Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Uniform History

As readers of this blog may know, my favorite sport is baseball.

Part of the reason for this, I think, is I enjoy the game's rich history.

So I was delighted to discover an online exhibit from the Baseball Hall of Fame, on baseball uniforms.

Yes it is exciting!

Through this exhibit, you can learn about the "parts of the uniform" or the history of baseball uniforms or best of all you can find out what uniforms players were wearing during any year for the past 100 years.

For instance, here's what American League players were wearing in 1901.

Cool eh?

And I am no fashion expert, but perusing all this info, it seems to me the worst uniform look of all time was the Houston Astros of 1975 a close second was the Chicago White Sox of 1977. Mind you just about all the uniforms were bad in the 1970s.

Some say the 1939 Washington Senators had the most boring uniforms of all time.

As for me, I love the classic look: white uniforms at home, grey on the road.

Just check out the New York Yankees, for instance, haven't changed since 1936.

Now that's tradition and tradition is what baseball is all about.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cut the Government's Fat Not Mine

According to the Globe and Mail, the federal Conservative government is thinking about bringing back Participaction, a "fitness awareness" program the Liberals first dreamed up back in 1971.

What "fitness awareness" really means, of course, is the government spends millions of dollars on advertising aimed at getting us fat Canadians into some sort of physical activity.

Here's how Michael Chong, the Minister for Amateur Sport puts it:

"We have a serious, significant, long-term challenge facing the country in rising obesity and lack of physical activity. Our view is that we, as a government, have to tackle this challenge. We're looking at ways to make Canadians aware, through a public-awareness campaign, of the need for greater physical fitness, the need to live active, healthy lifestyles. So one of the ways that we're looking at delivering this message to Canadians is through the revitalization of Participaction.”

Hmm, I thought the Tories were about getting government out of people's lives.

If I want to be a slob, that's my God-given right. It seems to me the government should be more concerned about cutting its fat, not mine.

Besides government PR campaigns designed to change our lifestyles never work.

Anybody remember the One Tonne Challenge?

Thursday, September 28, 2006


With what's going on in the world today, I wonder how long it will be before they ban this song?

Sexed by the Bell?

Say it aint so Screech!

Labour Pains

Once upon a time labour unions were a powerful (and often negative) force in British society.

But then in the 1980s and 1990s, the British Conservative government introduced a series of reforms which both democratized the workforce and defanged the union bosses.

Consequently trade union membership in Britain has declined and not so coincidently, Britain has become one of the top economies in Europe.

So says, Professor Len Shackleton, one of Britain’s foremost experts on the relationship between labour law and the economy, who was speaking yesterday at an event jointly sponsored by the Fraser Institute, LabourWatch and the National Citizens Coalition.

Shackleton also says Canada lags behind the rest of the Western world when it comes to protecting the individual freedoms of unionized employees.

For instance, he says in Canada, unlike in Britain, employees are forced to pay dues even if they don’t belong to the union; also in Canada, unlike in Britain, employees can be punished for crossing a picket line.

Isn’t it about time we caught up?

Professor Shackleton’s Canadian tour continues – he will be in Calgary tonight and in Vancouver tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

White and Nerdy

Check out this Weird Al video.

It's all about being white and nerdy.

Not that this has anything to do with me, of course.

Political Soap Opera

Here's a "Desperate Politicians" billboard the National Citizens Coalition put up last year to protest the Adscam Scandal.

What with the alleged Belinda Stronach-Tie Domi affair, it looks like it was more of a soap opera than we thought!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Yesterday I praised the federal government for scrapping the Court Challenges Program.

But not everybody was as happy as I.

Some people claim we need this $5 million program to help the “poor” launch court challenges.

But in fact, the CCP was not really about helping the poor, it was about helping left-wing special interest groups promote their own pet causes.

Adam Daifallah and Tasha Kheiriddin ably documented this in their book Rescuing Canada’s Right.

The authors point out that, “In some cases, CCP grants appear to have had little to do with financial need and much to do with connections and ideology. Feminist lawyer Beth Symes, received a CCP grant to challenge the fact that she couldn’t deduct the expenses for her nanny. At the time, Symes was earning a six-figure salary and was one of the founders of LEAF.”

Or as columnist Lorne Gunter recently pointed out, “The CCP and its fundees have become a very cozy, close-knit little clan. The program almost never funds cases brought by individuals, only those supported by powerful rights-seeking lobbies, and almost the same dozen or so lobbies.”

Meanwhile, conservatives were routinely shut out of the process.

The CCP was not only overtly ideological, it was also unfair.

Good riddance.

Monday, September 25, 2006

NCC Applauds the Scrapping of CCP

Just sent out this news release:

(September 25, 2006)The National Citizens Coalition today praised the federal government for scrapping the Court Challenges Program.

“This is a good move for taxpayers and for democracy,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls. “The CCP was nothing but a subsidy program for left-wing special interest groups.”

Nicholls says if anyone wants to launch a constitutional court challenge they should do so with funds raised voluntarily not with tax dollars.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to finance a court challenge they may not support,” says Nicholls.

The NCC vice president points out that his group has launched several court challenges over the years and has never received one cent in public subsidies to help pay for them.

“If you are launching a court challenge that has public support you can raise money,” says Nicholls. “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to help pay the bill.”

Two and a half Cheers for the Government

Glad to see the federal government using the $13 billion surplus to reduce the national debt.

Also glad to see its cutting back on some spending.

But I am disappointed to see that no tax cuts seem to be on the horizon.

Overburdened taxpayers deserve a break.

My Hair Peace

A friend of mine sent me this interesting commentary on American presidential hairstyles.

My favorite bit is this paragraph:

"Better than the mediocre hair, to the mind of the Manolo, are the example of those politicians, like the Ike and the Gerry Ford, who gracefully went bald without resorting to the dreadful combovers, or the hair plugs, or the ridiculous and expensive custom “hair systems”. This willingness to stoically face the follicular misfortune is the testament to their personal rectitude and the strength of their characters."

This gives me the courage to stoically face my own follicular misfortune.

Clinton vs. the Right Wing Conspiracy

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton lost it recently on FOX news when interviewer Chris Wallace asked him some pointed questions about terrorism.

An enraged Clinton not only went ballistic but he tried to cow Wallace.

I wonder how everybody would be reacting if President George Bush had reacted in such a manner.

And I am not the only one. Over at, Academic Elephant (where do they get these names) was asking the same thing:

"I have to ask, if President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld or even Secretary Rice jabbed a reporter with an angry finger during an interview, how long would it take for the cries of assault to start? Of course, none of them would ever indulge in such crass behavior, so the point is to some extent moot, but it seems to me that far from being so angry at Mr. Wallace for having the nerve to ask him some tough questions, Mr. Clinton might owe him an apology, not to mention some thanks for not pressing charges."

I guess there are different rules for Republicans and Democrats.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

How to Win a Debate

In a few days I will be participating in a TV debate with a couple of socialists, so I will need to prepare myself for verbal combat.

Luckily, I found this on the internet:

Author Unknown

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. You too can win arguments. Simply follow these rules:

1. Drink liquor.

Suppose you are at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you're drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you'll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance, while the hotshot enthralls your date. But if you drink several large martinis, you'll discover you have STRONG VIEWS about the Peruvian economy. You'll be a WEALTH of information. You'll argue forcefully, offering searing insights and possibly upsetting furniture. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

2. Make things up.

Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove that Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that YOU are underpaid, and you'll be damned if you're going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. DON'T say: "I think Peruvians are underpaid." Say instead: "The average Peruvian's salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level."

Note: Always make up exact figures.

If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make THAT up too. Say: "This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon's study for the Buford Commission published on May 9, 1982. Didn't you read it?" Say this in the same tone of voice you would use to say, "You left your soiled underwear in my bathroom."

3. Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases.

Memorize this list:

Let me put it this way
In terms of
Per se
As it were
So to speak

You should also memorize some Latin abbreviations such as "Q.E.D.", "e.g.", and "i.e." These are all short for "I speak Latin, and you don't."

Here's how to use these words and phrases. Suppose you want to say, "Peruvians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don't have enough money." You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say, "Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Q.E.D."

Only a fool would challenge that statement.

4. Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks.

You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:

You're begging the question.
You're being defensive.
Don't compare apples to oranges.
What are your parameters?

This last one is especially valuable. Nobody (other than engineers and policy wonks) has the vaguest idea what "parameters" means.

Don't forget the classic: YOU'RE SO LINEAR.

Here's how to use your comebacks:

You say: As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873...Your opponent says: Lincoln died in 1865.You say: You're begging the question.

- or -

You say: Liberians, like most Asians...Your opponent says: Liberia is in Africa.You say: You're being defensive.

5. Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler.

This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say, "That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say," or "You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler."

So that's it. You now know how to out-argue anybody. Do not try to pull any of this on people who generally carry weapons.

Pun Times

Here's something for all you manatee lovers out there.

It's a mad, mad world

Historian Niall Ferguson offers some excellent insights into what was a crazy week in international politics.

In fact, Ferguson makes the case that we are living in a "mad world".

H/T Wonkitties

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good Battle Movies

One movie sub-genre I really love are films featuring "small beleaguered garrisons holding off hordes of enemies."

Here are my top ten of that variety:

Beau Geste (1966)

Friday, September 22, 2006

I was right on the left . . .

Yesterday I predicted the Democratic left would not be happy with Nancy Pelosi's attack on Hugo Chavez.

Well, I was right.


Here's an articulate insight on Chavez and the North American left wing.

Today's Duce

More and more it looks like Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is taking on the role of Mussolini to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Hitler.

Where as Ahmadinejad is the brooding, fanatic; Chavez is the preening, bombastic, clown.

Yet, clown or not, Chavez's alliance with Islamist extremists represents a serious threat to the United States.

Venezuela, after all, is a lot closer to Florida than Iran is.

See here for more on this threat.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez Helps the GOP

It's interesting to see liberal Democrats taking President George Bush's side after Hugo Chavez's "Bush is the devil" speech at the United Nations.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi even called Chavez a "thug".

What this says to me is the Democrats are worried Chavez's attack speech will likely galvanize Americans around Bush and so help the Republicans.

So it makes sense for Democrats to distance themselves from the Venezuelan leader.

But I wonder if the pro-Bush talk will anger the left-wing Democrats who likely support Chavez's take?

Actually, I'm not wondering about it at all. I know it will anger the left.

Rae's Ravings

Bob Rae doesn't think his disastrous record as Ontario premier would be an issue should he lead the Liberal Party into the next election.

Indeed, when asked by reporters if the Conservatives would attack that record, here's how he responded:

"I think it absolutely wouldn't work and it would be about as relevant as my spending an entire campaign talking about Stephen Harper's career as president of the National Citizen's Coalition. I don't think that's what the next election is going to be about."

Personally I would hope Rae would talk about Harper's career as president of the National Citizens Coalition -- it would be good advertising for us.

But I doubt he will, because when Harper was our president, he didn't drive our organization into the red and leave it a fiscal disaster area.

And unfortunately, that's how Rae left Ontario.

H/T Political Staples

An Idea for UN Reform

I wonder why the Americans put up with having the United Nations in their country?

After all, for the past few years it has become nothing more than an America-bashing chamber.

Which, I think, makes it pretty hypocritical for all those diplomats, ambassadors and other assorted hangers-on at the UN to work and live in a country they apparently hate.

Maybe they should take their act away from the "Great Satan" and set up shop in a place more suited to their anti-American mind-set -- say Tehran, or Caracas or Jack Layton's backyard.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lively Update

Speaking of the Lively Seven, here's a column I wrote which appeared in the Sudbury Star a few days ago.

Unions and Democracy

Susan Martinuk has a great piece in the Financial Post today on union boss hypocrisy.

She was reacting to National Union of Public and General Employees president James Clancy who was whining about what he called "anti-democratic" labour laws, including interestingly enough, laws which call for secret ballot votes on unionization!

Since when is a secret ballot anti-democratic?

Writes Martinuk:

A secret ballot vote is a given part of the democratic process. Yet unions still deny this and seek to utilize the blatantly anti-democratic practice of card signing to determine union certification. This allows union reps to pressure and harass workers individually and at home. It leaves the door open for misinformation and coercion and ensures that workers who would oppose a union are kept out of the loop about the union drive. Some employees don't even know a union certification drive is happening until they are unionized -- there are no requirements for the union to inform all workers of a union drive or to hold an open, public debate when using card certification.

This is exactly what happened to The Lively Seven, a group of women who found themselves unionized against their will, thanks to the lack of a true democratic process.

The National Citizens Coalition is helping these women fight for their rights in the courts, but that is not a true solution.

What Canada needs are laws that respect the individual freedoms of unionized employees. We also need union bosses who truly respect those freedoms.

As Martinuk writes: "If unions truly want to preserve democracy, they first have to practice it."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Son of Chaoulli

Bill Murray is out to challenge Canada's outdated government health care monopoly.

No not the Bill Murray from Saturday Night Live fame.

This Bill Murray is an Albertan accountant who, with the assistance of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, is launching a legal challenge to Alberta's health care laws, which he says deny him the right to timely service.

Murray, of course, is trying to copy Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, a Montreal doctor who successfully challenged Quebec's health care laws on the same premise.

In the Chaoulli case the Supreme Court of Canada essentially ruled that access to a waiting list is not access to care.

In Murray's case the government refused him a hip operation because at age 57, he was deemed too old to enjoy the benefits of the procedure.

So much for our compassinate health care system.

You can learn more about this historic challenge here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Conservatism Swedish Style

Journalist and author Paul Tuns says conservatives shouldn't get too excited about the election in Sweden of a centre-right government.

Writes Tuns: "Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the centre-right New Moderate Party and leader of the four-party opposition alliance, is one of those David Cameronesque leaders who has promised not to do anything terribly different than the government in power; he has vowed not to cut taxes, not to dismantle the welfare state and has no plans to introduce flexibility into Sweden's woefully rigid labour markets."

Sounds like Joe Clark in a viking helmet.

Laughing at Terrorism

My friend John Thompson from the Mackenzie Institute sent me an email recently lamenting the shortage of jokes about Islamic Terrorism.

In fact, he wants to remedy this situation.

So he made up the following jokes and asked me if they are any good:

Q. How many Taliban does it take to change a light bulb?
A. What's a light bulb?

Q. How many members of Hamas does it take to change a light bulb?
A. The light bulb is out!? It's another Zionist plot!

I haven't got the heart to tell him what I think.

Political Parties at Work

The House of Commons resumes today, meaning all the political parties will have to get back to work after a long, long summer break.

What kind of work?

Well, the Conservative Party will have to let Canadians know what it stands for.

The Liberal Party will have to actually come up with something to stand for.

The Bloc Quebecois will have to hope Quebeckers remember what it stands for.

And the NDP will have to make sure Canadians forget what it stands for.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Caging Government

I visited Montreal recently and had the pleasure to meet Dan Romano, an interesting guy who has also set up an interesting organization called Citizens Against Government Encroachment, or C.A.G.E.

And what's really cool is this acronym also works in French -- Citoyens Anti-gouvernement Envahissant.

Anyway, C.A.G.E. "promotes the idea that happiness and good health, in that order, are best pursued by responsible, educated and well-informed adults in control of their own choices. It opposes state-directed harassment of those who do not choose to follow all aspects of the 'officially approved healthy lifestyle,' or the imposition of coercive legislation to force behavioural compliance."

This is my kind of group, not only for its promotion of individual freedom but also because I personally do not choose to follow an "approved" lifestyle.

Now if you will excuse me, I am off to sit on the couch watch TV and have some salty potato chips.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kill the Wabbit!

This evening we are listening to Wagner's Ring from the new Opera House in Toronto(it's simulcast on CBC). Actually "listening" is an understatement, as it's blaring from what seems like every radio in the house.

While my wife is in esctasy, I tend to agree with Woody Allen who said, "I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting an urge to invade Poland."

Who Needs the CRTC?

Had the pleasure to attend a Fraser@Spoke: Behind the Spin event last night, it’s part of a series of talks/debates hosted by the Fraser Institute.

Here's a photo from the evening. From left to right, Greg Staples, Rondi Adamson, me, Claudia Hepburn from Fraser and Jacoline Loewen. And that appears to be a UFO hovering over my head.

Last night’s topic was the CRTC and the speaker was National Post columnist Andrew Coyne.

Now I took copious notes of Coyne’s talk, but unfortunately I can’t read any of my scribblings this morning.

So much of this is based on memory.

Anyway Coyne took us through a history of the CRTC and explained how it performed many important functions to ensure the purity of our culture such as banning the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Howard Stern and a Quebec City radio station.

There was also a discussion of the CRTC’s arcane “hit factor analysis procedures” used to determine the kinds of songs radio stations were permitted to air.

But anyway, Coyne pointed out that in this day and age of satellite TV and radio, the Internet and wireless communications, the CRTC just isn’t needed anymore to “get between the Canadian people and the shows they want to watch.”

Eventually he says it will vanish into oblivion.

But just for the sake of principle we should dismantle it right now.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

All those conspiracies

In the wake of the 9/11 anniversary, there's been much conspiracy-related talk about the WTC terrorist attack.

Some say the attack was really the result of some mad scheme carried out by . . . well take your pick, the Mossad, a neo-con cabal, the Pentagon, George Bush or maybe space aliens.

All those who subscribe to such theories should check out this Penn & Teller production.

It's aptly entitled, "That's Just Stupid."

Health Care Elephant

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman is in full-scale panic mode because Dr. Brian Day will soon lead the Canadian Medical Association.

Smitherman is terrified because Day favours allowing the private sector to have a great role when it comes to providing health care treatment.

“We have an elephant in the room in health care . . . and it's posing a grave threat to our values and to our economic competitiveness," he said. "That elephant is represented by one Dr. Brian Day," exclaimed Smitherman.

Now I am not sure what Smitherman is getting at.

As head of the CMA, Day holds absolutely zero legislative or judicial powers. He can’t overturn our government monopoly health care system, only politicians can do that.

But maybe what Day can do is make a persuasive moral case for reforming our health care system. And maybe what really scares Smitherman is that he can’t come up with a good enough argument to counter Day.

The elephant in the room, in other words, isn’t Day, it's our failing socialist health care system.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Democracy and the Senate

Yesterday, Ned Franks, a political science professor from Queen's University, had an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail extolling the virtues of the appointed Senate.

Here's a letter I wrote in response which appears in today's paper:

Red Chamber, indeed

Ned Franks seems to think the appointed Senate is more representative of the Canadian people than the elected House of Commons.


Because the Senate has a greater proportion of aboriginals, women and other minorities than does the House.

In other words, the Canadian people, according to Mr. Franks, keep voting the wrong way. Perhaps, then, instead of concentrating on making the Senate elected, we should focus on making the House appointed.

So, who would make the appointments to ensure the proper racial and gender mix? Maybe Mr. Franks could do it.

Hey wait a minute, you guys are socialists . . .

Former star NDP candidate and economist Paul Summerville says he's quitting the party because of its "anti-market" rhetoric.

What's he expect, it's a socialist party for Pete's sake.

He's only discovering now that socialism and free markets don't mix.

It reminds me of Captain Renault's famous line from Casablanca, "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! "

Summerville says he's moving to the Liberal Party to join another shocked socialist, Bob Rae.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Can't Conservatives Have Just One Movie?

A while back I posted about an upcoming miniseries, The Path to 9/11, which reportedly put the Clinton Administration in a bad light when it came to the War on Terrorism.

Well now Democrats are on the warpath, demanding ABC cancel the series.

I guess Republicans could counter by demanding the cancellation of every Hollywood production that put the Bush Administration in a bad light, but then that would mean we'd have no movies at all.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

NCC Sending Support Our Troops Ribbon to NDP

Here's a news release I just sent out:

The National Citizens Coalition is sending a complimentary “Support our Troops” car magnet to NDP MP Jean Crowder, who’s riding association proposed a resolution accusing Canadians soldiers of “acting like terrorists.”

“We are pleased that distasteful resolution was withdrawn,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls, “and we hope Crowder will proudly display our car magnet to show that she and her association do truly appreciate the sacrifices our soldiers are making to defend our freedoms.”

Ordinarily the “Support our Troops” magnets are sent to people who donate to a special fund the NCC has set up to financially help the families of soldiers killed in combat.

“We set up this fund as a way of giving thanks to the men and women in our military who are risking their lives,” says Nicholls. “It’s non-political. We are not taking a stand on the war, but we think it’s important our troops know Canadians support them.”

That’s why Nicholls says the NDP proposed resolution comparing our troops to terrorists was so repugnant.

“The NDP resolution comparing our troops to terrorists was contemptible,” says Nicholls. “And the NDP should be ashamed for even considering it.”

Media Update:

I just did interviews on this issue with Charles Adler of Adler Online and with Gary Doyle of the Gary Doyle Show.

Jack's Hidden Agenda

Thanks to Stephen Taylor, all of Canada got a sneak peek at NDP policy resolutions that were to be debated at the party’s convention this weekend.

It was not a pretty sight.

In fact, these resolutions revealed just how wacky it is these days in Left-Wing Land.

One resolution compared Canadian troops to terrorists (since rescinded) others called for the nationalization of just about every company and industry, and one actually called for an official “Transgender Day”.

Check here for an interesting summary.

But I wonder how the media will react to all this.

Will they portray the NDP as an extremist party or its leader Jack Layton as “scary”?

Will they begin to wonder if the NDP has a “hidden agenda?”

No, probably not.

That kind of treatment is apparently reserved for Conservative parties.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sleeping with the Fish

And you thought same-sex marriage was controversial.

Wait til you see this.

What do the Greens Really Want?

Political environmentalism is all the rage these days.

Each Liberal leadership candidate, for instance, is eager to prove his or her green credentials. The Green Party is supposedly on the surge, threatening to displace the NDP as Canada's eco-party. It's even got to the point where enviro-friendly rhetoric has made a star out of Al Gore!

But what is their real motivation?

Is it to protect our environment or is it simply a desire for power over others?

Writer and broadcaster John Robson ponders this question in an excellent column, The real Meaning of Green.

Says Robson: "Too often concern for the environment is simply a cover for wanting control, an orc-like impulse to seize, regiment and crush. Too many Greens are green because they hate people, not because they love nature."

As Robson points out, it's the societies that are most regimented and controlled that are also the most polluted.

In other words, the greens are just too red.

H/T Brigitte Pellerin

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Celebrity Love

Is this really news?

Sic Gloria Transit

I was supposed to get caught up on my serious reading this weekend.

But it didn't happen.

Instead I got addicted to one of my son's PC games: Medieval Total War.

It's a game where you assume the role of some faction and fight and bribe and trade your way to the top of the cut throat world of the Middle Ages.

I was the Italian City states -- Venice, Genoa -- and I was doing pretty well at first, building a rich commercial empire that had my coffers stuffed with florins.

But then, instead of granting my subjects a tax break, I desired the glory of military conquest and embarked on an invasion of Hungary.

That was, as it turns out, a bad idea.

I will spare you the details, but in the end I was bankrupt and ended up under the rule of the Papal States.

The lesson is clear: either don't be so quick to go to war or stick to less bloody PC games.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Buzz Take Note

Check this this blog from a unionized employee.

He makes no bones as to what he thinks about the CAW's radical political agenda.

What Labour Day Should Really Be About

In an excellent column which appeared in the Vancouver Sun a few days ago, Jason Clemens of the Fraser Institute and Patrick Basham of the Democracy Institute put forward their views on Labour Day.

Instead of celebrating the “foibles of unionism” they argue, this day should be about celebrating the “wonders of human labour.”

“Human Labour coupled with imagination and the right institutions,” they write, “has provided societies with a previously unimaginable prosperity and standard of living.”

Yet, they go on, “Our Labour Day celebrations are more about unionism than the underlying labour. This misunderstanding between the relative value of labour and unionism is at the heart of a series of Canadian laws designed to benefit unionism, which unfortunately comes at the expense of average workers.”

Laws, for instance, which force employees to be unionized against their will or which force them through their dues, to finance the pet political causes of union bosses.

Of course, the best way to celebrate the wonders of human labours would be to change our laws to protect the individual rights of employees.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

An Anti-Terrorist Movie!?

Believe it or not, Hollywood has apparently come out with a feature that is pro-American and anti-terrorist.

A $40 million, 5 hour ABC miniseries starring Harvey Keitel and Donnie Wahlberg, it's called The Path to 9/11.

Now I have not seen this movie, but Govindini Murty of the Liberty Film Festival gives it a rave review.

In Human Events Online, she writes: "Let me start by saying that The Path to 9/11 is one of the best, most intelligent, most pro-American miniseries I've ever seen on TV, and conservatives should support it and promote it as vigorously as possible."

You can also read a good review at Libertas.

One interesting aspect of this movie is it highlights how the Clinton Administration blew opportunity after opportunity to nab Osama Bin Laden.

Oh well I guess Bill had other things on his mind.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book Tag

There’s a game of blogger book tag going on and nobody has tagged me. So I decided to tag myself.

Here goes:

A Book That Changed My Life: My grade 9 math textbook. It showed me I had no future with any activity associated with numbers.

A Book I’ve read more than Once: Where’s Waldo. It’s a lot easier the second time.

A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island: How to Escape a desert Island for Dummies.

A Book That Made Me Laugh: Das Kapital

A Book That Made Me Cry: Das Kapital

A Book I wish had been written: How to write funny blog postings.

A Book I wish had never been Written: The Ikea catalogue

A Book I am Currently Reading: Is TV Guide considered a book?

A Book I am Meaning to Read: The Dictionary

What turned me on to fiction: Television

Who Do I Tag: Too busy reading to tag anybody.

To Boldly Glow

At last a global warming theory that makes sense.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Jack Layton Vs. The Mutant Carrot!

I received this perceptive email this morning:

Dear Gerry,

Layton's latest suggestion that the gov't should negotiate with the Taliban got me thinking about what it would be like if Layton led the negotiations personally.

I thought as one of our top 5 political minds (and probably the best sense of humour among them) you might be able to have a little fun deciding how this hypothetical negotiation would go.

All the best,

M.B. Windsor, Ontario

Dear M.B.:

As you probably already know from a previous posting, I am not a big fan of negotiating with terrorists.

And I think those who do, such as Jack Layton, suffer from an acute case of Silly Scientist Syndrome.

Silly Scientist Syndrome -- a term I made up about two seconds ago --- refers to a staple character of 1950s science fiction movies: the scientist who always wanted to negotiate or reason with the mutant, alien, blood-drinking carrot.

Even though the mutant carrot ate half the population of Newark, New Jersey and boasted it would conquer our world, the silly scientist always thought the creature was simply misunderstood.

Anyway, the carrot always ended up devouring the silly scientist.

So you see Layton is not really that bad a guy; he has just decided to turn himself into a sci-fi plot device.

I say, let Layton negotiate with the carrots and see let's see what happens.

And remember keep watching the skies.