Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Announcing The Great CBC Flub Bingo Contest

This one is for all readers in the Ottawa area. If commercial radio stations can run contests in which listeners have to stay alert for key words or phrases, why not the CBC? To save them the trouble, The Doggerel Party is proud to introduce CBC Flub Bingo.

The rules are simple:
  1. Listen to CBC Radio 91.5 FM in Ottawa, for as much as you can stand each day. Count the number of flubbed words that occur during your listening, and note the words in question and the host that performed the flub. Submit your list of flubs in the comments.
  2. Points are awarded as follows:
    1 point for each flub
    1 bonus point if the flub is performed by a male broadcaster (flubbing seems to disproportionately affect the ladies at CBC Ottawa).
    5 bonus points for 'nucular'.
    10 bonus points for tautology in a newscasting context.
  3. Promo Girl does not count, as The Doggerel Party does not wish to encourage or coerce anyone into listening to Promo Girl.

The contest will run until the end of June. The winning contestant will receive a Doggerel Party Corgi Mug; the most nominated broadcaster will receive a Doggie award.

Hint: A good start is the 4:30 and 5:30 newscasts on All In A Day when Lawrence Wall is out. The stand-in Kate Porter was pretty spectacular today.

Reason 13 of 11...

I forgot one other reason in the preceding post:

  1. I could be wrong, but I very much doubt that A Responsible Working Mother has ever won back-to-back Best In Show.

11 Reasons Why My Corgis Are Superior

I came across the rabid ramblings of A Responsible Working Mother some time ago but was prompted to action by today's inclusion of this women's work in a post by Kate over at SDA.

Among the many gems on this blog is a list of 11 Reasons Why Working Mothers Can't Stand Housewives. In another post a little later, the writer 'satirizes' (or believes she does) a study that values the work performed by a stay-home parent at around $134,000 per annum. She does this by evaluating the work performed by her dog and concluding that his/her work is valued at $125,000 per annum. This seems to me to be low-balling; I am not sure what A Responsible Working Mother earns, but I'd happily pay a lot more to spend time with her dog than I would with her.

Here then, is a list of 11 reasons why my three Welsh Corgis are superior to A Responsible Working Mother:
  1. They enjoy spending time with their family.
  2. They make an effort to get along with everyone.
  3. Doing what's right for their puppies comes naturally to them.
  4. They listen more than they speak.
  5. They love other people's children (and no, not for dinner).
  6. They teach my daughter about caring for others, responsibility, discipline and love.
  7. They are smarter than we think (and they use this shamelessly to their advantage).
  8. They make us laugh.
  9. They can run faster than ARWM.
  10. They have a larger range of expression and emotion than ARWM exhibits.
  11. They have short legs, big ears and even bigger hearts.
  12. (Special bonus reason): They are less aggressive and bitey than ARWM.

Much of what is on ARWM's blog is so bizarre that I'm not convinced the whole blog isn't a troll. However it is amusing to see how well she thinks her 'brat' (sic) is doing. One example: she credits her daughter's daycare experience with the fact that her daughter was able to eat soup with a spoon at 15 months. If my daughter had waited that long, I'd have been very worried indeed. AWRM writes that she 'would never have considered trying this with her'.... and in so writing, I think she unwittingly reveals a lot about herself ....

Hug your kids tonight, love them, cherish them and care for them as you think best. And above all, model for them the respect you'd like to receive.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Oh Rexie You're So... no, that's not it

Caught a little of Rex Murphy's Cross Country Checkup yesterday, about the Great Press Gallery Spat. I only caught two calls, but since one was pro-gallery and one was pro-PMSH I figure it's a balanced sample.

During the first call, Rexie mmm'ed and ahh'ed approvingly as the caller complained about openness in government, didn't Harper say he'd be accountable, what is he afraid of, the media's not biased, etc. etc.

During the second call, a woman from BC tried to put the other side of the argument, pointing out some of the treatment that the CPC had received at the hands of the media in the 2004 election campaign. Rexie interrupted constantly, and finally cut the caller off with the assertion that actually only the Martin Liberals could justifiably claim any media bias against them.

Thus proving... ummmm... that at least one doyen of CBC journalists is biased against PMSH.

Add to this Anna Maria Tremonti's carefully chosen use of the term Klan to describe the Conservative Party (h/t to Kate at SDA) and it's been a great 24 hours for the fourth estate.

Red Faces At Greenpeace

Oops. Greenpeace suffers a leak and subsequent meltdown of its own. H/t to Political Staples.

The Results Are In...

And we can all breathe a sigh of relief. That hockey-borne illness is still confined to Ottawa.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

BS Legislation In Ontario

No, this is not about that kind of BS from the McGuinty government.

First big dog show of the summer season here in Eastern Ontario today. We had the good fortune to meet some folks from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Association, and some of their dogs this afternoon. These are dogs that are now banned in Ontario under the Liberals' ridiculous breed-specific legislation on pit bulls.

While the highly dangerous (and unmuzzled) Staffy was licking my hand and wagging his tail furiously, much to my daughter's delight, we talked about the stupidity of this law. As I have written in comments on other blogs on this topic, let's imagine that one year most drunk driving deaths in Ontario are caused by people driving Fords. The Liberal solution to this would be to ban Fords. This is an exact parallel for the pitbull ban, except that enough people drive Fords that they wouldn't dare.

The fact is that dangerous dogs are owned by irresponsible and dangerous people. No one breed of dog can be singled out; all dogs have the potential to be safe or dangerous according to how they are bred, socialized, trained, kept and managed. The smart legislator would solve a problem with legislation directed at people, not dogs.

Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant has been something of an ambulance-chaser when it comes to incidents involving 'pitbulls'. Interestingly, when confronted with real problems that are less susceptible to bogus, smoke and mirror solutions, he is conspicious by his absence. Where was he when a teenager was shot outside the Eaton Centre? Where has he been during the last three months of mob rule in Caledonia?

The pitbull ban is a shameful vote grabbing exercise with no basis in fact, reason or decency. It's the worst kind of law, because it punishes the innocent, feeds on ignorance and gives a false sense of security. Not only is it stupid and ineffective, but it's a grave injustice.

There may not be a lot of votes in repealing this shameful law, but an opposition leader of any integrity would make it part of their platform in the next provincial election. We call on John Tory to do the right thing and get rid of the pitbull ban.

You know, although the BS in the title of this post referred to Breed Specific legislation, maybe it really is about that other kind of BS after all.

Friday, May 26, 2006

First Human to Human Transmission?

Experts gathered in Edmonton today to pore over the remains of a hockey game , and determine if the first instance of human to human transmission of Senator's Disease has taken place.

Senator's Disease is a syndrome in which victims develop a seasonal allergy to winning. The onset of the disease is typically early to mid-May each year. Symptoms usually include loss of coordination, listlessness and an inability to score goals. Senator's Disease has previously only been found in a very localized population centred around Scotiabank Place.

Tests will be conducted over the weekend at a facility in California to determine if, in fact, the Edmonton outbreak is authentic Senator's Disease.

Daycare Should Start Here

Perhaps the Liberals had a point, after all. As Carolyn Benett has pointed out, at risk children benefit from early intervention.

Let's build a daycare centre on the Hill for the children of the Press Gallery. We can fill it full of toy podiums and they can have press conferences by their own rules to their little hearts' content. Throw in some toy Blackberries and free flowing booze and they'll be happy little kiddiwinks.

Otherwise, Canada runs the risk of a whole generation of depressed and delusional hacks and hackettes causing a national outbreak of apathy the like of which we have never seen...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Running With Apples

So, Apple and Nike have teamed up to introduce the world's first wireless training shoes. The shoes communicate with an iPod attachment and provide information to runners on calories burned, distance travelled and all of that fascinating stuff.

How long before the first jogger steps in front of a fast moving Chevy while trying to make out the figures on the nano's tiny screen?

Which Muppet Are You?

For a diversion, try the personality test: Which Muppet Are You?

I, apparently, am the Swedish Chef. Bork Bork Bork!

Bias at CBC Ottawa: All In A Day's Work

CBC Ottawa's drive-time show All In A Day, while it is just a local show, arguably airs in one of the most influential radio markets in Canadian politics and is Ottawa's most listened-to afternoon show. Currently the show is without a regular host; filling in this week is Carmen Klassen, who is apparently a former arts reporter from CBC in Nova Scotia. Her defining characteristic seems to be that she says "Mmmmmm" whenever an interviewee has finished speaking. This 'Mmmmmm' means one of three things, I believe:
  1. I'm bored shitless and I'd rather be golfing.
  2. I'm an arts reporter; I have no clue what you're talking about. Please speak more slowly.
  3. That's very interesting, but there's a really hot guy out there on Sparks Street.
Yesterday, she 'interviewed' a former Parliamentary Press Gallery hack about the latest spat between PM Stephen Harper and the Gallery. The interview was ostensibly about the PPG walkout; in fact it was a completely unfettered Harper-bashing session. Shortly after the interview began, Klassen asked "Is this about a personal vendetta that Stephen Harper has?" "Well, funny you should say that," said the guest, and off he launched into an anti-Harper tirade, unchallenged and uninterrupted.

I don't have the transcript, or audio, and I was driving at the time, but among the highlights were the guest's assertion that "Harper only wants the Ethics Commissioner to investigate Liberal MPs, not Conservatives." "Mmmmmm," said Klassen.

Pardon me for thinking for myself, Carmen, but I believe that the issue was that the Ethics Commissioner was investigating David Emerson (CPC) while not investigating Belinda Stronach (LPC).

The guest finished with a reprise of the threat first published by Larry Zolf in a Viewpoint column some time ago: Play along with the Liberal media or we will ensure you lose the next election. "Don't pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel," he said. "Mmmmmm," said Klassen.

Note to Carmen and the producers at All In A Day. You may not want to bite the hand that feeds you too hard. Contrary to what your navel inspections may be telling you, ordinary Canadians don't care about the poor, suffering PPG, and the smart ones are getting fed up with the rubbish the CBC puts out these days. If you want to keep a job as a journalist, perhaps you should try acting like one.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Update : McGuinty Found, Backbone Still Missing

So Dalton appeared again today to the ordinary folk of Ontario to announce his cabinet reshuffle in the wake of Greg Sorbara's rehabilitation. I'm a fair minded guy; clearly there was no reason to keep Sorbara out of cabinet after he was cleared.

I do have to take issue with the cabinet shuffle as a whole though, because it's a prime illustration of a Liberal approach to government. To recap: Sorbara comes back to Finance, shunting Dwight Duncan off to Energy. This pushes Donna Cansfield out to Transport.

So what becomes of former Transport Minister Harinder "Oh that conflict of interest" Takhar? Does he get shoved out of Cabinet by all these shenanigans? He does not. Instead the "Ministry of Small Business" is created especially for him.

This is government by not p***ing people off. McGuinty is too scared to push one minster out of Cabinet in order to bring his friend back in, even when that minister is one with such a checkered history as Takhar. Who can forget Takhar bolting through the Toronto transportation system being pursued by media, rather than answer questions about his breaches of ethics?

This Liberal approach of never having the courage to upset anyone inevitably leads to mediocrity in government. Paul Martin's demise should be fresh enough even in McGuinty's mind that he should realise this. Stephen Harper gets it, and we see him making his own decisions regardless of popularity contests. In the end the electorate appreciates such honesty and integrity, because we want a strong leader we can trust, even if we don't always agree with him or her.

Dalton McGuinty's backbone is still missing.

UPDATE: James Calder at The Progressive Right has a similar take on this:The Progressive Right: Cheers / Jeers

Have You Seen This Man?

The people of Ontario need your help in finding a missing person. Dalton McGuinty has not been seen for several weeks. It is believed he may be suffering from amnesia and has probably forgotten that he is the premier of Ontario. Medical sources report that such attacks are common in weak-nerved individuals when confronted with issues that require actual leadership rather than bland platitudes.

Since such a situation has arisen in Caledonia, Ontario, it is possible that McGuinty is currently in hiding until Ontarians stop noticing that there are currently two sets of laws in operation in the province; one for native protestors and one for everyone else.

If you see this man, please contact authorities, because he surely isn't going to. McGuinty may safely be approached as he is believed to be unarmed and highly ineffective. However, if startled, or if he smells controversy, McGuinty will run for cover.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Genius at Fifty (Bork Bork Bork)

Once in a while something goes right with the world. A creative genius gets the recognition he deserves.

Pat 'Skywalker' Martin MP, I Am Your Father

In a story in today's Ottawa Citizen, (subscriber only) NDP MP Pat Martin complains that the Chevy Tahoe SUVs now being used in the Prime Minister's motorcade are like something 'Darth Vader would drive'. As a service to readers, then, here is a quick way to tell the two leaders apart.

The Citizen article doubles up the comparisons, with the now obligatory mention of George W. Bush (yawn). Let's take a moment, shall we, and recall just how effective this tactic was during the election campaign. How's that working for ya, Pat?

As a taxpayer and elector, I'm glad Mr. Martin has time on his hands for this kind of thing. I'd hate to think we sent him to the Hill to be overworked. It's nice that despite the many pressing and important issues that he is doubtless working on for his constituents he still has the opportunity to play the fool like this.

Now that we've all had our fun, let's get into some facts:

The vehicles are chosen, purchased, owned and operated by the RCMP, with no political influence. If the Tahoes resemble the Presidential motorcade, perhaps that's because the RCMP is modelling some of their approach on that of one of the most effective security forces in the world. It's just my hunch, of course, but I think a big ol' Chevy might just be a little more effective at heading off a suicide bomber than, say, a Smart. Perhaps unlike Pat Martin, I'm all for anything that stops my Prime Minister being shot or bombed.

Reader tips on Pat Martin's personal choice of transportation would be welcomed.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Doing What Works: Dogs, Children and Mobs In Ontario

Today, my daughter decided she wanted some chocolate. We were in the car at the time and had indeed just purchased some chocolate at the rather fabulous Mrs. McGarrigles Fine Food Shop in Merrickville, Ontario, which carries a good selection of imported British candy. 'Choca, choca, choca' came the chant from the back seat, gradually increasing in both pitch and volume. We're entering the so-called terrible twos here, where demands and tantrums are becoming more commonplace.

Prior to becoming parents, we had raised our first dog from puppyhood. Being bookish types, and wanting to get things right with the dog, we did a lot of reading and learned from a lot of folks out there about how best to train and socialize our puppy to be a productive member of society. We learned a lot from Corgi-L, the mailing list for Corgi folks on the net, and from many other experienced dog people.

What we learned applies equally to toddlers and dogs. They do what works for them. Each action is an experiment. What will happen if I scream at this point? What will happen if I snatch / snap for that piece of food? What will happen if I do the thing that Dad just told me not to do? As dog trainer, or as parent, we have the power to shape the consequence of each experimental action. If it has a pleasant consequence, the action will be repeated. If the consequence is either negative, or nothing, then over time, the action will not be repeated as frequently and will eventually fade away.

The key to this whole approach, of course, is consistency. Give in once to a demand or an undesired behaviour, and all is lost. This is not always easy to do - but not doing it will in the end make life harder for all concerned.

I find it very difficult to understand how otherwise intelligent folks cannot grasp this concept, and the reason I raise this at this point in particular has to do with an issue here in Ontario that I don't believe is getting the attention or perspective it deserves. A group of native protestors have, for several months now, blockaded roads and illegally occupied part of Caledonia, Ontario. They have burned bridges, destroyed vehicles and buildings, stolen documents from the offices of a developer, and generally resorted to the rule of the mob.

So, what consequences for this lawlessness? What has the Ontario government done in the face of this breakdown of law and order, this complete disregard for civil society? Have they done anything? They have not.... No attempt has been made to restore access for the citizens of Caledonia to their highways. No attempt has been made to restore the stolen property to its owners and no attempt has been made to identify or prosecute the vandals who burned a $1.5 million dollar footbridge.

To be fair, thisis not strictly true. The government is doing something. In fact, they have bowed to the protestors' demands. Most recently the Minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, David Ramsay, has indefinitely prohibited development on the disputed site - this without even the courtesy of notifying the owners of the land.

So what do we learn here? Mob rule, violence, theft, vandalism and lawlessness wins out. We have given the protestors their chocolate. All across the country, you can bet others are watching this situation. In time, they too will do the same. Because, like children and dogs, special interest groups of all stripes do what works.

It was incumbent upon our government to see that the illegal tactics used in this case did not succeed; not only because of the one dispute, but because of the wider message the success of the Caledonia protest sends.

The media is not giving this whole situation the coverage it deserves. But I am concerned that in the end, the Liberal legacy in Ontario will be more than a healthcare premium, more than a string of broken promises - it will be that the people of Ontario will be buying British chocolate for a whole lot of flimsy causes for years to come.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Kid on the Blog

So, after months of procrastination (why is procrastination not an Olympic sport?) here is the launch of The Doggerel Party of Canada. Let's take a moment to look at the inspiration behind this brave step into the world of blogging, before the real fun begins.

I first discovered the blogosphere in earnest when the banned Gomery inquiry testimony was published at Captains Quarters. Impressed with the quality and content here, I found my way to a number of other conservative thinking blogs, most notably Small Dead Animals, and from there to the Blogging Tories blogroll.

My interest really grew with the last federal election campaign. Top quality writing by many of those on the B/T blogroll really got me thinking, as it did many others, I am sure. Several issues and scandals were first revealed here, and for the first time we ordinary Canadians had a chance to work around the media filter. It seems likely to me that this election saw the first real influence of bloggers on the political landscape. Long may it continue.

From this political beginning, naturally I found my way around a number of blogs related to other topics. So, although it's likely that much of what spills from my keyboard here will be politically related, I expect to devote some time to the other passions of my life as well. Which leads nicely into the introductions.

I'm a 30-something microserf, working in wireless systems development for a hitech company in Kanata, Ontario. While my work week involves creative hours in front of the computer and the usual suburban rituals of drive-through Starbucks, cafeteria lunches and watercooler gossip, my home is rural. My wife, daughter and I have an old (by local standards) red-brick house in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road about an hour from town.

My daughter is nearly 2. Being nearly 2 must be a lot of fun, or so it appears. The joy of picking dandelions is tangible at this time of year, and who can be unmoved by the sudden and random shouting of "BUM" in public places? She is our first child and we're learning parenting along with every other parent there's ever been. Expect to see some of the joys and trials shared here.

In this idyllic but somewhat ramshackle setting, we are joined by our two Cardigan and one Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Time will reveal just how obsessed one man can be with his dogs... but they are a joy and an inspiration. Much will be written in these pages about these canines and many others.

On the way between this rural retreat and the boulevards of Kanata, I am often forced by default to listen to CBC Radio. There will therefore be outbursts of outrage here from time to time, when some particularly egregious instance of liberal bias occurs during my morning drive, or when words are flubbed for the twentieth time that day. And if somebody could just do something about Promo Girl, that would be great too.

The CBC radio broadcast makes its appearance in a battered but faithful VW diesel car. I love diesel. I realise this is an affliction, particularly in North America. But I can't help it. There's the boring economy, reliability and low maintenance requirements of diesel, but most of all, driving diesel is fun. All those torques hiding under the hood. So there will be commentary on diesel, biofuels, and other 'green motoring' related topics - we may even touch on hybrid cars and related delusions.

Other topics will make their appearance as things come up. But I think this is as good a place as any to end the beginning.