Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Syntactic ambiguity alert

Your regularly scheduled overlong, barely penetrable posts will return once work slows down for me. In the meantime, though, I have to share this article.

The headline is "Marrying gays optional for commissioners," and it goes on to elaborate that "marriage commissioners in Alberta opposed to same-sex unions won't be compelled to marry gays." Well. And here I thought the new law was going to be all about the forced arranged marriages! What a disappointment!

Even better, though, it seems that "officials with the Alberta government [...] will ensure that gays who want to tie the knot have access to someone who will marry them." Isn't it nice to know that if we want to get married, the provincial government will help us find partners? Who knew the Tories were so full of peace, love, and understanding?

Whoever proofread that one, I want to give them a great big kiss. (Or possibly a marriage proposal.)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

World Stupidity Awards redux

The results of this year's World Stupidity Awards have been announced, and the stupidest statement of the year is deemed to be the following quote from George W. Bush: "They never stop thinking of ways of harming America, and neither do we." Unfortunately, the quote was a little bit off; the original blunder was actually: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." In celebration of this well-deserved award, then, here are some of my other favourite Bush speakos.

From the "WTF?" files:

  • "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."
  • "I wish I wasn't the war president. Who in the heck wants to be a war president? I don't."
  • "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."
  • "I have a record in office, as well. And all Americans have seen that record. September the 4th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day I will never forget."
  • "You're working hard to put food on your family."
  • "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."
From the "too close to the truth for comfort" files:
  • "I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."
  • In response to a question about Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces: "My answer is bring them on."
  • "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
  • "For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it."
  • "See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."
On the other hand, while the U.S. was up for this year's World Stupidity Award for "dumbest government," it didn't win. Guess who did?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dear Macleans

Dear Macleans,

Just so you know, the word 'terror' is a word that means intense, overpowering fear. It is a useful word. It is not, however, a synonym for 'terrorism'. Therefore, when you slap a headline on your cover reading: SUDDENLY OTTAWA REALIZES WE HAVE A TERROR PROBLEM, it looks like you're claiming that there are lots of Canadians living with intense, overpowering fear. While that may actually be the case, I suspect that's not what you meant.

I do realize that President Bush likes to refer to his 'war on terror,' but I'd at least like to think you guys have a better grasp of the nuances of the English language than he does. Oh, don't get me wrong, if he ever decides to wage an actual war on terror, I'll be right there on the front lines, but I suspect such a war would be more about the cutting-edge psychological research than it would be about the bombs.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Much to our chagrin"

Ralph Klein, reigning premier of Alberta, won't fight the new same-sex marriage law after all:

We will proceed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, much to our chagrin, following proclamation of the federal Civil Marriage Act.
So essentially, queer Albertans get to get married without a fuss, and King Ralph gets to be remembered as the premier who allowed it to happen, which will almost inevitably sacrifice a whole slew of rural votes to the Alberta Alliance. Oh, and the deer-in-headlights photo of King Ralph is kind of amusing, as well.

It doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Legislation and the cultural divide

Canadians are always astonished when I quiz them about what they think the official language of the United States is. "English," they guess. Nope. "English and Spanish?" they say, trying again. Sorry. The U.S. simply doesn't have any official-language legislation. Most American signs bear only English, but if it's an area where more Spanish is spoken, it's both perfectly legal and not at all unusual to see only Spanish, and many places will have both. And while there is a fringe group that keeps pushing to make English the official national language, the general opinion among most Americans is one of: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Given Canada's own rather fraught history with language laws, it's always fun to shock Canadians by telling them that the U.S. gets along just fine without any such beasties. And yet they're not nearly as surprised as Americans are to discover that the most analogous issue in the reverse direction--in which Canada simply doesn't have any legislation on the matter and things work out just fine with very few legal repercussions--is abortion.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New resource promoting political accountability

Cool new site: brings us the voting record of each MP, as well as quoted text from the times they've spoken in the House, identifiable by issue or bill number. It was started by a guy from Kamloops (who also has his own blog).

His future plans look even more interesting than what he's got up there now, though; he claims to be doing a "verbal malice count" to gauge civility in the house. Definitely looking forward to that one!