Saturday, September 22, 2007

Statistics and Hysteria

I was just reading this analysis from Stats Canada which suggests our family demographics are changing.

Regarding gay couples:

Half of all same-sex couples in Canada lived in the three largest census metropolitan areas, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, in 2006. Toronto accounted for 21.2% of all same-sex couples, Montréal, 18.4% and Vancouver, 10.3%.

In 2006, same-sex couples represented 0.6% of all couples in Canada. This is comparable to data from New Zealand (0.7%) and Australia (0.6%).

Over half (53.7%) of same-sex married spouses were men in 2006, compared with 46.3% who were women.

Regarding one person households:

During this time, the number of one-person households increased 11.8%, more than twice as fast as the 5.3% increase for the total population in private households. At the same time, the number of households consisting of couples without children aged 24 years and under increased 11.2% since 2001.

On legally married versus single or common-law:

Unmarried people outnumber legally married people for the first time

For the first time, the census enumerated more unmarried people aged 15 and over than legally married people.

In 2006, more than one-half (51.5%) of the adult population were unmarried, that is, never married, divorced, separated or widowed, compared with 49.9% five years earlier. Conversely, only 48.5% of persons aged 15 and over were legally married in 2006, down from 50.1% in 2001.

These results are based on the 2006 census, which compiled the responses of almost 9 million Canadians. But not me, I was just cleaning house and found my completed but never submitted form. All the census people probably know me by now as that recalcitrant thwarter of statistics gathering. You could make a movie about it with Reese Witherspoon and that guy from Ferris Bueller's day off and it would be quite funny.

Anyway, I was about to head off to the club when Baldrick came in and breathlessly told me I must read the latest vomitous screed from the Calgary Sun.

Apparently the broader trends are not holding in Calgary, and as a result the Calgary Sun had to diatribe about how much better we are than other Canadians, to quote:

Calgary is holding the fort in a country where the notion of the traditional family is increasingly under siege, states a federal census.

Holding the fort? Against whom? The enemy? What is the traditional family and who is sieging it? These military metaphors are red flags for plain old fashioned bigotry.

States a federal census? Huh? That has to be the most poorly written most mendacious pukey line I think I have ever read in a newspaper. It is absolutely disgraceful to mingle your bigotry in with someone else's headline and make it seem like they're a bigot as well.

But that's our Calgary Sun, defending us tirelessly against statistics, trends, facts and ideas. Please recommend this post

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Word of the Month

The word of the month is rodomontade.


vainglorious boasting or bragging; pretentious, blustering talk.

Sample usage:

Mr. Harper rotomontaded endlessly about how smart and moral he was.

Mr. Black's rotomontading didn't go unnoticed by the sentencing Judge.

The Calgary Sun engaged in stupifying pro-war rotomontade.

My girlfriend whispered in my ear, a little less rotomontade and a little more action.

I suggest you use the word at the dinner table today. Surprise your loved ones with your buoyant literacy. Put your spouse in her/his place for once. No one would have comeback for a word like that. Please recommend this post

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is your face in order?

Canada's new government: Mouth open. Yelling. Finger pointing. Bad hair.

Canada is a difficult country to manage. Almost everything in Canada is based on some type of accommodation. That's why we have Catholic Schools, RCMP officers wearing Turbans, bilingual courts and Ben Mulroney on television.

One of the main differences between Canadian conservatives and Canadian liberals is that conservatives have no interest in accommodation. They want to throw everything into a blender and have it come out pure white. It's their way or no way.

Hence the current fake debate over women wearing religious facial covering while voting. Oh, the outrage. My preference would be to have Muslim women reveal their faces when voting but if they do not wish to then it is a relatively harmless compromise to show sufficient documentation. It is also, mostly, none of my business. In no way does this compromise take away my rights, any more than the happiness of a gay couple will ruin some straight couple's marriage.

I have voted in many elections in Alberta and I cannot remember ever having a returning office look at my face. It goes more like this: take driver's license, look up address on voter register, cross voter off list. With 10's of thousands of voters passing through a polling station and a horde of returning officers, it seems unlikely that seeing someone's face would have any particular deterrent effect.

Maybe the returning officers should be required to ask you if you are gay, collect stamps, or believe in evolution. Seems like common sense to me.

I pity the first returning officer who turns away a WHITE voter because their hair has been died blue and they've grown a large porn star mustache in the intervening years since they got their driver's license photo updated.

To say that something is required because it is common sense is not an argument and has no weight because common sense is just a euphemism for my opinion. We obviously know by now that Mr. Harper is a bully and not a consensus builder. Intimidating an independent body that is commissioned to oversee election fairness is very very scary scenario. It is no different than Harper's frequent intimidation of Judges. Harper's generalissimo personality will be his undoing.

Remember, it was Stephen Harper who forced the Canadian Taxpayer to spend millions of dollars defending electoral fairness laws when Harper was the head of the National Citizen's Coalition. Who was Harper representing? Sorry, Mr. Transparency would never say.

Where was the outrage when Alberta's Provincial Progressive Conservatives were found to be at the centre of the Ward 10 voting scandal in Calgary's last civic election. In this case, a large number of mail in ballots were forged. Although they got caught, the punishment was ridiculously light, and some of the players were never even brought to trial. And, of course, no finger wagging from Mr. Harper.

Our Constitution guarantees us certain rights, such as the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience and the right to lawfully participate in elections. Mr. Harper's intimidation cannot change that. Please recommend this post

Monday, September 10, 2007

Vicki's Banjo Bowl Fantasy

Vicki Hall of the Edmonton Journal has a dream:

Can you imagine the spectacle of thousands of prairie folk invading downtown Toronto for Grey Cup? Could there be anything better than for the CFL? If the Labour Day series is any indication, we could see the Roughriders and Blue Bombers in Hogtown for the big game.

Yeah, that would be something. Saskatchewan and Winnipeg in the Grey Cup playing in Toronto. They've never played each other in the Grey Cup[1] and both teams go back to the 1930's.

It would create a huge political problem for the CFL, the CBC and the organizers in Toronto. Think of the panic when they realize that no one east of Kenora will tune in or care. Cue the Nick Nolte film.

It is unusual to read this kind of prediction in the Edmonton Journal of all places, but Most Esk fans have known for some time that they won't be seeing their team in Canada's number one sporting event, or even in the playoffs.

Politics and ratings issues aside, I agree with Ms. Hall that this could be one of the best Grey Cup match games ever. Who would you rather watch? Calgary and Toronto? BC and Montreal? Pffft I say.

Bring on the Banjo Bowl non-pareil! And that's exactly what we're going to call it. BBNP for short.

[1] The Grey Cup was named after Lord Grey, an Edwardian aristocrat whose wife couldn't get the hang of washing her delicate lingerie in the hard mineral laden waters of Upper Canada. Its a fact.
[2]In 1951,1966,1969 and 1976 the Ottawa Rough Riders played the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Grey Cup. That would have been a hoot to watch the foreign visitors scratching their heads.
Please recommend this post

Alnoor Kassam: Stop Talking!

I was wandering down a back alley across from SAIT when I saw this billboard:

This is a campaign ad for Calgary mayoralty candidate Alnoor Kassam.

Alnoor Kassam is running against 3 term Mayor Dave Bronconnier. I can't help but be a bit puzzled by the slogan A Little Less Conversation, A little More Action! I really am not sure what he means by this. The political culture in Calgary and Alberta is such that politicians do whatever they want with complete impunity behind a veil of secrecy.

I think that a Mayoralty candidate who campaigned on more transparency in civic government could hit a raw nerve and possibly score some points. Is Alnoor that candidate? Less Conversation is like telling people to shut up and doesn't lead me to believe the candidate thinks transparency is important.

Alnoor's logo creates cognitive dissonance. A green hexagon with the enlarged word GO inside it. Hexagon means stop. Green means go. Less conversation, but I have a lot of ideas.

Alnoor's campaign also may have received the kiss of death already, by way of a semi-lucid endorsement from Paul Jackson, who is probably just manipulating Alnoor to campaign against liberalism, progressive thinking, and literacy.

Bronconnier's message does not seem to be that much better. Even though he is the most well funded of all the candidates he will probably run a low key, issueless campaign. Everything is fine. Like David Emerson, he'll just tell the voters that he has to carry on with his important work. He is already using passive meaningless language like, leading with passion and purpose.

Please recommend this post

Friday, September 07, 2007

Kent Austin: Bigger than Jesus

So RidersFan is sitting out on the pool deck enjoying the last few days of summer, when Rider's Coach Kent Austin comes along. Being a nice guy Austin takes some time to chat with RidersFan about football and whatever. RidersFan and Coach notice a cooler of cold beer on the other side of the pool. Coach says, hey, you want me to grab you a beer? RidersFan says sure. Coach Austin then walks on the water across the pool, grabs two beers, walks back across the water, pops open both beers and hands one to RidersFan.[1]

RidersFan's jaw drops. Finally when he can talk again, he says, hey how did you do that. Easy, says Coach, the bottles have twist tops, very easy to open.

Sunday, September 9: Roughriders at Winnipeg

Prediction: Winnipeg by a few points.

You have to pick the underdog once in a while even though my prediction seems unlikely. All winning streaks must come to an end. Somebody somewhere needs to put a stop to the green surge.

Friday, September 7: Calgary at Edmonton

Ick. Don't make me watch this game. Don't make me call it. The odds are in favour of Calgary. Historically, they have a slight edge in the Labor day re-match. Also, Edmonton is demoralized and the towns folks have started calling for the head of the coach. How this helps is anyone's guess.

Bus loads of drunk Calgarians[2], who started drinking at about 2pm today, should be arriving in Edmonton right

Maciocia isn't helping either. He was muttering about making some visits to Santa Maria Goretti Church, which is near Commonwealth Stadium. No word on how long it will take to get that message through. Maybe watch a few game tapes just in case.

Update: Calgary 20 Edmonton NOT 20

[1] Punch line ripped off from old beer commercial. Otherwise, events as described actually occurred.
[2] Rhymes with Vulgarians. Ha.
Please recommend this post

My Mulroney Rant

Our former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney stopped taking his medication and is now talking to the media. Like Richard Nixon, he looks back and feels he got a bad deal from history and wants to do a makeover on his image. Although Mulroney is quite wealthy, the National Post has offered their image making services for free. I feel embarrassed for Mulroney, it is not often that someone is so dumb they lose an argument with a dead guy. There are some serious head issues going on here.

Mulroney has held a long and persistent delusion that Pierre Trudeau ruined Canada and that God himself appointed him to fix it. These delusions of grandeur are not uncommon in politics, but seldom do they run so deep. The main outcomes of Mulroney-to-the-rescue were the Reform Party, the Parti Québécois, the disintegration of the Federal Progressive Conservative Party and the subsequent disenfranchisement of millions of moderate Red Tories. Moderate and tolerant people in the Western Provinces would like to thank Mr. Mulroney very much for turning us over to a bunch of head in ass crazy lunatics. Not to mention ruining TV for ever through the untalented fruit of his loins.

We have more important issues in 2007 than what Trudeau did or didn't do when he was teething. This latest attack is not about Canada or history, it is about Mulroney's easily bruised ego, and his lifelong hobby of seeking revenge on the vast multitudes of those who apparently betrayed him. Lucien Bouchard was a duplicitous separatist? Oh dear, lets write an Opera. Who the hell cares whether Lucien Bouchard is invited to your funeral? I wish Mr. Mulroney a long and healthy life, but when he does die, I hope this guy gives him equal time.

If I wanted to get dragged back into the absolute moral black hole of the 1980's I would grow my big hair back, re-cultivate the magnum PI porn star mustache, and go looking for those 4 inch wide ties I used to wear. But no, I have no interest in going back to the 80's.

Canada is largely a country that cannot be governed to the satisfaction of any particular group or region. Our history proves this. The fact that we did not get our own constitution until 1982 is retarded and backwards. The fact that Freedom of Conscience and Freedom of Religion was not legally enshrined until Trudeau's Charter[1] in 1982 is retarded. The American people got a Bill of Rights in 1789, the British in 1689, the French in 1789, the Finns in 1919 and so on. Clearly, Canada was behind the human rights curve by a long shot. The fact that we have no elected senate is shameful. Liberals should have been at the forefront of the debate from decades ago, yet it was left up to political extremists who view an elected senate as a back door to assert their ridiculous views over Parliament and the rest of us.

No one politician or party is to blame for Canada's long term issues, but at the same time Mulroney did absolutely nothing to fix anything.

Mulroney has no business criticizing Trudeau for opposing conscription. In both world wars it was a debate that very nearly broke up the country. Mulroney is not dumb, he knows that by playing verbal games with the conscription issue he can further divide a country that is conflicted over our involvement in Afghanistan. And he thinks this makes him look good?

Mulroney was much younger than Trudeau, born in 1939. At that time the Mackenzie King Government (Liberal) and the American government (FDR - Democrat) were turning away Jewish refugees from Europe. It is likely that many of those Jewish people died as a result of being forced back to Europe. To me this is a far more serious historical issue than whether Trudeau opposed conscription, but you are unlikely to hear Mulroney talk about it because it doesn't serve as a suitable platform for his vanity. It is debatable whether people in Canada knew about the holocaust at this point, or what our Governments knew about it in the 1930's. To say that Trudeau opposed conscription because he was anti-semitic or didn't care about the death of European Jews seems like a fairly ignorant thing to say.

As a person who as never known war or conscription in my life time, I consider it highly inappropriate for me to pass judgment on those of a previous generation who either went to war voluntarily, or refused to go. If you are not faced with that choice yourself, you are hardly qualified to talk about someone else's character. Mulroney was a baby when WWII broke out, and apparently has not moved forward that much.

If Trudeau said or did things that were anti-semitic, he deserves to have a light shone on it. Antisemitism is a much larger problem in our society than most people will admit. I'm not really sure what Mulroney can claim as his contribution to stopping antisemitism in Canada. Probably just some self-serving rhetoric here and there.

Final word: Mr Mulroney, if you chop the head off a dead man it does not make you taller.

[1] The Diefenbaker Bill of Rights in 1960 was a noble document and forward thinking but it was an Act of Parliament and not part of a constitution.
[2] My spell checker does not recognize Mulroney as a word and suggests Moneybag and Melloney as alternatives.)
Please recommend this post