Wednesday, May 31, 2006


My Dad wrote to tell me the falcons in Sudbury have worked out better than I described. He says they still have lots of song birds, but the pigeon population is now under control. I stand corrected. But since it was Mom who told me about the falcon fiasco, I guess Dad will now have to correct Mom. Dad, please leave a comment if you survive the experience! 8-)

On a different note, I was in Loblaws today. It's always nice to walk into a grocery store during a 32 degree Celsius heat-wave and stand in the frozen food aisle. Less fun was listening to the announcement, "Would the customer who left his dog in his car please go roll down the window." Obviously the average IQ in Canada remains steady from last summer.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Attention Mr Gates

I just got a new computer for the school room, and this has led me to develop two wishes from Microsoft:

1) a way to easily set up a new computer. I needed to create all the accounts, move over all the documents, install all the software, transfer the email, addresses and connection information, transfer all bookmarks and cookies, etc. Why isn't there an easier way to set up a new computer?

2) I've got two computers connected to a network, although file sharing is problematic. But even with file sharing, I have two sets of favourites, two email address books, etc. Of course this means I have corrected email addresses in one address book, and old email addressed in the other address book. Rather than just sharing files, could it be possible to have file replication for certain specific applications? And could the replication be via a secure connection, potentially over the Internet?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

News from Europe

A number of sheep in Germany were recently killed. The suspect is a wild bear. These bears have been extinct in Europe for many years, but "conservationists" have been reintroducing the bears in Italy and Spain. One of these bears, similar to a Canadian grizzly, is believed to have crossed the Alps, decended into Germany and is now killing livestock.

Now, what is wrong with this story. More more precisely, what is wrong with the minds of people who are reintroducing grizzly bears into Europe? Any ecological damage done by their extinction was over years ago. Now, by reintroducing these bears they will do more damage to the current ecosystem (not to mention farms). Also, I wonder if the "conservationists" really understand what they are doing. The grizzly bear is one of the biggest, toughest and meanest creatures on any continent. There are large areas of Canada that would be beautiful hiking country, if it wasn't for the presence of grizzly bears and the need to be heavily armed in the bush.

A similar story comes out of my home town of Sudbury. "Conservationists" reintroduced falcons, which have been extinct in the area for a hundred years. Falcons. Good idea. Now there are falcons. There are no other birds because the falcons have killed all of them. But falcons are now reintroduced. Another victory for animal conservation.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

For those who are interested

I finally got the formal letter of transfer on my new job. It was dated April 24th, told me I had 5 days to accept, and I received it on May 15th. I signed the acceptance and walked it down to HR.

Well, I've spent the last week and a half coding. I did a web page with some HTML forms, then added JavaScript validation of the data and am now working on a PHP backend. The PHP currently generates a PDF file with the data, and will end up mailing the file to the appropriate contact person.

Affluent or Declining

I passed by a pet food store on Friday that had a sign: "Natural, Holistic and Organic Pet Food Sold Here". So is this a society that has too much money, or a society that has lost it's grip on reality? Feed your dog cans of "Dr Ballards" and send the money you save to feed the hungry!

The Dangerous Christian Right

The Christian Right is obviously a danger, or at least that's what the MSM (Main Stream Media) would have you believe. For example, have a look at this article on Yahoo:

Merek has come up with a vaccine against a number of sexually transmitted viruses that cause cervical cancer (note that cervical cancer is extremely rare when two virgins marry and are faithful to each other). Some members of the Christian Right have expressed concerns that this vaccine could cause people to think promiscuity is safe. Maybe this is a valid concern, or maybe it isn't. But the real danger is not the Christian Right. I would say the real danger is Merek, who is campaigning to make this vaccination mandatory for children who wish to attend public schools. Yes, you read correctly. While all other mandatory vaccinations are to prevent diseases caused by casual contact, this one is to prevent a sexually transmitted disease. When a vaccine against AIDS is developed, will it be mandatory? Just crazy.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Great supper tonight. I went to Farm Boy and got some of their Alberta AAA Rib Eye steaks and did them on the BBQ. Karen did baked potatos, fresh green beans, corn and Paresian bread. Yum!

It seems every couple of years...

It seems every couple of years we find another living fossil. In other words, there are creatures which are thought to have been extinct for tens of millions of years, and lo and behold we find some of them living. The latest is documented at

Got to love the last line of the report. "The biologists said their discovery shows that there are still places on Earth that haven't been explored yet." Well yes, but even more interesting would be hearing a biologist comment on what these living fossils mean for using rock strata to assign geological dates. Various creatures are used as index fossils. In other words, if some creature has been extinct for 60 million years, and we find some rock strata with those fossils, we know that the rock is about 60 million years old. But what happens when we find a living fossil? At that point the dating of the strata becomes uncertain. So the next time you are taking a tour of some geological formation and you are told it is tens of millions of years old, it may be time to raise some questions.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Article from First Things

An interesting article for you to read. Somewhat lengthy, but worth your time:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Minor Humiliations

I was in a meeting the other day at work and we were talking about SAP, the major financial software package produced in Germany. Up until a couple of years ago we were still getting popup messages in German even though we were using the English version. Anyway. on commenting about this I said to the coop student across from me, "Sprechen Sie Deutsches?" Ha ha. Well it turned out he and I were the only two people in the room who didn't speak German. Oops.

I was walking towards the coffee machine at work and saw a woman whom I haven't seen for a couple of years. I said, "Hi, how are you?" Of course she turned around and it was someone I've never met. So I said, "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone I knew. I guess I have to humiliate myself every once in a while." So I turned to go into the bathroom, and in pushing the door open I almost killed the guy on the other side of the door who was just coming out. Oops.

A Better Browsing Experience

I tried out Firefox 1.5 at work last week, and it is definitely a better browsing experience than Internet Explorer. It is noticably faster, and the way it works with your bookmarks is much better. Installation was really smooth... during the install process it looks at your Internet Explorer and asks you if you would like to copy over all the bookmarks, cookies and settings. Smooth!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Jim Elliot

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I almost cried...

We've all heard of Jim Elliot, one of the 5 martyrs of Ecuador. I was surfing around on the web tonight and found 2 of his sermons on the web at Wheaton, in Real Media format. That's right, you can hear him preach. I almost cried when I heard the voice of a real hero preaching. And the sermon was very powerful as well!

Johnny Cash

I bought Johnny Cash's last album the other day. I grew up listening to Johnny Cash around the house, but "American IV: The Man Comes Around" is an incredibly powerful and moving musical legacy. Most of the songs are incredibly sad, but moving. "Hurt" is the song that most people equate with the album, but the title track "When the Man Comes Around" is the one I've been listening to over and over. Cash himself said he worked on that song for longer than any other song he's ever written. His voice is older and rougher, but still distinctive and excellent. In fact the musical excellence of the album is quite amazing. Listen at your own risk, because there are a couple objectionable words, but on the whole I've enjoyed the album.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Toddler Bed

Despite having been evicted from the only "home" she has known for her whole life (i.e. her crib), Hannah seems to have taken the transition to the toddler bed quite well. She went down to sleep both last night and tonight without any problems. I think she understands all the enthusiasm in our voices when we were extolling the virtues of her "new" bed.

Yesterday Joel wasn't sitting properly at the table, and fell out of his chair. His head hit Hannah's chair, and he started crying (he's OK by the way). Anyway, Hannah comes walking over to him and says "What happened?" It's so neat to see her mind and vocabulary developing. She knew something was wrong, she was curious about it, and she knew the exact words to use to ask the question.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Word Lists

Because I have lots of free time on my hands (ha ha) I decided to start compiling word lists from some of the books in my children's curriculum. The list includes words that children might not know the meaning of, or words they may need to learn to spell. I have a word list for "The Golden Goblet" and am currently preparing a list for "Strawberry Girl". I'm not sure what I'll do with these lists. Maybe I'll write a curriculum supplement and supplement the family income! Anyway, I've been going through the meanings of some of the words with Bethany and she seems interested in learning them.

We'll see...

We moved Hannah into a toddler bed today. It was clear that she could climb out of her crib (or dangerously fall out) so it was time. I set up the toddler bed this afternoon and took down the crib. Bethany spent some time playing with Hannah on the toddler bed. We also gave her a pillow. She went down OK, but we'll see what the night is like.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Who is to blame?

According to this article

women in Alberta are leaving the workforce while the economy is so hot it needs more workers. The article goes on to say "conservative social attitudes... are to blame".

Got to love that word "blame". Using the word "blame" means this is automatically a negative phenomena. And of course there is a target for blame... conservative social attitudes. But who holds those attitudes? The people of Alberta.

So in essence, the people of Alberta need to be liberated from the right to hold their own opinions, so that women can be liberated from what they want to do and liberated from what they have decided they should do, and can get back into the workforce. I guess in the liberal mindset, women should have freedom but only if they will use that freedom to do what the liberal elite want them to do.

Friday, May 05, 2006

General Update

The children's AWANA program is finished until September. Looks like we get our Thursday nights back again! Joel received a very nice plaque for completing one of his books.

My new job is going well. It looks like it will be a role that I will need to define myself (i.e. ask people what isn't working and then fix it). I spent some time today familarizing myself with PHP and MySQL, because it looks like we'll need a couple of web applications.

I also spent some time tonight listening to a lecture on These folks have taped a number of seminary level lectures, and they are available to listen to online free of charge. I started listening to Ronald Nash on Christian Philosophy.

Let's see, what else... I sent off a letter to the editor of one journal, and a book review to another. We'll see if either is publishable! The May issue of the Learning at Home newsletter has been sent to the family that prints it. I use MS Publisher, and save it to a PDF using "PDF Creator" and then email it to them.

In the political arena, the head of the Liberal Party announced they cannot support the latest Federal budget because they don't agree with policy X, Y and Z. But he said they wouldn't support the budget even before it was read in Parliament. So I guess the specific policy announcements were irrelevant... the Liberals decided ahead of time to obstruct the government in an effort to make the Conservative Party look worse than the corruption/arrogance filled Liberal Party. Won't they ever stop shooting themselves in the foot? At some point (such as losing a federal election) it starts to hurt.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


A web site I have had on my sidebar for a while is having a contest, likely increasing the number of people going to that blog. Well since I recommend people visit that blog anyway, I have no problems participating in the contest.

Spunky is giving away a Benz Microscope and Apologia Biology Set this week. Click Here to get the details.