Friday, March 26, 2004

Another Appearance of Scrofulious the Monster!

Scrofulious the Monster made another surprising but not unwelcome appearance on Wednesday. I was driving Bethany home from music lessons when Bethany called out "Be Scrofulious Daddy!". Note that the request was not, "Act like Scrofulious" or "Talk like Scrofulious", but rather "Be Scrofulious." I have no idea what she was talking about, but coincidentally Scrofulious the Monster appeared soon after that.

You may be curious as to why Scrofulious the Monster likes tickling children. The answer is obvious; it tenderizes the meat. Tonight Scrofulious the Monster explained to Joel that he is just the right size. In other words, he is the same size as a good pot roast. Scrofulious the Monster just loves little guys who taste like pot roast.

The tables turned on Scrofulious the Monster last night. It turns out that the children know Scrofulious the Monster's Deepest, Darkest Secret (he's worried the children will eat his toes). Scrofulious the Monster ended up getting his toes eaten (right through his socks) and cried great big monster tears. It turns out Scrofulious the Monster isn't very fearsome after all!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Canadian Budget

A new Canadian budget was unveiled yesterday, and it is more notable for what it didn't do than for what it did do. It didn't announce hordes of new spending on pet projects for the Liberal party. I guess the sponsorship scandal is hitting the Liberals hard enough that they want to demonstrate fiscal prudence.

I was rather disappointed by the reactions to the budget. Please understand, I'm a capital "C" Conservative. But I didn't see too much wrong with the budget. There is a small amount of new spending, but it is in areas of interest to all Canadians. No, they didn't dip into debt in order to ladle out more goodies to everyone, but that's how everyone has to live (you can't keep increasing your debt forever). The Conservative Finance Critic was interviewed and asked what he thought of the budget. I'm not sure what he thought of this budget because he spent all of his time talking about past Liberal budgets and the sponsorship scandal. The provincial premiers basically said, "Thanks for the $2 billion, but we want more." That's because the Federal government cut expenses in the 1990's to they have a surplus now, but the provincial governments (except Alberta) have not done the same. Hence it's the Federal government's fault, by some twisted logic. As expected, the ultimate denial of reality comes from New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton. He said of this budget, "It's like paying down the mortgage faster when you've got a leaky roof, a sick grandmother and your child is trying to go to university". Our national debt is $500 billion. As near as I can see, $2 billion is being used to pay down the debt this year. At that rate, the Canadian "mortgage" will be paid off in only 250 years. But to Jack Layton, I guess that's an accelerated payment plan.

The fact is, this is a surprisingly balanced and prudent budget, particularly for a government going into an election. My issue is not with this budget, but with the scary liberal policies a Liberal government will push if elected.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Hockey Game

I enjoyed the hockey game, although it was somewhat of a comedy of errors. I approached the Corel Center from a different (but well travelled) direction, and found I couldn't get into the parking lot I normally use. I travelled around to some other lots, but they were all "Reserved". I had to do a U-turn to get where I needed to be. I had phoned "Marshy's" for a reservation for supper but they don't take reservations on game nights. I was told that at the time I was arriving, it would be about a half-hour in line. Karen and I stood outside for about half an hour (as expected) before we got in. What I didn't expect was that a "hostess" then took my name and told me it would be about a 60 minute wait for a table, unless I wanted to stand at the bar and eat. Why didn't they just tell me this on the phone. Shawn's rule #47 was broken and I paid the price - never eat at a place that doesn't take reservations. If they don't take reservations it means they are so popular that they can afford to treat you like cattle. Anyway, the game was good, even though most of the action was in the first 10 minutes (Ottawa scored twice and the final score was 2-0). The Alcatel booth is very nice, and it does kind of spoil you for living like the other 16,000 people in the stadium. However reality is that these sorts of opportunities come very occasionally.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Another Interesting Quotation

Jesus did not die on a cross, between two thieves, to satisfy claims of "niceness" or to broker in "inclusion" or make the planet feel good about bio-diversity. He died because we were wretched sinners in need of a Savior and that fact is totally lost on [Episcopal Church in the USA] revisionists even as we approach Easter. See the rest at this link.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Nice Things

Karen made a white chocolate chip bread pudding with vanilla sauce today. It is possibly the most amazing dessert ever. I might even turn my back on chocolate. Maybe.

I was talking to a former employee of mine today. I was managing his team but got moved to a different group. Anyway, he told me he enjoyed working with me and wished that he could have worked with me in this coming year. I left that team to another guy who is a very strong Manager, and so I am sure this employee will excel. Still, it was nice to hear. Another employee had given me similar feedback back in December, which I also appreciated. Often in management you don't get a lot of good feedback. But when it comes from someone who no longer works for you and has nothing to gain by giving false complements, it is encouraging.

Also nice is some hockey tickets I was given, for the private Alcatel box. It's on the 400 level of the Corel Center. The seats are amazing. Also nice is the fact that I was given 2 tickets, so I can take Karen on a date just before the baby comes.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Sunday Update

Interesting day today. At the breaking of bread, one of the men pointed out that Christianity is pretty much unique by virtue of having hymnbooks. We are to be a singing people, for he have so much to sing about! He went on to suggest that we sing one of the greatest of our hymns, "To God Be the Glory".

A nearby Bible College came with a special program. They seemed like nice kids and their singing was appreciated. Afterwards, we had a meal for them and for our own College and Careers group. A number of people from the assembly brought casseroles. What I really enjoyed was the chance to just help out a bit with serving the food and cleaning up. Several people just pitched in and in 90 minutes we had fed 70 people and gotten cleaned up.

While doing some dishes, I talked to a fairly new Christian who was inquiring if our annual Easter Conference is the same way (lots of fellowship and food) and I was happy to tell her it was! Sometimes we lose sight of how special times like Easter Conference are. Our Conferences are a great time of fellowship. They are a great time to catch up with old friends. And they are all the more special when people drive for a few hours to come visit us.

I have happy memories of driving up to New Liskeard for the Men's Conference. It was great to catch up with old friends and enjoy the ministry. Likewise the ladies always put on a great lunch and as a special touch made available paper bags filled with a packed supper for those who would be travelling considerable distances to get home that night.

Of course, talk of conferences is likely to be theoretical for us. Karen is due April 7th, so unless the baby is a bit early, we won't likely be able to attend too many of the sessions.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

People, People, People

Today we stopped at the bank. While getting out of the car, Bethany said, "What's wrong with that car?" I looked, and smoke was coming from the inside. When I looked closer, I could see it was a cigarette burning in the ashtray. Someone had gone into the bank and rather than butting out, risked burning their car. People.

Going into the bank, I went up to the counter with a $20 money order Joel received as a gift and said, "This is Joel and he would like to cash this money order." The girl asked me, "Does he have an account." I guess they had no intention of risking $20 if my 6 year old son didn't have an account. After all, perhaps I took my 2 children to the bank for the express purpose of teaching them how to steal $20 from a bank while 8 different cameras record me doing it! I told her I had an account and presented my bank card. On the other hand, if Joel's name had been on the money order (the name was blank) and they had refused to cash it without Joel having an account, I would have pulled my bank account, my mortgage, my investments and my life insurance from that institution. I think the people who make the rules need to understand that it costs a lot more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Mind you, Sears didn't understand this, so why should the bank? People.

A while ago I went to the grocery store to get some chicken souvlaki sticks for a barbeque. I told the butcher how good they were, and that these were one of the reasons why I'm willing to drive a bit further to get to their store. He said, "Yah, these things are better than cocaine!" I looked at him for a minute and he added, "Or so I've been told." Well maybe he is a cokehead, but he sure knows good meat. People.

Friday, March 12, 2004

The Friendly Giant

A fellow at work was complaining about the Americans, so I posed a question to him. "Has there ever been a nation with so much military power, economic strength and cultural influence, which used that strength so benignly?" And of course the answer is "no". For whatever failings they have, they tend to use their influence in a way that is designed more to bring peace and prosperity to others than it is to bring wealth and power to themselves. No, they are not completely altruistic, but every other empire the world has ever known has focused entirely on bringing the most good to themselves. This is what separates the Americans from others. (On a lighter "note", American patriotic songs seem terribly amateur compared to the great British imperialistic anthems).

Another Round of OAMC

OAMC stands for "Once a Month Cooking". Karen bought the groceries tonight, and tomorrow is going to do another round of once a month cooking. This is in preparation for the coming of the baby. Karen plans to have 10-14 different meals available for our freezer. Having done it a couple of times, we have a better idea of what recipes we like and what recipes we don't.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

I have held off expressing an opinion because until tonight I had not seen it. Now that I have seen it, I feel able to comment.

"The Passion of the Christ" is a powerful movie. In fact, there has never been anything like it. Its purpose is to leave you with an impression, and it does. The torments the Lord Jesus Christ suffered at the hands of men are displayed with graphic vividness. It is not an easy movie to see, and it is NOT a movie for children. But I believe it will help you on your spiritual walk.

Go see it. That's my opinion. But what about all the controversy? I guess I should address some of these controversies. First, is it anti-semitic? The answer is no. Absolutely not! Only someone who has a predetermined reason for wanting to find anti-semitism will find it. Likewise, only someone with a predetermined reason for wanting to hate the Jews will find excuses to hate the Jews in this movie. Some of the Jewish religious leaders are portrayed in a bad light, but some are portrayed in a good light (as opposing this mockery of a trial). Some of the Jewish crowds are presented in a bad light, but some are presented as genuinely devastated by the sufferings of the Lord. In fact it is the Romans who come off looking the worst. And the Scripture is quoted making it clear that the Lord Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, was willing to lay down his life and did not have it taken from him. In other words, Jesus is the victor and not the victim.

But what about the extra-biblical material? Isn't it wrong to add to the word of God? I would answer that "The Passion" is not trying to be a visual representation of the Bible, but rather to leave a powerful impression. Artistic license is employed. Some scenes are made up. And some scenes are dramatisized. But unlike some other films, the purpose is not blasphemous. Is it acceptable for an artistic presentation to leave the Inspired Text? You may differ in your opinion, but I believe it is acceptable in a work that does not claim to be fully Biblical. Besides, I have heard many preachers take great liberties with the Biblical text from the pulpit, and not receive the same amount of criticism. How many times have I heard men suggest that Moses could have been next in line for the throne of Egypt? And how many times has a man explained the significance of the communion loaf in terms of the grinding and baking that is required to make bread. I consider these deviations from the text far more seriously than I do those in "The Passion". Some of the artistic parts are creepy, and at least one is pointless, but these do serve the purpose of providing an impression.

Some have complained about the Roman Catholic background to this work. In fact, the only Catholic parts I could discern were Peter and John occasionally referring to Mary as "Mother". Others complain that having seen this film they will think about it when reading the Bible. I've seen the 10 Commandments a dozen times but I don't think of Charleston Heston when I read about Moses in the Bible. Likewise for the Jesus film.

No doubt some will take it upon themselves to warn their fellow Christians against this film. These are the same people who will warn you that Billy Graham doesn't really preach the Gospel, Jerry Falwell is actually a liberal, George Bush Jr is not really a Christian and James Dobson is really... well I've forgotten what they accuse Dobson of but he is definitely on their hit list. When accepted as an artistic work, we must balance it off against what it is accomplishing. In the workplace, Muslims, Hindus and others are asking me questions. Tonight a family of Muslims walked into the film. Just in my circles of acquaintances, at least one person saw the film and felt the need to be born again. Does this replace the Bible. Of course not. But it is a film worth seeing.

Sunday, March 07, 2004


Freecell is a game that comes with Microsoft Windows. It is mildly adictive, in that you can complete a game in 5 minutes or less. My best winning streak has just come to an end at 28 straight wins. My previous record was 21 straight wins.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


A U.S. court has ruled that a Roman Catholic charities organization must make available birth control pills to it's employees as part of their prescription drug plan. The court ruled that women's rights have precedence over the religious rights of the Catholics. In over 20 States, it is considered discrimination against women to offer a prescription drug plan which does not include birth control pills. I for one am very glad that all real forms of discrimination against women have now been addressed and we as a society can start addressing all the stupid forms of pseudo-discrimination.


We took a tour of the birthing center in the local hospital today. For the first time, I got a bit excited about the process of having the baby. I've been excited about the baby, but not about the process. But touring the birthing center really helped it sink it. The center is new, with really nice rooms and a jacuzzi tub in each room.