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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
There are maybe 10 or 12 / things I could teach you / after that you're on your own
— A.C. Newman, There are Maybe 10 or 12
November 30, 2006

Sure Frank, but it Doesn’t Mean Anything

I love when things like this start to happen.

Thursday Frank McKenna, the former Liberal premier of New Brunswick and Canadian ambassador to Washington, said he was supporting Scott Brison on the first ballot in the race for leader of the federal party.

Of course, this show of support from McKenna means nothing beyond regional loyalty. Because Scott Brison doesn’t have a hope on the first ballot, McKenna can publicly support Brison without alienating the person he’s truly loyal too.

It’s a dirty game.

Posted by skooter at 6:53 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Atlantic Canada, Liberal Leadership 2006

Advice From Howard Dean

Howard Dean addressed the Liberal Leadership Convention last night.

Grits get pep talk from Howard Dean
JEFF SALLOT
Globe and Mail Update

MONTREAL The most wide-open Liberal leadership convention in a generation opened Wednesday, with a pep-rally style speech in the evening by U.S. politician Howard Dean.

He told about 2,500 delegates at the Palais de Congres in Montreal that opposition political parties — such as his in the United States and theirs in Canada — can win elections by going after every vote.

“Whether it is the Liberal Party or the Democratic Party, we should never cede a single region or province, never cede a single state or city. Nor should we ever cede a single voter. Not a single one,” Dr. Dean said.

Amongst the permanently cynical, there’s a great deal of catty talk about Dean’s advice. Dean’s personal campaign is probably one of the most famous acts of self destruction in recent political memory.

Paul Martin’s pales in comparison. Noboby even knows where Canada is compared to the U.S.

Dean is the current chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and as such is basking in the glow of seizing both the House and Congress in the recent mid-term elections.

It’s important not to forget a key reality of politics: there are two ways to win.

Continue reading "Advice From Howard Dean"

Posted by skooter at 6:20 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Liberal Leadership 2006

November 28, 2006

The Daily Grind

I’ve done smarter things in my life.

Vancouver was battered by snow yesterday. This doesn’t happen often, and this is certainly the worst I’ve seen in my 6 years of living here. Faced with the prospect of a fresh snowfall and horrible drivers, I took the bus to work for the first time in…months. I’ve driven a few times, but basically I’ve been cycling every day since March. It’s The Better Way™ to get to work.

Not today, though. Not today. I woke up determined to cycle today.

I’ve done smarter things in my life.

Continue reading "The Daily Grind"

Posted by skooter at 4:44 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Vancouver.
Tags: Cycling, Winter

November 26, 2006

Congratulations Monsieur Duceppe

According to CTV news

Duceppe says ‘nation’ motion plays into his hands

Updated Sun. Nov. 26 2006 2:17 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe says he wasn’t caught in his own trap when Prime Minister Stephen Harper recognized Quebec as a nation this week, instead he said it was a big step forward for sovereigntists.

Tomorrow—November 27, 2006—our country proceeds down the slippery slope towards breaking apart, with our Stephen Harper giving it an extremely vigorous push.

You can bet that if it’s good for the separatists, it’s not good for the rest of Canada.

In the immediate future, this is why:

Canada is the first country recognizing the Quebec nation — that Quebecers form a nation — and in the near future other countries will do so.” [said Mr. Duceppe.]

Question Period co-host Craig Oliver pointed out that the motion, which is expected to be approved by the House of Commons on Monday, gives no new powers to Quebec and is simply an opinion of the House.

Duceppe responded that the Bloc will use the wording of the motion to its advantage, and will attempt to force the government to address concerns passed unanimously by the National Assembly of Quebec.

The long term effect will be more severe. The National Assembly of Quebec has been empowered, as have its citizens. The questions that we’ve been wrestling with since the days of the quiet revolution do not stop tomorrow, they only get worse.

Posted by skooter at 5:33 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Quebec.
Tags: Nationalism, Stephen Harper

Snow in Vancouver

It doesn’t snow very often in Vancouver, and 10 centimetres in a single day is even rarer (we seem likely to get more.)

A trip to Lynn Canyon is always a good thing, but it’s even better on days like today.

Continue reading "Snow in Vancouver"

Posted by skooter at 1:38 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Lynn Canyon, Snow

November 24, 2006

Shaken, not Stirred

You'd cry too if your Martini was weak I spent last Friday night trying to teach a four month old boy how to say “Shaken, not stirred.” It didn’t go very well.

It doesn’t matter that much—there’s still lots of time for life’s important lessons. I only hope he remembers what I told him about shaken martinis being weak. The short explanation is that the ice cubes chip when you shake them, which makes them melt faster. The martini is weak as a result.

That’s the important part, Benjamin. Don’t forget.

The occasion, of course, was the opening of Casino Royale starring Craig Daniels as the new James Bond.

Calling this the best Bond movie ever would be a stretch. That’s a long and storied history to rewrite, after all, and it does depend on perspective.

From one perspective, it might be a stretch to call this a Bond movie at all.

Continue reading "Shaken, not Stirred"

Posted by skooter at 10:03 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Bond, Movies

November 23, 2006

“A Nation Within Canada”

According to Merriam Webster, a nation is:

nation

Pronunciation: ‘nA-sh&n
Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English nacioun, from Anglo-French naciun, from Latin nation-, natio birth, race, nation, from nasci to be born; akin to Latin gignere to beget — more at KIN

1 a (1): NATIONALITY 5a (2) : a politically organized nationality (3) : a non-Jewish nationality b : a community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government c : a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status

2 archaic : GROUP, AGGREGATION

3: a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians)

According to Stephen Harper, Quebec is a nation.

The slippery slope to Canada’s demise has now crossed the tipping point. Why I have to lose my nation to support the political amibitions of a few is lost on me.

Continue reading "“A Nation Within Canada”"

Posted by skooter at 6:36 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Quebec.
Tags: Bilingualism, Conservative Party of Canada, Québecois, Stephen Harper, Trudeau

November 21, 2006

A National Event

Given the glowing coverage of the CFL in general and the Grey Cup specifically (for obvious reasons) in British Columbia, I was somewhat surprised to read this in the Toronto Star.

Grey Cup not only thing broken

Nov. 20, 2006. 12:44 PM
DAMIEN COX
WINNIPEG - Snapped the 97-year-old Grey Cup in half, they did. Left the national treasure being hoisted by the joyful victors in two separate pieces, a large silver saucer and a well-dented, headless torso.

That, one supposes, was a fitting conclusion to the CFL’s championship contest yesterday, for it nicely symbolized a formerly enthralling brand of football that appears curiously broken at the moment.

How broken? The lowest-scoring Grey Cup “classic” since the dud in Toronto 15 years ago won’t have anybody outside of British Columbia talking about this one past, well, today.

Posted by skooter at 6:56 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Sports.
Tags: CFL, Football

November 20, 2006

Atlantic Poll: Vote!

The Atlantic Monthly is running an online poll to choose the most influential American in history.

Right now, Ronald Reagan is winning. For the sake of all of us, vote!

My choice? John Marshall. Marshall was the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and in that role shaped the future of American jurisprudence and the Bill of Rights. The Liberty Bell cracked tolling the death of Marshall, which is one of my favourite stories of all time.

Posted by skooter at 8:45 AM This entry is filed under America.
Tags: America

November 18, 2006

Canada’s Gay Marriage Laws in the New York Times

It’s not often that Canada makes the New York Times, so it’s always worth noting when it does.

Gay Marriage Galvanizes Canada’s Religious Right

OTTAWA — It was a lonely time here in the capital for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada in the early days of the gay marriage debate in 2003.

Of the scattered conservative Christian groups opposed to extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, it was the only one with a full-time office in Ottawa to lobby politicians. “We were the only ones here,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, who was the group’s public policy director then.

But that was before the legislation passed in 2005 allowing gay marriage in Canada. And before the election early this year of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative and an evangelical Christian who frequently caps his speeches with “God bless Canada.”

Today across the country, the gay marriage issue and Mr. Harper’s election have galvanized conservative Christian groups to enter politics like never before.

Before now, the Christian right was not a political force in this mostly secular, liberal country. But it is coalescing with new clout and credibility, similar to the evangelical Christian movement in the United States in the 1980s, though not nearly on the same scale.

Not only is this a contentious issue, the article is a wonderful demonstration of stereotyping.

Continue reading "Canada’s Gay Marriage Laws in the New York Times"

Posted by skooter at 2:55 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Conservative Party of Canada, Gay Marriage, Stephen Harper

November 13, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Hand I spent a quiet thanksgiving this year with little tiny babies who were having their first. There’s no better way to spend a special day.

Posted by skooter at 5:15 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Family.
Tags: Babies, Benjamin, Photos

November 11, 2006

Anticipation of an Exhibition

Imagine my excitement to discover that an exhibit of Ansel Adams work together with Alfred Eisenstaedt’s will be on at the Art Gallery of Ontario during my visit to Toronto.

Posted by skooter at 3:49 PM This entry is filed under Camera.
Tags: Ansel Adams, California, Cameras, Photography, Toronto

November 10, 2006

National Film Board of Canada

Anybody who was raised in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s cannot help but have been exposed to the National Film Board of Canada and its productions. They were a staple of the classroom—those reels of film turning through overheaded projector bulbs across the country were a pretty special sound.

A huge archive of materials is available online, and I stumbled upon two classics.

The Sweater explains hockey and its role in Canada in a way that lives on forever.

The Legend of the Flying Canoe is an ancient Québec folk tale. The same tale inspired the label of La Maudite which remains the best beer produced in this country to this day, at least since Sleeman bought the Upper Canada brewery.

Enjoy, and I sincerely hope these tales are available for a very long time.

Posted by skooter at 5:04 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Entertainment, Politics.

November 8, 2006

Congratulations America

A Democratic congress is a good thing, assuming that the Democratic party can forge and pursue a focused agenda rather than the scattered one its members have been lobbying for over the past 12 years. It’s easier to be in opposition than it is to be in control.

Those who are applauding the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld and the Republican defeat at the voting booths as a sure sign of change in Iraq should be more subdued: the executive branch controls foreign policy, not congress; the President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, not congress.

Iraq will not change much as a result of this. That will take a very brave Democratic President.

Posted by skooter at 10:45 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: America, Democrat, Iraq, Republican

November 7, 2006

Death by Hanging

While procrastinating on some work, I found an interesting article about death by hanging over at Slate Magazine. The topic is in the news lately as a result of Saddam Hussein’s death sentence received only a couple of days ago.

I’m vigorously oppposed to the death penalty, and have been since my teens. There is no such thing as a humane death sentence—the chemical concoction used in most modern executions is no better than more brutish methods such as hanging or the electric chair.

What I find most surprising, is the fact that even in modern American jurisprudence hangings have been allowed to proceed.

The Army even has its own drop table. According to its guidelines, the last man to hang in America—220-pound Billy Bailey—would have required 5 feet of loose rope. On a windy night in 1996, the Delaware guards removed Bailey’s dentures, placed a black hood over his head, and then dropped the noose around his neck.

Posted by skooter at 7:49 PM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: Death penalty, Law

November 6, 2006

Some Songs Can’t be Interrupted

With a new iPod in town, I’ve been going through the process of building it’s playlist—titled Running since this is the music that will, theoretically, accompany my reinvigorated running schedule. I say theoretically because it hasn’t happened yet…just you wait until Saturday.

My musical taste is diverse, and the playlist reflects that. Music with a beat like the Dream Warriors rests comfortably beside the ambient techno of Moby and the lyrical lushness of Feist. The autofill and random play feature of the iPod Shuffle make sure that the mix is always interesting.

This is an interesting process, becuase it has me going through my music song by song and picking things out. Music is full of memories for me, and as I stumble upon certain songs they come flooding back.

Some songs just can’t be interrupted, and this is a list of some of my favourites.

Continue reading "Some Songs Can’t be Interrupted"

Posted by skooter at 9:11 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Lists, Songs, Tim Hortons, Tragically Hip, U2

November 5, 2006

Nicaragua’s Elections

I will admit to having not followed the Nicaraguan election campaign all that closely. There’s not much news in Vancouver about it.

This article at the BBC is interesting for a lot of reasons. The one I find most notable is the fact that so many of the comments made by Nicaraguans echo those made by Americans in the run up to their elections.

Politicians make promises, but the results are very different.

I don’t know who I am going to vote for, or if I’m going to vote at all, because I still don’t have my ID card.

Rich people have become richer, and poor people have less opportunities and basic services available to them.

Posted by skooter at 12:01 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: America, Elections

November 2, 2006

New iPod Shuffle

A shiny new iPod shuffle was at my door this morning.

This thing is almost impossibly small — smaller than a compact flash card. I’m looking forward to it.

Of course, this now means that my last excuse for not running has disappeared.

To the pavement on Sunday, as I’ll be out for a couple of days.

Posted by skooter at 11:02 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, iPod, Music

November 1, 2006

Brave New World: The Musical

For some reason the concept of Brave New World — the Musical strikes me as particularly bizarre.

Singing, dancing “Brave New World” comes to Berlin
Wed Nov 1, 2006 11:07 PM IST144
By Dave Graham and Imke Oltmanns

BERLIN (Reuters) — Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, one of the most famous dystopian visions of 20th Century literature, has been transformed into a German musical complete with songs, rapping and dancing.

“Schoene Neue Welt”, its German title, opens in Berlin on Thursday, 74 years after British author Huxley published his work about a future society whose members are drugged into a state of ignorant bliss and happy subservience

Posted by skooter at 10:30 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Books, Broadway Muscial