Monday, September 29, 2003

Afraid of Capitalism?

The provincial "Progressive Conservative" party is about to core on election day, and the federal "Progressive Conservative" party is still stuck with the illusion that they are a major force and can bend the Canadian Alliance party any way they want. It's tough being a true conservative in Canada. The conservative parties spend a lot of time shooting themselves in the feet (yes, I know the correct expression is "Shooting themselves in the foot" but the conservatives seem to use a shotgun on themselves so they can get both feet at once).

On the other hand, it's tough being a conservative in Canadian society. From a moral point of view, Canadians are so secular they cannot accept that someone might have a moral point of view based on more than their current whim. From a fiscal point of view, there is an incredible antipathy towards capitalism. There is an unstated suspicion against anyone who has made his fortune, and business is not seen as an economic engine but rather as a resource to be milked.

The award for pragmatism goes to the provincial Liberal party, who opposes private companies building hospitals in a "lease back" arrangement, but who have declared they will let the current deal for the new Royal Ottawa Hospital continue. A more principled view might be to say "if it's wrong, stop it from happening in Ottawa and if it's right let it happen everywhere in Ontario". But the pragmatic Liberals know what side of the bread is buttered, and so they are letting it go through "this time". I guess they know they can't scrap the Royal Ottawa and still get any seats in Ottawa.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

General Update

Time for a general update:

Karen is mostly over the morning sickness. She still gets tired (and I anticipate this increasing). She is about 14 weeks pregnant at this point. We are thinking about names. Yes, the excitement builds.

I have a cold that doesn't seem to want to end. I preached today with a voice that was giving out, but thankfully it stayed giving out and never gave out. For those who are interested, the topic was Romans 3:9-20 - The Legal Condemnation of All Men.

For the geeks among us, next week plans to be a big week at work. My team is introducing code coverage into our testing cycle. We are also doing cyclomatic complexity and SEI's Maintainability Index analysis of our code. On the down side, I found out that one of my patent ideas was so good that one of our competitors patented it 6 months ago. Alas.

I ordered a bunch of books from CBD, including the Greek book I wanted. They should come in about a week from now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Car Update

I got my car back. I assumed that there was a catastrophic engine failure. In fact, it was the "Crank Shaft Sensor" which had gone bad. Evidently if the sensor goes bad, the whole car gets immobilized. This seems a little extreme to me (I would hope that cars are designed to go through various degraded stages of operation before finally quitting). This looks like a minor part that causes a single point of failure. This reminds me of all the bright folks who were absolutely dependent on their pagers and so they purchased pagers through 2 different companies, both of which used the same satellite. You can guess what happened.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Much to be thankful for

My car died today. Two years old and the engine quit while I was driving. And so, to paraphrase Matthew Henry, I have much to be thankful for.

1. the car quit on a small road, not a highway
2. I was able to get to a Loblaws parking lot
3. someone was there to help me push my car
4. I did not end up blocking traffic
5. there was a phone I could use at the store
6. I was able to buy a snack at the store
7. I have CAA, so the tow was free
8. it didn't rain on me while I waited
9. the car is still under warrantee
10. there was no accident
11. the children were not with me
12. I was driving the car, not my pregnant wife
13. we have a second car
14. I used this as a chance to take my family out for supper

Yes, I still feel stressed and upset by the whole thing, but I know there are blessings upon blessings in my life. And so begins the process of trying to get the heart to live at the same level as the intellect.

Sunday, September 21, 2003


This morning, my 5 year old son asks me, "Daddy, do you know what echolocation is?" My goodness, what are they teaching children in school these days? Wait! We homeschool. It's our fault!

Friday, September 19, 2003

No Greek for a Week

I've been very busy this week and haven't studied any Greek. Of course, it's been easy for me to skip the Greek since I'm still disappointed about the book I wanted selling out it's first printing almost immediately. A reprint is due in October, and I am thinking of ordering it. Still, I've got to make an effort to get back into it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Today's Vote

Today, a motion by the Canadian Alliance Party was narrowly defeated by 5 votes. The motion was almost identical to one which passed 4 years ago, affirming the traditional definition of marriage and calling Parliament to take whatever steps necessary to defend that definition. That motion 4 years ago passed with a strong majority. Despite a watering down of the original motion (today's motion didn't use the "whatever steps" language because some felt that would force the use the "notwithstanding" clause), many MP's changes their votes from the last time.

Here is the text of a letter I sent to the CBC about this issue:

The press has not, to my knowledge, asked the Prime Minister one of the most important questions in this whole debate. He has consistently deferred to the courts, allowing them to make law. He has stated that he would "never" invoke the notwithstanding clause. And he has stated that religious groups would not be forced to go against their own principles and be forced to perform weddings for homosexuals. But what will he do if the courts decide that churches must perform wedding ceremonies irrespective of sexual orientation. If the past is any guide, he will tell us Parliament is helpless to make law because the Court has spoken. There is an element within the gay community that will certainly raise this challenge in court. I fear for the cause of religious liberty in Canada.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

And another funny posting

This was sent to me by a friend from B.C., but I'm not sure where he got it.

You know you're from Canada when... (The Canadian Version to a Redneck)

- You only own three spices - salt, pepper, and ketchup.
- You design your Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.
- You have more miles on your snowblower than your car.
- You have 10 favorite recipes for moose meat.
- You thought "Grumpy Old Men" was a documentary.
- Canadian Tire on any Saturday is busier than the toy stores at Christmas.
- You live in a house that has no front steps, yet the door is one meter above the
- You've taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard.
- Driving is better in the winter because the potholes get filled with snow.
- You think everyone from the city has an accent.
- You think sexy lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightie with only 8 buttons.
- The local paper covers national and international headlines on 1/4 page, but
requires 6 pages for sports.
- At least twice a year, the kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant.
- The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
- Your snowblower gets stuck on the roof.
- You think the start of moose season is a national holiday.
- You head south to go to your cottage.
- You frequently clean grease off your barbecue so the bears won't prowl on your
- You know which leaves make good toilet paper.
- The Mayor greets you by your first name on the street.
- The municipality buys a Zamboni before a bus.
- The major parish fundraiser isn't bingo - it's sausage making.
- You find -40C a might chilly.
- You attended a formal event in your best clothes, your finest jewelry and your
- You can tell the difference between a chipmunk and a squirrel from 300 yards
- You know the 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Highway
- You actually 'get' these jokes, and forward them to all your Northern friends.

Practical Joke

Here is a joke a friend of mine played on someone. It actually made the Dibert newsletter:

A co-worker of mine has SETI@home running on his computer. This is software, distributed by SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), that will run on PCs as a screen saver and analyze chunks of data from a radio telescope looking for non-naturally occurring signals from outer space. The other day I copied the SETI analysis screen to Microsoft Paint and then edited it to contain a large alert message stating that ET signals had been discovered. I also drew in a button that he could use to "Notify SETI Immediately." I left this image on his screen with a "red alert" sound running in the background.

When he returned to his desk he was ecstatic to see that he had found ET life. He called another co-worker over to witness the historic moment. Then he clicked the button and discovered what I'd done.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Redneck Test

Are you a Redneck? Take this simple test:

1. Regarding guns
a) They are an evil which should be made illegal
b) They are a constitutional right for the maintaining of a militia
c) They are a way to protect my loved ones
d) It is the constitutional right of every red-blooded American to own an AK-47 assault rifle
e) It is the constitutional obligation of every red-blooded American to own an M-16, which is made in America, unlike those AK-47s

2. Regarding where to store guns
a) I don't have a gun (see 1.a)
b) I store my gun in a locked cabinet, separate from the ammunition
c) I store my gun where it will be handy if I need it
d) I store my guns in the back window of my pickup truck

3. Regarding meat
a) I am a vegetarian for the sake of principle
b) I eat limited portions of meat as part of a healthy lifestyle
c) I enjoy all types of meat
d) Only a wimp would avoid beef
e) I eat beef and veal as a matter of principle

4. Regarding Canada
a) Canada is a valued friend and trading partner
b) Canada is an independent country with an independent foreign policy, which we must respect even if we disagree
c) Cold fronts come from Canada. I saw it on the Weather Channel
d) Billy-Bob and me is planning to invade Canada next week, so's they can be a part of America jes like Mr Monroe said they should. Besides, I heard they got's good hunting up there.

5. Regarding the Military
a) the military is an out-dated institution, which should be uni-laterally disbanded
b) it is regretable that a military is necessary
c) our military is vital to our defense and our interests
d) military service should be compulsory
e) I don't have time to join the military. I am too busy with Billy-Bob's private militia

6. Regarding the Environment
a) environmental issues are the only ones that really matter
b) I do my part to recycle and take care of the environment
c) Jobs are more important than trees
d) Teddy Roosevelt didn't worry about the environment, and he was a real man!

7. Regarding Terrorists
a) terrorists have legitimate political and economic concerns, which must be addressed
b) terrorists concerns me, and we must be wary
c) we should punish countries that sponsor terrorism
d) we should nuke countries that sponsor terrorism
e) just let a terrorist try something. I got my .45 and I'll let him have it

8. Regarding Transportation
a) I use public transit. It's cheap, efficient and environmentally conscious
b) I use public transit. I don't like it, but it gets me there.
c) I own a fuel efficient car
d) I own a big American made car. Who cares about fuel efficiency?
e) I own a pickup truck. It's my constitutional right to use as much gas as possible

9. Regarding Voting
a) I weigh the issues, and then vote
b) Voting is my responsibility in a democratic society
c) I vote the straight part ticket
d) I vote for Billy-Bob 'cause he's kinfolk
e) I vote for Jefferson Davis every election.

I made this up years ago. My apologies to anyone named "Billy-Bob". For those who are interested, I'm generally an "option c" kind of person.

Thursday, September 11, 2003


The Prime Minister of Canada rejected calls for a national referendum on same-sex marriage. He said that he has to protect minority rights. Now that is an amazing admission - that democracy and minority rights are mutually exclusive concepts and that it is his goal to bypass the right of the people to make a decision so that he can push his agenda.

So what do you think? How can the concepts of democracy and minority rights be reconciled? Or is it impossible?

Monday, September 08, 2003

Ultimate Amusement?

Leafing through a guide on Disneyworld, I came across a description of their "Rock 'n Roller Coaster". It accelerates from zero to 57 mph in 3 seconds, and hits 5 G's in the first loop (more than the space shuttle on launch). Is this the ultimate amusement?

Perhaps less amusing is the Ontario election. On one hand we have Ernie, the Conservative candidate who has been less conservative than expected. His family life consists of his common-law "spouse". He states that he is personally against same-sex marriage because of his Anglican upbringing (even though the Anglican church seems to have no position on this).

On the other hand we have Dalton, the Liberal candidate. His family life consists of his wife and 5 children. He says he is a devout Catholic who supports same-sex marriage because he knows in his heart it is the right thing, and whose church has stated that politicians with such views are putting their souls in peril.

Wow, what a choice. Is there someone who is consistently conservative, whose family life speaks well of them, and who isn't at odds between what he says he believes, what he actually believes and what he does? Barring that, do I vote for the man whose policies I agree with the most, or do I vote for the man whose family life I agree with the most?

Of course, the last thing to consider is what Ernie means when he says he is personally opposed to same-sex marriage. Usually when a politician says he is "personally opposed" to something, it is a sop offered to conservative voters and has nothing whatsoever to do with what policies he will implement.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Morning Sickness

Just an update. Karen's morning sickness is getting better. She was quite sick with Bethany, was not sick at all with Joel, and now is constantly a little bit sick with "Ezekiel". We went to see the midwife on Tuesday, and we both agree that this is the direction we want to go - a hospital birth with a midwife.

Friday, September 05, 2003

More on Money

Last night, Bethany once again said that we could have all of her money (it's actually less than $2 but it's a lot of money to her). If I can remember what she said - "I don't need money. If I have money I'll just be more selfish. I get all the candy I want." So as she sees it, her needs (candy) are met, and she understands that money can be a lure to the heart.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Whales or Wales?

Joel asked us to put on his favorite song from the "Land of My Fathers" CD. It's a collection of mostly Welsh music from the Rugby World Cup. His favorite song is "Calon Lan" which is a beautiful song, sung in Welsh on the CD. When Joel said it was his favorite, I told him it was because he had some Wales in him (specifically, he is 1/8 Welsh). This of course delighted him and he went around saying "I have whales in me" and imitated a whale.

Since I Haven't Posted For a Couple of Days

Since I haven't really had anything to post for a couple days, I guess I should come up with something. What should I discuss? Hummm? Oh, I know! Karen and I are expecting our third child. Yes, little Ezekiel Zerubbabel is due at the end of March. Actually, we don't know if we are expecting a boy or a girl, and even if we have a boy Ezekiel Zerubbabel is not likely to be the name. But I have to call him/her something, so it's Ezekiel Zerubbabel for now.