Why I love Ottawa (or, Shaken, not stirred)

June 23, 2010

Amongst the best reasons to live in Ottawa:

  • Beautiful, historic buildings, like the neo-Gothic edifices on Parliament Hill.
  • It’s the only place in Canada where national news and local news are almost always the same thing.
  • Occasional sightings of various heads of state (Hu Jintao is in fact arriving in Ottawa today).
  • Lots of beautiful parkland.
  • A massive street party every July 1.
  • Regular earthquakes for your comfort and entertainment.

After today, I join the elite few who have stood within a stone’s throw of a 5.0-magnitude eathquake’s epicentre and lived to tell the tale. No damage – just a glass that fell off my desk and didn’t break. Plenty of excitement.

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And now . . . this – June 20/10

June 20, 2010

I’m neither English nor a soccer fan, but if you’re both, then here’s a real moral dilemma for you.

On the one hand:

More than 1,200 workers have been banned from flying England flags on their own cars by managers – over fears they could deemed as racist.

Employees at the housing association were sent a group e-mail warning that decking out their personal vehicles with the St George’s flags could “discriminate” against those who don’t support England during the World Cup.

Managers at Bolton At Home in Greater Manchester, which manages 18,200 council houses in Bolton, insist cars owned by their workforce must remain “neutral” in order to treat all its “customers with respect and without discrimination.”

[Full Story]

OK, so soccer is a race now. Who knew?

But on the other hand, just up the road in Scotland:

High street retailer HMV has withdrawn “Anyone But England” World Cup posters and T-shirts from its Scottish stores following complaints they were racist. . . .

The Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) contacted police about the “insensitive and provocative” items which, their website claimed were “criminally irresponsible.”

The CEP said: “We understand HMV have agreed to withdraw their insensitive and provocative ‘Anyone but England’ window displays and T-shirts from their Scottish stores following complaints from members of the public and a complaint by the CEP to Fife Police for incitement to racial hatred.”

[Full Story]

So, in a nutshell:

  • If you support England in the World Cup, you’re a racist.
  • If you oppose England in the World Cup, you’re a racist.

I guess the only racially sensitive thing to do is to declare, “A pox on both your houses.”

But when soccer fans become the moral equivalent of an identifiable ethnic group, political correctness has gone to seed. I don’t think this sort of thing would ever fly in Canada during hockey season. But shhh – don’t give the HRCs any ideas.


And now . . . this – June 17/10

June 17, 2010

Now here’s a sentence you’re not going to read every day:

A young man in Bavaria who reportedly forgot to take his medication taunted a group of Hells Angels at their clubhouse over the weekend by dropping his pants, throwing a puppy at the bikers, and then making his getaway in a stolen front loader.

[Full Story]

I am speechless at how simply awesome that sentence is. In fact, it’s so fantastic that I am going to repeat it:

A young man in Bavaria who reportedly forgot to take his medication taunted a group of Hells Angels at their clubhouse over the weekend by dropping his pants, throwing a puppy at the bikers, and then making his getaway in a stolen front loader.

That is all.


Dana Key (1953-2010)

June 11, 2010

Dana Key, contemporary Christian music pioneer, died this past Sunday at the age of 56, of complications following a blood clot.

Key was the former lead singer of the Christian rock duo Degarmo & Key, formed in 1978 with his lifelong friend Eddie DeGarmo. After D&K disbanded in the mid-90s, Key continued for a while in the music industry and became the senior pastor of a church in Tennessee.

D&K had the distinction of being the first Christian band with a video in rotation at MTVL, for their single “Six, Six, Six.” Because of its apocalyptic imagery, it was soon pulled from rotation for being too violent, until the producers realized they had removed a Christian video by mistake (the band was invited to resubmit it). Granted, the “cheese factor” in some of their music was pretty high: not only did the Swirling Eddies parody two of their songs on their Sacred Cows album, but Steve Taylor also inserted a snarky rap into the Newsboys’ cover of “Boycott Hell” as a commentary on the quality of the words. But even if their lyrical quality was sometimes wanting, their earnestness for sharing the Gospel never was. And as an older teen, the album The Pledge struck just the right note with me at the right time.

You finished your race well, Dana. Now, rest.


Choicers roasting on an open fire

June 10, 2010

Oh, brother:

A newly revealed poster picturing the ultrasound of an unborn Jesus with a halo is adding fuel to the abortion ad uproar in the United Kingdom.

ChurchAds.Net’s “Baby-Scan Jesus” poster, which will be used for a 2010 Christmas campaign, has already started stirring debate months before the holiday season. Although the poster’s creators say it is meant to spark conversation about the meaning of Christmas, critics of the poster say it is too political and see it as a counterattack on the recent first-ever TV ad for abortion services.

[Full Story]

According to the poster creators:

the poster idea came from the 21st-century convention that proud parents-to-be show the ultrasound of their baby to family and friends.

“Our new Baby-scan Jesus poster uses this convention to place the birth of Christ in an ultra-contemporary context,” the group explained. “It is highly impactful. It has a sense of immediacy. It creates anticipation. And theologically it speaks of both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ.”

But some British (presumably pro-choice) secularists believe otherwise: “The image is too specifically associated with pro-lifers to be seen in a benign context,” says Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society.

Poor pro-choice secularists. Someone ought to tell these fossils that their rhetoric is well outdated. Sonograms have been commonplace for years; it’s practically a given that an expectant mother will have some taken during her pregnancy. As the ChurchAds.Net folks point out, moms-to-be like to show them off. I’ve been to homes where they were hanging on the fridge. As Albert Mohler has pointed out, ultrasound has had an enormous impact on the current generation of young voters and their perception of the abortion issues: these older teens are “the first to grow up with ultrasound images taped to the refrigerator door. . . . This generation understands the issue in terms of infant human life. They do not see a mere fetus. They recognize a baby.” Indeed, sometimes these kids take for granted that the ultrasound on the fridge is just another, earlier kind of baby picture.

But the post-menopausal remnant of militant pro-choice “secularists” misses the point. Instead of the familiar image of an anticipated new life, they see the abortion that never was. Instead of the anticipated hope of life eternal, they continue their quixotic struggle against the death of their dusty rhetoric. Well, good riddance.

(H/T: Big Blue Wave.)


National Gratuitous Drink Promotion Day

June 10, 2010

So I heard through the grapevine that June 10 is National Iced Tea Day. While I strongly suspect that this is a conspiracy concocted by the Lipton, Redpath, and Realemon companies, I do have to admit that iced tea is my one weakness. So hey, why not celebrate?

And, in any case, I don’t believe I’ve ever had occasion to post my favourite recipe for iced tea, so this is as good an excuse as any.

You will need:

  • 2 L boiling water
  • 4 bags of Rooibos tea, or equivalent loose, or to taste
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 can Five Alive concentrate, i.e. the original five-citrus-fruit flavour
  • Ice (or some other way of cooling hot tea)

Method:

  1. Normally, I would start a recipe by inviting you to pour a beer. However, this recipe is so good that it will make your favourite beer taste like rancid hippo urine by comparison, so don’t waste your time.
  2. In an appropriately-sized pitcher, brew the tea to the desired strength. (Remember that ice will obviously dilute the tea considerably, so plan accordingly.) Remove the teabags.
  3. Stir in the sugar to dissolve it.
  4. Stir in enough ice cubes to bring the tea down to room temperature (or cooler, if you like).
  5. Add half of the Five Alive concentrate and mix it thoroughly. Save the other half for the next batch.

Chill the pitcher in the fridge before serving. Better yet, why wait? For instant gratification, pour the tea into a glass over lots of ice and drink it now.

Warning: This is very very very addictive. Handle with care. Fortunately, Rooibos tea is caffeine-free. Also, unlike black tea, it actually tastes better the longer you steep it. Enjoy.


And now . . . this – Jun. 3/10

June 3, 2010

Protecting kids from excellence, part 6.022×1023

Oh, brother:

In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, an Ottawa children’s soccer league has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default.

The Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer league’s newly implemented edict is intended to dissuade a runaway game in favour of sportsmanship. The rule replaces its five-point mercy regulation, whereby any points scored beyond a five-point differential would not be registered.

[Full Story]

I predict that this rule’s life will be short. Even a six-year-old can figure out that if you’re down by five points, an own goal is an instant win, without even trying.

Just-a good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm

This pretty much speaks for itself.