Archive for the ‘Current events’ Category

I realize that I am in the Saskatchewan DST minority but …

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

A couple of days ago most of North America and Europe, and many countries on other continents, moved their clocks ahead one hour. Not Saskatchewan though.  And we won’t be doing so for the foreseeable future, since there won’t be a referendum on Saskatchewan adopting Daylight Saving Time.  I guess it was a pragmatic decision, since multiple polls showed that about two thirds of Saskatchewan residents are happy with the status quo while only one third – including me – would like to see DST adopted.  I’m all for pragmatism so I’m not going to tear into the current government for breaking its promise to hold a referendum on the issue. After all why waste hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on asking a question when the answer is a foregone conclusion?

However I do admit that I’m disappointed.  Why?  Not so much because I’d rather have sunshine at 10:00 p.m. when I might still be sitting on my back deck than at 4:00 a.m. when I’m trying to sleep.  After all it is a fact that Saskatchewan ought to be in the Mountain Standard Time zone, so being in the Central Standard Time zone essentially puts us on DST year-round.

12065693261417769726Rfc1394_USA_Canada_time_zone_map.svg.hi

My concern relates more to how Saskatchewan relates to the rest of North America and Europe.  While changing my clocks twice a year would be a minor annoyance, trying to remember how many hours we are ahead or behind other places that I communicate with is a major annoyance.  This is especially important to businesses with clients outside of the province.

And travel.  Like the trip to Ontario several years ago when I missed a connecting flight in Winnipeg because I overlooked the fact that Manitoba had sprung an hour ahead of Saskatchewan a few days earlier.  I understand that I shouldn’t have assumed that my watch showed the correct local time even though we are both in the same time zone, and I should have looked at one of the clocks in the airport, and I should have listened to the announcements on the PA system, but if Saskatchewan had sprung ahead in unison with Manitoba, I’d have been on that plane. Luckily Air Canada put me on the next flight and my meeting wasn’t until the next morning so it didn’t ruin my trip, but it did make the DST issue personal for me. And no, I can’t let it go.

Selling the sealing news

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Out of fairness to the news media, most of the news stories that I’ve seen about this year’s annual seal hunt have been accompanied by pictures of legally huntable seals, not the whitecoat pups.  However some, such as Canwest News Service, just can’t resist selling their stories with pictures of cute baby seals, the kind that haven’t been legal to hunt for more than a quarter-century.

It’s strange how the media never seems to accompany stories about the roasting chicken sold in the supermarket with pictures of fluffy yellow chicks.

baby_chicken

Comedy Central’s brave response to intimidation

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Suppose you believe that freedom is important and certain beliefs are dangerous, so you announce that you intend to make your point by using mockery as a weapon against folks that you think have dangerous beliefs.  However when a certain bully and his gang actually show up and double-dare you to mock, you grovel before them, lick their boots as instructed, and then slink back home.

How do you deal with the shame of losing face?

If you are Comedy Central, there is an easy answer.

Find a pacifict to push around.

Haiti earthquake response

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Over the past couple of days I’ve been deeply affected by the news reports about the suffering in Haiti caused by their massive earthquake.  Of course the fact that Haiti was already so needy, with so much abject poverty and a disfunctional government, doesn’t help matters.  They have a long recovery road ahead of them, and huge amounts of aid are required, not only in the short-term but until they can get back on their feet.  At some time in the future the discussion can shift from relief to development.

There are many relief agencies, some with better track records at actually getting most donor contributions to those in need (I chose to give to World Vision).  If you are reading this and haven’t yet contributed please consider it.

And of course, if you believe in a God who listens to his people, then pray.  But I do understand why many people have honest difficulty believing in a merciful God in times like these.

UPDATE 2009-01-16: Linea points out in the comments below that the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada (ECCC) has a missionary working in Haiti.  Janelle Peterson helps at Ebenezer Clinic, located in the north part of the country, more than two hundred kilometres from Port au Prince, an area unaffected by the quake.  The clinic has been helping with the relief effort.  For information on donating through the ECCC or World Relief Canad, and a link to Janelle’s blog click here.

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.

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

Sources:

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)


So many paths up the mountain? Part 2

Monday, August 31st, 2009

At the risk of seeming even more intolerant of other beliefs than I already appear, I’d like to state that I don’t believe that the teachings of THE MAN WHO SPOKE WITH HIS MIND, as revealed on his blog, constitute a valid path to God.

Lots of fodder for the “all religion is the root of all evil” folks here.

Bill stops Peter

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Over the last several weeks, since his departure from Newfoundland on July 8, our family has been following the progress of Peter Bray, the guy trying to set a new time record for rowing solo across the Atlantic.  His exploits are of special interest to us because he expected to make land at the Isles of Scilly, where Janet has family, and where Luke and Charlotte are currently living.

Unfortunately the rowing attempt was aborted a couple of days ago, when Hurricane Bill blew into the area.  Bummer.  

News story here.

Peter Bray’s website here.

if he were jon and kate’s pastor

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I generally make an effort to avoid watching reality shows, but in recent months it’s been impossible to avoid learning about the break-up of the those famous parents, the Gosselins.  (Well maybe not impossible – I guess I could close my eyes while standing in the supermarket check-out line, and avoid all the news websites, and go live in a cave).

For a break from the tabloid sensationalism, Covenant pastor Eugene Cho’s blog post, “if i were jon and kate’s pastor” is worth reading.

Really important news

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Dramatization of a conversation I’m likely to hear on my way to work in the morning: “I vaguely remember something in the news, something about a lady in a Persian rug store who got shot. I don’t know. But Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died on the same day? I better catch Larry King interviewing their friends and family members. Let’s see, if I don’t see it tonight, I can probably catch the show tomorrow, or Saturday morning, or later that weekend, or any day next week…”

(National Post: Jonathon Narvey: Forget Iran, something important finally happened)

I have been amazed these last couple of days at the amount of media coverage there has been of pop star Michael Jackson’s death.  I thought the above opinion piece in the National Post stated it well …

… The mullahs in Iran must be loving it. Our evening broadcasts were clear proof that the decadent Westerners have the attention span of children. We decry political tyrants, but we knowingly accept and immerse ourselves in silly cults of personality so long as the icons are celebrities….

I would blame the celebrity-obsessed media, but they are only feeding us what we demand.

Lord have mercy.