Sunday, October 29, 2006

Filling a Polygon in OpenOffice Draw

OK, I've created a polygon (e.g. grouped three lines to become a triangle). Now I want to fill the area inside. If it is a square or circle created using those specific tools, it's easy. But selecting my newly created polygon, right clicking and selecting "Area" has no effect. Am I doing this wrong, is this unsupported functionality, or is this a bug. If it's a bug, it seems like a fairly obvious one.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dinner Last Night

So last night I did indeed have dinner with the Minister of Finance, at the Canadian Golf and Country Club. In fact there were about 150 people there and I didn't actually get a chance to shake his hand. I did however shake hands with Laureen Harper, the Prime Minister's wife. Of all the people there, she was certainly working the hardest. During supper she would eat a little and then dash off to a table to meet folks. She spent a significant amount of time with each table. At our table she was telling us about how her kids are doing, and their friends. She also said she is getting used to Ottawa because she now finds that she recognizes people when she's in the grocery store. You get the feeling that Stephen and Laureen Harper are real people, not professional politicians. Personally I find that refreshing. Whether or not you agree with Stephen Harper's policies, he's a real person and a man of principle. Laureen Harper is very energetic, personable and a definite political asset to the Prime Minister.

Another one...

Four children, three boys aged 15, 14,and 14, and a 12 year old girl have been charged for beating a Winnipeg woman to death. The children were out at 2:45am and seemingly picked the woman at random. The CBC article quotes a local woman (in the content of parental responsibility) as saying "Well, you can't blame the kids." Maybe that's the problem. Now you can commit violent murder, and it isn't actually your fault.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Firefox 2.0

I installed Firefox 2.0 today. And about 20 minutes later I reverted to 1.5. My bookmarks were missing, I couldn't seem to import bookmarks from other sources, or to add new bookmarks. Seemed slow and flaky. Given the quality of previous Firefox releases, I was not expecting this! Maybe it's just my system. I'm going to wait a couple of weeks before I try it again.

Supper Tonight

I took the kids out to Boston Pizza tonight. I've been sick for a while, and had planned to take them a couple of weeks ago, so tonight worked out OK. I had a full rack of ribs in a maple BBQ sauce, caesar salad, garlic toast and garlic mashed potatos mixed with cheddar and bacon. Perhaps this was a garlic overdose, but it tasted great.

The Perfect Come Back...

You know how you think of the perfect response, but always too late? Well that happened to me today. The perfect response, but a few minutes too late. I got a phone call from the Conservative Party asking me for a contribution. I said, no, and that I preferred to give to my local association. What I should have said was “I'm having dinner with the Finance Minister tomorrow night. I'll give him the cheque then.”

This is technically true. I am having dinner with the Finance Minister and the Minister of National Defense tomorrow night. Just because there will be several hundred other people at this dinner fund raiser doesn't distract from the fact of who I'm having dinner with. I had the perfect comeback, but I failed to use it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I posted this in the comments on another blog. The topic is whether Christian young people should go to university, college, or find a job. Here are my comments with a few additional thoughts:

I spent 8 years in university, and have a couple of observations.

1. it is possible to get a degree, but not get an education. Lots of people do. They get great marks and a degree from a well regarded university, and they are essentially uneducated. This might be OK if they received some sort of job training, but many manage to avoid education and job training both.

2. if you get an education through the process of getting a degree or diploma, it doesn't matter whether you work in your field or not. Get a real education and a lot of jobs open up to you, whether they are in your field of training or not. And get a real education and a whole lot more than a job will open up to you.

3. in some fields of employment a university degree is a prerequisite. We occasionally hire college graduates as computer programmers (and many of them do well), but today a university degree is the usual prerequisite to get in the door. Many of our new grads also have graduate degrees. A university degree is a prerequisite for most of the medical sciences (including midwives), accountancy, engineering and many other fields.

4. some children will excel in a college environment and stagnate in a university environment, and visa versa. Know your child. Trying to push a child into the wrong type of post-secondary institution is a waste of your money and a waste of the child’s time and ability.

5. I will encourage my children to pursue education, and to recognize that they will likely need to support themselves. A course of training with employment in mind will be helpful. Education is a lifelong pursuit; just don't forget about pursuing it while in university or college.

6. I maintain my assertion that university level courses in mathematics is excellent preparation for the mind if one wishes to then study the Bible.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Still Somewhat Sick

I went to work today for about an hour and a half. I had some emails I had to respond to. Then I came home and crashed. I ate a small but normal kind of supper tonight. My strength is returning. Now on to a discussion of some books.

Prior to getting sick I finished "Ten Minutes from Normal" by former Bush advisor Karen Hughes. Hughes made the decision to leave work at the Whitehouse in order to move back to Texas for the sake of her family. I found it a well balanced book, with interesting perspectives on President Bush. Why is it that people who have such a negative view of Bush never bother to read anything by people who have worked with him? I guess that would be too hard. Mindless criticism is so much easier.

I finished "Habits of the Mind" by James Sire. This is a good book for mature Christians, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to newer Christians. Note that in chapter 9 his Christology goes off the rails as he denies the Omniscience and Impeccability of Christ. Sire captures the sheer joy of thinking, and has some suggestions on how to think more clearly. But this is only a book for a subset of mature Christians.

I'm almost a half of the way through "What We Can't Not Know" by J. Budziszewski. Frankly this is a really deep book. If you've thought through some of the more philosophical aspects of Christianity, this book will interest you. Likewise if you are encountering thinking or thoughtless atheists and agnostics, or people who are a bit too enamoured by Plato. Many people are going to find this a difficult book to read, but it's worth it. For those who are intimidated, Stand to Reason has 2 CD's of Budziszewski speaking on this topic as part of their Masters Series in Christian Thought. And now, it's time for another disclaimer. Budziszewski was raised Baptist, became an Atheist, and when he returned to the Faith adopted Roman Catholicism. Maybe this is why he is so interested in Natural Law (much of the best work on this topic has been done by Jesuits). My firm belief is that the Roman Catholic church has much to say about Christianity which is helpful, and yet it misses the essentials of the Gospel. People can be saved within the Roman Catholic church, but the official teachings of Rome make it much more difficult. And of course I am a big believer in the importance of New Testament simplicity. Budziszewski is a good read. Just don't get distracted by the traces of Rome in his book.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I've been sick with some sort of stomach flu since Thursday morning. I have missed 2 days of work, missed a friend's birthday party on Saturday and missed churches today. But other than that I'm fine. However, I have been able to spend a lot more time reading. More on the books to follow...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Have we lost the ability to be shocked?

The Globe and Mail is one of several news media reporting the story of a 14 year old disabled boy who was locked in a burning shed by a group of 5 children, all of whom are under the age of 12. A neighbour saw the fire and tried to get the laughing children away from the fire, only to find out a boy had been locked inside. The boy is still suffering the effects of smoke, but survived.

Twenty years ago we would have been shocked as a society. We would have spent a month agonizing over this event. But this will pass in a day or two. We've come to expect events like this. Under Canada's Laws, the children can't be charged with anything (the little darlings didn't know its wrong to burn people to death). And in fact, if the little darlings decide to try to kill this disabled boy again, there will still be nothing our legal system will be able to do. Of course if the parents of one of these little darlings decides to spank a child for attempted murder, our legal system will know what to do to the parent. Spanking (or just about any other form of discipline) is cause to investigate potential child abuse! An 11 year old can try to burn someone alive and that's OK, but if that 11 year old receives a spank then society has to step in!

I'm disgusted.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I'm currently reading "Habits of the Mind" by James Sire. I found the first couple of chapters difficult. He quotes extensively from Cardinal Newman as an example of a Christian intellectual. Since Newman converted from being an Evangelical Anglican to Roman Catholicism, I'm predisposed to take his intellectual powers as being somewhat suspect. I know, this is my personal bias. Sire quotes extensively in the way that some people write Christian devotionals. However other peoples devotional thoughts have never done much for me. I enjoy my own devotional thoughts. That's not to say I don't enjoy some thoughts and statements others make. I just find it hard to read a book where someone quotes a famous author and says, "Doesn't this thrill your heart?"

However, after the first couple chapters I started to enjoy this book. He had one observation which I thought was particularly insightful (or at least he had a pithy way of expressing the thought). He said that while a secular intellectual is interested in ideas, a Christian intellectual is interested in truth.

He also had some interesting thoughts which I believe expressed very well the sheer joy of thinking. Perhaps he goes a long way to express the psychology of Christian intellectualism, in the same manner as the book "The Psychology of Computer Programming" explained to the world how computer programmers think and what their (our) motivation is.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sick Kids

Bethany and Joel seemed much better, so I took the afternoon off work and took them to "Fun Zone", which is this place with a huge indoor play structure, etc. They had a blast, and I got some reading done. They must have overdone it, because when we got home they were feeling sick again. Joel ate supper, but Bethany didn't eat too much. Actually, Joel must be feeling a lot better because he wants me to play Lego with him. Got to go!

Monday, October 09, 2006


We have much to be thankful for, but we didn't have the Thanksgiving Day we planned. We were supposed to go to Karen's sister's house for Thanksgiving dinner. But last night Bethany got sick with some sort of stomach flu. Cleaning up after her made me somewhat nauseous, but about an hour later I was OK. Bethany remained ill until about 5:00pm tonight, by which time Joel was sick. He was still sick when we put him to sleep. It's 8:05pm and I'm planning to go to sleep soon. Karen is a night owl and will likely stay up until 11:00pm listening for the children. If I go to bed now I can get a couple of hours sleep before my shift starts. Yes, much to be thankful for, including Gravol.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I Think I Ate Too Much

I think I ate too much. No, not our Thanksgiving Dinner. That’s coming on Monday night. I’m talking about Friday night. I was given a ticket to the Ottawa Senators game in the Alcatel booth. Usually they do not serve food for employees, but this time they did. Nachos with salsa, sour crème and guacamole. Home make potato chips, thick cut, spiced and served with dip. Chicken fajitas with all the fixings. Spring rolls. Chicken wings. Sandwich melts and quesadeas. Rolls that we could fill with meatballs or a marvelously tender shaved roast beef. Yes, I ate too much. And yes, the Senators lost.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Letter from Iraq

Interesting article at Time Magazine.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Those free spending Tories

Interesting article in the National Post about how little Conservative Cabinet members have been spending on meals and accommodations. In fact I really doubt I could get by on what they are spending. But I guess not everyone has a liberal attitude towards spending the taxpayers money.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Quick Update

Things have been really busy lately, so I just have a few minutes for a quick update:

I complained about a judge a couple of days ago. Turns out he's the same judge who threw out DUI charges against Margaret Kemper, calling it a Charter Rights issue. Outstanding. Absolutely outstanding.

I was in Kingston on the weekend, presenting an introduction to theological thinking at Union Street Gospel Chapel. Even though this is very technical material, there was a great response. There were tons of students in the audience, and a number asked me questions or asked me for some resource suggestions. It's a good sign when you see about 20 university students in the audience of any church.

Last night I was getting together the October issue of Learning at Home, the newsletter for homeschoolers in the Ottawa area. It takes me about 2 evenings a month. Unfortunately adjusting the size and layout of the advertising takes more time than adding the content and writing the Editorial. However I think the newsletter is appreciated.

An article I wrote on "Christian Worldview" was just published in Precious Seed magazine. Maybe when I get Learning at Home done for this month I will have time for some additional writing. I'd like to turn these sermons on theology into a book form.

For reading I am once again wading through Ryrie's "Dispensationalism". I also want to read "Progressive Dispensationalism" to get some other views. I've started John Stott's "Your Mind Matters" and just finished Boice's "Renewing Your Mind in a Mindless World" which expands on 4 sermons I heard by Boice on the same topic. The October "First Things" came in but this month I didn't see too much that interested me (too much Roman Catholicism this month. There is always a little I have to wade through to get to what I consider to be the nuggets, but there's only so much I can handle wading through). The latest Uplook magazine arrived, and had one of the hardest hitting articles I've ever seen on the inside page of the back cover. Hard hitting, but I think Jabe was right on the money. It's a must read. But don't just read it. Think about how you and your local church needs to change.

So... not too much time for reading blogs, let alone updating my own. But we're doing fine.