Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Anyway, we're safe and lazy, and we did call this a "vacation with a meaning," and we are finding out what that meaning is, I guess. I can't get on line with my clunky old laptop but this hotel has a courtesy computer for the guests.
Have a nice day everyone.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
As most of you know by now, Agnes and I are in the final stages of preparing for three months in Carlsbad, New Mexico. We intend to spend a few days at the Temple Gardens Spa in Moose Jaw with Cynthia and James before driving for three days and arriving in Carlsbad on New Year’s Eve. While we’re away, a friend of friends will be sitting our house and cat.
Primarily, we’re going to New Mexico for a long vacation, although we have enrolled in the Service Opportunities for Older People program and will be doing some volunteer work while there. What that will be will be determined when we get there.
I’m also looking forward to spending three months in “AMERICA.” We talk about the USA a lot in Canada, and we have numerous stereotypical images in our minds when American subjects come up, and I’d like to dispel some of those. My suspicion is that they’re just as faulty as American assumptions about us. We’ll be worshipping with the Carlsbad Mennonite Church while there (at least that’s our intention) and so would hope also to learn something about what it means to be an Anabaptist in a nation at war in Iraq. (Come to think of it, Canada is at war in Afghanistan; what’s it like to be a Mennonite in Canada living with that fact?)
I just read a book to which I was prompted by the death of Augusto Pinochet. You can find a review I wrote at http://ca.blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-l0ypcCo2fql7qv1hXvc-?cq=1. It was worth reading, especially if you are interested in human rights issues and/or Latin American politics.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
a misty dream of
feathery snow drifts silently
through shivering branches
So where did you get the temerity
To question my right to prosperity?
I’ve worked like a horse
Since a young man, of course
(And I’ve practiced accounting dexterity.)
A competitive dancer from Fripper
Was renowned for her delicate slipper
When a rival showed up
In pursuit of the cup
She said, “No sweat, I’m sure to outstripper.”
A slender young woman from Rhiens
Fed only on yogourt and greens
When a friend said, “I’d beg
For so shapely a leg!”
She replied, “Well it’s all in the jeans!”
It’s said when a pretty psychologist
Was harangued by a verbious morphologist
That she sneered, “All your words
Are quite ‘for the birds.’”
And now he’s a sad ornithologist.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Notable was the lack of information on the part of the Conservative speakers. Backbenchers all, they gave roughly the same speech: 1. the traditional concept of marriage has served us well for millenia and should not be changed, 2. children do best in a family where they know both parents and where those parents are a man and a woman; children's rights have not been considered, 3. expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples will weaken the institution of marriage and affect family life negatively over time.
On the other side, several more prominent Liberals including Hedy Fry argued most emphatically that 1. children were central to the same-sex marriage legislation in that children of same-sex couples could now hold their heads up and be proud of their parentage, 2. a reinstatement of the old marriage definition would be illegal since it would mean that those same-sex couples already married would enjoy a right future gay and lesbian couples would not have, and 3. the broadening of the marriage definition does no harm, and is therefore the right thing to do in the interest of equality.
There were other points made. Conservative members either did not understand the points being made by Liberals and New Democrats, or they had been instructed not to acknowledge the questions put to them if they fell outside pre-approved categories. For instance, various Liberals and New Democrats pressed the Conservative speakers to assert firmly that they would table new legislation if the motion being discussed were to pass. Ken Epp (Edmonton-Sherwood Park) did finally answer this in the affirmative, but it appeared the other Tories were afraid to enter into any discussion on process through which the constitution would have to be changed or on the need to invoke the notwithstanding clause.
I'm pretty sure Harper never intended this motion to pass. Having presented it, however, he can say to his electors that he kept his promise to reintroduce it. He's an intelligent person and even if his backbenchers are clueless on the constitutional implications of reversing the definition of marriage, Harper isn't. He hoped to catch Stephane Dion off guard after only a few days in office as Liberal leader, I'm sure.
I expect we will have seen the last of this issue. Harper can truthfully say that he gave the House of Commons and opportunity to make an earlier mistake right, and they turned it down. What a lot of hokey! Does he think the citizenry just fell off the turnip truck? He may be right, if he's judging by the parade of backbenchers prominent in yesterday's debate!