Archive for November, 2009

Enough with the gates already

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Back in early 1974, very few people worldwide, apart from American political insiders, knew or cared anything about the Watergate office complex in the Foggy Bottom neighbourhood of Washington, D.C, in the United States of America.

Since the events that forced the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon, it is understandable that the word Watergate has become synonymous with political scandal in the United States.

But 35 years later, why in the world do the pundits think that it is clever to append the suffix “gate” to every scandal, real or perceived, happening anywhere in the U.S.A. or worldwide?

A recent example was the tempest in a teapot over whether Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Protestant, consumed or pocketed the communion host at a Roman Catholic funeral.  The scandal quickly was dubbed Wafergate.

More recently, hackers have released some email messages they stole from climate change researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.  Yup, predictably this is Climategate.

I would like to go on record as being one person who thinks that the novelty wore off several decades ago, that this practice isn’t original and in fact is downright annoying.  I appeal to reporters, headline writers, columnists and bloggers worldwide to please give us a break.

That would be Green Week, not Blue and Red Week

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I own a bright red denim shirt that usually hangs in my closet for weeks without being worn.  I like it, but since my tastes run more to earth tones, I usually ignore it.

However today I was feeling bold so I donned it, together with a pair of blue trousers.

I was halfway through my day at the office before someone pointed out that Premier Wall, in recognition of the Saskatchewan Roughriders going to the Grey Cup, has declared this Green Week, encouraging everyone to wear Rider Green.

And then another co-worker, who originally hails from Montreal and still cheers for the Alouettes, pointed out that I was wearing the Als’ colours.

I didn’t go home to change, but I tried to keep a low profile for the remainder of the day.

Now to check my closet for tomorrow’s attire … I wonder if khaki is close enough to Rider Green?

A former agnostic on coming to faith

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

“In the end, coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming, of picking up the threads of a lost life, of responding to a bell that had long been ringing, of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.”
Malcolm Muggeridge

Real Soggy Bottom Boys (and Alison Krauss)

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Yes Marc, you are correct.

Coyote bounty

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

This news story took me by surprise.

Sask. offers $20 bounty on coyotes

The Saskatchewan government is offering a $20 bounty on every coyote killed.

Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud announced the bounty Tuesday as part of the Saskatchewan Coyote Control Program.

The program is to help farmers and ranchers who are having trouble with coyotes killing their livestock.

Coyotes have been a perennial problem in rural Saskatchewan, but the situation has been getting worse in recent years, Bjornerud said.

“Producers … have coyotes coming right in their yards and mixing with their cattle right now,” Bjornerud said. “It’s dangerous out there for farm families that have little kids and that, when they are coming right into the yards. In some cases. they are taking the yard dog and leading him out of the yard and killing him.”

A trial version of the program will run until March 31, 2010. After that, the province will look at extending the bounty.

(Full article here)

I expect some angry letters to the editor in the next few days about us slack-jawed Saskatchewan redneck yokels.  It should be entertaining.

But actually, I have mixed feeling about this announcement.  I’m all for letting nature find its balance, but if humans are going to produce the food that we need, I think that active management of predators is required.  The coyote population is high, probably due to a combination of factors, including several mild winters and reduced hunting and trapping as a result of low fur prices.  Part of me doesn’t like the idea of a coyote bounty, but I do sympathize with my farming friends who have lost farm animals to coyote predation.

Ideally I’d like to see fur go back into fashion, but until that happens, I guess a bounty is probably a valid solution to curbing the coyote population.

At least it’s probably preferable to the mange.

Some H1N1 perspective

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I think that the H1N1 pandemic should be taken seriously.  Precautions like hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer seem sensible to me.  I’ll probably get immunized when it’s my turn in the queue.  I don’t want to get this flu, and I don’t want to be responsible for others getting it.

However I wonder if some of the H1N1 panic might be a bit out of proportion.

Flu Deaths in Canada


Deaths in Canada from the 1918 Spanish Influenza (Public Health Agency of Canada)

Annual Deaths in Canada from Seasonal Flu (Public Health Agency of Canada)

H1N1 Surveillance (Public Health Agency of Canada)