Tuesday, August 29, 2006
There seems to be increasing discontent over the war with Lebanon in Israel, though one suspects part of the motivation is the lack of success of said war. Had the IDF swept Hezbollah from southern Lebanon and forced the government in Beirut to kowtow, there would probably have been little protest in Tel Aviv.
Still, what really made me feel queasy was something I saw on TV about a week ago. I was watching a local Toronto channel I don't normally tune in to, and saw a paid message from some Jewish NGO. It spoke of the tens of thousands of lives that had been up uprooted by the thousands of rockets launched into Israel by Hezbollah, the terrible destruction, and the urgent need of donations to help an afflicted nation during its desparate struggle. I wanted to throw up. Granted, people have been killed and homes destroyed, but relative to a single Luftwaffe bombing of London circa 1941, the damage is miniscule. Israel may be at war with neighboring commando groups, but the struggle in no way overtaxes its resources, especially considering the billions Israel quietly pockets from the U.S. every year. What of the tens of thousands of homeless Israel has created in Lebanon, or the massive physical destruction of neighborhoods and essential infrastructure there? Well, that doesn't matter I suppose. They are only Arabs, and not the Chosen People. Meanwhile, sources I've read tell me that Israel is the least generous of all developed nations when it comes to aiding the less advantaged of the world. Somehow the Israelis feel no shame whatsoever demanding handouts to maintain their shopping mall existence in the midst of poverty, then turn their backs at the sight of genuine need. Just why should we help these people? Are they not actually rich? Powerful? Competitive in world markets and influential in the forum of nations? Is it just because of Adolf Hitler that we must back Israel, regardless of how it seems dead set on a confrontation that could very well lead to a new holocaust?
But I forget. He who sits in the White House is looking forward to Armageddon. Only when a new Israeli empire arises and converts to Christianity, can the ultimate war between God and Satan come about. Then, when the sane and sensitive decompose in the rubble of civilization destroyed, Little Georgie can float up to heaven like a baloon full of nitrous, and go to his great reward with the millions of other equally vacuous Born Again.
Monday, August 28, 2006
I confess, I don't know much about the Green Party, but I'm curious now. I should probably go look them up. I don't like the Conservatives much at all, and while in my heart (like the heart of many or even most Canadians) the Liberals are the so-called "natural governing party of Canada", I think they're also naturally a lot of arrogant bagmen. I don't know why I can't get enthused about the NDP... they just seem so impossible. Why, then, am I suddenly interested in the Greens as an alt? It's probably the attraction of the unknown.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
We parked up on Cold Creek Road and trekked down the the narrow gravel road into the valley. The gravel was rounded and at one point P-Doug slipped on it and scraped his left knee and shin. But it didn't seem to hold him back any as we started our explorations...
The first thing we encounted was a large swimming pool. You can see from the trees growing out of it that it's been abandoned now for decades. The side weren't straight; they sloped inwards. P-Doug noticed the pool had no liner, so must have been an early, leaky model inground pool. He also noticed it was trimmed in a colour of sea green popular in the late 50s and early 60s. There was a lifeguard tower dumped into the pool, as well as, of all things, an oven.
We came across a badly ruined car. P-Doug guessed it to be an AMC model of some kind, probably from the 1970s. It was a hideous metallic green — the parts of it that were still painted, that is.
A bridge once crossed the Humber here. It was probably a farmer's bridge, continued in use by the campgrounds (assuming that's what this place was). In this shot, I'm standing on one abutment, looking across at the other.
This is an infrared panorama of the Humber River. The bridge abutments are at centre-right.
We're not quite sure what these are. They're firmly cemented into the ground. P-Doug took a guess that they were the anchors for some sort of cable suspension bridge on the Humber. Given how close it is to the other bridge, I have my doubts, but I'm hard-pressed to guess, just based on this, what they might have been for if not that.
Following along the path, we came to fork. We headed up the left branch. As it turns out, we came back via the right.
At the top of the hill, we found this large wooden structure that had utterly collapsed. It even had pointed palisades. What was this? It reminded us both of The Forest Rangers, a popular show on Canadian TV in the 60s and 70s. As a matter of fact, the show was filmed somewhere quite nearby, just north of Kleinburg, in the Humber River valley.
To the north was a large open field. P-Doug felt pretty sure it had once been a farmer's field, and he felt for the farm family that had to clear it; he remarked that he was glad they weren't around to see nature reclaiming all their hard work.
By the time we were at the farmer's field, we'd been at it about an hour and a half. P-Doug's knee was beginning to scab over, and he indulged me in this sensationalist shot.
Heading back, we found ourselves at the top of a rise. Looking down, we saw this beautiful vision of the Humber below us. That was pretty much we we decided most of the balance of the afternoon would be devoted to soaking in the river. So, we doubled back and crept along the bank, which on our side was cut sharp and deep, till we found a managable approach.
This is a shot of my shadow as I stand in the Humber. Actually, this is well over an hour after we started swimming. I suddenly got the urge to take some shots of the location, though it was risky to the cameras involved. But I'm glad I did!
P-Doug in the distance, sat in the Humber near the bend where we just sat back in the beautiful water, chatting across the river from opposite banks.
Me, standing in the shallows.
Me, standing in the deepest part; came right up to my nipples. P-Doug was wondering how deep it was, so in spite of the fact I was carrying my Rebel XT, I waded in to show him. I quoted George Armstrong Custer, who once rode his horse into a river to answer the same question: "This is how deep it is, general."
The sunbeam marks the spot where I sat chest-deep in the water on smooth rocks for over an hour, feeling the cool water rush by and the warm summer sun on my back.
P-Doug suggested I take a 360-degree panorama and put it together with AutoStitch when I got home. I did, and here it is. I suggest you click on this one to actually see it.
After a bit, I took my XT back to where we'd stripped; I asked P-Doug if he wanted his DC4800. He did, so I brought that back to him. Then I realized I should have brought my G1 too, to take infrared shots. So, back I went for a third time. This is an infrared shot of me about to step back into the Humber from the landing where we left our clothes.
Looking downstream from the landing, taken from a few yards out in the river.
Who will watch the watcher? Well, me. Here's P-Doug in infrared, shooting the north bank in colour.
Looking upstream to the bend; a huge heron came out of the trees and glided along the river earlier, when, unfortunately, I was not armed with my camera. Oddly enough, I believe I accidentally filmed the same bird upstream a couple of hours later with my S80.
Overhanging tree. Looks like a great place to dive from. I didn't try. :)
On our way back, we crossed a little stream where this poor butterfly was upside down. Its wings were damaged. P-Doug lifted it from the water and put it on a tall blade of grass. I don't know what became of it, but hopefully it was better than slowly drowning.
We got in the car and drove a five minutes into Bolton, where we bought something to drink and tried to use what seemed to be the on payphone in town... which was inside the locked door of a closed donut shop. After that, we decided to investigate one more location — a missing bridge at the end of the 11th Concession, which is in a straight line with Cold Creek Road, where we parked earlier and where the trail we took begins. This view looks south where the traffic-accessible part of the 11th Concession ends.
A bit further down and around a curve, you find yourself back at the Humber. Off to our right, we spotted the abutments of an old, now demolished, bridge. I stepped into the river and left P-Doug on the north bank, wading in to get a better look. This is the abutment on the south side.
This is the abutment on the north side, the side from which we'd come. The water here was fairly deep; it was dampening the cuffs of my shorts.
I forded the river and climbed the hill on the south side to the south abutment, where I made this panorama of the view over the south abutment, looking north across the Humber.
Just downstream, east from the abutment, was this abandoned piece of farm equipment.
Crossing back, I stepped into the river and immediately sank about 6" into the mud. I was glad I was barefoot; sneakers would never have come clean, and even my sandals have deep grooves in them that would have drank the silt and been a bugger to clean. As it was, the mud was completely off my skin before I was done fording to the north side.
A 180-degree panorama of the Humber, north at centre, with P-Doug waiting for me on the far side. I was standing a couple of yards out int ot the river when I took this. At this part of the river, the water's only about a foot deep, but it's strewn with rocks.
There are other things I still want to see, and I wouldn't mind setting back in the Humber again here. I hope we'll return.
Monday, August 14, 2006
|Your Five Factor Personality Profile|
You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."
You have low conscientiousness.
Impulsive and off the wall, you don't take life too seriously.
Unfortunately, you sometimes end up regretting your snap decisions.
Overall, you tend to lack focus, and it's difficult for you to get important things done.
You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.
You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.
Openness to experience:
Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.
|Your Values Profile|
You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.
You don't really value honesty.
You do value getting your way, no matter what.
And if a little lying is required to do that, no problem.
A few white lies never hurt anyone (at least, that's what you tell yourself!)
You don't really value generosity.
Your needs always come first, no matter what.
And you'll possibly help someone else out...
But only if it helps you in return.
You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.
You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.
|You Belong in Amsterdam|
A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).
|Your Brain is 47% Female, 53% Male|
Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve
Thursday, August 10, 2006
c) the Master Race
d) the Holy Father
e) the Party
f) His Majesty the King
g) the Lord Jesus Christ
h) the proletariat
j) Chairman Mao
l) Don Corleone
"...It's been eighteen months in a foreign wasteland
Scenes of terror still fresh and ripe
Found a place to come face to face
Like the guttersnipes...
Whether you like it or not, there ain't no end in sight.
For another thousand days,
Will it all be over?
And another thousand nights,
Will the job get done?
For another thousand days,
Will it all make history?
And another thousand nights,
Will the war be won?..."
—Guerilla Soldier, Gowan
When I think how different my life is from what I wanted it to be, or was afraid it might be, I’m not sure how to feel. I guess I just feel sad that I’m not young anymore; I am what I am, and while things could have turned out worse, it’s hard to realize that all the potential is spent. The road has largely been mapped out and large stretches of it have been paved at this point… maybe more than I realize. I guess I understand now what John Cougar meant when he sang “hang onto sixteen as long as you can”.
Since when is rising above partisanship in the name of the nation a conflict of interest?
Wajid Khan was judged the best person for the job in a matter of grave importance to our country at this time in our history, and I think the Prime Minister has done well to recognize talent outside his caucus, and Khan to risk the slings and arrows he apparently now has to face for agreeing to help out.
What do Minna and Fry see? Not someone making an extraordinary gesture that may (thank to the likes of people like them) hobble his political career; no: they see a quisling who is propping up the sagging support of the Harper government. They would sooner see this nation rudderless than the wrong captain pilot it through the storm. Their attitude repulses me. On an issue of substantive import to all Canadians, they selfishly put party before country. If anyone ought to resign, I suggest they are the ones who’ve demonstrated themselves unworthy of sitting in the House of Commons and conducting the business of Confederation.
I am no fan of the Tory government or party. I’ve been a fairly consistent Liberal voter all my adult life, who is waiting for some more socially-progressive government to replace the current one. But were either Maria Minna or Hedy Fry running in my riding, I would have a hard time voting for them. Their attitudes represent the worst in Canadian partisanship.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper has reached across party lines for foreign-policy help, appointing a Liberal MP as his adviser on the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The sudden appointment of Mississauga Liberal MP Wajid Khan, a Muslim Canadian, to advise the Conservative government on the thorny political issues was made with the last-minute blessing of interim Liberal leader Bill Graham.
Mr. Khan, who served in Pakistan's air force before coming to Canada in 1974, said he will travel to the region as Mr. Harper's envoy and prepare a report for the Prime Minister by Oct. 1, primarily dealing with the Middle East conflict and Canada's role in Afghanistan.
Mr. Harper's advisers said that report will provide an additional perspective to that provided by Canadian diplomats abroad.
Mr. Khan declined to say where he stands on the Middle East, telling a reporter he is heading into his role with an open mind.
He voted against the Conservative government's motion to extend the mission of Canadian troops in Afghanistan past 2007, although he said he supports the mission but believed Mr. Harper's government did not allow enough debate.
Mr. Khan's appointment comes as polls suggest that Mr. Harper's support of Israel in the Mideast conflict may have hurt public support for his Conservative government. However, Mr. Harper's advisers insist that the appointment was not sparked by the current crisis and that Mr. Khan will have a mandate to present his views on a broader region, including South Asia.
"I think the credit goes to the Prime Minister," Mr. Khan said in a telephone interview yesterday. "He has reached across party lines. I think this is a supra-partisan issue, a non-partisan issue, and he realized that I have experience and depth of knowledge of that region, and he's asked me to do some work for him."
Mr. Khan, who is seen as a shrewd political organizer and is prominent in Toronto's Muslim-Canadian community, was first elected in 2004. He said he will remain a Liberal MP and Ontario chair for the campaign of Liberal leadership candidate Joe Volpe. Mr. Khan took the Volpe post after Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis resigned, citing Mr. Volpe's pro-Israeli stance in the Middle East conflict.
The appointment caught Liberals off guard yesterday.
A spokesman for Mr. Graham, the interim Liberal leader, said Mr. Khan told Mr. Graham of the appointment late yesterday, and Mr. Graham gave his approval.
"He came to Bill about an hour ago and said that he was going to undertake this assignment. I think his words were that it superseded partisan politics, and it was an opportunity for him to use his knowledge, skills and contacts in the area to help to work for a lasting peace," Pat Breton said. "Bill had a hard time saying no to that."
A spokesman for Mr. Volpe, Corey Hobbs, said the Liberal leadership hopeful also gave his blessing and that "we're glad to see that Mr. Harper has such confidence in members of Mr. Volpe's campaign."
But some Liberals quietly suggested that Mr. Harper had developed a cunning strategy to use a Liberal to deflect criticism of his own position.
Mr. Harper's parliamentary secretary, Jason Kenney, said that Mr. Khan approached the Conservatives in May about the need to better communicate the goals of Canada's mission in Afghanistan, and that his discussion with the government began before the Middle East conflict broke out.
"We were thinking about doing this before the situation in Lebanon developed," Mr. Kenney said, adding that Mr. Khan "has his own military and intelligence contacts" in the region.
Mr. Khan's Liberal caucus colleagues suggested that Mr. Harper needs to mend political fences in Canada.
"It is unusual. I called to congratulate Mr. Khan on his appointment," said Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who has been critical of Mr. Harper's stand on the Middle East conflict.
"Mr. Harper has taken some significant hits in the polls recently, especially in multicultural communities," he said. "If there was a time for him to make this sort of appointment, it would be now."
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
While there have been a plethora of stories about the 500,000 to 1 million Lebanese displaced by this war, where are the stories about the half million or more Israelis — many of the Arabs — forced to evacuate? Haifa, a city of nearly 400,000, is mostly deserted, its residents either in hiding or gone.
Really? Is that right, Lorne? Well, why don’t you get on the horn and tell the Palestinians? After all, I’m sure they’d love to move in now that the place has been ‘voluntarily abandoned’, bulldoze a few homes, and declare the place Eretz Palestine. After all, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander (assuming the sauce to be both kosher and halal).
But you know what, kids? I think the reason we haven’t heard any such stories as Lorne wants us to hear is because… they’re bullshit. If anything like this were remotely the case, CNN, FOX, and the Klan Praise the Second Coming and Pass the Ammunition Review would have been all over it like flies on a turd, all eager to share the goodness with us. But they haven’t. Why? Because they’re liberally-biased? Uh, no. Because it’s bullshit. There are only about 7 million people in Israel; if nearly every tenth one had had to pull up stakes, trust me… you’d have heard about it by now.
If I’m wrong… fine. Somebody call Hamas and tell them Israel has a vacancy.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Subject: Fw: A MILITARY DAUGHTER - A BEAUTIFUL STORY (and well worth the read)
Subject: Proud to be a Soldier !!!
From the daughter of a Soldier..
Last week I was in Trenton, Ontario. attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest act's of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camo's, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.
When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded Canadian who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes
who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school,
work and home without fear or reprisal.
Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "hi," the little girl then she asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, he didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.
The mother of the little girl, who said her daughters name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Corporal and had been in Afghanistan for 11 months now.
As the mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second.
Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you." He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying "your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon."
The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event unfolded.
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, their were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an Canadian.
Just keeping you "in the loop" so you'll know what's going on in case this takes off.
RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Canadian who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Canadians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Canada supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that..
Every red-blooded Canadian who supports our men and women afar will wear something red. By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the Canada on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.
If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before Canada is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.
The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.
IF YOU AGREE -- THEN SEND THIS ON..
IF YOU COULD CARE LESS THEN HIT THE DELETE BUTTON..
IT IS YOUR CHOICE.
THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED---- SO WEAR RED! --- Lest we Forget, Lest we Forget. HAVE A GREAT DAY!
Yeah, Aunt ****** sent me this too. It occurs to me that it's possible to support the troops and national pride without allowing oneself to be sucked into supporting misapplications of those same troops and their lives. I imagine it's possible, for instance, for the average German to be proud of the Wehrmacht without celebrating its invasion of Poland in 1939. I support Canadian troops when they're where they're supposed to be: at home, in Canada, keeping it safe. Not blowing up somebody else's home in Afghanistan. Especially when I'm paying some chunk of my $XX,000 a year for it that could be better spent on cancer research, lower-emission vehicles, or helping people find jobs.
My father spent over 20 years in the military. He never killed anybody. What happened to that Canada?
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
That struck me like thunder. That's exactly what what Israel has. It's been granted by the US, who arms and supports Israel financially and diplomatically, and is seconded by so much of the West for whom any hint of criticism of Israel automatically brings with it the fear of condemnation as anti-Semitism — perhaps the most effective means of pseudo-decapitation since McCarthy started applying the word "Communist" to anyone who championed free thought and inquiry. Yes, we in the West have stamped Israel and everything it does with the double-O seal of approval. Canada's own prime minister is willing to wink at the IDF murders of our civilian citizens and UN soldiers in Lebanon, rather than appear to be hard on Israel. We've granted Israel a license to kill, and the means to use it. And we have the gall to wonder where terrorism comes from.