Thursday, January 31, 2013

Same-sex "marriage" fine for some, not for Africa and Asia?

What can you say about a country that earlier this week had a grand total of $217 in its national bank? You can say that it's poor. You can say that its government is a kleptocracy. You can say that it must be in Africa. All those things are true of Comrade Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, last on the list of members of the Disunited Nations, and last on just about every other list you can think of.

Comrade Bob, however, doesn't care about how his country looks in the eyes of the rest of the world. He will go his own way, and the West and the rest be damned. And many of his subjects agree with him.

One thing "Bob's-your-uncle" is adamant about is the immorality of homosexuality. He goes way beyond the stance of the Roman Catholic Church, of which he is nominally a member. The Church calls homosexuality "objectively disordered" but asks that gays be treated with understanding and compassion, and given pastoral help not to change their sexual orientation but to live with it in conformity to God's commandments.

Where that becomes difficult is in matters like same-sex "marriage". The Church, along with every other religion in the world, has always maintained that marriage is a solemn and sanctified bond between a man and a woman. It has been so since Adam and Eve. Until lately, that is.

Now we have the wimmin's libbers and gay activists clamouring for "equal rights", by which they mean licence to do whatever they damn well please, no matter what God or mere mortals may think, and no matter what damage is done to the fabric of society. Christianity is now so weak, and the LGBT agenda -- see WWW passim -- is being pushed so hard and so successfully that same-sex "marriage" is now legal in large parts of the so-called Christian world. (A better term would be "post-Christian West".)

The rest of the world -- Asia, the Middle East and Africa -- is different, and intends to remain so. You don't see people agitating for same-sex "marriage" in China or Japan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Uganda or... wait for it... Zimbabwe.

In fact, Zimbabwe proposes to make same-sex "marriage" illegal! Its leaders -- not just Bob but leaders of the opposition -- have approved the draft of a new constitution, to be tabled in the Zimbabwean Parliament on February 8th.

According to an article in NewsDay, Section 4.78 of the draft, on marriage rights, prohibits forced marriages, marriages of people under the age of 18 and between people of the same sex.

One of the co-chairthingies of the drafting committee called the clause a clear statement that Zimbabwe does not condone homosexuality. Said Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, "This is the first time we have this clause in our constitution.... There will be other legal instruments to enforce it, such as the Sexual Offences Act. It's clear sexual relationships between people of the same sex are prohibited."

Mugabe has long been a fierce critic of homosexuality. He has often criticised it as unAfrican and branded gays and lesbians as "worse than pigs and dogs". He has also said, as the Church says, that same-sex relationships are ungodly -- not according to God's law or natural law.

Douglas Mwonzora, the other co-chair, said homosexuality was a criminal offence in Zimbabwe, as it is in many other Asian and African countries. "The constitution cannot prescribe a crime, but the issue of homosexuality can be covered under the criminal law of sodomy," Mwonzora said. "Same-sex marriages are prohibited and homosexuality is a crime under the country's criminal laws."

What should Western "gay rights" campaigners and same-sex "marriage" advocates make of third-world opposition to their agenda? Are the countries where marriage is still just for men and women backward and uncivilized?

Once upon a time the Christian nations sent missionaries to places like Zimbabwe to preach the gospel which says that homosexual acts are evil. (See St. Paul's epistle to the Romans.) Should we now send missionaries to say that those who came a century ago were wrong, and that what was once regarded as evil is now to be not just tolerated but encouraged? Don't be surprised...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Archbishop besieged at home for opposing LGBT agenda

Still more on the bullying and persecution of those opposing the LGBT agenda. Today we learn from the Italian newspaper Tempi that Most Rev. Giampaolo Crepaldi, Archbishop of Trieste (Italy) was besieged in his own home earlier this month by a gang of "gay rights" activists.

The demonstration was organized by a queer crypto-Fascist group known as ArciGay. They accuse the prelate of being a homophobe -- afraid of homosexuals -- and, sure enough, racist too.

Archbishop Crepaldi said that the protest was organized against him because of “the false and very grave accusation of being intolerant and racist.” He said that gay-rights activists are determined to gain approval for same-sex marriage, and toward that end will accuse all opponents of “homophobia.”

Their agenda is clear enough. In Italy as in North America the goal of the LGBT gang is to get “homophobia” defined as a crime -- some sort of "hate crime -- under which Christians (and non-Christians too) "who say publicly -- as the Catholic Church has always done -- that the real family is only that founded on marriage between a man and a woman" would be subject to prosecution under not just "human rights" legislation, but the criminal law as well.

Will they win? In Italy as in North America, politicians courting the gay lobby and its bloc of voters are running to get on the rainbow-striped bandwagon. Until now, Italian media outlets have ignored the incident, and some city officials in Trieste actually showed their support for the clearly illegal demonstration.

Two members of the local city council reportedly joined in placing the archbishop under virtual house arrest. In Italy. Can you imagine? Is there nowhere in the so-called Christian West where people, even clerics, can stand up for Christian values without fear of demonization and persecution? Queers rule, boys and girls... queers rule.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A glimmer of common sense at Google

Ed. here. Earlier this month we were complaining that the powers that be at Google were trying to force those of us still stuck with Blogger's new "improved" user interface to upload our pix to Picasa in order to be able to drop them into our posts. Maybe I'm just technologically inept -- yah, maybe! -- or maybe I just had a brain fart that day, but the "insert image" menu no longer included a way to upload an image from Walt's PC.

Whatever the problem was, it seems to have been fixed, as today we are once again able to upload our own pix directly to Blogger. A good thing too, because one of these days we might get a new pic of the Swazi girls, and we want to be sure all you gentlemen out there can see it.

To what do we owe the restoration of this image insertion capability? Could it be that other bloggers complained to Google? Did they actually pay attention to the feedback which they never acknowledge? If so, dare we hope that we might one day see them revert to the old, unimproved GUI? That would be sooo good.

Meanwhile, whatever happened, Walt and I express our gratitude for small mercies. It's not every day that software engineers exhibit the common sense of making something simpler rather than more complex.

Canucks choose world's first lezzie governor


Agent 3 has recovered from a dreadful hangover -- the kind where your hair hurts,  your teeth itch and your mouth tastes like the Chinese army has run through it with muddy feet. So he writes from Toronto, where he was driven to drink (he claims) by the selection of one of these two lovely ladies (?) as the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

The Liberals have the largest number of seats in the Ontario Legislature. Under the Canadian parliamentary system of government, the leader of the party with the largest number of seats becomes the premier -- the head of the provincial government, akin to being a state governor in the USA. So that makes Kathleen Wynne -- the less butch-looking of the two -- the new premier. She is Ontario's first female premier, and the first openly gay woman to head any government in any state or province or any country anywhere! Isn't that great?

Agent 3 doesn't think so. What's the problem with that, one might ask. Sexual orientation (or whatever the PC term is today) shouldn't be an issue in this day and age. Right? Well, that depends. Sexual orientation is a bit like religion. What works for me may not necessarily work for you, and if I try to force my beliefs and practices on you, you have every right (it seems to me) to tell me to go to my own chosen hell.

And that's the problem with Kathleen Wynne. It's not that she's a proud lesbian. It's that she wants to force the gay agenda down the throats of everyone else in the province which she now governs. [You used that metaphor a couple of days ago. Ed.]

Let it not be forgotten that Kathleen Wynne was Ontario's Minister of Education in the government of her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty. It was she who drove the attempt to revise Ontario's curriculum for sex education so that children as young as 6 or 7 -- first graders -- would be taught that it's OK to be gay, OK to have two female parents or two male parents, and so on ad nauseam.

Public reaction to the new curriculum was so negative that the government was forced to withdraw the proposal "for further study". And the lovely Ms Wynne was quietly but quickly moved to another portfolio where she would do less damage to the Liberals' chances of re-election. Now that she's in the driver's seat, how long will it take before a new Minister of Education (Laurel Broten will be made to walk the plank for the recent teachers strike) reintroduces the LGBT-friendly curriculum?

Walt predicts lots of queer things in Ontario's future. Lifetime pct .991.

Friday, January 25, 2013

How long will we stay in Afrighanistan?

So it has begun. The French have invaded Mali, the Americans are supporting them (kind of) and the Canadians are helping (a bit). Here's a roundup of facts and opinions as of this morning.

First, the Canadians. As reported in WWW a few days ago, the Canucks generously sent one (1) C-17 Globemaster to do a bit of the heavy lifting, literally. They committed the jumbo transport for one (1) week, which was to have ended Wednesday. (Canadians take loooong weekends.)

The usual gang of "progressive thinkers", led by ex-diplomat and former al-Qaeda hostage Robert Fowler, suggested that a week wasn't enough time to flatten even a bunch of sand naggers.

Canadian PM Steve Harper and his bumboys, Nancy Baird and Peter Machackey, are always ready for a scrap, as long as it's in defence of Israel. But defending the government of Mali is something else. Or at least it was until French President François Hollande cried "Shame, shame, al-Qaeda knows your name."

That moved Mr. Harpoon to extend the mission, not by sending another plane but by saying the C-17 would stay another three weeks. French applause was reportedly muted.

We turn now to today's opinion piece by Walt's old chum, Gwynne Dyer. Mr. Dyer know a lot about international politics, and has the courage to write the truth as he sees it, even when it goes against conventional wisdom and the party line. His peace-mongering political incorrectness has gotten him banned from a slew of papers in America and, err, Israel, but Google his name and you'll find lots of links to his columns.

Today, Mr. Dyer suggests the "Mali war could end up like [the] Afghan conflict"  . Indeed.

Mr. Dyer tells us that the French prefer to draw analogies with Libya, rather than Afghanistan, since Libya was something of a success. The term is relative. What about the Benghazi "incident", still being downplayed by Hellery Clinton? And what about the British, just this week, ordering their nationals to leave Libya because of a "real and imminent" threat? But I digress...

The journalist points out the serious dissimilarities between Libya and Mali. First, in Libya, the French and British and their less-than-willing allies were supporting the rebels. In Mali, they are propping up a military government which came to power in a coup just last year. That government, composed as it is of black people from the southern part of the country, is like most other sub-Saharan African governments -- ignorant, incompetent and corrupt.

Moreover, the rebels -- mostly Tuaregs and other quasi-Arabic people from the north -- are, if not better organized than the Libyan rebels, certainly better armed. That's because a large chunk of the military aid sent to the Libyan rebels by stupid Westerners mysteriously vanished into the sands of the Sahara, only to reappear this winter in Mali.They're fighting us with our own weapons!

To make matters worse -- if that's possible -- the presence of Mali's army at the front is usually counter-productive (Dyer writes) as it is brutal, militarily incompetent, and prone to panic flight. The other African armies are of variable quality, but it is obviously French troops, and especially French air power, that will decide the outcome of the war.

What we have, then, is a Western-run war in a Muslim country, pretty much the same as what we had in Iraq and still have in Afghanistan.

And who is responsible for the sad state of the so-called Malian army? Step forward, the United States of America! It's not just Gwynne Dyer or Walt who says so. The BBC quotes the US military commander in Africa, General Carter Ham -- previously mentioned in WWW in connection with the Libyan affair -- as saying the Pentagon made mistakes in its training of Malian troops now trying to oust Islamists from the north.

Gen. Ham said American "trainers" had failed to teach Malian troops values and ethics, and had failed to inculcate "a military ethos". "We gave them plenty of tactical training," said the general, "but not enough ethics training."

The general was responding to reports of "abuses" -- meaning rape and pillage -- by Mali government troops taking part in the French-led counter-offensive. Murder too. Human rights groups have accused Malian troops of killing Arabs and ethnic Tuaregs as they advance north.

The reports have caused alarm and no little embarrassment in the West, not to mention the reluctance of Canada and other NATO countries to not involve themselves further in what is -- or should be -- another nasty and dirty little African affair. I haven't heard Ron Paul say "I told you so" yet, but well he might.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Free speech only for LGBT activists? Only in Canada, you say?

Walt just finished reading -- and recommends highly -- Egg On Mao, by Canadian author Denise Chong. (Random House Canada, 2009) It's a highly readable account of the life (so far) of Lu Decheng, a young man who threw a clutch of ink-filled eggs at the iconic portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square. This was in May 1989, just before the massacre of student protesters which even today may not be spoken of in China except in the most oblique terms.

We'll come to the risks of speaking truth to power in a moment. But first I want to recommend Egg On Mao as not just a polemic, but a great love story. Sometimes it reads like a novel -- very personal, very emotive -- but every word is true, as the author's notes confirm. Does the tale of brutality and repression have a happy ending? Well, first you must define "happy". Then you can read the book and find out.

Lu Decheng was not directly involved in creating the famous Free Speech Wall in Beijing just prior to the massacre, but, as Egg On Mao recounts, he and his companions plastered their own anti-dictatorship posters near the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Lu Decheng clearly approves of giving protesters space to express themselves.

So does Ian CoKehyeng, founder of Carleton Students for Liberty, a student activist group at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. (Denise Chong also lives in the world's second-coldest capital city, by the way.) Mr. CoKehyeng and his supporters thought it would be a good idea to set up a Free Speech Wall on the Carleton campus, to prove that free speech was alive and well, in spite of CU's tendency to ban speech it considers to be politically incorrect.

"What we wanted to promote was competition of ideas, rather than 'if I disagree with you I've got to censor you,'" the creators of the wall explained. So they installed a rather small and flimsy wall -- really just a wooden plank wrapped in paper -- in one of school's high-traffic areas, complete with a couple of magic markers with which people could write whatever they felt like.

That was on Monday. Not 24 hours later, the wall was gone, destroyed in an act of "forceful resistance," by one Arun Smith, a "human rights student" now in his seventh (7th!) year of studying and promoting "human rights" [like free speech? Ed.] at good ole CU.

Why did Smith do it? Because, he told reporters, the wall was an "act of violence against... [wait for it. Ed.]... the gay community." Mr. Smith is, you see, an "anti-homophobia" campaigner, or so he describes himself on Facebook.

Free speech is fine for him and all the others pushing the LGBT agenda -- see WWW earlier this week -- but not for people with contrary opinions. His twisted logic goes like this: "In organizing the 'free speech wall,' the Students for Liberty have forgotten that liberty requires liberation, and this liberation is prevented by providing space…for the expression of hate."

Yesterday CBC Radio -- always in the front lines of the war against "haters" -- asked Smith if he could explain himself a little more clearly. The answer was that the area around the Free Speech Wall was a "war zone", because the wall itself was nothing "but another in a series of acts of violence" against gays and gay rights.

He went on to call free speech an "illusory concept" and declared that "not every opinion is valid, nor deserving of expression." It's only his queer ideas that are "valid and deserving of expression", see?

Mr. CoKehyeng begs to differ. "Free speech is a friend of minorities, it shouldn't be people who feel marginalized in society who are trampling on free speech," he said. "Free speech is something you can't monopolize for yourself, you have to give it to everyone else." Indeed.

Commenting in the National Post on the ironies of this story, Jonathan Kay remembers seeing a Free Speech Wall last September at Bard College, in a private liberal arts school in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. (That's near Red Hook. You're welcome.)

Like its made-of-straw Carleton University equivalent [Mr. Kay writes], the Bard free-speech installation was 99% chalk-full of left-wing cant. But there were some heterodox opinions as well. And the best part was that it was a veritable brick-house of indestructibility: It's made of slate and steel. Should any "activist" want to destroy the thing because he didn't like what someone said about gay marriage or whatever, he would have to borrow his parents' car and then plow into it at ramming speed.

Why did the students of Bard build such a solid wall? Very simple. In the USA, unlike Canada, the freedom to express one's opinions is guaranteed by the Constitution, in the First Amendment. And Americans tend to take it seriously...at least at Bard College.

Lesson for Canuck free-speechers? Learn from the three little pigs. Use brick next time!

Comment on the CBC: Having been answerable to a Liberal government for decades, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation seems unable to adjust to having (nominal) Conservatives in power in Ottawa. They continue to give more-than-equal time to left-wingnuts like Arun Smith, and their propagandists ["reporters", surely! Ed.] listen respectfully to the veriest bullshit without batting an eyelash or cracking a smile. I don't know how they do it!

Footnote to book review: Denise Chong also wrote a moving account of what became of "the girl in the Vietnam photo". You remember the iconic [Stop overusing that word! Ed.] picture of the girl running down the road naked and on fire, having been doused with napalm made in Canada and dropped by Americans. Anyway, the book is called (appropriately enough) The Girl in the Picture.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Think Walt's kidding about queer propaganda? Look here!

It has been suggested to me that, contrary to my assertion earlier today, there is no giant conspiracy to push the LGBT agenda, to make us think being homosexual is normal and acceptable and we straight people are the old-fashioned, out-of-step, homophobic fuddy-duddies.

I stand by what I wrote. [And I stand beside Walt! Ed.] And as luck would have it, we have some proof from, of all places, Las Vegas. Check this out!

Yes, folks, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority wants you to know that in Sin City "Everyone's welcome, even straight people." Yessiree Bob! The city of all night gambling binges, group weddings, and free booze has plenty of other activities for you even if you don't enjoy fudge-packing and sushi-eating.

The LVCVA's latest flight of ads feature modelesque same-sex couples in fabulously fashionably outfits cavorting by pools and in swanky restaurants, while dowdy straight couples in polo shirts and sneakers happily observe the glamourous LGBT throngs in thongs. [The straights look kind of like Mr. and Mrs.Walt, don't they. Ed.]

In one image, a lot of buff men in very small bathing suits [but no moustaches? Ed.] splash water on one another and laugh while sipping cocktails, or possibly Shirley Temples. Observing the handsome scene with a look of wonder is a frumpy straight couple in awful tourist gear complete with Tilly hats. They're holding a camcorder, of course.

Another ad features a similar pool party, only this time it's sexy lesbians that are filling every corner of the page with their taut bikini-clad bodies. Again, a very square and very unfashionable straight couple looks on. The husband is wearing baggy khakis...with runners!

Now then, about the propaganda. The creators of the ads -- Las Vegas agency R&R Partners -- admit, "LGBT advertising is nothing new." For decades, the madmen explain, brands have told us they're "gay-friendly", and shown same-sex couples. All that's new here, they add, is asking people "to imagine a world where we have to remind the heteros that Las Vegas still belongs to them, too…so long as they're willing to share." Exactly Walt's point.

Russia set to ban queer propaganda

How do you feel about this photo, gentle reader? Call me a homophobe if you will, but it fills me with revulsion. In plain words, it makes me want to puke. But we -- and our children -- are exposed to images like this every day. 1000s of them. In the print media, on TV, in movies, on billboards -- everywhere you look.

It's all LGBT propaganda, designed and published by the queers -- they don't mind being called that, nowadays -- to force their "gay rights" agenda down or throats or up our nether orifices.

In this, they have the support and encouragement of very powerful people. There's the lamestream media, the liberal "intelligentsia" and the "progressive thinkers", dominated by members of a certain religion which I must not name for fear of an attack by the JDL. And then there are the politicians who are not members of the tribe, but who know whose asses to kiss to get elected.

Or re-elected. Just today I heard the Prez rabbitting on again about how "we" are going to finish what "we" started, including the strengthening of "gay marriage rights".

In Ontario, former education minister Kathleen Wynne -- a proud lesbian mentioned here before -- is regarded (by the Toronto Red Star, of course) as a serious contender to take over the leadership of the governing Liberal Party. She would thus become Canada's first openly lesbian premier. One of her first priorities would doubtless be to reinstate her pro-LGBT curriculum for Ontario's schools, so that little straight children can be taught that it's not just OK, but desirable to be queer. Yes, and have sex with vegetables too.
What is the goal of all this? Dear readers, it's not just to make deviant behaviour legal and socially acceptable. The aim is nothing less than the destruction of western society. That is what those controlling the media and "popular opinion" really want.

Don't believe me? Consider the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. One of the great themes of Edward Gibbon's classic work is that the greatest empire the world had ever known succumbed to barbarian invasions due to the gradual loss of virtue -- civic, military and personal -- among its citizens. The Rome of the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. was rife with corruption and depravity. It was not just immoral but amoral. No-one cared about anything except the pursuit of pleasure. Thus it was ripe and ready for the scourge of the barbarian hordes.

The West finds itself in the same position today -- prone -- and America is no exception. Nor is the mainstream Church, which some would say has already been corrupted by the very same vices which we are told are not really sinful at all. Just "alternative lifestyles" or "different strokes for different strokes" -- that's all.

The government of one -- just one -- nominally Christian country has finally decided that enough is enough. That nation is Russia, whose rulers, with the support of the Orthodox Church, have introduced legislation which will make it illegal to provide minors with "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism." If it happened in Ontario -- wishful thinking -- it would be called the Anti-Wynne Act.

The proposed law, which is all but certain of enactment, includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities recently put similar statutes on the books to prohibit "Gay Pride parades", long promoted in the West but still something of a novelty in the former Communist bloc.

The bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values as opposed to Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and church see as corrupting Russian youth. "Progressive thinkers" inside and outside Russia are already wringing their hands and hissing with horror, but (Associated Press reports) most "average Russians" are reacting with either indifference or open enthusiasm.

Polls conducted last year show that almost two-thirds of Russians find homosexuality "morally unacceptable and worth condemning." About half are against gay rallies and same-sex marriage. Almost a third think homosexuality is the result of "a sickness or a psychological trauma,".

Unlike in America, Britain and Canada, Russia's political and religious elite share Ivan Sixpack's hostility to homosexuality. Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia's already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled.

Orthodox activists have criticized PepsiCo for using a "gay" rainbow on cartons of its dairy products. An executive with a government-run TV network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after death their hearts should be burned or buried.

The sponsors of the bill say minors need to be protected from "homosexual propaganda" because they are unable to evaluate the information critically. In the words of the bill, "This propaganda goes through the mass media and public events that propagate homosexuality as normal behavior."

Our last word on the subject -- for today -- comes from Rev. Sergiy Rybko, an Orthodox priest. Although Ed. has not been able to track down the original quote, AP says Father Rybko told the online magazine Orthodoxy and World, "Until this scum gets off of Russian land, I fully share the views of those who are trying to purge our motherland of it. We either become a tolerant Western state where everything is allowed – and lose our Christianity and moral foundations – or we will be a Christian people who live in our God-protected land in purity and godliness."

Now there's a strong and thoroughly un-PC statement. I wish I'd said it. Better yet, I wish our Catholic bishops would say it. Amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Zoophilia still practised in Canada and Germany


Walt has never been in any doubt that the world gets sicker and sicker with every passing day. Things that were considered unspeakable even a generation ago now make the front pages of the papers virtually every day. No-one is shocked any more. No-one even cares. And some even applaud and promote "alternative lifestyles" which are objectively not just "disordered" (as the Church tells us) but downright immoral.

Take zoophilia. There's nothing new about that particular vice. It's been around since man first met sheep, or even earlier. But you'd have thought, wouldn't you, that it would have gone out of fashion [dog fashion? Ed.] now that humans feel free to do anything and everything to and with other humans.

Sorry, the zoophilists are still at it. In southern Ontario -- not the most rural area of Canada -- a couple from Halton were charged with bestiality this week after being busted for allegedly growing pot in a dog kennel.

No no no... cultivating mary-jane has nothing to do with zoophilia. It was, however, the reason why Sergeant Doright attended a farmhouse about 40 miles west of Toronto. Much to his surprise, he found not just some fine specimens of wacky tabacky but "evidence" that the occupants had been, err, screwing the pooch. Literally.

The exact nature of the "evidence" has not been disclosed. That's all ye know and all ye need to know. Oh... Wait... There is one more little detail. Neighbours said the homeowners' donkey is often seen wandering around the grounds with a rather bemused look on its Eeyore face.

Meanwhile, in Germany, there is actually a zoophile pressure group called ZETA. (In English it's ZETI -- Zoophile Engagement for Tolerance and Information. Want to be engaged to an animal? Join ZETI!) They are fighting a proposal by the German government to slap a fine of up to 25,000 euros on people having sexual relations with pets. But the zoophiles say there's nothing wrong with intra-species sex, provided of course it's consensual.

ZETA's spokesthingy Michael Kiok [How does he pronounce that? Ed.] told Spiegel Online that sex with pets is not demeaning to the animals. [What about the humans? Ed.] "We see them as partners," Kiok said, "not as a means of gratification. We don't force them to do anything."

Sex with animals has been banned in a number of European countries including France, Switzerland and even the liberal Netherlands. Sweden is preparing a ban too, said Kiok. "But it's still legal in Denmark." In days of old, it used to be cows, horses, sheeps, goats and pigs, but nowadays the sexual partners are more likely to be dogs because they are such common pets.

Mr. Kiok lives with an Alsatian called Cessie. He said he has had special feelings for animals ever since he was four or five and that the fascination took on erotic elements in his teens. If the Bundestag passes the proposed law, Kiok says, his first priority will be to keep his dog. He did not say if, in order to do so, he and Cessie will get married.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Where's Walt?

Ed. here. Walt has gone north(ish) for the start of the National Hockey League's abbreviated season, later today. If Toronto beats Montréal in the Canadiens' home opener, he will probably sulk for a couple of days. Otherwise he will return, errr, soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When the train is in the station, please refrain from defecation

From its earliest days, the New York Times prided itself on publishing "all the news that's fit to print". That left any news that was unfit to print to the likes of the now-defunct Herald, the World (original sponsor of the World Series -- geddit?), and, in the 21st century, the New York Post. Here's an interesting item from today's Post.

As is generally known, New York subway cars are not equipped with bathrooms -- or "toilets", as such conveniences are known in most of the world. So being "caught short" can be a serious problem. Where can one find a suitable spot in which to answer the call of nature?

Maunce Dulcio, 31, of the Bronx, found out the hard way that squatting between two subway cars is not the answer. Dulcio, whom the NYPD described as having been "very intoxicated", won a Darwin award on Tuesday afternoon when he fell to the tracks while defecating. He was struck by a speeding train and died with his boots on, but his pants down.

The incident occurred in Manhattan, near the East 125th Street platform, only a few days after a transit workers' union issued literature telling subway operators to "slow down when entering stations."

POSTscript (Geddit?): The Times had the story too, but its version was kind of crappy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Updates and miscellany

As I write, Flt Lt Ace McCool and his crew are winging their way eastward to Mali. They are flying the Royal Canadian Air Force's backup Globemaster, not the one that got stuck on the runway at CFB Trenton this morning. That's all ye know and all ye need to know about the capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Quick, what do you call the 600th anniversary of something? The 200th is a bicentennial. The 300th is a tricentennial. After that it all gets a little hazy. I hope a reader will enlighten me, though, because this year marks the 600th anniversary of a significant development in English Common Law. Read on.

How are you described in your will or on your title deed. In much of the UK, USA and Canada you are probably identified by your given and surnames, as well as your place of residence and your occupation. Like this: Walter Whiteman, of the City of Springfield and County of Nassau, Orthoepist.

We owe that very specific form of description to the Statute of Additions, enacted in England in 1413. [Yes, Kramer. It's "statute", not "statue". Ed.] Happy whatever-ennial.

In my review of Bill Bryson's Mother Tongue, I pointed out that the author speaks -- rather a lot, actually -- of two of the Anglo-Saxon words for the female genitalia. The more common of the two was, in Chaucer's day, relatively harmless, certainly not the C-bomb that it has become today. Speaking of C-bombs, though, Bryson tells us later in the same book that the corresponding word in Danish is "cock". Can any Danish-speaking reader verify this? Sounds like a cock-and-bull story to me.

Mal y soit qui Mali pense

You remember Mali, don't you? The Not-so-inevitable Mitt mentioned it twice during one of the debates. No-one knew, including the Prez, knew what he was talking about. But now we know.

Turns out Mali is a landlocked "nation" in part of the former French West Africa, a half-vast expanse of sand and not much else, shared rather grudgingly by Tuareg Arabs to the north and blacker people to the southwest.

For the last few months, militant Islamists -- part of the African arm of al Qaeda -- have been pushing southward, aiming to overthrow the black(ish) government and take over the country. Their success this month attracted the attention of the former colonial masters, who decided to send in the Foreign Legion. [Really? Does the Foreign Legion still exist? Ed.]

Well, maybe not, but the French Air Force certainly exists and last week started bombing the shit out of rebel-held villages and other "military targets". The governments of Britain and the USA have offered to hold the French coats, so to speak. Calls have gone out for African forces to intervene, but your typical African dictator is loth to send troops he needs at home to protect him from a coup.

And that is why the president of Gabon, who also heads up the so-called African Union, went to Canada earlier this month. Canada should do something, he told Prime Minister Harpoon, because Canadians speak French [Maybe. Ed.] besides which Defence Minister Mackay had already said Canada would send in the Mounties... Or something.

What the Gabonese president didn't know is that even as his plane was landing, Harper had yanked Machackey's chain, telling him to cover up not just his mouth but also his ears lest Canadians realize there's nothing in between them. Said the organ-grinder said to the monkey, "Remember Afghanistan? We won't be doing that again!"

Enter Robert Fowler, a Canadian dip who managed to get himself and a "colleague" kidnapped by those damn Islamists a couple of years ago, and was only ransomed at the cost of several barrels of maple syrup which the Arabs mistook for sweet oil. Fowler thought it disgraceful that Canada should abandon its commitment to international peacekeeping, the poor and downtrodden Africans, and so forth.

So... This weekend Harper agreed that at least a token effort should be made, in the name of peace, democracy, the war on terror, and so forth. The Canucks are sending 1 (one, une, uno) C-17 transport to help the French with a bit of the (literal) heavy lifting. It left CFB Trenton just minutes ago, and Agent 3 reports that he just saw it fly over his house, which means it's going the wrong way.

Machackey, ever eager to curry favour with the boss, will announce this afternoon that the Royal Canadian Navy will send three ships -- HMCS Nina, HMCS Pinta and HMCS Santa Maria -- to provide further support. Has the minister forgotten that Mali is landlocked? (See above). Well, no. That's where the C-17 comes in. It will be used to carry the frigits [check spelling please] from the Atlantic to wherever Mali is.

Watch WWW for more stories of French-Canadian co-operation and derring-do.

CORRECTION! Agent 3 has just advised that it was not the RCAF C-17 that he saw overhead. The plane destined for Mali is apparently stuck on the runway at CFB Trenton. Mr. Harper, did you get that? God is trying to tell you something!

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Mother Tongue": a great book about the world's greatest language

WARNING! "Dirty words"!
This book review contains two four-letter Anglo-Saxon monosyllables relating to a part of the female anatomy. If you're the kind of person who never looked up "dirty words" in the dictionary as a kid, read no further.

Someone who speaks several languages is multilingual.
Someone who speaks two languages is bilingual.
Someone who speaks only one language is English.

Indeed. English... or American. Most other countries seem to have accepted the altogether sensible concept that having a second (and third or fourth) language enriches a person, figuratively if not literally.

Not native English speakers. Those who are fortunate enough to have the language of Shakespeare as their mother tongue seem to subscribe to the belief of an American evangelical preacher who told his flock that "if English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!"

Many English speakers seem to think that if anyone's going to learn a new language, let it be the NON-English speakers. And the rest of the world seems to agree. In China alone, there are more people learning -- or attempting to learn -- English than there are English speakers in America. 99% of them will wind up speaking Chinglish, but at least they're trying.

I am fortunate to be a native speaker of English. I learned it at my mother's knee and other low joints. My mother was a teacher of the Queen's English, the queen being Victoria. From her -- my mother, not the queen -- I inherited a high regard for proper English usage. And from reading the work of good writers I developed admiration for clever and creative writing.

By "good writers" I mean the likes of Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, P.J. O'Rourke, and the inimitable Bill Bryson. One thinks of Mr. Bryson as a travel writer; indeed, most of his better books have been about travel. (African Diary sucked, but that was a charitable project and I think Bryson didn't put a lot of time or effort into it.)

But Bryson has more strings to his bow than travel writing. He is quite the cunning linguist, with a keen interest in the English language. And he has written a fine book about it, called Mother Tongue (William Morrow 1990; Penguin 1991).

Mother Tongue is not a dull book of rules for English grammar and spelling. Although it does contain chapters on both topics, it is both fascinating and laugh-out-loud funny. It is filled with trivia about not just things (words) but people.

For instance, Bryson paints an unflattering portrait of Noah Webster, who appears to have been quite an unpleasant man.

He worked tirelessly turning out endless hectoring books and tracts, as well as working on the more or less constant revision of his spelling and dictionaries. In between time he wrote impassioned letters to congressmen, dabbled in politics, proffered unwanted advice to presidents, led his church choir, lectured to large audiences, helped found Amherst College, and produced a sanitized version of the Bible in which Onan doesn't spill his seed but simple 'frustrates his purpose', in which men don't have testicles but rather 'peculiar members', and in which women don't have wombs (or evidently anything else with which to contribute to the reproductive process).

Of course Bryson does talk about the marvellous English vocabulary, about the words... All of the words, including two words for the female pudenda. Readers of Chaucer, he tells us, will frequently encounter "cunt", one of the seven words George Carlin said you can't say on TV.

Brits will know, but Americans may not, that there is a slightly milder Anglo-Saxon monosyllabic synonym, "twat", which was used by such illustrious writers as the poet Robert Browning, in Pippa Passes.
Then, owls and bats,
Cowls and twats,
Monks and nuns, in a cloister's moods
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry.

Although it had the same meaning in 1841 as it does now, Browning somehow thought "twat" meant a piece of headgear for nuns. Bryson writes:
The verse became a source of twittering amusement for generations of schoolboys and a perennial embarrassment to their elders, but the word was never altered and Browning was allowed to live out his life in wholesome ignorance because no one could think of a suitably delicate way of explaining the mistake to him.

Walt agrees entirely with Ruth Rendell, whose review in the Sunday Times calls Mother Tongue "anecdotal, full of revelations, and with not one dull paragraph". Lovers of the English language will love this book.

Footnote: George Carlin said there are no dirty words, only dirty thoughts.

Is "Darlie" toothpaste racist or not? What about "China Garden"?

Ed. here. 51 weeks ago Walt wrote "Politically correct toothpaste makes your smile brighter", which explained how "Darkie" toothpaste was gradually transformed into "Darlie", after the original manufacturer, Hazel and Hawley, got taken over by Colgate-Palmolive.

The change was made for reasons of political correctness because C-P didn't want to risk having a black blot of racism in its copybook. That was the point of the post.

For some reason, a link to Walt's post appeared on the much-better-known Reddit website this weekend, in a thread called "Chinese cuisine ad in Kuwait".


Here's the picture which started a very long discussion full of racist and anti-racist rantings! WWW got drawn into that, giving us 20 times the usual number of hits on Saturday. Amazing.

Footnote: Reddit's founder committed suicide on the weekend. Surely no connection!

Update on Canada's "native question"

For those following Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike and the Idle No More "movement" -- and it seems not many of you are, but what the hell -- here's the state of play as of Sunday.

Many chiefs attended Friday's big powwow with "Call me Steve" Harpoon, but not as many as would have been desirable. Leaders from Manitoba, Québec and Ontario boycotted the affair, for reasons which weren't made clear. Ordinary Indians were not seen or heard. Perhaps the problem is too many chiefs and not enough Indians?

The Dear Leader was obviously under great pressure to give the Assembly of First Nations and its Grand Chief, Shawn Atleo, something to take back to the people. So Harper adopted the classic Canuck solution and promised, errr, further meetings "at the highest levels". Don't be surprised if a Royal Commission comes next.

Amongst those who didn't pass the peace pipe around the campfire [No more clichés, please! Ed.] Was Theresa Spence, the managerially inept chief from Attawapiskat who has become the idol of the Idle No More protesters. [You didn't say no puns! Walt] Ms Spence didn't go because she had taken the position that the Governor-General should have been at the meeting to, so if he didn't go, she wasn't going.

That didn't stop her, though, from going to Rideau Hall for the G-G's "ceremonial meeting" with the chiefs afterwards. That Her Britannic Majesty's representative met with the Indian chiefs face to face betokened (according to them) recognition that that First Nations were indeed "nations", thus the chiefs could negotiate directly with the Queen (or her stand-in) if they wished.

The logical extension would seem to be that what the Indians really want -- and that's the big question -- is something like "sovereignty association" with the rest of Canada (TROC), which is what Québec separatists have been pushing for since roughly 1867.

The idea of "separate but equal" territories -- that phrase was actually used by the Indians -- was tried in the 20th century in, errr, South Africa. It was called "apartheid". Of course when the white Africans told the black Africans that "separate development" was the way forward, the rest of the world (TROW) accused the whities of racism, genocide, yada yada yada.

Walt is waiting to see what Canada's usual gang of multicultists and "progressive thinkers" make of the idea. Come to think of it, "separate but equal" was tried in parts of the USA too. There it was called "segregation", and denounced as racist, genocidal, etc. As for apartheid, that ended in 1994 and black South Africans now run the whole country. Look how well that turned out.

Meanwhile, Chief Spence is continuing her hunger strike, for reasons which (again) have not been made clear. Some other chiefs has rather unkindly suggested that she should return to Attawapiskat and answer some questions about the missing millions referred to here last week. Members of Chief Spence's band are... hmm... restless.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Answers to yesterday's brainteasers

Yesterday, for your amusement and edification, Walt presented The Missing Dollar , a brainteaser devised by R.M. Abraham included in his book Diversions and Pastimes (1933). Today, as promised, I'll give you the solution. But first, in case you missed it, here's the puzzle.

Three women check into a motel. The women are charged $10 each for their rooms, or $30 in total. (Hey, this was in 1933, remember!) Later, the manager discovers that he has accidentally overcharged the three vacationers. Their rooms cost only $25 in total, so he gives a bellhop $5 to return to them.

The sneaky bellhop knows that he cannot divide $5 into three equal amounts, so he pockets $2 for himself and returns only $1 to each of the women.

Here's the conundrum. Each woman paid $10 originally and got back $1. So, in fact, each woman paid $9 for her room. Therefore, the three of them together paid $27. If we add this amount to the $2 that the bellhop dishonestly pocketed, we get a total of $29. Yet the women paid out $30 originally. Where is the other dollar?

And now the answer, from an article by Marcel Danesi in the University of Toronto Magazine (Spring 2007).

The trap in this puzzle is not to be found in any single word, but in the way the numerical facts are laid out. The manager kept $25 of the $30 he was given. The three women got back $1 each. Together, that amounts to $28 ($25 + $3). The remaining $2 was pocketed by the bellhop.

Another way of looking at it... The guests paid $27 in total: $25 to the manager and $2 to the dishonest bellhop. There is no missing dollar.

Did you get it? Yes? Let's see if you managed to hit the perfecta. Here's the second conundrum.

A customer in a bookstore gives a sales clerk a $10 bill for a $3 book. (Still 1933, I guess.) The clerk, having no change, takes the $10 bill across the street to the record store (definitely 1933!) To get it broken into $1 bills. (Canadian readers can substitute loonies for the singletons.) The bookstore clerk returns and gives the customer the $3 book and seven $1 bills in change.

An hour later the record store clerk brings back the $10 bill, claiming that it is counterfeit. To avoid quarrelling, the bookstore clerk gives the record store clerk ten $1 bills and takes back the $10 note. How much has the bookstore clerk lost?

May we have the envelope, please...

Many people guess $13, but the answer is $10. The bookstore clerk received nothing for the $3 book, since the counterfeit bill was worth nothing. So, for the outset, he was out $3.

The bookstore clerk then received 10 genuine $1 bills from his colleague at the record store. He gave 7 of the 10 good bills to the customer, and kept the remaining 3 bills in his pocket. When the record store clerk asked for the $10 back, the bookstore clerk still had the 3 good bills. He gave them to the record store clerk and made up the $7 difference from the cash register. So he was out an additional $7. In total, the bookstore clerk was out $10.

If you went two for two, congratulations. If you didn't get either of them, welcome to the Society for the Numerically Challenged. Walt is a charter member.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Missing Dollar (math/logic puzzles!)

Previous posts about Chief Theresa Spence -- the icon of the Idle No More "movement" -- have mentioned the damning auditor's report into mismanagement of the millions of dollars doled out by the Canadian government (read Canadian taxpayers) to her band council. Under the supervision of her boyfriend -- a bankrupt -- taxpayers' money just vanished, paid to persons unknown without proper documentation or, indeed, sometimes without any documentation.

The story reminded Walt of an article that appeared in the University of Toronto Magazine about six years ago. Marcel Danesi wrote about "contrary-to-expectation" puzzles, designed to show how susceptible human logic is to the power of deceptive language.

The use of numbers and language to confuse the reader was known to the ancient Greeks, and persists to this very day in such things as misleading advertising. Case in point: TV infomercials that promise you a great deal on, say, padded bras, and then tell you they'll send you a second set of the same, absolutely free. Of course you pay extra for the shipping and handling of the bigger package, but hey, it's free, right?

This works because many people have trouble understanding mathematical logic if a set of numbers is presented in a deceptive manner. A classic brainteaser (Danesi writes) was described by R.M. Abraham in Diversions and Pastimes (1933). Here is The Missing Dollar.

Three women check into a motel. The women are charged $10 each for their rooms, or $30 in total. (Hey, this was in 1933, remember!) Later, the manager discovers that he has accidentally overcharged the three vacationers. Their rooms cost only $25 in total, so he gives a bellhop $5 to return to them.

The sneaky bellhop knows that he cannot divide $5 into three equal amounts, so he pockets $2 for himself and returns only $1 to each of the women.

Here's the conundrum. Each woman paid $10 originally and got back $1. So, in fact, each woman paid $9 for her room. Therefore, the three of them together paid $27. If we add this amount to the $2 that the bellhop dishonestly pocketed, we get a total of $29. Yet the women paid out $30 originally. Where is the other dollar?

Figured it out already? Here's another one.

A customer in a bookstore gives a sales clerk a $10 bill for a $3 book. (Still 1933, I guess.) The clerk, having no change, takes the $10 bill across the street to the record store (definitely 1933!) To get it broken into $1 bills. (Canadian readers can substitute loonies for the singletons.) The bookstore clerk returns and gives the customer the $3 book and seven $1 bills in change.

An hour later the record store clerk brings back the $10 bill, claiming that it is counterfeit. To avoid quarrelling, the bookstore clerk gives the record store clerk ten $1 bills and takes back the $10 note. How much has the bookstore clerk lost?

Answers tomorrow.

The chiefs meet the Dear Leader -- right out of Seinfeld

First, for those following the progress (?) of the Idle No More protests, an update from the Great White North. When last we looked into the tipi of Chief Theresa "What Money?" Spence, she was demanding some face time with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Apparently she didn't offend him by calling him "Steve", so Harpoon said he'd meet with her. And he didn't even say, "Show me the money!" -- that which vanished down the Attawapiskat rathole. Request granted.

Apparently flummoxed by her success -- not to mention the prospect of having to look into the Dear Leader's icy blue eyes -- Chief Spence and Shawn Atleo, the Biggest Chief of All, upped the ante. The Governor-General has to come to the meeting too, they said, because he represents the Great White Mother Over the Waters.

Reference was made to a number of treaties made with the Indians in the name of the GWM. The original GWM (Queen Victoria) died over a century ago, but the present GWM is her great-granddaughter, so nothing would do but the Chiefs meet with her viceroy. And, said Spence, if the G-G doesn't attend, then I'm not attending!

Surprise surprise, His Excellency David Johnstone said the chiefs -- or some of them, at least -- could come to a big potlach at Rideau Hall (his residence) after the meeting with Harper. Said the chiefs, that's not good enough! The G-G has to come with the PM to the same table at the same time, otherwise we won't meet with them. Or maybe some of us will, but not Chief Spence. Or not. We'll see.

As I write, a meeting of some kind is set to begin. The CBC reports that it's to be held in Harper's office in the Langevin Block, across from Canada's Parliament Buildings. Again, not good enough! The chiefs think the meeting should be in the nearby Château Laurier so that more of them could attend -- larger quarters, you see -- and those that couldn't get in the meeting room could repair to one of the hotel's very agreeable bars. Canadian taxpayers would pick up the tab, of course.

What everyone wants to know is not whether the meeting will come off, but exactly what will be discussed if it does. CBC-TV's famous "At Issue" panel of pundits attempted to make sense of the whole thing last night, and fell short...way short. All they could say was that if the meeting didn't happen, it would look bad for Shawn Atleo, who might even lose his position as Grand Chief.

Would it matter? Oh yes, the panel said, because then the Canadian government would be left with no-one to talk with. Which begs the question: talk about what? What is it that the First Nations people want? Chief Atleo finally held a presser yesterday and answered the question in a word -- more. Whatever it is the FNs are getting, it's not enough. They want more!

Walt would love to be a fly on the wall in Harper's office right now. My guess is that the meeting will be just like the famous Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and George are asked what their proposed TV show is going to be about. Even the At Issue panel should remember their response.

Footnote from Ed.: We were going to headline this post "Walt is puzzled", because it is so. The idea was to segue into a little math puzzle to amuse you while we wait to see what happens today, but Walt has already gone on too long... much too long. So the puzzle -- "The Missing Dollar" -- will appear, errr, later

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Idle No More? The natives are restless

If you don't live in Canada, you probably haven't heard of Idle No More. The movement was the brainchild -- the runt of the litter -- of some First Nations people [That's the PC term for Indians. Ed.] who want the federal government to "do something"about the sad plight of the aboriginal people [Another term for Indians, although Eskimos -- oops, Inuit -- could be included. Ed.].

In Canada, FN people -- for short -- come under the jurisdiction of the federal government, under a 19th-century law called the Indian Act. Along with the jurisdiction comes responsibility, or so the FNs say. The feds are responsible, in their view, for all the ills of their society, including unemployment, alcoholism and poverty. And these problems do exist, as the briefest of visits to any Indian reserve (or whatever they're called now) will confirm.

Case in point: Attawapiskat, a chunk of the third or fourth world embarrassingly located in northern Ontario, not far from the shores of Hudson Bay. The deplorable living conditions there -- chipboard shanties with broken or no windows, no running water, no electricity, etc etc -- came to public notice when the band chief, Theresa Spence, declared a state of emergency and demanded the government send her yet more money to alleviate the misery of her people.

More beaver bucks were duly dispatched, but seem to have vanished into the muskeg, just like all the foreign aid sent to Haiti. So what did the feds do? Call in the auditors of course! Yesterday they released Deloitte and Touche's review of the Attawapiskat council's books for the last 6½ years. The accounting firm found "no evidence of due diligence in the use of public funds, including the use of funds for housing".

The auditors aren't alleging fraud. Their report is being called "political" as it is. (The term "racist" hasn't been used yet, but wait for it.) What they do say is that more than 400 of the transactions they reviewed lacked proper -- or, most of the time, any -- supporting paperwork or receipts. Page after page of the D&T report shows spending on contracts or services where the vendors are "unknown" or the documentation is questionable or non-existent.

"An average of 81 per cent of files did not have adequate supporting documents and over 60 per cent had no documentation of the reason for payment," said the firm. In an Aug. 28 letter to Spence, it called the lack of records "inappropriate for any recipient of public funds."

But Chief Spence is no dumb wooden Indian. 28 days ago she pre-empted the potentially embarrassing report by going on a hunger strike. The point? To get a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister "Call me Steve" Harpoon. Why talk with the monkey -- Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan -- if you can get to the organ-grinder! Now the chief shrugs off the audit report as "a distraction", released now just to make her and her council look bad -- which it certainly does.

Which brings us back to Idle No More. When Theresa Spence went on her much-needed diet of fish broth and tea, the "organizers" of that movement were quick to see her and the Attawapiskat situation as emblematic of everything that's wrong with the way Canadians treat the natives. Hey, they were there first! Then the evil whites came and gypped them out of their land, and reduced them to living on welfare. But they will be "idle no more". Geddit?

Now it seems every Indian in Canada -- not forgetting Métis and "non-status Indians", who just yesterday were declared by the Supreme Court of Canada to be entitled to the same entitlements as status Indians -- plus the usual gang of guilt-ridden white liberals and professional agitators, is demonstrating their indignation about nearly everything.

In so doing, Idle No More has come to resemble nothing so much as the Occupy movement of last year. "The Occupy and Idle No More movements share two characteristics," says Robert Brym, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto. "They both have relatively diffuse demands and decentralized leadership."

But they also differ in one important respect. "The Occupy movement's demand for greater economic equality seems to have resonated with a large part of the Canadian population, which has experienced growing income disparity and slow growth in real income for decades.... In contrast, I believe the public has more mixed feelings about the Idle No More movement."

The professor's "large part of the Canadian population" apparently doesn't include any of Walt's Canadian agents, whose comments about the Occupiers were less than charitable. [Geddit? Ed.] The phrase "welfare bums" is one of the few that we can print.

As for what the Canucks in TROC -- the real Canada outside of the tony parts of Toronto and Vancouver -- are saying about Idle No More, Walt is reminded of the remark attributed to American General Philip Sheridan. So far, no-one, not even Don Cherry, has used those exact words, but stay tuned.

Worth reading: Whatever the Canadian state cedes to Theresa Spence, it will never be enough, by John Ivison in the online edition of today's National Post. Don't bother to e-mail John and threaten to send his racist immigrant ass back to Scotland. He's heard that -- and worse -- already.

Cherry picking on Haiti

He knows dogs, and he knows hockey. And now, it seems, he knows Haiti. Yesterday Canada's Mouth of the North, Don Cherry, weighed in on the topic of handing out zillions in foreign aid to nations notorious for corruption.

Here's what "Donless" said in a series of tweets on @CoachsCornerCBC.

"You know, I am one of those guys, like most people in Canada, we like to help the countries all over the world. But sometimes it makes you wonder. Maybe it's just me. But Canada gave Haiti 49.5 million dollars last year. Are we nuts? We've got a guy dying in Toronto waiting 3 hours for an ambulance.

"We got people waiting 7, 8, 10 hours, if they're lucky in a waiting room with one doctor for a zillion people. We nickel and dime our doctors, nurses and veterans plus a million other services. Yet we can send almost 50 million to Haiti.

"I'll tell you something. The working guy is getting kind of sick of people spending money like that. It's a good job we got a good guy like Julian Fantino, with a little common sense, in charge.

"50 million? I wonder how much have we given them over the years? Let's smarten up. As the old saying goes, charity begins at home. Am I right or is it just me?"

"Don, you're right!" Walt can hear millions of Canadians saying just that. What you're saying sounds a lot like what Walt has been saying for years, most notably in "Canada gives up on Haiti, freezes foreign aid" a couple of days ago.

Is anyone listening? The minister in charge -- Julian Fantino, whom Don referred to -- said he would be calling Cherry to thank him for his support.

Of course the chattering classes and the lamestream media heard Don's rant too, or at least heard about it. The oh-so-PC producers of CBC Radio's Metro Morning (aka "The Herald of Multiculturalism" -- "sounding like Toronto looks") devoted an entire segment to attacking Cherry's "racism". That would be the same "racism" with which the majority of Canucks in TROC (The Rest Of Canada) agree. But they don't listen to Metro Morning anyway.

Another portion of the same propaganda broadcast -- for that's all Metro Morning is -- featured the usual gang of bleeding heart liberals decrying the "racism" of those who are opposed to the Idle No More "movement". Walt will explain that later today. For now, kudos to Don for being the voice of real Canadians, no matter what the Volvo liberals call him.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Dalai Lama's instructions for living

It's been a slow morning. So far nothing has got Walt's blood in a flood. And that's good. At my age, and considering the state of the world around me, keeping calm is a Good Thing.

That thought reminds me of a piece that's been circulating on the Net since at least the end of the 20th century. Here are what purport to be the Dalai Lama's 19 precepts for living a good life.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

7. When you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day.

9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Did the Dalai Lama really say/write those things? I could get Ed. to check on Snopes or elsewhere, but really, what does it matter? They're good ideas.

Speaking of the Dalai Lama, I'm reminded of a bit of verse by Ogden Nash

The one-L lama, he's a priest
The two-L llama, he's a beast
But I will bet a silk pyjama
You're never seen a three-L lllama.

Bennett Cerf remarked that he had indeed seen one, a terrible fire somewhere in New York. Geddit? If not, keep saying "three-L lllama" out loud. Again. And again.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

NHL hockey to resume... to sound of crickets chirping?

And so it ends. The battle of the greedheads was settled in the Big Apple minutes ago. The National Hockey League will have a much-shortened season of 48 or 50 games, starting in a few days. Neither the greedhead owners nor the lesser greedhead players are thrilled, so the new agreement must be what lawyers call a good compromise.

Speaking of lawyers, Jack Todd, writing in the Montreal Gazette, has some good comments about the role of the Jewish lawyer who precipitated the whole schemozzle. That would be Gary Bettman, the diminutive New Yorker who rises from the gutter looking even smaller than before. Here's  part of Todd's take.

One moment, it’s “take-it-or-leave-it, we’re outraged, this is unacceptable.” Then, after three or four weeks go by while Gary Bettman sulks like a spoiled child, the league comes back with, “well, what about if we try it this way?”

Begging the question: Why didn’t they simply stay at the negotiating table, 18 hours a day if necessary, until a deal was worked out? The answer, undoubtedly, lies in what has been a spectacularly erratic, Alice in Blunderland performance on Bettman’s part.

If his public appearances during this toxic lockout are anything to go by, Bettman is about as sane and grounded as Randy Quaid. [I love that line! Walt] While Donald Fehr [the American lawyer heading the players union] has remained cool, calm and collected throughout, Bettman often has been overheated, hysterical and scattered.

Perhaps even Bettman knows he has torched much of the league’s goodwill and momentum, and flushed at least $1.5 billion in revenue down the toilet for no reason at all. Bettman gambled that Fehr couldn’t keep the players behind him, and he lost. Big-time.

Bitchman is doomed. You read it here first, in Walt's "Prognostications for 2013". Lifetime pct .989.

And what of the fans? There will be great rejoicing on the frozen side of the 49th parallel today. But on the US side, Walt questions whether anyone has even noticed the absence of the best sport in the world. In most American markets (except maybe Boston) no-one cares about hockey until the end of the football season, which is only now coming into view. When the players return to the arenas of the sunbelt -- thank you, Mr. Bettman -- the reaction is likely to be, "Oh... Were you away?"

Further predictions: The NHL's players and owners will stagger through the abbreviated 2013 season, and come June (or possibly July) Lord Stanley's silverware will move to someplace other than Los Angeles. But... by the time the 2013-14 season opens in the fall, the NHL will have at least two fewer teams, with one of the remaining teams moved to Canada, where hockey matters. Lifetime pct still .989.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Canada gives up on Haiti, freezes foreign aid


Michaëlle Jean, Stephen Lewis, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the 1000s who do well out of doing good... Colour them astonished! Mouths were agape in Ottawa, Paris and New York (wherever the lovely and fragrant Ms Jean is these days), and of course Port-au-Prince, when Canada's International Co-operation Minister said today that Canada will stop funding new aid projects in Haiti until Ottawa finds a better way for the struggling nation to, errr, help itself. Imagine that!

In an interview with La Presse, Julian Fantino said he was "disappointed" with what he considered the lack of progress he saw -- or rather, didn't see -- during his November visit to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

So great was the consternation in the homes and offices of the chattering classes, that Canada's lamestream media [meaning the Globe and Mail. Ed.] asked its token francophone if perhaps there had been some error in translation. Or was it possible that the minister was just making it up as he went along? Speaking out of his ass, as the French say? After all, this sort of thing would normally be announced in the House of Commons, and some sort of notice would usually be given to the agencies and dips involved.

But not this time. Fantino indicated that Canada has poured $1,000,000,000 ($999 million in real money) down the Haitian rathole since 2006. And as a former chief of both the Ontario and Toronto police forces, Fantino knows how quickly money can disappear when you have a potent mix of ignorance, incompetence and corruption. Nevertheless, he said, his department will continue to fund programmes in Haiti that are already in progress, provided that even the most minuscule signs of life can be detected.

Minister Fantino, who took over the portfolio from "Limousine Bev" Oda last year, said Canadian taxpayers cannot take care of Haiti's problems forever. (Hey, they can't even take care of their own!) Fantino also compared Haiti's terrible state with much-better conditions in the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Fantino remarked about the filth and garbage he saw during his recent visit to Haiti. He wondered aloud how a country with so many unemployed people had not found a way to clean it up, like the neighbourhood shown in the picture.

The Canadian International Development Agency said Mr. Fantino would not be available for further comment until he gets his prescription refilled.

Further reading, highly recommended by Walt: 'Most everything went wrong': Three years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, the reconstruction has barely begun - from the New York Times and National Post Wire Services. It's quite possible Minister Fantino may have read this [with his lips moving? Ed.] before giving his bombshell interview to La Presse.   And here's the interview: «Nous ne sommes pas une oeuvre de charité», dit Julian Fantino. For all the Canadians (especially readers of the Niagara Falls Review) who don't speak French, that means "We aren't a work of charity" says Julian Fantino. Indeed.

Hillbilly Heaven -- a politically incorrect place to eat

Hamilton (Ontario, Canada -- not Bermuda) is (or was) a steel town. Not beautiful, definitely blue collar, the kind of place where people are expected to turn in an honest day's work for an honest buck. People who don't work aren't welcome. Neither are people who "aren't from around here".

This is particularly the case at a restaurant called Hillbilly Heaven. As the name suggests, it's pretty red in the neck. The owner, Cameron Bailey, describes it as "no place for the timid". Which is why he's the owner, because timid he ain't.

Bailey's good ole boy attitude has been noticed. He's not one to hide his biases or suffer fools gladly. Last year he caused a stir when he posted a big sign by the cash register that said halal meat, rice, kabobs, shawarmas and other items are "things we don't have and never will".

On the door was another notice proclaiming, "To better serve you, our staff speaks ENGLISH."

Mr. Bailey told the Toronto Star he makes no apologies for his attitude. "This is my own country — we're going to demand a few things around here. I don't really care. Don't try to intimidate me. We serve what we serve. Don't yell at me and expect me to change that. Call me a racist all you like; it's not going to change."

Hillbilly Heaven's owner attracted the attention of the Red Star this week when he posted an ad on Kijiji asking for servers and counter staff at the downtown location. Nothing unusual about a restaurant looking for help, but Bailey's ad included a message for dependents of the Canadian, Ontario and Hamilton governments.

"We know that Ontario's overly generous unemployment and OW [Ontario Works] systems make it seem pointless to accept a job but we want people that are better than that," Bailey wrote. "It's that simple."

The ad went on to tell job-seekers not to e-mail a résumé. Such e-mails, Bailey wrote, will be deleted. And don't call, because he won't talk to you. No, you have to do it the old-fashioned way, showing up in person prepared for a 20-minute interview.

Why so strict? Because, the ad says, "We call to schedule interviews. Half of you don't even bother to return the call. We schedule interviews and 75% of you don't bother to show up for the interview. We offer the job and 30% of you accept it and then don't bother to show up for work on the first day."

Judging from the response so far, Mr. Bailey's no-bullshit approach appears to be working. The Kijiji ad has had hundreds of hits, and as of Friday 16 people actually showed up. One was hired on the spot. That person had a wife and two kids, "so that part is a good news story," said Bailey.

For Walt's readers in the Hamilton area who may be thinking of going out for a good (North) American bite to eat, Hillbilly Heaven (647 Upper James St.) serves ribs, sandwiches and pulled pork. You can probably get huevos too because Mr. Bailey sounds like he's got big ones.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Blogger interface made even worse!!!

Ed. here with the latest bad news from Google, the evil power behind Blogger.

We have a picture of Alex Bowden, the Aussie with no fear of firecrackers mentioned in today's previous post. Alas, we couldn't upload it from our state-of-the-artless PC. Why? Because the preventers of easy computing at Google, not satisfied with having made the Blogger user interface more prone to freezing and crashing than an Embraer, now want to force users to upload pictures to something called Picasa -- another tentacle of the Google octopus -- in order to be uploadable to our blogs.

Here is the feedback I just sent to the Blogger geeks.

Have you "improved" the interface AGAIN so that it's now impossible to upload pix from my computer? What the hell is wrong with you people?! What good is a blog without pix? And do you really think I'm going to put my stuff on Picasa -- whatever that is? Dream on!

Geeks they may be, but they're honest geeks, up to a point. When you submit feedback, they tell you right upfront that they won't respond to you. Which leaves us wondering what we would have to do to get their attention. Do you suppose going public with this complaint, right here in WWW, would do it? Don't bet. (Lifetime pct .989.)

UPDATE FROM ED., Friday afternoon -- There's always a workaround, isn't there. Noli illegitimi te carborundum!

Why Alex stuck a firecracker up his Aussiehole

It takes awhile for some of the news to reach Walt's cabin in the pines, especially if the news comes from the Antipodes [rhymes with "Auntie Rhodes". Ed.] Here's one that hasn't yet appeared in The Darwin Awards, but certainly deserves an honourable mention in the race to the bottom of the IQ chart.

Back last July, Australian bon vivant Alex Bowden, 23, decided to put a spinning "flying bee" winged firecracker in his butt crack, apparently as a star turn at a rather boisterous party. "I had a few lads up from Queensland and I had to put on a good show," he told the Northern Territory News from his hospital bed.

"I just had a few beers with the boys and let off a few firecrackers," Mr. Bowden continued, "and I put one in my arse."

Fortunately for him, he was wearing trousers at the time, otherwise the damage might have been considerably worse. "It didn't burn my balls or my back," he said, "just my fingers and my arse." The index, middle, and ring fingers of his right hand were burned when he pulled the cracker out of his crack.

Mr. Bowden was not bleeding afterwards, and was still able to walk. One of his mates -- not the one who lit the fuse but another drongo -- said, "He screamed a little bit and there were a fair few f-words".

But Mr. Bowden denied that there were tears. "You can't sit here crying," he told the NT News reporter. Indeed.

Yes, a Darwin Award must be given out, if only because of the location. Wagaman is a suburb of Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territory.

What?! Surely you don't think Walt is making this up! Here's the original report from the website of the Northern Territory News.

Note from Angry Ed.: We regret that we can't upload a pic of the fearless firecracker handler. Blogger wants to force us to put all our pix -- and even the pix that aren't ours! -- on Picasa, so they can use them for their own nefarious purposes. We will not do it! No pasaran! See following post (above).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory!"

Just before the end of the year, The Oregonian ran an unusual story from China. Lots of strange things happen in China, but here we learn not to let our amusement with the ways of the Mysterious East cloud our perception of the realities of life under China's repressive Communist régime.

You've heard the old joke... Someone opens a fortune cookie at the end of a delicious meal in a Chinese restaurant and reads, "What you just ate wasn't chicken." Well, something like this happened to Julie Keith, of Portland OR, when she opened a Halloween graveyard kit she'd bought at Kmart over a year ago.

Hidden inside was a handwritten note asking whoever might find it to help the prisoners who made the decorations in a labour camp in Shenyang, in northeastern China. The experience would be like finding a message scrawled on the back of your licence plate begging for justice for those languishing in a North American prison.

The anonymous writer asks whoever finds his note to "please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization." He goes on to describe the miserable working conditions at the camp, including beatings and other kinds of torture. Inmates are made to work seven days a week, for which they get 10 RMB per day. That's about US$1.65.

The Oregonian has contacted the US customs and immigration authorities. There may not be much they can do to the Chinese, but American law prohibits importation of items made by forced labour, so K-Mmart and its parent Sears could be liable. K-Mart says it will investigate and could -- not "will", but "could" -- end their business relationship with the factory if they can confirm the allegations in the message.

Of course K-Mart is only one of many Western companies taking of cheap Chinese labour. Foxconn, which manufactures Apple products -- including the iPad on which you may be reading this -- has received considerable negative publicity over working conditions at its huge campus in Walt's old stomping ground of Shenzhen. Morale is so bad there that Foxonn has mounted wire mesh nets around the outside of its buildings to catch employees who defenestrate themselves. [Not a joke. See article in the year-end issue of The Economist. Ed.]

And China is not the only offender. Sweat-shop conditions or worse can be found in factories all over southeast Asia -- Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, to name only three. Next time you're patronizing the Bentonville Monster or the T-Store or, errr, just about any mass merchandiser, have a look to see where the jeans or coffee maker or whatever you're looking for is made. Buy local if you can!