I have this silly habit of ending each blog post with an ellipses (…). When I looked at changing a number of things with it, such as the layout, I did canvass some friends about a suggestion for a new name.
Hint: do not ask my friends for such type of suggestion. Many suggestions were quite funny, although their ability to be discussed in polite society were limited.
I opted for changing it from Doug’s Blog, uninteresting as it is, to Before the Ellipses. After much thought, and criticism from Clara, I have decided to be boring again and go back to the old name.
Oh, well. Lots of people don’t know what an ellipses is anyway…
We went shopping last week, and bought a new(er) motorhome. We had looked a bit last year, but the prices were a bit scary. However, there was a sale, and we shopped.
We bought a 2006 Adventurer, 24 foot Class C. It’s very nice, although I really do have to sell the older one for the driveway space. It had the main selling point for Clara, a bed in the back rather than over the front of the cab.
We decide that we would take it out to Fox Lake Campground on Wednesday, since you often have to get there early to get a good campsite on long weekends for the campgrounds close to town. This was kind of touch and go as we only got the camper Wednesday afternoon. It was a pleasant drive out to the campground. I was looking forward to really nice weather for the first real weekend of the season. That was to be kicked in the butt later on during the weekend.
We couldn’t get our favourite site at the campground. It is next to a small creek that runs into the lake. It crosses the road through the campground through a culvert; however, the culvert seems to have been blocked and the creek, in full melt water, decided to find a new path of its own. This path ran through the road and through the site in question and the one next to it, cutting off about ten of the sites up the road as well as the two washed out ones.
The alternate campsite was fine, and placed on substantially higher ground, to say the least. We finally got in to the site on Friday evening, after packing up all of the stuff that didn’t go into the motorhome due to short notice.
It was nice to get out and spend a bit of time sitting in front of a campfire. The weather wasn’t that warm and the furnace ran a fair bit over the weekend, to say the least. Sunday was particularly “un-springlike,” with flurries in the morning and snow in the afternoon. It wasn’t what you would call seasonal weather, given that May has been noted for the hottest temperatures of the year over the last few years.
On the whole, it was a nice opening weekend for the new camper. We’re psyched for some more.
By the way, the weather Sunday evening did clear enough for a really nice sunset, although you don’t see these until after 11 pm this time of year…
It has been nine days since I e-mailed Ryan Leef, MP for the Yukon, regarding direct government intervention in collective bargaining for Crown corporations. To this point, I have not even received a response, despite specifically asking for one.
I have heard others complain that they have contacted him and not received so much as an acknowledgement from his staff that they even received the request. Therefore, if you work for Mr. Leef and have the opportunity to read this blog, please remind him that, within a Westminister government, he works for his constituents. Unfortunately, I have seen little to indicate that he is aware of this.
Here’s an e-mail I sent to Ryan Leef regarding the clauses of the budget bill relating to oversight of crown corporations. If you live in Yukon and feel the same way, please ensure you contact him and point out the promise he made in the election. His e-mail is email@example.com.
Hon. Ryan Leef, MP
House of Commons
Dear Mr. Leef:
I am writing to express my displeasure and curiosity regarding portions of the budget bill regarding Treasury Board oversight of collective bargaining for CBC, Via Rail and Canada Post. I am deeply perplexed over what these budget provisions hope to accomplish.
Crown Corporations have historically functioned as arm’s length extensions of the government. They provide specific services that cannot be adequately or appropriately met by private industry. As such, to prevent both their abuse as a political, rather than federal, enterprise and to reduce the potential for government interference in the free market, direct government oversight is inappropriate and undesirable.
The explanation provided for these provisions makes little sense. The reason given is controlling wages within the public sector. Such a response indicates absolute incompetence in understanding how funding works. Crown corporations receive a set budget as part of the federal budget and the distribution of this funding, whether for salaries and benefits, facilities, etc., are the responsibility of the federally-appointed boards of directors of the corporations. I am hoping that the response given was made in error and is not a reflection that Treasury Board has not conception of introductory accounting and economics. I am hoping, however, that the reason given was the actual one and no other, unnamed, motives exist.
You stated during the election that you would vote against the government if asked to do so by your constituents. Therefore, as one of your constituents, I am requesting that you push to amend the legislation to remove these clauses, and if this is not successful, to vote against the budget completely. I am aware that other constituents also intend to contact you regarding this matter requesting the same. Also, as a constituent, I request a reply providing your intentions. Should you be voting in favour of this, please provide a count and list of the names of all of your constituents who have contacted you and which way they have asked you to vote in this matter to ensure that you are willing to fulfill your campaign promise.
While I have not been as good about it the last few days, since I’ve been laid low with the flu, I’ve been experimenting with electronic cigarettes lately. These are someone misnamed, as they aren’t cigarettes and you don’t really smoke them.
An e-cigarette is actually an atomizer, which atomizes a liquid into tiny particles that behave like cigarette smoke. The liquid can contain a variety of different items, although the main constituents are glycerine and distilled water. They emulate the habit of smoking, including coming with a taste. For example, I’ve developed a preference for the ones that supposedly taste like Canadian cigarettes. Since this is a food grade product, the full ingredients have to be listed. The magic ingredient that emulated Canadian cigarettes, by the way, is vanilla extract.
There are two parts: the taste cartridge and the battery. The battery came with two chargers. One plugs into the wall and one runs off a USB port. This leads to a rather interesting situation:
One of the support staff said he was sending my picture to Dell and raising a trouble ticket… seems one of the computers at work is smoking. I said that, if he got a response, I want to see it.
Needless to say, there are certain health implications that are absent in using one of these vs. smoking. First of all, there is no nicotine or tar. While you can get ones containing nicotine in the US, Health Canada does not permit this and US companies will not ship them to Canada. Also, since there’s no smoke, there’s no second hand smoke so many areas allow their use indoors. Only two US airlines, for example, have banned their use in flight. Air Canada permits them to be brought aboard but not their use.
Now, given this this represents a pretty decent tool in the arsenal of quitting smoking, you would think Health Canada would be happy about this. Unfortunately, they seem to have adopted the holier than thou attitude that anything that emulates smoking is just as bad. I sometimes wonder what it takes to work in a department that thinks quitting smoking aids are bad but gives drug approvals based on the manufacturers’ word of how the testing went.
There is one health hazard I do have to worry about, though. I’m trying to keep on a one-for-one schedule with a real cigarette only every second one. Now, my fear is that I’ll go out, fire up a real one, take three or four drags, and then throw it into my shirt pocket without thinking. Oh well, that’s a mistake I’d only make once…
A quick update on what’s happening with a play I’m producing…
I’ve been asked what’s the future for Fracture Zone. The answer is that I’m looking at doing two more rewrites. The first is before booking a theatre and doing a two-week short run to workshop it out in March of next year. I’m also looking at submitting it for a theatre festival in Vancouver for next May.
If you are a local actor, note that a call for auditions will be going out in a few months. I’ll post it in the usual place (round up the usual suspects?) and so you should keep your eyes open. There are 3 characters, a male in his 40s or 50s, a male in his 30s and and female in her 30s to 40s.
At the moment, I’m still working on timeline and budget things, so I’m not ready to do the call yet…
I should start this with a bit of a disclaimer. Being of Northern Irish descent, I have a great dislike of bombings. Go figure.
With the two suspects, and no one has been convicted yet so “suspects” is the appropriate word, dealt with in one way or another, we now wait to get the important questions answered. The first of these is, “Why?”
Terrorism is a political tool. It serves to compel people to alter their way of life enough that governments will give in to the political aim or aims of the terrorists.
While religious extremism is often given as a “cause” of terrorist activity, there are not many examples of terrorism being based on strictly religious grounds. Northern Ireland, for example, is often shown as an example of Catholic vs. Protestant terrorism, yet the main aim of terrorist acts on either side was to aid or prevent the separation of Northern Ireland from Britain. To this you can add the fact that there were Catholic Loyalists and Protestant Republicans. The actions of the Palestine Liberation Organization were presented as “Islamic terrorism,” yet the aim of the PLO was the destabilization and destruction of the state of Israel, a political rather than religious aim.
What is not immediately obvious in this case is what they hoped to accomplish. While the suspects were originally Chechans, both of whom lived for some time in their early lives in Dagostan, it seems that the US makes an odd target. Russia would have been a more logical target, if Checan separatism was their cause. Hopefully, the remaining suspect can provide some insight on the reason for the attack. Note that there is no guarantee that the reason he provides will be the actual one, although I suspect that anyone willing enough to make such a public statement as bombing the Boston Marathon will be equally willing to have the chance to air his grievances in a public forum.
Perhaps the second most important question is, “Why terrorism at all?” Terrorism almost never achieves its end. There are very few examples of terror resulting as the sole cause of its stated aims.
Only two from the last century come to mind, and terrorism itself was not the main cause of the success of the movements in question. The eventual withdrawal of Britain from Palestine and the formation of the state of Israel was aided by terrorist bombings, but the weakness of the British armed forces after World War II and the guilt of failure to act to end the Holocaust were probably far greater factors.
The separation of the Irish Republic from the UK was a foregone conclusion. The first attempt by Britain to divest itself of a troubling colony was the first Home Rule Act in 1886 (which fell in the Commons), followed by the Second Home Rule Act of 1893 (passed the Commons but defeated in the House of Lords), and the Third in 1914, which passed and received Royal Assent, but was not implemented due to the beginning of World War I. Efforts to give Ireland Home Rule predate the formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, who later became the Irish Republican Army in 1917, so they were not the only factor in the formation of the Republic of Ireland.
Will we learn anything from this? That remains to be seen, and, hopefully, what we do learn will eventually reduce the chances of it happening again. I don’t hold much hope, since it is obvious is that the negligible chances of success for terrorism seems to have no deterrent for those willing to employ it…
“And those who give the orders they are not the ones who die…” – Tommy Sands