes I was one of the geeky kids who always enjoyed Doonesbury.

2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone? For Better or For Worse is the best in our local paper, I continue to get my Doonesbury fix online every day ETA: I can't believe I forgot to include Dilbert in this list!!!!

3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you? Combine Linus and Charlie Brown and you get me!

4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you? In some instances yes. Others are simply mindless inanity.

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples? Comfort of the familiar is my explanation. But really some of them need to be put to rest.

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print? No contest, no thought needed on this one. Calvin and Hobbes. OTOH, some-even ones I like-ran out their course years ago....

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hope and Peace

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
(©1969 John Lennon)

This week people across the country will gather in halls and at memorials and cenotaphs and pause in solemn silence to remember. We remember battlefields far away in time and in space. We remember millions of war dead on all sides. But as we remember we need to look forward too.

We need to look at the present and the future and ask what now. We need to ask what it takes to “give peace a chance”. In a world where there is always conflict somewhere, where we regularly hear about starvation here or genocidal mobs there, where some are living high on the hog while others face homelessness and poverty, what will really give peace a chance?

The first thing that will give peace a really chance is hope. Without hope we have trouble seeing the future. Without hope there is little drive to work for a better day. But hope can be hard to come by. Where do we find hope in a world of bad news? The media seems to delight in the horrible stories while the good news ones are set aside as “human interest” and left as a space filler when needed. Where do we find hope?

For people of faith hope's greatest source is not found in any newspaper or on any screen. Hope's greatest source is God our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. We find hope where we find God. We find hope when we read about God's hope and vision for a peaceful realm where all are fed, where all are loved, and where the wolf will lie down with the lamb. We find hope when we sense that God is at work in the world, when we see people taking up the opportunity to work for change. We find hope when we are reminded that there is more to the world than what can be seen and measured.

Once we have hope. Once we can trust that things can change, that peace is a (however remote it may seem) real possibility. Then we can move to the other prime requirement for giving peace a chance. That is us. Peace will never have a chance unless we, the people of the world, change our actions and priorities and thought patterns.

For peace to come we need to become people of true peace. True peace will be based not on what benefits one segment of the world or one ideology but on abundant life for all. True peace is based not in the absence of violence but in the presence of justice. This is the peace that God envisions, that God hopes for. This is the peace that we need to re-dedicate ourselves to as we gather to remember.

All we are saying, is give peace a chance.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I DOn't Get It...

I was just checking teh election results over at Reflectionary and I am confused.

Earlier there were states marked as won by Obama that had barely closed polls and had no precincts reporting. NOw there are states marke as won by Obama (at least I assume that is what the big green checkmark and colouring the state blue means) with very few precincts reporting and McCain in the lead so far:
EG: as of 9:45 EST-- NEw Mexico shows 3% of precincts reporting, Obama at 42% and McCain at 57% yet it is called for Obama
THis makes no sense. Didn't we learn in 2000 that calling states on the basis of exit polls was rather risky? And how on earth can you call the state for a person who is trailing in the actual counted votes? (Not to mention that you really should wait for at lest a quarter of the ballots to be counted unless the difference is over 20 percentage points)

ANd people wonder why US election coverage seems to breed rivalry and discord.

UnAsked Questions

GO and read this!

A reflection on questions that were not (but should have been) asked during the US and Canadaian election campaigns.