Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Michael Ignatieff: Offense taken

December 8, 2010

Michael Ignatieff seems a little delicate for the rough and tumble battle of federal politics. His latest cry for attention came from a remark made by newly elected conservative MP, Julian Fantino.

In the interview, Mr. Fantino – the former Toronto police chief and Ontario Provincial Police commissioner – expressed his frustration with charges by the Liberals that he had run a “peek-a-boo” campaign, avoiding public debates and afraid to address tricky issues.

He told The Globe that was simply not the case, believing the Liberals had made the allegation out of desperation. “I think they intended to hurt my campaign,” Mr. Fantino said. “The things they said … a lot of them were absolute lies. They keep repeating [them]. I call it the Hitler theory. You tell a lie often enough you hope that some people will believe it.”

In a memo circulated by the Liberals they seemed to get a bit hysterical.

“Barely four days after squeaking into office, Julian Fantino crossed the line by using an offensive analogy that compared a democratic political party in Canada to the Nazi regime,”

And on and on.

No, he didn’t compare the Liberal party to the Nazis, he equated their tactics to the ‘big lie’ theory that has been associated with Adolph Hitler.

But Hitler apparently didn’t make the statement as a matter of his personal policy.

The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, for a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Hitler believed the technique was used by Jews to unfairly blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German Army officer Erich Ludendorff.

And then down the ranks.

Later, Joseph Goebbels put forth a slightly different theory which has come to be more commonly associated with the expression “big lie.” Goebbels wrote the following paragraph in an article dated 12 January 1941, 16 years after Hitler’s first use of the phrase “big lie,” titled “Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik” and translated “From Churchill‘s Lie Factory.” It was published in Die Zeit ohne Beispiel.

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

Anyway it appears that Mr Fantino hurt Mr Ignatieff’s feelings. It’s a tough world out there for sensitive people.

An Israeli Practical Joke: 30 years to the punch line

December 2, 2010

This would appear to be a practical joke on a global scale.

Al- Arabiya reported this week that Iranian officials were outraged to discover a Star of David on the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air. Iran’s national airline’s headquarters was built by Israeli engineers three decades ago, but apparently no one noticed the symbol until a Google Earth user picked it up.

They had to wait 30 years for the ‘gotcha’.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

More on the decline of the English language

October 8, 2010

Having recently blogged on the subject, I feel compelled to mention the latest attack on English grammar that I read in the September issue of Golf Canada.

The writer of the article describes the start of a golfing trip as follows:

Having played the Quail and the Bear on previous trips, myself and three pals headed 25 minutes north of Kelowna ….

Myself has done that very same trip. Although myself hasn’t done it recently.

The new norm: Bad spelling, wrong words and a declining language

September 26, 2010

An amusing column on the death of the English language.

The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself.

And why did it succumb?

The end came quietly on Aug. 21 on the letters page of The Washington Post. A reader castigated the newspaper for having written that Sasha Obama was the “youngest” daughter of the president and first lady, rather than their “younger” daughter. In so doing, however, the letter writer called the first couple the “Obama’s.” This, too, was published, constituting an illiterate proofreading of an illiterate criticism of an illiteracy. Moments later, already severely weakened, English died of shame.

The author, Gene Weingarten, gives some other examples found in the print media.

The Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal has written of “spading and neutering.” The Miami Herald reported on someone who “eeks out a living” — alas, not by running an amusement-park haunted house. The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star described professional football as a “doggy dog world.” The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune were the two most recent papers, out of dozens, to report on the treatment of “prostrate cancer.”

The examples given by Weingarten were written by (I presume) professionals who are being paid for their copy, but he would be even further convinced of the demise of the English language if he were to read the comments posted on internet sites by members of the typing public.

Along with the fact that too much of the unsolicited commentary on these sites is rude, intemperate and sometimes downright vicious, much of it borders on being illiterate.

Some examples taken at random from various sites:

“what a joke cant she be concidered a habitial and put away before she ends up dead trying to fly off of a balcony.”

“Yeah cause are system is a daggon joke!”

“Who the f…. is that heffer??”

Some of the mess that you see posted is certainly due to bad typing and obviously a refusal to spell check. But after a while you get to believe that a lot of it is simply a complete inability to spell and worse yet, no awareness that the spelling might be wrong.

The idea seems to be that it you can sound it out phonetically, you can spell it the same way. Although that doesn’t really excuse having your dog “spaded” (which probably is an example of animal cruelty) or going to your doctor for a “prostrate” exam.

The firearms registry and the desperate Liberals

September 5, 2010

As the time gets closer to the vote to get rid of the long-gun registry, the Liberal Party tries its best to confuse the issue in an apparently desperate attempt to convince people – and probably some of their own MPs – that the registry is no different than all of the other little licensing and registries that are imposed upon us.

The latest is a release which is “From the Leader of the Opposition” and titled Just the Facts: Things you have to register.

In part it reads:

Just consider how silly some of the Conservative and NDP arguments against registering firearms sound when you replace firearms with commons sense items that Canadians are used to registering:

  • Criminals won’t register their dogs anyway, so what’s the point?
  • The government wants you to get a fishing license so they can seize all of your fishing poles!
  • The car registration scheme in this country costs millions a year and does nothing to prevent road accidents!
  • You already have to pass a driver’s test to be able to drive a car, so what’s the point of having to register your car?
  • There was a boating accident last week, and the boating registration scheme did nothing to prevent that from happening!

To help you keep track, here’s a list of things you have to register, if you want to own, do, or receive the following:

Owning livestock, including James Bezan’s horse “Woody”
Driving Stephen Harper’s “I make the rules” All-Terrain-Vehicle
Owning dogs and cats
Owning and driving motor vehicles
Getting married
Having a baby
Going fishing
Going boating
Owning a corporation
Owning land
Being a lobbyist
Providing professional services:
-    Lawyers
-   Doctors
-    Engineers
-    Architects
-    Accountants
Owning copyright and intellectual property
Being a member of the Conservative Party of Canada
Having a healthcare card
Voting
Qualifying for Old Age Security
Qualifying for the Canada Pension Plan
Qualifying for the Canada Child Tax Credit and Universal Child Care Benefit
Having a Registered Retirement Savings Plan
Having a Registered Education Savings Plan
Having a Tax Free Savings Account
Getting a Permanent Resident Card
Qualifying for Employment Insurance

Now I don’t know the intelligence quotient of the person or persons who wrote this tripe, but whatever they were paid to write this up for The Leader of the Opposition (AKA The Honourable Michael Ignatieff) was akin to robbery. But then again the Liberals, in all seriousness, sent it out as an official release. Read into that what you may.

To begin with, the clever Liberals forgot to mention that none of the above examples come with a criminal record if you don’t comply and many of their examples are not compulsory either.

But for a start.

Criminals won’t register their dogs anyway, so what’s the point?

Exactly. As well, probably the vast number of dog owners never bother to register or to use a better term, licence their dogs anyway.

The government wants you to get a fishing license so they can seize all of your fishing poles!

This is a really stupid one. Fishing and hunting license fees are set to generate funds for the ongoing operations of the various provincial governments’ Fish & Wildlife branches. Although a lot of that revenue may be sucked off into the black hole of general revenue. If you don’t hunt or fish you don’t pay the licence fees. And as far as fishing goes, they haven’t started a fishing pole registry yet.

The car registration scheme in this country costs millions a year and does nothing to prevent road accidents!

No it certainly doesn’t. Car registration started in most places as far back as 1904 when governments saw that there were going to be a lot of them using roads that would have to be built and considerable cost. So the registration of cars was a tax initiative and has grown, as most bureaucracies do, to what it is today.

We all pay our water bills but it doesn’t stop bathtub fatalities. About the same level of stupidity as the car registration argument.

You already have to pass a driver’s test to be able to drive a car, so what’s the point of having to register your car?

Whoa. You stepped right into that one Mr. Ignatieff.

I already have to pass a test and obtain a licence to buy a firearm, so what’s the point of having to register my guns? Good question! We’ve been saying that all along. Let me know when you come up with an answer.

There was a boating accident last week, and the boating registration scheme did nothing to prevent that from happening!

You’re absolutely right again. What is the point of the boating registration ‘scheme’. Taxation? I think that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind. The old government axiom: If they own it. Tax it.

The rest of the list? Registering as an accountant, lawyer etc.? Those are professional associations that have obtained the rights and authority from government to control and self-police their members and keep their membership exclusive. You might have a law degree and be a brilliant lawyer, but if you aren’t a member of the Law Society you won’t be practicing law.You don’t have to join. Only if you want to work.

Why go on. The rest of the examples are just as nonsensical.

The only frightening thing is that someone might read this garbage and actually think, “Duh, them Liberals have got a point there”.

Nah – nobody could really be that dumb.

Water safety and another dumb law

July 10, 2010

On numerous occasions I have lamented about the stupid laws that get passed by elected officials (here and here are just a couple of instances). Which is why I was pleased (and amused) to see Chris Seeley’s column in the National Post ripping apart the federal government’s attempt to make the waters of Canada safe through its pleasure craft operator’s licencing system.

If the gun registry does die, where will government-haters direct their ire? Easy. I submit that the federal government’s Pleasure Craft Operator Licence has now usurped the long-gun registry as the worst, most insulting, do-nothing undertaking currently being inflicted on law-abiding Canadians. And the Conservative government is foursquare behind it. Their only possible defence is that it cost less — so far — than the gun registry.

A brief history: Once upon a time, the news was full of people, most of them inebriated, who were driving powerboats into docks, other people, other boats, channel markers, islands and anything else not made of water. Folks were dying. The government needed to be seen doing something. So they decided to license boaters — but not in the way governments license drivers. For some reason, that would have been overkill.

Instead they went with something cheaper that still looked useful to the untrained eye — something perfectly in keeping with the quintessentially Canadian notion that stupid behaviour like, say, drunken wakeboarding, can be prevented by telling people that drunken wakeboarding is stupid behaviour: A stringent written test.

[snip]

Not so shockingly, people are still dying on the water. In a particularly gruesome incident on Shuswap Lake in British Columbia last weekend, a power boat launched itself into a houseboat, killing the occupant of the latter. Police are suggesting alcohol, excessive speed and lack of running lights may have been factors — which means, obviously, that people need to be told that driving too fast, drunk and without lights in the dark is a bad idea. One more time ought to do it.

So Transport Minister John Baird is promising tweaks to Canada’s farcical boating licence: “new standards … to improve Internet testing,” a spokesman told The Globe and Mail; a requirement to demonstrate that boaters have read the study guide (I can see it now: “Click here to affirm you have read the study guide”); and, my personal favourite, more questions.

The Pleasure Craft Operator Licence has been with us for a few years now and has been pretty much considered a joke since its inception. But even at this late date it is enjoyable to see it get the recognition it deserves.

But the problem – as with all legislation – whether it is bad, stupid, useless or all three is that the chances of it ever being rescinded are zero or worse. Once on the books, dumb legislation tends to haunt us forever.

The world is truly an amusing place

May 24, 2010

With everything that goes on in the world it is sometimes difficult to keep a straight face. A couple of items I recently came across amused the hell out of me.

The first was a blog by a gentleman by the name of J. Neil Schulman.

May 21, 2010 — Author/filmmaker, J. Neil Schulman, today announced his intention to file a lawsuit for copyright infringement of his 1979 novel, Alongside Night, which tells the story of the collapse of the American economy due to massive government overspending and the issuing of unbacked money and credit to pay the interest on the national debt.

Schulman intends to name the United States government as his primary defendant. According to Schulman, “The United States government — both the executive and legislative branches, aided by the courts, have stolen the entire premise — and a lot of the plot — of my novel!”

Schulman also intends to name, as co-defendants in his copyright infringement lawsuit, the Federal Reserve Bank, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, General Motors, and the country of Greece.

“Just look at TV news or read a newspaper,” Schulman said. “Plot point after plot point is identical. In my 1979 novel I have General Motors go bankrupt — General Motors then files for bankruptcy. I have Europe issue a common currency in my novel called the ‘eurofranc’ — the European Union then goes and issues the ‘euro.’ In my novel I have a European Chancellor, based in France, accuse the U.S. President of having the monetary policies of a banana republic — then the President of the European Union — also based in France — slams U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as ‘a road to hell’ and says President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout ‘will undermine the liquidity of the global financial market.’ The copycat nature of all these plot points and dialogue” — says Schulman — “could not be more obvious!”

Aside from the obvious satire of the proposed lawsuit, the book, Alongside Night is an award winning novel. But if the novel parallels the current economic crisis as Schulman says, he must have been having a vision when he wrote it back in 1979. Nevertheless, a very funny piece which will probably renew interest in the book. (Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer).

The second item was not a joke, but a little byplay in the ongoing war of words with Arizona over their illegal immigration legislation.

In response to the Arizona legislation, the city of Los Angeles voted to boycott all official travel there and end all future contracts with Arizona businesses.

Well, as it turns out, Los Angeles gets 25% of its power from Arizona.

Upon which, the commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission wrote a letter to the LA mayor.

I was dismayed to learn that the Los Angeles City Council voted to boycott Arizona and Arizona-based companies – a vote you strongly supported – to show opposition to SB 1070 (Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act).

You explained your support for the boycott as follows: “While we recognize that as neighbors, we share resources and ties with the State of Arizona that may be difficult to sever, our goal is not to hurt the local economy of Los Angeles, but to impact the economy of Arizona. Our intent is to use our dollars – or the withholding of our dollars – to send a message.” (emphasis added)

I received your message; please receive mine. As a state-wide elected member of the Arizona Commission overseeing Arizona’s electric and water utilities, I too am keenly aware of the “resources and ties” we share with the City of Los Angeles. In fact, approximately twenty-five percent of the electricity consumed in Los Angeles is generated by power plants in Arizona.

If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation. I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands. If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights of Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.

People of goodwill can disagree over the merits of SB 1070. A state-wide economic boycott of Arizona is not a message sent in goodwill.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Gary Pierce

The letter doesn’t actually threaten to cut off the power to Los Angeles,  as some news media have implied, but it does point out the hypocrisy inherent in the Los Angeles call for a boycott.

Whether the situation will further deteriorate from this point on is an unknown, but Pierce must have thoroughly enjoyed writing the letter.

One can find humour almost anywhere you look, especially in politics.

Climategate (Hide the Decline)

February 4, 2010

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link.

Military trap shooting

December 4, 2009

This is just too funny. Thanks to Phil Bourjaily over at The Gun Nuts.

Troubleshooting with Shaw Cable

September 10, 2009

It’s not just Shaw Cable. I have had the same problem with Telus and other organizations that have call centres for their service work. It just seem to me that they hire people to man the lines, give them some basic knowledge and then turn them loose on their unsuspecting customers. And if they can’t solve your problem using the few tricks they’ve been shown, they simply try to find a way to bullshit you off the phone. Perhaps a little harsh, but here’s my story.

We bought a new flat screen TV and decided to also buy a PVR unit from Shaw (marked down $150 from the original price of $650) which would upgrade us to HD and also give all of the recording advantages that go along with the unit.

To make a long story short, when I hooked it up to the TV and called Shaw they couldn’t get it to work. (One of the reps I talked to said she was going to “force” a signal through, which I thought was interesting technical terminology). It was decided that the signal into the our unit was too weak (this turned out to be the case) and booked me for a technician’s visit. The best we could negotiate was a time about 10 days down the road. Fine.

When the anticipated day arrived, so did the technician. Good guy. Weak signal, which he was able to fix. We checked the HD channels and they were all there. The problem was solved, or so we thought. But we made the fatal error of not checking all of the other channels.

After the tech left I found that almost all of the lower channels showed up as unsubscribed. It was weird in that between channels 3 & 50 I was only receiving channels 4, 5 and 30 and was also missing Fox news on the digital end (which I assumed could have been part of a far left conspiracy).

Called Shaw again and was told that they would try to get the technician back, but after a few hours had passed and no tech, I called again. Nope, the technician couldn’t come back today – hadn’t anyone called me? This new service rep tried all of the resetting again to no avail and said that she would book another appointment with a technician, but it would be a while.

And I said – “This is not satisfactory. If I don’t have a technician here by tomorrow, I am bringing back the PVR for a refund and I going to look at satellite systems”. And she said, “Let’s not be hasty, let me go and check something”.

Shortly thereafter I had all of my channels back. Turns out – according to the rep – the channel codes were wrong and they had to be manually inputted. I’ll accept that explanation, but I was pretty damned sure that the problem I was having wasn’t at my end and if the technician had shown up another week down the road he would have just phoned the Shaw office and told them to fix it.

It was a day of high stress levels.

I have tagged this posting under “humour” as I am sure that some day I will see it as such.


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