Thoughts on the state of the political world

There was a recent, almost playful, discussion on one of the sailing forums the other day about the potential northward invasion of our American neighbours. It devolved —just a bit — into finger pointing for a while and I chimed in with a few thoughts. But I thought I would (re)record them here for my future self in case I ever get overly frustrated with the universe.

 

I’m not so left or so right that I think the system — or systems if we are speaking generically of Western world politics — is in any danger; they’ve been designed to weather the storms of a redneck America or a socialist Alberta. It’s the ignorance and inherent laziness of people that scares me; While I welcome Americans who want to try a lifestyle that includes 40° below (celsius or fahrenheit) as a normal fact-of-life, I truly believe they need to stay the course, educate themselves and fight for their own values. whatever they are.

We all just need to get our heads out of our asses and work: to build consensus, educate ourselves and our neighbours, and put our brains to work, rather than hiding behind simplistic ideas of “right” and “wrong.” A quote out of a recent CBC article encapsulates the sort of dangerous “smug” assumptions voters make:

Despite what many smug Canadians would like to believe, there are those among us who, for example, worry about proper screening at the border, or about integration among new immigrants — there are even those who use the phrase “left-wing elite” non-ironically.
Anyone naive enough to believe we don’t have Trump-like people here in Canada is just as dangerous as someone who thinks a “Canadian Values Test” will keep out any but the most honest of applicants.

I don’t care if you are pro-gun or antigun, a rabid Rocna fan or a Delta devotee, just because you think everyone else is an idiot and should just bugger off doesn’t mean that it’s ever going to happen. And frankly that belief is more destructive than a hundred Trumps.

But weren’t we talking about American beer?

This guy..

This is who I aspire to be. regina-man-goes-to-extreme-lengths-to-answer-online-comments. Of course I would title it Guy Gets Shit Done after Being Irritated By People Bitching So Much or maybe Just Do it For F*ck’s Sake or even Regina Man Does Something Sensible: Internet Astounded!

Facebook

McDonald said the main reason he dug out a stranger’s car was to get people thinking about issues he deems more important.

“I wanted people to stop filling the City of Regina’s Facebook page with posts about snow so that we can all go back to the important things like arguing online about the terrible funding model they decided on for the new stadium,” he said.

Like Mssr McDonald I am (and always have been) a sucker for for reading comments and opinions, rarely with much satisfaction. Way back as a kid I would faithfully read the back page of Alberta Report where Mr Ted Byfield (and later his son Link) would vomit out line upon line of bilious diatribe and then I would swear and curse for 15 minutes before my mother would once again tsk-tsk me and tell me to just not read them. (Actually she always espoused the belief that Ted was just trying to get my goat—and succeeding. I never believed it.)

So anyway, this guy did something about it. F*cking Ay. Damn internet Comment-jockies. But it speaks volumes about our society that the media decided he went to “extreme” lengths. It was probably a 10 minute job to find the car and then he shovelled it. The shovelling was the whole point. And a 10 minute internet search better not be considered extreme these days or I will find myself on some Dr. Phil show someday.

But ya people; just shovel the driveway. Your driveway, her driveway, the fricking Mayor’s driveway. It’s more energy efficient than bitching about it.

Charge It!

So the other day I went to Staples to print out some cover proofs in colour. The cover measures 9.5 x 10.75 so it won’t fit full size on 8.5 x 11 sheet. So I picked tabloid on the colour printer and choked the machine. Stupid colour copiers. The machine of course, charged me almost $4 for the 4 copies I didn’t get. But the nice lady at the counter happily took my USB stick and set up the job to send to her behind-the-counter printer and all seemed well.

Just as she sent it, she mentioned there would be white space at the top and bottom and was that ok. I said sure, the cover was only 9 x 10 and there would be whitespace all around. At this, she screwed up her face and cancelled the print job. While she reset the print parameters, she told me that the reason the other copier had choked was because I was trying to print a file that was the wrong size. The next time I had an odd size I should just come to the counter and for a $3 service fee she would “fix” my file. Because the  software they used automatically expanded the image to fit the paper size. And they had to tell it not to do that.

So to summarize, she (Staples) would charge me $3 ($2 if it was not a rush job) to print out my file at the size my file was. It was ‘free’ to blow it up to a bigger size, but would cost me almost double if I wanted it just the way I supplied it.

Kill me now…

A rejected version of the cover

A rejected version of the cover

I guess I never…

Apparently I have never offered a sincere apology…

“A sincere apology is one which acknowledges the wrongdoing, accepts responsibility for the harm that was caused, promises to never repeat the offensive action, and then offers to make amends for any harm done.”

Seems a tad bit extreme and almost self-serving. Any two of these would do it for me… I can guarantee I have never offered all 4 to anyone. I get what the chief is saying but, I doubt it will have any good outcome besides building a bigger barrier.

Chief rejects hunting lodge owner’s apology over racist brochure

Logic is truth…

As for building detailed inferences on generalised or flimsy data,
I’m reminded of the Cairo tour guide who told his clients
“This particular pyramid is 5002 years old.”

When asked how he could pin it down with such accuracy, he explained:
“When I started working here the year before last, I was told it was 5000 years old.”

In other news, I learned a new word today.
Sciolist: Knowing many things but knowing them badly.
Not sure if knowing that that makes me me feel smug or small.

No Hate is Good Hate

Before you criticize a man, you should walk a mile in his shoes. Then when you do criticize him, you’re a mile away. And you have his shoes.

There’s been a lot of internet hatred in my week so far. Pompous armchair critics are one thing but vitriolic hatred for people and stories you know nothing about is pure another. There is never a good excuse…

Thankfully the CBC has its comments turned off. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/sick-baby-rescued-by-u-s-warship-off-coast-of-mexico-1.2600052

This NYT article is pretty balanced but the comments… oh the comments…

If I needed an excuse…

…to dress up pretty, I guess I could apply for this job:

In support of achieving a diversified workforce, consideration may be given to candidates self-identifying as belonging to one of the following employment equity groups: Aboriginal peoples; persons with a disability; visible minorities; and women.

I mean, somedays a guy just wants to self identify with his inner woman. I know I do… Mmmmmmm, chocolate….