Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Payment Accomplished!

"Good Morning, Ms. Pun'd it! This is #name redacted# calling from your local Chrysler dealership, how are you today?"

"I'm quite good. What is this call in regards to?"

"Well, Mrs. Pun'd it, our records show that you purchased a new Chrysler vehicle last year on financing, is that correct?"

"Yeah, it's pretty good. Nice to be mobile again. You know, have options."

"That's great, ma'am, but we noticed you haven't made this months payment; we were wondering if there was a more convenient payment plan you might prefer."

"No, no, nothing like that. I paid last month's a week early, hey?"

"We noticed, but we don't put much bearing into that, so I'm not sure why that would matter."

"Well, I just figured since I had paid earlier than you expected, I just wouldn't pay anymore."

"I...I'm sorry?"

"Yeah, I'm done. I think I've paid enough. We're good."

"Uh, no you still owe a sizable amount on your total."

"Look, I'm sure we can both agree it's better for both of us if I keep the car - it is free advertising for you guys, hey? - and I can't work without my car, so I just won't pay anymore."

"You can't do that, you have to pay what you owe."

"How about you can come over to my house whenever you want, how about that?"

"No that's not going to work at all. Why don't I forward you through to a manager?"

My next plan, if this falls through, is just to get really fat and claim I'm "too big to fail".
(Incidentally I did get a new car this month but it was a Prius and I am doing fine on my payments.)
Have no idea what I'm talking about? Click here!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Supreme Court Goes Kinky

More from the Department of "No Shit?" rulings: the supreme court argued that one cannot obtain consent from an unconscious person.

A man and a woman regularly practiced pretty risky sex - he would choke her until she was unconscious, then have sex with her. When she awoke one day to discover he had violated her butt with a dildo, she charged him with sexual assault. If one considers the definition of sexual assault to be "unwanted sexual contact" this case is gold-plated. 

Just the fact that this case went all the way to the supreme court shows the prevalence of backward thinking that I liked to believe was on the way out the door in Canada. One commenter on CBC said it was ridiculous that it made it to court - "the woman gave her consent to kinky sex when she agreed to be choked into unconsciousness". My brain chuuga-chugged to a halt at this line. Surely, I reasoned, people understood that being unconscious, even willingly, was not a free pass to go nuts an a person's body?  But the comment had the highest approval rating (110 at time of writing including the down vote I, and others, gave it), meaning there are people who agreed with this man. 

This mentality, that people should be punished for enjoying sex, is the same mindset that believes it is impossible to rape a 'slut', or that a woman wearing skimpy clothes is 'asking for it'. Occasionally it is even the mindset that believes a person who has passed out from drinking is 'fair game'. 

In this case, honestly, I think both parties should have known better: If he wanted something unusual, he should have talked to her about it beforehand or even obtained a written notice of consent*, just to cover her butt - excuse me - his butt, and I hate to say it but she should have known not to practise a risky sex act with someone she couldn't/didn't trust 100%, but without being in the relationship it is pretty hard to know how trustworthy he seemed, and people have been duped before. 

All in all, it is another testimonial for the Yes means Yes principle: if you are not actively saying Yes (or have not written "Yes") then you are saying No. 

On another note: the body of Mcpl Curnow was found, and I was interested in the details, but to watch the video I had to sit through a car advertisement. I am not sure why we allow this, it is so disrespectful to the bereaved. 

Having more fully explored the ramifications of this ruling it is evident that the court is prohibiting even prior agreements of sexual activity. Since one is incapable of removing consent while unconscious, it cannot be consensual. Not that people will stop, just that it adds an extra layer of caution to activities. A commenter on another story pointed out that this would disqualify sex while gagged, to which I must reply that it does not, any more than a mute person can no longer give consent to sex; the typical procedure is to have the gagged person hold a cloth in a free hand, should the cloth be dropped, consent is withdrawn.

Monday, May 23, 2011

British Columbia Out to "Get Theirs"

I would like to beg a favor, Dear Readers; in light of the fact that the rapture does not appear to have panned out, I would like this day (May 21, May 23, close enough) to be remembered for a different, yet no less noble reason. Today shall be remembered as the day I argued for the erosion of personal responsibility in favor of greater corporate responsibility. I hope the late Queen Victoria won't mind sharing her honorary day.

It seems that B.C is fed up: fed up with paying health care costs for when negligent boobs imperil other people's lives just to have "one more for the road". So they are aiming to Recover Costs, a phrase which, I must confess, sends chills down my spine as a herd of hallucinations involving bureaucrats with calipers slither past my vision. There might be pliers involved, and there is no place for businesses deemed Negligent to hide, except, of course, behind the best lawyers allotted expenses can provide.

Before my sense of the dramatic gets me carried away, I should confess this is nothing new; the province launched a lawsuit against major tobacco companies to recover the costs associated with treating the diseases of smoking years ago and seems to have gained a considerable amount. The difference brought about by this new development is that smoking is something one does to oneself (I hate that word) and so the injured and the injurious (I like that word) are the same person that cost recovery is likely to focus on. Sick people, however, are notably rather broke from treatment (no matter how well supplemented) and so the focus shifted to the greater culpability in the form of the tobacco companies that coerced people to smoke, often with duplicitous methods.

The link of culpability is not as strong with the connection of bars to drinkers. The hazards of smoking were hidden in the past, no one these days is confused about the possible consequences of drinking and driving. It requires an active amount of effort an the part of the bar (police people's liquor intake) rather than a passive effort on the part of the tobacconists  (stop advertising your products in such fashions). the point of this move is simply to open up a new lucrative avenue of cost collection. There is only so much money that can be squeezed from the bloodless stone that is a drunk driver, and after a point, the process tends to provoke a sort of learned helplessness in the person, which tends to exacerbate the exact problem they are dealing with: irresponsible behavior.

Now, fear not: I am still arguing for this move to greater culpability. I believe certain companies should be hounded for their 'contribution', however minor, to tragedies mostly because they are so damn good at policing their customers. Once it becomes clear that they are liable, and the bills start to pour in, you can bet drunk driving will fall dramatically. Sure, we aren't promoting an independent, responsible citizenry, but that does not seem to have worked very well anyway and this will ensure the innocent victims suffer no fall in service because the government is continually wringing blood from booze-soaked stones. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: Bacon of Happiness

Since I am happy (I got a phonecall from my fiance who is currently away working through summer. He got to arrest someone the other day - Exciting!) I thought, "What better way to push my happiness on other people than with a beloved childhood character?"

For those who grew up with Calvin and Hobbes, here is a revisitation of the characters now that they are their parents' age, done by the talented brothers (Not "mai bruthas", but actual siblings) Dan & Tom Heyerman over at Pants Are Overrated. Be cautious about wandering the rest of their site; the comic is somewhat hebephrenic and, on occasion, extremely off-putting.  The art style is coherent and engaging; I hope they find their plot thread strength soon. If anyone would like to hire me as a professional webcomic critic, please contact me at your earliest convenience. (also, it is called Hobbes and bacon because the daughter is named after Francis Bacon) Sorry about the poor spacing, it is the only way to keep it legible.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: Love's Gender

This weekend's offering is a story today from Toronto about a couple who have decided to keep the sex of their new baby a secret. Instead, raising the baby, "Storm", according to whatever gender suits the child. The only people who know the baby's sex are the couple's older boys, a close family friend, and the midwife that was present at the birth. The family encourages gender exploration in their children; the older boys frequently have long hair and wear pink dresses, although this makes me wonder if the parents are not unfairly reinforcing interest in the non-traditional gender behavior, since it doesn't seem like gender exploration if a little boy plays with a truck.

Their extended family was hesitantly supportive, but the majority of the population seems to regard the decision as a kind of child abuse or experimentation, and has attracted a lot of negative comments and criticism. I'd be lying if I said I had not thought about this during anthropology and psychology courses, and it would likely not be as emotionally damaging as people are assuming, but it's still to risky to use a child in a social experiment, no matter how well-intentioned.

Rock on, crazy world.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More Than Meets the Eye: Lawsuits in Diguise

Sometimes the smallest news stories have the most interesting back stories.
CBC news recently wrote about Jesse Willms, an entrepreneur from Alberta who was confirmed as being under investigation by the RCMP and the Competition Bureau of Canada and apparently being sued by the U.S Federal Trade Commission for some online dealings that may be worth up to $450 million. The details were pretty sparse, speaking only about inflated charges on people's credit cards for products like tooth whitening and weight loss, so I Googled around a bit.

What is not talked about in the article is an investigation last year by CTV's W5 staff that is the subject of contention. The CTV article talks about fraudulent business practices and lawsuits by celebrities whose images were used without permission, such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, of "The Doctor Oz show" and Oprah Winfrey, which is pretty ballsy if it's true, since Winfrey is a household name with a veritable army of followers. So far nothing had been proved in court, however.

In response the businessman posted this on his website, saying that he was pursuing legal action against CTV and PennyAuctionWatch because the claims were erroneous and harmful to his reputation, which is created by a pretty impressive list of charity affiliations including Santa's Anonymous,World Vision's Children's Charity, and the Edmonton Mustard Seed. Elsewhere on his blog he writes about business ethics and the importance of reading the fine print before agreeing inadvertently to unintended consequences.

Although it is typically my knee-jerk reaction to vilify people suspected of fraudulent business practices, it seems hard to believe a company could operate for many years, amassing it's owner a multi-million dollar fortune, while engaging in some of the practices the company is accused of, but then again, the Internet is a whole new world and people are often willing to trust someone they have never met simply because they appear legitimate. The earlier Apple/iPhone tracking story that broke should illustrate how scarcely people read the fine print. 

It should prove interesting to follow this story, wherever it goes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I See a Red Chamber, I want to Paint it Black

If there is one thing I genuinely enjoy, right next to raindrops on kittens and warm paper packages, it is taking the steam out of half-baked political outrage. You see, I want a monopoly on that. That's my turf. I briefly debated styling myself The Half-Baked Queen, but it did not go as I envisioned.

Needless to say I was pretty excited to read the latest articles on the Senate appointments. I could go on about the cabinet for a while (Hey there, Bev!) but it would be like taking a 9 iron to a putt-putt golf course; sure you can hit it out of the park, but everyone will be too disgusted with you to pay attention.

So the Senate nominations: People are apparantly bothered by the fact that the three appointments were not elected in their respective ridings. I am not entirely sure - not many articles specify - that people are aware that senators are not elected here in Canda, they are just appointed.

Shouldn't it matter that the Canadian people don't approve of the candidates?

Not really. It cannot really be proven that they dislike the candidate, only that they preferred another candidate more, but since their preferred candidate was elected, and one person cannot hold a HoC and senate seat, obviously they have to appoint a different person. More importantly, the candidates had already been Senators, positions they resigned so they could run for office, but were reinstated once they lost: CBC called them "revolving door politicans".

Not to imply our feelings about the issue mattered at all; Senate seats seem to be awarded arbitrarily, and we often just smile and suck it up, the institution that had previously constituted a 'sober second thought' now transmuted to a form of veto for the "better educated". The only meaningful resistance to this issue is to call for the complete reform or even abolishion of the Senate.

A lot of people are excited that the Liberal party has been largely removed from the house of commons but the last time I checked the Senate held 45 seats, almost equal to the Conservative's 55, a significant political force they can still wield (they can't be usurped after decades of political control by one bad election).

To make a ridiculous little prediction; I'm keeping an eye on Helena Guergis, the ex-conservative turned independant, who voted "No" on the motion to hold the Conservative parliament in contempt but has been trailed by intrigue and a hint of scandal. She might be too hot to handle now, but I'm just waiting.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lady's Hips in Men's Pants

The fires decimating Slave Lake and area are filling the airwaves so I respectfully submit this piece I wrote a little while ago reflecting on working in a mostly male industry.

I've been working in a men's industry for a few years now and I like to think I've achieved a pretty solid handle on what it takes to become comfortable in a world that was classically considered 'a man's world'. This advice is mostly geared towards the 'softer', more introverted woman mostly because that is more likely the type of woman who will seek out advice (their more boisterous counterparts have figured everything out and find advice unnecessary) but also that is where my experience lies, being fairly quiet in unknown circumstances myself. It is also not directed towards the higher corporate levels, since I have little experience in that world (so far). Regardless, here are some guidelines I have hit upon (or wish someone had told me).

1. If you want to sleep around people are going to react to that. The industry has a higher proportion of people with an old-fashioned sensibility and this tends to manifest in the fashion of the "prude/whore" belief. The ramifications of this is that if you originally connect with your coworkers on the sexual level, it is incredibly unlikely you will overcome this without a large deal of time and prudishness.

2.  This can occasionally happen even if you are just perceived as being promiscuous. Men tend to have a broad gossip ring just like the stereotypical women's ring, and one favored topic of speculation is attractive women. Denying it has little to no effect; it's best just to ride it out and let the truth surface.

3. Make sure your gear fits, whether it is a uniform or safety gear.  You'll want a fitting uniform because it will make you feel like you belong, like you can do the job. Sometimes when people are watching to make sure you do it right, you concentrate on doing it right so much you screw it up. Fitting safety gear is crucial because a lot of the time it is designed and sized for males, and if you just shrug and ignore it you are putting yourself at risk; at least of annoyance and discomfort at most of injury or death.

4. The vast majority of men will connect with you on two levels (mostly because of the dichotomy mentioned in number one) that can be simplified as a niece or a night. The older males tend to treat any woman younger than them like a niece, and even some men that are the same age act a little protective. The other half tend to view you as a more-sexualized counterpart. Not to say all those men want to just sleep with you; some want a genuine relationship and some are content just to acknowledge the sexual energy. This is a simplification, and you will find subtle differences, but I found this mind frame useful.

5. Learn to figure out the difference between offering advice because you don't know what to do and offering advice because, as a woman, they believe you can't know what to do. Hell, for the first two week I would advice against drawing any conclusions at all, since some people automatically baby new folk; you'll learn to tell the difference soon so unless it is really egregious - breathe. A good rule of thumb is file it for further reference (to check for patterns) unless you want to go to human resources.

6. Learn to do the job. Maybe you won't be fantastic at it, but learn to do it and try to do it well. Few things are more destructive to your self-esteem or career than being lousy and constantly asking for help.

7. That being said, don't convince yourself that you shouldn't ask for help, whether it's because you don't know what/how to do something, or because you physically can't. Sure it might be annoying to be considered 'a delicate lady', especially if you are working towards being stronger, but ruining your body through injury ensures that you won't ever get the respect, or the physique, you want.

8. Furthering that point, when you do start making gains and 'showing off' (Don't act like you aren't going to want to) tone things down about 10%. Failing really sucks and undermines your position. Also don't be surprised if guys show off in response, or 'preen'; a lot of guys still don't like what they perceive as " being beaten by a chick". Take heart, this attitude typically fades and is replaced by acknowledgement of abilities.

9. It is okay to reassure people you won't run to file a complaint at the sound of the first raunchy joke, but don't tell yourself that it means you can't ever go. Sometimes things get serious and you have to assess what would be a bigger damage to your mental happiness, things being awkward with coworkers or feeling like you waived your dignity for comfort.

10. It is so cliche, but don't forget to enjoy yourself. You chose this job for a reason so try to have a good time. If you find you genuinely can't, there is no shame in moving on. It happens and once you find the right job, you won't care what you waded through to find it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: U.S. Politics

I realize there were many submissions clamouring for the position, but I am afraid I have made my choice for Best Ad Campaign. I just lament that we don't have these kind of politicians in our country.

What does he stand for? What is his platform?

Platform? Oh, I have no clue, but, honestly, if your ad features a Korean lady hollering at you, Screw platforms. (Second one NSFW)

Now on a personal front, I am sad to say two of my best friends are moving away. They've been there for me (No, really. As in "comical sitcom montage" there for me.) and I will always be the better for having them in my life. For example, they would remind me they are only going for two years and will return but, see, without them here I don't have that perspective. So to Kkrk and Jo, have fun and come back soon. I guess there's only one thing left to say.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Common sense" of the "Common people"

Oh, Canada. After the excitement of the election and the searing debate about whether Quebec would use the NDP to break up with the rest of Canada, we didn't notice that our backs were turned to the west and some weird stuff was happening. B.C's Conservative party has a leadership race ongoing, but there is only one candidate - the same man who is currently acting leader, John Cummins, a man whose furrowed, overhanging brows and stern gaze bring to mind a certain NRA spokes-Moses.

Determined to hit the gays - erm, excuse me - ground running, he has gone on record saying he does not believe homosexuality should be included on the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Human Rights Act because he believes it is a choice, so, you know, not like religion or marital status then... Well, to be fair, he says he is "pro-traditional marriage", so it is possible he means pro-arranged marriage, in which case one's marital status would not be a personal choice; it would be a parental choice.

But enough cheap shots; I shouldn't be allowed to scrutinize his "personal issues, private issues" I mean, it's not like he's attempting to force his personal private issues on the general public by running for political office, right? The more dedicated readers will point out that I have previously defended Mr. Harper when the media was examining his religious affiliations, but the difference here is that the beliefs are the issue, where they came from should not be.

I do hate that I agree with him when asked if attacks against homosexuals should be considered a hate crime, he responded that "If there's a crime against anybody, that crime should be dealt with to the full extent of the law". I do think they should be considered hate crimes, but I can appreciate the pragmatism here. He goes on to ruin the honeymoon by saying he dislikes judging motives in crimes, just like they do in manslaughter vs. murder trials, etc., but we had a special moment for a second.

Anyway, there is no need to saddle up the Panic Pants yet, the party is only a tiny fringe party, gaining two percent of the vote (in contrast, the green got eight) but this man used to be a federal MP, and it is possible he could gain supporters. Typically the right support the B.C. Liberal party, but we should all just be aware that we can't just dismiss B.C as a bunch of tree-hugging, Starbucks-swilling, Seattle wannabes (is that offensive?) They've taken a look in our crazy backyard, and they like what they see.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Now that we are all waking up from the alcohol fueled coma we have been sotted in since the election (for better or for worse) Bill C-51, a happy bundle of interesting developments to our criminal code, has been noticed. It makes me sad to admit it, since I relish taking the steam out of other people's alarmist ventures, but the bill is exactly as bad as we've been dreading.

It functionally makes anonymity illegal in every way that matters. Just recently I had heard a story on the radio about a politician whose reputation was smeared because an anonymous story had been published on the Internet and its scandalous nature boosted it to the first results when the man's name was googled. He alleged the story was untrue, and for a moment I pitied him and thought, "Isn't there anything we can do about this?" The answer is, "Yes, but not without eroding free speech." The bill states that everyone commits an offense who uses a false name to convey information that they know is false with intent to injure and alarm. Consider the reading of injure here to include libel, and the bill includes a pretty big tool for people who have been slagged on the interwebs. I am split on this notion that we should not be allowed to knowingly pass false information, but this may unfairly place the onus on every conveyor of information to ascertain truth or falsity, under pain of legislation. Furthermore, the ribbing and untruthful attacks on power is a form of keeping the playing field level, of allowing disgruntled citizens to feel they are getting their 'shots in', the falsity of most allegations come forth in time, should this really be a criminal offense?

On this development, however, there is some discussion about what really constitutes 'Anonymous'; for example, is an Anonymous handle merely sufficient, or does it refer to a deliberate obfuscation of one's ISP? Further, since it is also an offense to misrepresent one's identity, will a misleading handle (i.e StephenHarper) be illegal,or will a misrepresentation of the owner of an ISP be necessary? The language seems to suggest a handle is sufficient, but it would be foolish to eliminate their other form of prosecution.

The bill also makes no differentiation between people sharing a link to hate speech because they think it's cool and people that pass it for the purpose of information. This means a group working to stop the origin of the hate speech is just as culpable as the creators of such, if they link to their intended target. I have always disagreed with disconnecting the spirit of an offense from the fact of an offense, and this bill neatly aims to do just that in one of the most controversial areas of the law.

Finally, in conjunction with that old bill C-52, where I alleged that people would have to either turn off their phones or leave them at home, we now no longer have the option. This new bill would give police the right to remotely turn on a phone or other GPS tracking advice, such as those found in cars, similar to the way emergency services do. True, the warrant is currently limited to 60 days, unless it is linked  to a terrorism offense or organized crime. I guess they really didn't appreciate those G-20 cell videos. Looks like we're back to the days of carrying camcorders.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Excitement in the River Valley

Those of us in Edmonton have noticed the excitement of project KARE's arrival in the river valley this morning. Several tents, command centers, and cord ones have been set-up, and search dogs have been brought in. But the organization, created to investigate local deaths but expanded to include missing persons, is not saying what they are there for, except to dispel rumors that connect the search to Master Corporal Richard Curnow who went missing Thursday, May 5th while on a training run.

It's pretty exciting stuff, considering how rare the use of tracking dogs is, but if they are not searching for Mcpl Curnow, the only person missing recently enough to leave a scent trail that the dogs could follow, there are only a few reasons to bring in search and rescue dogs, and none of them are good.

From the pictures of the search the dog is one of two common SAR breeds: German Shepard or Belgian Malinois. If the dogs are Malinois, there is only one realistic purpose for bringing them out: to uncover IEDs. Considering the pipe bomb that was found and detonated on the Groat Road Bridge, and the unlikeliness that a bomber who would go to the trouble of making a bomb would get distracted after one failure and 'move on', the notion that RCMP received a bomb tip and are now frantically combing the area is not as far-fetched as those of us who like to consider Edmonton a 'sheltered city' would like to believe.

If the dogs are German Shepards, however, their mandate is much wider including ground or air-based tracking, drug sniffing, or locating human remains. The timeline of the investigation, they began to plan this search three weeks ago, suggests that it is most likely a cadaver search, if it is not bomb disposal. I have jogged through the river valley so let me be the first to say its a little creepy to imagine bodies lurking nearby. Not as creepy, however, as the idea of some attention starved moron planting home-made bombs around.

My main question remains, why are they so quick to distance themselves from the search for Mcpl Curnow? Project KARE typically only involves itself with high-risk missing persons (prostitutes or persons in the drug trade) but it sends a poor message when the search for a solider who went overseas twice in the service of our country is called off after only a weekend, with no conclusive leads and no explanation of likely scenarios.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Baby and The Bathwater

I don't have a penis. Although it has rarely been an important factor in my life, it seems that it disqualifies me from having an opinion about procedures which involve them. (Apparently a vestigial tail is not "close enough") But ever since learning about the practice, its history and statistics, I have been a staunch supporter of non-circumcision.

If I have a failing, however, it is that I tend to assume that any view I hold is automatically held by others of sound mind, and so I was surprised to learn that almost half the male babies in Alberta are put through the procedure. It is unlikely to be a cultural practice (which I won't comment on here - the benefits of the religious affinity cannot and should not be measured against the pros or cons of the procedure, it is for the religion itself to debate) since the national average is far below Alberta's rate, but rather something people are having done simply out of habit or misinformation.

A common reason is that fathers don't want their sons to look different from themselves, an argument that would be laughed out of any other medical procedure debate but is apparently tolerated in this special bubble. The fact that it is, actually, a medical procedure that carries inherent risk, is put on the back shelf to the consideration that the father might one day have to explain to his child that some penises look different and that's okay.

In defense of the procedure, however, a common argument against is that the child's human rights are being violated since they obviously cannot consent to the procedure, a point that often causes parents to collapse on the ground, helpless with laughter. "The child can't consent" they chortle, "better stop taking them to the dentist/ making them eat new foods/ wear 'itchy' sweaters!" The fact is that parents are parents, and they have the right to make decisions about their child's medical considerations.

A compelling argument for circumcision is that studies have shown it can protect against various sexually transmitted diseases, for example lowering transmission of HPV (especially when used in concert with the HPV vaccination). As someone who does not support the procedure, however, I am always baffled by the notion that people would support this option over the superior option of encouraging condom use (or cleaning in the case of the urinary tract infection argument). The perennial response to this is that condoms are sometimes not widely available, which is relevant for third world countries but in Alberta, this really is not a valid objection. As for a child's ability to clean, despite the risk of cavities, we don't take away their teeth (or toenails as another debater pointed out).

The downside to the non-cutting side is that activists tend to refer to it as barbaric, unnecessary, and talk of the lasting damage, while men with circumcisions shake their heads from the sidelines. The point is that it rarely eliminates sensation, and only occasional experiences complications, so fatalist arguments tend to repel curious parents who check out the circumcised camp, expecting blood-thirsty maniacs, to find a dearth of "haunted, mutilated, men" and reason that it isn't all that bad, ignoring the more reasonable, compelling arguments against circumcision.

Frustratingly, both sides claim the high ground on the "sexual sensation" debate, due to the fact that since no long-term, rigorous, tests have been or can be done, all evidence is anecdotal, and extremely capricious. 

What all these contrary arguments boil down to is that it is, of course, for the parents to decide. It would be better, however, if the reasons for circumcision were more thoroughly thought out, since I suspect we would see a drop in the procedure (not an elimination - it is still medically necessary occasionally) if people investigated more.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Canadian Election Results 2011

This post is written with some mild non-Conservative flavor and is not really relevant for Tory voters.

The Conservatives have won their majority government, the NDP forms the official opposition, the Liberals have no place in Parliament for the first time ever in Canadian history and the leader of the Green party won the party's only (and first) seat in parliament. Two of the party leaders were not elected in their respective ridings and the landscape of the country is vastly different. However, courtesy of our voting system the majority of people (60%) will have voted for a party candidate that did not win the election. Rather than tucking into the ice cream and sobbing (or perhaps after) focus on the things that can be done now.

Talk to your candidate. The most important consideration of democracy is that you have a voice in parliament; as long as your MP accurately represents your concerns, beliefs, and priorities, then it does not really matter what party they belong to. (Except for the probability of whip votes).

Talk to other people. Create a dialogue about what is going on in parliament so that when another election rolls around the ground-work is already laid for accurate representation of previous actions, rather than the political mud-slinging that tends to choke the airwaves around election time, obscuring the real issues.

Talk to yourself. I don't mean pretend you have a Bluetooth so you can wander around muttering to yourself, I mean take heart. It likely won't be so bad. Consider the bright side: we live in a first world country - in all seriousness things are never going to get too bad. This just means we must all be more attentive to political occurrences than we have been, and that has never been easier than in this day and age. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Wildcard Weekend: Animal Shorts

On the day before election, what better than a couple of adorable animated animal clips to brighten your sunday? Expertly animated and totally chuckle-worthy, I hand-picked these just for my Dear Reader.

And one a little spooky to round it all out!