Saturday, December 13, 2008

While waiting for the results of the Best Canadian Philosophy/Religion Blog (a competition I got bumped out of on the first ballot) I notice that they're not going to be announced until the 16th of December. So I checked out what had been announced and noticed that in the Activities Blog category there was one which won with something like 90% of the vote - which seemed like rather a large percentage.

So I checked it out and it turned out to be a knitting blog - which doesn't interest me overmuch. But it was a very very good knitting blog. The sort of blog which makes you not only want to point the blog out to others but makes you wonder why the hell you bother blogging yourself.

"My blog is just no feckin' good" you say.

I'm hoping that the second stage in the process will be something along the lines of "I'm going to make my blog better".

Maybe it's just a Kubler-Ross sorta thing where there are stages. You reconcile yourself to upping the morphine dose and eventually you see the light and dead relatives and feel better about the whole thing. Shantih Shantih Shantih

Anyway - there's even a post where the author of this knitting blog (which is called Yarn Harlot) decides that she needs to explain to her overseas knitting friends why the Canadian political process has suddenly become chaotic and messy.

I guess it's what people might talk about while they're knitting.

Anyway - check it out. It's really quite good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stuff I did not know

Carrying on with the theme of 'this is bigger', tonight's full moon is to be the largest of the year - 30% brighter and 14% larger from one edge to the other. It's immaterial to me here in Scotland because tonight we have our usual complete cloud cover. If it's clear where you are, though, you might want to go outside and have a look around. From the NASA website:

Dec. 9, 2008: No, you can not see Neil Armstrong's footprint. But go ahead and look: The full Moon of Dec. 12th is the biggest and brightest full Moon of the year.

It's no illusion. Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and this Friday's is a whopper. Why? The Moon's orbit is an ellipse with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other: diagram. In the language of astronomy, the two extremes are called "apogee" (far away) and "perigee" (nearby). On Dec. 12th, the Moon becomes full a scant 4 hours after reaching perigee, making it 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we've seen earlier in 2008.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New York is big
.....but this is Biggar

I live down the road from a town called Biggar. South Lanarkshire, here in Scotland. I guess once upon a time a few folks from Biggar moved to Saskatchewan. When they established a town they decided to call it Biggar instead of something catchy like Pile of Bones (Regina, Saskatchewan's name before they decided to call it something that would make schoolboys giggle).

Anyway - the Rector of Biggar, Saskatchewan has a blog called Expanding the Circle and the readers of Raspberry Rabbit (that's all of you - Mom, Dad, Anne, Ruth.....

Karl! stop chewing the Guinea Pig and listen up!
........need to read it.

No, Canada is not Zimbabwe

But to see the Prime Minister asking the Governor General to suspend Parliament in order avoid being subject to its voice can't help but provoke the comparison among the simple and hysterical (i.e. the media).

The GG agreed to prorogue Parliament until some time in January (she must have had her reasons - chief of which being that handing over to the particular Coalition made up of the three other parties would have been unthinkable and we've just had an election.)

The present Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, is a laudable idiot who was put in post to avoid THIS MAN, Michael Ignatieff. Dion's idiocy having now revealed itself in its purity and singularity (best typified by an interview he gave a while back which his opponents have now circulated widely), THIS MAN has now been acclaimed in post as Liberal leader. We'll see what happens.

Maybe Ignatieff's views on torture have been tweaked in such a way that they won't be too much of an affront now that there's a man in the White House to the left of him.

It'll be good to see the back of the present incumbent, however the change takes place. Canadian politicians are responsible for a geographically large and delicately mixed country. The sorts of attacks which the PM has undertaken in recent weeks have done little to pave the way for good government of any sort and won't even end up protecting his precious and fragile ego.

Our brother in Christ, Simple Massing Priest has a good thumbnail of the present political crisis (although the bit about the Anglican wars is a bit of a stretch - just nod politely and ask how the weather is in Winnipeg.)

The rarely-seen and last-known honest man in Canadian politics. Ed Broadbent, spoke out on the subject last week and pretty well summed up the ethics of the PM trying to drag the country down with him when he's in trouble.

By the way - our Governor General is way prettier than the Queen and can do many of the same things (at least in Canada). She could be borrowed by other Commonwealth countries should the fellow with the ears end up not abdicating and actually replacing his mum.

American media is a bit slow on the uptake but they're coming to terms with it as you can see HERE. Starts about 45 seconds in - quite entertaining.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Old Email

January 16, 0000 6:14

At InnsService/Bethlehem we are committed to maintaining a high level of customer care from our member Inns and Roadhouses.. On 10/12/01 BCE you, or someone from the same IP address peformed a search for Inns/Roadhouses BETHLEHEM_REGION for the NIGHT OF 24/12/01 AND THREE NIGHTS THEREAFTER for TWO ADULTS arriving LATE AFTERNOON by HORSE/DONKEY

In order to achieve a continually improving accomodation experience for the peak season traveller at competitive rates it would be helpful if you could answer the following questions.

Did your InnsService search provide a satisfactory range of affordable accomodation options in BETHLEHEM_REGION?

Did you subsequently contact any of Inns/Roadhouses provided by the search.

Were individual contact details for the Inns/Roadhouses provided or were you forwarded to other accomodation brokers or accomodation websites?

Did you eventually book accomodation for BETHLEHEM_REGION for the nights in question.

Did you find your reception to be cordial and helpful?

Was the final price the same as listed on the InnsService website.

Was parking/water/fodder for your HORSE/DONKEY included in the price of the room?

Was your room clean and well appointed?

Was your room in the Inn/Roadhouse protected from the noise of animals or local industry/agriculture?

Were security arrangements adequate to keep strangers out of corridors or common areas?

Was there anything else remarkable - either positive or negative - about your stay at a member Inn/Roadhouse in BETHLEHEM_REGION that you think we should know about?

Was the InnsService sign (with logo and contact details) clearly visible at reception?

Did you mention to the proprietors that you had discovered your accomodation via the InnsService website?

We thank you for your time.

Benjamin Ben-Benjamin
Customer Satisfaction Officer

It had to happen eventually. It was just a matter of time. The number of electrons in the world is finite, the number of people with extra time on their hands is not infinite. I'm talking of course about the following hyperlink. If we'd known before we could have had a party. Before you click it I just wanted to say that it's been a slice.......

Monday, December 08, 2008

According to an article in the Telegraph, these lists are the words which are being taken out of the Oxford University Press' Junior Dictionary and those being put in. Further comment is probably unnecessary.

"Here are the words taken out:

Carol, cracker, holly, ivy, mistletoe

Dwarf, elf, goblin

Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar

Coronation, duchess, duke, emperor, empire, monarch, decade

adder, ass, beaver, boar, budgerigar, bullock, cheetah, colt, corgi, cygnet, doe, drake, ferret, gerbil, goldfish, guinea pig, hamster, heron, herring, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, minnow, mussel, newt, otter, ox, oyster, panther, pelican, piglet, plaice, poodle, porcupine, porpoise, raven, spaniel, starling, stoat, stork, terrapin, thrush, weasel, wren.

Acorn, allotment, almond, apricot, ash, bacon, beech, beetroot, blackberry, blacksmith, bloom, bluebell, bramble, bran, bray, bridle, brook, buttercup, canary, canter, carnation, catkin, cauliflower, chestnut, clover, conker, county, cowslip, crocus, dandelion, diesel, fern, fungus, gooseberry, gorse, hazel, hazelnut, heather, holly, horse chestnut, ivy, lavender, leek, liquorice, manger, marzipan, melon, minnow, mint, nectar, nectarine, oats, pansy, parsnip, pasture, poppy, porridge, poultry, primrose, prune, radish, rhubarb, sheaf, spinach, sycamore, tulip, turnip, vine, violet, walnut, willow

And the words put in:

Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue

Celebrity, tolerant, vandalism, negotiate, interdependent, creep, citizenship, childhood, conflict, common sense, debate, EU, drought, brainy, boisterous, cautionary tale, bilingual, bungee jumping, committee, compulsory, cope, democratic, allergic, biodegradable, emotion, dyslexic, donate, endangered, Euro

Apparatus, food chain, incisor, square number, trapezium, alliteration, colloquial, idiom, curriculum, classify, chronological, block graph"