Election time – again

Posted by bernicky - November 30th, 2005

Canada is going to the polls. Our choices are interesting. A Liberal government which is so frequently in power that it believes that it has the divine right to govern. A Tory opposition which is cobbled together out of fundamentalist christians and fiscal conservatives that wants to control the moral conduct of the citizens while liberating the fiscal conduct of corporations. The New Democrat Party which doesn’t even pretend to have a chance to form the government anymore which would pass laws to govern just about every aspect of our lives in true nanny state fashion given the chance. The Bloc Quebecois which has as it’s state purpose the destruction of Canada and ridding the province of the last vestiges of the English speaking community to complete the worlds first bloodless cultural genocide. Not surprisingly you can only vote for the Bloc if you live in Quebec.

For my own part I am voting for the Green Party. I will not vote Liberal and cannot bring myself to vote for the new version of the Conservatives. Voting for the Bloc is not in the interest of any minority unless they believe they are actually welcome in the pur laine, de souche volkstadt in which we live. The NDP with a tax business to the Nth degree philosophy is just a non starter for me. There are no Libertarian candidates in my riding – or in Quebec for that matter since the concept of governments leaving people to their own devices is heresy here. That leaves a party which has as its stated purpose the protection of the environment in which we all live. Saving the world seems like a good idea to me. David Suzuki put it best in an interview a little while back (I paraphrase): We are in a car speeding towards a wall and we are arguing about whether or not to install brakes. That about sums up the environmental crisis the world is in, we just can’t get people to believe it.

Vote Green – if nothing else you will be voting for someone who actually believes what they are saying. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?

Sucker

Posted by bernicky - November 25th, 2005

I’m a sucker. One of my favourite movies of recent years was on television tonight. It isn’t that good a movie I’m just a sucker for the type of story. It is called The Family Man – Nicholas Cage plays a powerbroker multimillionaire who suddenly gets the chance to see what his life would have been like had he gone in a different direction. It is the kind of movie which confirms that family is more important than money and that success is what we think of as success no more and no less. It was not a very successful movie becaue the critics evicerated it before it even got out of the starting gate. That kind of thing happens but they were wrong about this movie. While some elements are predictable it is a sweet story with a very good ending.

Another movie which was killed by the critics was The Terminal with Tom Hanks. It was a sweet movie and despite being a little hokey and changing the real story (an African man who was inadvertently trapped in the Paris airport when the country he was from ceased to exist) the movie works.

The movies and stories which I enjoy the most are always about people and hope. It makes sense really as those are two things without which we cannot live. They may be the most important things in our lives.

Freedom of assembly

Posted by bernicky - November 23rd, 2005

A recent law was passed in the county where George Bush Jr. has his ranch which forbids camping beside the road or parking along side the road.

Unlike many nations in the world where just showing up would invite an armed military response with subsequent reprisals against the family members of anyone who had the temerity to violate such a law the U.S. basically asks people to move along and arrests them if they do not. The same thing happens in Canada. The Montreal police arrest hundreds of people during demonstrations – some who aren’t even participating in a demonstration but just happen to be walking by at the time. Freedom of assembly is only a freedom when the powers that be permit it to be one. I’m not saying that we are antidemocratic or even that there isn’t some merit in public security terms to taking actions like this. The actions are not nearly as draconian as the kind of things you see in China, North Korea or any of a host of nations with very definite ideas as to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. Still it seems a slippery slope to me.

The only things we have of real value are our thoughts and freedoms. When we choose to allow others to take those things away from us – or support the removal of those rights from others – we are asking to be enslaved by those who by the very nature of the decision have a narrower vision than those they govern. Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen – prophetic words in their time and they hold true today: Where they burn books, they will end in burning human beings.

We allow ourselves to be restricted. We choose to be limited. The left and the right are equally guilty of this. The desire to control speech and thought. There are things you can and cannot say there are words you can and cannot use. Mark Twain is no longer allowed to be taught in school because the word nigger cannot be read by impressionable minds. Never mind that the the slave Jim is the only character in Huck Finn who is a real human being. If you control people words you control their thoughts. If you control their actions you limit their vision. People without words and vision are far easier to rule that those who have both.

We need the police, we need government, we need rules. What we don’t need are rules which require the police to do what they know is wrong. You can bet the sherrif in the county where George Bush Jr. lives feels like a yokel when he gets called out to bust peaceful campers who aren’t bothering anyone but are calling for the end to a war which should have never started. You can bet that Montreal police don’t agree with the cast a net and take them all in approach – at least one of my friends who is also a police officer doesn’t like it and I know he is not alone. We all have to say to our leaders that we will not tolerate it. Freedoms are only freedoms if they are enjoyed by everyone.

Microsoft 101

Posted by bernicky - November 22nd, 2005

If you haven’t seen the X-Box 360 on television, heard about it on the radio or read about it in the newspaper in the last little while then you must be living in a cave. Microsoft has done a world class job of rolling out their system and getting tons of free advertising disguised as “news”.

The console system which was released today has a grand total of 18 games available for the platform. This hasn’t stopped the media from waxing poetic about the console. It is a love fest that likely has most geeks and gamers a little frustrated. Every avid gamer has already read the early assessments from console testers who have played on the PS3 and the X-Box and the vast bulk of the reports have been about how PS3 blows the doors off of teh 360. What is of more interest to gamers is the default backwards compatibility of the PS3 to previous versions of the PS systems with X-Box you have to pay a premium for a special drive to allow you to play your existing generation of X-Box games. More impressive though is that there are already 150 games for launch with the PS3.

You have to congratulate the beast of Redmond though for creating so much hype around a platform that only has 18 games available for it. Someone in PR is really earning their salary.

Some funny videos

Posted by bernicky - November 17th, 2005

I have collected some funny videos over the years on the www. So here are the ones I thought were entertaining enough to keep cluttering up my hard drive. Funny Videos Click Here

On The Front

Posted by bernicky - November 17th, 2005

Sergeant Bernicky just what are you doing here? It was probably the last thing my father expected to hear in the West Edmonton Mall. Over the years I had heard frequently about World War Two mostly in broad strokes criticizing the Americans or mocking the Italians but never anything specific. Mostly my father seemed angry about the whole experience and never really spoke in specifics. He didn’t on that day in the West Edmonton Mall either.

The gentleman who had hailed him was a fellow Vandoo who had spent time on the front with my father in Italy. It was the only battle specific story I ever heard about my father and he refused to comment on the story as it was told. He just nodded a lot and wished the gentleman well before going on his way.

The story was that he and the men he was with had been cut off from their supply line while engaged in house to house fighting. While they were hunkered down unable to move forward, sideways or backward my father disappeared. Everyone assumed the worst and focused on keeping their own hides in one piece. They were all caught off guard when my father showed up out of the blue with a jug of wine and ten dead chickens. They feasted, drank and celebrated the food and my father’s safe return. It is the only story I have of my father from someone who knew him before he became the man I grew up with.

An engagement story

Posted by bernicky - November 16th, 2005

In the months leading up to Xmas 1991 I formulated a plan to propose to my then girlfriend who has been my wife and strength for the last 13 years. It was not a complicated plan in terms of the final execution but it did take some maneuvering on the way to Xmas day.

The plan was simple enough and centered on an odd ultimatum my true love gave me one day. She said that I could ask her to marry me on Xmas day, Saint Valentines day or on her birthday but that if no proposal was forthcoming by that day then I should probably move on to something else. This dovetailed nicely with my own proposal plans, but I wanted the proposal to be memorable: The kind of proposal that you could tell a story about.

The process started with shopping for an engagement ring. Shopping for a ring is very important and any male who believes he can just go out and get a ring is operating under serious delusions. You have to shop together and have a look at different rings and get an idea of what she likes and wants. It was very important to my plans that I have several rings to choose from. We traveled up to Laval to look at a jewellery store where we found a sapphire ring I liked but my wife to be was only moderately interested in. We hunted around quite a few stored before we found a ring which sealed the deal a heart shaped ruby ringed with diamonds.

On Xmas day I made certain we were sitting together when she opened the large oversized box which was filled with newspaper with a tiny ring box at the bottom. Her disappointment upon opening the box and seeing the sapphire solitaire ring was palpable. I said I hope you like it, it’s your Xmas ring. She said It’s very nice. It doesn’t mean anything? Which when you think about it was a bizarre thing to say. Still she put it on and covered her disappointment well. I opened one of my presents I have no idea what it was. Then I gave her a second box which when she opened revealed the heart shaped ruby and diamond ring she had been anticipating. As she opened it I said And this is your engagement ring.

That is how we were engaged. About an hour later out of no where I heard her suddenly say. Wait a minute, you didn’t even ask me! That’s the truth I never asked my wife to marry me but she accepted anyway.

Why do I leave it up?

Posted by bernicky - November 16th, 2005

An acquaintence brought to the fore the other day why I leave up postings which I know are politically incorrect – angry and sometimes just downright nasty.

The answer is simple – to remind me that I am not as good as I think I am. If you say something out loud you have to think about it. If you write something down and revisit it you have to think about it. You cannot hide from your own ideas, your own prejudices. They are out there for others to see and in black and white they look different than they sound in your head. This serves two purposes: First it gives me time to consider what I am thinking and why and to change my mind and the second it gives visitors the opportunity to feel better about themselves because they would never say/think some of the things I write.

I get good feed back too. A recent post on Words and Actions illicited a response from someone clearly on the other side of the fence and not at all sympathetic to my opinion. They responded intelligently, without vitriol and gave me food for thought. Did they change my mind? It would take a lot more than one anonymous post to do that but it is encouraging that someone had enough confidence in me that they would write a post which I could just have easily deleted along with all the poker/loans etcetera SPAM. So whomever you are thank you for reading and posting I’d like to have a cup of coffee with you sometime.

Toby Tyler

Posted by bernicky - November 14th, 2005

My dad was a two fisted drunk. That isn’t a complaint or a condemnation just a fact. I never had to walk in his shoes, I did not live his life, I will never have to bear the crosses he had to bear. Most of my memories of my father are indifferent or ambivalent and some are bad. But some of those memories are good. I wrote a story once which was published in Vice Versa called Going After The Big One that was really a compilation of many days spent by the river fishing with my father.

When I was seven or eight I have no idea what I wanted. I probably wanted lots of things as there is no shortage of wants in the life of a child. I do not recall ever wanting anything which is a good sign that I actually wanted for nothing. We often bought clothes and furnishings from Sally Ann and food was sometimes scarce but the pantry never bare. Xmas was always a celebration at our house.

Xmas eve when I was either seven or eight years old I was woken up from a sound sleep by my father. For what it’s worth I remember being groggy and none too happy about being woken up. What child is ever happy about being woken up in the middle of the night? On this night I came awake quickly as my father filled with Xmas cheer deposited a jet black puppy on my bed and asked: “What are you going to call him?” It was a question which should probably have been left until morning. As it was I decided to call the puppy Toby thanks to The Wonderful World of Disney which had either just finished showing or was in the midst of showing the movie Toby Tyler. That was how I named my first dog. She was a great little mutt and didn’t seem to mind at all being named after a boy who ran away with the circus.

Good times

Posted by bernicky - November 13th, 2005

Today was the Club Boreal cross country race. The cross country race that Boreal hosts is a unique race. The winner is not the first person across the line but rather the person who comes closest to their estimated time for completing the race. The course is a very hilly 10K cross country one that winds through forest and marsh land. Runners are not allowed to wear watches and there are no kilometer markers on the course.

Since I couldn’t wear a watch I decided I would just go all out. I predicted a time of 48 minutes flat and came in at 47:01 which was an incredible run for me. It is amazing what training regularly with a club can do to improve your running times. Anyway that was my day so far.

I spent yesterday working with my partner in the funny site recording half hour shows which the World Comedy Network invited us to be part of their new online broadcast. They took a bunch of our short spots and put them into their very small rotation right away. We are excited to be in on the ground floor of a new project like this and looking forward to working with the folks at World Comedy Network.

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